Sir Richard…

The social media response to Sir Richard Branson, astronaut, is nothing if not predictable. He’s an evil billionaire trying to escape earth because he’s destroyed it. He should be taxed into the stone age so we could give everyone in the world three pencils and a timeshare goat or whatever.

It’s done nothing but reinforce my opinion that the kind of lefties who are active on social media are more about controlling what people do or don’t do, how we spend our money and live our lives, and keeping perfect credit with whoever is tracking the approved “social justice” buzzwords of the day.

Branson is the kind of guy we use to tell people they should admire. Starting his own, relatively unremarkable business at the age of 16, over the next five decades he parlayed that small initial success into a corporate juggernaut. He made himself rich beyond the dreams of avarice in the process… and then used that money to fund a project that use to be the sole province of nation states. I’d love to understand how space travel and exploration is somehow less democratic now that it’s not purely a state-sponsored endeavor. 

Yesterday, a self-made man used his own fortune to heave himself into space and open another avenue to travel and explore beyond the bounds of earth. 

I’m here for it.

If the wags on social media can’t or won’t see past their obsession and abject jealousy of who has what, I almost feel sorry for their lack of vision. Sir Richard is making history while the social media set is, at best, scoring points with those in their echo chamber. 

Gone cold…

This Friday is going to mark the first time since 2007 I haven’t schemed, connived, stood in line, or woke at three in the morning to get my hands on a new release of Apple’s iPhone on it’s release day. The idea of it leaves me with mixed emotions to say the least. Living in Apple’s universe has never been about having cutting edge hardware or software so much as it’s about having a platform the feels somewhat more refined and well put together than the competition. There’s very little doubt I my mind that iPhone 7 will continue this trend, but if I’m honest, my 6S Plus is still feeling like a really solid device in terms of fit and function.

As much as I hate to admit it, iPhone has reached a point in its life cycle where it is already doing everything I need or want a cell phone to do. It’s capable of doing much more than that, really. I know there are plenty of features that I either purposely don’t use or find myself not even aware of until someone shows them to me. With this year’s round of incremental improvement there just isn’t a change significant enough to convince me to spend the $1000 to be an early adopter – although I have to admit the dual lens camera is looking pretty sick.

I’m not quite ready to concede that I may have entered a period where I’m no longer compelled to have the newest and shiniest tech. The 2006 vintage plasma television in my living room and the 12 month old phone on my hip may belie that point, though. Of course I reserve the right to change my mind a week from now or three months from now, but whatever desire once drove me to take a vacation day and track down the update on day one seems to have gone cold.

Live… From beautiful Newark, Delaware…

As promised, I’m coming to you live and in person from the Apple Store at Christiana Mall in Newark, Delaware. At 3AM EST, I’m estimating a line that’s a ragged 250-300 deep. Not surprisingly, the crowd is very subdued and there is a heavy presence of Delaware State Troopers already on hand. Good times. With doors open in five hours, I’ll be back when things start picking up.


3:35 AM – I’ve been the last person in line for 20 minutes. Does that make me the least dedicated of the early adopters or most dedicated of the regular consumers?

4:17 AM – According to one of the nice people beside me, the line is 254 souls. Glad to see my power of estimation is still pretty accurate.

4:46 AM – Just got an email from Apple. Apparently they’ve started selling some kind of new phone today. Who knew?

5:00 AM – Lots of NY license plates coming onto the lot now. The line is stretching around a corner and out of sight behind me. Best guess is that it’s probably 2x longer than it was at 3AM. After starting to read reports if shipping times slipping into October, glad I didn’t decide to wait and try sneaking in an order online. Three hours to doors open.

5:17 AM – The inevitable asshat with a boom box just showed up playing what I think is called “dance” music…. Although at quarter past five in the morning it may prove to be “get your face smashed to a bloody pulp by tired people in line” music.

5:46 AM – The mall is opening their doors at 6:00, so the line is preparing to schlep inside. Those who brought chairs are now losing their places in line as they dump them back in their cars. Suckers.

