The Macalope Weekly: Videodrome

It’s a double dose of Microsoft-related video links this week, so small children, pregnant women, and those prone to seizures may want to read something nice by Chris Breen instead (although his hair has been known to cause women to swoon, so be careful!). And if you just send AT&T some more money, they’ll give you something that will fix all your AT&T woes! It’s the same deal any crack dealer gives!

Stick knitting needles in your eyes for the same effect

By now you’ve probably all seen the “How to throw a Windows 7 party” video, right? If you haven’t, OH, MY GOD. You really should watch it.

Wait, that’s not it. Here it is.

Darn it! That wasn’t it either. But if you haven’t seen it yet you might want to note before watching that Adrian Kingsley-Hughes called it, “Probably the most awful, soul destroying thing I’ve ever seen.”

That, regrettably, is not hyperbole. Adrian and the Macalope have had their differences of opinion in the past, but on this particular point we are of one mind.

If you still want to see it after digesting that review, here’s the real thing in all its glory.

It really is astounding, isn’t it? The Macalope will readily admit he doesn’t have much to add—this video pretty much speaks for itself. Michael Gartenberg wonders who thought this was a good idea:

Sure. you could argue that they’ve gotten people talking about the videos and by consequence, talking about Windows 7. Problem is, folks aren’t laughing with them, they’re laughing at them, it’s a big difference.

It’s a really big difference. Was the message supposed to be “Windows 7 is the un-coolest thing you’ve ever seen in your entire life”? If so, message received, Microsoft!

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Paying for the privilege

Maybe the Macalope is overly sensitive to everything AT&T does these days because, well, they suck so badly. But he had to laugh wryly and sardonically and several other -lys that can’t be mentioned in polite company when he saw this week’s announcement that AT&T would be delivering home cellular base stations. These base stations “use licensed frequencies owned by cellular companies, and provide high-quality in-home voice calls.”

That’s awesome! You mean for the low, low price of $50 or more for the unit and between $10-$20 extra per month, we can get the kind of reception we should be getting for what we already pay $80 a month in contract fees for?!

Well, where does the Macalope sign up? Say, AT&T, why don’t we cut to the chase and the Macalope will send you everything he makes a month in exchange for a network that works and provides what other cell services provide for less?

Because that sort of seems like where this is going.

May contain sweating

Hey, since we’re already watching cringe-inducing video that makes you want to shower after it’s over and scrub and scrub and scrub even though the taint never comes off, how about Michael Arrington interviewing Steve Ballmer? You may need two showers after something like that, though.

Here’s what Ballmer has to say on why Apple will never dominate the smartphone market.

Phones are not niche. The categories where, I think, a single player can control a large percentage of the volume are the smaller categories. … So I think you can have an Apple in the phone business, or a RIM, and they can do very well, but when 1.3 billion phones a year are all smart, the software that’s gonna be most popular in those phones is gonna be software that’s sold by somebody who doesn’t make their own phone.

The Macalope likes how he put “sold” in there, as if he were talking about Windows Mobile. The leading smartphone OS, of course, is Symbian, which is open source. Keep dreaming, Steve!

But what about his basic point about the iPhone? Is it a niche product, destined to never dominate? Allow the Macalope to respond through the power of anecdote! See, the last time he visited the doctor wondering whether he had hoof and mouth disease or just a canker sore, the doctor complained about having to resort to a book because she didn’t have her iPhone with her.

Apparently, you see, these iPhone thingies are bending the traditional boundaries of the “smartphone” market.

Ballmer does have a point. There’s always going to be some market segments out there for which an iPhone is not perfect. As much effort Apple has put into making it “enterprise-friendly,” the company still can’t help playing the stoner in the mailroom.

The problem with Ballmer’s thinking, though, is that unlike these other devices, the iPhone is often more computer than phone. While there are niches it fails to fulfill as a “smartphone,” it opens other niches as a little tablet computer.

The Macalope doesn’t think it’s likely the iPhone will ever beat the phone market as senseless as the iPod beat the digital music player market. But the iPhone and the iPod touch already own the market for teeny tablets. Maybe it all depends on how you ask the question.

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