Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Quote O' The Day

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence. - anonymous quote from a forum post at TUAW

How Do You See WWDC?

Last week, Matt Neuberg of TidBits, in a piece called The Decline of WWDC had a critique of Apple's Developer Conference. The main critique being the dislike for the food and freebies. Yesterday Scott Stevenson rebutted. My favorite part of his "rebuttal" was this:

Matt Neuberg said: Is it really possible that renting the Moscone Center and paying for the equipment and logistics for presenting and recording the lectures is so expensive that Apple can't afford to give back more of those fees in the form of gifts and better food?


Scott Stevenson rebuttal: Can they afford it? Absolutely. Is it worth getting upset about? I don't think so.

There is also the question of what this deterioration in WWDC's surface quality implies about Apple's attitude towards its developers. Apple used to honor its developers, as being the creators of the front line of Macintosh usability; now it feeds them like rats and herds them like cattle.


I think somebody says this every year. It's like "kids used to respect their parents." I wasn't writing Mac software in 1985, but it sounds like Apple got everyone to WWDC via private jet, on which they dined on caviar and spotted owl.

People, these are not real problems. I actually thought WWDC 2006 was the best organized conference yet. Setting up the schedules was a breeze, and virtually all the sample code and materials were available exactly when they should be.


Read:

In Defense Of WWDC by Scott Stevenson

&

The Decline Of WWDC by Matt Neuberg

The Irresponsible Reporting Compounded By Websites That Deliver Opinion Irresponsibly

From TUAW (The Unofficial Apple Weblog):

Foxconn sues reporter over iPod factory conditions story
Posted Aug 30th 2006 7:00AM by Scott McNulty

Foxconn knows that when your image has been tarnished with, oh let's say, suspicion of abusive labor practices that there is only one way to win the world back to your side. Sue the two journalists who wrote the story for 500 times what they will make in their lives and freeze their assets. Doesn't it just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside?

Here's hoping that the Chinese government is sensible (it could happen, right?) and sides with the reporters who were just doing their jobs.


* emphasis FixYourThinking

Doing their jobs would be not making up a story and presenting it as fact. Not a single aspect of the story was right. Not a single interview, statistic, or quote in the "iPod factory report" was real!

Follow up:

An Apple costs less in China

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Apple Makes A Statement

News.com has received a statement from Apple responding to recent Greenpeace claims:

Apple has a strong environmental track record and has led the industry in restricting and banning toxic substances such as mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium, as well as many BFRs. We have also completely eliminated CRT monitors, which contain lead, from our product line.


I had forgotten about the "lack of CRT at Apple thingy" - very differentiated from the "disposal of the Dell low end models that ALL include CRTs STILL".

Monday, August 28, 2006

More Info From IFO On Apple Employee Info

I emailed Gary Allen of IFOapplestore.com about the Apple Store employees who had been fired for downloading Leopard from the internet. Here's his response:

I was away when this happened, and was behind the curve. I hear that two more employees were fired today (Monday) for the same offense, but that's all I've heard.

Gary Allen
www.ifoAppleStore.com


Followup:

And Next Time You Do It, Expect More Than A Pink Slip

And briefly:

August 28 2006: Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman Announces Class Action Against Apple Computer for stock options fraud - added to the Your Rights, The Law, And Litigation section here at FixYourThinking.

The 7 Goons Of The Mac World



Mac Goons
Do you know them?


First let me start off this article with the synonyms for the word "goon" from the Nisus Thesaurus:

clod, gawk, oaf, stumblebum

goon:
noun an awkard stupid person

One way I researched for this piece is by typing in the word "stupid" and "idiot" next to each of the people's names you see below. I wanted to make 100% sure I was one of the hundreds of sources that had the same consensus.

You can almost overlay this list with John Gruber of Daring Fireball's list of "Jackasses of The Week". You will see that I quote John Gruber a lot in this article. The thoughts you see before you are my own (and mixed with previous pieces I have written on this site). I just didn't want to appear to plagiarize any previous statements about the people contained in this commentary. John Gruber is also titled by one "mac goon" on the list as not being a critical or logical thinker. And that's just what a goon would say. A goon's purpose in life is to always appear to be right so they can continue to make money from their "controversial flamebait opinions". When someone as well respected as John Gruber points out their flaws, false statements, or purposeful lies, they have to cover by calling said respected person (Gruber by example) an irrational, emotional, cultist thinker or writer. In my own little world here on this site, I deal with "goons" too. Those that I do critical articles about usually lash out in some emotional "hissy fit" on their own blogs or websites or try to discredit me in some way.

The following list is in no particular order. Fact is ... a goon is a goon.

Goon # 1: Paul Thurrott

Thurrott often likes to disprove Apple pricing. He decried Apple's pricing of the iPod Mini as so expensive that it won't sell. The interesting point is that no competing player with the same amount of storage ever really came out that was priced much more agressively. The iPod Mini was also one of Apple's best selling iPod models. It was hipper amongst the workout crowd and was sold out a month before Christmas in its introduction year. It also inspired the Nano line of iPods.

Recently, Thurrott proclaimed that Apple lied when the statement was made that the Mac Pro was cheaper than a similarly configured Dell. Thurrott was blasted on Daring Fireball for "forgetting a few things" by John Gruber. Later in the week, Thurrott corrected his article significantly, not really showing or saying he editted the article for factual error.

Thurrott:

Note: A number of readers suggested I configure the Dell as a 64-bit workstation. While that’s possible, that’s not exactly a mainstream configuration these days on the Windows side.


Daring Fireball:

Ordinarily, this wouldn’t quite be enough to garner Jackass of the Week honors (especially since Tiger, the shipping version of Mac OS X, only offers 64-bit support at the POSIX layer). What puts Thurrott over the top is the hypocrisy of his “64-bit isn’t mainstream on Windows” justification. Last week, regarding the vastly improved 64-bit support in Mac OS X 10.5 announced at WWDC, Thurrott himself wrote:

Daring Fireball quoting Thurott: "Thanks to the 64-bit Xeon chip that will be shipping in the new Mac Pro systems, Leopard will be fully 64-bit enabled (unlike Tiger, which is only partially 64-bit and then only on certain Power PC [sic] systems). That means that OS X will finally do what Windows XP x64 Edition did last year: Run 32-bit and 64-bit applications natively, side-by-side. Good for them."

So when the feature was announced at WWDC, it was a catch-up feature that Thurrott claims put Apple two years behind Microsoft. But when it would have made Dell look even worse in a side-by-side pricing comparison, it’s “not exactly a mainstream configuration”.

Thurrott is often forced to correct his information and often does so without much apology for the mistakes.

Goon # 2: John C. Dvorak

This is probably the most blatant goon, but I will go a step further and call this guy a crooked troll. He is not a journalist. He is not a great writer. He's just a low down dirty scumball ... and I feel that's being nice to him.


(ABOVE) This is John's most famous picture - where he poses to not hear his critics. I always thought it looked like he was lifting his head off.

Of course, we recently found out that Dvorak doesn't report for the purpose of journalism. He reports on Apple Computer solely by a formula that he has realized builds hits and interest in what he has to say. He admitted to making up news and admitted to saying inflmmatory things just piss Mac users off.

A very alarming video was posted to the internet in June 2006 depicting Dvorak admitting on camera that he often made up stories just to incite Mac Users to respond and to bump up hit totals artificially.

He explains how he basically writes stories like Mad Libs, filling in inflammatory and sometimes untrue but educated statements just to be linked all around the internet.

For years, this well respected (by those who care not to really know him) reporter has defamed and in my opinion hurt Apple severely. Now he admits that he has (almost maliciously) conspired to do so.

This guy has as many bad stories about him on the internet and as many damning comments as Satan. In fact, I think Dvorak is the only person I know, that is so well known for being disliked in the Mac Community.

Here's a brief, and no where near complete, history of John Dvorak's career & comments:

Booted from MacUser Magazine for [from editor] "Routinely poor editorial insight"

Booted from TechTV for poor ratings & low advertising revenue generated during show + multiple "disagreements with management and fellow show hosts"

Dvorak has wrongly predicted Apple would be out of business in 3 years; 4 times

Dvorak has wrongly predicted the death of firewire, the 1st generation iBook, the iPod, the iLife Suite, and OS X. With each direction change or product refreshing ... he has proclaimed how right he was to back up these predictions.

