Some of the iPod and iPhone ideas were mine!

So, if you have ideas for apple products you’re welcome to submit those ideas. But, if you want them to look at your ideas without putting them in the garbage then you have to agree that all of your ideas become Apple’s ideas.

I want the products that I use to be great, so I’m always ready to provide feedback and suggestions for free, so I agreed that my ideas would belong to apple.

Idea #1 was implemented in the iPod firmware EXACTLY as I proposed it, and if you had a 5G iPod you know that it didn’t do this originally and was added later through a software update. I don’t want money and I don’t need any credit, but it would be nice… especially in the form of a 3G iPhone when available (you can have my non-3G iPhone back).

I should note that looking back, some of these ideas are terrible… but apparently 3 of them were good enough. Here’s the document that I sent Apple:


Dear Apple

I have read the unsolicited ideas verbiage and I agree all my ideas become property of Apple.

I appreciate apple products for their intuitive design and usability, but here are some short comings.

1. Backlighting should be adjustable, just like on my laptop. When I am in a dark room and I don’t want to blow out my eyes, or when I want to compromise brightness to save battery power I can dim the screen. My iPod should do the same, that will give me more power to watch movies during travel. I propose if the center button is clicked again after the shuttle/scrub state then the wheel will be in backlight dimming state.

2. The back of the ipod should have a belt clip/stand that can be deployed in a way that it will sit upright on an airplane seatback table to watch movies without having to hold it. This could be an accessory but it would be nice if it was built in or at least included.

3. iTunes should allow me to flag content and re-organize which folder it will appear in on my iPod.

4. While listening to music, there should be a built in trippy video or real time rendered visualization I can watch or use to show off how great the screen is on the iPod.

5. The next generation iPod should have a 16:9 screen ratio. When I hold it vertically, the screen is much taller than wide for easy grip and click wheel usage, but when I want to watch a movie I can turn it sideways and it will flip the screen. My Nikon digital camera has a mercury switch it in to sense which way I’m holding it, the next iPod should do the same to take advantage of a wide screen and still offer the comfort of the current generation while browsing music.

6. It would also be amazing if the next generation could be the same size as my 5G except with the entire front a wide screen / touch panel. Click wheel goes touch wheel… sweet. That could open the doors for a lot of other applications, like a full QWERTY onscreen keyboard for typing emails and text messages on the go. Even if it just acted as a Bluetooth keyboard for my cell phone.

7. A built-in camera to capture video and snapshots would be awesome. This could be an accessory.

8. Support for flash lite, (adobe/macromedia’s) flash’s mobile display engine would guarantee a bunch of really cool applications could be built for the iPod. The most obvious would be skinning the UI. Even proprietary apple UIs that could be bought at the iTunes store. People pay for cell phone ring tones to customize their phone, they’ll do the same to customize/personalize their ipod interface.

8. The next generation nano should be the same size as a PCMCIA card and fit into that slot for charging/docking/protection/transportation/removable storage.
Thinking Different…

– Chad Upton

Two Bites of a $32 Rib-eye Steak

Nothing beats a great steak, nothing. Well, maybe a Burger King breakfast sandwich with eggs and bacon on a buttered croissant served with little hash browns that make ketchup pumps act like diet coke on a mentos binge.

There was no Burger King nearby, and it was dinner time anyway… so I went with the (waitress recommend) 18oz steak. Now, I have eaten in the same restaurant with the same waitress for the past two evenings, so she was recommending this steak because she had raport, not because it was $32 (or at least not ONLY because it was $32). There are of course more expensive steaks out there, but $32 should definitely buy a good steak.

I started with a goat cheese and roasted red pepper salad, which was fabulous. My steak came, and I paired it with Sterling Vinter’s 2004 Shiraz. Now, a rib-eye is not the most lean steak but it is extremely tasty. I had it prepared medium-well because I like it a little pink on the inside and dark on the outside.

I first tried the wine and it was great. It smelled of cranberries and was dry as this Blog post. The steak… it wasn’t great, it was unbelievable! I have had steaks in the $50-60 range before and they were excellent, but this steak was the best yet. I had two bites and my appetite was ruined. Honestly, but it wasn’t the steak… it was the conversation, and I was eating alone.

Now, I don’t usually listen to other’s conversations, but when you’re alone, male and [insert Lilith fair performer] is playing on the radio, you can’t help listening to the loud and obnoxious voice coming from the table beside you. All I wanted to do with my mouth was put it around this steak, but the loud mouth beside me wanted to tell her girlfriend all about the time she cut her finger off. I don’t know if this woman was a doctor, but the graphic detailed regurgitated in her story could have earned a pass on the board exam.

I don’t know why people have to talk about personal dismemberment during a meal, but it is one of those topics that should be completely off limits… especially when you and your neighbors are eating red meat. You’d think after 5 dirty looks in 5 minutes she would stop talking about her missing finger, and if I wasn’t such a wimp, I would have given her one of mine.

– Chad

Getting Out of Contracts

Whether you’re looking for a new cellphone, automobile or cable service you’re going to be offered a contract. Of course, this is the service providers way of keeping you around to recover any costs associated with aquiring you as their customer (advertising, discounts, “free” things).

So what do you do if you have to get out of one of these? A lot of sites have been popping up to help you pass your contract on to someone else who is looking for a contract like yours. Why would anyone do that? First, you probably did so ask yourself. Second, someone might want to take over your contract because…

It is often cheaper to take on an existing contract than to get a new one of your own.

If you want to get rid of your cellphone contract check out this site and this article. Most notably from that article, check out your terms of service when/if your provider changes them. Usually, you have the ability to terminate the contract at such a time. For getting out of your car lease, check out this site.

My advice, never sign a contract longer than 1 year… unless you’ve already been with that company for a number of years and know what to expect. In some cases, you can’t avoid a contract. When I signed up for Bell Sympatico (DSL) last year, they would only sign me up for a one year contract. Sometimes I wonder if it is the agent who makes up the rules, or if it is an actual policy. You should know that agents generally get a larger commision by selling you a longer contract.