Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Paypal Ain't My Buddy

This is one of the most hit stories on FixYourThinking.

Apple announced that they will be accepting Paypal for the iTunes Music Store.

Many people have misconceptions about Paypal. Those that have had a problem with the service, I have often found did not resolve their issues promptly, nor did they carry out the transaction in the proper procedure.

This story is a lengthy read, but worth it for the insight to gain about the inner workings of some popular websites.

Forum post on Macrumors by me:

Originally posted by GizmoToy on MacRumors.com:

"Did you ever stop to think that maybe not everyone sees PayPal as such a great service? I started using PayPal long before eBay purchased them. Their service has gotten better since then, but not much. I'm a verified seller. I sold a laptop on eBay, and the buyer paid through PayPal with a credit card. The item qualified for their so-called "Seller Protection Policy". The payment cleared, I sent the laptop. About a week later I get a notice from PayPal that I had accepted a fradulent credit card, and that they had deducted it from my account, which I now owed quite a bit of money on. Of course, THEY accepted the fradulent card, I had nothing to do with it. That didn't bother them.

I did end up getting my money back, but not until after I took them to court. Of course, this doesn't apply to buying songs from iTunes because you know Apple is a reliable party... but plenty of people have had similar experiences. There was a huge Class-Action Lawsuit for similar situations to mine a few months back.

I think THAT'S why its getting negative ratings."

_________________ MY REPLY BELOW _________________

I'm not trying to be a Paypal fanboy. I am trying to clear up a lot of the myths that exist about Paypal. There are ways to safeguard yourself against what happened to you.

You can register without a credit card actually:

Just get a temporary $20 credit Mastercard.

Link a bank account that is a free account that only holds a $200 balance - when you sell something big, bring that balance down to nothing, and tell the bank why you are doing it so maybe they will not charge you a low balance fee, or just get an account with a no balance requirement.

You realize that both the buyer and the seller are protected by an insured package. If you didn't insure the package - that's just silly.

All you had to do was file a claim that the items were lost or stolen in delivery - the burden to prove that they delivered to a valid address and that it was signed for by the actual person to whom it was delivered falls on them. Many people have a false notion that Fedex/UPS/DHL can just say, "Hey, we just delivered the package" and they can get off with that. There have been many court cases that say they have the burden of delivering to the actual person and an actual valid place of delivery.

Point being; many con artists do not get things delivered to the house they've been in for 5 or more years!

It's pretty common knowledge that Paypal doesn't like chargebacks, but that credit card companies MAKE chargebacks with them all the time! If the charge from Paypal was unauthorized and you can prove that you did NOT tell them to make the charge and you have no asset of the same value in your possession - then you have a 99% chance of getting your money back.

You should verify all buyers and sellers through feedback/through Paypal verification/even escrow.

One thing you can do to look up a buyer or seller is type their name or email address in to google.

Their are list of bad buyers and sellers on several websites - if you google any of those email addresses or eBay IDs those sites come up.

Further, you can send a 1 cent payment to the buyer - this will show you if the buyer is verified and how long they have been on Paypal.

Finally, you can use the eBay contact information, with phone number and address. If the buyer has false information here - you as a seller qualify for $1000 in insurance.

It sounds like a lot of work. But once you know the steps to take (and the fact that it just doesn't happen that often) will be well worth it."

______________ ORIGINAL STORY ______________

In the time passed since this editorial was posted, there have been a few updates:

• The webmaster at paypalsucks.com has made a rather vocal sustained attack against me on the internet

• Paypal has agreed to settle a class action lawsuit with users who lost money through the service

• Paypal & eBay have completed their merger - Paypal now constitutes 85% of all payments processed on eBay (Before the merger it was 67%)

______________ ------------------- ______________

Over the past week, I've been posting on a website called PayPalSucks.com. There's an interesting thread there called; "ex managers/ former employees stories". This thread, as with most threads on the site, has a bevy of fanatical posters claiming Paypal has scammed them. I admit that Paypal policy sucks if you have a problem, but if you are a careful consumer and retailer, you will rarely have a problem.

As of February 9, 2004 I had 4683 verified member transactions, over the course of my 4 years of having a Paypal account. I have had close to 6000 total transactions paid by Paypal. I have tried all the other failed services. I'm a member of all the other popular payment sources; Yahoo PayDirect and BidPay. There are others out there that exist:

A couple hundred people have posted to PayPalSucks.com. They have about 4500 members and about 16400 posts as of February 9, 2004. There are only a handful of people who post, and most post anonymously (and obsessively) on the site.

One of the things that Jack Campbell got onto his critics about was that the majority of his critics were anonymous. I consistently pointed out in forum after forum that I ALWAYS posted under the same name and never anonymously. The only problem with his anonymous posters is, that the majority of them, were pointing to the facts, I had already assembled, or to evidence elsewhere on the internet; whilst making their point of critique. But Jack has a point! Unmoderated forums, especially those containing critique, should be looked at with extreme caution. The bias will often post in an anonymous forum. Often they post without facts, but rather silly behaviour. The criticized; will often try to move the forum off topic. Usually they rely on infinite registration/aliases.

