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Gary Allen
Works at ifoAppleStore.com
Lives in California
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Gary Allen

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Gary Allen

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T-Mobile's latest cellular pricing changes has confirmed what we should have realized before: The carriers are in lock-step, just like the airline industry. You may know that each airline has a pricing team, sitting in front of computers screens, doing spreadsheet math every minutes of the day. They plug in cost factors—which change at least daily—and add in route information: distance, flight frequency, passenger loads. They then come up with fares that cover the costs. But it's the second team that's really interesting. They're watching other airlines' fares. Within minutes of another airline changing a fare, the team is prepared to revise their own fares to match. Sometimes the changes are temporary, sometimes semi-permanent. Sometimes the fares are really short-lived, as the pricing teams discover that the first airline to make the price change was nuts to do it. Within days, everyone goes back to the same fare. Well, you get the idea. It's happening to cellular service. This latest round of pricing schemes based around more frequent handset upgrades is just crazy…and obtuse. Bloggers have tried to untangle the various carrier prices, and have found it's lower in some cases but not others. Who can take the time to figure it out, and what advantage does it have (except for the person  who wants a new handset every six months)? Either way, we now know the carriers are watching each other closely, and are willing to quickly make changes to their plans if someone else moves first. As with the airline industry, the changes usually aren't best for the consumer. Update: The Wall Street Journal has come up with a Wireless Savings Calculator that studied 700 plans and took three months to construct. Yikes! - http://graphics.wsj.com/PhonePlan/
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Gary Allen

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Here's an interesting idea for finding lost things, but a more interesting demonstration of social interaction. By itself, Tile will help you find a lost set of keys in the places you usually visit. But if EVERYone in America bought one of these things, it could help find ANYthing. That's because everyone who buys a Tile and uses the app becomes a "locator." If you Tile your bike or car or camera bag, and it goes missing, other Tile users will unknowingly report coming within 150 feet of it, and you'll get a notification. Truly cooperative. But will enough people buy Tile to make it truly useful?
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In case you think that it's easy for a company to use social media to enhance its image and reputation, check United Airlines' Facebook announcement this afternoon of more inflight amenities for their fleet. Within an hour of posting the page, commenters had posted 66 remarks ridiculing the improvements and criticizing United's service and fares. Sigh. How eager do you think United's Web team is to come to work every day to be faced with this kind of feedback?
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Gary Allen

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Apple's latest TV commercials are receiving lots of attention…and analysis. But let's not slice-and-dice them too much. It's the same message that Apple (via Steve and now Tim) have been saying for years. The company's work is not about the products, it's about what you can DO with the products. Sorta like Emerson's, "Life is a journey, not a destination" quote. Those of you who are old enough to remember computer marketing pitches from the Dell and Gateway days recall it was all about "hertz" and "bytes." Bigger numbers—where bigger is better. Eventually CPU speeds nearly maxed out, and buyers became disinterested in numbers and turned to other features. But Samsung and others seem to have reinvigorated the interest in features for smartphones—and their phones have TON of them! Even generous reviewers say the Galaxy 4 has more photo features than anyone really wants. So it's logical that Apple bring the advertising conversation back to what it's really always been: What can I accomplish with my product? The things you can do with an iPhone or a Mac can be intensely personal—music, photos, videos, written words. And Apple's TV commercial are reflecting that.
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Gary Allen

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Let me set the record straight: The person who gave up their place in line to Gloria Mackenzie would NOT have won the $590.5 million Powerball jackpot. Sorry. Think about it. First, Mackenzie purchased a computer-generated ticket that later matched all the numbers. Second, at that point the Powerball system was probably registering thousands of tickets per second. If Mindy Crandell had not given up her place in line, but had hesitated at the magazine rack for half a second instead, she would have received a different set of numbers. Perhaps most interesting, however, is that each local terminal selects "quick picks" tickets. A Powerball official said each terminal has a random number generator, instead of some master number combination generator at HQ. So, even the location of the purchase would have been a factor in this case. Oh, and Crandell isn't angry about the loss, but feels it was a great lesson for her daughter.
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Gary Allen

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It's pretty clear that an "Apple television set" is NOT the product that Apple has in mind for consumers. Instead, they're headed towards disruption of TV broadcasting, somehow putting themselves between the origination of content and the viewer. It's way too soon to tell more precisely which slices (or slices) of the TV broadcast stream Apple will occupy. But in general, it's going to start somewhere after the broadcast networks and cable providers, and before the cable box (or more likely, in place of the cable box). This particular slice isn't content origination-related, or  just technical. It includes the revenue stream for content all along the way. And it's here that Apple may be more of a disruption than creating a super-Tivo cable box. In Lessin's article, she suggests that Apple would be willing to create a premium TV service, and use some of those revenues to offset lost advertising revenue as a result of fast-forwarding. Who else has the money—or audacity—to do that? Not Tivo. As more rumors surface about Apple's television plans, keep you view wide. Apple's usual disruptions occur from top to bottom.
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Gary Allen

