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Speaking to customers in the language they understand

In the rise of PC vs Mac we saw a totally different way of communicating with customers.

PCs focused on awesome specs and pricing while Apple focused on lifestyle and design. Apple still talks about specs sometimes but only always in terms of “5x faster”. The result of this war was that PCs got cheaper, and cheaper and crappier while Apple could command much larger price tags.

PCs fought a war of commoditization, while Apple fought a war of propaganda.

Posted Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bad Musical Influences

I hate that we’re always bombarded by music from evil people. I was reading about this popular “artist” who has philandered, stolen money, made lots of anti-semetic and racist remarks, and swindled rich women out of their money only to toss them aside for the younger wives of his friends.

For some reason we play this music in our schools! Teach it to middle-schoolers and promote it. All of this from a man who was completely morally corrupt. Is this just a common core thing?

Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner

Posted Saturday, April 26, 2014

ParentBnb: an idea for a new social network

Staying with friends is a great way to save money when traveling and catch up with people that have moved away. But there’s always that awkward part about wanting to say thank you and do it in an tasteful way.

Aside: I once had a house guest leave me a pile of change with a thank you note. This is not a classy way to say thank you.

ParentBnb: an idea for a new social network

Posted Friday, April 25, 2014

Good SEO is just answering the questions people are already asking

Everybody should know this by now. It’s tempting to just want to do your sales pitch and expect people to show up to listen. But this isn’t a sales pitch, most search targets people who are in the research phase so just answer their questions!

Not sure what to answer? Easy, just listen to sales calls everyday and every question they ask, answer it. Answer it better than anyone.

Posted Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Broken Timbuk2 Bag

I have sent the following letter to Timbuk2.

Dearest Timbuk2,

About 3 months ago I achieved my life long dream of owning a timbuk2 bag. I had long watched, and planned for the day when my computer would be protected by the best bags in the industry. Pining away, I began to dream of the quality, the unparalleled craftsmanship and the utmost attention to detail and style. Surely, with this bag I could be successful, my wife would love me more, my coworkers offering me more respect. Even my community would finally recognize my achievements.

After I got my bag, I rejoiced. These were the halcyon days. The sun shone through the darkness of winter, piercing and warming my heart with epic success. With my timbuk2 bag in hand there was no stopping me. And then the darkness fell.

I still remember that day, I went to pick up my bag by it’s handle and in horrific slow motion it snapped. I looked on in horror, disbelieving that my golden fleece would be so taken from me. It is with a somber heart and forlorn eyes that I look to you, harbinger of hope. May my bag be repaired? Is it covered by warranty? It is the answers to these questions that brings me humbly before you.

Or in Haiku:
I love my great bag
One day the handle broken
Please fix my black bag

Respectfully yours,

Dan Garfield

Posted Saturday, May 22, 2010

April Fools Day Background 2010

People are always coming up to me and asking “How is it that you never get tricked on April Fools day?” The answer is simple! I make a desktop background that reminds me that nothing I see or hear is real, sort of a one day mind bend to solipsism!

Anyway, you can download the background below!

Or check out last years.

Posted Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Can you say “proved my point?”

It sort of goes without saying…
9:53:10 AM Gary Hall: dude whats the best program to get a virus of my comp
9:53:43 AM Dan: I won’t help you until you admit that windows is inferior to OS X
9:54:10 AM Gary Hall: lol
9:54:13 AM Gary Hall: right
9:54:29 AM Gary Hall: i forgot you are a religious fanatic
9:54:43 AM Dan: just say “Windows is inferior”
9:55:09 AM Dan: Ive got the software right here, I’ll give it to you. That’s all you have to say
9:55:45 AM Dan: who’s the fanatic? You aren’t willing to say three simple words to solve your problem?
9:55:55 AM Gary Hall: or you could be a normal person and just give me the program
9:56:57 AM Dan: Its very easy, just say it and I’ll help you.
10:00:07 AM Gary Hall: yup windows is inferior to OS X
10:00:20 AM Gary Hall: now give me the program
10:00:22 AM Dan: http://free.avg.com/download-avg-anti-virus-free-edition
10:00:24 AM Dan: there ya go
10:00:38 AM Dan: download it and then reboot in safemode and install it

Posted Monday, April 27, 2009

Enable USB on the Apple Tv

This guide only applies to the original silver Apple TV and not to the newer, black model.

The AppleTV is sort of a piece of junk unless you hack it so if you intend to actually get any use out of your apple tv you better do it. Here is how you enable USB so that you can play media off of attached storage (novel concept eh!).

