McCain Responds

After my post about Obama's VP selection, it's only fair I analyze/mock McCain's as well.

McCain picked Sara Palin, the Governor of Alaska, and 'hockey mom'. It is certainly an interesting pick. She has no national experience, and is Governor of a pretty unique state. Granted, national experience isn't a big deal (Governor seems to be a better path to President than Senator, except for this year at least), but Alaska isn't a typical state either.

So how about "Old white man picks attractive young female to campaign against young attractive black man."

It is certainly a risky pick, and helps McCain resurrect his 'maverick' status. What is really interesting is the 'experience' question. I find odd that the Democratic talking points (or at least as I hear them on CNN tonight) are focused on her (lack of) experience. Is attacking her experience as a Governor and Washington outsider really the best approach when your candidate is running on 'change' and is relatively inexperienced as well? How different are Obama and Palin?

It'll be an interesting few months. I've been of the opinion that this election was Obama's to lose for a while now, but I'm surprised at how McCain is holding strong/gaining in the polls. This one could be close (or a blowout, who knows).

And I'm watching for the first mention of in the mainstream press.

Political Season Kicks Off

The US election season officially kicks off in high gear today with the announcement of the first Vice Presidential Candidate. News Flash:

"Candidate of change selects old white man, Washington insider, in campaign against old white man."

Joe Biden, a long time senator, two time presidential candidate, and hawk is selected by Obama as his running mate. The ticket is already being called Obiden.

I think Biden is a great choice to complement Obama's weaknesses once he is elected. However, for the election he also helps accentuate the differences, with a treasure trove of quotes from Biden criticising Obama.

One thing is certain, Biden will make an effective attack dog on the campaign trail, and will be formitable in the VP Debates. The ball is now in McCain's court.

Apple Growing Pains

Apple well on its way to becoming a dominant computing and personal electronics company. Apple is on the rise, and nothing is likely to change that in the near future.

That said, Apple is showing signs of growing pains. While the 3g iPhone is an amazing product (as the original was), it is starting to demonstrate some of the issues faced by even the best device and software vendors. Whether it was the uptime issues with MobileMe, the lags experienced by iPhone users, or the instability introduced by the third party software (or so they say), Apple is starting to experience some of the issues they've mocked their competitors for.

When I hear stories on the Apple podcasts I listen to (MacBreak Weekly as an example) about how reinstalling the OS on their iPhone three times helped get rid of their issues, Apple users come dangerously close to sounding like PC users. How does reinstalling the OS three times equal 'just works'? I'm yet to reinstall Vista once!

None of the issues I've heard around the new iPhone or iPhone OS are really critical. Instead, they are the little issues that are experienced by some users some of the time that can be worked around if you just do this, this, and this. Yep, that sounds like a PC user.

Apple's greatest differentiator is that their stuff 'just works'. They have a great brand right now, and they did an amazing job at decimating the public perception of Vista. If Microsoft had the guts and creativity of Apple, they could launch a scathing PR campaign mocking Apple's 'just works' philosophy, their distortion of the performance of the phone, and their issues with MobileMe. But Microsoft won't do that, and doesn't have anything that really competes.

Apple will succeed. Not because these issues are not real, but because they still have better products with a better user experience. No one else is really playing the same game as Apple.

It will be interesting to see Apple deal with these growing pains. As John Gruber points out, releasing an upgrade of the OS with the release notes simply saying 'Bug Fixes' won't fly as their user base grows.

The Syndicated Web

My iTunes Export application was mentioned in a recent article on PC World (11 Things We Hate About iTunes). iTunes Export receives mentions quite regularly now, so that isn't necessarily interesting on its own. What I did find interesting was what happened next...

The article was first posted on PC World about a week ago (August 11th). Since then, I've received about 800 visits from the link in the article (total for the week). As a comparison, when the application was mentioned on LifeHacker, I received over 2,400 visits in a single day. I was glad for the PC World mention, but it didn't have a significant impact.

I use Google Alerts to track when Google indexes new pages that link to my site. In the days following the PC World article I started seeing several sites re-post the article. Most of these re-postings didn't appear to be officially sanctioned. I also didn't see any real traffic from these sites.

A few more days passed, and then article was picked up by on the front page of (direct link). This brought nearly 5,000 visits the first day (yesterday), and I expect will drive reasonable traffic for the next few days. The MSN traffic dwarfed that of the PC World and LifeHacker mentions.

I drew several conclusions from all this:

1. The Internet is too big. We are beyond the point that anyone can track a reasonable breadth of sites for interesting content. We must instead depend on aggregators to help us find and filter content. Whether that is Digg, Yahoo Buzz, Boing Boing, or this blog (if so, you need to get out more), these gateway sites have become front pages for the Internet. Just as we used to mock AOL users for viewing AOL as the Internet, we've shifted to Yahoo, MSN, Digg, and others as our gateways.

2. The internet is made up of small potatoes. Whther it is a blog, web page, or YouTube video, most content on the web is created for and viewed by a very small number of people. Only rarely do sites achieve the level of noteriaty to make them household names. And even the big sites (such as LifeHacker) are nothing compared to the gateways (Yahoo, MSN, etc.).

I'm mostly OK with this. Yes, a few sites have a rediculious amount of power, but just as AOL users became more proficcient and began to find the niche sites that interested them, so will today's Yahoo and MSN users. Well, one can hope.

Michael Wesch

Michael Wesch is an anthropologist with an interest in the Internet. He posted an interesting video a while back (The Machine is Using Us) that got quite a bit of attention.

I just saw (via John Battelle's Blog) a video of him presenting at the Library of Congress. It is interesting to see him analyze and reflect on some of the changes that have occurred in the last few years, and how it is changing our world.

As someone who rarely spends much time watching video on the small screen, I enjoyed all of this 55 minute video.