Category: The Rant

Today I received the following email (screenshot below) from Nikon Customer Support regarding the issue with the black frame around the image when capturing video on an external recording device (such as the Atomos Ninja or Blackmagic Hyperdeck Shuttle) via the HDMI port of the D600. It looks like they’re escalating this to the engineers (I assume) in Japan. (see the previous post covering the D600 HDMI bug here)

Quick iPhone pic of D600 + Ninja (left) and D800 + Ninja (right) showing the difference in HDMI output frame size — see the second shot below for a closeup:

I’ll update with a new post once I hear back from Nikon.

In the meantime, if you are using the D600 with an HDMI recorder, note that you can size out the black frame completely by scaling your clips up to 105.5% (or larger) in your post-production apps (e.g. Final Cut Pro), or via a transcoding tool such as MPEG Streamclip (under the Zoom option). 105.5% is the minimum scale amount I’ve found to work, as 105% scaling as others have suggested still leaves a slight black edge for me. Hope that helps!

“If I make you do good, will it make you good?”

Last month my family and I had the opportunity to visit the home of some good friends (I’ll refer to them as the “Smiths” hereafter). What started as a friendly conversation quickly degraded into a spirited debate on education vs. compulsory schooling. Our family shares a great deal of respect for the Smiths, and we see eye-to-eye on quite a few topics, but one topic on which we have long differed is that of education. While the Smiths are far from evangelists touting the virtues of a public compulsory school system (one which is clearly failing to satisfy society’s needs let alone meet the minimum criteria of what constitutes a successful education) they do have a healthy appetite for the “fringe benefits” of the public system and the value it brings students and families when compared against the absence of such a system.

And therein lies the chief problem: this wonderful family, a family which has produced amazing children and has had a great impact in society, has also fallen prey to one of the biggest droughts plaguing society today — the drought of imagination. Now I can’t prove what I believe, namely that the Smiths are merely suffering the deadening effects of a system that has waged war on one of our strongest differentiators from other, more brute beasts in the world. But I can say with 100% veracity that the Smiths are in nowise the minority in their lack of ability to imagine a world where compulsion is not the key ingredient in the concoction that is today more commonly sold under the label of “A Child’s Schooling.”

My personal beliefs – reinforced by the Christian values to which I subscribe – induce me to declare war against compulsion. I’m no stranger to the subject, either. I was raised in a world that was pretty much the epitome of the classical compulsive system. I attended church and school where my non-standard questions were an unwelcome interruption to the ultra-standard curriculum. I lived in a home where I was expected to behave as my parents imagined a good young boy should behave. I even consumed much of my entertainment according to someone else’s prescribed pattern. Everywhere I went, people were (sometimes passively but usually actively) telling me what I should say, how I should think, where I should go, and what I should do. Honestly, it would be better described as telling me what not to say, think, or do. Apparently, I wasn’t a very “good” boy. 😉

Now, I don’t want to sound like I’m merely blaming the world for my woes. In fact, I am the first to admit that I’m as guilty as the rest of us in many ways, bestowing the burden of compulsion upon my own children, friends, acquaintances, and even myself. I, too, suffer from a lack of imagination, if only to a lesser degree. I’m not fighting the war against compulsion out of sense of superiority. I do it precisely because I recognize my own inferiority against this principle which I so despise. As is the case when overcoming any great challenge, I’ve found myself investing a great deal of time pursuing an education on the matter. It has begun with a sizable investment of my conscious thought and observation into the matter of education and compulsion over the past decade or more. I’ve also done a bit of “light reading” on the matter, and will no doubt be sharing those resources here as time goes on.

The debate that accompanied our visit to the Smith’s home last month was stirring for me. So stirring, in fact, that I decided to write a letter to them in an attempt express the many things that were not communicated (or were communicated poorly) that evening. I realized there were some key principles at the foundation of my views that weren’t even discussed. I can see how, in lieu of these basic building blocks, confusion and skepticism might abound. And so it was that I decided to write a letter to the Smiths in an attempt to clearly outline the foundation of my views. If this is indeed a true, universal principle, adherence to it will no doubt vary from individual to individual, family to family, and society to society. However, one important distinction will exist: we will cease liberal peppering of force and compulsion in the rearing and tutelage of our young minds.