This is what paypalsucks.com is all about. It is a site put up by Paypal's competition, and NOT a consumer awareness website; as it pretends to be. This payment service is the main banner ad on the page:

PayPalsucks.com gets commisions for every banner ad on the site that is "clicked through".

So, I decided to post on this website after reading what seemed to me fictional and fanatical posts. This is the last post to the site's forums from February 8, 2004:

"... I would also like to point out that you guys ARE advertising for this site by posting here - IT IS POSTED HERE BY PAYPAL'S competition!! The site makes MONEY from everyone that joins yowcow.com payment services and iKobo payment services. Have you not noticed the banner ads? Websites depend on 1/10 of 1% of website visitors to follow through on banner ads. I would love for the owner of this site to report to us how much he makes in commissions. Advertising for "other companies" is a conflict of interest. It would be like Best Buy doing a review of Circuit City!

This website also makes a big point out of Paypal not posting a customer service number that is easy to find - so why doesn't [The Paypal Sucks Dot Com] website make it promininent? (It's 1-888-221-1161 by the way) - there is also a direct toll number, where; you won't have to wait at all. Why aren't there any tips on this site to better use Paypal? People ... you are being exploited by this site!!!

Restated from my previous posts here:

1) You were scammed! Paypal is the mechanism not the activator/initiator.

2) The Paypal site goes completely down at times on weekends for maintenance. It goes down most nights from 1am-3am PST for maintenance.

3) Why did you pay with a balance or a checking transfer when in EVERY case you get your money back if you use a credit card? Did you send personal information or Paypal account information to "the other party"?

4) Did you research your seller? What was their feedback level? Did you file an affidavit with Paypal for the "other party's" information?

5) Did you buy [the item] on eBay or Yahoo? Did you know you are partially insured by Cyno-sure financial? Up to $200! You only have to prove you were involved in a fraudulent transaction and lost money - not anything about Paypal.

6) Fact: Paypal does almost 1 million + transactions a day

Fact: Larger banks do about the same
Fact: Based on the number of posters here & my OWN transactions ( 3 losses out of 4678) - say Paypal's "perfect transaction rate" 99.99%.
Paypal has over 14 million members / paypalsucks.com has 4500 members & 9200 individual posts from unique posters.

7) Without IP address registers and too many anonymous posters - it's hard to tell exactly how many people posting here are real or who are employees/friends of paypalsucks.com or employees of yowcow.com or ikobo.com or even other posters that posts 100's of times.

Nothing can justify your loss. But scammers exploited you, by exploiting Paypal. A better than 99% transaction positive rate is better than JUST about ANY BUSINESS MODEL THAT EXISTS!

As for merchants - I'm mad at paypal for not assisting you more. Have you filed an affidavit? Losing Paypal would be a huge blow to my bottom line as a website owner/eBay auction seller - as well as my local business and ease of transactions between friends in need of fast funds."

PAYPALSUCKS.COM is a scam site; masquerading as a consumer watchdog site. Paypal can do little about it. If they were to sue (which I think they could be), the hounds at PayPalSucks would say they are trying to "hush the truth".

I personally have had 3 losses resulting from Paypal. One I was able to recover $54.50. The other, I applied for a Cyno-sure insurance claim and was just approved two weeks back for reimbursement. It will only be $200 - I paid $303.76, but that's better than nothing. The other transaction I lost on, well, I learned a lesson ... don't accept email offers. I sent $120 to a "Canadian" - no shipment received in 30 days - I filed a Paypal complaint - he typed in a tracking number - that appeased Paypal - I received a brick via FedEx. Yes folks, a brick!

That said, I have saved COUNTLESS amounts of time and money with the conveiniance of Paypal. I can also instantly refund money with little hassle. If you don't use Paypal, you're an idiot in my opinion.

Lastly; scamming sellers on eBay, and even more on Yahoo Auctions, link to the paypalsucks.com site to show why they don't accept Paypal payments. They use this as some sort of verification that THEY aren't a scammer. By pointing to the paypalsucks site they give the illusion; "see I care for you, I'm not a scammer, I'm telling you Paypal is a scam" If you think Paypal won't give you back your money - try getting your bank or a Money Order creditor to "recall" your check!

Update: Since doing this article in early 2004, many of the payment services mentioned here cease to exist. Citibank's C2it and Yahoo's PayDirect have both been axed.

In an insightful slashdot post, on the topic of Yahoo eliminating PayDirect, a forum reply thought it would take a brand name, not a better service, to compete with Paypal. I agree. In fact, I think this would be a great market for Google. Something like Gpay. A site to send money called Gpay already exists, but the website seems so overnight; there's no way I would trust my money with it. I'm sure Google could pay the right amount for the name and the website. It should instantly garner a lot of news and a lot of support. A possible incentive could be: Google Gmail users get discounted fees sending money.

[UPDATE] Google now has a pay service

eBay, really needs competition concerning online payments. Customers who have had problems with Paypal, now foolishly send cash, checks, or money orders. To some, the stigma of Paypal's past has also made them wary of doing business on eBay. eBay has also tightened a lot of the incentive for sellers, but locked them all into using the service as the ONLY way to accept credit cards without having an expensive merchant account.

