Category Archives: Culture

Airline Security and the Gadget Freak

Last week I passed through airline security at SFO and had an unpleasant surprise. They were making people take out EVERYTHING electronic. Cables, iPods, mobile phones, everything – in addition to your laptop. As I put my stuff on the security table and sliding towards the x-ray machine, I hurriedly took out as much as possible and prayed as I put my things through the x-ray that I would make it through. On the other side of the x-ray, I was gathered my things and was not required to go through extra screening. I also realized that I had forgotten to take out my iPod and cables but they let me through.
I thought that maybe it was because we were at Threat Level Orange (whatever that means – I guess Orange must be close to Red which I would assume is the highest threat level so Orange must be pretty high) and it was Martin Luther King’s Day weekend so I thought that perhaps they were doing a bit more security. But it seems like it’s a permanent policy now. This week I also had to take out everything.
Once again I feverishly dug out everything in my bag that was electronic, but of course in my haste I forgot a few things like my digital camera and Kindle cable but managed to make it through.
So I wonder about this policy. They say you need to take out everything, but twice I did not. I was entirely willing although not immensely overjoyed at the prospect of taking everything out, but at least they should say what they mean. If they say they want everything out but let you pass anyways when you don’t have everything out, then what’s the point?
This also has implications for the gadget freak traveler guy like me. I have more gadgets on me now than ever before. It’s my life. But yet traveling so much, it seems like it’s going to become a huge hassle to bring all my gadgets. Reduction is a possibility; I could consolidate some things, but not others. On the other hand, I did buy some Eagle Creek zippered packing bags in which I put a lot of my electronics and support cables. I was able to just take out that bag and put it in a tray for inspection. Faster, but still not ideal.
It’s like that cartoon I saw in some magazine once. They have a shot of two guys who stripped down naked to walk through airline security. The caption underneath read, “It’s just easier this way.”


About a month or so back, I get this message that I just joined the Million Mile Club for American Airlines.
My butt has sat in AA plane seats for one million miles since I started flying AA as a kid to today.
On one level, I’m happy about it. I got this little icon on my Exec Platinum card that says 1 Million Miles, and I get lifetime Gold status.
On the other hand, I’m not so sure.
One million miles of sitting in back wrenching, trapezoid tightening, swollen leg plane seats whose failing cushions and poor ergonomics challenge any sane person while propping up the chiropractic and inflatable pillow business. One million miles of sitting in seats designed twenty years ago when humans were of smaller stature and now through trans-fat fast food and working out humans are just that much bigger. One million miles of watching security getting beefed up to the point where we’ll have to strip naked soon to get on the plane.
And how many hours spent just sitting in airports waiting…and waiting…and waiting….
But yet, the world is truly smaller. Decades ago, the expense and difficulty of flying made the world seem so much less accessible. Today, I think nothing of hopping on a plane to go to another country, or just cross-US to do some business or visit family or friends. So one million miles of growing, mounting discomfort for one million miles of watching the world grow smaller, more accessible, and less lonely.
To me, this is a potential positive balancing act turned a zero sum game. If we improve all the crappy things about flying, the positives are actually pretty compelling. But no, we get benefits and sacrifice other things for it. It’s really a shame.

