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HOORAY!!! FINALLY APPLE ONLINE STORE in PORTUGAL November 17, 2007

Posted by Tom in Apple, Apple IMC, Apple Portugal.
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Translation: Hello Portugal (Now Open)

Welcome to the Official Apple Online Store (Find out More)

The whole Apple Portugal site is now run by Apple inc.

This is good news (I hope)

We have also been added to the map

Enough said :-)

Apple IMC to become Apple Portugal? October 11, 2007

Posted by Tom in Apple, Apple IMC, Apple Portugal.
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This is not my first post about Apple Portugal. Nor will it be my last (for sure?)

Is it some coincidence that Interlog (the company that takes care of Apple Inc. Business in Portugal (like a mafia)) are called Apple IMC? When visiting their site one notices that the address is Apple.com.pt and is not a usual international address format apple.com/pt. However when clicking on Suporte you are taken to a subdivision of the UK site (run from Ireland I suspect) in which the address is apple.com/pt/support and has all the correct graphics etc. in place.

Could this be the beginning of a new era?

I hope so.

UPDATE 15/10 : The site now links to apage in English with the plain Apple.com (international address)Normally when apple does things like this it’s because they don’t want to appear to be supporting something until they are ready….Hold that thought.

UPDATE 15/11 : It finally happened :-)

Vivendi – Universal’s approach – a consumer’s point of view. September 25, 2007

Posted by Tom in Apple, emusic, iTunes, music, Techstuff, Universal, Vivendi.
1 comment so far

What Msr Levy has been Reading

Mr Levy’s Bedtime reading

After Vivendi CEO Jean-Bernard Levy claimed that iTunes 20% cut in the 99 cents they charge per song is indecent, I feel compelled to add to the discussion. Monsieur Levy should wake up to the fact that many people stopped buying CDs when buying Computer games, DVD’s , films, computers, software, etc etc became more important than buying music. I remember stopping bothering with music because it had become all too much the same (Contrived MTV rubbish designed to sell to sub teens). One thing that “saved” me was when I got iTunes, ripped all my cd’s and started listening again.

This got me looking for new music too.

Unfortunately there was no iTunes Music Store, so a lot of my music came from unusual sources (and more came from buying CD’s).

However my new interest in music was slow and only half baked. The trouble of tracking down music on P2P was difficult and buying CD’s was, frankly, too expensive.

Then along came ITMS Europe. I started buying music again….. (Did you get that Mr Levy… I STARTED BUYING MUSIC!) and loads more than I had done in the past. (Pre iTunes, from aged 15 to approx 30– 200 albums, so approx 1 album a month + 1 or 2 terrible x-mas presents, remembering that my income only started at 21/22 yrs old and was measly); Post ITMS and pre emusic monthly pay scheme (+ having had a child along the way (this stops most rash consumer behaviour for at least six months)) aged 30- 32, 15 albums from ITMS and about 5 CDs. So there was a clear increase (remember income from age 15 to 21 almost zero)

I mentioned emusic and it is important for labels such as Universal (why that name? is it a wish?) to take note of. I have religiously spent €20 a month on music since signing up with Emusic’s non-DRM scheme. I don’t always download my 90 tracks worth. BUT I have yet to think it is bad deal. I cannot get enough of Emusic. AND there are new acts on it.

The music is also VERY good.

So where am I going with this. Well nowhere in particular, except to give my 2 cents worth (not that Universal cares about 2 cents, they are more interested in 80 or 90).

Once the ease of music cannot be bought, it can only be swapped, (ie p2p) like TV shows currently in Europe.

I am a Mac owner, though I do not worship Apple , Steve Jobs or iTunes (hence my use of emusic).

I hope Universal wakes up and asks Apple to lower the cost of all their music.

Apple IMC Portugal store back up September 3, 2007

Posted by Tom in Apple, Techstuff.
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I am happy to say the Portuguese “Apple” store is back up.

I have to add that the home page is terribly out of date…

Hot news: Prepare for WWDC 2007, Apple launches new iPod Nano, iPod Shuffle now comes in colours…

Please wake me when the news is news.

Thanks

Apple Portugal rant August 29, 2007

Posted by Tom in Apple, Mac software, Techstuff.
2 comments

I need to complain somewhere so I’ll do it here. Don’t worry I’ll be brief.