I publish this letter here today because it has become clear to me over the last month that this is more than a simple communique to the Smith family. This is, more or less, my manifesto on the principle of the agency of man. This “manifesto” is certainly far from exhaustive. However, I post it here with the hope that I will either be proven irrefutably wrong in my faulty beliefs, or so the discussion can flourish and develop into real change. Either way, I want to know whether the arguments in this document are efficacious, or merely fallacy.

The conversations I’ve already shared with those who have read this have been amazing, and extremely enlightening. So I invite you to read this, pass it along, add to it, comment on it, and let me know if it has had any impact in your life, good or bad. I have felt for some time that this is a conversation we need to have in this crazy world, especially today.

Please find the PDF below:

On Compulsion – A Manifesto on Agency and Force (PDF)

Only the educated would read this. My guess is it will go unread.

That Which is Seen, and That Which is Not Seen

by Frederic Bastiat, 1850

“IX. CREDIT

“In all times, but more especially of late years, attempts have been made to extend wealth by the extension of credit.

“I believe it is no exaggeration to say, that since the revolution of February, the Parisian presses have issued more than 10,000 pamphlets, crying up this solution of the social problem. The only basis, alas! of this solution, is an optical delusion – if, indeed, an optical delusion can be called a basis at all.

“The first thing done is to confuse cash with produce, then paper money with cash; and from these two confusions it is pretended that a reality can be drawn.

“It is absolutely necessary in this question to forget money, coin, bills, and the other instruments by means of which productions pass from hand to hand; our business is with the productions themselves, which are the real objects of the loan; for when a farmer borrows fifty francs to buy a plough, it is not, in reality, the fifty francs which are lent to him, but the plough: and when a merchant borrows 20,000 francs to purchase a house, it is not the 20,000 francs which he owes, but the house. Money only appears for the sake of facilitating the arrangements between the parties.

“Peter may not be disposed to lend his plough, but James may be willing to lend his money. What does William do in this case? He borrows money of James, and with this money he buys the plough of Peter.

“But, in point of fact, no one borrows money for the sake of the money itself; money is only the medium by which to obtain possession of productions. Now, it is impossible in any country to transmit from one person to another more productions than that country contains.

“Whatever may be the amount of cash and of paper which is in circulation, the whole of the borrowers cannot receive more ploughs, houses, tools, and supplies of raw material, than the lenders altogether can furnish; for we must take care not to forget, that every borrower supposes a lender, and that what is once borrowed implies a loan.

“This granted, what advantage is there in institutions of credit? It is, that they facilitate, between borrowers and lenders, the means of finding and treating with each other; but it is not in their power to cause an instantaneous increase of the things to be borrowed and lent. And yet they ought to be able to do so, if the aim of the reformers is to be attained, since they aspire to nothing less than to place ploughs, houses, tools, and provisions in the hands of all those who desire them.

“And how do they intend to effect this?

“By making the State security for the loan.

“Let us try and fathom the subject, for it contains something which is seen, and also something which is not seen. We must endeavour to look at both.

“We will suppose that there is but one plough in the world, and that two farmers apply for it.

“Peter is the possessor of the only plough which is to be had in France; John and James wish to borrow it. John, by his honesty, his property, and good reputation, offers security. He inspires confidence; he has credit. James inspires little or no confidence. It naturally happens that Peter lends his plough to John.

“But now, according to the Socialist plan, the State interferes, and says to Peter, “Lend your plough to James, I will be security for its return, and this security will be better than that of John, for he has no one to be responsible for him but himself; and I, although it is true that I have nothing, dispose of the fortune of the taxpayers, and it is with their money that, in case of need, I shall pay you the principal and interest.” Consequently, Peter lends his plough to James: this is what is seen.

“And the Socialists rub their hands, and say, “See how well our plan has answered. Thanks to the intervention of the State, poor James has a plough. He will no longer be obliged to dig the ground; he is on the road to make a fortune. It is a good thing for him, and an advantage to the nation as a whole.”

“Indeed, gentlemen, it is no such thing; it is no advantage to the nation, for there is something behind which is not seen.

“It is not seen, that the plough is in the hands of James, only because it is not in those of John.

“It is not seen, that if James farms instead of digging, John will be reduced to the necessity of digging instead of farming.

“That, consequently, what was considered an increase of loan, is nothing but a displacement of loan. Besides, it is not seen that this displacement implies two acts of deep injustice.

“It is an injustice to John, who, after having deserved and obtained credit by his honesty and activity, sees himself robbed of it.

“It is an injustice to the tax-payers, who are made to pay a debt which is no concern of theirs.

