Choose your iPod Retailer Wisely

Tim Kleemann, Managing Director (no less) of NextByte, responds to my post on “iShonky”

Tim’s reply goes to show that you must buy from a retailer who cares.

So, armed with the facts from the horses’ mouth: one must ask what data Choice has used to determine their “shonky-ness”?

The last thing we need in Australia is a magazine out for column-centimeters rather than the truth about products.

Choice Magazine calls iPod Shonky

The CHOICE iSHONK for Dual-level Shonkyness is awarded to the Apple iPod, mainly relating to the repair “procedure”

Choice Magazine has been the respected voice of Australian consumers; and with strong consumer protection laws in Australia: you must comply with the laws.

This comes on the back of the RMonvirus on 1% of video iPods sold after 12th September. Now, that’s doubly shonky. Who was spot checking?

Repairs to technology where the margins are slim and the volumes are large can wipe out profit in an instant. The key is to make the product correctly in the first place. Quality systems, W. Edwards Deming.

Someone at Apple PR should be getting cranky about this – there are competitors on the horizon; and customers expect more than Aussie Post style repairs.

Competition is a Good Thing

Competition is breeding the best of corporate behaviour: innovation. Adobe, Microsoft, Sun, the AJAX/HTML/Browser community are all attempting to make rich web development easier. Whilst this Google video by David Pollack (from Athena Design) goes a bit philosophical at the start; there are many perspectives on web development that will strike a chord.

Recent posts from Adobe’s John Dowdell, in response to Robert Scoble and ZDNet’s Ryan Stewart have highlighted a feted “deathmatch” between Adobe and Microsoft. Well, it’s more than Adobe and Microsoft. Sun haven’t given up on Java and Swing just yet; and there have been interesting HTML/AJAX tools appearing daily.

Microsoft have heightened the battle by posting Visual Studio 2005 vs. Dreamweaver 8 on MSDN. More interesting would have been Expression Web vs. Dreamweaver 8. I doubt that Adobe will publicly respond: in product marketing strategy when you are the leader, you ignore the follower.

The consensus is that Adobe has the designers whilst Microsoft has the developers on their respective sides. News for all: no-one owns the customer. Products that make the creation of leading customer-service centric experiences will win. And the winner may be a big name vendor.

In an effort to gain more mindshare, Adobe has released their LiveCycle and Flex tools for developers, free. The next stage for Adobe is heavy long-term evangelism for their platforms. Adobe MAX will likely see all sorts of stuff released. Hopefully the mooted Mac version of Flex, and a developer/experimental version of Apollo.

No to forget Microsoft: it has has been in a constant web-like beta-cycle of their Expressions tools. The Graphic designer needs lots of work. Like a whole plastic surgery makeover. I am sure Microsoft has the WPF/E stuff ready to throw over the fence before the end of November. The developer within me hopes that Microsoft is 3 months late because it is going the extra mile.

Designers, or as Microsoft might classify them “User Experience Engineers”, are an amorphous mob. From the colour and geometry constraints of print design to the flow of an online application: all designers are very aware of what can and cannot be developed. It is my opinion that there is no distinct line between designers and developers.

My humble suggestions to both parties:

Adobe: expand beyond the form/document centric view of the world. Good to see that you are reaching out to the developer community with a rich set of tools; but don’t forget that the interface between developers and designers is fuzzy.

Microsoft: don’t forget the Mac and LAMP platform. Don’t make a half-assed WPF/E, either. That will just kill the platform outside the firewall. Microsoft might own the enterprise, but the wider internet include mobile devices, Macs, Linux.

Pizza in a Flash.

Dominos Pizza in Australia have deployed a Flash-based RIA (Rich internet application) for ordering. As a fan of pizza, the internet, and not having to call in to get my fix – this is way cool.

Early on in the dotcom boom, various pizza franchises created web sites for online ordering. They sucked. I think Pizza Hut promised one, but never delivered. It has been a constant bug-bear ordering pizza has been a major hassle.

So, here’s to Dominos and a satisfied customer. Both technically, and gastronomically.