5:52 – My little corner of the line before heading inside.


6:22 AM – Lies. Damnable lies! Still standing outside.

6:45 AM – And still outside. Not sure if it’s an issue with Apple or the mall security set up. I’m guessing the latter just from observation.

7:15 AM – Still outside. Blue shirts came by asking the line if anyone was buying only the 5c so they could form a delegate line. So far, 500 people asked, zero 5c sales. Not surprising, but a fun fact. Also, no availability on the gold model from any carrier.

7:32 AM – All silver iPhones, all carriers are sold out. My level of confidence in getting hands on today is plummeting.

7:52 AM – No more word on stock outs. The line, however, is getting restless.

8:01 AM – All 16 GB AT&T iPhones are out of stock.

8:33 AM – Line hasn’t moved in 20 minutes. Blue shirts claiming the still have AT&T and Verizon availability in space grey.

8:36 AM – 32 GB AT&T is out of stock. Confidence in making this happen today is almost zero.

8:40 AM – stock out of AT&T. Bugger me.

9:25 AM – 2nd in line at a Best Buy that didn’t open early. Crossing my fingers.

9:34 AM – Mission success @ Best Buy!


12:46PM – Well, that took more effort than I anticipated. The short version: I have an iPhone 5s in hand. I’m back at the house and once I get some coffee and chow into my system, I’ll give you a “first impressions” review. Stay tuned.

Just another launch day live blog

4:37a – Well folks, here we go. Up and moving, getting caffeinated, and prepping to head over to Delaware for my tax free shopping fix. Starting to see some reports from the earlier time zones coming out and it sounds like it’s another winner. I’ll be uploading pics, general impressions, and plenty of snarky comments from the beautiful Christiana Mall Apple Store this morning. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoy bringing it to you.

4:42a – I think it’s cute that Apple sent me an email letting me know that “The new iPad is here”. Wow. Thanks for the heads up on that. Maybe I’ll trundle on over to the Apple Store and check it out. You’d think by now they’d know me well enough not to have to send the marketing.

5:17a – It’s go time. Hope the real die hards kept me a place in line.

5:59a – DE State Police are running crowd control. Big, big crowd.


6:16a – DSP is randomly pulling people out of the crowd and putting them in line. No apparent organization or plan from Apple to manage people. Not good.

6:27a – 3-400 people in the main line.


6:30a – What the line looks like if you pre-ordered for personal pick up.


That’s right, who’s 4th in line. This guy right here.


7:30a – 12 people in the personal pick up line. All very civilized. The other line, not so much. Lots of Apple employees and troopers yelling at people. Good times.

7:37 – sadly, I just turned down an offer to be interviewed by the Wilmington local news station. Sorry to disappoint.


7:49a – This crowd is stooooopid. Lines completely out of sight now. Lucky to be in line with some fun guys. Making this enjoyable.


7:59a – in my hand and out the door.

8:02a – Here are a few shots on the way out. Stay tuned for the review.




Bright points in an otherwise craptastic week…

This week has sucked. There’s no nicer way to say it. I can think of plenty of more colorful ways to put it, but I won’t since you know we run a nice family establishment here. Right. The thing about craptastic weeks is that the smallest bit of good news can pretty much make your day. I mean when they bar is basically set at ground level, you even the most trivial of things can bring a momentary smile to your face. Personally, I’ll take all the small mercies that come my way.

I heard a rumor that the Tundra should actually be ready to come home tomorrow. That’s bit of good news #1. After three “should be finished” dates have come and gone, though, you won’t find this guy holding his breath. Strange as it sounds, getting back in the truck feels like at least something of a step back towards normal. I like normal. Bit of good news #2, showed up in my inbox just a few minutes ago. As you can see from the picture I conveniently attached, it’s the “Your iPad is ready to be picked up on Friday” message that I’ve been eagerly awaiting.