“Will any one say, that Government offers the same facilities to John as it does to James? But as there is only one plough to be had, two cannot be lent. The argument always maintains that, thanks to the intervention of the State, more will be borrowed than there are things to be lent; for the plough represents here the bulk of available capitals.

“It is true, I have reduced the operation to the most simple expression of it, but if you submit the most complicated Government institutions of credit to the same test, you will be convinced that they can have but on result; viz., to displace credit, not to augment it. In one country, and in a given time, there is only a certain amount of capital available, and all are employed. In guaranteeing the non-payers, the State may, indeed, increase the number of borrowers, and thus raise the rate of interest (always to the prejudice of the tax-payer), but it has no power to increase the number of lenders, and the importance of the total of the loans.

“There is one conclusion, however, which I would not for the world be suspected of drawing. I say, that the law ought not to favour, artificially, the power of borrowing, but I do not say that it ought not to restrain them artificially. If, in our system of mortgage, or in any other, there be obstacles to the diffusion of the application of credit, let them be got rid of; nothing can be better or more just than this. But this is all which is consistent with liberty, and it is all that any who are worthy of the name of reformers will ask.”

Nobody tells this to people who are beginners
I wish someone told me.
All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste.
But there is a gap.
For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.
But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you.
A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit.
Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this.
We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have.
We all go through this.
And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is
DO A LOT OF WORK
Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.
It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap
and your work will be as good as your ambitions
And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met.
It’s gonna take a while. It’s normal to take a while.
You’ve just gotta fight your way through it.
– Ira Glass

More of this, please.

The paradox of our age
We have bigger houses but smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time;
We have more degrees, but less sense;
more knowledge, but less judgement;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicines, but less healthiness;
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble crossing the street
to meet the new neighbor.
We built more computers to hold more information
to produce more copies than ever,
but have less communication;
We have become long on quantity,
but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods
but slow digestion;
Tall man but short character
Steep profits but shallow relationships.
It’s a time when there is much in the window,
but nothing in the room.
…His holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

UPDATE: Looks like it’s not as easy as everyone says it is to create a crappy photographic fake of a yet-to-be-announced camera. Lots of traffic, but zero entries. Guess we’ll try again next time. :)

UPDATE : I will close the competition on Wednesday, November 30th at 11:59pm EST. ***By submitting your entries, you consent that you are of legal age to compete, and have read through the terms, conditions, and requirements of this challenge.*** Please email your entries to contest@iamron.com

Fire up your machines and get those pixels popping!

UPDATE 2: Nikon Rumors Admin has generously donated a 32gb Sandisk Extreme card (SD OR CF) and offered to cover worldwide shipping and handling. The contest is now open to anybody worldwide. Thanks NR Admin!

There’s been a lot of talk about the leaked D800 images which were posted today on Nikon Rumors. Some are calling the images fake, photoshopped, composited, or claiming they are 3D renderings. There are a lot of comments like “I don’t consider myself a Photoshop expert, but…”

Well, heck. Since there’s no easy way to say this without sounding like an arrogant ass, I’ll just come out and say it: I consider myself a Photoshop expert. There are those who are better, to be sure, but I am confident I’m in the top 95% or so. I’m putting my stake in the ground, and my money where my mouth is. These images are real, and I’ll pay you to prove me wrong.

I made a comment on NR offering a free, brand new 16gb Sandisk CF or SD card to anyone who could create an image as convincing as the leaked images. Seeing as how there are so many commenters on there (possibly hundreds) who are sure the images are really the product of a photoshop hack job, I figure it won’t be hard for someone else to make something just as crappy, and yet just as convincing. The NR Admin chimed in and offered a sweet prize of his own to anyone who could come through with a convincing fake image.

The problem now is one of distribution. A challenge that only catches a handful of readers who chance upon one of over 1,000 comments is no challenge at all. So, without further ado, I’d like to officially announce my challenge to the world:

Winning Prize:

I will ship 1 of either Sandisk 16gb Extreme CF card or Sandisk 16gb Extreme SD card to anyone in the United States, or will paypal the equivalent purchase amount anywhere in the world. But we all know this isn’t about the prize. It’s about the bragging rights. 😉

NR Admin has generously donated a new 32gb card SD OR CF and worldwide shipping. This contest is now open to everyone. Thanks, Nikon Rumors!