He criticized Apple for hoodwinking the public and causing "Pandora's Box" to be opened by releasing the U2 Special Edition iPod.



The U2 Edition iPod ended up being such a success that Apple made the iPod Video in black and a Nano in black and has followed up with several OTHER successful Special Edition iPods and released another U2 Video iPod.

After reviewing over 100 stories by Dvorak - he used the cliche, "Pandora's Box" 12 times. Indicating, he has little new to write and that he may just be filling in stories like Mad Libs.

Goon # 3: George Ou - runs a ZDNet blog called "Real World IT"

Instantly loses credibility for making this statement recently:

John Gruber at the Daring Fireball has done this super long analysis of the current Mac driver-gate fiasco. Gruber goes on record to state that "Brian Krebs has 'dugg' himself a mighty deep hole" and that I George Ou is "going down with the ship". At first glance when you read it without carefully examining the facts, Gruber sounds somewhat plausible. But one of my readers David Burke who is a very smart legal professional took it upon himself to cross examine Mr. Gruber's analysis and it appears that Gruber wouldn't even pass a collegiate course in "logic and critical thinking.


Legal Professional? (not a lawyer apparently) What does a legal professional have anything to do with the topic at hand? Gruber not "logical" or a "critical thinker"? John Gruber is not a God and he sometimes brings a little left wing politics into his posts, but I know of no one (outside of Ou) who doesn't respect Gruber for his immense knowledge on all subjects IT and Apple. When I think of the words, "logical" or "critical thinker", John Gruber is the first to come to mind.

Ou has often been the critic of Apple's presence (or lack thereof) in enterprise

[UPDATE] Ou's credibility continues to dwindle

Goon # 4: Jason D. O'Grady - runs the blog "O'Grady's PowerPage"

This guy has done more to hurt bloggers than help them. His precedent setting case Apple vs Bloggers made the term "journalist blogger" too broad. As a blogger who likes to be called a journalist myself and thinks I reports news, I don't like that a fellow journalist blogger was let off - essentially getting away with aiding and abetting a crime - reporting trade secrets. The Uniform Trade Secrets Act (UTSA) is quite clear. If you know the information is trade secret you can neither solicit for the information nor report it. By allowing Jason O'Grady to get away with this from the angle of "shield law" protection, the courts have essentially turned all bloggers into vigilantes, who will have a hard time equivocating themselves respectfully with other journalists who follow a certain code of ethics. O'Grady's sole focus for writing in his blog is for money - not for reporting to his readers. He often makes news up or embellishes "consumer alerts" to increase hit totals to show off to advertisers. I am a blogger, Jason D. O'Grady is a blogger. I am embarassed to be associated in the same sentence with Jason D. O'Grady.

Goon # 5: Rob Glaser - CEO of Real Networks

Another obvious choice for this list. (previously mentioned here)

Quote by Glaser:
"The average number of songs sold for the iPod is 25, and there are many more songs on iPods than 25. About half the music on iPods is music obtained illegitimately either from an illegal peer-to-peer networks or from ripping friends' CDs, which is illegal."

This is not the first time Glaser has been at odds with Apple or its products. Real drew Apple's fire when they created a technology called "Harmony" in 2004 that allowed Real to sell iPod compatible songs through their music store. Apple later disabled the compatability, and slammed Real for "adopting the tactics and ethics of a hacker."


Apple should seriously consider suing Glaser for slander and libel ... he knows that the majority of songs sold from Real's store also go onto MP3 players that may (or may not) contain files that were not purchased by retail means.

He is maliciously singling out Apple in his "interviews".


* Real Networks CEO Glaser & Microsoft's Bill Gates


Thing is ... Real Networks ONLY stays afloat because it was subsidized recently by Microsoft. Microsoft GLADLY paid this settlement because of the "knowledge of Glaser's mouth" and the fact they wanted to keep Real afloat as at least SOME competition to Apple's iTunes Music Store.

Goon # 6: Rob Enderle - posts as a self proclaimed "Tech Industry Advisor" on a website called The Enderle Group

John Gruber states:

Enderle is both:

* Frequently quoted in major mainstream media
* Nearly always completely wrong (at least regarding Apple)

One would hope these two facts would be mutually exclusive — that a self-professed industry expert whose pronouncements about Apple were nearly always wrong would eventually stop being asked for his opinion about the company and its products. But alas, no.


Enderle also misses the boat frequently on free software, open source, and trends in computing. One example is that he seems to think that "themed" laptops such as the Ferrari Acer are what all the hip CEOs will want (and currently) desire. He's dedicated a number of articles to the boring topic. As Mac users, we know the hippest CEOs have macs ... right?

Goon # 7: Leander Kahney - produces "The Cult Of Mac" blog for Wired

I recently talked about Leander here.

John Gruber recently quoted Leander from his Cult Of Mac Blog:

Granted, the system as a whole looks slick, and Jobs said he was keeping some new features “top secret” to stop Microsoft from copying them. But the sneak peek just confirmed what we already know: OS X is so mature and polished, major system upgrades are more about tweaks than big new functions. (Yeah, I know there’s a lot of technical wizardry under the hood, but that’s for the geeks).

This week’s developer’s conference is a big show for Mac nerds. More than 4,000 of them paid a pretty penny to be here this week, and Jobs’ talk is the highlight of the show. For many of them, this is the only chance they get to see their hero in the flesh.


[John Gruber's Commentary] "Kahney seems to have completely missed that this was Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference, not the World Wide Jackass Non-Technical I-Treat-the-Mac-as-a-Cult-Rather-Than-a-Computing-Platform Hack Conference."

Leander rarely substantiates anything he says, rarely researches any topic, and rarely updates if his facts were incorrect or erroneous. A good example from just 3 days ago:



Apparently, Leander missed that the recall was 1.8 million batteries.

Further, Leander didn't give me credit for figuring out where Jack Miller was or wasn't. Instead he posted his own story ... even though my article came up pretty high in Google searches at the time when Fix Your Thinking was discussing it. I haven't had much respect for Leander since then. It appears to me that Leander never researches (not even with simple Google searches) for his stories.

Another example: Maddeningly [sic], the account offered by Krebs doesn't even make it clear that the MacBooks in question were running Mac OS X at the time the attack was demonstrated.

The video (although suspicious) clearly showed Krebs typing into the terminal in the Mac OS.


* Picture of paused video showing open terminal on "hacked MacBook"


I wanted to throw in a few honorable mentions:

Honorable Mention Goon #1 : Bill Palmer of the blognews site formerly titled iPodGarage, and owner of the formerly titled website/service LoadPod.

Bill Palmer suffers from the truest form of narcissism. In Palmer's world, God created Bill Palmer on the 8th day.

This self proclaimed "Industry leader and pioneer" of the iPod space suffers from dillusions of granduer. His website, now called iProng (formerly known as iPodGarage) is filled with the most redundant "yet another website reporting it" news. His "iPod loading service" known formerly as LoadPod is a self proclaimed "pioneer and leader" in the space - yet wasn't even ranked by Popular Mechanics review of the services that load convert your CDs to MP3's.

Here's a snapshot of the June 2005 Issue of Popular Mechanics. You'd think that they would mention the pioneer of this service wouldn't they?



Out of everyone on this list I hand it to Bill for being an entrepreneur. For this reason, he doesn't make the top 7.

Honorable Mention Goon #2 : Robert Scoble - runs the blog scobleizer.com - a former Microsoft employee

Sometimes you just know the real reason someone is a "former" employee of any job they previously worked at.

Scoble is now a part of a startup that raised a very "this is a hot topic so let's throw money at it" 5 million dollars - podtech.net.