If anyone is interest, curious, or just plain bored on Friday morning, I’ll be doing the usual launch day live blogging posts. Doors open at 8AM, so I’m looking at a 6:00 line up time unless I start getting indications that lines are going to be longer than the usual Apple launch day lines. Unless something ridiculous happens, which almost seems guaranteed at this point, I should have my shiny new Precious by around 10:00. I haven’t done a launch day event at this location before, so it should be an adventure for everyone. If you find yourself in Delaware and wandering around aimlessly on Friday morning, feel free to stop by Christiana Mall with coffee, danish, or a board game.

And then there was Three…

Most normal people aren’t particularly attenuated to the comings and goings of fancy new electronic devices. By now you’ve certainly realized that at least in this category, I’m not like most people. What can I say, I’ve got a thing for well-designed bundles of chips, plastic, aluminum, and glass.

I keep telling myself that I’m only taking a look at things for “informational purposes” only. My iPad 2, at a year old, is still pretty much a marvel of modern technology. It runs like a top and has more storage than I can ever reasonably expect to use in a tablet. Really, it’s every bit as good a device today as it was the day I unboxed it last March. Sure, the new one will have a touch more processing power, a higher resolution screen, and a few other bits that make it just a little more polished than the one I have now, but is that enough to justify the inevitable standing in line or waiting around the house all day for the UPS guy to show up? The logical, well-reasoned answer, of course, is no, no it isn’t.

For better or worse, I’ve drunk the Kool Aid. Normal standards of logic, need, or justification really don’t apply. I guess as far as addictions go, things could be worse. At least I only have to go out looking for my fix a couple of times a year. Unfortunately, like any other self-respecting addict, once I’ve gotten a whiff of there being a new and more potent fix on the market, I’m pretty much helpless in the face of my own excitement to get a taste of it. Just like every year around this time I am officially waiting to see the technical specifications before making a decision. In the less affected part of my head I’m even thinking that this might be the year to ride it out and wait to see what iPad 4 has under the hood. If I were a betting man, though, I wouldn’t wager against seeing an iPad 2 posted for sale here on these very pages in the not too distant future.

Taking a test drive…

I promised an unboxing, but was a little too quick getting things unwrapped to keep much of a record. For the moment you’ll have to be satisfied with riding along as I take the new toy out for a test drive. The first thing you notice out of the box is just how good it feels in the hand. The tapered edges are much more comfortable than the vertical edges on version one. It’s definitely a slimmer form factor. I didn’t expect it to be as noticeable as it is, but it makes quite a difference.

After the mandatory registration with iTunes and really getting a chance to put iPad 2 through it’s paces, I’ve got to say that it handles remarkably well. Web browsing is very, very quick and switching apps doesn’t lag at all. I haven’t thrown too much stress at it yet, but I’m expecting great things based on first impressions.

For an afternoon launch, the line wasn’t bad – assuming you got there early enough. I ended up waiting just over three hours from getting in line to walking out of the store… Which brings up the only negative experience of the day. Stockage of the 18 different versions was a bit of an issue. By the time I made it into the store, the AT&T 16 and 32 GB models in black and white were sold out, leaving the only AT&T option as the 64GB version. Since the card I got while in line guaranteed only an AT&T enabled version, it was either hand over an extra $200 and take delivery of four times more storage than I planned on or walk out empty handed. Since I had an AT&T card, I couldn’t just switch off to one of the Verizon versions that were still in stock. This is an issue Apple could have prevented if they would have taken online reservations as they have for previous product launches. Of course it’s not necessarily in Apple’s interest to do that. I forked over an extra $200. I wonder how many others did too. I can’t image many who sat in line for hours were going to be thwarted by another two bills. Now if I were one of the people who was still several hundred people deep in the line when I left, I might be feeling a little different about how things turned out.

All things being equal, I’m well pleased. There are still plenty of things I need to put through their paces, but I’m pretty sure our friends from Cupertino hit another home run.