Johnny Cupcakes Releases New iPhone Cases

Johnny Cupcakes recently released some new Apple gear, and you know how much I dig Apple gear! The new Johnny Cupcakes iPhone cases are 100% rubber and fit both the first generation and 3G iPhone. The cases sport the classic Johnny Cupcakes fork logo on the back with the classic bones and cupcake. You can purchases the cases now in Gray and Pink color options for $24. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick one of these cupcake cases up next week when I am up in Boston – you know I’ll be hitting up the Newbury Johnny Cupcakes Store!

Threads – A New Threadless iPhone App!

Here’s a great and fun little iPhone app that I just discovered while perusing the Threadless forum boards. Developed by Threadless user Ian Marsh (eeenmachine), Threads allows you to easily browse in-stock designs at Threadless straight from the iPhone or iPod Touch.

Not only can you browse Threadless tees, but you can buy tees directly from within the App (ok, this is a stretch, the app forwards you to the Threadless site via Safari). The app also makes use of the accelerometer – you are shown a different tee design every time you shake the phone while the app.

Even cooler, you can save these beautiful designs directly to your iPhone by tapping on the camera icon. Onc you click the camera icon all onscreen menus disappear and your left just with the design. From there you use the screen capture trick and then images are saved to your photo album and can then be used as Wallpaper for your iPhone! Pretty slick little app, I think! The app itself is snappy and works excellently on my first generation iPhone.

Microsofts New Ad Campaign

Apparently, Microsoft has decided to embark on a 300 million dollar marketing blitz in hopes of changing the image that Apple has portrayed PC users to be with their “I’m a Mac, I’m a PC” ad campaign. They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but my goodness, will Microsoft ever be able to come up with anything original?

Instead of trying to defend themselves by repeatedly using a line that Apple made into catchphrase they once again demonstrate a lack of innovation and creativity. This is the story of Microsoft. This is a lame attempt by Microsoft to appear hip. They even tried extra hard by getting Pharrell Williams and Eva Longoria in the commercial, when the recently short-lived and ill-fated Gates-Seinfeld campaign failed. 

It hurts Microsoft even more that Pharrell and some of the other notables in the “I’m a PC” campaign are known Mac users. It turns out that Pharrell has stated as having used an “Apple Power Mac Dual 1.8 GHz G5 with Cinema Display” to produce the album Seeing Sounds. Pharrel has also talked about his love for the iPod on many occasions, here’s an example. 

Microsoft, instead of trying to make yourself look cool and hip by buying out a Mac user, like Pharrell Williams, who has hip-hop credentials and the coolness factor you so desire, maybe you should focus your ad campaigns on your products. I hear Windows Vista makes for a great operating system. Or not.

Update: Further digging by some intrepid people in InternetLAND has found that Macs were used to create the images distributed and posted on the Microsoft’s Web site for the “I’m a PC” ad campaign. Here’s an excerpt form the article:

Several digital images that Microsoft has posted on its Web site to trumpet its new “I’m a PC” ad campaign were actually created on Macs, according to the files’ originating-software stamp.

Four of the images that Microsoft made available on itsPressPass site last week display the designation “Adobe Photoshop C3 Macintosh” when their file properties are examined. The images appear to be frames from the television ads that Microsoft launcehd Thursday.

One of the images is of a real Microsoft engineer, identified only as “Sean,” who resembles John Hodgman, the actor who plays the PC character in Apple’s iconic ads. Reportedly, Microsoft will play off Apple’s own campaign—during which Hodgman introduces himself with the line, “Hello, I’m a PC”—with its engineer saying “Hello, I’m a PC, and I’ve been made into a stereotype.”

Other images posted by Microsoft last Thursday include shots of author Deepak Chopra; Canadian adventurer and educator Geoff Green, founder of Students on Ice Expeditions; and a shark-surround diver named “Meaghan.”

Not all of the images on the PressPass site were generated on Macs. The sample print ads, which highlight the campaign’s “Life Without Walls” slogan, were produced using the Windows version of Adobe Photoshop, according to their files.

The originating software and platform can be found in downloaded versions of the files using built-in tools on either a Mac running Mac OS X or on a PC running Windows.

In Windows XP, for instance, users can view the tag by right-clicking the downloaded file, selecting Properties from the drop-down menu, then clicking the Summary tab. “Adobe Photoshop CS3 Macintosh” appears beside “Creation Software.”

On a Mac, after opening the downloaded file in Preview, users can see the tag by choosing Inspector from the Tools menu, clicking on the middle More Info tab, then clicking on the tab marked TIFF. “Adobe Photoshop CS3 Macintosh” appears beside “Software.”