Increasing Site and Social Engagement in Detail

Over the last few years, social media has really become a popular buzzword. People talk about social networks and the importance of implementing them, as well as the drawbacks and potential dangers. Rather than talk about social media as a strategy, I wanted to point out some actual detail level things to try rather than stay at the 10,000 foot level of discussion. Based on working on social media projects over the last year, I have found the following techniques to be effective at creating and maintaining a vibrant social environment that produces results:
Related to: Dating/Hooking Up, Expression (receiving end of)
People love to follow other people for a variety of reasons. From telescopes in apartments buildings to eavesdropping on a nearby conversation to hearing and passing on gossip, the lives of others around us seem infinitely more interesting than our own. We follow other people for many reasons: to keep up with what our friends are doing, to check out hot women, to see what trouble celebrities get into – we are always curious, sometimes to the point of obsession, about what other people do day to day. Successful social networks allow people to post and describe their daily lives so that others can take a look.
Related to: Dating/Hooking Up, Connecting with Context, Entertainment, Validation
It is human to want to contact someone else. We are social creatures and we want to talk to others. Providing a way for people to contact and maintain communication with others is crucial to the lifeblood of a good social network. Just as important is the ability to shut people out, and give people ways of *not* talking to everyone or only certain people (ie. annoying people, spam, ex-boyfriend).
Dating/Hooking Up
Related to: Voyeurism, Communication, Masquerade, Entertainment
Let’s face it. Lots of guys surf pictures just to check out hot women. But then sometimes you’ll want to make contact and see if you can get a date. Simply providing a means for surfing photos in profiles and a system for communication can enable this activity, but providing additional functionality to facilitate this activity can make the experience more enticing and fun. Think and the ability to rate people, and then pick out only the HOT rated people to contact, or show interest by sending someone a virtual flower. Or I’m In Like With You where auctions meets dating and you bid on the ability to meet someone.
Related to: Communication, Dating/Hooking Up, Competition, Fame
Having a good time on a site increases engagement. Providing ways of having fun keeps people coming back to have more fun. Games are the obvious one, and playing by yourself is good but playing against others is often better. Sometimes it’s the content posted by users, like funny videos of themselves posted on YouTube or pictures on Flickr to be watched on their Flickr streams. Or if a fun spin can be put on mundane activities, then the unique fun that activity brings will draw people in and keep them interested.
Related to: Competition, Expression, Entertainment, Showing Off/Vanity, Validation
It’s fun to do an activity and play a game, but enabling a way for people to get acknowledged and recognized for their skill rewards people by the notoriety they get for being good at something. Leaderboards on gaming sites allow users to show the world that they are #1 in a game, and they’ll screen shot that and put it on their blog. It also means that they’ll keep coming back to keep achieving or maintain their #1 position on the leaderboard for bragging rights.
Related to: Fame, Entertainment
There is something in the act of striving against other humans that people love. They want to test their ablities and measure themselves against others and be measured and will keep coming back to try. They like to see continual improvement and enjoy a rise in skill. There is also competition against themselves so it’s not always about other people. And, there is the ultimate prize of being number ONE. Perhaps we’ll never get there, but maybe we will. No matter what, we love the struggle and the journey to number ONE. In games and sports is where we most often see competition, but it can also be other things like getting the most views on posted content like a video. Great games and activities constantly provide the ability to raise the bar just a little more each time to keep people competing, but don’t raise the bar too high or else people will give up. Not raising the bar at all will cause people to achieve that level and then move on because it’s too easy. This bar can be set by other users, like when you’re competing against other players in a sports game, it can be set by a computer which auto-adjusts for your skill level.
Related to: Fame, Voyeurism (contributing to), Showing Off/Vanity, Validation