Scoble, well known for his rants about Microsoft, while at Microsoft - has never contributed anything of meaning to the blogosphere. He also joins the club of poor research for his entries. He blogs so much ... I'm sure he has little time to research anything. (There was even a correction within the past 24 hours of typing this article)

While we all can be wrong from time to time ... I feel it is the absolute duty of those that are "more popular and respected" in the blogosphere to give us all credibility. When a "blog star" gets slammed for "factual errors" or "ruthless defamation" it is a blow to the credibility of all blogs.

Everyone on this list owes kudos to John C. Dvorak. Dvorak figured out long ago that Mac users are typically blind faith followers and get behind issues emotionally. He realized that the web is saturated with surfers that love to "egg on" conversations about controversy in the Mac world. This point too also makes them goons ... no original journalism ... only copy cats!

* NOTE - one thing I forgot to add was this screen capture from "The Great Mac Mod Contest" Judges section:

Jason O'Grady proves he's a goon by being so stupid as to say the PowerBook 5300 is his favorite Mac. He only did this because it is actually Apple's WORST product - which had battery problems similar to the recent Dell battery debacle.

Leander Kahney picked the Mac Pro as his favorite Mac ever - this page went up two days after WWDC where the Mac Pro was introduced. How could it be someone's favorite in just two days? What a goon!



* item removed and corrected about George Ou

Friday, August 25, 2006

If they want respect for any effort ...


* from Greenpeace (click for larger view)


Greenpeace is going to have to stop acting like enviromentalist whackos if they want respect for any effort.

Today Greenpeace issued this report:

The biggest names in electronics have just sat their first global exam on their green credentials. Ranked on their use of toxic chemicals and electronic waste (e-waste) policies only Dell and Nokia scraped a barely respectable score while Apple, Motorola, and Lenovo flunked the test to finish bottom of the class.


I had not been to the Greenpeace website in a while ... I had forgotten what a nut job weirdo site it is ... now I've got to spend my day driving my truck aimlessly to waste gas, eat meat, and buy fur just to protest them!

The thing is ... Apple computers aren't even tossed NEARLY as much as PCs ...Apple computers are used MUCH longer than PCs ... Apple has a MUCH greater hobby/enthusiast/collector following than ANY other PC manufacturer (or maybe even electronic device manufacturer)

Never Leave It Past Newer's Larry

Never leave it past Larry O'Conner of Other World Computer to not take advantage of an Apple press release:

Newer issues statement on Apple battery recall

Newer Technology today issued the following statement regarding Apple's portable battery recall... In the wake of the announcement of Apple's recall of 1.8 Million iBook and PowerBook batteries that use Sony cell technology (on the heels of Dell's recall of 4.1 million batteries that use Sony cell technology), Larry O'Connor, President of Newer Technology said this: "Newer Technology Inc. manufacturers high capacity replacement batteries for Apple notebook computers. Unlike Apple and Dell, NewerTech does not utilize Sony cells; the company uses only the highest quality cells imported from Japan and Canada and manufactures the batteries in the USA."

While I'm sure it was a fluke ... I have had to return TWO of Newer's Hi capacity batteries for PowerBook G4's over the past year (out of the 6 I've sold to clients). The problem was they would last as long as advertised but the charge indicator never changed and the battery always showed 100% charge.

Off Topic Friday: Pluto'd: verb. To have been made insignificant or to have busted a rank; demoted

Pluto'd


Sentence: "The article submitted by FixYourThinking did not get interest on DIGG.COM so it was Pluto'd by digg members."

I sincerely hope that the scientific community reconsiders the declassification of Pluto as a planet. It's not a matter of what's "technically right and technically wrong" ... it's a simple matter of what we as students and teachers have known for more than 75 years.

Now I don't see anything wrong with making the object that is larger than Pluto that is just beyond our ninth planet; a planet.

Who here remembers having to do the styrofoam ball solar system as a science project - do you remember having trouble finding something small enough for Pluto?

I remember back in elementry school instead of doing styrofoam balls or some sort of string diorama ... the morning the "solar system project" was due I lined up sports balls of different sizes and scaled distances apart out in the parking lot. I used croquet and racquet balls, a tennis ball, dodge balls, a basketball, and a colored soccer ball ... for Saturn's rings I used an Aerobie© Frisbee. For Pluto I used a large marble. I got an "F" that day ... the teacher said it was not a permanent display and the planets were not color or size equivalent with the exception of a few.



Again, this isn't like the theory of relativity being disproved ....

Pluto Discovered - February 18, 1930 = a couple of days before Steve Jobs and my birthday which fall on the same day.

I have to kind of snicker as I type this, but ... if scientists want us to accept some more controversial theories they must stick to standards. There is just no reasonable explanation to declassify Pluto. One thing that I can refer to is evolution. For instance, I believe in evolution to an extent. I don't believe that birds were dinosaurs, I don't believe that humans were apes. However, I do believe that birds beaks change and that animals (including humans) have evolved in many ways to suit their environment.

My other problem with this "new scientific revelation" is that the lyrics to one of my favorite School House Rocks songs no longer makes sense.

From Interplanet Janet:

...Mars is red and Jupiter's big
And Saturn shows off its rings.
Uranus is built on a funny tilt
And Neptune is its twin,
And Pluto, little Pluto, is the farthest planet from the Sun.

They say our solar system is not alone in space.
The Universe has endless mystery.
Some future astronaut
May find out that what he'd thought
Was a shooting star instead turned out to be... Interplanet Janet, she's a galaxy girl,
A solar system Ms. from a future world,
She travels like a rocket with her comet team
And there's never been a planet Janet hasn't seen,
No, there's never been a planet Janet hasn't seen.


Here's a conspiracy theory for you: I have thought that maybe this was an inside deal with publishers to sell updated references to museums and education. Think of the literal millions that will be made in updating EVERYTHING. Makes you go hmmmm ... aye?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

One of those little observations ...


I just caught the END CREDITS for the movie Batman & Robin ... inarguably the worst of the Batman movies. If you recall ... this one starred George Clooney as Batman. Well, I was curious about a couple of the credits so I watched them scroll the screen and I noticed this in the Special Thanks first line ...

Special Thanks To The Following:
Apple Computers, INC


Apple Computer(s) - geez ... they couldn't even get the name Apple Computer right in this movie!

Just in case you want to check the official name

My NEW eBay BLOG / Most Creative Positive Feedback Comments

eBay started a new blogging section of their website two weeks ago. I decided to do my part - thinking it might steer a few buyers in my direction. I also wanted to use it to update buyers on some of my auctions with driver links and installation procedures. ( I have sold Apple Computer parts on eBay for 9 years )

http://blogs.ebay.com/theapplepeople

I used to write a lot on Slashdot (before this blog) about eBay issues.

A sample blog entry I made:

I wanted to make an entry with a collection of the best positive feedback comments you've seen:

I have started leaving this:

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

It really stands out amongst common meaningless words like:
"An asset to eBay Highly recommended!"

I also like this, and sometimes post like this:

(¯`'•.¸(¯`'•.¸(¯`'•.¸(¯`'•.¸ GREAT SELLER¸.•'´¯)¸.•'´¯)¸.•'´¯)¸.•'´¯)

Please post the best and most creative positive feedback comments you have seen or that you use.

Apple recalls 1.8 million batteries

Quick note that Apple has recalled all of its Sony made batteries (as Dell did last week)

This shouldn't reflect poorly on Apple's bottom line although it will cost them a lot of money I'm sure. The big loser is going to be Sony who contracted to manufacture the batteries for Dell, HP, Sony, and Apple laptops.

There's a good video on CNN explaining the problem and how to find the serial number. (Not linkable)

Affected models include:

12-inch iBook G4 A1061 ZZ338 - ZZ427 / 3K429 - 3K611 / 6C519 - 6C552

12-inch PowerBook G4 A1079 ZZ411 - ZZ427 / 3K428 - 3K611

15-inch PowerBook G4 A1078 and A1148 3K425 - 3K601 / 6N530 - 6N551 / 6N601

These are the serial number ranges (revised by Apple this evening) If your model falls within these ranges you can get a free replacement.

