Thursday, 14 October 2010

My Apple Dilemma

On Sunday we finally had some a few hours to ourselves, time that wasn't taken up by work, peoples parties, or sabotaged by cars that that like to play broke too damn much. It gave us enough enough to go on a shooting spree (photography shooting that is, I'm not that American yet).

I'm eager to have a look at the results of a day well spent but if I was to load the images from the card to the computer I'd fill up this Apple to the point that that it would refuse to do anything useful anytime soon. It's finally time I got around to buying something new. And so with that in mind its not worth me loading the images on to this computer when in around a week i'll be swapping all the images onto something new. Why give myself even more work to do? So I guess I'll just have to be patient and wait until I buy that new computer.

I'd love to buy another Mac but the Scottish in me refuses. On the one hand I love how Macs operate I've never had a single virus issue with a Mac whereas I have with windows based machines, I also love how they look, I think Apple products look beautiful, but those machines are damn pricey. And thats where my issues begin with Apple.

I really don't want to spend $1400 plus on a computer. I'm Scottish, its not that I'm stingy but I do like my money to stretch as far as possible. And with Apple it doesn't stretch very far. I don't like how Apple as a whole does its business. It seems they have a policy to take every penny they can from their customer. Its not just in the world of computers either where they build stylish but expensive machines that are twice of the price of their pc competition its in other areas too.

I've long been tempted to get an iphone since I first saw someone demonstrate to me how they were learning Japanese on it. I was smitten. I've always wanted to go to Japan and here was a seemly simple way to learn the language. But I had to stop and remind myself with the reality check that Japan is a notoriously expensive country to go to and live in, there's no way I could afford to go there anytime soon if I was paying $199 for the phone and $99+ a month for the service line. Now you could blame A&T for the service line, or you could blame Apple for keeping the price artificially high by only sharing their products to one phone company per sales region. Whatever or whoever is at fault it seems to me to be yet another demonstration of how Apple does not look after the best interests of their customers.

The product that Apple really should have had me hooked from the beginning is the ipod. I am a huge music lover I have tens of thousands of mp3 files, literally gigabyte after gigabyte of music stored on my hard drive. I get bored with cds very quickly so when the larger ipods started to get produced I was excited, I wanted one. Then I realised that Apple weren't satisfied with just selling the ipods themselves they wanted to make money from the selling of the mp3's from itunes too. Well that was me out. At that point I had a tonne of music and very few of which was downloaded with the help of itunes. I really didn't fancy having to start my collection again nor did I want to go to the trouble of hacking into a brand new ipod and breaking its code so that I could play what I already had.

It seems to me that Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, has a a very old American West attitude to business. He spots his customer approaching from a far and can smell the notes in the wallet and he wants it all, but he once he has emptied that wallet he wants them to keep paying him afterwards too, until there is nothing left to give.

Whether its through itunes or apps there seems to be endless ways for Apple to continue to get your money once they have sold you the machine that you just couldn't do without. Most people don't have an issue with this I admit, I certainly seem to be making a mountain out of a molehill when there are a lot of happy Apple customers out there but it does leave me looking in at the Apple showroom window with drool dripping from my chin at all the shiny magical looking products that I know in my heart I would love to get my hands on but my head says a big fat loud "nawwwww."

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Craigslist We Love You

Looking back on how this year, and then even further back, has developed it's fair to say that without the invention of Craigslist the lives of Scotsman and Some Chilean Woman would have gone on quite different paths.

For us it all started over two years ago. Back then I was looking online for some cheap second hand camera lenses, trying in vain to get something for my Sigma, in desperation I tried looking on Craigslist for the first time. Craigslist you have to understand isn't really big news in the home country but I tried anyway. Unsurprisingly though as the camera I have is in very few hands I looked in vain. However before I logged off that day I looked at the personals out of curiosity, and there little did I know I found Some Chilean Woman who was looking for a guide for a holiday that she was planning. Rather than ignore her I instead gave her crap for the wordage of her advert suggesting to her that she may want to reword it if she wanted to get the right type of response. I didn't expect to hear back from her after that but rather than ignore me she seemed to like the asshole like response. A few months later instead of her going to Scotland, I instead made my way to Utah. Less than six months after that , I returned to Utah permanently. 3 short months after that I found myself getting married and all thanks to a chance encounter on Craigslist.

Before then I was skeptical of anyone finding love on the internet but having been converted first hand I started to wonder what else I could use Craigslist for. I soon found out that it had more than one use. My first job on US soil was found on Craigslist. Sadly it didn't last that long.

Earlier this year I started to place adverts for landscaping services, skeptical of its possible effectiveness.

The last time I started a business was back in 1998 and the internet was not as widely used. Then I mostly got my clients from flyers I delivered locally, people I knew and from word of mouth. In 11 years of working for myself I had never once got any work from the internet. In truth though I had never tried. This time around though we had little spare money for flyers, nor did I know enough people here in Salt Lake City in order to get my first few customers. Desperate times though called for desperate measures, I blindly put out my first adverts on Craigslist more in hope than anything else. In all honesty I was surprised to get my first response. But gradually bit by bit I got more and more customers from the adverts I was placing.

This allowed us slowly to transform our lives. No longer did Some Chilean Woman have to do all the working on her own, I was at last able to make a contribution. Soon after I was able to match her dollar for dollar, and it was all thanks to Craigslist bringing in the work.

Six short months later we were able to move into a new place. We looked on Craigslist, but to no avail, this time it couldn't take the credit. Piece of crap website!

But when we did find our new place we needed some new furniture and so we found a cheap dining table and chairs that might have needed some work but were still pretty much a bargain at the advertised price. As was the $60 exercise bike last week.

Love, work, and cheap exercise I've found it all on Craigslist and its safe to say that for us life would be quite different without it.