Why do companies have such a hard time marketing good products?

I’ve often wondered this.

A company makes a good product. Innovative. Useful. Something people would want, and, in fact, are eager to buy.

And then, the company throws up roadblocks that make it hard for people to purchase.

Why do they do this?

Take for instance the books available on Apple’s new iPad. The books are in color, have sound and stimulating graphics, and are a good alternative to those available on the Kindle. But can anyone really buy into Apple’s eBook channel, which, since it is only available on the iPad means first buying an iPad, without knowing what books are available?

Amazon allows you to search the Kindle Store without having to own a Kindle. But does Apple?

No.

Is this simply an oversight? Could the company capable of producing the iPhone and now the iPad really be capable of such an omission? If yes, then there is something terribly wrong with marketing. If no, then one wonders what hubris Apple must have to expect customers to lay down $500+ for the privilege of peeking at the book list.

In what world does this approach make sense?

Knowledge is king, especially in marketing. If you know how people think, you can know what they want to buy. So Apple, here’s a hint: I want to buy an eBook reader to replace my daughter’s falling-off-the-shelf book collection. She likes books like “Animal Ark.” The Kindle doesn’t offer these.

Does the iPad?

I don’t know.

Published in: on April 21, 2010 at 11:18 am  Leave a Comment  
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Install VM Tools Under VMWare Player

After reading several explanations on how to install the VMTools to a VMWare Player guest OS, I found this to be the simplest approach:

  1. Install VMWare Workstation (this will uninstall VMWare Player, but you can reinstall it afterwards)
  2. Make a copy of the windows.iso* file that is included in the Workstation install
  3. Uninstall Workstation
  4. Reinstall VMWare Player
  5. Use a USB drive to copy windows.iso to your guest OS
  6. Install WinRAR in your guest OS and associate it with .iso files
  7. Use WinRAR to expand windows.iso to your desktop in the guest OS.
  8. Run the setup.exe program

Update

To easily attach the iso file to your guest OS, in the VMWare Player, select the Devices menu and choose CD/DVD / Connect to Disk Image File…

*The windows.iso is for a Windows guest OS. There is also a linux, WinPre2K, solaris, freebsd and netware iso.

Published in: on January 27, 2010 at 9:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Make Bootable DVD from Windows 7 Download

Download oscdimg.exe and put it in C:\Windows\System32 (or anywhere on your path).

Start a command shell with elevated privileges.


D:\>oscdimg -bd:\win7pro\expandedSetup\boot\etfsboot.com -u2 -h -m -lWIN_EN_DVD D:\win7pro\expandedSetup\ D:\win7pro.iso

OSCDIMG 2.54 CD-ROM and DVD-ROM Premastering Utility
Copyright (C) Microsoft, 1993-2007. All rights reserved.
Licensed only for producing Microsoft authorized content.

Scanning source tree (500 files in 48 directories)
Scanning source tree complete (874 files in 201 directories)

Computing directory information complete

Image file is 2520809472 bytes

Writing 874 files in 201 directories to D:\win7pro.iso

100% complete

Final image file is 2523011072 bytes

Done.

D:\>

Use imgburn (direct download) to write the iso to disc.

Published in: on November 10, 2009 at 3:51 am  Leave a Comment  

The device “Microsoft AV/C Tape Subunit Device” could not be opened.

This is an interesting one. I’ve been using Vegas since version 3 and I’ve never had this issue. When I capture using the Canon HV20, I get “device not connected.” I tried using the DV capture option, and I get a new message:

“The device “Microsoft AV/C Tape Subunit Device” could not be opened.”

The solution is Options / Preferences / Video / Uncheck “Use external video capture application.”

Now, when I go to the HDV or SDI capture application, Vegas sees my camera again.

Thinking this over, this makes no sense why it solved my problem. I wasn’t originally using the DV external capture option. I was using the HDV option. Somehow, though, going through that process reset something in Vegas and now it’s working.

Happy editing!

Published in: on September 27, 2009 at 4:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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Aidan5

Since IMPS isn’t ready yet (c’mon, how long does it take to put together a professional, world-class movie using volunteers and no budget), you must check out another offering (also made with volunteers and no budget) — Aidan5.

It’s a cool, sci-fi web series filmed in Columbus, Ohio that has the feel of a graphic novel. The site also has lots of pictures showing how the episodes are made which is great for film students.
aidan5

Published in: on August 14, 2009 at 3:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Essential MS Windows Software

Here is the list of software applications I install after a refresh of Microsoft Windows:

Published in: on May 20, 2009 at 12:44 pm  Comments (1)  

US State List for Drupal Select List

Here’s a ready-to-go list of U.S. States suitable for use in Drupal (or any compliant CMS) that likes to see select options as pipe (|) separated key-value pairs on each line.