MACSUPPORT.CA : The CA Stands For "Can't Do Apple"

The CA in macsupport.ca = CAN'T DO APPLE

MacBytes, a popular Apple News aggregator, has been posting news bytes from a new website called macsupport.ca

First ...They have a website called macsupport that doesn't support the safari browser ... ironic?


Then they post things as if they were new news, or news they broke:

An almost TOTAL copy & paste of an article APPLE POSTED ON APPLE.COM

Why is Bytes posting stories from these guys?

And somehow ... in all of this ...

They seem to be related to Bill Palmer (which further reduces the site's credibility):

Bill Palmer December 16, 5:07 AM EDT from iPodGarage:

Thanks to the following additional sites who have linked to the NANOBOOK: 2 Guys a Mac and a Website, akappleug.org, iPodGarden, MacMiner, Macread, Macsupport.ca, PHParch.com, weinstein.org. Still more surely to come.

[UPDATE] Reader emails indicate that I should also note that macsupport.ca uses Apple copyrighted images and designs on their website:

I was going to note personally that the name macsupport most likely violates Apple's naming policy as well.

Monday, December 26, 2005

New Feature: Jack Does Know Jack: Paypal: Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Buddy?

Many of you may be wondering why I don't have a lot of comments to the stories on my BLOG ...

My best assumptions are:

1) I have a rather unpopular opinion here ... I'm not afraid to offend ... even if it means someone or something I have believed in.

2) Most all of the posts here are nonrhetorical; meaning most would agree with what I say here ... once they understand the full story as I have explained it

3) I get A LOT of emails ... as I think, people are afraid to post here in some regard. I'm glad this site doesn't have people who regularly hang out here and make comments that do not further the debate. Like, "Stupid article" or "Yeah, the people you're talking about are dumbasses" - these kind of comments are often deleted from this site if they do not further a rational conversation or observation.

In some ways, I'm glad this site is the way it is. It sets it apart from other sites. I feel other sites seem like they have no control over their forums, their members, or their message. My opinion is clear here! And while my opinion can change; it doesn't do so through childish remark; only spirited factual (and linked, backed up) debate.

One of the articles that I get the most comments on and have the most links to is: Paypal Ain't My Buddy. This article has actually made it into Wikipedia! (And was summarily removed by an anonymous editor recently ... anyone care to add it back?)

While the topic of Paypal and eBay veers slightly off center from the themes of Jackwhispers normal content of Apple Community Scams and Business Ethics ... I realize a lot of Apple Techs and businesses (including Apple Computer) use Paypal. And, of course ... if you buy or sell Apple stuff on eBay ... Paypal is the fastest and easiest way to pay or to receive money.

The latest comment I received was from a guy who sells high end car engines on eBay. He took offense to my saying, "You're either weird or stupid if you don't use Paypal". In his email, he laid out several instances where he felt he had been cheated by Paypal. You will get the jist of his email by my response:

"Paypal has ALWAYS had the ability to be "charged back" from a credit card company. But you are right in the aspect of Buyer Protection changing rules. It's more Paypal succumbing to eBay (it's largest source of revenue) and then in 2005 actually being purchased by eBay.

See, before eBay ... always ALWAYS sided with the buyer in almost 99% of disputes ... reason being ... they felt a buyer and seller had a true commodity (value) in feedback. They figured neither party would risk much due to the feedback system and eBay Safe Harbor. This worked for the first few years eBay was in existence. But as crime has turned from the streets to the net ... criminals have figured out that BUYING is the the new scam ... not selling or pretending to sell.

At the same time, when Paypal was first starting and purchased X.COM = how it became a checking account and debit card company too ... PayPal ALWAYS sided with the SELLER ... this is why at first Paypal was an eBay seller's dream ... but remember what I said about eBay? People were selling, offering Paypal, and ripping people off ... as eBay changed and as scams turned from selling to buying ... well ... you get the picture!

As it stands now, there is no balance between Paypal and eBay ... they both protect the buyer the majority of the time. There needs to be balance in place again. My thoughts are that it will resort in almost everything over $200 sold on eBay will have to go through escrow. Another thought is that eBay will ask local listing companies to also become drop off stations for both the cash and the products to be shipped and you will have to go pickup the items from these locations rather than having them delivered. A third option is that eBay listing companies may end up being mediators and they paid by eBay (much as Squaretrade is now).

I will say this to you again, the benefits outweigh the problems (for now) to me on Paypal ... I have found enough ways to safegaurd myself. I also almost obsessively pursue ANYONE who tries to cheat me ... I will find you ... I will make your life miserable ... even over $25!

Friday, December 23, 2005

More Garbage From The Garage

From an anonymous email sent to me today ...

Hi [FYT],

Wow, this Palmer guy is outrageous. Now he's claiming that his iPod nano PDF was downloaded over 100,000 times in 1 week. That is a total lie... it's not possible. His site doesn't even get the traffic to warrant it.

Someone needs to stop this guy with the lies and deceptions.

Here is the press release being referred to:

If my figures are right:

It takes roughly a month to see that 100,000 people have downloaded ANYTHING from versiontracker (one of the most hit download sites on the mac web)... Bill Palmer is relating his downloads to the levels of Stuffit Expander!

iPodLounge (now iLounge) has been offering their iPod guides for over a year now... and their traffic is somewhere between 15 to 19 million page views a month. iPod Garage barely pushes more than 600,000 unique page viewers a month.

