Friday, June 26, 2009

Supposed iPhone 3Gs Prototype on eBay

Here's a link to the auction: iPhone 3Gs "prototype" on eBay

... But because this auction will most likely be ended by eBay (and Apple):

Hello to EveryOne!


I Got this phone couple weeks ago and was trying to figure out what is it through the Apple Store and through Apple Product Specialists. Nobody never gave me any info on it - they told me it's an Apple Ptoduct, but they don't service it, cause it have never been sold. Before the 3G S came out last Friday, iTunes was giving me error "iPhone can not be restored, because software for this iPhone is not available yet". I tried to restore it on Friday and it took 3G S Firmware with the error after unpacking it "This device is not eligible for the requested build". All I can see on the screen is the Apple Logo after I start it up and Conncect to iTunes Cable. Last time I was at the Apple store the Genius Guy told me that this is defenitely iPhone 3G S, He matched the Serial Number on the SIM Tray with the Serial Number on the LogicBoard - they are the same, but He told me, nothing he can do about it, because He was unable to locate the number in Apple's Database.

So here it is for YOU! Not too easy to find such product, so it might be a Treasure for You. Listing is for the phone ONLY! Excellent overall condition!

Please SEE More Pictures of the actual phone below!

I do ship WorldWide!!!

Feel free to contact me anytime if You have any questions or Offers!

The doofus who listed this included a picture of the serial number ... so if it is a prototype ... it'll be tracked and someone will be charged for breaking a non disclosure agreement.

Here's a few of the pictures included in the auction:

iTunes Gift Card Fraud Lawsuit/ Apple Cracking Down On Gift Card Fraud On eBay

As reported by InformationWeek:

Illinois plaintiffs seek a refund for songs purchased for $1.29 while using Apple's $.99 iTunes gift cards.

Apple Inc. on Wednesday was sued for fraud, breach of contract, and violations of Illinois consumer protection laws by attorneys representing two residents of the state.

The plaintiffs, Daniel E. Owens and Barbara S. Owens, allege that Apple's iTunes Gift Cards promised song downloads for $0.99 and that the company's decision to raise song prices on April 7 to $1.29 turned the company's marketing message into misrepresentation.

The plaintiffs "seek a $0.30 refund for any song that has been purchased for $1.29 while using a 99 iTunes Gift Card," the complaint states. They also are seeking class certification, in order to represent the estimated tens of thousands of other iTunes Gift Card users in a similar situation.

If a judge certifies the suit as a class action, the amount involved would exceed $5 million.

Apple, the complaint states, "knowingly and fraudulently misrepresented, concealed, omitted, and/or suppressed the cost to purchase individual songs from its iTunes Internet Web site. As a result, Plaintiffs and members of the putative class have suffered economic harm in that they have paid monies for a product that was worth less than what was represented and/or they have been denied the benefit of their bargain to purchase any song from Defendant's iTunes Store for $0.99."

While viewing this story (mentioned above) at InformationWeek ... I saw that they linked to a Washington Post story about Apple cracking down on eBay sales of iTunes gift cards.

* via MacSurfer

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Movie Reviews: Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen

I want to title this review:

Transformers 2: It Didn't Transform My Life But It Is What It Is

I loved the Transformers as a child ... I had Shockwave and Soundwave (with all of his cassettes Berzerk (a robitic eagle) Ravage (a robotic dog) and Rumble (a little Transformer robot man).

I still love the Transformers and I enjoyed getting to see this with my son on premiere day.

I think it's worth noting right off the bat ... there were a lot of 4 letter words in this movie. This is being promoted in kids meals at Burger King, Toys in the toy departments, and on Cartoon Network during "kiddie viewing times". This movie is being pitched at children with adult fathers that liked the cartoon as a kid. It's not a grown up version of the Transformers - its an awfully scripted movie with amazing special effects and a decent plot.

Secondly, there is a lot of overt sexual innuendo that children understand. My six year old understood that one of the girls in the movie was acting like a slut and asked why they "showed her booty".

The violence is pretty intense in this movie and a lot of people die. It's kind of tear jerking to see Optimus Prime killed as well*.

* Don't worry, that's not as big a spolier as you think.

Aside from that - there was nothing about this movie (other than the human actors) that didn't look real. The Transformer, Devastator - which is a number of construction vehicles that combine into one giant robot - may be the greatest, most complex special effect ever created for the big screen. This effect alone is amazing to see from an artistic point of view as well as a fantasy perspective. It was a unique take on the cartoon version.