Challenge:

You must create a composite image (e.g. compiled from existing images) or digital illustration (e.g. created entirely in photoshop or other illustration application) of a next generation, yet to be announced (or leaked :) ) Nikon or Canon prosumer DSLR design — the equivalent of the D700 or 5DmkII replacement (e.g. D800, D400, 5dMkIII, or 7dMkII). Keep in mind you CANNOT use any of the source images which NR rumor has just leaked.

25% original material rule: I estimate the leaked camera consists of about 33% new, never before publicized features/elements/design. Therefore, you are free to use existing images or artwork from other cameras, images, products, etc, but at least 25% of the fake image MUST consist of features/elements/design that you have created unique to you and your imagination, which is not taken verbatim from another image or product. For instance, the leaked images show a new command dial on the top of the camera. This is clearly not found on any other camera or device, and therefore would count against the 25% original material rule. If you use any elements to recreate new features or design, you must include that original artwork for reference.

Terms:

If you can create a convincing image that satisfies the criteria of being composited from source images or created entirely from scratch, (keeping in mind the 25% original material rule), you will be chosen as the winner and will receive the prize(s). Keep in mind that if definitive evidence can be found by me that the image is fake, the image will not win. In the event that numerous submissions fit the criteria of believability, the best submission will be chosen at the sole discretion of me, Ron Adair.

By submitting artwork, images, files or text (or any other stuff you could submit to me for this challenge) you are consenting to give me full permission to post — at my sole discretion — all, part, or none of your submission online both during and after the competition. In doing so, you also agree to accept the final decision which will be made by me, and promise that you will not complain, litigate, throw ice balls at my car windows, or steal my little kid’s trike…or become otherwise cantankerous or rude. Let’s all be cool here folks.

Joey Shooter, Issue #1

Updated version above. Original version here. Thanks to you Dan for the suggestions.

There are a number of folks around the internetz who seem to have forgotten two basic realities in regards to Nikon’s forthcoming announcements:

A) Nikon’s “new and improved camera” is only worth what the market will bear, and
B) Various realities, including Moore’s law, dictate that the cost will almost definitely stay virtually the same, product will improve exponentially, and profits may marginally improve or degrade depending on a number of factors.

Folks seem to think that Nikon produced the D3 only for a niche market of folks with highly specific needs, irrespective of their sensitivity to price. Really, it’s the other way around: the D3 is made for a photographer who can spend roughly $5k, give or take a few hundred. The best, generally appealing camera Nikon could produce while still sustaining profitable margins is, in the end, what they shipped.

If they charge significantly more than the $5k price point which the D3 carried they’ll get folks who will bail on that segment and find a lower end body, or jump ship altogether and find a different brand. Charge significantly less, and they also risk attrition, but this time through the photographers who think they’re being ripped off in the feature, specs, or quality department—regardless of the facts. For them, more is more (money) no matter what logic says.

If Nikon produces a D3 replacement that is more than, say, 10% higher (or 20% lower) than current selling price Nikon will not only profoundly confuse buyers, they will ultimately drive many of them away.

But alas, if you look at recent history you’ll see they did increase prices (dramatically!!!), but in a way that “reset” buyers’ thinking enough to partially mitigate market damage, or at least spread it over a longer period of time. They needed to increase prices to adjust for the softening dollar. What did we see? The DnH line was “done away with” (psst…it was really just replaced with the D3—sans the “h”) while the DnX (D1x, D2x, D3x etc) line saw a significant “bump” in price.

Now ask yourself, can you recall the response to greet the D3, (again, remember that it was being introduced with an effective price increase of $1,500)? It was embraced with open arms.

Now, if you’ll consider further the D3x announcement—particularly, how was that received: it was hailed as none other than the biggest ripoff in corporate history, with many photographers speaking out publicly against purchasing it until the price came to a more reasonable level.

Why? The D2x -> D3x was within the same realm of price increase as the D2h -> D3 (both bodies seeing roughly a 150% increase). See below:

(D2h) $3,499 -> (D3) $4,999 = ~ 145% increase
(D2x) $4,999 -> (D3x) $7,999 = ~ 160% increase

I don’t think it was the fact that the Nikon D3x was disproportionately increased compared to the D3 (i.e. folks weren’t angry because the D3x wasn’t priced instead at 145% above the D2x, or $7,250). I think folks were expecting to buy a camera with a D3x emblem, something that was historically in their price range of around $5k, and upon release they realized the new price had eclipsed their budget. Until the D3x was released, many claimed the DnH line was dead, and the D2h and D2x bodies had merged, resulting in their highly talented love child, the D3. They were more than happy to pay the $5k for that camera assuming it was the new “X” pro camera, despite there being many factors which indicated otherwise.