Apple in Portugal has been like Freedom of Speech in China.

That is virtually non-existent.

The upside (for me) was that all software I can get here was in English.

Now they are making some in-roads.

Apple Portugal now exists as an entity (albeit a small and still functionless one) and iLife08 is being sold here as a Portuguese version in retailers.

So I head on over to Apple IMC (the official channel for all things Apple in Portugal) and look on their website store (they call it an Apple Store but it is nothing like the real thing).

I suppose if I can get an English version anywhere it has to be there…

And this is what I saw…

Apple store pt

… a couple of days ago.

I ignored it thinking that all would be well in an hour or two.

How wrong I was… after all this Apple IMC, not Apple Portugal.

Two days later and all is the same.

I look around their site for other retailers and stumble across this gem…

applestoreptclaim.jpg

Roughly Translated this says…

BUY ONLINE

Choose your iPod, configure your new mac according to your exact needsusing the models on the market as a starting point.

nothing new or exciting there

The Apple Online store never closes and sells all the accessories you could need for your iPod or new Mac. etc etc

Hang on a sec…. Never closes!!!? Well I’d say that would be true if it were closed for an hour or two, but two days (if not more!!)

OK, I feel better, I’ve had my rant.

Now over to Amazon UK.

(I have, in the past, tried writing to Apple IMC and all I ever receive in reply a rather sad complaint back that the guy making the site is alone and he doesn’t have enough time. — So don’t try and copy Apple.com and get your job done properly I say.)

Appendix:

Here is the map from Apple.

Apple Euro Store locator

Looks like they forgot something on the left. (ie WEST and closest to USA)

Excellence beats numbers – VAIO LS vs. iMac August 27, 2007

Posted by Tom in Apple, OS X, Techstuff, VAIO.
3 comments

There area number of people who ask me why I use a Mac. Now to those readers who use a Mac and who are Stateside or possibly residing in some countries in North Europe this may be something that they don’t hear very often anymore. However here in Portugal, Mac is only just beginning to be noticed by a few savvy users (beyond the hardcore user base).

I am writing this post for those people who ask me the dreaded question. So let’s begin:

Sony have just released a beautiful machine. It’s called the VAIO Living System or less science-fictiony and less appealingly LS or All-in-one (like the cheap printers you can get your hands on nowadays).

Vaio LS All-in-one overall

This is what it looks like.

Pretty nice. In fact– Very nice. I would buy this if had the cash spare ($1,799 or approx. €1320)…

Vaio LS Keyboard

Even the Keyboard looks quite innovative and is fairly thin.

The mouse is nothing to write home about (regular slightly “designed” mouse).

All this looks very good until you compare it with Apple’s latest desktop consumer offering:

iMac OverallThe iMac.

Granted, from the front there isn’t much in it. They both look pretty sleek.

The problems for the VAIO appear when you start looking in 3D and looking closer:

VAIO LS Profile

This is the VAIO’s profile.

iMac profile

This is the iMac’s.

Enough said.

Incredibly this is what the profile of the iMac’s wired keyboard looks like:

iMac Keyboard profile

Now that is impressive design.

I could go on and do lots of other comparisons, chipset, size of hard-drive, blu-ray (this is all but completely irrelevant in Portugal as things stand), but there are plenty of sites that have reviewed both machines (or there will be soon enough) and as I said earlier, I like the Sony. But it is no match for Apple.

Unfortunately Apple don’t make TV’s, though the screens they make on their iMacs are larger and higher definition than this.

Sony’s plus point is the fact that you can plug in your antenna and other TV peripherals:

VAIO Antenna

Which makes it a nice sitting room TV screen…

I have come to find myself watching less and less TV as more of my time is taken up with my family and hobbies, so the TV side doesn’t grab me either.

The worst sales point has got to be Windows Vista.

I use both Windows and OS X at home and was a Windows only user for many years (DOS to Windows Me(that was a disastrous OS that I quickly uninstalled)), I now have XP on a partition on my Mac and don’t like using any virtual system as I feel it ruins the Mac OS to have it there. (In MY mind it feels like running an Opel Corsa Engine when my Bentley doesn’t like the road, only I can’t switch the Corsa off, whereas a separate boot switches off the Mac and lets Windows work for a while). Anyway back to point in hand…

I find OS X cleaner and easier to use. Everything is where it should be. If you change the way the machine connects to the Internet, that’s it, all you have to do. From my Windows experience, there is always some bloody checkbox that is hidden in the advanced features of IE that you have to tick or a properties box that you need to find and change something in after you’ve done what you believe to be the hard work.