I'll give you my son's worst and favorite scenes:

BEST: The scene with Devastator (funny, I thought the same)

WORST: A scene where a teenage college student hiked up her dress and jumped on another teenage college student and kissed him with her tongue. (funny, I thought the same ... there's a bit more to this scene that I'm not telling so as not to give out any spoilers)

These movies - moreso this second installment - definitely follow the plot lines of the old cartoon series - always looking for energy. Plot wise - there aren't many twists but there are some unique story elements - such as Transformers switching from Decepticon to Autobot - like a Democrat to Republican. This movie has it's share of unnecessary elements and completely out of place elements as well - like a Terminator like female/human robot.

On a 1 to 10 scale with 10 being the best - I'd give this a solid 7. It's worth seeing in the theater due to the complex action and special effects - some of which may be lost on even the biggest of televisions.

Live (inside the movie theater) Review: Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen

The following is a combination of posts I made yesterday to my blog:

• This is my live text blog from the 4:30 EST premeir of Transformers 2: Revenge Of The Fallen. My next few posts will be coming straight from the movie theater ... during the movie. I'm in the back row with my son with tap sounds on mute ... No one near us so I doubt I'm bothering anybody.

• My son & I found a nickel in one of the video games in the lobby before we came in. He says to tell my "website weeders" hello.

• I saw the previews for the new M Night movie and GI Joe - both look good

• Wow ... on the effects in the first 5 minutes. I love Optimus Prime's voice. He's so cool.

• Four 4 letter words in the 1st 10 minutes ... I thought this was a kids movie???? ( A lot of sexual innuendo too! )

• SoundWave (my favorite transformer as a kid) is still my favorite - he's now a telecommunications satellite instead of a cassette player ... I think in the new cartoon series he's an SUV with tricked out speakers

• Noticed a Cloverfield poster in a dorm room ... Had a "metoo moment"

• Interesting Terminator 3 twist

• Taking a bathroom break ... I'd be ashamed if I were GM ... Most of the Autobots talk stupid (all cars are GM & GM co-sponsors)

• Deep Roy is in this and Bushemi is doing a voice ... Are they in more movies than Samuel Jackson?

• The Transformer "Devastator" may be the greatest special effect ever produced

• I love how movies like this wreck the wonders of the world

• I guess I shoulda done this by Twitter ... but I hate Twitter

• Well ... Movie's over ... Liveblogging experiment accomplished ... I just like trying new things every now and then ... I wanted to see this movie, but my son REALLY wanted to see it ... His birthday is tomorrow. One of the reasons this "blogging from the theater" was so easy is because he's so well behaved. I can't say that for other kids that were there (same age, younger, and older) Going to movies nowadays is an almost miserable experience. It's one of the reasons I don't do premeire movie reviews any more ... a lot of my reviews come weeks later when theaters aren't crowded or months later when I can watch it on DVD. More tomorrow ... I'll combine all of these posts and give a more thorough review.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Movie Reviews: Hancock

I finally got the opportunity to see the movie Hancock during a free preview this past weekend on DirecTV :

I had wanted to see this movie when it came out, but the stars never aligned for me ... c'est la vie.

Boy, am I glad I didn't pay money to see it.

About the only thing that kept me interested was the special effects and in places it looked like they ran out of money and had to add a few flying shots here and there - the quality of the flying sequences effects is comparable to the 1979 Superman.

One of the things I like to look at is box office totals vs production costs:

USA: $227,946,274
+ Foreign: $396,440,472
= Worldwide: $624,386,746

Hancock did very well - it's budget was $150 Million. This is obviously an instance where Will Smith was a large part of the reason it did so well. It has the "I'll see it because it's got Will Smith in it" factor.

The story centers around a mysterious homeless drunk (Hancock played by Will Smith) who has super powers. He's often called upon to save the day, but usually ends up causing millions of dollars worth of damage and public outcry is usually greater than the call for help.

The plot kind of gets lost and mixed up when a character tries to explain Hancock's powers. The references to angels and Gods muddies the waters of identifying with the characters. What is he? An Angel? A God? Demon (or fallen Angel)? An alien?

The ending will have you asking, why didn't he die - as it's established that he can die and his kind is all but gone.

I was surprised by the amount of cursing - especially the swearing - by Will Smith in the movie.

I mentioned that to my wife, adding that I thought Will Smith was pretty religious. She reminded me that Smith was a Scientologist. I had forgotten about that and remembered that he tried to deny it. After a quick Google search I found he's made several hundred thousand dollars in donations to the church of Scientology.