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Yes, I'm old enough to do an impression of a 300 baud modem (screeech!) and to remember the Alta Vista search site, which Yahoo has just announced will be going dark. Something as logical as "search" wasn't so obvious back then, when there really wasn't lots of Web pages to search through. Being able to find stuff was just amazing, but that there was another effect on the Web—cohesion. Being able to find Web pages also gave you a sense of related content, and how sites were pointing to one another via links. There were actually other people out there posting information, and sometimes their material included links to something YOU posted—it was quite the revolution. Now, of course, search has become an enormous collection of information from which to find answers. And we find our "community" in other ways. So goodbye, Alta Vista. And thanks for ranking ifoApplestore.com so high.
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Gary Allen

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Think about the Edward Snowden situation. Day Zero: Everyone in America knew that all of their telephone calls were located and logged, either by the phone companies or the government. And everyone really knew that their Internet traffic was logged, analyzed and used, again, either by ISPs, Google, Microsoft or the government. Day One: Mr. Snowden's revelation appeared in a newspaper, basically confirming what others had already speculated, and what U.S. citizens knew. Nothing else changed. We simply found out it was true. So now newscasters are called Snowden America's "most wanted" criminal, and even Snowden is putting himself out there as a super whistle blower. Well, think about that, too. Others have divulged government secrets before, too. And their secrets were REALLY secrets—we had no idea the government was supplying weapons to Iran, in violation of an arms embargo. We also didn't didn't know that our politicians lied about significant decisions made in connection southeast Asian countries, including Vietnam. Snowden's revelations are entirely different—what he "revealed" was authorized by Congress, our representatives. You might say that someone lied, but really they mostly just didn't mention the surveillance. So how big is Snowden's fame, really? Between the media's need to promote the story as historic and significant, and Snowden's self-aggrandizement, this moment in history has grown larger than it really is. Yes, we still DO need to debate the original Congressional vote to approve this surveillance (Couldn't the government have left the data with the telecom companies, and queried it only when needed?), but we also need to step back and put a perspective on the situation.
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Gary Allen

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For a guy who doesn't want the spotlight to be on himself, but rather on the issue, Edward Snowden sure talks a lot about himself. And for someone focused on the issues, he and the Guardian sure seem convinced of his eternal fame and notoriety. All I'm getting from this article is mixed messages.
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Gary Allen

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Let's take a top-down look at the current government spotlight on Apple in connection with taxes. First, it's a little difficult to ponder corporate profits, taxes and percentages on the same day that residents of Oklahoma are being pulled from beneath flattened homes, and refugees from the on-going Syrian civil war are pouring across the border into Jordan.

And, we should all realize that Congressional hearings rarely provide any significant insights or result in any meaningful legislation. They're intended to make one point to another, make witnesses look foolish and provide some visibility for members of Congress so they can tell their constituents, "I'm working hard!"

But if you do want to talk taxes, would you really start with a corporation that claims it pays more tax money than anyone else, is seemingly obeying every international tax law, and hasn't been accused of committing any crime?

We all know the U.S. tax code has become corroded and confused. It makes more sense to begin untangling parts of it before you go on a simple money-grab from American corporations. Maybe even untangle some parts related to ordinary citizens?

It's all pretty transparent to me. Drag in Apple execs, throw around a lot of big numbers, and ask some questions, but all for what? When this tax thing all blows over, Oklahoma will still be a disaster area, and patriots will still be dying in foreign countries for their freedom. And we should all be left wondering, is this the most important thing Congress should be tackling?
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People
Have him in circles
80 people
Work
Occupation
At this stage of my life, I'm defining my own goals.
Skills
Researching, analyzing and summarizing complex information about diverse topics; handling complex and fast-changing situations and imposing the best solutions.
Employment
  • ifoAppleStore.com
    Webmaster, 2003 - present
    Must monitor every tidbit of information about Apple Inc.'s retail stores and share it with the world.
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Story
Tagline
Apple Inc. retail store enthusiast and Webmaster of site that focuses on location, design, construction & staffing of the stores.
Introduction
I scan about 1,200 Web headlines a day to come up with interesting technology stories, including those related to Apple's retail stores.
Bragging rights
Apple store grand openings: US, Japan, UK, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Australia, China.
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
California