I used to enjoy doing those things as I got a sense of achievement. “Aren’t I clever I know how to do x y or z and it took 45 minutes?”

Computers should not be like that for the user. You should be able to make a great piece of work and show it to someone and say look at this, I did this (and quietly add on my Mac) hoping that not too many hear and say

“But that’s easy on a Mac!”

To make this point clear I have two more quick screen grabs from the competing hardware manufacturers’ sites:

VAIO needs this?

And the Mac…

Simplicity

The main difference… simplicity.

Arguing operating systems. June 26, 2007

Posted by Tom in Apple, OS X, Techstuff.
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I recently had a discussion with someone about why they continued to use Windows. It felt like they were trying to justify their choice of operating system to me.

I continue to be amazed by the effect of “I’m right”.

When is it that people will swallow their pride and understand that the OS they have chosen may not be the right one?

In the discussion I was told that comparing Apple to Windows was like two people discussing their favourite football teams. This could be said to be true if they were comparing Manchester United or Real Madrid with Aguias de Musgeira.

My point being that if one grew up supporting Aguias and you had never seen another team from the big leagues play you might well think that Aguias was the best team ever. You would probably argue it to death.
Sadly if you know that there are better teams out there and keep believing your team is best you will try and justify your support. (Oh I live round the corner, my brother plays for them, my family has always supported them, everyone in the neighbourhood supports them, the tickets are cheaper than Man Utd etc etc).
So when it comes down to it we can see that it is really only worth discussing these things with people that understand technology and Operating systems and their possible benefits.
For the record I have an iMac with both OS X and Windows on it. I leave it up to you to work out on which operating system I blog, read my email, surf the web, word process, do my family photos and videos, create web pages etc and which one I use for occasional pages that have been made by slack web designers.

Safari on Windows June 11, 2007

Posted by Tom in Apple, OS X, Techstuff, wordpress on safari.
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Well this is my first post using Safari on Windows… I hope it’s the first ever on wordpress! Anyway, this is great news for us Mac users who are stuck using windows at work. I can now happily go online in my native environment (at least slightly native).
Interestingly the interface on wordpress is similar to Firefox in Mac (as in there are two tabs when writing a new post however the visual tab is extremely flakey ). I am running Parallels 2 with Windows XP. I normally only ever open Windows for sites that only work in Windows (curse those idiot webmasters). So I don’t know how much use this will get at home. All the same, any Apple product that removes me a little from Windows harshness is is welcome.
 Wordpress safari on windows 
There appear to be many unhappy with Apple’s WWDC announcements. I think SJ is doing the right thing by removing hardware announcements from these conferences. They just served to build up expectations for new machines.. and hence denting sales in the run up to conferences.My exam went ok. I am happy it’s over especially as now I can blog to my heart’s desire. What’s more, I celebrated with a caipirinha :-)
 ps the link feature in the visual tab didn’t work, nor did the breaks .. what’s worse is returning to edit mode automatically chooses the visual tab which removes all the breaks etc….
edit : Yikes.. stupidly added safari Beta 3 to my mac and same problems are occurring there. (when will I learn?)

Sim City 4 Rush Hour Universal Beta. Revisited May 5, 2007

Posted by Tom in Apple, computer games, OS X Games.
1 comment so far

Ok I thought I’d come back to this.Sim City 4 Screen shot The beta of Sim City 4 Universal runs A LOT smoother than before (through rosetta?). Though I am getting some weird sound effects. Could that be because I replaced all the music with AFX?
Anyway I’m very happy with the newer version…. now where will I ever find the time to play a game again?

GrandPerspective May 4, 2007

Posted by Tom in Apple, Mac software, OS X.
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GrandPerspective
This is a great piece of software that allows you to see your hard drive and where all your precious GBs are being used up. I can see from my hard drive that I really need to get rid of some Simpsons and Futurama episodes (which I watch while exercising.) I know you can find this data by trawling through the hard drive, it just seems this is much quicker and easier.