Remove your battery and look at the serial number.

http://www.apple.com/support/batteryexchange/faq/

From ENgadget:

Now that some 6 million Sony-manufactured batteries have been recalled, and all the big names are preparing for a summit on standardizing manufacturing processes for li-ion cells, we were just waiting for the fingers to start a pointin'. Well, a pointin' they have begun, as Japan's trade ministry ordered Sony (with Dell) to investigate the issues surrounding how a few million batteries were manufactured in such a way that a percentage of them might just explode all crazy on their owners. The Japanese trade ministry ain't screwing around, either -- Sony and Dell are to report back their findings, or face severe penalties under Japan's consumer safety laws.


* Edit note: If some of you happened to catch this post during the "editting phase" I listed 1.1 million batteries recalled ... this is because 1.1 million are USA and 700,000 International.

If you have a 14" iBook or a 17" PowerBook G4 you are not affected by this recall ... the majority of these batteries were made by LG (not Sony) ... however, please pay close attention to this site for any alerts on these models.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Apple Settles With Creative Out Of Court And Then It Gets Weird

As reported by ENgadget

Apple and Creative settle, Apple forks out $100m

As some may well remember, not even four months ago Creative filed suit against Apple for violating their "Zen patent," which pertained to a hierarchical menu system for portable media players; Apple countersued Creative, and then in the true Jobsian style of raining down on his foes, launched a second suit pertaining to icons and data display and entry in such portable devices. (Apparently two other suits also went down behind the scenes.) Guess those didn't work too well, as today Apple announced they'd be handing over $100,000,000 US (would you look at all those zeroes?) to Creative to license the "technology" outlined in the Zen patent -- the exact amount Creative pledged to spend on advertising against the iPod in 2005. It also looks like Apple scored a deal wherein they'll recoup some of those costs if and when Creative leverages the patent on other media player companies. But perhaps the most bizarre bit of all, Creative seems to be jumping right into bed with Apple now that their spat's over, and is now officially a Made for iPod program partner with iPod accessories expected this year.

... gotta love the vaguely optimistic spin Jobs put on the [settlement]: "Creative is very fortunate to have been granted this early patent..."


I don't even know what to say here ... hopefully Gruber will detail this in anal detail.

[UPDATE]From MacMinute:

"Creative is very fortunate to have been granted this early patent," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "This settlement resolves all of our differences with Creative, including the five lawsuits currently pending between the companies, and removes the uncertainty and distraction of prolonged litigation."

"We're very pleased to have reached an amicable settlement with Apple and to have opened up significant new opportunities for Creative," said Sim Wong Hoo, chairman and CEO of Creative. "Apple has built a huge ecosystem for its iPod and with our upcoming participation in the 'Made for iPod' program we are very excited about this new market opportunity for our speaker systems, our just-introduced line of earphones and headphones, and our future family of X- Fi audio enhancement products. We expect that the one-time licensing payment of $100 million will contribute approximately $.85 of earnings per share to our current quarter, ending September 30, 2006."

Fix Your Thinking Review: DLO TransDock Micro

Fix Your Thinking

Review Of:

DLO TransDock micro

From The DLO website:

Enjoy your iPod’s music in your car while you keep your iPod fully charged with the DLO TransDock micro. The DLO TransDock micro is based on the award-winning design of the DLO TransPod. It plays any iPod’s music over any car stereo.

The TransDock micro is the most flexible, cost-effective car solution for the iPod you can buy. It comes with a removable USB charge and sync cable that can be used at home or on the road. That’s an added $20 value! TransDock micro also features a beautiful black and white color scheme that matches any car’s interior as well as your iPod.

The TransDock micro broadcasts the iPod’s music to any FM radio frequency from 88.1 to 107.9 while keeping it charged. The new TransDock micro is a complete iPod solution for your car, yet it requires no installation. This makes it a great alternative to expensive custom installations. Its all-in-one functionality and superior sound quality elevate the TransPod micro above lower-end, bottom-mounting FM transmitters.

Like the TransPod, the TransDock micro also features an auxiliary input, allowing it to broadcast the audio from any MP3 player or audio device like an iBook, MacBook Pro, a Sony PSP gaming system or a travel DVD player. The DLO TransDock micro also gives you the choice of connecting to your car stereo with a cassette adapter or mini plug cable with it's auxiliary line output.


DLO gave me a sample of this unit approximately 1 month before it's release in April of this year. I wanted to provide a different type of review. So, I wanted to give the TransDock micro a long term test and show you a couple of unique uses and features I have discovered. (Don't read as; excuse for being belated).

One of the most unique features of the TransDock micro is that is has a USB connection rather than an iPod Dock Connection to charge and transmit the audio from your iPod. This means that you can charge and transmit audio to your car radio from ALL iPods - including the iPod Shuffle.

This also allows you to charge any small electronic device that has a corresponding USB charger cable such as PDAs, cellphones, and bluetooth headsets.



One of the more unique uses I found for the TransDock micro is to use a Car to Home AC adapter (as pictured above) and transmit to my home stereo. This way, you can use anyone's iPod for music in your home without a dock for your home. Pretty nifty! This also means that you don't have to have a mess of cables going into your home stereo.

The audio transmitted from the TransDock micro is excellent. Tuning to a proper open channel on your FM radio is a breeze. Most likely you won't have to read the instructions to be up and running. You can read about the quality of the unit in just about any review, I want to focus on some uniqueness to this adapter.

One other unique use I have found is to plug this in to a Home AC adapter as mentioned and transmit the audio to a Griffin RadioShark. Of course, DLO will most likely think that mentioning their competition (favorably) in a review of their product is sacrilege - it IS a cool use of this product. The RadioShark picks up the TransDock quite nicely. It's also nice not to have to use up yet another USB port for my iPod or have to plug in an audio cable that may not be handy.



Another unique use was to use my HP iPaq cellphone that has GPS and provides turn by turn directions to your destination over my car stereo. I could also store MP3's on the iPaq via SD card and listen to them through the car stereo as well. Or, I could have my cellphone calls over the car stereo - more or less giving a very high end function of luxury cars.

I tried the Kensington iPod Shuffle adapter to see if I could give the TransDock micro a dock connector (having to also use a USB A to A adapter) ... but it gave off feedback. This is an unnecessary solution though as DLO provides a nice USB to dock connector for you. I just wanted to try it anyway!



Overall I love the TransDock micro and think it to be the best solution for FM radio transmission because of the many other uses it has. It has held up well despite being bumped a few times and moved to many different cars and to my home adapter.

[NOTE] The description says transmission on channels 88.1 to 107.9 - my review unit can also transmit on 87.9. I'm not sure if shipping units provide that functionality. Only about half of all car radios support 87.9FM.

Thanks again to Digital Lifestyle Outfitters' Andrew Green & Jeff Grady for providing me with the review sample.

And Next Time You Do It Expect More Than A Pink Slip!

Five Apple Retail Store employees (and possibly more to come) have been fired for downloading Mac OS 10.5 via file sharing. (The versions of Leopard (10.5) that were distributed to developers at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference two weeks ago.) "Dozens" more employees may also face termination over the same or similar issues.

The former Apple Retail employees had apparently been overheard discussing their "downloads" of Leopard with their co-workers, prompting Apple "corporate" to investigate. The employees were fired after admitting to acquiring the software illegally.

Interviews with a couple of websites indicated that the fired employees knew they broke Apple Non Disclosure and were summarily dismissed ... understanding Apple's reaction.

This means that if you were looking for a job at your local Apple Store ... there might be some openings!


* Picture taken from John Gruber's Flikr Pages


This is a rather serious issue ... does this mean that these same employees might be copying software off of floor model Macs and using it on their home systems? It's one thing to do it ... another to brag about doing it.

This also makes you wonder where some of the blogs around the internet are getting these screenshots and detailed feature lists ... are they getting them from Apple Store Employees or developers that are breaking NDA?

[UPDATE] Found in a forum:

These employees were (hopefully) only trying to get info on the upcoming OS and not profit from the distribution of the "bootlegs".


Ummm ... profitting is only secondary to theft when it concerns breach of contract. The charge for firing wasn't profitting or potential to profit ... it was plainly and simply ... breach of the Apple Store Employees Contracts ... period!