Constantly we are on stage. The world is a theater and we are its actors. From the clothes we wear to what we say or do, we are always showing the world who we are. Providing a means for people to express who they are means they will continually do it, especially if there is a mechanism for validation like commenting on photos in Facebook.
Showing Off/Vanity
Related to: Expression, Fame
The extreme form of expression is showing off and trying to show that we are special and unique. Showing our crazy stunt videos, or photos of us drinking a 3 foot tall beer, or next to a movie star all show the world that we are not boring people but that we have the biggest peacock feathers. Allowing people to show off and giving validation mechanisms like commenting on photos, or leaderboards, or graphical badges of honors on our profile pages reward us for posting and showing off, and encourages us to do more.
Related to: Communication, Fame, Expression
We always want to know that who we are is noticed and special by others. We like it when we get comments on our photos and videos from our friends. It makes us feel that others care and that we are not alone in the world. Implementing means of giving validation gives users that special feeling that others do notice them, and they’ll keep on posting to get more validation. The simplest form is commenting on photos and videos, but it can be focused by providing context like on where you can post an issue and get support from strangers and friends via the internet.
Related to: Communication, Community
Sometimes we’re boring. Our lives are so mundane that we get sick of it. Or maybe we’re not in the social mainstream. We feel shunned by the general masses and can’t seem to get in the flow of society. Or maybe we’re just tired of being ourselves and want to try being someone else. On the internet, the ability to be someone else is very easy. Simply creating a new screen name and building a personality underneath it has been done since the early days of the internet. People can pretend they are the opposite sex, older or younger, more fun, more engaging – whatever. It is something that is not easily achieved in the real world. Acting out the fantasy that they have either personality traits not in the real world or entirely someone else can be an activity that keeps people returning. The unfortunate thing is that people often masquerade for negative reasons like stalking children, and this needs to be guarded against.
Related to: Masquerade, Connecting with Context, Communication
Humans want to belong. It’s often to easy to feel outcast in the real world. On the internet, communities can be more accepting of people than in the real world. If a site can create a means for people to be a part of something, they will want to come back and continue to participate to be part of that community. Think of the instant groups that Facebook has, based on tags created from your interests, or your hometown. These are ways for people to find commonalities on which to connect on, which foster communication and validation.
Connecting with Context
Related to: Community, Communication
In watching social networks over the years, I am a firm believer that social networking for social networking’s sake is a path to declining activity. It is much more engaging for users when you create a context for which socializing happens. MySpace’s usage came from the fact that they were always about promoting indie music. Yes, other things happened there, but you knew that you could always find indie music on MySpace. Facebook started out by being exclusive to colleges and there was no way to taint the population with random people who were not attending your university. Everyone you found there went to your college and you could relate easily. LinkedIn’s network is built on professional networking, another popular activity in business and its functionality is focused on making that activity easier. Contrast that with Friendster, who had a meteoric rise when it first came out and then usage tapered and dropped because people got bored there when applying this list of social techniques was not done well or not at all.
For all my projects, I try to think about applying some or all of these techniques in creative ways. I also think about the context since not all techniques are effective in every context. For example, dating could be a hard sell in a social stock picking application, but competition and fame would definitely work well. Some of it is experimental, as there could be unexpected results of applying something you thought wouldn’t work in a context. So let’s turn my example around. Suppose you did create a social stock picking site which had an underlying dating application underneath? Perhaps it could link up all the superficial, money hungry people by allowing you to find, meet, and date the richest, best stock pickers in the world…? Socially unacceptable? Perhaps. Successful? Who knows…

