Friday, February 25, 2005

The Apprentice Tara Sees the Writing on the Wall

This week's task was tough. Artwork is very subjective. None of these candidates are artists. How can they pick a winner? I can only fault them for failing to work together as a team and for thinking too small (again). I can't say that I could have picked a better artist and lead a team to victory, but I certainly would have pushed the idea further than any of the other contestants.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Trailer Trash for The Apprentice

Alex The Entrepreneur writes that he likes to watch The Apprentice because, like me, he finds himself thinking of so many alternatives to their lame decisions on the show.

Once again the kids are asked to invent a business for a day on the Feb 17th show. They have $5000 to work with and the winner is based on revenue, NOT profit. I am mystified. This is so simple, it's dumb. Psst, hey buddy, pay $4000 to come into my trailer and I'll give you a $5000 plasma TV. Boom, one customer, and $4000 revenue that easily blows away $900 earned by selling manicures. One big ticket item might be hard to move. How about a crate full of iPod minis for $200 each instead of the typical $250?

Gina's RantSpot About The Apprentice

Gina's RantSpot About The Apprentice

Gina has a nice summary of the Feb 10th episode of The Apprentice. Read that first if you didn't see the show.

I honestly believe that the Street Smarts team ("Net Worth") had the winning Dove ad and simply lost on the execution. The initial concept was funny but the director, Kristen, totally lost it. John should have scripted the whole thing and stayed on the set. Bren's idea for Magna's commercial was so bad on so many levels, I don't even need to go into it.

Apple Partners with Teleca

MacCentral: Apple partners with Euro telecom firm Teleca

European telecom services company Teleca on Monday announced a partnership with Apple that will enable the services provider to use Apple's hardware and software in its creation, delivery and multimedia playback solutions.

Someone else in my office brought this to my attention today (I work for Teleca in San Diego). I didn't know our company was working with Apple at all. I'll have to forward this to my friends at AAPL.

The article claims OS X will be the focal point of Teleca's efforts to build ... software for mobile devices. Sadly, our office doesn't have any Macs, but based on this statement I think we should get some for our mobile application development. I'll keep hoping anyway.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Apple, Napster Swap Jabs Over Security Flaws

Apple, Napster Swap Jabs Over Security Flaws

Apparently, Steve Jobs sent a message to top record industry executives directing them to "a Web page detailing how to convert Napster's rental tunes into permanent downloads." I'm not sure what page he is referring to but it could be something like All-Streaming-Media.

Napster CEO Chris Gorog jabbed back by pointing out that the same technique could be used to capture iTunes music and in fact, it's even easier to unlock most iTunes downloads using Hymn. Hymn is open-source, free software that attempts to remove the Digital Rights Management (DRM) from Apple's AAC files. Of course once the DRM is removed, users can swap files with their friends or move the music on to (unauthorized) machines.

There has been an ongoing battle between Apple and Hymn. I can't believe that Jobs would be so dense as to throw rocks from his glass house. I thought Steve was smarter than that.

Tuesday, February 8, 2005

Impressive Bird Brain

Animal Planet has a great video clip of an African grey parrot named Einstein. African greys are one of the most intelligent species in the world. They rank right up there with dolphins and chimpanzees. The San Diego Wild Animal Park has a daily bird show featuring an African Grey named Bruce Nadell. Bruce will spout off words and sounds in response to natural language commands just like Einstein. The trainer likes to rapid fire commands at Bruce to show off his wide vocabulary and speed. I highly recommend going to see that show.

Most birds aren't as fluent as the Bud Light cockatoo you saw on the Superbowl ad, but that was obviously faked. That bird had a Spanish accent and everybody knows that cockatoos come from Australia (like iocane powder).

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Can an Apprentice Break Rules?

The last episode of The Apprentice featured one of many tasks that required creating buzz. I'm dumbfounded that nobody leveraged the internet to do that job. I can go to Google, search for "blog apprentice" and churn up over 250,000 hits. Why wasn't anybody on those blogs posting comments the night before, urging people to come out to their events? Why limit it geographically to a park in NYC? How about a 1 day, worldwide contest? Did anybody call newspapers and TV stations? Honestly I think they could have gotten a bigger turn out just by walking down the street saying, we're filming The Apprentice over there today. Why give away anything at all? Put the money into entertainment and advertising.

Saturday, February 5, 2005

OBEX for the LG PM-325

As it turns out, Sprint PCS subscribers are not alone in our quest of OBEX enabled handsets. The Verizon Motorola v710 has been available since August. It is the second CDMA Bluetooth handset in North America (the first being the Sony Ericsson T608).

Surprise, surprise, no OBEX on the v710.  It has dial-Up Networking (DUN) and Handsfree only. There were some blatant communications from Motorola and Verizon that flatly stated OBEX was removed at Verizon's request. Lots of rumors were flying about Verizon releasing a new firmware version that would enable OBEX again.

For those not familiar with the story, the OBEX part of the Bluetooth protocol is what allows phones to exchange business cards, synchronize data with PCs, and generally work nicely with other Bluetooth devices like the Acrua TL. It is something of a mystery why carriers such as Sprint and Verizon have chosen to leave these features out of the LG PM-325 and the v710.

Jonathan Zdziarski started a cash prize to the first hacker to enable OBEX support. In the mean time, Verizon Wireless customers in California started a class action lawsuit to enable OBEX.

The prize was never claimed and the case is still open. However, somebody has indeed succeeded in hacking the v710 firmware to enable serial data over Bluetooth. With the new firmware they can sync wirelessly using special PC software (counterpart to SnapSync).

Apparently the new firmware was created by merging the v710 software with another Motorola phone from a different market that had the features enabled. While it doesn't get them OBEX, it still eliminates the need for the cable (though you need the cable to re-flash the phone). It seems possible that they will eventually get OBEX working.

The Bluetooth Treo 650 was also crippled when it first hit the stores. You couldn't use the DUN profile. Somebody at TreoCentral hacked it. Sprint later enabled it for everybody.

Thursday, February 3, 2005

Coffee Break for The Apprentice

I have to say, I just love watching The Apprentice. I guess it's because I love to analyze things and I like trying to solve tough problems. Today is no exception.

In the most recent episode, the teams were given a $75,000 budget to devise and execute a marketing campaign for Nestle Taster's Choice Coffee. The Donald urged the teams to think big. I think both teams came up short.

Shopping via MIDlet

Paul Golding would like the assistance of his mobile phone while shopping. I'll refrain from quoting his entire article, but I wanted to explore the concept a bit and see what's currently possible.