Dec 222017

Confirming suspicions long held by many, Apple this week acknowledged its practice of deliberately slowing down old iPhones. At least two class action suits are pending.

Apple’s stated reason for the practice is to prevent older devices with aging batteries from suddenly shutting off.’s stated opinion of this explanation is “that’s really, really thin.” Gee, I think instead, it might have been to push customers into more frequent upgrades than they really need.

Which scenario do you think is more likely?

Look, I get that none of the faceless megacorps are our buddies. They all want our data, because they all want to shake new ways to make money from it. But would you expect this sort of seething arrogance from anyone but Apple?

Apple seemed, until perhaps this week, to have perfected a ridiculous business model. It charged its paying fans—some of the most loyal in the world—large amounts of money to be treated with transparent hostility. From the pentalobe screw fiasco to the obscene-in-an-inherently-obscene space accessory prices—even to making its store visitors grovel at the Genius Bar for customer service—Apple has never hidden its contempt for its customers.

And still, many thousands of them will swallow this thoroughly absurd company line, pat their bellies, and say “mmm, yummy, Apple!” But maybe this will also be the first slip of the halo. Maybe this is the first little dribble of an antidote for Apple fanaticism.

Maybe, this time struck, Apple will bleed.

 Posted by at 3:24 pm
Nov 152017

I was thinking on the drive home tonight about an old friend. (Well, maybe she’s “someone I used to know” now. We haven’t had any contact in 12 or so years.) She and her husband moved to Colorado a few years ago. I don’t know whether it was for a job, or for the excitement of it, or some other reason. She’s got roots here, though, including family—so it wasn’t without trade-offs.

I thought about the adventures to be had in both urban and rural Colorado. Then I considered for a moment how blessed I feel to be in northern Alabama—to have a career here, to be raising a family here.

I arrived at age 15, with my father, in August 1986. The population of Huntsville has grown a good bit since then, but the population of the metropolitan area has doubled. We are rapidly closing on half a million people. It’s a significantly larger city than the one I moved to. Yet I’ve grown with it. I’ve called myself a native for 20 years or so now, and it still feels like my home.

A lot of the blessings are easy-to-measure metrics. The crime rate is low. The cost of living is low. The job market is excellent. I have a choice of good Vietnamese and Thai restaurants. A big one for me, though, is more abstract:

There are several things I still want to do in my life, and I can effectively do them here.

I haven’t exactly considered them dreams, or wishes, or anything else—they’ve just been things I think I’d like to do. Well, it’s time to call them goals. It’s time to codify them. It’s time for me to identify manageable chunks that I can check off. It’s time for me to clear obstacles (some of which have been obvious to me for some time yet I dared not call them by name).

I’ve made racket like this to myself before. I know it’s different this time because I’m much more excited than I’ve ever been.

I’ll keep you posted.

 Posted by at 12:33 am
Apr 242017

Here is a much better look at what we’re getting for our trade-in of Madison Square Mall to the universe. (If I figure out whether the video can be embedded later, I will.) No doubt this looks very appealing, and it’s amazing how well they can bring it to life with current technology, isn’t it? […]

 Posted by at 10:31 am
Apr 042017

When I was 12 years old, I don’t remember what I said I wanted to be when I grew up. I remember what my classmate Shannon said, though. He wanted to be a bulldozer owner/operator. He had it all worked out. He was going to get a secondhand dozer, live in a trailer, and work […]

 Posted by at 2:45 pm