Steve Jobs

On Saturday October 8th, 2011, in Apple, Computer, Family, Friends, Health, News, Technology, by Michael Watson

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

On October 5, 2011, Steve Jobs left this earth to move on towards better things.

This was a complete surprise for me and definitely caught me off guard. I knew his time was near but I always was optimistic as I’m sure he was. After all, Steve has been through so much and conquered so much.

Steve was my mentor. I had never met him in person, but it was his public face at Apple that was inspirational to me. He was so captivating in all his presentations, and left me in complete suspense with every sentence.

Some people ponder as kids and hope to grow up as firemen or astronauts. As a teen, I secretly wanted to be Steve Jobs.

Thank you for your inspiration Steve!

Michael Watson

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Extreme Couponing for the Kingdom

On Sunday April 24th, 2011, in Business, Food, Ministry, News, Shopping, Technology, TV, Web, by Michael Watson

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I was watching Extreme Couponing the other day on TV. This show explores the addictive nature of coupon clipping and the gratification they get when they go on large shopping sprees or hoard enough items to live on for a year or two.  These people go to the extreme by spending most of their days searching for coupons, going to grocery stores to pre-shop, calculate different coupon deals and making detailed lists of the items that they are going to buy. It is something that is unhealthy as these people strive for the free deal and hoard all of these unneeded supplies for the sake of satisfaction.

The coupon cutters in the show do it so well that they will fill up handfulls of shopping  carts totaling a thousand to several thousand dollars and after they use their coupons, they will only end up paying tens or maybe hundreds of dollars. Some of them will only shop for free coupons which results in the shopper only paying the sales tax that would have been incurred when buying a regular priced item. If they can not find the coupons themselves, shoppers pay a coupon cutting service which cuts out coupons on behalf of couponers and sends the coupons to the shopper for a small fee. This allows shoppers to buy tens or hundreds of items at the same time because these coupon services have the ability to find thousands of coupons.

How does coupon cutting advance His Kingdom? Well this one coupon cutter did something that was almost inspirational. – I say almost because as a business major the idea that people could cut so many coupons and pay close to nothing is astonishing to me. – This coupon cutter saw a sale on cereal and calculated the price on boxes of cereal after a couple complimentary deals. This gentleman got coupons from a coupon cutting service. He alerted the store in advance that they needed to order a thousand boxes of cereal as he was going to buy them all. He bought a thousand boxes of cereal for under one hundred dollars. The great part was after we saw him purchase all of this cereal, he announced that the cereal was going to a local food bank. With coupons he was able to do so much more for the homeless and for God’s kingdom than people who donate money alone.

I think it is awesome that he was able to buy so much food for such a low price. This presents a great opportunity for philanthropists everywhere. However, I wonder if there are other ethical considerations that must be reconciled. For example, is it taking advantage of a company to use coupons in a way that would allow you to get food for close to free? The reason why companies give coupons is for prospective customers to sample, try, or reward their products or services. Coupons were not intended for people to constantly receive free products or services. On the other hand, why would a company allow customers to cut coupons and get a thousand of items for free if they couldn’t support it or indirectly allow it?

Is Extreme Couponing okay? Is it okay for helping the unfortunate?


On Wednesday March 2nd, 2011, in Apple, iPad, iPhone, News, Rumors, Technology, by Michael Watson
Logo of the anti-RFID campaign by German priva...

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One of the more interesting features that will be coming to the iPhone and iPad in the future is NFC. NFC stands for Near Field Communication. What NFC technology would do for the iPhone is let iPhone customers use their phones to pay for transactions. Some examples of NFC devices are the Mobile Speedpass or a credit card that you tap on a payment device, in order to charge your card account.

Currently there are opportunities for iphone customers to pay with their phones such as with the Starbucks Mobile app, however the implementation is not perfect. Inside the app, a barcode is displayed to be scanned at the register. There seems to be a large delay in the reading of the barcode and sometimes the barcode will not even scan. These issues could be as a result of things trivial like the angle the iPhone is held at amount of light given off by the backlight.

