An iPhone User Considers Window Phone 7

There’s that moment you get off a plane in a foreign land. The air smells different. You don’t understand people when they talk to you. And they drive on the wrong side of the road.

It’s all so foreign, so different; but it’s also appealing and attractive.

That’s how it felt the the first time I used a Windows Phone 7 device.

I was instantly enchanted. But also disoriented and more than a little confused. It’s very different – in a good way – from my beloved iPhone. Continue reading

A Mac User Considers His Zune Options

So, if it isn’t obvious yet, I’m quite smitten with Microsoft’s Zune subscription service. Mostly because it’s cheap.

I’m a heavy music consumer and spend anywhere from $50 to $200 every month at iTunes. And that’s with an extreme degree of musical abstinence!  I generally don’t listen to what I purchase more than two or three times, though, so it’s a very, very costly habit. Spending $10 at Zune every month for the same thing is an extremely attractive proposition, and it would grant me more options in terms of listening to what I want, rather than what I can afford.

The problem is, I don’t have a Windows-based PC. I don’t have a Windows Phone 7. I have an XBox, but I’m not always listening to music in my living room.

So how do I make Zune work for me? Continue reading

With Music, Apple Pleases Older People, Microsoft Focuses on Youth

I’ve spent the last few weeks with a demo Windows Phone running the new version 7.5, or  “Mango”, operating system. It’s been a splendid time. Microsoft is really onto something.

My regular phone is an iPhone 4S, though, and I have to say: there are no two operating systems so different as Apple’s iOS, which runs on my iPhone, and Mango. They differ in every way, from philosophy, to user experience, to look and feel. And that’s a good thing.

One key element I’ve noticed about the two platforms is this: Apple’s iOS is geared towards an older crowd, while Microsoft’s approach is much more attuned to youth culture.

A good example of this is in the way the two platforms provide commercial access to music. Continue reading

Texting and Driving More Like Smoking?

I find this quite true:

…the cigarette analogy [is] more apt [to driving while operating a vehicle] than drunken driving because … people who drive drunk do not find any satisfaction in doing so. In contrast, checking e-mail or chatting while driving might relieve the tedium of being behind the wheel.

This idea leads me to think there’s also a link with the automated systems on the road, like stop lights, that implicitly enable us to pay less attention to the act of driving.

From “News Analysis: Reframing the Debate Over Using Phones While Driving” in the New York Times.

Happy Xmas (Northwestel is Over)

Many northerners got an early Christmas present this year: telephone competition.

In a CRTC ruling this week, Northwestel’s monopolistic bubble was popped.

Actually, the CRTC’s policy document reads more like a parent chiding its lazy teenager along the lines of: “You make $70 million every year on that nice job we gave you and we give you a $20 million allowance, but you don’t do anything to help around the house!”

The regulator stops just short of calling the company lazy and irresponsible. But the CRTC’s Leonard Katz did say he was “disappointed” in Northwestel.

It kinda makes you feel bad for the company. Continue reading