Cursing only comes to my mind if it's unnecessary. One way to tell if it's unnecessary will be to see when Hancock comes on national television. Most of the cursing and swearing will be taken out.

It's almost like, if I'm watching a movie about the mafia, I expect blood and swearing.

This movie had children in it and a lot of the cursing seemed out of place.

If you like Will Smith, he's very out of character here, and I don't recommend it.

If you can find the DVD for a really good price (say $5 or under) it may be worth it to see the alternate ending.

Working on ...

I'm working on a new reference section for this site about Credit Cards.

Just as I have become nearly the defacto source for telephone law recording (getting about 6000 hits a month just from that) - I want to become THE source for all that is credit cards - with particular attention to credit card surcharges and minimum purchase amounts - both of which are state and federal prohibited - not to mention disallowed by ALL merchant agreements internationally.

Sorry I haven't posted a lot lately - I've just been a bit busy - but I promise - by the end of this weekend - it will have been worth your wait.

Friday, June 19, 2009

This is coming from my new iPhone 3Gs ... via text message link up with my blog ... One of the interesting things I found out today ... My 1st gen iPhone didn't qualify for my wife's state employee discount but the iPhone 3Gs does so although my family plan went up $10 because the data plan on edge is $20 each month and 3G data plans are $30 a month ... My bill went down $34.50 ... Cool.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The REAL reason MMS isn't on the iPhone at launch and wasn't in iPhone OS1.1 or 2.0 ...

I'm not sure if anyone has said this somewhere else online ... I googled for it and couldn't find anything. I do know that the "Let's bash AT&T bandwagon" Is in full gear. Most of the time these "gang ups on AT&T" happen, it seems suspiciously initiated by a Verizon executive troll. What surprises me the most is that WebStar geeks like John Gruber join in the gang bangs without any research.

The reason there hasn't been any "Picture Messaging" (also called Multimedia Messaging or MMS) is because of the lack of security with the current way MMS is approached. AT&T is being very coy and secretive about this so as not to draw attention to it. Many have interpreted the relative silence from AT&T as a "network capacity issue" - it's not. It is solely a security reason.

Why would I say that?

A few months back my teenage step daughter had a new ringtone on her phone (A Samsung BlackJack II). I was immediately upset because I had told her not to buy ringtones. I explained to her that usually there were hidden charges with ringtone service providers. She explained to me that she had not purchased the ringtone at all and proceeded to show me a website where one entered their email address and phone number. The website sent the cellphone an MMS message. When the message was saved, it spoofed the phone into thinking "the picture/video" was actually a ringtone.*

* I won't get into the fact that my step daughter uses a Dell and this same website loaded spyware, adware, and malware onto her install of Windows XP.

For a day or two I researched this website and how the MMS spoofed as a ringtone*.

* Link above includes spoofing SMS & MMS for ringtones

Since the iPhone has the ability to email pictures - which I prefer - I've never really cared about MMS. My wife has an iPhone and she's just about the only person I'd care to receive pictures from on an immediate "gotta see it now" basis.

So ... for all those that seem to be bashing AT&T - for the wrong reasons* - I submit, that you do your research.

* Yes I'm implying that AT&T might need some bashing for valid reasons

The iPhone OS 3.0 has quite a number of new security features. It is my speculation that AT&T's delay is merely based on implementing this new security into a specific iPhone MMS model so that there can't be any "ringtone spoofing" or executable / malicious code" sent to iPhones.

If you have any technical insight you could provide ... please post it to the comments.

[UPDATE] See this on Engadget:

Apple patching nasty SMS security hole

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Is there an adapter that goes from USB to Firewire DV?

Apparently this interface from Pinnacle does just that ... it looks like everywhere I go these are on clearance.

The connection is made via USB 2.0 - the little white breakout box you see (which is Windows compatible only) has RCA, SVideo, and FireWire 400 DV - which I assume can only be used for video from a camcorder that uses a FirewireDV interface.

The box says Windows XP - so I guess Mac users could use this in Bootcamp, but I doubt it could be used in Parallels.

If I had some spare change I'd grab it and test it out.

As a side note ... I've also seen a Firewire to Ethernet converter to share video over a network but the adapter has to serve through a PC as well.

iPhone Snaps

This is a picture of the game Apple Scrabble ... looks interesting. Scrabble is one of my favorite games. It's one of the few iPhone game translations that's done right in my opinion.

Monday, June 08, 2009

iPhone Snaps

These are some shots of two black snakes (actually their name, not just saying because of color) - making love at the Clemson Horticultural & Botanical Gardens this past Saturday. It was pretty interesting to see.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Steve Jobs To Return To Apple

As promised and predicted Steve Jobs is scheduled to return to Apple by the end of June.