Just remember ... this is the guy who claimed he pioneered transferring songs from your computer to your iPod!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Merry Christmas! From Fix Your Thinking!


Fix Your Thinking wishes all readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year ... thank you for taking this BLOG from the barely noticed to an award winning publication. Together, we have truly made a difference in the Mac Community over the last two years.

Normal publication returns December 26th with regular updates and a very special 4 part report on the problems and pitfalls of eBay listing companies. I'll be telling my detailed story of using such a company and relate how my selling Apple Parts on eBay for 9 years has given me unique insight into the matter.

At the end of this report, I will be providing a unique guide (via a downloadable PDF file) that you can use to select a listing company ... if you MUST USE one.

Also, in Mid January ... I hope to have a great new design to this BLOG, new sponsors, and finally ... this BLOG will resolve as fixyourthinking.com!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

MP3 Shuffle: 99.7% Pure Copycat

While on the topic of eBay listings ...

Readers might be interested in this listingthat is offering the MP3 Shuffle:

* Photo courtesy of ENGadget

When a company that knows they won't be prosecuted (due to being outside of US jurisdiction) releases a product like this; well ... it's pure evil. Seriously!

I emailed the seller a question: who makes this product?

The response: I cannot give out that information

Stupidity Is Not Invisible ...

I am embarassed by this auction that surfaced today on eBay ...

(It may be cancelled by the time you read this)

Embarrassed ... because the listing's seller is located in my home state's capital.

It isn't funny and it's a listing policy violation ...


It seems to be more of a puiblicity stunt to promote iPodInvisa.com ...

This was a reasonably funny Saturday Night Live Skit ... but I am surprised no one reported this to eBay sooner.

From the auction:

UPDATE: There will soon be an iPod Invisa website at www.ipodinvisa.com. Until the DNS servers propagate to that address you can see the site by going to www.ajcannon.com/invisa.htm.

Remember that if bidding goes above $50 then you will receive a FREE pair of Invisa headphones with your purchase.


[UPDATE] I reported this auction to eBay for a listing policy violation and I'm also sending a note to Apple legal about a naming policy violation for ipodinvisa.com.

[UPDATE] Here's a note from Andrew Cannon concerning this article:


Nice to hear from a fellow South Carolinian. What part of SC are you from? Thanks for your concern over this auction, but you must not have read it very carefully. This auction is for an envelope. Included with the envelope for free is the iPod Invisa. The ipodinvisa.com website was not even made until after this auction, so there is no way that you can claim that I was trying to drive traffic to the site...go ahead and try to go to ipodinvisa.com and see what shows up. If eBay decides to cancel this auction, so be it. But there are a lot of people who are enjoying this auction. You might not be one of them and that is fine with me. I'll just re-list it and take away any of the violations. Have a great day and a Merry Christmas!


I'll pass that information along to eBay Safe Harbor ....

New Feature Story Coming Soon ...

I'll be posting a new feature story soon titled:

You Gotta Be Berserk To Use An eBay Listing Company!

I have decided to make this a four part special due to the length and overall value of the story.

This may be one of the best articles I have written to date ... I also want to promote it to different sets of news aggregators rather than the standard ones I use like MacSurfer.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Headlines Should Read

A recent NEWS.COM headline reads:

Some PowerBook Customers Unhappy With New Screens

The headline should read: Some CNet Readers Unhappy with News Stories by CNet

First of all, the story is late to press and apparently the author didn't read this site or the many forums where this topic was being discussed.

Jackwhispers discussed the issue that is the subject of this NEWS.COM article three weeks ago ...

It's a matter of a Colorsync profile setting and an optical illusion ...

In the previous mention of this topic, I floated these reasons for news outlets reporting stories like this:

1) Competition putting these ideas into hypochondriacs heads (IE, iPod Nano scratches, iPod Battery issues)

2) Disgruntled employees or contractors (those fired over leaks)

3) The person(s) behind the reseller lawsuit (Elite Computer, Macadam)

4) The EFF or Think Secret attorneys trying to divert Apple's attention away from their lawsuit to buy more time

5) *legit reason* - more wierd whiney people are buying Macs

6) Media outlets just creating these stories because they know how Mac Users drive up hit totals

Saturday, December 17, 2005

It's bad on eBay ... but the worst in the Apple Category

I've reported here several times about bad problems on eBay concerning phishing emails and apple category scams ...

The Apple category ... particularly for PowerBooks and iPods is especially dicey.

Here is a recent phishing email I received ... that, if you aren't an expert at catching ... would be easy to fall for.

And here is a recent story from Slashdot that I find very poignant:

Law enforcement agencies are becoming increasingly frustrated and concerned at the high amount of fraud on eBay. Reports indicate that it can take two months for eBay to pass details to fraud investigators, and that even for companies with a 'special relationship' with eBay it can take 5 days for fraudulent auctions to be shut down. From the article: 'With all the amount of profits that eBay makes, then there is ample scope for additional staff. Frankly, it is totally unsatisfactory.'