Monday, August 21, 2006

My Dream App Is My Dream



mydreamapp.com officially launched today

My Dream App is a grand experiment to see what happens when you combine the expertise of some of the best talents in the software and tech world with great ideas and feedback from everyone else.

It works like this. For the first two weeks of the event, we'll be collecting ideas for killer apps from hundreds, hopefully thousands of contestants. Then, the My Dream App team will be narrowing these down to 24 great (and developmentally feasible) entries.


I think this is one of the best ideas to come to the Mac Community for a long time.

I submitted 3 ideas myself.

Point2: An App that will allow two cursors on the screen with independent movement.

One cursor could be placed on a photoshop palette or a protools slider while the other cursor would be for other movement and navigation on the screen.

Essentially this would be like having a mouse for your left hand and right hand.

It could also be integrated into 1st person gaming - giving the onscreen character a right and left hand independent of each other.

Dockeys An app for the OS X dock

By clicking on and launching "Dockeys" the dock turns into a visual keyboard (like a kiosk keyboard) this dock can be used for "option key" character visualisation or be set to type "option key characters" more easily.

It could also be used by those who cannot use keyboards.

The app would launch and the dock would alter to look like a very nice and visually appealing keyboard that would also be able to be hidden off screen just like the dock.


LuvX An app designed to take advantage of core animation

An app that allowed one to place a button on the desktop, in email, within documents, even w/ iChat that if pressed (clicked) would give a vivid animation to the recipient (clicker).

As an example: On Valentines Day I send you a heart shaped button. You click on the button & dozens of animated hearts float on the screen & a very neatly animated message flies over the top of all open items on the screen that says "I Love You". Similarly on Halloween, very realistic looking bats would fly around the screen like the opening to Scooby Doo full w/ sound effects & would wish the user a Happy Halloween.

Essentially this is a great new & innovative way to send a card or message to someone.

Make the app module based so that others can add to the appeal and community of the app.

Please support me by visiting MY DREAM APP from this website and hopefullly allowing me to become a guest blogger judge.

Tera Jean Patricks Now A Sad Mac


Tera Jean Patricks of Mac360.com passes away

Tera Jean Patricks of Mac360.com [website not available at time of post] passed away due to her long battle with cancer this Saturday morning at the age of only 46. I offer my deepest condolences and prayers to her family and friends.

I didn't know she had cancer, I suppose that explains all the pictures with the wigs.

Tera assisted me somewhat in my search for Jack Miller earlier this year.

Did Dell know about bad batteries and try to cover it up?


* photo courtesy of Engadget

I've reported before on a service from a company called Converseon. Converseon sells a product (service) called SERMA.

Through my own research I found out that Dell is a big client of Converseon ... which sells a program called SERMA (Search Engine Reputation Management Acounting)

The site's description is rather disturbing:

SERMA description

It is essentially a paid service to bury bad press - Dell is a client and Dell has several entries for batteries on their gateway pages for redirects on this issue.

Did Dell know about this issue?

Engadget reported this morning:

There were some rumblings a couple of months ago that Dell had known about its laptop battery issues for a while, but now InfoWorld reports that a Dell spokesperson has confirmed that they had been discussing the issue with Sony (the maker of the batteries) since October of last year and had decided to hold off on issuing a recall "until those flaws were clearly linked to catastrophic failures causing those batteries to catch fire." Sony did make some design changes to help alleviate the problem (like strengthening the lining of battery cells), but that doesn't do much for batteries that are already in the market. We can understand not wanting to issue a recall until it's clear that there truly is a problem (rather than just a potential problem), but let's just say that Dell and Sony are lucky that no one's been killed or seriously injured by an exploding battery.


The other factor that some might be missing ... the issue may affect Apple batteries as well and by not alerting the computer industry that Sony made batteries that may explode or fail like this and then possibly covering it up is an issue that I feel is on the highest level of malfeasance.



The worst part of the scenario is that Dell, while it has taken a beating over the issue and has made the largest recall in consumer electronics history CAN AFFORD something like this. Mark my words that this will end up affecting several computer manufacturers bottom lines - and I will bet that some executive somewhere was thinking the exact same thing.

An interesting story ...


I just heard a great story:

A boy encountered a rattlesnake in the woods. It was a cold day and the rattlesnake pleaded with the boy to pick him up and place him inside his shirt next to his body so that he could get warm. The boy said, "If I pick you up, you will bite me." The snake told the boy that if he would only get him warmed up he would not bite. The boy relented and put the snake inside his shirt to get him warm. Once the snake was warmed he bit the boy. The horrified boy said, "Mr. Snake, I thought that we had a deal. I warmed you up after you promised not to bite me and this is the repayment that I get." The snake replied, "But you knew what I was when you picked me up."


The lesson learned is, "Once a snake, always a snake"

I can modify that a bit:

A boy encountered a snake in the woods. It was a cold day and the snake pleaded with the boy to pick him up and place him inside his shirt next to his body so that he could get warm. The boy said, "If I pick you up, you will bite me." The snake told the boy that if he would only get him warmed up he would not bite. The boy relented and put the snake inside his shirt to get him warm. Once the snake was warmed he started to strangle the boy. The boy said with his last breath through his lungs, "Mr. Snake, I thought that we had a deal. I warmed you up after you promised not to hurt me and this is the repayment that I get." The snake replied, "Did I agree not to hurt you or not bite you?" And the snake tightened.


The lesson learned is, "A snake is a snake"

I had a customer service issue with a shady Mac dealer (Mac-Pro Systems in California) that had supposedly made good with me, when it came right down to it, they just proved to be the snake I thought they were.

[UPDATE] I posted this story elsewhere and got this reply:

Trust but verify!! Get the snake to put his promise in writing, then have your lawyer look the contract over, talk to the snake's lawyer (do snakes need lawyers?) and hash out details about how long it will take to warm up, what the ideal temperature is, what the snake will do if the boy has a skin condition that is passed to the snake, etc.

Then when the snake breaks the contract, there is a legal document that can go to court and prove the snake is really a snake. Of course, by that time the boy is a young man, he's in Harvard but is drinking heavily because he has this recurring nightmare of a talking snake.

And 20 years later, the Supreme Court will declare that the snake isn't a snake, it is a party to a legally binding contract and is therefore a person who has strangled the life out of a person. Or some such. All snakes will have to be tattooed with a sign that says they are not responsible for any contracts made with them because they are snakes.


The lesson learned: "Lawyers are snakes"

Sandisk Says, "We'll compete for a few days"



As reported by MacMinute:

...Sandisk is expected to introduce new digital music player products and price cuts today in an effort to battle Apple's iPod supremacy, notes Reuters. "Sandisk, which holds the second-largest market share in digital music players behind Apple, plans to introduce a US$249.99 MP3 player with 8GB of storage capacity," notes the article. "That is enough to hold about 2,000 songs, which is double the capacity of the similarly priced iPod Nano, Apple's best-selling digital music player, the report said. SanDisk also is cutting prices on its other music players by almost 30 percent."


Obviously Sandisk will just be getting a few days/weeks jump on Apple. It's all but certain at this point that Apple is set to release new Nanos most likely in 2,4, and 8 gig capacities. It's also likely that Apple's 8 gig will be $249.99 as well.

Apple Makes A "High Standards" Recall


Apple MacBook Pro Battery Exchange


This is a battery exchange program for “certain rechargeable batteries that were sold for use with 15-inch MacBook Pro computer systems from February 2006 through May 2006”. The Apple page linked above says this is NOT a safety issue ... they’re being recalled because they “do not meet [Apple’s] high standards for battery performance”.

This is most likely a proactive move on Apple's part. Some bloggers have linked Dell batteries and Apple batteries together.

I just wonder how much this will end up costing Sony - the manufacturer of the batteries for Dell and Apple. I wonder if this particular recall is costing Apple anything.

This will be added to The Fix Your Thinking reference section:

Apple & Apple Related Safety Warnings & Recalls

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Keep Your Friends Close But Your Enemies Closer?


I have issue with the EFF ... I don't support their multi-faceted attack against Apple Computer concerning iTunes DRM and concerning bloggers ... yet I respect both efforts.