In other words, Nikon has a market full of people with preset expectations which they must consider if they desire to remain competitive. These people are not necessarily objective or rational. In fact, Nikon bet on this very idea during the last round. They got their big bump in market price, and while they may not have sold as many D3x bodies as they did of the prior D2x line, did they really need to given the increased profit margins? I doubt all those calls for boycott did nearly the damage the decriers dreamed it would. In fact, it probably just fed into the ego of those who could afford the D3x but were on the fence—likely enough to push them over the edge, driving them to splurge on the newest status symbol in the DSLR photo world.

For the record, my predictions for the next round of pro camera bodies:

D4:

16-20 megapixels
Top ISO somewhere between 204,800 and 1,638,400 (likely 409,600)
16-bit processing
Full HD (or higher) 24p, 25p, 30p, and a good chance of 720p or higher 60fps. Full manual controls are guaranteed.
$4,999 – $5,500
The rest (fps, autofocus, buffer, etc) is already incredible, so any improvements will be that much more amazing.

D4x:

36-50 megapixels
Top ISO somewhere between 25,000 and 102,400 (likely 25,000)
16-bit processing
Full HD (or higher) 24p, 25p, 30p, and a good chance of 720p or higher 60fps. Full manual controls are guaranteed.
$7,999
The rest (fps, autofocus, buffer, etc) same as above

Of course, lots of magic powder is likely to accompany these new cameras—things we never saw coming. Here’s to hoping…

That is all I have to say about that.

***UPDATED TO INCLUDE COMPARISON IMAGES FROM 3Gs***

The following images highlight a problem with the iPhone 4 when producing photos under normal tungsten light (~3200k). the first image was shot under fluorescent light, whereas the second image was shot under standard household tungsten lights.

Images from iPhone 4:

Images from iPhone 3Gs:

Lot’s of people (read: like 4) have decided to take a personal vendetta against AT&T and Apple and give up their sweet, friendly little iPhone and pick up either a Pre, a Google Android phone, or both. They tout religious fervor for abstinence from Satan’s Spawn – the App Store – driven by the need to stand up for the rights of users and developers alike. Most say they can’t stand how Apple has been heavy handed with many things (mainly the App Store/Developer relationship) and that they are going on strike. Others claim that AT&T’s incompetence is too frustrating, and they’re not going to take it anymore. A lot of them say both, and therefore have two good reasons to leave the iPhone.

So, I have been thinking in my head this whole time, didn’t these guys use cell phones before the iPhone? I mean, didn’t they try out the abysmal handsets that were crippled by the best network in the game, Verizon? Didn’t they try having conversations with T-Mobile or AT&T users where the conversation sounded more like morse code than 21st century cellular communications? And most of all, on the mobile computing front, did any of these guys actually use the Palm, arguably the best handheld computer on the market before the iPhone? Well, I’ve done all this and more, and I have to say the iPhone was a real treat when it came out.

I was extremely concerned about carrier quality when I began seriously considering the switch. Dropped phone calls was a myth as far as I was concerned, as Verizon’s network really is that good. Calls sounded as clear and as clean as calls originating from a handset. I was living in California when the iPhone came out, and still had a Verizon contract. I tried AT&T for the trial period with the then sub-standard Palm Treo 650, and was utterly dismayed at the crap quality of the phone service, not to mention the hardware differences between the same phone on Verizons network (microphone responded differently, audio levels were so low they were unusable, even on speaker, and the AT&T Treo took about 30 seconds to connect a call, vs. Verizon’s 650 that would start ringing almost the second you pushed send). Then, there was the terrible hissing sound present with ALL AT&T calls, on the 650 and the RAZR. YUK!

So the thought of switching to AT&T, even for the iPhone, was scary. What finally made me switch? Well, it was a combination of things, but the biggest was NOT the lust for the iPhone, even though that was palpable. No, instead it was the sheer hatred I had developed for Verizon. Between a move back to Utah, a first time large purchase of the Palm Treo 700p, and some really crappy experiences with the handset and carrier, I decided enough was enough.

