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Apple and Ethics

Several months ago, my research team did an ethics audit comparison of Microsoft and Apple. Surprisingly, Microsoft came out overwhelmingly in the lead on most ethics and governance issues. Apple has a dismal track record on environmental concerns, seems to have little sense of global social responsibility beyond the education realm, and has been targeted for poor labor practices in China. This is distressing, as I vastly prefer their products to Microsoft’s. I love the industrial design, the user interface, and just the bloody cleverness of the products and how they market them. What I do not like are first release products with giant bugs, software with giant bugs, snotty customer service, and difficulty finding documentation on known issues.

So let’s add to this list: Deceptive Business Practices

This week Apple announced that you can now rent videos on iTunes. You pay for the movie, download it (this takes about two hours with DSL) and then you can watch it on the Apple device of your choice, including Apple TV, which we have. You have to watch the movie within 24 hours of starting it. So I figured it would be fun to try it out on Saturday night after dinner. After waiting two hours for the download, I spent the remaining two hours of the evening trying to get my Apple TV to recognize the file. I tried every suggestion I could find on the support site, and finally came across a document explaining how to transfer a rental to my Apple TV. Unfortunately, the interface described in the document didn’t exist. So I emailed iTunes support asking where it was. I got this response:

“All the new features of Apple TV—including movie rentals—are coming soon as a free software upgrade.”

Gosh, there’s a really big difference between “now available” and “coming soon”. So I emailed back:

“Why are there instructions on how to transfer rentals to my apple tv on your support site when it is actually not possible yet? This is misleading and unethical.”

And received this response:

“Thank you for responding. I entirely agree that it is misleading, although I will dispute the “unethical” with you.

So my question is, how is a statement that is knowingly untrue not unethical? The customer service rep went on to explain that it was okay because they were releasing the software upgrade soon that would fix the problem, and other parts of the documentation were actually already accurate.

Not so much.

This is a BIG problem. Selling something under false pretenses is not cool. Ever. And saying that since some of it was accurate, it’s okay that other parts were misleading does not make it better, it makes it worse.

I believe that Apple suffers from the same disease that I used to observe in the opera industry. When you worked with a talented person, say a really great conductor, if they acted abusively or sexually inappropriately, people would excuse it, saying he/she was a genius, or brilliant, as if one canceled out the other. But in the grownup world, someone can actually be brilliant and abusive, or talented and immature. Both qualities can exist in the same person, and the negative traits may in fact prohibit the person from being able to exercise the positive ones. But in the entertainment industry, people seem unable to resolve this dichotomy.

Similarly, Apple, and I think probably specifically Steve Jobs, seem to think that because they are design and interface geniuses, that they are not subject to the same basic ethical scrutiny as other companies. They are wrong, as the increasing number of lawsuits against Apple show.

Rather than expound even more on the possible effects of poor ethical practices, I will distill my advice to Steve Jobs and Apple into two words:

Grow up.

Learn to be a responsible, adult member of the world business community and adhere to commonly recognized ethical principals (and the ethical minimums dictated by those pesky law things). Stop behaving as if being smart/talented/pretty places you outside the social norms or the law. It doesn’t.

Latest Addictions

Torchy’s Tacos – The best tacos in town, pretty much. While it’s hard to beat Taco Deli’s Jess Special for breakfast taco goodness, Torcy’s Dirty Sanchez may just have done it. Don’t know what the hell I’m talking about? Go try it yourself.

My new camera – I have no idea what most of the buttons on this monster do, but it shure takes purty pitchers.

Terriers – I can’t help it, I love my crazy dogs. You might have figured that out already. Ahem.

Steve Madden Shoes – Got two new pairs for Weddingstravaganza, and now I want MORE.

Relaxation – Well-deserved or not, I’ve been taking a much needed break from pretty much everything. My psyche thanks me.

Parties and Terriers

When they can’t get my attention, they wail on each other in the most amusing fashion.

DSC_1485I’ve been out of commission this week, I got the stomach flu the day after my wedding reception. And while it sucked, I am so very happy that it didn’t happen that weekend. All the parties were fun, and we had a great turnout at the reception. Kyla’s wedding cake was amazing, and Tracy and Donald took a million pictures, a selection of which can be seen on my flickr page (click on the badge to the right). Connie made me a fabulous necklace to wear, and Tracy did my hair and makeup. All in all, it was a great weekend. My childhood friend Roxanna and her husband Nic and baby Maxine came out for the madness fun, which was really cool. My brother was also out to visit and we got to take him to Fonda San Miguel for dinner, which he’d been looking forward to since I got him the cookbook for Christmas a couple years ago.

Anyway, I’ve had to take it uncharacteristically easy this week, which is probably good for me, as I’ve been running at top speed for a few months now. Funny how your body forces you to slow down when your mind won’t take the hint. Hello, three flus in three months? Blah.

I’m glad Weddingstravaganza I went well, part II will be in Santa Barbara in March, date TBA. In between I plan to write, rest, do more yoga, and have a nice, quiet celebration for my husband’s birthday.


Mad props to my girlfriends for throwing me a fab shower. Especially the mastermind, Tracy! It was really cool, Hawaiian themed with lots of beautiful touches. The food and drink were awesome, and Kyla’s Chai Cake was to die for! Thanks to all the helpers, Roxanna, Claire, Gloria, Steph, and Kyla (I hope I didn’t miss anyone)! I feel very loved and blessed. And I have some hot new lingerie, so David thanks you too 🙂

Pictures soon!

The madness continues…

Click on the picture for the animated version.

Stop Terrierism at Home!



This message brought to you by Citizens against Terrierism.

Today's show was brought to you by the letter "V"

DSC_0215 Life at home with two young, affectionate, completely insano terriers has been fairly eventful. Especially for our now naked couches, whose adornment was sacrificed to Persephone, Queen of The Underworld, Destroyer of Pillows.
DSC_0128 Miss Priss, as I like to call her, seems all demure and sweet, but she is a terror when it comes to soft wares. And poor Loki doesn’t seem to be able to tell the difference between “Bad girl!” and “Bad boy!” This is actually pretty stressful for me, because was clear from the beginning that Loki had been badly abused, and so it becomes an issue to provide basic corrections to Persephone, because he starts to regress. I’ve got a call out to a trainer, but I suspect it’s going to mean group classes for Persephone, and home training for Loki.

Other than all that drama, which is mostly fun drama, Weddingstravaganza I is almost here. David and I have relatives and friends coming in from all over, and have a variety of events to manage over the next week or so. I’m looking forward to it, but it’s amazing how weddingy my elopment has gotten. I suspect I have only myself to blame.

What is really important is that I am very happily married to my favorite person on earth, and that is what we are celebrating. And also that I got a great dress and killer shoes.

And then there were two.

DSC_0075No, this isn’t a dark picture of Loki. It’s our new addition, Persephone. Loki has really come out of his shell in the last few weeks, and while we’re really glad that he’s less timid and submissive, this means that his true terrier-ness is starting to show. This has most recently taken the form of several eviscerated stuffed animals. We decided it was time for him to have a sister, as it would take a team of specialists to keep a terrier entertained all day, and I have to do things like work and go to meetings and breathe and stuff.

This photo happened after a trip to the backyard where Loki finally lost all reason and ran around Persephone in circles growling and barking. He really wanted to play, but she’s still a bit unsure. She’s very affectionate and sweet, and so far fairly tolerant of her hyper-competitive older brother. I expect much doggy madness to ensue over the next few days. Technically, she’s on a trial period with us, but I think she’s going to work out really well.

Plus, they match! For more pictures (updated regularly) visit Persephone’s flickr photo collection.

Love. It.