It is for this purpose I decided to contribute to the EFF so as to be recognized by them and by this BLOG.

While I do not support Think Secret, AppleInsider, and The PowerPage (previously represented by the EFF) ... mainly due to the simple fact that the content of their reporting was illegal - trade secrets. I do support the EFF in trying to stand up to big corporations who wish to supress bloggers simply by the fact or nature of calling them "blogs".

Everything aside I think the EFF generally represents with "good intentions" although doesn't necessarily think about the outcome or the expense that they pass on to the very people they are fighting for - iTunes customers for instance. You can almost be assured that Apple passes "litigation costs" onto each every customer.

So ... ironically (even though I disagree most times) I am going to express my support for the EFF on this blog.

It's just hard to know whether the EFF is my friend or my enemy ...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Blog For Attorneys That Use Macs



The Mac Lawyer

An interesting new blog started to keep track of lawyers who use Macs. (And provide perspective from a Mac Using Attorney)

You just gotta hope this isn't "a lose interest quickly" blog and the author keeps it up.

It's a little rough around the edges right now and a little redundant and "linked elsewhere" ... but it has potential.

From the site:

Welcome to the Mac Lawyer

Welcome to ye old Mac Lawyer. I cover law practice management and legal tech from a the perspective of a life-long Macintosh user.

Let's begin.

Click, Print, and Read This Weekend!

Exhaustive look at the "stock options issues" Apple is facing - this article has some interesting history and possibly indicates the source of these problems in accounting as Gil Amelio (CEO of Apple prior to Steve Jobs) - showing him to leave yet another blemish on Apple's history.

eBay further modifies it's "Seller Trespassing" policy - eBay has had a little feature over the past year called "cross promotion" - it is essentially a listing of "similar items" from OTHER SELLERS. It is my opinion that my auction page (if I am the seller) is MY PAGE ... I consider it like land. I consider this a form of trespassing that eBay is allowing (at profit I might add) - sellers have to pay to be featured on other seller's pages. I think this is a very confusing implementation. I have already been asked in my auctions about the items on the bottom of my selling pages. Some novice buyers who are unaware seem to think the "suggested items" at the bottom of my auction pages ARE my items.

Apple issues statement about iPod factory conditions - although I've already mentioned this below - it is worth reading the actual Apple page. What amazes me is that there has been NO RETRACTION whatsoever from the UK paper that published the false claim and seems to have forced Apple to go to a great expense to disprove the original false claim.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A Job Well Done: I'm Referring To Apple & iPod Manufacturing Employees Not Your Average Journalist

From APPLE.COM earlier today:

http://www.apple.com/hotnews/ipodreport/

Like many of you, we were concerned by reports in the press a few weeks ago alleging poor working and living conditions at a manufacturing facility in China where iPods are assembled. Our Supplier Code of Conduct mandates that suppliers of Apple products follow specific rules designed to safeguard human rights, worker health and safety, and the environment. We take any deviation from these rules very seriously.

In response to the allegations, we immediately dispatched an audit team comprised of members from our human resources, legal and operations groups to carry out a thorough investigation of the conditions at the manufacturing site. The audit covered the areas of labor standards, working and living environment, compensation, overtime and worker treatment. The team interviewed over 100 randomly selected employees representing a cross-section of line workers (83%), supervisors (9%), executives (5%), and other support personnel (3%) including security guards and custodians. They visited and inspected factory floors, dormitories, dining halls, and recreation areas. The team also reviewed thousands of documents including personnel files, payroll data, time cards, and security logs. In total, the audit spanned over 1200 person-hours and covered over one million square feet of facilities.

To ensure the accuracy of the investigation, the team cross-referenced multiple sources of information from employees, management and personnel records. For example, working hours and overtime reported in the interviews were corroborated with line-shift reports, badge reader logs, and payroll records of those specific individuals to confirm that they were paid appropriately.

We found the supplier to be in compliance in the majority of the areas audited. However, we did find violations to our Code of Conduct, as well as other areas for improvement that we are working with the supplier to address. What follows is a summary of what we’ve learned, what’s already being done in response, and our commitment to future diligence and action.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Apple Part Of A Witch Hunt?



An interesting summary on Slashdot:

"BusinessWeek Online has an interview with Daniel Warmenhoven (CEO of Network Appliances), who joins a growing list of technology executives in saying that the government's search for backdated options among tech companies is going too far: 'It's become a witch hunt. I think the government is looking to find some egregious examples [of wrongdoing] and to publicly hang people for them. That's fine. But where does it stop? I'm not saying the past practices were all good. But I thought the SEC's role was to build investor confidence. What they're doing right now is destroying it, and I don't see the purpose. They're penalizing today's shareholders for events that occurred five years ago. But who is this protecting, exactly? With Enron, every shareholder in the company lost money. The same with Qwest, and with MCI-Worldcom. But I don't know who the injured party is here.'"


Indeed!

I believe this to be a very public throttle of "The iPod Company".

See also:

Apple Stock Options Probe Not As Bad As You May Think

The Modern Way To Scold Your Children For Not Eating Their Veggies!



In times past, we've heard our mothers say to our not eating everything on our plate:

"You should be ashamed, there are children in Africa starving and would love to have what is left on your plate!"

Last night while eating dinner I quipped about not eating the carrots and celery on my plate:

"By not eating my vegetables do you know how many hand cranked laptops I'm denying African children?"

* reference to the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) program

Followup reading:

I Hate Children & Their Little Laptops Too!

Monday, August 14, 2006

FYI On The iCEO

As reported by iLounge:
Following his keynote presentation at Apple’s Worldwide Developer’s Conference (WWDC) last week, a number of publications and attendees expressed concern that Apple CEO Steve Jobs looked unwell. Most pointed out that Jobs, who underwent pancreatic cancer surgery two years ago, looked “very thin, almost gaunt” and noted that it was very odd that Jobs handed off the majority of the presentation and product announcements to other, less charismatic Apple executives, as if he was tired and needed rest. According to an Apple spokesperson, however, Jobs is definitely healthy. “Steve’s health is robust and we have no idea where these rumors are coming from,” Katie Cotton, Apple’s VP of worldwide corporate communications, told InformationWeek.


I didn't see anything out of the ordinary either after watching the keynote ... he looked the same as he did (in person) when I saw him in January at MacWorld '06. I was kinda saying "huh" to these reports of his ill look at WWDC. It seemed to me like the websites reporting this were just getting the hypochondriac Mac Users to join in and say, "Yeah, pass the kool aid".

Be Careful He Sells Snake Oil In His Other Job

Author Galen Zink asserts in a very quasi-blog way that Apple power adapters are dangerous by design.

In fact ... he even goes as far to show the critics of his article this picture, which he says proves Apple is aware of the issue and has "slilently fixed it".



His claim here is that the only logical reason Apple has modified it's power adapter over the last 5 YEARS is because the adapters fail, spark, and could possibly start a fire!

This is a pretty bold claim. He even backs it up saying that Apple has received hundreds of failed power adapters ... wow ... hundreds aye ... what is that ... 1/10 of 1% of all Apple laptops sold in the last 5 YEARS!

Power adapters fail for different reasons ... the first and foremost is air circulation. I'm sure there is a small defect rate as well.

But be careful of this guy's commentary ... he apparently figured out that "touchy Apple subjects" are a hot topic and generate hits. Why would Zink want to generate hits? Why to sell a sugar substitute and apparently some sort of food enhancement product.

The article appears to have been written with the SOLE INTENT of being placed onto DIGG rather than an informed piece of consumer awareness.

Why the article alone has generated 100 links to his site in just 48 hours and his http://zinkconsulting.com/ and http://zinkfoods.com/ domains are rocketing up the charts.

Be careful folks of the intent ... Creative my be an investor in Zink Foods!

eMail answered ... Apple Stock Options Probe Not As Bad As You May Think

Last night I received this eMail:

In a recent post you mentioned that Apple is only facing the "stock options probe" because of a new retroactive law ... can you point me to that law?

