Just a reminder, John McAfee is insane

I was scrolling through my Twitter feed when I saw someone post a link to an NBC News article about John McAfee being asked to take a look at some of the problems with the Obamacare website. Look, I don’t care where anybody stands politically, or what opinions one may have of Healthcare.gov. Anybody, and I mean anybody who thinks that asking the guy who appeared in the video below just a few short months ago to take a technological “look-see” at something, is out of their minds! Republican, Democrat, Tea Party, Libertarian… why would anybody want to associate themselves with this? I’m still waiting for an “October fools” follow-up to this article. Warning: the video below is likely not safe for work.

Maybe the political divide ISN'T as bad as it seems

On this September 11th anniversary, I find myself reflective. It seems like every time I go on Facebook, someone is posting something politically charged. I’m guilty of getting involved in the conversations, myself, but it really does seem rampant. Even outside of election seasons. It’s like it never stops! But I’ve been thinking lately that maybe things aren’t as bad as they seem.

Facebook has allowed everything from rumors to facts to be spread with speed and ease never before seen. Insults fly back and forth just as fast as they did in “chatrooms” over a decade ago. It’s the fact that content doesn’t need to be generated, it can simply be shared, that helps account for the volume of armchair activism we see today. Clicking the like button or the share regurgitates the same message out to hundreds of your friends – no need to fact check or verify, leave that to someone else. It’s on the Internet, someone else must have referenced it – you can’t put it on the internet if it’s not true.

But all jokes aside, maybe things aren’t as bad as we have the impression they are. People are partisan. Even those who try not to be will undoubtedly have a vehement reaction to something, they just haven’t found their hot-button issue, yet. But the reason we think it is worse than it is, is because we are further outside of our comfort zones than we have ever been as a society. It’s not just 24 hours news networks. It’s not just access to websites that will always promote “your point of view” (this is the Internet, SOMEONE out there will agree with you, no matter what your views are). It’s the fact that we are suddenly “friends” with people we don’t see eye to eye with. Your “Facebook friends” aren’t like your “real life” friends. They are people you went to high school with, people you’ve worked with, people you went to college with. Some of them are friends of friends, or people you know from an organization or met at an event. Fifteen years ago, you would surround yourself with likeminded friends, the people you knew in high school or college and actually spent time with them. If someone drove you crazy, you would slowly weed them out of your day-to-day life, and just have polite conversations here and there. But here in 2013, you don’t want to “unfriend” someone because they could be offended – or if you’re stubborn, you certainly wouldn’t want to give them the impression that they “won” some kind of argument on the Internet!

I’m trying, very hard, to not have the same grim outlook that Jeff Jarvis has today. Maybe the political divide isn’t as bad as we think it is. Maybe we’re just finally seeing it for what it is. Maybe we’re finally able to see more than our own side. And maybe that’s a good thing.

Why an iPhone 5C could be a bad idea


photo credit: Sonny Dickson

Today, I expect Apple to make a mistake. Now, I could be wrong, but here is my brief prediction for today’s press conference.

Apple will announce the new iPhone “5S” – faster than the iPhone 5, 128 GB of storage, and available in traditional white, black, and the new Champagne Gold. Distinct from that will be the iPhone “5C” – a phone nearly identical to the current iPhone 5, but available in a variety of new colors, similar to the old iPod lineup. A rainbow of color available, but on an underwhelmingly basic phone.

Why this is a mistake: Apple is simply leaving money on the table. While I have no doubt that people who already own the iPhone 5 would drop everything just to have a green or blue or pink iPhone 5 (and thus Apple is still going to make money) those same people would also love to have the “upgraded” and higher performing “5S” type model. But the 5S, I believe, is going to remain exclusive, and only be available in one new color – so that the elite status of the iPhone 5S owner can be shown off.

Others have made similar predictions, but I seem to be the only one out there who thinks this is a terrible idea on Apple’s part. Microsoft just picked up Nokia and is going to start gaining steam. Google already has the Motorola team and is working on future Nexus devices. Competition is heating up, and the iOS7 announcement didn’t seem to really “do the trick” for a lot of people. Apple’s responsibility to its shareholders is to profit as much as possible. The person who wants a cool color can also be the person who wants a faster phone. Again, my prediction is that the 5C will be more budget priced and the specs will be nearly identical to the existing iPhone 5, but the “5S” that is likely to launch with the new champagne gold color I expect to add a little bit of CPU performance, possibly even 128GB of storage, because, why not? So will Apple actually make this mistake? Or am I off base and all of the speeds, and sizes, and color options will be available to all buyers? We’ll find out. But I’ll tell you one thing: I expect sales of clear iPhone cases to rise!

Review a Bad Game Day: Fortune Street

When you look at the cover of Fortune Street, you’re immediately reminded of Mario Party. A prolific series, Mario Party saw only two releases on the Wii, and fans of the series kept clamoring for more. I thought Fortune Street might make a good substitute. When I first saw Fortune Street on a store shelf, I thought that it looked interesting. Nobody in the local game shop knew much about it, though. I went home and looked up a little more information about it, and found Amazon selling it a ridiculously low price, I had to at least try it. Little did I know it would become my first entry in Review a Bad Game Day.

Featuring characters crossing over from the Dragon Warrior universe and the Nintendo universe, players participate in a board game, rolling a die and having the option to buy up property. You can try to bid on properties that are already owned, or forcefully overtake them by paying much more than their current value. You might do this because properties in a series are worth more when you own them all. You also travel around the board collecting suits (like cards: Ace, Heart, Spade, Club) and use them to ‘power up’ your property the next time you land on one (much like buying houses or hotels in Monopoly).

And that’s that. There are more complex rules one can play by, some sort of stock market simulator is involved… I left the game at a friend’s house and he played it more than I did, but literally only out of sheer boredom.

Evidently the Fortune Street series has had a long run in Japan, but they must have known American Audiences might react this way to it, as it did not see a release in the United States until it appeared here on the Nintendo Wii, featuring cross-over characters like Mario and Donkey Kong. Unfortunately, the gameplay makes me feel like a pompous business man, not a hyper-active Italian plumber in a fictional land of wonder and amazement.

Fortune Street plays like Mario Party meets Monopoly but with gameplay designed by actual bankers.& realtors. Frankly, if you want Mario Party, get Mario Party, if you want Monopoly, get Monopoly.