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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.

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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…

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This could be deadly

Just found out that I can reach my wireless router from the pool area.

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Site security

I have been working all day on making sure this web site is safe after that DreamHost security break-in. Many other people have also been hit by this.

As far as I can tell, my site did not have any of the spam links inserted into my web pages. This suggests I am part of the group who had their FTP password stolen, but nothing changed.

However, I am now extremely paranoid.

A list of what I have done so far:

  • Changed all of my passwords on this site and dreamhost (that means dreamhost panel, ftp, wordpress, mysql, etc.). I may decided to generate completely random passwords that are all different for each component.
  • Completely deleted every file on my web site (after a backup of course). I have downloaded a completely fresh copy of WordPress and just installed it.
  • I have switched to the default WordPress theme for the time being, until I can comb through the code on my old theme to make sure it is safe.
  • I will check all of my plugins, download the latest versions of them, and install the new versions.

Remember WordPress users (and I am sure other web site software suffers from the same problem), your mysql password is kept in the wp-config.php file. I highly recommend you change your MySQL password.

In fact, I highly recommend that ALL DreamHost customers change their passwords. I wonder if the initial count of 3,500 accounts compromised could be low.

What a mess. I hope DreamHost figures out how this happened.

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Off day

I took today off from work so I could get my car towed to the garage and repaired. It was kinda a tense week, as I drove to work every day in a car with a several ticking time bombs inside. However, the car survived the week and will be repaired by Tuesday.

So I spent the day doing some things around the apartment that I have wanted to do for awhile. Pretty productive day overall.

My brothers are coming over tonight and are bringing the XBOX 360 with them to try out on my HDTV.

Tomorrow we get to stand outside in the pouring rain for 6 hours to watch our cousin graduate at UNH. Should be a cold, miserable, blast!

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Random brain dump

Some random stuff that I have been meaning to write about:

  • What is up with the weather? Tonight it is going hit -2 degrees according to weather.com and my morning commute looks like it will be in the 4 degree range. It is so cold that my stereo system in my car takes a few minutes to heat up before it will talk with my iPod (note to self: gotta get that fixed). By 3:00pm on Saturday (roughly 42 hours from now), it will be 47 degrees out and all next week we will be flirting with 50 degrees. Welcome to spring in New Hampshire.
  • It has been about 9 weeks since I started using Invisalign braces. I just started aligner set #5 (of 12 for my bottom teeth, of 24 for my top teeth), so I am almost halfway done the bottom teeth and almost a quarter done the top teeth. I switch to a new set of aligners 2 weeks on Wednesday. Usually by Friday (48 hours or so), my mouth is no longer sore from the new set and I can easily take them off. So really, it is just 2 days of being sore and having a relatively difficult time taking them off. I think that with the last set is the first time I think I started to notice something, but it is tough to tell since each set does such a small amount of change on its own. I think I will have to look at the before/after photos to really appreciate the amount of change.
  • I have a good feeling about the Red Sox this year. This is one of the deepest starting rotations around (even deeper then 2004’s) if everyone stays healthy. The offense looks pretty well rounded. Only concern is the bullpen, but those are always a crapshoot and it is the one thing Theo can’t seem to get together (outside of 2004).
  • Speaking about good feelings, how about the Patriots? They are schooling everyone in free agency. So much for being “cheap” like some members of the media (*cough* Ron Borges *cough*) think they are.
  • On the other hand, those Celtics are doing a great job working for that #1 (or #2) pick!
  • On the geek front, the DST changes are a bane to my existence. This is one of those (many) times where the government did more harm then good…why break something that was working fine? I think at work we got everything patched up on the Windows side, but I am worried about Lotus Notes…calendar systems are really weird to begin with when it comes to time zones. Nothing can be simple and easy I guess.
  • I have been reading Barack Obama’s two books and I don’t think I ever been more impressed with a politician. He is exactly the type of leader that should be President.
  • Tomorrow marks the return of me to the gym at work. Actually, technically I returned yesterday when I got fitness tested (being entered in a drawing for a new iPod had nothing to do with that, I swear). So anyways, tomorrow I going to restart working out and be very sore this weekend.
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Well I joined the HDTV club

This Samsung HDTV is now sitting in my living room.