The Anti-Digital

I admit it. I’m totally digital. Wired to the hilt. Can’t live without it.
Well, almost not. I force myself to be totally digital because it’s my job to know and experience what it is like to be totally digital. It makes me more effective in designing products and services for the next digital generation. I suppose I could live being NOT so digital, but I want to be better at my work so I be more digital than not.
In being so digital, it’s strange, funny, and sometimes frustrating when I encounter what I call “The Anti-Digital.” These are people and places which abhor having digital stuff around for one reason or another.
Take Cafe Dante in the West Village of Manhattan. Here is the sign right at the door when you enter:

Cafe Dante is a quaint cafe that serves old school espressos and eats and if it’s hot, you can always get a refreshing dish of gelato there. I like hanging out there because it isn’t as contrived as Starbucks, and it’s quiet so that you can enjoy a conversation with whomever you’re with.
But NO LAPTOPS ALLOWED. They don’t even like you talking on the cellphone with somebody. To preserve their atmosphere of being an old school, they don’t want people hanging around all day typing on laptops, even if it could mean that they get more business from the constant flow of caffeine to people typing on laptops. They just want you to have a great old fashioned conversation and enjoy a cup of coffee with your buddy or date.
Then there are “anti-digital” people. These are people that are barely can manage having a cellphone, and just don’t find value in being connected. They have email addresses but rarely think about looking on their laptops to check for email. They never buy gadgets and almost always sit in the follower part of an adoption curve, after a technology becomes so commonplace that they can’t avoid it.
One person I know at least checks email somewhat regularly, but takes forever to reply. I know this, so I rarely send emails but call instead. This person has also left their cellphone at their summer home for weeks and didn’t even bat an eyelash! Most of us would freak out if we lost or left our cellphone somewhere and could not live without it. This person just calmly told me that if someone wanted to find them, they would know how to do it. The cellphone is an afterthought in any case; most of us could not leave home without filling our pockets with our gadgets. But even when this person had a cellphone around, it would often be forgotten and left at home, or not turned on, or even left to completely be drained of power and not recharged.
Another person I know does have a cellphone, but practically never turns on their laptop. In this case, forget even sending emails to their email address; it won’t get read. But at least the cellphone is always on their person. So I must either text or email to the cellphone in order to get in contact. Otherwise, forget about websites; an iPod is barely manageable (it’s probably the worst looking, scratched up, dented iPod I’ve ever seen), and the most advanced gadget in their home is a Tivo without which shows would be missed.
To both people, there is no Facebook, no Youtube. Digital cameras get used, cellphones maybe, laptops aren’t a necessity.
When places are “anti-digital”, I’m sometimes OK with it. I seek them out to either have a decent conversation or just to get some quiet and think to myself, or perhaps read a book. Other times I can’t go there because I do need WIFI and I want to get some work done and need to be online. “Anti-digital” places don’t fit in that.
As for “anti-digital” people, this is where it is most frustrating. I’ve either developed more efficient ways of communicating or get used to communicating to the majority of people I connect with through technology. I always have to shift my normal way of communicating to another way just to get hold of these people, which is often back to some old way like picking up the phone, and that’s annoying to make that shift when you’re trying to get a lot done fast.
Is my life better being maxed out digitally or is it better being “anti-digital”? I think it’s a personal choice and a challenge. Personal choice in being maxed out digitally because I am an early adopter, and it’s important for my work, and because I have a natural curiosity about technology. A challenge in that I am a big believer in simplifing my life and while you could simplify by dropping all this digital craziness, I am a big believer that we’re going to have to live with technology and we must challenge ourselves to simplify in the face of more technology rather than less.

A Bit of Yahoo! History: Crocodile Hunter Visits Yahoo!

This was just posted onto the Yahoo! Alumni group in Facebook. For those of you who don’t feel like joining the Yahoo! Alumni group to watch this video, here it is. This video was created for a Production Conference and was shown at dinner time. Later, it became the main new employee video for many years afterward.

Those were the good ol’ days…(sigh).
NOTE: Sorry about the other player. I uploaded to Videoegg and didn’t realize until later that Videoegg only allows 5 minutes on the video. I’ve uploaded it to my account now but it seems that my server can be slow to load the video. But at least you can watch the full version now.

Day 12: iPhone Dies…and Lives Again!

ACK! In an attempt to get my iPhone syncing with both my Mac and PC, I tried a restore of the software which hosed my iPhone. Ugh! I set it updating over night and then in the morning, it’s just sitting there in the dock, locked up. I try a few things and then the screen shuts off…seemingly permanently.
I hold back the tears welling up in my eyes and pack it up, determined to exchange it for one that worked.
I walk into the Apple Store on University Ave in Palo Alto and tell the guy that my iPhone is way dead. He looks skeptical and we walk to the Genius Bar desk where he tells me about an IMPORTANT UNDOCUMENTED function called REBOOT. You press both the round “return to Main menu” button and the top small Wake/Sleep button together for a few seconds, and the thing reboots itself. Thankfully, this brings it out of its locked-up/dead state!
I boot up my PC (which I have with me) and then sync my iPhone with it, restoring the software and IT LIVES AGAIN!
It’s beyond me why REBOOT isn’t in the user manual. But for now, I am glad to have my iPhone up and working again. Just give me my MMS please and everything will be PERFECTO.