Some are speculating he'll return via a media event and announce a new product or showcase the iPhone.

Although I'm not holding my breath ... it would be nice for him to make an appearance at WWDC on Monday during the keynote ... but he may not look 100% even if he feels 110% better.

He'll be judged by his appearance alone.

It'd be good PR for Apple for a surprise appearance ... but Apple has it's own concept of PR.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Palm Creating Artificial Demand For Pre

Found on Engadget:

This is a sample picture (There's 31 images like this) - showing inventory of all the Pre stock at Best Buy locations for Saturday's launch.

Best Buy is expected to be right behind official Sprint stores in sales of the Pre - by the looks of this inventory manifest - it appears as if only a few thousand are going to be available - compare that to Apple's several hundred thousand available on both launches of the iPhone 1.0 and iPhone 3G.

Palm is sure to have an artificial press release - saying "SELL OUT!"

With positive but definitely not glowing reviews coming in from Walt Mossberg and other gadget review heavyweights combined with a seemingly imminent lawsuit with Apple - I really don't think Palm will see the saviour they were hoping for out of the Pre. The Pre is an "all in bet" for them and they seem to have the shiftiest eyes at this point.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Are US schools losing money by not licensing?

I sent this letter to the "Official Pete Maravich Site" this morning:


My name is Philip Smith.

I attended Daniel High School and have an eBay search set up to tell me if anything "Daniel High School" related pops up for auction - (I'm interested in annuals mostly).

Almost daily, a search comes to my email (based on the search terms "Daniel High School") for a Pete Maravich Daniel High School Jersey.

Such as:




I have asked these eBay sellers (with no response) if this was licensed merchandise. I wasn't interested in buying, but I wondered if my alma mater high school was receiving licensing fees and were you.

I know that there were some licensing issues with the movie "Pistol Pete" as I was involved in that discussion as part of student council when I was in school.

My father was coached at Clemson by Pete's father - Press. He also served on Daniel's Booster Club and had a licensing program set up with local sports shops. I've been discussing these details with him.

Could you please point me to the right source to inquire about this licensing violation (if there is one) and if you are the right person to contact regarding the Maravich name?

Thank you for your time ... I hope this comes as a welcome tip.



I sent a similar letter to my former high school.

There's a good possibility that my school has lost tens of thousands in revenue / royalty from this.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Palm To Sprint: I'm Just Not That Into You

Tom Reetsman from The Apple Blog:

Sprint has been known to be the exclusive carrier of the Pre. In fact, one of the big complaints about the Pre — right up to Walt Mossberg’s article today — was its exclusivity to a carrier, losing customers in droves. Apparently, this criticism was too much for Palm to bear, and it shattered it today. The Pre is still exclusive to Sprint at launch, but only for six months.

Initially, Palm’s stock rose on the news, as did Verizon’s. Sprint? Well, not so much. That’s settled down a bit as of this writing, but the overall damage to Sprint is clear.

Well ... launch of the Pre will be a critical success at best - only "must have the latest gadget people" are going to buy them. I think most Verizon customers will just wait - if any are anticipating it.

Follow the link to see more ...

Palm To Sprint: I'm Just Not That Into You

Bad News For Apple & IBM: [Vintage] Advertisement for the Commodore 128

* via DIGG

Should I Buy A Refurbished Mac?

I always buy a refurb when it comes to a new Apple Computer ... I always recommend it to anyone wanting to purchase a Mac as well.

My logic falls along these lines:

• Most Apple refurbs (from the Apple Online Store) are from the retail stores.
• Apple computers are allowed 90 days maximum in a retail store
• Apple generally replaces any part that is scratched.
• Apple includes all brand new accessories with each refurb.

I look at getting a refurb (from Apple) as like getting an extended warranty - the unit has been thoroughly examined. If it was in an Apple Retail Store (as most refurbs are) then it most likely is 3 months old - therefore ... it's kinda like getting a 15 month AppleCare warranty.

Also, I take into account that even the occasional NEW Apple computer could fail right out of the box - so what's the risk?

Apparently the same isn't true for Dell.

As reported by The Consumerist:

Ever wonder if "certified refurbished" is just corporate doublespeak for "not entirely broken crap?" Well, at Dell, it is! This refurbished Dell Studio ... arrived with large scratches and a CD-R in the optical drive containing a pirated copy of Microsoft Office. Dell's response? They're willing to take back the laptop and waive the restocking fee, but that's it.