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No metal in this mouth

As of yesterday, I have braces. Well, kinda.

No no, my mouth isn’t full of enough metal to set off a metal detector. In fact, there is no metal at all.

For the next 48 weeks, I am wearing Invisalign. Think of them as an adult version of braces, but that are clear aligners that I put on my upper and lower teeth. Almost like a mouthguard.

Every two weeks, I get a new set of aligners as my teeth slowly move to where they are supposed to be. For my upper teeth, I need 24 aligners (48 weeks), while for my bottom teeth I just need 12 aligners (24 weeks).

I have to wear the aligners for about 23 hours a day, taking them off only when I eat. No more snacking (since it is just enough of a hassle to take them on and off) and I can only drink water with these on. No more soda or junk!

The real cool part about these is that no one notices that I am wearing them. I have had them for 24 hours and I already can speak like normal (I had a slight lisp yesterday). People have to get real close to even notice them on there.

While I definitely feel the aligners when they are on, I don’t feel any pain wearing them on. In fact, I am sore when I have them off. Getting my lower aligner on and off is no problem, very simple. My top one is a little harder, thanks to some crooked teeth. Sometimes it hurts when I take that one on and off, but the pain leaves in a second.

Way too early to tell if these work or not (I will probably know by the halfway point), but so far I am pleased with them. Considering the alternatives, this is so much better.

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2007 Resolutions

I don’t typically do resolutions, but I want to set some goals for 2007.

  • Read more – When I encounter a book I want to read, I absolutely tear through it. It isn’t uncommon for me to finish a novel in 2-3 days. Problem is, I didn’t do much reading in 2006. That needs to change.
  • Save more – I want to work on cutting my expenses and save money so I can start paying extra on my student loans.
  • Work out again – From July to the end of October, I was working out every day at my company’s gym and doing a fantastic job. Then I got lazy and stopped going. Starting next week, I plan on returning to the gym 3 days a week and stick with it this year.
  • Pull off this wedding – Getting married in September means the big day is getting closer. I am going to pull this off and have a great time!

For the most part, they are simple resolutions…but that is the point. I want to succeed. Let’s check again in January 2008.

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Catching up time

I know, I know…it has been awhile since I have posted on here to say the least.

What have I been up to?

  • This year was the first time I have ever bought every Christmas gift online. I was able to take care of this early thanks to free shipping deals at places like Amazon.com and Buy.com (plus a few other online stores, but I won’t name them since the gifts would be obvious right away). Made it much less stressful then risking my life finding a parking spot at the Mall of New Hampshire.
  • We had the first snow of the year yesterday in Manchester. Just a half inch or so, although it made for an interesting commute. It has been absolutely freezing the past few days, but tomorrow is going to be 50 degrees. Go figure.
  • My boss gave me a Palm LifeDrive to try out. It is the first PDA I ever used. It is interesting, although I have lots of issues with the UI. I am going to try to keep my schedule and contacts on there for work. Oh how I wish that Apple would just come out with an iPhone.
  • Speaking of phones, starting on the 27th Katie and I are eligible for practically free new cell phones from Verzion. I am shopping around for phones to check out, plus checking out the other cell phone providers to see what they are offering. I might as well look around before signing away my soul for another two years to a cell phone provider. Maybe I should wait for MacWorld to come around before buying a phone…you never know…
  • Yesterday at my work’s holiday party, I won a $100 gift certificate door prize to Dick’s Sporting Goods. Did I ever mention that my employer is awsome? I bought the Nike+iPod kit for my iPod nano, an armband for my iPod, and some comfortable fleece pants. Did I mention that Dick’s Sporting Goods is insanely expensive? Hey, it wasn’t my money!
  • I am trying out Safari again. Firefox is just too slow on Macs. We will see how long this lasts.

Until next time…take it easy.