I have reported several fraudulent auctions ... especially for scalping tickets to a local college game ... eBay did nothing. However, I tried to sell a legal copy of Office for Macs that was a demo I had never used ... it got shut down within a few hours of the listing.

I do believe ebay is woefully understaffed ... 20/20 recently did a fluff piece about the founder of eBay, Jeff Skoll ... it showed how much money he donates to charitable causes ... while eBay remains understaffed ... contributing to the ripoff of millions.

I sell on eBay and depend on it for a significant amount of my income ...

I would like to alert readers that I do NOT advertise eBay scam sites here nor do I advise on eBay auctions ... because of my reporting on various eBay issues here at JackWhispers I get a significant amount email concerning the topics I discuss ...

[My power is expected to be out until Wednesday ... I will try my best to continue to make updates]

Friday, December 16, 2005

DLO Says DL NO to Griffin and Belkin

As reported by MacMinute:

Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) have filed a lawsuit against Griffin and Belkin for patent infringement, reports the iPodObserver. The suit alleges that the companies are violating a DLO patent that covers a type of FM radio transmitter and charger that allows users to play an MP3 player's music through a car stereo. "DLO feels that Belkin's TuneBase FM and Griffin's RoadTrip directly violate its patent," notes the story. "Both products are iPod accessories that compete directly with DLO's TransPod. Both suits were filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina." DLO is seeking "injunctive relief, monetary damages, and enhanced damages for willfulness, claiming that both companies willfully violated the patent."

Previously Jackwhispers reported on DLO's suit against DVForge's Podbuddy...

There are many issues involved in this suit ...

From evidence that I have been made aware of ... DLO may have stolen this idea from a Taiwanese supplier a few years back, brought it over to the US, and filed a patent on it ...

I am also aware that former design engineers from Griffin, now work at DLO.

Since I have been closely involved with the Jack Campbell side of this and in the process of producing my own iPod peripheral, I have been privy to both sides of this story.

My personal opinion is that Belkin, who simply rebranded a Taiwanese unit (and was almost identical to the PodBuddy that Jack Campbell planned to distribute) IS a patent infringement ... but the legal waters get choppy with the Griffin implementation ... it is completely different in the manner and function in which it connects; as it can also connect with a detachable transmitter directly to one's home computer or laptop.

I also know for a fact, that while DLO did not design anything, but the exterior casing on their Transpod ... that Griffin custom designed the internals and exterior of the RoadTrip.

My biggest beef with all of these companies, after dealing with them directly and personally, is that they all seem to care more about controversy than competition!

Also reported by MacMinute:

[UPDATE] Griffin responds to DLO patent lawsuit

Griffin Technology has responded to the patent lawsuit filed by Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO), which we reported earlier today. A representative of the company told MacMinute:

"We do not believe that the DLO patent is valid, nor that any of our products infringes the patent. In 2004 we sued Netalog for a declaration to that effect; that their patent is invalid and not infringed upon.
We have filed motions asking that the case be dismissed on those grounds and that the Court is currently considering those motions.

Additionally, DLO filed the lawsuit against us during a period when DLO was secretly recruiting one of our senior managers, which is currently under separate litigation."

[UPDATE] Belkin counsel responds to DLO patent lawsuit

Belkin Corporation has responded to the patent lawsuit filed by Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO), which we reported earlier today. In a letter received by MacMinute, Belkin General Counsel Chris Flower stated:

In May 2005 Netalog, Inc. filed a Complaint against Belkin Corporation in the United State District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina alleging infringement of US Patent No. 6,591,085 by 'FM transmitter and power/charger assemblies' manufactured by Belkin.

It is Belkin's firm belief that such Complaint has no merit and Belkin has specified a number of defenses to the Complaint, including but not limited to invalidity of the '085 patent. Accordingly, in September 2005 Belkin filed an Answer to the Netalog Complaint setting forth such defenses. Additionally, the Answer sets forth counterclaims against Netalog for declaratory relief based on invalidity and non-infringement of the '085 patent.

Belkin is confident that a verdict will be rendered in its favor with regard to this matter.

For those interested ... Jack Campbell's DVForge was also named in this lawsuit.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Steve Settles With David ...

As reported by CNET:

Apple has settled with David Schwartzstein, who had been a member of an Apple developer group, the last of three men accused of leaking pre-release versions of Mac OS X Tiger, reports CNET News.com. According to the report, which is based on a post appearing on DrunkenBlog today, Schwartzstein is prohibited from possessing or sharing any confidential Apple information he may have learned through the Apple developer group. "In December 2004, Apple sued three men, as well as unnamed others, in federal court in San Jose, Calif. The company said the men had posted developer versions of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger onto BitTorrent file-sharing servers ahead of the software's official release," notes the story. "It settled one of the cases this March and another in April."

I'm glad to hear this ... more important battles are in need of fighting.

The PowerBook ... A Terrorist Threat? Just "Plane" Bogus!

Can someone please tell me why a small pocket knife (a swiss army army knife (mainly used for emergency screwdriver) is confiscated at an Airport security screen; yet they let my PowerBook G4 go through just fine?

