Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Affirmations for Businesses: Episode 1 - Victorinox

        People love to complain about companies, but what about affirming great companies?  Companies that stand behind their products deserve some appreciation.  As more and more things become disposable, having products that are built to last are becoming rather rare.  Quality is making a comeback. 

        This is why I appreciate Victorinox, better known as the company that makes Swiss Army Knives.  Did you know that with every knife you buy from Victorinox, its guaranteed to last a lifetime.  I love how bold of a statement his is, this is a tool that is used and abused, yet they are still confident enough in their product bestow a lifetime warranty on the product.  My dad recently gave my brother and I a Swiss Army Knife that he had meant to give us earlier in age, but had refrained in fear that we might bring it to school and get ourselves expelled.  Now that we are responsible 20 somethings we can be trusted with small cutlery, just goes to show you boys and girls, trust is earned over time not overnight.   In receiving this belated gift the little boy inside of me was rather excited and continued to explore this new gadget, to find it was in a rather used condition.  The red plastic that surrounds the device and gives it iconic look had become loose and would fall off.  The blades, while still sharp had become rather stiff in the housing of the knife.  

        So I googled, repair Swiss Army Knife, and was greeted by a PDF form.  This company does not make you run through any hoops to get something taken care of.  I simply marked a box, indicating that if the knife was not able to be repaired that it could be replaced.  For those with knives with sentimental value, this could be important.  Victorinox simply requested I mail my knife along with a $5 check or money order to a disclosed address.  About a month later I got a small package in the mail with my knife.  Not only had they replaced both plastic sidings, with toothpick and tweezers, but had completely refurbished the knife.  The blades had been sharpened and it now opened smoothly and with ease.  So, hang on to those Victorinox Swiss Army knives and know that if they every start to fall apart, or performance of the cutlery declines you can get it professionally refurbished by the manufacturer for only $5.  There are a lot of pocket knife makers out there, but I know I will be a Victorinox customer for the rest of my life. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Farming in Oakland without Soil

Apple Stoops

With the release of the iPad Mini, Apple has done something that they have never done before.  With the iPhone Apple brought mobile computing to a whole new level.  When Apple launched the iPad, they brought tablet computing to a whole new level.  One that is still not challenged at its price point, the Microsoft Surface will be its first real competitor.  When other companies decided they couldn't beat apple with the iPad, they went after a different type of consumer.  They created devices that were on the lower end of the device spectrum, examples would be the Kindle Fire, the Nook Tablet, and the Google Nexus 7.  These were all priced at around $200 and most of these companies are actually selling the devices at cost, in other words, they were either making very little or no money with each device sold.  The hope was that once a consumer bought the device they would be tied into the device makers content ecosystem.  With that said its interesting that Apple has in a sense stooped to the market, they have created a device that is aimed at the lower end of the market.  At $329 it is more expensive then its cousins but not by much.  A few years ago when Netbooks were starting to become popular, everyone wondered if Apple would release a killer netbook.  Apple said they would never create a product that selling point is cheap.  The netbook was a device to basically do one thing, go on the InterNET.  Apple took a very Applesk approach and instead of caving to what the market was leaning towards they launched the iPad.  Suddenly everyone now needed to own a tablet, they changed what the market wanted.  After this not only did netbook sales plummet, you hardly see them around anymore, but it forced other companies to try and come up with iPad competitors.  This is why I find the iPad mini so strange.  I see it as Apple caving to the demands of consumers, instead of consumers caving to the product Apple creates.  Apple is notorious for creating products that consumers lust over, there are not many fanboys for motorola products.  Steve jobs once said that Apple created products that consumers did not know they needed until it was released.  Think about when iPods launched, suddenly everyone needed an iPod.  When the iPhone launched, it basically started the smartphone era. When you see someone with a dumb phone today its like seeing an endangered species, like I knew they existed but I'd never seen one in real life.  With the iPad it created an entire new product line that Apple has absolutely dominated.  When you go to college, students almost expect to get a macbook of some sort.  Apple is making a nice looking version of the budget tablets already on the market.  It is straying from the roots that made this company great.  Maybe I'm making this a bigger deal then I should, but I don't think Apple is going to be leading the tech world in innovation anytime soon.  I'm excited to see a company take a risk and create the next product that changed the market, that changes the norm.  I'm exited for a company to start.......

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What's Apple Doing?