Microsoft’s campaign is the creation of the Crispin Porter + Bogusky agency, part of a $300 million effort to revamp Windows Vista’s reputation.

iFlix 2.0 Released

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about how the iPhone app, iFlix, was Netflix Heaven on the iPhone. I’m happy to announce that heaven looks that much brighter for us iPhone touting Netflix subscribers! The iFlix team has been pretty busy as they have just released iFlix 2. And I have to say that every criticism that I had with iFlix version 1 has been addressed in the version 2 release. 

First of all, the iFlix interface has seen an uplift in version 2 courtesy of Alex Marchuk (iFlix interface and website developer). The upgrade to the interface is not only pleasant to the eye but also made managing my Netflix queue that much easier.

One of the major gripes I had with the original release was the inability to select movies by format (DVD or Blu-ray). Now, when you search for a movie title, the search results bring back detailed information about each movie, including whether or not the movie is available in Blu-ray format. Being able to see Netflix ratings and MPAA ratings alongside the search results are added (and welcome) bonuses. Oh yeah, you can also browse by Blu-ray now as well. 

 

I’m a bit envious of the people who can use the Watch Instantly feature on Netflix (I run a Mac and Netflix currently does not support Watch Instantly on the Macintosh). With Watch Instantly, you have access to movies and TV shows that you can watch directly on your PC or 3rd party media player like an XBox 360 or Roku Player. iFlix 2 now not only supports the regular Netlfix snail mail queue but also supports instant queue management, which means adding movies to view on your PC, Xbox 360, or Roku Player is that much easier. 

iFlix has also improved on the rating system. Not only can you easily rate a movie from within iFlix but iFlix is intuitive enough to tell you which movies you’ve already rated by marking those ratings in yellow rather than the standard red. 

I was fortunate enough to have a word with iFlix developer, Brent Jensen. Here’s what we talked about.


Coty: I noticed that Brent Jensen is not listed with the rest of the team of the iFlix 2 website, is Brent no longer affiliated with the project? If not, why?

Brent: That’s just me being modest. My name’s on it for the App Store, so I wasn’t too worried about the site. It looks like Alex took note after your question and has added my name to the site.

(Update: Alex has added Brent’s name to the footer of the iFlix homepage. We can all sleep better now, LOL.)

Coty: The iFlix homepage also has changed, from the specific iFlixMobile.com to the more general and encompassing iPhonevine.com. Does this mean that there will be more iPhone based apps coming from your team?

Brent: For now, Alex Marchuk is hosting the site because of his amazing skills with design (and my lack of love for website development). You may see more apps hosted here, either made by me, or something that Alex has collaborated on. I’d love to have time to work on a lot more great apps, but for now my day job and iFlix keep me too busy to take on much else. I am working with my brother on a word search game for the iPhone, but it’s got a ways to go.

Coty: iFlix has definitely helped to fill in the gap for Netflix users wanting a mobile solution. Why do you think Netflix has not released a native application on their own?

Brent: Larger companies are always going to be more hesitant to jump right into a new platform. Since releasing an app represents a commitment to the platform, especially for a big company, they’ve got to pick and choose where they’ll invest. I would love to work with Netflix on improving the application, or even releasing it oficially, if they were ever to express interest.

Coty: iFlix 2.0 has added some killer functionality, such as the ability to view and add Blu-ray titles to your queue, a new interface and the ability to have detailed info like ratings literally at our fingertips. Where does iFlix 2.0 go from here? What are some things that you still would like to improve on?

Brent: The major focus right now is on performance and stability. As far as new features (e.g. iFlix 3.0), those are all still in the brainstorming phase. I’m certainly open to suggestions. A big fix is on it’s way that drastically improves scrolling and drag reordering, along with a nasty bug that’s been keeping some users from enjoying the “Detailed Queue” feature of iFlix 2.0.

Coty: There have been some controversy over the way that Apple has handled the App Store, specifically with developers. For instance, Apple has received some flack for not allowing developers to openly discuss program development with other developers. What are your thoughts on this?

Brent: There certainly are some frustrations, for me mostly with the inability to have more control over updates and responding to reviewers. A lot of times a reviewer will express frustration, or say they wish there was this or that feature, and the feature is in iFlix, or there is a work around for their issue, but I’ve got no way of contacting them. It would also be really nice to be able to build a customer base with a contact list, but the App Store doesn’t allow for that. For the most part though, I think Apple has created a fantastic platform, and given me a way to get my software out there to be enjoyed by more users than might have ever been possible with the App Store.