I could come close to making a bomb with the internals of a laptop ... here's an x-ray of a PowerBook G4:

The Applause Sign Is Blinking

Jackwhispers gets a bum wrap as being a critical, whiney site ... so to counter those arguments ... occasionally I let you know about unique Apple products or services that really deserve a round of applause.

Previously, I mentioned iPodBaby (baby clothes that have iPod like buttons on them), PodBrix (Custom Lego Creations that depict famous moments and people in Apple history), Griffin RadioShark (USB AM FM Tuner for Macs), and Centerstage (a free open source media center application that inspired Apple to create Front Row)

Today, on UberReview ... I saw one of the most unique implementations of a mouse I think I have ever seen ... it just says ... why didn't Apple do this? ... all over it!

It is a blutooth mouse that fits into the PC Card Slot ... it also charges there! 15" & 17" PowerBooks are currently the only Apple laptops that have PC Card Slots - the 12" PowerBook and the iBook line axe the slot for space and feature separation reasons.

Still ... this is just downright genius ... take a look!

Are The AA's Suing Any A's? Are The RIAA & MPAA Suing Apple Users Too?

Thematically related to my last two posts ...

I wonder ... are any of the RIAA (Recording Industry Association Of America) and MPAA (Motion Picture Association Of America) cases against file sharers using Macs?

It came to me as I read a story yesterday on Slashdot about an Ohio man getting sued by Paramount Studios. He is claiming innocence because he has a wireless network and that he was the victim of " a driveby downloader ".

I think the very reason Apple has succeeded in iPod sales, Video sales, and has a MUCH GREATER percentage of using buying legal licensed software ... is because:

A) Apple users on the whole (as I have observed) are more honest

B) Apple users are (as a greater percentage than Windows) content creators; thereby respecting license, copyright, and patent

C) Diehard Apple Users respect that Apple pursues it's designs, copyrights, and patents with a hard gavel and therefore sympathize with RIAA and MPAA claims

D) Apple Computers may possibly be somewhat immune to snooping from the RIAA and MPAA that monitor filesharing networks.

Now don't get me wrong ... I think the tactics and the excessive litigation that the RIAA (in particular) pursue is nothing short of unconstitutional. I also deplore that the RIAA is generally behind the behind closed doors effort to raise iTunes Music Store song prices.

In that regard, I believe Steve Jobs accurately pointed out ...

"We're trying to compete with piracy ... We're trying to pull people away from piracy and say, 'You can buy these songs legally for a fair price'. ... "If the price goes up people will go back to piracy," ... "Then everybody loses."

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Those Aren't Windows In The Windows OneCare Logo: They Are Fusuma Doors

Inspired by this comment from a poster to yesterday's article, I would like to offer a followup:

Comment on Jackwhispers by BuzMania:

buzmania said...

I recently was listening to a local radio station show where the host was asking people to call in and give their opinion on Microsoft's development of virus and spyware prevention software. I could not believe how casual most people were viewing this. While it is certainly commendable to produce a good product, when its design is to repair or patch deficiencies in your main product it begs the question: why not make it right to start with?
Microsoft has long been accused of releasing software that should have stayed in beta and then releasing bug fixes after consumers start having problems. This seems to take that tendency to the next level.

I agree with this article that the current bulletproof status of Macs concerning viruses and spyware has been all but ignored in the popular press. The issue that befuddles me, however, is that people accept this state of affairs as "normal" and rush out to purchase all manner of other products to "fix" the problem. Every year. Has Bill brainwashed PC users to the extent that they will now pay for the privelege of using his buggy software?

Truthfully ... I think it would be unfair to say that Microsoft should make their products right to begin with ... while they should certainly try and do so by law (ethically and legally) ... no product can be made bulletproof, criminal proof, or idiot proof.

The real question here ... should Microsoft be including their new antivirus software free with the OS.

While it can be said that Microsoft could easily make the best software, could they also just not patch things or get away with releasing a substandard product ... yet sell a way to protect it?

Here's a scenario:

A builder called DEADBOLT Home Sales sells you a house. DEADBOLT Home Sales, also sells 85% + of ALL locks, security systems, and front doors ... you were sold the house and then offered a front door, a lock, and a security system made specifically for that house (at additional cost).

Shouldn't you expect to get a house with ... at the very least a lockable front door? Shouldn't you expect security systems to be made by other companies as an aftermarket item, but for the house to be as reasonably and reliably secure as possible?

Or are DEADBOLT Home Sales and Microsoft the same ... does Microsoft sell products with front fusuma doors (Japanese paper doors) ... especially to those located in the hood?

The internet = the hood.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Responsibility Of The Media To Mention Macs

As I watched a segment on last night's NBC Nightly News I noticed something interesting ...

Actually it was what I didn't see that inspired this post ...

The segment involved Spyware ...

The focus was about tracking your children's internet surfing and possibly exposing your entire computer to password and identity theft ...

BUT ... the segment mentioned terms "your computer" and not terms like "Computers with the Windows operating system"

This is almost as if they had reported a story in this manner ...

US residents support the war in Iraq

Well, depending on what polls you read, or what data you include; the majority of US residents do support the war in Iraq (or support our troops there), but a certain percentage (around 10%) don't support it in any way whatsoever.