AL|Alabama
AK|Alaska
AZ|Arizona
AR|Arkansas
CA|California
CO|Colorado
CT|Connecticut
DE|Delaware
DC|District Of Columbia
FL|Florida
GA|Georgia
HI|Hawaii
ID|Idaho
IL|Illinois
IN|Indiana
IA|Iowa
KS|Kansas
KY|Kentucky
LA|Louisiana
ME|Maine
MD|Maryland
MA|Massachusetts
MI|Michigan
MN|Minnesota
MS|Mississippi
MO|Missouri
MT|Montana
NE|Nebraska
NV|Nevada
NH|New Hampshire
NJ|New Jersey
NM|New Mexico
NY|New York
NC|North Carolina
ND|North Dakota
OH|Ohio
OK|Oklahoma
OR|Oregon
PA|Pennsylvania
RI|Rhode Island
SC|South Carolina
SD|South Dakota
TN|Tennessee
TX|Texas
UT|Utah
VT|Vermont
VA|Virginia
WA|Washington
WV|West Virginia
WI|Wisconsin
WY|Wyoming

Published in: on May 8, 2009 at 5:35 pm  Comments (16)  
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Sony Vegas Template for Sony Walkman

So, you just got your sweet Sony Video Walkman, and you want to put your own videos on it. Of course you do. That’s why you bought it.

Sony Video Walkman

But what video format does the Walkman like? If you tried dragging a couples files over, you’ve discovered its very picky. And the included documentation isn’t very forthcoming. Let me save you hours of frustration.

Sony Vegas includes templates for Sony WALKMAN® and Apple iPod®. If you are a Sony Vegas user, use these templates. If you use another video editor, you should be able to glean the proper settings from the specifications (please post solutions for other video editors).

Vegas 7

To create a video for playback on a Sony Video Walkman using Sony Vegas 7, set your profile to 320×240, progressive, pixel aspect 1.000, 29.97 frames per second

Use the MainConcept AVC/AAC (.mp4) – Apple Ipod 320×240 template for rendering.

Published in: on March 8, 2009 at 4:32 am  Leave a Comment  
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Windows XP Close Buttons

  • XP Close button
  • XP Close button hovered
Published in: on February 10, 2009 at 5:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Diagnosing Payne Furnace Codes 33 and 13

Recently, my Pane PG8DAA downflow furnace stopped delivering heat. The fan was running constantly, but the air was cold. The trouble codes were 33 which becomes 13 after a period of time. Powering off the furnace and restarting would trigger the gas ignition, but it would not stay on. After having the unit inspected professionally, the problem was determined to be poor airflow caused by clogged filters. I use 3M Filtrete filters and the technicians said it’s very common for these high grade filters to clog early and when they do it’s like having a piece of plywood in the air way. He said these kinds of filters should be checked every 30 days.

Since the trouble code pointed to the flame roll-out sensor, I thought manually resetting that would be the way I’d get the gas back on. The technician explained that if I had had a flame roll-out problem, my eyebrows would have been signed off. In other words, there would be no mistaking it. You would see the flames rolling out of the furnace.

My old furnace had a heat exchanger that had to be inspected every year for dangerous cracks. Given that the high limit switch was also a culprit, I was concerned that I might not have a similar problem and so I was glad to have the unit inspected. The tech said the newer furnaces are so pressure sensitive that cracks in the heat exchanger are very evident. You will see flames rolling out or the flame change from blue to yellow as it mixes with air leaking into the exchanger. He said he could tell just by looking at the flame that there were no cracks in the exchanger.

Here are the things I learned :

These codes can be set by a problem with the high limit switch, which shuts off the gas when the temperature in the heat exchanger exceeds the upper limit.

Symptoms: the blower fan comes on immediately after powering the furnace back on. The gas does not come on.

If you suspect this as the problem, try setting the fan from auto to on to cool the exchanger. Make sure all the vents are open. Clean or replace all the filters.

You can reset the high limit switch by tapping on the tan plate above the wires. Be careful to not touch to wires.

High limit sensor

If the problem is the high limit switch, these are temporary measures that may provide a work-around until you can have the unit professionally inspected.

These codes may also require the limit or flame roll-out switch to be reset. The two switches are located above the three burners. If the flame “rolls out” instead of into the heat exchanger, the sensors detect the heat and shut off the gas. Manually reset the sensor by turning off the furnace and pressing the center tab down on the back, upper side, of the switch.

Flame roll-out sensors

Or, they may mean dusty burners. Clean by using turning off the furnace and blowing compressed air into the burners. A shop-vac that can blow air can be used as well.

Ensure that there are no closed vents which would restrict air flow. Clean or replace all the filters. High grade filters like 3M Filtrete, because of their efficiency, may need to be replaced earlier than the manufacturer’s recommended 90 days. Check every 30 days.

Additionally, the flame sensor may need to be cleaned. Steel wool is best. Fine sand paper may be used, but you must remove the sand paper residue with a damp paper towel.

Published in: on January 30, 2009 at 1:26 pm  Comments (46)  
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