Wednesday, July 28, 2010

How to Shop at REI, a nine-step process

1. Make a list; this list will essentially double in size once you start shopping.
2. Gather all the stuff on your list plus all the stuff you didn't know you needed.
3. Estimate how much the stuff in your cart/bag will cost.
4. Add 25% to the cost of your estimate. Prepare yourself to pay this amount. Now...
5. Add another 20% to that number. This is what you'll actually be paying.
6. Repeat to yourself "I'm going to get 10% back in dividends."
7. Try not to crap your pants when the total is actually more than the amount from #5.
8. File for bankruptcy. Assume a new identity and/or flee to Mexico.
9. Have fun in the great outdoors!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

As close to a conspiracy theory as you're gonna get around here

Fact: The Free Case Program for iPhone 4 will only last thru September. At the end of September, Apple will "re-evaluate".

Report: A "high-level" source at T-Mobile claims his company will have the iPhone by the "end of Q3" (which ends in September).

Speculation: If T-Mobile gets the iPhone, and it turns out that it works better on the T-Mobile network, Jobs isn't about to keep handing out free cases to consumers who have the option to choose the better service.

Prediction: T-Mobile will get the iPhone in late September (and there will be great rejoicing). Apple will put a hold on the Free Case Program while it waits to see if its phone functions better on T-Mobile's network.

But calls won't work any better on T-Mobile's GSM than on AT&T's GSM. The problem lies in Jobs's choice of cell-radio technology--not in the network (the Infineon radio in the iPhone is designed for European areas that have higher tower density). However, the iPhone's internet speed will be better because of T-Mobile's more data-efficient 3G.

And people will still think a Verizon iPhone is just around the corner, even though it will be another year before Apple can buy smaller iPhone 4 guts to make room for the gigantic CDMA chips.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Terms of Service: Rdio

To use the new Rdio music service, one must agree to (among other things), the following (with translations):

"Rdio makes no representation or warranty that (i) the Service Applications or the Rdio Service will meet your expectations or requirements...or (v) the Service Applications and the Rdio Service and/or the servers that make the Service Applications and the Rdio Service available are free of viruses, clocks, timers, counters, worms, software locks, Trojan horses, trap doors, time bombs or any other harmful codes, instructions, programs or components."

--(Hey, this thing might not do what you think it does; accordingly, we have the right to put a computer-mashing virus in it and you're OK with that.)

"To the maximum extent permissible under applicable law, in no event shall liable with respect to the Service Applications...any lost or corrupted data, lost profits, loss or damage to any computer, mobile phone or other device or any special, incidental, indirect or consequential damages, even if Rdio has been advised of the possibility of such damages or if such damages were foreseeable."

--(So, if we decide to put a computer-destroying Trojan horse in our software, and one of our people tells us its a bad idea but we do it anyway and it utterly ruins all of your data, we're not really liable for that.)

"You agree to defend, indemnify and hold Rdio...harmless from and against any and all claims, actions, proceedings and suits and all related liabilities, losses, damages, judgments, settlements, penalties, fines, costs and expenses (including reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs) arising out of (i) your access, use or misuse of any of the Rdio Service..."

--(Also, if we do put an apocalyptic bit of nasty, viral code in our software and all you do is act like an honest consumer who uses it in the way you're supposed to--and our software causes your iPhone or Blackberry to, for instance, systematically wipe out all your image files and replace them with DVDA pics that pop up on your screen every ten seconds, rendering your smartphone utterly useless, you can't sue us.)

Sounds like a great deal, eh? I haven't gotten a great deal like that since I got charged $4 a minute to make a 45-minute call from the Dominican Republic to the US. My question now, since I rarely read TOSes in their entirety, is this: have these kinds of consumer-castrating terms become industry-standard?

[Read the complete Rdio TOS here]