In Other News, Swallowing An iPad Makes You Choke

Today’s stupid post comes from The Wall Street Journal in the article Video Speed Trap Lurks in New iPad by Anton Troianovski.

This article reveals how some users are using up the cellular data on their iPads faster than they expected. Guess it was a slow news day down at the ol’ Journal.

They start off with the best example, in terms of laugh-worthiness:

Two hours of college basketball—-which he viewed mounted to his car dashboard and live at tournament games-—had burned through his monthly wireless data allotment of two gigabytes.

This dude, who is so brilliant he watches basketball while driving, managed to use up his data by watching two hours of video. What more can you say? Clearly life sucks.

Mr. Troianovski searches for something, anything, to say on this topic, and comes up with this:

The iPad’s new high-resolution screen and fast connection are specifically designed to spur greater use of online video.

I’m not buying this. I think it the new iPad’s design was done so Apple could stay in the lead with its hardware. There are many uses for a high-resolution screen and fast connection. Admittedly, watching online video is one of them, but I hardly think it was the main goal.

The Wells Family was interviewed for the article, and they clearly didn’t put a lot of thought into their use of the cellular data network. First the son complains that the hours he spent watching YouTube at the coffee shop really burned through his data plan. No kidding? Huh. Then Dad has his own problems:

Mr. Wells’s father, Steve Wells, also hit his data limit on Saturday. While he was at the basketball game with his son, his wife was using his iPad as a video baby monitor for his granddaughter while she napped in another room. By the time the two were back from the game, the app had burned through his two gigabyte plan.

His wife, presumably in their home, used the iPad with a cell network to monitor a baby for a few hours? Where in the world did this reporter find these people? So, no wifi network in the house? No way to simply listen? Wouldn’t they have had the same problem in this case on a 3G cellular data network? I’m actually quite surprised that this paragraph didn’t end with, “and they found that the iPad’s battery was down to only 63%. It was astonishing how using the iPad would eat up the battery like that.”

At some point in this article it might have been a good idea to point out that none of these people ran into extra charges for going over their limit, the data stream just stopped. That’s a big difference from data plans on your phone. Also, there are bigger data plans available if these people want to continue such nonsense. Verizon offers a 10 GB plan. Plus, with any of these plans you can always simply pay again once your allotment is up. You know, in case you want to monitor the paint drying in the kitchen next. Your iPad does not have to be a disconnected slab of glass for the next 29 days because you went nuts streaming video. I suppose giving information like this would make it even more clear what a waste this article was, so it’s good that Mr. Troianovski left it out.

Dad concludes with this gem:

“All the advantages of the iPad device are completely neutralized by the two gigabyte data limit,” said Steve Wells, 56.

Yes, ALL the advantages. I’m returning my stupid useless iPad ASAP.

Twitter Commercials?

Today Twitter announced “Promoted Tweets on mobile: more options, starting today“.

Promoted tweets are advertisements in tweet form in your timeline. Previously, these tweets would only be shown only if you followed the advertiser. This seemed like a pretty limited option to me. Why would you follow, for example, Verizon Wireless? Isn’t that like tuning your TV to the Coca Cola channel? I really didn’t think advertisers would buy into that too heavily.

In today’s announcement we see the next step:

Starting today, we are expanding this test, enabling brands to target Promoted Tweets to mobile users that share similar interests with their existing followers.

So, if I read this right, this means Twitter is going to analyze everyone’s tweets and swizzle them together to determine in some way who has similar interests, and then use that information to distribute advertising in the timelines.

I’m not sure if I’m okay with this or not. Tweets aren’t private, so there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to do this. (I’m assuming, perhaps wrongly, that Twitter won’t analyze private timelines this way.) They need to pay for the service, so they have to do something. I think what I’d really like to see is an advertising-free subscription option. Sign up for $2/month and you won’t ever see ads. I’d do that.

For now let’s just hope that the advertising doesn’t get too egregious.

Pinterest? No interest.


Alexandra Chang writes about Pinterest in Opinion: Should you care about Pinterest?.

Pinterest is a new site where you look at stuff people want or have and post pictures of stuff you want or have. I’m pretty sure that sums it up. Pinterest is rapidly growing and is one of the hottest websites around right now.

Alexandra wrote this paragraph about it:

“A lot of what gets pinned on Pinterest is aspirational—what could be, what I’m going to have, where I’m going to go,” said Gartner senior research analyst Jenny Sussin. What sets Pinterest apart from other social networks is that it isn’t about sharing what’s happening to you right now, it’s about sharing and collecting what you like and what you want and what inspires you.

I’ve looked at Pinterest a couple of times and it totally bored me. Maybe it’s because I’m a guy—Alexandra says 82% of the users are women.

Or maybe it’s because I’m too old. Here’s a comment I wrote and posted on Alexandra’s article:

Sounds to me like Pinterest is for the Me Generation that wants to create a narcissistic catalog of all the things our consumer-society tells them they need, and then share it with their ersatz friends for validation.


I’m Having A Lot Of Trouble Coming Up With Any Sympathy

What economic problems?

A tale of woe by Max Abelson: Bonus Drop Means Trading Aspen for Coupons

Some choice quotes:

“People who don’t have money don’t understand the stress,” said Alan Dlugash, a partner at accounting firm Marks Paneth & Shron LLP in New York who specializes in financial planning for the wealthy. “Could you imagine what it’s like to say I got three kids in private school, I have to think about pulling them out? How do you do that?”


Scheiner said he spends about $500 a month to park one of his two Audis in a garage and at least $7,500 a year each for memberships at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester and a gun club in upstate New York. A labradoodle named Zelda and a rescued bichon frise, Duke, cost $17,000 a year, including food, health care, boarding and a daily dog-walker who charges $17 each per outing, he said.

(I think our stupid cat may cost something like $17,000 a year. It seems like it anyway.) And…

“These people never dreamed they’d be making $500,000 a year,” he said, “and dreamed even less that they’d be broke.”

Poor, poor guys.