April 2010

iPad and Canadian iTunes Store Accounts

An iPad is a business expense, correct?

If the international delays for iPads are getting you down and you’re considering buying one from the USA and having it shipped to you, here’s something to bear in mind: on the iPad itself, you can only buy/update apps if you have and are logged into a USA iTunes store account. If you try to log in with a Canadian account (Can’t verify any other countries, personally) you won’t be successful.

You can, however, buy and upgrade items via iTunes and sync them via USB with a Canadian (Same disclaimer) account. But if you’re trying to live a life-less-tethered, you’ll be frustrated until the international accounts are properly activated.

Life Hack: Remove your Headphones and Say Hello

I’m travelling today; the typical jaunt of 4 airports and 3 flights to get from my hometown to one of my usual destinations: Chicago, for some business meetings. It’s been a few years since I’ve spent any time in Chicago, and 5 full days in the city is simply too short.

But this post is about a life hack; one of those little things you can do to make everything just a little bit better. Many of us walk around with our nose buried in our cel phone or other portable electronic device, or attached to our MP3 player via headphones, or both. These devices are distracting and inhibit our ability to take in the outside world … which can be a good thing, but it makes dealing with people you need to deal with that much more difficult, and it irritates those that you deal with.

So when I’m plugged into my headphones or dickering around with my iPod touch or Sony Reader, and I make it to the front of the line at the airport or bank or whatever, here is what I do:

  1. At 5-10 feet away, I start to put the device away entirely, or take my headphones out of my eyes. Both headphones end up tucked into the front of my shirt.
  2. As I step up to the person I need to speak with, I look them in the eye, smile, and say “Hello.” If they ask me how I’m doing, I answer, and in turn, ask them how they are. After they tell me that how they’re doing, I offer the appropriate “That’s good to hear.” or “Ouch, that’s a pain. These lines do look brutal—hope that the rest of your shift is easier.”
  3. Profit! Or Good Service! Maybe both? Why? It’s easy: by putting away your electronic crap and taking off your headphones, you’ve acknowledged to the person that you need to be able to hear and pay attention to them, that they provide value to you. By greeting them nicely and having a short conversation, you’ve shown that they’re a human, you’re a human, and whatever business may happen next gets off on a better foot.

A side tip: If you’re in a situation where things have gone poorly (You’ve missed a connecting flight, your luggage has been lost, your waitress was distracted and forgot to bring you your delicious cheesesticks, etc.) I’ve found the following style of phrase works out really well: “Actually, things are kind of lousy right now, and I would really like your help figuring out what I should do next.” (or: “And this is what you can do to help fix it.” Tell the person that you’re in a bit of a bind, or a bad mood, but make it clear to them that it isn’t their fault (unless it is) and that they can help you. Someone who wants to be helped is, shockingly, easier to help, and most people do like helping others, even if it’s their job.

I’d Rather be Working than Spinning

I wrote this post over on Dumpshock in response to praise on how Posthuman Studios is handling the ceasing of our business dealings with Catalyst Game Labs, and I’m echoing it here:

Y’know what’s work? Spin.

Y’know what I’d rather do than spin something? Other work.

Some crappy stuff happened, so we’ll do what we can do to fix it and continue Eclipse Phase with as little interruption as possible. The important thing isn’t what lousy things happened (and at this point, who knows if anyone’s “scorecard” is accurate…) but that Eclipse Phase will have a bright future.

And now, to repost something from the BattleTech boards, to demonstrate in part why I feel the future is so bright:

One of the things that Posthuman Studios is going to do is be very upfront about sales figures, expenses, etc. So I’ll start with this: we wanted Catalyst to sell EP at $10-15 for the PDF. They argued against it, and basically said “You’ll need to sell twice as many copies in order to make the same amount of money.” We said “Okay. If we don’t sell twice as many copies of the PDF as (ASpecificCatalystCoreBook) did in PDF in 18 months, you can take the difference in dollars out of our royalties.”

Less than six weeks after the PDF was available (and this was after we seeded the PDF to bittorrent ourselves — anyone could have it for free, legally), we broke that mark. This meant that we had made the same amount of money, and we had the PDF in the hands of at least twice as many people!

A few months after that, Catalyst lowered their prices on all core books, and announced that Leviathans would be Creative Commons-licensed as well. And the first print run of Eclipse Phase sold out, also.

So, there will be a quick resleeve for Eclipse Phase, and on with the future!

(Edit: I should offer a hat tip to Fred Hicks at Evil Hat Productions, creators of the available-for-pre-order Dresden Files RPG, who are transparent to a very admirable degree and are a big part of the influence towards Posthuman’s transparency!)