Never doubt Apple's ability to counter-punch

CNET said it perfectly:

When it comes to public relations battles, Apple is a devastating counter-puncher.

NBC just learned the hard way. Late last night, NBC leaked that it would not renew its TV show contract with iTunes. Supposedly, NBC was not satisfied by the financial terms Apple was offering. Nevermind the fact that it was iTunes single-handedly rescued the TV series The Office from being canceled, turning the show into one of the few hits NBC has had recently.

Apple recently has championed consumer rights when it comes to digital media and decided dust off the boxing gloves once more by removing the upcoming fall season of NBC TV Shows from the iTunes Store.

The move follows NBC’s decision to not renew its agreement with iTunes after Apple declined to pay more than double the wholesale price for each NBC TV episode, which would have resulted in the retail price to consumers increasing to $4.99 per episode from the current $1.99. ABC, CBS, FOX and The CW, along with more than 50 cable networks, are signed up to sell TV shows from their upcoming season on iTunes at $1.99 per episode.

In one paragraph, Apple laid perhaps the best argument it has ever had for its iTunes pricing structure. After all, if 50 cable networks think $1.99 per episode is acceptable, then why does NBC need to double the price? With rumors that NBC wanted even more DRM on its TV Shows, this price increase clearly would not help consumers in any way. Apple seized on the moment and with one press release, practically knocked NBC out.

So now, NBC has lost its iTunes marketshare (30%), the vast majority of its digital sales, no access to the iPod/iPhone, and has pissed off consumers royally.

Brilliant move NBC. Can’t wait to see what you come up with next. I am sure this will make the stockholders really happy.

One reason why I don't use Windows at home

Occassioinally I will be asked why am I a Mac user. The main reason of course is I want a computer that just plain works when I am home. My day job is spent fixing (or doing a nasty workaround) for the latest bug in Microsoft Windows. The last thing I ever want to do is tackle a Windows computer at home that is acting up. Yes, I could easily fix it. I just don’t want to deal with it.

Well, another reason I don’t use Windows anymore at home is worrying about activation issues. For those of you who don’t know, Microsoft has this “feature” called Windows Genuine Advantage. In a nutshell, occasionally your computer will give Microsoft a ring so Microsoft can tell Windows “yes, you are a legit copy” (it is more complex then that, but that is the gist). If it isn’t legit, Microsoft can turn off some Windows features until it is validated again.

Apparently Windows Genuine Advantage is having a worldwide outage and could be down for a few days. That means if your computer tries to download and install any patches, it could “fail” the WGA check, which could leave you with one giant lemon of a computer. If you are trying to activate your newly installed copy of Windows Vista, you could run into issues too.

Seriously kids, go Mac at home.

Update on cruise

Looks like Belize, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman all survived Hurricane Dean with minimal damage. All of them should start seeing cruise ships again in the next couple of days.

Costa Maya is another story. Early reports suggest that the port’s dock is wrecked and there was extensive flooding. Doubt any cruise ship will go there in the next few months. Maybe Carnival will replace Costa Maya with another stop somewhere else, although it is too bad since I heard great things about this port.

So all in all, Katie and I’s honeymoon cruise is pretty much intact.

Best wishes to those who were in the path of the hurricane. Hopefully they are all safe.

Hurricane Watch

As some of you know, I will be getting married in a few weeks and going on a honeymoon. The honeymoon’s destinations? Grand Cayman, Cozumel (Mexico), Costa Maya (Mexico), and Belize. All of which are either getting directly hit or slightly “missed” by Hurricane Dean.

Last I heard, Grand Cayman got a big break with the Hurricane missing 100 miles to the south. Lots of rain and I am sure wind, but it survived.

Cozumel appears to be avoiding a direct hit according to the last report I read, but is still going to get tons of rain and wind as if a Tropical Storm was passing through tonight.

The big unknowns for us at the moment is Belize and Costa Maya. Last I heard, Costa Maya was more or less in the direct path of the Hurricane. I also don’t know what part of Belize I am going to…if it is the north part of the country, that could end up getting hit pretty good, if it hits the southern part, then probably just lots of lots of rain/wind.

At least our cruise isn’t this week…

So it continues

So far, my new car insurance company seems to be doing a good job with my key scratch claim. They sent someone out today to take a look at my car (take photos, write up an estimate, etc.). Even though I have a low deductible for this type of claim (also there is no rate increase), it still sickens me that it will cost over $600 total to fix this.

The key part is tomorrow: bringing the car over to the auto body shop so they can look at it themselves and the insurance company’s estimate. I wonder how close that estimate will be with what the auto body shop says.

The amusing part is according to the estimate, all but $50 of that is labor.