I’d threatened to switch from Verizons asininely high priced calling network to something more affordable for months – nay – years at that point, and still had little luck getting what I felt was due from them. Complex things, like proper billing, telephone representatives who don’t lie about what were supposed to be documented promises, and most of all, a handset that actually works. The first two, I could deal with. The bill I would watch religiously. It’s not difficult when you’re paying ~$180/month (sometimes more). Some people drive a good used car for that price. The lying and seemingly cultured cheating I would counter with my all-out assault of annoying calls, hitting the 611 five or six times if needed to get the one representative who was too new, too stupid, or too kind to know that you don’t break Verizon’s policies without repercussions.

But the third point, the telephone that didn’t work, that really irked me. I had always talked Verizon into giving me the highest priced handsets for free, pointing out that this would be cheaper for them than losing me. Alas, I did spend well over the average in monthly plan fees, and always paid my bill. What was not to like. Of course, I did have to sell the idea to them every time, but each and every time, I’d get a new handset for my wife and myself, and not just the cheap ones either. These are the ones that would actually last 2 years and longer. But it was time to move up to the big time. I was sick of carrying two devices in my pocket (a palm and phone), and got the idea that a two-in-one would be the solution.

Enter the 700p. Long story short: it was great, when it was great. But soon it fell into fits of bugginess, freezing, and most regrettably, extreme lack of call quality. I would get horrible sound, bad connectivity (voice AND data) and a whole lot of lame excuses from Verizon. I had the phone replaced 3 times (learning along the way that my $350 phone was being swapped or used look-alikes with some other dude’s earwax in the cracks). Well, three strikes, and Verizon was out. They said that I would have to buy a new, different phone if I wanted to fix the issues. I said I would leave. They said go ahead. I drove to AT&T.

Now I have the iPhone on a sub-standard cellular network, and I couldn’t be happier. Ok, I could be happier. But with all this talk of how evil AT&T and Apple are acting, and how horrible the network is, I have to ask again if anyone has been awake for the last 5 years. AT&T’s customer service is all but wonderful, and the network isn’t bad either. If Verizon is 100% in quality of calls (because they are), then AT&T is about 80% on a bad day, and 85%-90% on a good day. Usually I can make calls the way I like, but I’d say I get hundreds of dropped calls a year, where on Verizon it was almost a privilege to drop a call, as it happened 3-5 times tops. Still, 100’s of dropped calls in a year when I make tens of thousands of calls, the odds ain’t bad when looked at in perspective.

Then there’s the App store that so few have been complaining about lately. Sure, it’s not perfect. But did you guys ever TRY to find software for the palm pilot, let alone the palm phones? It was hell. If you could find what you wanted, tucked away in the corners of the virtual universe, chances are you would have to do a rain dance or some other crazy ritual to get it installed and working. It was extremely hit or miss. Once again, while the App store isn’t perfect, it’s an epic breath of fresh air compared to the prior alternatives. Apple has kept tight control of their handset sphere, and that, my friends, is what makes the iPhone so incredible.

I have been asking myself recently: would I return to Verizon if they jumped on the iPhone bandwagon? Probably not. Maybe, but probably not. I hated the crap I had to deal with from a customer non-service standpoint, and that really matters to me. Feeling like I could stay or go, and they didn’t give a load which I chose bothered me to a great extent. Then there’s the price. Why would I pay more just to be kicked around by those goons. The offer would have to be pretty sweet to jump ship and return to Verizon. Now, maybe I’d consider Sprint, as they share the same network in many places, but even that’s unlikely.

So, what’s driving these folks from the iPhone and AT&T? Same thing that drove me from Verizon. Seething hatred. They’re making a statement, a vote if you will with their wallet. They’re saying enough, because they’re just mad enough. But that’s the thing: most people are NOT seething about AT&T and Apple’s decisions. And I’d argue most are aware of them. They just don’t care. I would assume many of them remember what the dark ages of cellular strangleholds were like, and are perfectly content with the solutions that Apple has come up with to cure their calling woes.

The takeaway, from my perspective, is this: You have to HATE AT&T and Apple to leave for the Palm Pre or an Android phone.

But wait – I hate AT&T. Sure, I talk nice about them in public, but taking a 20% hit in call quality IS annoying. I do hate them, but not enough to – even for a second – consider switching to T-Mobile, Verizon, or Sprint. Even IF they had the iPhone, I think it would take some very real convincing. The better network, Verizon, is run by some big anus, and the others seem to be a downgrade in network quality, which I can’t afford. So while I think it’s good that people want competition, openness, and freedom of consumer choice, I think everyone would benefit from a good dose of historical reflection.