However, news outlets usually make a certain effort to report the 10% of Iraqi war protestors ...

They report in such a way that many believe that 10%, to be the majority of Americans.

If news outlets were to reveal the whole truth about spyware, adware, and viruses ... that Macs, as yet, have been unaffected by these obtrusive nightmares that Windows users face ... do you also think that the people that see these segements on television and read these articles in newspapers ... might consider a Mac?

Or let's place this into a conspiracy ... are the news outlets being fed these stories by the internet security firms such as Symantec and MacAfee?

The segment was introduced as [anonymous] "Experts say ..." and generic terms such as "Home PC" and "Computers were used"

Apple Computers are computers and home PCs ... aren't they?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

I Knew We Couldn't Make It A Week ...

ENgadget has managed to find yet another iPod knockoff ... this time in the Phillipines ...

* photo courtesy of ENgadget

The people I see this hurting the most is 3rd party developers ... where people are thinking they are getting an iPod ... buying an iPod only accessory ... it not working with the knockoff and then returning it ... costing the distributor and the 3rd party money ... therefore raising the price of accessories.

Let's see if we can make it 8 days until the next one.

Do I Still Have A Hand?

Here is a good quote from the CEO of Sony, Howard Stringer:

"We have so many rivals it's frightening. The week after next I will meet Bill Gates and Steve Jobs; shake hands with them and look down and see if I still have a hand."

One interesting aspect of this quote ... Sony has been slowly bleeding over the last few years ... continuing to release proprietary, restrictive technology. Apple (and Microsoft for that matter) have been opening up to standards and to ubiquity through volume.

- Sony released the damaging rootkit a few weeks back on it's audio CDs

- Sony has continued to market BETA to television stations

- Sony had to have their own version of the MP3 ( a lossy, proprietary standard) called ATRAC

- Sony had to have its own version of Firewire called iLink (I standing for inferior) This is an unpowered version of Firewire. I believe it is (in part) a contributing factor to a reduction in firewire sales and implementation.

- Sony has refused to integrate their technology to all consumer and prosumer lines

- They have been very restrictive and less innovative with the Playstation and the roadmap of the Playstation 2 and 3

- They have restricted the PSP into an almost worthless device ... with few games ... not allowing or roadblocking users from doing what they want to with the machine.

Apple on the other hand has embraced USB and started to integrate it more - starting with the iMacs and most recently making Nanos and Video iPods USB only

Apple has somewhat (minorly somewhat) opened the AAC (iPod DRM) with less restrictions and more universal acceptance ... not to mention opening up the dock connector to many many developers.

Apple has taken over Sony as the #1 portable audio device manufacturer

Microsoft has announced that future versions of Word will use an open document standard so any word processing program could read documents created in Word.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Review: The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

I have had the fortunate situation of seeing The Chronicles Of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in an advance screening. I have assisted one of the film's special effects teams with Mac Support over the last 7 months, all the way up until August; when last minute decisions were still being made about the film's editting and voice talent.

C.S. Lewis is supposedly well known for saying that he never wanted a film adaptation of his film; thinking it would lose the true meaning (of allegory for Christ and Christianity), fantastical vision created in readers minds, and that justice just simply could not be done on film ... eventhough he had films such as Gone With The Wind, King Kong, Wizard Of Oz, and Forbidden Planet as the best examples of Sci Fi, Fantasy, and Period Epic filmmaking. While all great movies ... they are obviously from another era as far as special effects go. Lewis never got the chance to see movies such as (friend) J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord Of The Rings series come to film, much less the Star Wars films, Jurassic Park, or even 2001: A Space Oddessy (which was made just a few years after Lewis' death).

The only continued worry that I feel Lewis would have with this film are the slight secular undertones and updates that were added. But, I must say ... this first book was shorter than your modern "fantasy world" films; like Harry Potter book/films. Whereas Harry Potter books span the same number of volumes; they average 1000+ pages ... each Narnia book is around 200 pages. Some elements and fill are necessary to create a film that spans as much time as this film does. Take into account that J.K. Rowling is purposely writing each Harry Potter book purposely to be made into film.

Unlike other reviews, I refuse to give away spoiler elements of the film ... but will give you a small Pro's list as, in my mind, this film is the best I have ever seen ... in fact, I plan on seeing it tonight at midnight and then again at one of the 6 completely digital THX theaters in the country - that is located in my hometown ... an experience that almost changed Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith for me from a good film to a great film.

The last minute decision to make Liam Neeson the voice of Aslan over actor Brian Cox was superb and really adds vocal depth and prestige to Aslan. I was able to hear bits and pieces of both doing the dialogue,; it would have truly made an enormous impact on the film's presence.

Georgie Henley as Lucy. This is the next Dakota Fanning. I cannot believe how well this girl played her role. For her first movie and being only 10 years old ... it's nothing short of destiny for her to play the role of Lucy Pevensie.

While the film does have some filler - it serves to give a new meaning to The Narnia Story: the meaning of family.

The character of Mr. Tumnus must be the best special effect ever created on film ... there is never a point where you would think it was a real man with real legs.

