Thursday, December 5, 2013

You're a Mean One, Microsoft. You Really are a Heel.

I have really had it with Microsoft and its ad agency. I mean, who do they have running the show? The Grinch and Ebenezer Scrooge with Oscar the Grouch on retainer as a special consultant?

It started with the Windows tablet ads that mocked Apple's Siri and the capabilities of the iPad. You can call me a fanboy of the fruit pushers, but I would be pretty disappointed with Apple if Cupertino was taking the same approach. Not only did the Windows tablet campaign have some major holes, it was just plain mean.

Now this morning I caught my first glimpse of Microsoft's latest similar assault. Now they are knocking the Google Chromebook with the help of the Pawn Stars gang. They warn you not to get "Scroogled". Well, tactics like this just make me feel like we are all getting "Scrooged" this holiday season by Microsoft.

To quote one of my Twitter buddies, "This makes me want a Chromebook more and watch Pawn Stars even less." I completely agree. I will take it a step further. These ads make Microsoft look like the typical middle school mean kids who constantly  put down others to hide their own set of insecurities.

One of my favorite Christmas commercials this season is where Santa is at the post office filling the flat rate box with coal. I almost guarantee that eventually that box is going to get slapped with a label reading

One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052-7329


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Bar, The Beer Store, and Bacon: an Analogy for Education

During John U. Bacon's Tedx Ann Arbor talk he makes a great analogy that makes the case for the importance of brick and mortar, face-to-face education. In his talk he notes that on Michigan's campus there is a pub right next to the convenience store. Both sell beer. Even though the convenience store is far cheaper, people still go to the bar. They pay more because they have a an entirely different experience around their beer. They socialize . They discuss. They commiserate. There is context around their beer. Knowledge-only sources like Khan Academy or other online education offerings are like the beer at the convenience store. You can consume the same substance but you don't have the same context or atmosphere that the bar provides. You can however take it to a party or host your own, building your own context if you will. To get the most out of online education, you have to do the same thing.

Personally, I think there is a place for both. Beer is in both bars and beer stores. There is knowledge to be had on campuses and online.

Here is John's talk. He is a favorite sports author of mine. He loves Michigan Football and the liberal arts....a couple of my favorite things too. Beer and bacon aren't bad context of course.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Mr. Losik’s 2013 Holiday Tablet Buying Guide Part 3: Cyber Monday

It is a whole lot harder to predict what retailers might offer online for Cyber Monday but there should be at least a few deals to be had today. If you were able to get the devices you wanted over the weekend, now is also a great time to get cases and accessories.

Rule #1. Figure tax and shipping into the price. One of the big advantages of this day is the free shipping many sites offer.
Rule #2. Check back throughout the day. Sometimes new sales pop up during the day.

Below I have simply linked to lots of destinations so you can click away. If I find bargains at those sites, I will highlight them. If you find great deals, please share by posting a comment or tweeting at me (@mrlosik).

Here is a list of "regular prices" on the tablets I reviewed so you can compare as you shop.

Samsung Tab 3 7.0 $159
Samsung Tab 3 7.0 Kids edition with carrying case $209
Nexus 7 $229
Samsung Tab 3 8.0 $249
iPad Mini $299
Samsung Tab 3 10.1 $299
Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 $349
iPad Mini with Retina Display $399
iPad 2 $399
Sony Xperia Tablet Z $449
iPad Air $499
Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 $599

Amazon - Tons of deals, especially on the Samsung line of tablets. Nothing spectacular, but money saved is money saved. - No real sales except free shipping or in store pick up at Woodland Mall store.
Best Buy - $10 savings code for every $100 spent. Dig around
Google Play Store
- Free shipping on Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 + $25 in credit at Play Store for apps and movies.
Samsung - Black Friday prices still in effect
Sony - Xperia Tablet Z holding at $449 but other good deals on Sony stuff.
Staples - $30-$50 off Nexus 7 and Galaxy Tab 3 8.0
Target - A few deals
- Looks like about $10-$20 off regular prices,

All in all, it doesn't seem to be a spectacular Cyber Monday in terms of blockbuster tablet deals. Keep looking and enjoy.