Some of these issues would ideally be fixed by NFC technology. Users would only have to have a device onto or next to a reader rather than at a specific angle or using certain default settings. However NFC technology also incorporates a new threat which is security. With RFID, there is a lot of debate about security in that people with special devices, pick up RFID information from large distances, without users knowing. It will be interesting to see what security precautions NFC will utilize and if it will be safe enough for most people to consider.

Do Not Get an iPhone 4 on Verizon!

On Friday January 21st, 2011, in Apple, iPhone, Technology, Verizon, by Michael Watson
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 11:  Apple Chief Operat...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

There is a lot of pent up lust towards the iPhone moving to the Verizon Wireless network. However users should beware because the iPhone 4 is already outdated and will soon be moving to technological graveyards. Every summer Apple releases a new version of the iPhone. That means in a mere 6 months everyone will experience a form of post purchase dissonance because the iPhone will be moving toward bigger and better features, even possibly 4G.

What people do not realize, is that right now cellular technology is switching to 4G. 4G will lead to faster data connections which hopefully will translate into better service for all. Since 4G is fairly new, there are a few downsides such as data costs, lack of standards, and lack of hardware maturity. Currently the price for data is $50 for 5GBs and $80 for 10GBs. The only devices that support 4G on Verizon are laptop cards because voice standards were not complete to allow for phones. Finally devices are fairly new so they are more bulky and battery life takes a pretty large hit with 4G.

If you could, I would suggest you hold off on a new iPhone. You have waited for years and should be able to wait a few more months. I think it would be stupid to buy an iPhone using old technology which would be obsolete in six months and unless you could afford it.

Verizon iPhone 4

On Friday January 21st, 2011, in Apple, Business, Disney, Family, iPhone, Technology, Verizon, by Michael Watson
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 11:  Apple Chief Operat...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

After years of anticipation, Verizon Wireless finally announced, in cooperation with Apple, that they would get the iPhone 4. This announcement has been something that I have been waiting for two years now. Years of unreliable service due to the unanticipated amount of data usage on AT&T‘s cellular sites has left many iPhone customers unhappy with their wireless service. When the iPhone 4 launches on Verizon, it will be interesting to see how many people switch from AT&T to Verizon. It will also be interesting to see how many current customers on Verizon Wireless were holding back from switching from AT&T, knowing the pour quality of service, that finally purchase the iPhone. Personally, i’m waiting to see what issues arrise on the Verizon Wireless network because of the influx of new iPhone customers.

As an AT&T customer with an Apple iPhone 4, I have been relatively pleased with my service over the past year and don’t see a reason for switching. Many other people however are having consistent connection problems that render their phones useless. It is especially bad for dense, highly populated cities, for AT&T to offer reliable service to all of their customers. My mom for example has a very difficult time getting signal, even with a MicroCell from AT&T. Her wireless service is horrible and the only reasonable service she has is through her land line.

Beginning with the iPhone, the amounts of data that carrier networks have to support has skyrocketed. AT&T simply wasn’t able to supply wireless resources for the demand that the iPhone would place on their towers. I noticed this a couple of years ago. There was a time where dropped calls were the norm and in urban settings in Orange County, CA signal and bandwidth was hard to come by. Now AT&T’s quality of service has at leased improved somewhat. This could very well be the fact however that I am very close to a reliable cellular antenna. However at work, they have installed more attenea’s so that iphone users can get better service where on a normal to busy night, iPhone users could not get data service of any kind.

The wireless capacity at cellular sites are not the only issue. This past year while pre-ordering devices through the AT&T website, their servers became overwhelmed which created chaos of many duplicate and lost pre-orders. This resulted in long lines for customers desperate to get an iPhone, that were not able to pre-order. Then on January 11th, Current Verizon customers were seeing issues visiting their customer portal to check for upgrade eligibility because Verizon’s website servers could not handle the load. Every year at launch time we see incredible lines of people waiting (as I did last year) in order to purchase or upgrade to the next version of the iPhone. Then within several hours, around the world there are thousands upon thousands of device activations going through network servers of AT&T at the same time. Every year we see AT&T’s servers become overwhelmed and result in many unhappy customers that cant use their phones for hours and sometimes even days.

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