Thursday, March 19, 2009

Apple's Killer Application

All the fuss about the changes coming to the iPhone's 3.0 operating system missed the real "killer application": the lack of voice commands. Yep, the world's smartest smartphone is utterly stupid when it comes to using voice commands, deadly dull, I might add.

The iPhone is the first phone that has nearly caused me to lose my life and I have been using mobile phones since 1972 when I had to connect through an operator and the transmitter weighed 20 lbs. and only fit in my trunk. There is simply no safe way to use this mobile phone when you are mobile in a car. The lack of buttons means that you have to look down at the screen even to pull up your favorite numbers for speed dialing! God help anyone near you if you have to search for a contact in your address book. Heck, my treasured old Palm Treo could do that easily and still keep me alive because I could at very least FEEL the buttons and still focus on the road.

Now Apple has proudly announced their great leap forward in phones with the new OS 3.0 and one of the first innovations mentioned is Cut & Paste, one of the simplest functions in a handheld computing device. Then, to add insult to injury, they utterly ignore the one glaring safety issue for mobile users: voice commands. Yes, I know you can buy applications that try and make this work or, and this is probably the point, pay AT&T another $5/month for their clumsy version of voice dialing. This is basic mobile phone safety, Apple, get it done and keep the customer base alive!

As much as I have loved the iPhone for nearly two years, I don't know if I want to continue gambling my life on it. What do you think?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Modest Proposal for Dealing with AIG Execs Bonuses

Outrage can feel cleansing but ultimately it is rather useless. Right now public outrage is boiling over at the news that top AIG Execs will receive $165 million in "bonuses". Correct me if I'm wrong, but a bonus is supposed to be a reward for outstanding or at least above average performance. These guys are the same ones who helped torpedo the world's economy with their shady practices and are the same shameless crew that threw a big party at a posh resort to celebrate shortly after the first "bailout" payment. There was public outcry then but the party was already over by the time their self-indulgence had been discovered.

This time AIG's top dogs were caught before they divided the booty but are now claiming that they are obligated by contract to award these bonuses or the incompetent executives who have brought our economy to the brink of disaster might sue them! Again, remind me what a reward/bonus is. It appears these porkers get to waddle up to the trough and slop regardless of their performance. But I digress, back to my premise: outrage is ultimately useless.

Here is my modest proposal: Expose these managers to public scrutiny. Post the names of all AIG executives receiving any of the $165 million in the recent payoff on a public website and then let nature take its course.

Within a few hours the full addresses, email and a whole lot more information will be public knowledge thanks to "public outrage" in action. Following that, people will do whatever they want with that information, hopefully in an appropriate and legal manner... of course. I have a few suggestions, all legal and decent, but I'll keep them to myself for now.

So what do you propose we should do to these professional porkers?