Day 11: iPhone Adventure Continues…

Living with my iPhone has been a real joy. I think I like about 80-90% of it, but it is not quite there to make me toss my SLVR and Treo 680 just yet.
Some more discoveries:
1. According to the message boards, it seems that others have gotten music/video syncing on one machine and syncing calendar/contacts on a PC. I still haven’t gotten this to work. More experimentation required…
2. Where is copy/cut and paste? Geez.
3. I need arrow keys on the keyboard! Trying to make edits by moving the cursor around with your finger is maddening.
4. Personally I hate the auto-complete. It’s wrong a lot of the time and I have to teach myself to look at it constantly to tell it not to insert a word when I hit space.
5. I LOVE THE AUTO SWITCH FROM WIFI TO THE AT&T NETWORK. When I go in my house, the WIFI automatically connects. When I walk into a Starbucks, I auto-connect to T-Mobile. COOL!
6. Browsing on Safari is so cool. It really makes things easier.
7. Need Notes syncing to Outlook. I don’t understand why this wasn’t built in. So strange.
8. Getting faster on the keyboard.
9. I tried out a few widgets. It’s ok for now, but definitely a problem when offline. Also, loading widgets over the EDGE network is totally slow. Forget any heavy AJAX site like Meebo.
10. Definitely need dedicated iPhone apps. Safari based widgets works for some things, but nothing beats dedicated apps on the device.
11. Need MMS!!!! Emailing photos just doesn’t cut it.
I can’t wait for software updates to make this baby work better!

Day 3 iPhone iPhrenzy: Figuring Out How I Will Use It

My original thought regarding the iPhone was to somehow move completely over to the Mac. But I would definitely have to wait until Apple comes out with their much-rumored super-thin MacBook as I need to save my back from lugging laptop weight. I have a Sony T-series which seems to be the best option for lightweight computing so far. However, I will switch if Apple launches a super-thin option.
In any case, I wanted to see if I could remove one device somehow no matter what. Today, I carry a Motorola SLVR with iTunes, and a Treo 680. I do carry my iPod sometimes, but I’m not one of those people who walk around all day with earbuds in my ears, so I’m ok without music.
Comparing the Treo 680 to the iPhone has been interesting. Physically, the iPhone is much more thinner and sleek, and a joy to hold. The Treo 680 is bulky in comparison and seems so yesterday’s technology (it became “yesterday” on Friday when the iPhone launched!). However, I do like it for:
1. I am still faster on the Treo 680 keyboard. I seem to be getting better on the touchscreen keyboard of the iPhone, but the physical keys still are better.
2. I use the Treo 680 for typing out notes and the occasional blog entry. I sometimes use a folding IR keyboard which works really well if I am typing something long. Definitely Apple needs to enable Bluetooth keyboards at some point. That would really make the iPhone useful.
3. I use a program called InfoSafe which keeps all my passwords around securely. I would need to replace this if I were to get rid of my Treo 680.
4. All my silly games are still on the Treo 680. None available yet on the iPhone, but I am sure this will change soon.
So far, what I think about the iPhone:
1. I really like the touchscreen interface! I also love the interactions they put in there for scrolling and resizing.
2. It took me a while to figure out how to set things, which are located in Settings. However, some of it seems kind of dumbed down.
3. It seems to be able to open Word attachments and I haven’t tried PDFs yet. I would definitely love an industrial strength word processing program, spreadsheet, and presentation program as well, although maybe it can open them for viewing at least.
4. No MMS! I use my Motorola SLVR all the time to send occasional shots to family and friends, but can’t do that here! I hope this comes soon.
5. Email is a joy. IMAP for Yahoo! Mail really works well. I wish there was a way to mass delete emails. This could become a problem at some point for my POP accounts and overfilling my iPhone memory. I need to look at the docs to see if there is an auto-delete off the iPhone after some period of time.
6. The browser really ROCKS. It’s probably the main reason I bought it. I can now see web pages in their full glory. The browser on the Treo really blows. I’ve bought books on, checked out netvibes, did google searches. It works really well!
7. The keyboard is a bit funky at first due to my right thumb’s touchpoint. For some reason, the pad of my thumb touches down on the screen at a point that is not where my brain expects. I am off by a key! So now I am training my brain to recognize that typing with my right thumb means I have to mentally adjust it slightly to the left in order to hit the right key.
8. No cut/copy and paste! How funny that is. I think this will prevent it from being an office replacement.
9. Syncing was amazingly easy. I love the fact that you didn’t have to screw around with installing conduits and seeing if you got it all right. You just launch iTunes and hit the sync button, and it just does the sync with Outlook. One strange thing. It doesn’t sync my notes into its notebook. How strange. But calendar and contacts come over just fine. I hope they add an update to make this happen. As you have guessed, I am syncing my iPhone with my PC for now for contacts and calendar, and I will load music from my Mac Mini.
10. By the way, I did figure out how to get music and other media synced. Just a few settings in the tabs of the iPhone area of iTunes. But it seems to only let you control syncing via playlists. I will look at this more.
11. WIFI!!!! I locked onto my house network and also to T-Mobile at Starbucks. Very nice! Power drain seems to be ok, and much better than my Treo 680 which probably would have cranked down pretty quick if I had tried to go WIFI continuously with an add-on card.
12. One ridiculous thing: I have all my contacts categorized in Outlook. Those categories have disappeared on the iPhone!
So far, the one limiting factor is MMS for it to replace my Motorola SLVR and being able to type long entries means I will want my Treo 680 around. I think I will carry iPhone around separately for a while and see what updates Apple has for it. It doesn’t work too well as a replacement for a laptop but is more of a hyper-powered mobile phone. Still, I think this device is hugely cool and Palm really missed the boat by not coming out with a Palm version super-thin phone. The Motorola Q and Samsung Blackjack are also nice, but Windows Mobile just kills both those devices.

