iPad2–Just What I Didn’t Think I Wanted

Truth is Apple took a product which is incredibly loved and by all outward appearances made it more lovable.

I traded tweets with Darren Kramer this evening. We were talking about the new iPad2, a device I find surprisingly alluring.

“I am so impressed with how that company relentlessly innovates. Go ahead, confess your love for Jobs.”

Darren is such a Steve Jobs fanboy, but he’s right!

Truth is Apple took a product which is already incredibly loved and by all outward appearances made it more lovable.

Apple has slimmed the iPad2 by a full third. At the same time it added a speedier cpu and graphics processor. On the outside are two video cameras (front and back) to facilitate video chatting and movie making. On the inside there’s Garage Band for audio and iMovie for video.

It’s got a ten hour battery! This is going to supplant laptops on airplanes, vacations and Metro North.

To paraphrase Wallis Simpson, the American-born Duchess of Windsor, a tablet computer can never be too rich in features or too thin!

I wanted a tablet which would run the Android operating system and be comparable to the original iPad in its capacity. Not anymore. The bar has been raised. Nothing outside Apple is even close.

I don’t want to like Apple products. I have it out for them. To me Apple stands for smug self righteousness. Apple is the rich kid who got into college because of his father’s influence.

On the other hand they deliver!

Off The Wagon: The Chips Made Me Do It

These were Cape Cod Potato Chips–The Halle Berry of chipdom! Oh yeah. Halle Berry–beautiful and alluring and yet the relationship never ends well!

I fell off the wagon tonight. I’m not proud. Where was my willpower when I really needed it?

The potato chips were there when I walked into the newsroom this afternoon. This kind of stuff happens. There’s a guest on the noon show or a reporter is in the right place at the right time and all of a sudden treats appear. Newsies are selfless that way.

And these weren’t run-of-the-mill chips. These were Cape Cod Potato Chips–The Halle Berry of chipdom!

Oh yeah. Halle Berry–beautiful and alluring and yet the relationship never ends well!

I walked by again-and-again unconsciously thrusting my arm deep into one of the open bags. I had some this afternoon. I had more tonight.

“Aren’t you worried about germs?” Darren Kramer, a man of unwavering willpower and impeccable hygiene asked.

No, no. Chips trump all health concerns. After all, they’re chips!

Hopefully by tomorrow other newsroom leeches will have emptied the bags. I’ll be able to return to my carrots and Diet Pepsi.

Tonight I’m a broken man. Please, don’t tell the scale.

Boy Are My Arms Tired

On a trip, the most difficult thing for me is getting to sleep. No matter what I do, I always find a reason to put it off. So, it’s no surprise it was after 1:30 AM CST before I fell asleep. Actually, it would have been difficult to go to bed any earlier as I had a noisy neighbor in an adjacent room.

Good opportunity for some thoughts on The Grand Hyatt. The walls were paper thin – don’t like that. On the other hand the bed was very comfortable with good lighting when I needed it (like reading things on the nightstand).

The TV didn’t pull from it’s cabinet making it difficult to watch while using the computer (which was tethered to the high speed Internet line). The desk and chair at the DSL cable’s termination were excellent. The swivel chair was very handy and a nice touch… and it was comfortable .

I had never stayed in a room with the right chair for a desk area and it really makes a difference.

The bathroom was well lit with a good sized sink area. The shower curtain was cloth/plastic and hund from a rod that curved outward from the tub. That’s why Sunday morning, when I forgot to tuck it in, the floor was flooded. The water pressure was excellent. The towels were almost large and thick enough (water pressure and towel size/thickness make or break a hotel room for me).

My meetings started early Saturday morning and lasted all day. I am pleasantly surprised that I did get something positive from the trip. Most of the presenters were excellent, but not all. Most of the presentations were correct for the audience, not all.

That’s about all I can say. Sorry.

The meetings ended at 5:30 and after a break to wash my face, call home and check email, Kirk (my boss) and I headed over to WMAQ Channel 5, the NBC owned and operated station in Chicago. One of our former anchors, Darren Kramer, is now a weekend anchor there.

WMAQ is located in a brand new facility not far from the Tribune and WGN Radio. The building is an homage to 30 Rockefeller Plaza, the NBC headquarters in New York City. In a plaza in front of the building is a freestanding building containing a single studio with glass walls, like the one the Today Show broadcasts from. That studio is used for the morning news.

The newsroom, and studio used for the Saturday show is on the second flood of the building. The newsroom itself is large and contains a second studio used for Telemundo, NBC’s Spanish outlet. We met Darren’s co-anchor and the weekend weatherperson and then went upstairs.

WMAQ has three studios on the third floor – and uses none of them. One is leased to Jerry Springer, and I understand taping days for that show are a trip, to say the least. A second studio is used for Judge Mathis, a court show which used to precede our news cast (and provided horrible ratings as the lead-in). More interesting is what’s come of the third studio.

It is outfitted like 8H (Conan’s studio) in New York, with audience seating. On weekend nights, a live Sinatra tribute is performed (though not broadcast) from there. It’s a pretty cool idea. We were in the studio for a moment and the setup and performance going on were very impressive. The room was just right for what was going on.

Dinner was downstairs in an Italian restaurant. I’ve become pretty good at ordering while dieting. It was Caesar salad as an appetizer and a steak entr

Darren Kramer’s Goodbye Party

Darren Kramer, half of our morning anchoring team, is leaving the station Wednesday. Tonight, a party was thrown for him at a local restaurant/bar. This place is 2 half blocks away from the station and I’ve never been there. Shows you what my bar life is!

Darren is a great guy and very talented, with a good job in Chicago now… but I wouldn’t have gone had I not already been here for the evening. I’m not a real fan of going away parties. And, in my 19+ years here, there have been plenty. It’s sobering to think that everyone, without exception, on our air staff when I arrived is long gone.

When I worked in Buffalo, our general manager (a sour kind of guy) banned going away parties because he felt it only encouraged people to leave. Whether that’s true or not, I always found it sort of funny. And, of course, he really couldn’t ban them (though we couldn’t post details at work).

Kristen, Darren’s anchoring partner, will now have to find someone else to sit next to.

This is very much like a marriage. Anchoring with a partner is a matter of synergies. Can the person sitting next to you play into your strengths? Will they… that’s probably more important!

Of course Kristen won’t pick her next partner. She will meet some of the applicants; maybe even cut a tape with them, though that’s not always the case. Someone, or a group of someones, will make the decision in secret. It might be tested in front of a focus group, or the decision might be made by the seat of the pants. Neither way is a guarantee – good or bad.

Hopefully, it will be the right decision and we’ll all live happily ever after. But, again, it’s like a marriage. Anything can happen.

I’ve known anchors who were the best of friends. I also knew one who told her co-anchor he had no talent, just as the theme music was playing, while they were sitting on camera. As I understand it, she ended her diatribe as the mics were getting ready to be turned on, leaving him no time to do anything but sit there and stew.