*I’d like to thank Brent Jensen for taking the time to talk to me (much appreciated!) and Alex Marchuk for letting me know of the iFlix 2 updates (much appreciated as well!). Keep up the great work, iFlix team!

iFlix is Netflix Heaven on the iPhone

I’ve mentioned in the past how much I adore Netflix (despite the recent Dexter debacle I experienced last week). But now I think I’ve found a reason to love Netflix even more. And that reason is called iFlix. 

iFlix is a native iPhone app, created by Brent Jensen, that is marketed as “easy queue management on the go.” Having had a chance to test out iFlix for a few days, I must admit that this is a killer app, especially if you are power Netflix user. 

Of course, you can do everything you can do on iFlix using Safari on the iPhone. However, accessing the Netflix website on the iPhone can be quite cumbersome and difficult to navigate, especially with the small text and having to zoom in and out of the browsers screen. With iFlix, everything is ten times easier. You can easily rearrange your queue the same way that you can drag and drop contacts in the iPhone address book. You can view recent activity and see what movies you currently have at home and the last movies you returned. 

Something that I like to do whenever I’m at Wal-Mart or Best Buy is peruse the DVD section. Before I had iFlix, I would use the Notes app on the iPhone to list what movies I wanted and then when I got home I would add those movies to my Netflix queue. Well, no more of that multi-step mumbo-jumbo. Now, I simply use the search function on iFlix to find the movie I’m interested in and I can add it to my queue, instantly, on the fly. Awesome. Even better, you can browse discs on the go by genre, top 100, or new releases directly from iFlix, so, theoretically, you don’t even need Wal-Mart or Best Buy to peruse!

iFlix does have a few faults. First of all, the “For You” recommendations function did not work me. It did not return any movie recommendations for me. Secondly, you can’t choose between formats (DVD or Blu-ray). The movies you add will be added in DVD format. 

At $1.99, the iFlix app is a steal for what it does. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love a freebie version direct from Netflix, but until Netflix gets their Apple act together (no native Instant Watch on Macs, WTF!) I am more than happy using iFlix.

 

 

 

This post is part of the Problogger Group Writing Project. Click here to read more about it.

I’ve Broken the 20,000 Song Barrier

Here’s a blog post I made in October of 2006:

“So I was doing some work and I look up to see my iTunes window. And I think to myself, hmmm, “how close am I to 10,000 songs?” So I take a look. And to my suprise, I actually hit 10,001! Weird, I tell you, weird. Freakingly weird, in fact.
But anyways, do you know how much music 10,001 songs is? Well first of all, it is 41.71 GB worth, thats how much. Secondly, it is enough to play music continuously for 25.4 days! Crazy huh. Crazy.

For the record, last song I played was (checking now)…”Famous Last Words” by My Chemical Romance.”

Well, less than two years later, I have doubled that amount. I find this amazing as the initial 10,000 songs took about 4 years or so to build. The funny thing is, I haven’t even yet imported all of my CD’s (yeah, remember those shiny thing-a-ma-bobs). So, 20,000 songs later, I’m out nearly 90 GB (yes, NINETY GIGABYTES). That’s enough music to last me 50 days. And I still I have the rest of my CD collection to import! Well, here’s to the next 10,000.

And for the record, the last set of songs imported were from the Beastie Boys Discography!

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Evolution of the MacBook

For the record, I still prefer the Powerbook branding. The Clamshell was epic back in the day, freshman year of college to be exact! The I replaced the cute Clamshell with the iBook G3 (non-Clamshell) and then I replaced that with a 12″ PoweBook G4 and then replaced that with a faster 12″ PowerBook G4. Now if only they would make a 12″ or 13″ MacBook Pro, I’d be ready to upgrade once more. Still, I am excited to see the 2008 redesign. Graphic is courtesy of Appleinsider.

Central Hub Down

Hopefully it’s only a temporary situation. I’ve got an emergency appointment tomorrow at 9:45 am. Ala Moana Apple Store. So, I guess this is how a parent feels when one of their kids get sick. 

UPDATE: In less than 5 minutes, I was given a brand spanking new iPhone. Kudo’s to Apple customer service!

A Visit to Apple’s Company Store

First of all, the Apple Company Store looked like what ALL Apple Retail Stores should look like! They had everything a typical Apple Retail Store has, including iPods, MacBooks, iMacs and accessories. The main difference between the Company Store and the Retail Store is that that store at 1 Infinite Loop (Apple Headquarters) has official Apple gear! And being the Apple freak that I am, I felt like a kid in a candy store – much like those kids in Willy Wonka. I was overwhelmed, or should I say, iOverwhelmed. By the time I reached the checkout, it felt like I had one of everything. I practically did get one of everything. My trip to the mothership was definitely worth it. I can’t wait for the next visit!