Caught Up in the iPhone iPhrenzy

Friday 6/29 finally arrives. The iPhone goes on sale! One of the most hyped up devices ever, I wondered if I was even going to be able to get one on the first day, but I sure as hell was going to try.
Tracking press releases up the big day helped strategize how I was going to get one of these babies. I originally thought I was going to head to a AT&T/Cingular store, but then I realized that you could get one at an Apple store. And how funny: you could only get one per customer at an AT&T/Cingular store, but you could get 2 per customer at an Apple Store. I theorized that they would probably have a lot more available at the Apple store so I made plans to get to the one at Valley Fair well before 6pm.
It was also a good thing; ever try to get anything at a AT&T/Cingular store? They have the worst checkout and queueing system ever. You go there and sometimes you just wait forever, because reps are sometimes trying to sign people up for an hour as people try to figure out what options they need. I can’t believe they haven’t figured this out.
Thanks to Apple for solving their problem. I found out on their website that you upgrade your iTunes and then when you sync your iPhone, it goes through the signup process in iTunes via the web. Wow. Thank god we could circumvent talking to some AT&T/Cingular rep about it!
So Friday turned out to be full of meetings. My last meeting I even cut short a bit, but the entrepreneurs I met with were thankfully sympathetic to my need to get an iPhone. I left around 5pm for Valley Fair and got there around 520p.
I went to the Apple store and found it to be closed! But, there was this huge line that wrapped around the side of the building, and then crossed through a doorway outside the mall. By the time I had gotten there, there were already about 300+ people in line! So I found the end of line and waited like everyone else.
As we’re waiting, a guy comes up and asks us if we want coffee. Leave it to Apple to serve the people in line some Starbucks coffee, iced or hot! I gratefully grab an iced coffee and sip it while playing with my Treo and taking occasional pictures (which I’ll post later).
I wonder about my Treo. In fact, I just bought a new one because my old Treo 680 was having problems. It’s pretty good, but if the iPhone lived up to its hype, I could potentially get rid of my Treo and my Motorola SLVR (with iTunes on it) as well!
6pm finally arrives and the line moves about a foot.
615pm: Somebody walks by the line and gives a loud rebel yell and says, “I GOT ONE WHOO HOO!” All of us look at each other in line and collectively we wish that somebody would mug him on the way to his car.
6:20pm: Two more people come out and give doomsday talk about the fact that there is no way we’re gonna get one. I don’t want to hear this.
6:30pm: I move 20 ft. Seems like we’re getting in the store now.
6:34pm: The line really starts moving now. Anticipation builds in me. I just hope people aren’t sitting around in the store wondering if they should get one or not.
6:45pm: I look behind me and see about 80+ people lined up. The after work crowd must be showing up now.
7:10pm: An Apple guy gives me a brochure about data plans. Unbelievably, data costs less for the iPhone than for my Treo. I love getting ripped off by the phone companies.
7:20pm: I make up to the doorway into the mall. There is a big, tough looking guy who only lets 20 people at a time into the doorway. In a few minutes, I am in the doorway and now walking down the hall to the mall! Yeah!
7:24pm: I drop into the line outside the Apple store. They let one person in for every person that leaves. It’s pretty funny. Every time somebody walks out with the distinctive iPhone bag, they clap and cheer! Ha. That’s what I would feel too if/when I got one.
7:34pm: I’m IN! Standing in this line that goes to the back of the store, an Apple guy asks me if I want to take a look at one. Shit yeah! I play with it and call on it to check out its voice quality. Wow. The hype is REAL. I love it love it love it.
7:40pm: I grab 2 8GB iPhones and pay for them, and I’m walking out of the store now, grinning like a cheshire cat. I swear, getting one of these is like waiting for concert tickets the day they go on sale!
The next morning, I boot up my Mac and download iTunes 7.3. I go through the signup process and notice that I can’t replace the SIM card, or at least I couldn’t find an easy way to do it. I was going to toss in my old SIM card but looks like they won’t let me. OK. So I signup for a new plan and will cancel my old plan later, as well as switch the phone number to it.
As I read the instruction manual, I find they did an incredible job with the syncing capabilities. I can, through iTunes, set it to sync with all the Mac apps, as well as Outlook on the PC! Pretty cool.
After I activate it, I play with the browsing and typing features. I setup email which is a bit weird, but I figure it out. Supposedly you can download the user manual off the website, but I haven’t been able to find it yet.
Web browsing is great. Now I can see web pages pretty much like they’re supposed to be, not all crappy like on my Treo browser. Email is also great. Using IMAP on Yahoo! Mail, it is really great for synchronizing email between client and iPhone. I also attach my DSV email too and will probably get my other email accounts attached too.
The one thing I could not figure out yet is how to get music on it. I try to drag/drop music onto the iPhone icon in iTunes but it doesn’t accept items that way. I’ll have to see how I can selectively add/delete music and videos to the iPhone a bit later.
All in all, this is the coolest device I’ve seen in a long time. A lot more compact than an iPod and certainly thinner than my fat Treo 680. I was afraid that it might be bulky in my pocket, but it definitely is not. Apple certainly has a winner here and it will be fun to see the rest of the industry just *try* to catch up.

