Blog for June 2006

Not For You

I would have posted about this earlier, but needless to say I have been busy lately. Anyhow, Apple has teamed up with Nike. As you can tell, we like most of what Apple does. I am also a runner whenever I can make time for it. So when I read about their announcement, I was excited. Very excited.

When I run, I usually have my iPod Nano with me. Needless to say, having software that would record distance, time, pace and so on would be awesome. I popped over to the Nike+ web site and read through all of the information about their new products and how they work with your iPod. I was sold. I clicked the pre-order link thinking that peak running season is upon us, so this works out very nicely.

At the site, where you are directed to pre-order, I added the Nike+ shoes and iPod kit to the cart. I then proceeded to add 2 new shirts and a pair of shorts, all of which I desperately need, and headed for the check out. I had read the availability advisement that Nike+ products would not begin shipping until early July, but I was fine with that. Getting the shoes, clothes and iPod kit all in one shipping box would be half the fun.

Lucky for me, as I was looking at my cart (see the graphic to the left), I noticed the very fine type in medium grey just in-between the remove from cart and subtotal lines that meekly states "U.S orders only". Hmmm... glad I saw that before trying to proceed with my purchase.

Granted there is nothing the developers can do to determine what country I actually live in, but they could test your IP address and warn you if you appear to be outside the US. Or the simple, less headache, low cost route would be to take the "U.S orders only" text and display it at the top and bottom of the screen. Perhaps in red and using some dom scripting, fade it from red out to grey over 20 seconds or so.

Needless to say, I am disappointed that I can not get Nike+ gear in my country before running season ends. However, as a web developer, what disappoints me more is the lack of world wide consideration for who is going to be interested in your product.

Nike, make it known that pre-order is for US customers only. Provide an alternative for visitors from outside the US. Give them a link directly to their country specific nike web site (that as of this writing is still trying to sell me hockey skates during running season and makes no mention of nike+ at all) that should have more details about getting the product into my hands as soon as possible.

I'm still stoked about being able to chart my runs while doing nothing other than wearing a new pair of shoes and plugging my iPod into my computer after every run. What I would like to see is a more conscious effort on the part of web developers and programmers from inside the US to give a little thought to the fact that people from around the world will be looking at your web site and trying to order your products. If they are US only, make sure it states so clearly BEFORE I get my cart full and am ready to check out. By the way, this sale would have been for $229.00 US and I had my credit card in hand.

Global Warming Confusion

Recently I was accused of not seeing the "other side" of global warming. While I agree that there are most definitely two (or more, many more) camps in the Global Warming debate, my belief is firm in that to do nothing is not an option.

Even if we grant that this current heating of the planet is the natural cycle, there are things you can do to make sure you are not as much of an impact on the natural environment. If you have never sat in the deep parts of any forest by yourself for at least an hour (as still as possible) so you can feel the rhythm of the earth and nature, then you are missing out on part of our human nature.

Anyhow, more fuel for your water cooler discussions can be found over here (link tip from kottke).

X-Men: The Last Stand

So X-Men: The Last Stand was release last week. I went to go see it. Actually, I went to go see it twice. I really wanted to love this movie as much as I did the first two. Really, I did want to. Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to happen.

The first two movies in the series were directed by Bryan Singer. Not only did the first one prove the X-Men could be as popular on the big screen as they have been in the funnybooks for thirty years, but the sequel was actually better. Singer, however, decided not to do a third movie, instead hopping over to Warner Bros to helm the soon to be released Superman Returns. So, Fox went looking for another director and settled on Brett Ratner.

Ratner has done some okay films. I liked Red Dragon. I was amused by the Rush Hour movies. After The Sunset was okay. But, no offense to Mr. Ratner, he may be a bigger X-Men geek, but he’s no Bryan Singer.

The first two movies seem reined in compared to this latest offering. Where X-Men and X2 could be called science fiction movies, The Last Stand is definitely an action movie. A summer, popcorn, McDonalds tie-in, action figure licensing action movie. It’s louder, it’s flashier, it has more of everything, and it has everything they couldn’t do before.

As far as I can see, someone decided to make a third X-Men movie, then they grabbed every cool idea that, because of budget or story or director decisions, were cut out, and crammed it into the script. Sentinels? Sure, put a cameo! Danger room? Been wanting to see that, yep, stick it in! Beast? Damn straight! Phoenix? Hell yeah! Juggernaut? Why not! Angel? Would look good on screen! Colossus? Wicked!

Course, you quickly realize the problem. With some many things going on and some many characters added, you don’t get to slow down and develop anything.

That’s not to say the movie sucks. It’s enjoyable for sure, as long as you know it’s action fluff you’re going to see. And there are a couple surprises within, story bits where you catch yourself thinking "I can’t believe they did that".

When Tim Burton left the Batman series and Joel Schumacher took over, Batman Forever went on to make the most money at the box office of that series. Yet, no one would ever claim it’s their favourite. Though it was flashy, had big names, and was eye popping action, most of it’s success came from the strength of the original two.

I expect X-Men: The Last Stand to end up exactly the same. Big piles of money, but with fans going back to watch Singer’s movies instead.