the courage to insert one’s head into the clouds

I’ve gone on record in multiple forums that I consider Apple as the most overrated business entity since the East India Company.  And yet they continue to mint money faster than the planet’s drunken central bankers.  Just walk by an Apple store at any mall to observe armageddon in progress as perfectly reasonable people assault one another with tied stick bundles in an effort to acquire the next model power adapter for $134 each.

Can this Apple insanity last?  I don’t think so, but what do I know?  I spent last night filling 42 individual sandwich sized plastic bags with dog kibble in preparation for a forthcoming family wedding / vacation / work trip.  Do you have any idea what it takes to label, open, fill, and reclose 42 individual sandwich sized plastic bags?   I have no life.  On the other hand, I have now discovered the fiercest of torture techniques for use in future interrogation procedures when we need the aliens to tell us where they hid the fusion bomb.  (hint: it’s in Brussels, so we’ll laugh and just shrug at them)

So Apple did their product launch thing yesterday.  The weirdo goons of the Internets were so into this event that even reputable (in theory) sites like The Washington Post live streamed the event.  Really?  It’s that important to hear about a minor update to the iPhone?  And then this morning the decision to remove the audio jack from the new phone is more important than, well, a whole bunch of stuff.  It’s way higher on the news banners than NFL opening day, which angers me immensely.

Anyways, these product updates don’t really interest me so much.  What I get more into is what is says about where Apple is headed.  This is important because they’re the world’s largest company and have more money in the bank than all but five nations on Earth.  Tim Cook brushes his teeth with plutonium every morning, and then gets the scientists to remove the radiation immediately afterwards, just because he can, he can afford it.  In a world where the planet’s 0.01% wealthiest want to pay for experience over possessions, nobody beats Tim Cook’s dental care.

So I’ll just focus on this nugget from Apple Lord Protector, Marketer, Hi-Ali Extraordinaire, and Amateur Bridge Player Phil Schiller as he explained what’s what with turning hundreds-of-millions of existing Apple headphones into future landfill:

Some people have asked why would we remove the analog headphone jack in the iPhone. I mean, it’s been with us a really long time. I’m sure you know that the source of this mini-phono jack is over a hundred years old, used to help quickly exchange in switchboards. Well, the reason to move on … really comes down to one word: courage. Courage to move on, do something new, that betters all of us. And our team has tremendous courage.

That’s got to be about the most pretentious corporate shill I’ve ever heard.  How far up its own ass does Apple have itself?  So what Schiller is trying to say here is that Apple is taking a big risk by dumping wired headphones.  Most companies wouldn’t have the balls.  He’s right.  But who would have the gall to use the word ‘courage’ to describe it?  Nobody else.  Eh, maybe freaking Goldman Sachs, them too.

How about instead, “Apple is a company not afraid to take risks.  We’re the leading edge of society’s technological curve.  So we’re taking the leap, we’re embracing the future of sound.”  Etc, etc.

No, no, they’re courageous.  Oh, well, good for you all.  [stares wide eyed at blank cubicle wall]

Hey there was this company once upon a time.  It made elite products that it sold at an exponential markup relying on brand loyalty, reliability, and straight hype.  It was blindingly successful, had a bright future, but began to slowly lose market share because all its competitors offered similar capability for 1/5 the cost.  But this company was counting on its reputation and ability to hold the world’s attention and overpower the growing loss of sales, but simply didn’t possess the innovation it once had to capture the imagination of consumers.

That was Apple in oh, say 1995.  What saved them back then was that Steve Jobs dude who came back.  He brought this company back to life.  Who’s going to bring it back to life in 2019?

lead_960.jpg

Apple displays photograph of it shoving its own head up own ass.  [perfunctory excited clapping]

 

 

 

Advertisements

Bond villains and my lack of art skill

Both my Brothers have music and/or art skills.  When I was a kid I played the piano, about average I’d say.  I gave that up as I grew older but recently I’ve been trying to get back into it with very mixed success.  It just doesn’t come naturally to me.  My older dog will come lay with me as I play and even he’s not impressed, and he thinks I walk on water.