Regular Fix Your Thinking Reader


Actually Mr. Regular [whom I thank for being such] ... I remembered reading it way back when Steve Jobs was granted a lot of stock options and at that time I wondered if Apple would face scrutiny over the issue. AT THAT TIME [2005] it was a somewhat easy topic to find out more information about. I remember that the most controversial thing about the law is that it was retroactive to 2002.The reason the new rule had been enacted and made retroactive is because it was technically already a law and a lot of companies had found an "interpretation loophole" - one of which Apple was possibly exploiting.

Here is the best I could find through a quick Google search:

From an article on LAW.COM:

However, the new FASB [Financial Accounting Standards Board] rules dictate that when options are awarded, their value for the vesting period must be calculated and expensed based on the value of the stock the day it was awarded. Companies can choose to expense options all at once, or over the entire vesting period, which could soften the blow a little. Still, fewer big businesses are viewing options as the most cost-effective reward for a job well done.

In addition to changes in the reporting rules, FASB now requires companies to use the Black-Scholes method for computing the value of the options for fiscal year 2006. That formula takes specific variables into account, like company performance and stock value, rather than the old-school calculation, which banked on a fixed-percentage increase (usually 5 percent or 10 percent) in the price of the options per year. Companies have been anticipating the adoption of Black-Scholes; almost half of those who made our list this year already used this more complicated formula. Rees Morrison, a law department consultant at Somerset, N.J.-based Hildebrandt International Inc., says the Black-Scholes method is more transparent than the old calculation, but it also makes stock options more expensive for companies -- another reason for options' diminished popularity.

Gruber Finds Another "A" Of The Week


As reported by Daring Fireball

Jackass of the Week: Leander Kahney ★

Leander “Cult of Mac” [A WIRED BLOG] Kahney, complaining that he was bored by the WWDC keynote address:

Granted, the system as a whole looks slick, and Jobs said he was keeping some new features “top secret” to stop Microsoft from copying them. But the sneak peek just confirmed what we already know: OS X is so mature and polished, major system upgrades are more about tweaks than big new functions. (Yeah, I know there’s a lot of technical wizardry under the hood, but that’s for the geeks).

This week’s developer’s conference is a big show for Mac nerds. More than 4,000 of them paid a pretty penny to be here this week, and Jobs’ talk is the highlight of the show. For many of them, this is the only chance they get to see their hero in the flesh.


[John Gruber's Commentary] Kahney seems to have completely missed that this was Apple’s World Wide Developers Conference, not the World Wide Jackass Non-Technical I-Treat-the-Mac-as-a-Cult-Rather-Than-a-Computing-Platform Hack Conference.

WWDC attendees didn’t spend “a pretty penny” to see the [glossy sugarcoated] keynote; they spent their money so they could get the technical low-down on what’s new in 10.5, and so they could get face time with Apple engineers. Apple announced a lot of cool new stuff: garbage collection for Objective-C, Xcode 3.0, Core Animation, 64-bit support for the entire OS, the first new interface for Interface Builder since way back in the Next era — the list of “cool new shit” that was announced is really pretty long.

Complaining that the announcements at WWDC only appealed to “the geeks” is like going to a rock concert and complaining that all they did was play loud music.


Agreed. And besides Leander didn't give me credit for figuring out where Jack Miller was or wasn't. Instead he posted his own story ... even though my article came up pretty high in Google searches at the time when Fix Your Thinking was discussing it. I haven't had much respect for Leander since then.

It appears to me that Leander never researches (not even with simple Google searches) for his stories.

Another example:

Maddeningly, the account offered by Krebs doesn't even make it clear that the MacBooks in question were running Mac OS X at the time the attack was demonstrated.

The video (although suspicious) clearly showed Krebs typing into the terminal in the Mac OS.


* Picture of paused video showing open terminal on "hacked MacBook"

Friday, August 11, 2006

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Steve Jobs doesn’t trust people who use words as a tool of their trade

From a Hawkwings article titled: 4 Things I didn't know About Apple:

4. Steve Jobs doesn’t trust people who use words as a tool of their trade

At the airport I picked up a copy of Jeffrey Young and William Simon’s iCon: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, 2005) (Amazon ) to read on the plane.

On the homeward flight I discovered an answer to the mystery about the lack of communication between engineers and development teams at Apple and journalists, bloggers and third-party developers (after all, code is words).

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple and became Interim CEO in 1997, he

"…quickly saw things that he didn’t like. His predecessors in the CEO’s office has never figured out how to take the reins in a commanding manner…. He set about changing the culture of Apple. Some of the changes were small (no dogs at work, no smoking), and some where whoppers, such as the absolute ban on talking to anyone outside the company who uses words as a tool of his trade. (The one exception: it was okay as long as you have a public relations dog-watcher sitting at your side and yanking your leash whenever she wanted you to stop talking.)"


Luckily I make no money off of this site and I'm not interested in outting any Apple surprises (via rumormongering). So hopefully Steve "likes me". This site is here to help Apple users (and ebayers and moviegoers) in an opinionated forum du jour.

In a world where voiceover talent was no longer needed!



Wow I just listened to the incredible new voice for speech synthesis in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. Listen for yourself ...nothing short of amazing.

Even more incredible is that it seems to flow the words together with inflection ... something past synthetic voices only have done at random or according to punctuation.

Audio demo of Apple's new voice synthesis in Leopard @ APPLE.COM

See:

When Everything You Know Is Wrong

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

So, where are the upgrade manufacturers with Intel?

It's a simple question with a simple answer:

Where are the Mac Processor Upgrade manufacturers with Intel processor upgrades?

All Information Presented Or Provided To You ... Including Your Blogs


* Picture taken from John Gruber's Flikr Pages

eMail answered ...

I received the follwing eMail last night:

... so if you claim to be a Mac news website why didn't you have any news about the World Wide Developer's Conference yesterday?


1) I DID! here's an exerpt from a post yesterday:

Don't forget that WWDC is today ... big announcements are expected:

My predictions: [UPDATED]

- Mac Pro : to take place of G5 Tower (check - introduced)
- New XServes - with the whole Intel thing vis a vis making ALL Macs contain Intel CPUs (check - introduced)

- A very unusual feature in Leopard regarding social networking
- A new application of some sorts (just premonition) (check - introduced) * Time Machine

The maybe announced:

- Speed bumped MacBook Pros, iMacs, and Mac Minis
- Apple Security measures - virus program/firewall/spam filterer

What won't be announced and the reason why:

- iPhone - it does exist, it IS ready, and it is being stockpiled for distribution ... however, I think it will be delayed to be the "stock lifter" for post-stock option scandal news at this point.

- New displays with built in iSight. I think this may be around the corner ... but I don't think the iSight is out of production just yet ... I believe these two things will coincide.


I was 99.9% right ... I believe.

The only thing I was partially wrong about was a social networking app in Leopard ... but that doesn't mean it's not going to be there.

2) This website isn't about rehashing. Just about every news and technology outlet discussed WWDC yesterday. So, it wasn't news for this site - there wasn't a controversy ... everything went as expected. That said, if you were a regular reader of FixYourThinking you would know the following:

... I think Apple has gotten much better at this over the last 2 years ... one way is by having hyped events with small surprises. This way ... media can't alweays expect something revolutionary. (And financial analysts won't take a chunk out of Apple stock the next day either.)


This didn't exactly play well for Apple yesterday as far as a stock boost ... mostly due to the "Executive Stock Options" scandal that seems to be brewing.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Is Staples Infringing On The Apple Logo?


* Click on picture for a larger view


I tried searching for this to see if any other BLOGs or any where else on the Mac Web had mentioned this and didn't see it. So if you posted it first, direct me to your page, and I'll give you some credit here.

Staples doesn't sell iPods in all of its stores (does it sell them in any of them?) I know they carry accessories.

Staples doesn't sell Apple Computers

Apple doesn't cosponsor anything with Staples

I asked management at this store where I took the picture if there was some sort of promotion in conjunction with Apple. (Nada)

I can almost assure Staples that they are getting curious Apple owners in their store with this logo. You can see it pretty easily from the street!

