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« June 2009 | Main | September 2009 »

July 30, 2009

Deal killers: The Telco 2-year contracts

Years ago, when some exciting new piece of technology came along I simply could not resist buying it. When the first Newton came out I plunked down seven hundred bucks, just to see how it worked and because I simply had to have one. Likewise when Compaq released the Concerto Tablet PC in the mid-1990s. And when that same Compaq came out with its first iPAQs. I bought one.

You can't do that anymore these days. That's because virtually every piece of technology now includes a phone, and in order to get service you have to sign up for a 2-year contract with the telephone company. Not gonna happen. If I could pick and choose service or just try out a service, I'd probably have a Palm Pre by now, and each of my notebooks and tablets would probably have a wireless card in it. As is, I'd have to sign up for 2-year contracts for each of those devices. Not gonna happen, ever.

So instead of having a Palm Pre and being able to tell friends and anyone out there interested in reading my blogs and articles on what I think about it, I couldn't care less. Am I going to sign with Sprint just to get a Palm Pre? Not gonna happen. Sprint is the company who sent me to collection three times after I cancelled a fully paid and expired contract. Am I going to sign with Verizon or anyone else for TWO YEARS just to get wireless in my notebook? Not gonna happen. Ever.

I know, enough people sign those obnoxious contracts because they see no other option. For those of us who love technology and always had the latest and greatest to write about and take wherever we went, we don't do that anymore. We can't. The telcos' greed has killed it all.

Posted by conradb212 at 10:53 PM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2009

The dangers of product photography

While most of the press either uses official product photography supplied by PR agencies or press centers, or takes quickie snapshots with their smartphones, we here at do it the hard way. We do our own product photography and always make sure that the devices are shown in the environment they are most likely going to be used in. That isn't always easy.

I was reminded of that as we recently needed to do product photography on a good half dozen of rugged machines. These were rugged and ultra-rugged computers designed to be used on forklifts, in trucks, on bulldozers and other such heavy duty equipment. Well, it so happened that there was a significant construction site nearby where a large number of utility company trucks, dozers, graders and lifts were prepping a parcel of land for who-knows-what. Construction hadn't really started yet, and so the property wasn't fenced in, and all that heavy-duty machinery was just a perfect prop for the product photography I wanted.

So I filled the back of my car with rugged computers, seven in all, and headed for the construction site. For a couple of hours, Carol, our intrepid product photographer, posed the machines on bulldozers, trucks and all sorts of heavy equipment, taking a couple hundred great shots. But we were also sweating bullets as all of a sudden it occurred to us that law enforcement might show up and inquire as to what, exactly, we were doing and where, exactly, all those computers were coming from. The rugged tablets, panels and notebooks we photographed looked like they belonged in the trucks we took pictures of much more than they looked like they belonged to us.

As it turned out, while a few police vehicles drove by, no one stopped and asked what we were doing. And so we didn't have to explain why we were carrying about US$25,000 worth of rugged computers from a construction site into the back of our car. Obviously, we could have explained, but it might have taken an hour or two and perhaps a trip downtown in the back of a police cruiser.

Posted by conradb212 at 09:14 PM | Comments (0)