The Apple is Starting to Fall Far From the Tree
With an iPhone launch with an update to the whole iPod line a few weeks ago and another Apple Event planned within a few weeks, Apple has been busy.  With that said there are a few products I really want to zoom in on. The iPod Classic, the iPod Touch, and the proposed iPad mini.

The iPod Classic

The one that started it all, the Classic iPod.  Simple, Expensive, Outdated.  Why is something that still uses a spinning platter hard drive, cost so much.  When you can go online or even in stores now and buy a 1 TB hard drive for right around $100, why does a device that offers 160 gigs cost $250!  Apple has done nothing to the iPod Classic since 2009.  Nothing has been added to this thing, nothing!  Think about what Apple has done to the iPhone since 2009, the iPhone 3GS came out in 2009!  Heck, by now the iPod Classic could have solid state option, more abstractly think about how many Fanboys would love an Apple Portable External Hard Drive that doubled as an iPod.  This could have been offered at a higher price but the capacity could have been increased substantially.  Apple could have turned it into an Audiophile's Dream, with all that extra storage people could put more lossless music on their pod.  It could have had a more advanced amplifier, digital out option, the list can go on and on.  This poor device has sat stagnant for over 1000 days!!!!

The iPod Touch and Proposed iPad Mini
Apple just launched an updated version of the beloved iPod Touch, often referred to as the Funnest iPod ever.  This device is now a sort of frankenstein of the past 3 iPhones.  It has the same 4 inch screen as the iPhone 5, it has the same processor as the iPhone 4s, it has the same camera as the iPhone 4.  Sounds like Apple had some spare parts it wanted to make use of.  This has turned this device into a very powerful iPod, with a nice enough camera to justify leaving the Point and Shoot at home.  But, at $300 for the cheapest new version of the iPod Touch is now in tablet territory.  With boy Google and Amazon launching 7 inch tablets for $200, its hard to justify the purchase of an iPod touch that costs $100 dollars more for a 4 inch screen.  It makes you wonder, who would buy the new iPod touch?  The iPod touch had become to go to device to give kids.  You could play games, watch movies, listen to music, all without having to risk your iPhone in your child's hands.  At $300 it becomes a purchase that must be considered, and with tablets that have a larger screen and do the same thing, why choose Apple?

The iPad mini is unofficially out in the open.  There have been multiple shots of pricing tiers and shots of a small iPad with a new lighting connector plugged into it.  With the lowest proposed tier possibly being $250 for an 8 gig wifi model.  An iPad that is cheaper then the new iPod touch, whats going on here?  From what I gathering here, Apple is going to do something they never do.  They are going to offer a product stripped down the the bare bone essentials to compete with other products.  Are people going to shell out $250 for a device that is outdated on its launch date?  Why do I have a feeling that just as the new iPod touch is a Frankenstein of old parts, the new iPad mini have a new screen but the guts of its brothers and sisters.

It will very interesting to see what Apple releases at this next event.  Will they cave to demands of consumers, or will they stay true to their apple tree roots and create products that demand consumers cave to them.  

Monday, July 30, 2012

Blue-Ray Secrets

I was recently gifted a $50 target gift card, so with my small fortune in hand I forged my way to the closest bullseye.  After browsing many isles I came upon the blue-ray section.  As I looked up and down all the isles full of HD goodness I noticed something.  The entertainment industry is getting desperate.  I purchased the entire Bourne Series starting Matt Damon.  Not only were these DVD on one side, Blue-Ray on the other they came with Digital Copies I could redeem from itunes, amazon or vudu.  I choose amazon because I own a Kindle Fire and itunes has become so clunky.  The best part was each code I was too use for each movie was worth $10, the movies had dropped in price to only $5.00.  So I now had $20 towards a few movies that only cost $15.  To make matters sweeter I could use the other movie credits for whatever I wanted to.  Each Blue-Ray only cost me $10, and each of these came with a $10 amazon code, I was getting paid to buy the hard copy of the movies.  To add salt into the movie industries wound there was also a $10 Fandango coupon on the outside so I could go see the new Bourne movie in the theaters.  So in total I spent 30 bucks on the Bourne series to get $20 in amazon credit and 10 in Fandango credit, a pretty successful shopping trip.  

Friday, March 23, 2012

Spring Fever Week 1: Brad Baker

Crave is the College Ministry at Saddleback Church. Crave meets every Thursday Night in the Refinery at 7:15PM. Come join us!