iPod/iTunes is cool until you lose everything…Part II

The saga continues..(from Part I)…
So after many weeks of going cold turkey and doing some research, I finally found my answer on I used a program called iPodRip which was well worth the $14.95 I paid for it. I downloaded this program, ran it, opened up all the music (and videos!) on my iPod and copied it all back onto a new external hard drive I bought.
This took many hours but was finally done. It was thankfully in the right format, so then I pointed my iTunes music folder to that folder and imported it all to its library, which again took many hours. But it was mostly back.
All my videos were gone, but like I said it was unlikely that I would go back and watch all those episodes of Lost or Battlestar Galactica. If I wanted to watch them again, I resigned myself to buying the whole season again, since our nice friends at Apple decided that upon losing your copy of the music or videos, you’ll have to buy them again (wonderful).
So being Mr. Paranoid, I bought two other 750 GB hard drives on which I wanted to copy all my music, for a total of 3 copies of my iTunes folder. I figure, what’s the chance of all 3 hard drives dying at once? So after a few days delay, I finally decided to do that late last week when….my Mac mini decided to crash on me.
This story is never going to end. I tried Data Rescue on it, but didn’t want to retrieve the files; I wanted it back up and running! So tonight, I am bringing it to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store to see if they have suggestions. Ideally I could just reinstall Mac OS X again on the hard drive and everything would be fine…theoretically.
At least I’m not crying over this. I didn’t keep critical data on the Mac Mini hard drive. It’ll be a pain to reinstall everything but better than losing data….Sigh….