I'll let you take a look at this blatant infringement by Staples:


* Click on picture for a larger view

Test your WWDC update speed

I've posted this here before ... but in case you're a new reader or never bookmarked this site:

Here's a way to test that your net connection is running at it's fastest (for those infinite refreshes you'll do during Steve Jobs keynote)

http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/

Internet Connection Speed Test

It's Not Just One Of The Prongs? or Bill Palmer "From I to Z"



From the iProng website:

The iPod will still represent one prong in our coverage, iTunes will represent another prong, and there will be more prongs to come. All of those prongs will be directly related to the iPod universe in some way. But now that it's clear that the future of multimedia will be a multi-pronged one, we think our new name is rather appropriate: iProng™


So why even register ZUNEPRONG.COM?

Yes ... it seems Bill Palmer thinks the name "PRONG" attached to it makes it a desirable name.

What he doesn't realize ... this is slowly but surely eliminating him from search engines ... remember my reference to "PRON" - the geekspeak term for PORN on the internet?

Now, on to other news before he sees this and sends me another crass email saying this whole website is about him.

__________________________________


Don't forget that WWDC is today ... big announcements are expected:

My predictions: [UPDATED]

- Mac Pro : to take place of G5 Tower (check - introduced)
- New XServes - with the whole Intel thing vis a vis making ALL Macs contain Intel CPUs (check - introduced)

- A very unusual feature in Leopard regarding social networking
- A new application of some sorts (just premonition) (check - introduced) * Time Machine

The maybe announced:

- Speed bumped MacBook Pros, iMacs, and Mac Minis
- Apple Security measures - virus program/firewall/spam filterer

What won't be announced and the reason why:

- iPhone - it does exist, it IS ready, and it is being stockpiled for distribution ... however, I think it will be delayed to be the "stock lifter" for post-stock option scandal news at this point.

- New displays with built in iSight. I think this may be around the corner ... but I don't think the iSight is out of production just yet ... I believe these two things will coincide.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Byron Is A Lyin': More bad reporting from supposedly respected journalists


It appears as if USA Today published a story yesterday called:

Cybercrooks constantly find new ways into PCs by By Byron Acohido

Here's an excerpt from the Article to get your blood boiling:

Apple loyalists take heed: Hackers and cyberthieves have begun targeting your beloved software.

Hacking security holes in Apple (AAPL) programs is in an early phase. And Apple owners have yet to experience the full brunt of cyberintrusions all too familiar to Microsoft (MSFT) customers.

But it's coming.

...

At least two Apple attacks have been detected this year: a worm spreading through a flaw in Apple's iChat instant-messaging service and a malicious program distributed via its Safari browser that turns control of the Mac over to the intruder.

Apple, which has been running TV and Web ads touting its immunity to security problems, contends that any threat to its customers is negligible, because the number of known Apple security breaches is minuscule.

"There has never been a widespread attack on any software Apple has produced," says Apple spokeswoman Lynn Fox. "We take security very seriously."

Yet hackers and intruders have taken heed that 25 million Apple Mac users and 58 million iPod owners might be worth some attention. Six of the Apple security patches issued this year have been for vulnerabilities identified in the Mac Safari browser; 16 for QuickTime, the media player supporting iPods.

"People are starting to realize Mac adoption is on the rise, so they're spending more time exploiting Mac systems and Mac software," says Alfred Huger, senior director of engineering at computer-security giant Symantec.

iPod owners who use iTunes and QuickTime media players on Windows PCs may be particularly ripe for attack, says security researcher Maiffret. That's because Apple prompts Windows users to voluntarily install upgraded versions of the programs but does not alert them when such feature upgrades include important security fixes.


Which FixYourThinking readers think it's time for Apple to make a statement ... or do you prefer Apple's "Don't Ask Don't Tell, Just Ignore, Oh Well" attitude on just about all "untrue or unfair" bad press?

Were there really any Apple Attacks? Even Symantec quickly backtracked and said the two instances that arose earlier this year were nothing more than a "proof of concept".

For followup and reference ... look to this story on Fix Your Thinking from March of 2006:

Apple Needs To Give These Virus Drag Racers A Ticket!

Gruber Follows Up With Uber Good Commentary

John Gruber over at Daring Fireball has done an excellent followup on yesterday's story about a guy who was able to gain control over a MacBook.

It's an excellent read and it appears as if he has found definitive proof that the article was done for the sole purpose of Apple bashing and fearmongering:

Take a looksy:

Regarding Brian Krebs’s Reporting on the Supposed MacBook Wi-Fi Exploit

A&E = Apple and Enron?

As reported by MacMinute:

Apple stock irregularities expand in scope

Apple late yesterday said it has discovered more evidence of irregularities related to stock-option grants and warned that it may have to restate earnings back to September 2002, reports MarketWatch. Apple said it will delay filing its report for the latest quarter with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Apple also said it also will likely need to restate results to record non-cash charges for compensation expense relating to past stock-option grants. "The company added it hasn't determined the amount of the charges, and all earnings reported issued relating to periods beginning Sept. 29, 2002 should not be relied upon," notes the story. "Apple officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment."


Just know that while this sounds like some scandalous Enron-esque problem (and it is serious) that Apple is really only covering itself because of new laws and regulations that are retroactive. Also note that Apple has almost always been run like a small business and like a cool local culture business in San Francisco. Think about it this way ... many small businesses don't report all the compensation the owner takes either.

Don't forget about Sales Tax Holidays



My state is having a "Tax Free Weekend" this weekend that starts today. There are 12 other states that do the "Tax Free" thing.

Also don't forget to check out your state's Department Of Revenue website for exemptions and for a form to claim "virtually any item" tax free.

In states such as Georgia ... this is a 7% break!

Personally, I am having a huge sale on top of the 5% sales tax break!

I think this is a complete list of states that offer "Sales Tax Breaks" - usually during the first weekend in August:

West Virginia
Virginia
New York
Massachussetts
Connecticut
Texas
South Carolina
Vermont
Missouri
North Carolina
Iowa
Georgia
Florida

Apple sent me this email this morning indicating that all purchases originating from my state during this weekend are tax free as well:

South Carolina Sales Tax Holiday
August 4 - August 6, 2006

To qualify for the tax exemption, the purchase MUST meet these criteria:

Items must be purchased by an individual for personal use.

Qualified exempt items:

Computer, printers, printer supplies, and software. Keyboards, scanners, monitors are only exempt if purchased as part of a package with a CPU.

Computer hardware service contracts sold in conjunction with computers

Computer Software

Computer Software service contracts sold in conjuction with the computer software

Individual education sales are tax-exempt. Institution education sales are not tax exempt.

iTunes Music Store prepaid cards and Apple Store gift cards are exempt.

In addition to the limitations listed above, the following products are NOT eligible for the exemption:

- Items purchased for a business or trade
- All video games
- Digital cameras
- Digital video cameras
- Joysticks
- Games Pads and related game devices
- MP3 Players (including the iPod)
- Speakers

The transaction does NOT qualify for the exemption if:

The item is purchased for use in a trade or business. This exemption only applies to sales to individuals who will be using the item for personal use.

The item is purchased with the education (institution) discount.

Please also note the following:

While the sales tax holiday is in progress, all other exemptions remain in effect using the standard exemption process.

There will be no rainchecks. Items must be purchased during the tax holiday weekend.
If the customer wishes to order online, the customer must have a South Carolina shipping address in order to take advantage of the tax holiday.

Rebates and promotions -- All terms and conditions remain the same for all offers. If the items qualify for the tax exemption, then the rebate is still valid.




Use this form for most any state to take to a retailer for a sales tax exemption. You may need to consult with your State's Department Of Revenue and note that this may not be the proper form you need ... it is valid in SC, NC, & GA for this weekend.

In the past I have used this form to purchase a Plasma TV - because I was going to use it for presentation purchases for classes.

And don't forget, if you have a friend or family member in a state that's hosting a tax free weekend, you could get them to order something for you from the Apple Store and pick up or have it delivered.

An example of the savings:

In South Carolina: $1000 = $50 Sales Tax Savings at 5% SC Sales tax

Also don't forget that Apple is currently running a promotion for free printers!

(If you see a state that is not included, leave it in the comments and I will update ASAP)