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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Discovering At Least One Awesome Thing A Day On My Mac

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I’m a week into using a Mac as my primary computer and loving it.  Every day I discover at least one little thing that makes me go “why the fuck didn’t my PC ever do that.”

Today’s was the time zone thing.  For two decades I’ve been bedeviled by time zones whenever I travel.  For a long time I had to manually set the time.  Eventually on the PC I got things into a state with my calendar where changing the time zone worked, but I still had to do it manually.

On the Mac, I simply check a box on the Time Zone screen that says “Set time zone automatically using current location.”  Voila – I’m in NY and the time zone is set correctly on my Mac.

While I know this is a trivial little thing, but I’ve spent N hours of my life changing the time zone manually on my Windows box.   I want those N hours back.

When I reflect on the week, I’ve started to master Quicksilver, found an automatic natural text widget that lets me type “lunch with dad from noon to 2pm on Saturday” and an item appears magically on my calendar, and I’m enjoying Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, Ctrl-3, and Ctrl-4 to quickly switch between screen states (or “spaces”).

I’ve been stubborn for a while about this Windows / Mac thing but I’m starting to get it.

A Month of Mac

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My post yesterday titled Rethinking The Laptop resulted in three very specific pieces of feedback followed by me taking one specific action.  The feedback was:

  1. Dump Outlook
  2. Get a solid state drive
  3. Get a Mac

After mulling things around for 24 hours, I decided to once again try my annual switch to the Mac. Fortunately, I have a very nice Mac from last year’s effort (a MacBook Pro 2.4 GHz with 2 GB) so I fired it up, configured Mail and iCal to work with my Exchange server, downloaded Chrome, Xmarks, and Tweetdeck, and away we go.  I’m still getting used to the option key and trying to learn all of the key sequences that my cool Mac friends use, but I’m enjoying the screen and so far haven’t reached for my Lenovo x300 once today.

While I was swimming I decided that since I was going to be in Alaska for July, I’d bring only my MacBook, my iPhone, and my iPad.  As much as I like my HTC EVO, I figure that if I’m going to really give the Mac a try, I need to go cold turkey (or – well – cold non-Mac) and see if I get over the shakes during my four week exile.  I’ll either come back a Mac user or not.

As one of my friends tweeted, “get a Mac – friends don’t let friends use Windows.”  So – be a good friend and remind me of all the fun apps that I need for my Mac to be extra cool.  And where’s a tutorial for all those fun keystrokes that make the windows fly around the screen?  Oh – and is there a great blogging client for WordPress or do I have to use WordPress’s web UI?  And what about Digsby – is iChat good enough or should I try something else for all of my various chat accounts.  Yeah – the list goes on, but what the hell.

Ross (my IT guy) bet me $100 that I’d beg him to ship my Windows desktop to me within a few days of getting to Alaska.  Help me win the bet.

An Apple in the White House?

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Today’s Washington Post article titled Staff Finds White House in the Technological Dark Ages was no big surprise.  However, while I was taking a shower (in a hotel in the Houston suburbs of all places) it occurred to me that this presents an incredible marketing opportunity for Apple.

If I were king of Apple (or say, a board member with deep White House ties), I’d be on the phone with “the appropriate person” with the offer of “a Mac on every desk in the White House along with an iPhone for every White House staffer.”  I’m sure there is some law that prevents Apple from giving this away from free so I’d offer it “at cost” just to Mac-enable the White House.

You can’t buy better PR than “Apple computerizes the Obama Administration, displacing ancient PCs running Windows XP.”  Plus, the leader of the free world then would carry around an iPhone and a MacBook.

In addition, I see an executive order coming that completely changes the stupid, archaic, and limiting rules about archiving communications within the White House.  This is a regular excuse that is used to explain why it’s “hard” to use things like Blackberries if you are president.  Baloney – there are plenty of straightforward approaches that solve for whatever you want to do.  It’s not like someone archived all of Rumsfeld’s Snowflakes (or maybe someone did – if so – egads.)

While we are at it, did anyone notice that Apple reported record revenues and profits in the quarter ending 12/27/08?  Yeah, I guess you did but it’s worth repeating the numbers since all we’ve been hearing is bailouts and losses.  These are quarterly numbers.  Revenue: $10.17 billion.  Net Income: $1.61 billion.  These numbers are lower than reality because of the bullshit GAAP rules that force accounting for the iPhone to be reported ratably over the life of the iPhone contract.  If you actually accounted for this in a way that made sense, Revenue would be $11.8 billion and Net Income would be $2.3 billion.  As every good MBA knows, the key rule is to “follow the cash” which increased by $3.6 billion in the quarter.  It’s worth saying again – $3.6 billion.  Wowza.  Well done Apple.

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