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    • What? Only four stars, you stingy bastard? I'm asking myself the same question, so let me explain myself to myself... If I compare the new

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    • On their latest CD, Supernature, Goldfrapp has put together a successful mix of 1980-era New Romanticism, German cabaret, and T. Rex glam that leaves you riveted even through the album's lulls. It's a great amalgam that sounds current without sounding at all dated.

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    • It's an album about a breakup, done with beats instead of mopey lyrics. But the beats are raw, and the emotions are there, even if there aren't many words on top of it. While possibly not Scott Herren

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Checking iPhone 3G Availability is The Easy Part

While availability of the iPhone 3G in Denver over the weekend was good, thatis only part of the story. Getting in line and actually being able to buy one in a reasonable time was a different matter.

There are only five Apple retail stores in Colorado, and all of them are in the Denver Metro and Boulder areas. On Saturday, Appleis FlatIron Crossing store already had a line of hopeful iPhone 3G buyers some 40 people deep by 7:30 AM, half an hour before the store opened. The people at the front of the line had been there long enough to fall asleep, according to Jeff Gamet, TMOis managing editor.

"Employees began talking to the crowd about 20 minutes before opening the doors to make sure that everyone in line understood the iPhone buying process and would qualify for an AT&T service contract," Mr. Gamet reported. "Not only did that help customers feel like they were already involved in the buying process, but it also gave the store staff a chance to introduce the new voucher-based system that ensured everyone buying an iPhone would get the one they wanted -- no out-of-stock surprises after standing in line for hours."

Despite the crowd, Mr. Gametis early arrival and perseverence paid off.

On Sunday afternoon, this reporter went to the Aspen Grove Apple store and found it to be packed. There was a line 8 to 10 meters long of people buying the new iPhone 3G. A quick conversation with the Apple store concierge revealed that it would would take two hours to get through that line.

That wasnit going to happen for this reporter.

The Aspen Grove concierge suggested the following procedure:

  1. Check the Apple iPhone availability page at Apple the night before.
  2. Get in line at 7:30 AM on a weekday.
  3. The concierge will coordinate with the people in line to confirm that there are sufficient supplies. The doors open at 8:00 AM.

At this store, the voucher system wasnit mentioned by the concierge, but after seeing the look on this reporteris face after hearing about a two hour wait, perhaps the subject just didnit come up.

Mr. Gamet provided a detailed explanation on Saturday: "The vouchers also let people leave the line and return to buy their iPhone later in the day. Customers still need to arrive early to get a voucher, but at least they donit have to stand in line all day before making their purchase."

Both TMO/iPO reporters agree that the voucher system helps alleviate frustration and avoids standing in line only to find that the store is sold out. Even so, Apple needs to ramp up production substantially, not only in the U.S. but for those 20 new countries eagerly anticipating that special combination of iPod and smartphone in late August.

For now, checking the availability page is just the first, easy half of the process in getting a new iPhone 3G in Denver.

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