Watch the sky during the movie for hidden messages in the clouds and pay close attention to the armor in battle scenes to see extrordinary detail to film.

Now, I've just got to decide which movie to bump out of The FixYourThinking Top 100 Movies list.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Not A Real Big Deal

* Glaser (REAL CEO) shakes hands w/ Gates (You know what company he works for)

As reported by Reuters:

Digital media company RealNetworks Inc on Monday said it would launch a free, Web-based version of its Rhapsody digital music subscription service.

Marketing Rhapsody as both a Web service and a desktop service is part of a larger shift for RealNetworks, which recently reached a settlement in its antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft Corp..

RealNetworks had sued its long-time rival, claiming Microsoft's decision to bundle its own media player within its Windows operating system hurt sales of the RealNetworks player.

Under the settlement, RealNetworks got $460 million upfront, while another $301 million was earmarked to promote the Rhapsody service on Microsoft's MSN Web site.

The new Rhapsody.com service, announced Monday, enables consumers to use Rhapsody without first downloading a PC jukebox application, and for the first time makes Rhapsody available to Apple Computer Inc's Mac users and Linux users.

Umm ... is anyone impressed? Isn't this essentially just the same as iTunes Radio? They mention it as a free service like they were planning to charge for it!

Why doesn't Apple make a big deal about Quicktime for the same reasons? Oh I forgot, Apple isn't arguing with Microsoft over anything anymore ... just poking fun at Microsoft at expos occasionally ...

* Photo courtesy of MacMinute / 2004

Followup stories:

You Got To Be Real

A Crumb From The Crust Of The Apple Pie

iOps Gets The iOpportunity To Be Sued By Apple

As reported by ENgadget:

Apple taking IOPS to court over knockoff iPod minis

We were all kind of wondering how long it was gonna take Apple to make the first legal move against all those crazy Asian iPod knockers off, but it looks like the card most consistently at the top of that deck — Luxpro — dodged the bullet on the first real lawsuit, and a little less expected firm, IOPS, is the one getting hauled to court. Apparently, Apple’s bringing them in over the Jock (right) and Z3 models, which, granted bear some resemblance to the iPod mini. Apple ... demands IOPS stop selling the two players, get compensated for lost sales, and for IOPS to take out an official apology in three (or more) South Korean newspapers.

What most outlets that just regurgitated this story from ENgadget didn't report was that this player had the same guts as a Mini ... this was the real reason Apple was suing.

Another fake being distributed in Turkey ... why isn't Apple suing these guys? Or Luxpro; as the ENgadget article mentioned and I have mentioned here before.

Followup articles:

They Should Have Just called It The iRuffle

This litigation will be posted to the Jackwhispers Your Rights, The Law, & Litigation Reference Section as found in the right side column.

Monday, December 05, 2005

UPC Stands For Underage Punk Caught .... Trying To Steal An iPod Shuffle

As reported by Engadget:

Barcode spoofer caught stealing iPod shuffle

Barcode printing, barcode creation apps, and barcode spoofing are really nothing new — but you have to be of a certain persuasion to walk right into a Target with a fake barcode for $4.99 headphones and try and walk back out with an iPod shuffle for your trouble. Perhaps some might call that the poor college student persuasion, but apparently 19 year old Colorado college student Jonathan Baldino actually made it past the register with his $4.99 purchase, only to be halted by one of those receipt checking door guards. [He's] facing a criminal felony count of forgery and two misdemeanor counts of theft (he’d admitted to trying the fake-barcode trick on a CD player, before). ...

It is also against the law to reproduce "already used barcodes" -- I had reported on this back when an astute reader found out that the MacMice IceMate from Jack Campbell had a Campbell's soup barcode.

I am VERY surprised this kind of theft hasn't happened more and is yet another reason RFIDs will be better for consumers and for retailers once they become ubiquitous.

The Price Is Wrong At Price Rite Photo

Today I am going to kind of just cop out and post a story for you to read. I need to update so ...

I wanted to do a little more commentary with this story. But, this story made the rounds on Friday and was posted on Slashdot. That made the site very slow (eventhough it was on a BLOGGER BLOG just like this site) -- it also made this BLOG slow because of all the attention it was receiving.

I promise a better update by tomorrow morning ...

This is a great story of how a guy was cheated by a company called Price Rite Photo and he is exposing them on the web. This is the best thing he could have done ... better than reporting the problem to the Better Business Bureau or even the police.

The best part of the story is the comments, where readers have assisted the blogger with more information concerning Price Rite; such as:

(1) This is actually a chain of bait and switch high end digital camera shops. They go under many many names on the internet and on eBay, Amazon, and Yahoo

(2) An actual picture of the business that looks like the entrance to some werewolves' or vampire's city hangout from a movie.

(3) Bloggers have posted other options for the readers to seek retribution, some of which I have not heard of.

As for (3), I plan to investigate some of the options posed by readers and report about them here soon.

I got some good ideas concerning Wegener Media ... as I plan to post a followup to my previous story; Attack Of the Waygoner.

Price Rite Photo's Abusive Bait & Switch

Take a look ... I'm sure if you enjoy this site ... you will enjoy this story ... and since many Mac Users also work with digital media .. this may be applicable to you!