I think it’s the same way with art.  I remember really wanting to draw well when I was a kid.  But I couldn’t.  I used have those coloring books where you could trace out a drawing that wasn’t your own.  So it looked like you could draw real well when you actually couldn’t.

I distinctly remember as a little one drawing this cool car at school and it looked really nice.  So this girl walks up and is very impressed with my art skills.  But I had to show her the trace book and admit it wasn’t my talent.  She was not impressed and walked away.  I guess I blew that one.  She probably grew up to be a supermodel.  I should have lied to her.

Anyways, I bring this up because this morning I got it in my head to write about how Mark Zuckerberg is a future Bond villain.  And I had this idea to paste Zuckerberg’s machine-engineered-cosmetic-skull atop a Bond villain frame I found online.  After about ten minutes of struggling to make this happen, I gave up and remembered that I have no art skills.  But hell, even The Onion guys struggle to make their composite shots look clean sometimes.

But hey, it didn’t actually matter because somebody online already did for me!

zuckerberg.png

Must be just pure chance that somebody else already thought of this one?

Either I have already said it on this blog, or maybe it was in person to folks, that I genuinely would be uncomfortable sharing a room alone with Zuckerberg.  I don’t sit in coffee shops.  I get my black coffee and go.  But let’s say I was alone in one early with just one employee there.  And I’m drinking my coffee and reading my paper.  Zuckerberg comes in and orders an $11 fancy cup.  He then sits down and starts playing with some kind of square screen.  Then the employee excuses himself to go to the bathroom.  So Zuckerberg and I are in there alone.  At that point, I’d have to get up.  I’d be out the door so fast.

I use this dude’s product every day.  So he puts out a quality app, that is also kind of invasive and creepy at times.  Anybody else get slightly weirded out when Facebook does that Good Morning greeting now?  Or how about when it offers to make you and your co-workers friends simply because it knows you both logged on from work via a similar IP source address?

Beyond the making of a decent product though, Zuckerberg is just a creepy guy.  Just watch the way he talks to people or does interviews.  It’s just uncomfortable to observe, but he has more power and money than Buddha so he gets away with it.

In about 30 years he’ll be a Bond villain for sure.  He’ll have kidnapped ten little urchins off the street in an attempt to harvest their power so he can live forever.  Or he creates Facebook X, his plot to use all the Like data he’s acquired over the decades to build a Moon Base (because why not).

He already has some of the tendencies required to lose his morality on the road to evil villain status.  Here’s a shot of him jogging in Tiananmen Square to suck up to the Commies.  Note the pack of cigarettes in the background that he had to smoke in the process.

325160DB00000578-3498492-image-a-1_1458315843731.jpg

All in the vain hope that China might open its doors to Facebook so it can effectively compete for the honor of getting its clock cleaned by a more successful organic Chinese option.  Anybody ever hear of Uber China?  It’s in the library logged in the Sports Authority section.

If you follow the plot of Bond movies, Zuckerberg has to be old to play the villain right.  He’s 32 today.  So give him three decades and he’s 62.  Bond is let’s say 30 when he’s in his prime.  Which means that the future Bond who will battle Zuckerberg in the duel of the fates could be born about today.  Did you have a kid recently?  Your child could be that Bond.

So when your child drops Zuckerberg off the penthouse level of a 340 story office block or blows him out into space, you’ll know you’ve contributed your necessary offering to the betterment of all mankind.  After all, Bond wouldn’t be Bond without a good villain.  A bad guy worthy of an epic bad guy death.  So maybe it’s all for a purpose.  Zuckerberg’s just walking his appropriate path toward the airlock.  Cool, walk on dude.

Donald-Pleasence-as-James-Bonds-arch-nemesis-Ernst-Stavro-Blofeld

“For you see, Mr Bond, the newest version will display ads [dramatic pauses] 23 percent better on mobile devices.  Ahahahahaha!”  [Bond pounds fist into palm]