Note: This Tutorial assumes you’re using AppleTV TakeTwo or the latest update (3.0). If you’re not sure run Apple TV’s update before starting

Step 1: Hack your ATV

This is a pretty easy process, you can find instructions here. You don’t actually have to install Boxee but follow the instructions except instead of creating a boxee USB you can just select “SSH”. Great, now to enable USB

Step 2: Install NitoTV

There are lots of ways to enable USB, trust me this is the easiest. SSH onto your AppleTV, download NitoTV and install it. Heres the code:

Valencia:~ ronin$ ssh [email protected]
Welcome to the AppleTV (via atv-usbcreator)
[email protected]'s password:
-bash-2.05b$ wget http://nitosoft.com/nitoTVInstaller_tt.zip
-bash-2.05b$ unzip nitoTVInstaller_tt.zip
-bash-2.05b$ cd "nitoTV Take Three"/
-bash-2.05b$ sudo ./installme

This will install NitoTV and then restart your AppleTV’s finder, in other words you will have new options on your ATV menu.

Step 3: Prep for USB

Because the apple tv is purposely neutered you’ll need to snag the USB drivers from the 10.4.9 combo update. Heres the code

-bash-2.05b$ cd ~/Documents/
-bash-2.05b$ wget http://supportdownload.apple.com/download.info.apple.com/Apple_Support_Area/Apple_Software_Updates/Mac_OS_X/downloads/061-3165.20070313.iU8y4/MacOSXUpdCombo10.4.9Intel.dmg

Step 4: Install USB support

Great, now the combo update has been downloaded to the Documents folder. Go to your Apple TV menu and go NitoTV -> Settings -> Install Software -> Smart Installer

This will take a minute but when its done you can plugin USB drives and your Apple TV will recognize it. Volia!

If your Apple TV doens’t recognize your drive try restarting your appletv either by typing “sudo reboot” or unplugging and plugging in your ATV.

Posted Monday, March 9, 2009

iPhone 3G to keep or leave?

I’m feeling very conflicted about keeping my iphone 3G. Is it shiny? Yes. Does it make calls? Yes. Does it tether? sort of…

iPhone Tethering

The most important thing about getting a phone was that I would be able to get high speed internet anywhere I was. I was really looking forward to that functionality. So far I’ve had occasion to use it twice tethered with my laptop and both experiences were lack luster. I followed this guide and tried a few different things. I did manage to get all my apps to connect to the internet by setting my entire computer to use the SOCKS proxy settings required, so at least I could use all my apps with out reconfiguring every last one of them.

Problems with tethering

The biggest problem with tethering is that it depends on your iphone to maintain the right route to the internet, that is to say, it has to continually default to it’s 3G or edge connection for the proxy to function. This has not been my experience, every 5 minutes or so my iphone would default back to the wifi connection and I’d need to reload a page on the iphone to reset the route. That is a pain in the ass and a piece of functionality that is very easy to use in almost every other damn smart phone. Plus it kills the battery life.

So can I really justify paying for an expensive data plan when I could do what I want on any other smart phone for much cheaper? I have a little more than a week to decide whether or not I will take my phone back. What do you think?

Posted Monday, August 11, 2008

Even without apple-care…

I found a bug in time machine, at least on my machine anyway. For those of you that don’t know what time machine is it’s the backup software built in to OS X. With my recently acquired 1 terabyte HDD I thought I was all ready to start doing backups. I was wrong.

Time Machine messes up my computer

It’s sad but Time Machine appears to cause all my USB 2.0 ports to slowdown to 1 MB/s which is actually slower than my internet connection. That means transferring files is a CRAZY huge pain which is funny because that’s the only thing an external hdd can possibly be used for.

When I first discovered the problem I searched around Google a little bit but was so frustrated I decided to call Apple. Normally I just read the literature and fix my problems my self. But I was in a hurry and I couldn’t find anything quick and I was so mad at my computer that I just wanted to have it solved.

Calling Apple Support

While the guy on the support line was polite he couldn’t help me because I’d had my computer more than a year. His solution was to open up a support line for $45 or schedule an appointment with an “Apple Genius.” I grumbled never mind and hung up.

I got a survey in my email from Apple wondering how my tech support phone call went. I told them horrible and that I was dissatisfied; not because of the tech support rep but because of the policy.

Quickly, I forgot about the whole thing and just stopped using Time Machine (that seems to fix the problem).

A follow up phone call

To my surprise Apple called me yesterday about the survey. They saw that I was very dissatisfied and wanted to see what the problem was. I told them that I understood the policy that I can’t get support because my purchase is more than a year old but that it seemed to me that because I had never asked them for anything, not even a single phone call, that it would be nice to get the help I was looking for.

I’m a really low maintenance customer for just about everything, I do all my troubleshooting by myself or using “the google” and I don’t require much out of Apple other than that my computer work. Because of that I sort of feel like the one time I call, regardless of how long it’s been since I bought my product, I ought to get a little help.

“Steven” the apple guy that called me, told me he thought it was a good idea and that it might shape policy in the future (I know, I know, that’s like getting a winning banner ad on the internet; but still it made me feel good). He even went through the trouble of sending me some more literature on my problem.

Hey, awesome.

So kudos to Apple support, thanks for following up with an unsatisfied customer and making them satisfied. My next computer will be the same brand as the one Im typing this blog on 🙂

Posted Saturday, April 12, 2008