Friday, June 30, 2006

FYI On The "I"



As reported by MacMinute:

Apple issued a brief statement yesterday stating: "an internal investigation has discovered irregularities related to the issuance of certain stock option grants made between 1997 and 2001," reports The San Francisco Chronicle. One of the grants was to Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs, but it was canceled without resulting in financial gain to the CEO, the statement said. "About 50 companies, a third of them in the Bay Area, have disclosed that they are being investigated by the SEC or law enforcement agencies for their options practices," notes the story. "The companies are suspected of manipulating their option grant dates to make them more lucrative to executives and other employees. Most of the companies under investigation aroused suspicion because they granted options at propitious times. If the companies broke any laws or regulations, they could be forced to restate their financial statements and pay back taxes, fines and penalties. If fraud is involved, criminal charges could be filed."


"If the companies broke any laws or regulations, they could be forced to restate their financial statements and pay back taxes, fines and penalties. If fraud is involved, criminal charges could be filed."

Better stated by MacRumors:

Dozens of corporations, including Microsoft, Intuit, and Computer Associates, have announced that they are reviewing their option practices, which have come under increased scrutiny since enactment of the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate accountability law in 2002.

From The Financial Times:

Apple did not detail the "irregularities" and said executives would refrain from commenting until the investigation was concluded. "Apple is a quality company and we are proactively and transparently disclosing what we have discovered to the SEC," said Mr Jobs. "We are focused on resolving these issues as quickly as possible."


Note that MacRumors gave the full story ... Apple didn't really do anything wrong per se they may have misreported these stock options under a law that was enacted AFTER the alleged took place. The Sarbanes-Oxley corporate accountability law is retroactive in certain aspects and was essentially enacted due to ENRON and MCI.

I hate the word "if" in reporting. And The San Francisco Chronicle uses it a lot.

Thursday, June 29, 2006



Last week I brought you the story The Five Things All Mac Users Want To See (And Are Coming Soon) ...

Did I have insider information or did I just know what I was reporting. Maybe a combination of the two.

From the Fix Your Thinking post:

Yahoo Messenger: With iChat AV, you may not think this is a big deal. Yahoo Messenger for the Mac has fallen far behind it's PC counterpart. In order to use a feature that a friend of mine wanted to use called "photoshare", I had to launch Virtual PC and use the PC version of Yahoo IM because the Mac version didn't support it. I was amazed by this cool feature. I have to be honest with anyone who doesn't use Yahoo Messenger on the Mac ... if you've ever seen the PC version, you don't know what you're missing. For years before iChat existed, even in OS 9, I was enjoying webcam chat (albeit jerky) with the Mac version of Yahoo Messenger. Yahoo IM is also more feature rich and seems more "social networking-like". Yahoo's broader "free services" community lends to a more MySpace feel. Now that Yahoo messenger has been opened up ... maybe good things are ahead ... including iChatAV integration. I just hope if Apple integrates it that they also open up the compatibility for different webcams. (As Yahoo IM has now.)


Yahoo has released a new Yahoo Instant Messenger that finally adds proper file transfer and almost up to par webcam support ... it's only a beta too ... greatly enhanced versions are promised quickly.

There's hit of iChat integration just as I stated.

Also, as a reader pointed out in the comments to the article that new high end/well respected CAD software was available the hour of the article when I posted (which I wasn't aware of):

From the Fix Your Thinking post:

CAD Software I would imagine that either A) Apple is developing some sort of in house CAD software based on Pixar Renderman or B) Is lending a helping hand to someone to develop CAD software for the Mac. There are solutions now, but none with true prestige such as the industry standard AutoDesk's AutoCad. Google's release of SketchUp for Mac OSX was a huge step in the right direction. It's embarrassing that design professionals have no real means of 3D design and prototype fabrication for Macs. Again, there are programs out there ... just not an industry leader.


http://www.ugs.com/about_us/press/press.shtml?id=4803

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Thumbs down for the dishonest websites amongst the Mac Web.



Generally I like TUAW (The Unofficial Apple Weblog), but a survey revealed yesterday was an example of very poor reporting.

The results of our MacBook discoloration poll are in; 20% of TUAW reader's MacBooks exhibit discoloration. It's hard to judge how accurate these results are, but if the real numbers are anywhere near these levels then Apple has a serious problem on its hands.

Fortunately, there are signs that Apple has taken notice: the creator of StainedBook.info recently managed to get Apple to agree to replace the plastic on the top of his MacBook's casing. That's a big step, but I'm sure many MacBook owners won't fancy calling up Applecare every two weeks after their replacement starts showing stains again. Clearly, a more permanent solution is required.




A few comments have questioned the accuracy of this poll within the TUAW forums:

You write that "20% of TUAW reader's MacBooks exhibit discoloration" -- in reality, you can only say that 20% of TUAW reader's who responded to this poll indicated that they have discolored Macbooks -- a very different thing, with far less certainty. Jumi


Another commenter posted this irrational conclusion in reponse:

Jumi, frankly 1,500 reponses is a large enough sample to constitute representative poll, which means that this figure wouldn't change much if I applied it to all our readers.

From Wikipedia: "Opinion polls are usually designed to represent the opinions of a population by asking a small number of people a series of questions and then extrapolating the answers to the larger group." Conrad


First of all ... an online poll can never be scientifically accurate. Apple's competition, Apple Haters, and punk teenagers will surely skew the results. TUAW is big enough to attract attention to a poll like this and thereby having the results skewed by one of the aforementioned.

Second, online polls are different from a random walk up survey. Pollsters with a problem most likely sought out "discoloration of their MacBooks" through a search engine or it caught their eye in a headline. A random walk up survey of MacBook owners would certainly prove the skewing of such a poll as this.

Third, TUAW is not big enough to be respected. If Apple Computer were conducting this poll, less people would be inclined to lie. You can also be assured that Apple probably has a few noted IP addresses and email addresses that they could see if someone were manipulating the results for one reason or another. ONLY a poll that got valid email addresses from the respondents could be accurate.

And by the way, I've heard that high end car finish/scratch remover not only removes the discoloration but prevents it from happening again.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Applause for the honest web sites amongst the Mac Web



Kudos to MacRumors for reporting this story:

The Mac web is buzzing with a report yesterday by ChinaCSR , a corporate social responsibility website focused on China, which claimed that iPod manufacturer Foxconn had admitted that their employees work about 80 extra hours each month, which is 44 hours over the maximum 36 hours overtime work allowed in Chinese law. The site also claimed that Apple's special investigatory team had signed off on the factory conditions, apparently even after the news broke.

Despite many sites having run the story (AppleInsider, Engadget, Inquirer, etc), it appears that ChinaCSR is the only and original source for the story. MacRumors cannot independently confirm the story's contents, and given its brevity and lack of supporting quotations, we have some doubts about some of the assertions made (although we cannot rule out its accuracy either).

Last week, Foxconn denied claims that it was running an 'iPod sweatshop' in its factories in China. Apple has sent a team to investigate the conditions but has not officially reported any findings.


Followup:

An Apple Costs Less In China

iPod City Workers Just Like The Self Employed In The US

eBay Cracks Down On The Excessive

This has been a long time coming:

At eBay Live! Bill Cobb announced that, as of June 19th, eBay is taking a much stronger stand against excessive Shipping & Handling charges.

In addition to stepping up enforcement against egregious violations, we have made some clarifications to our Excessive Shipping & Handling policy. The changes outline the types of charges sellers may pass on to the buyer in the form of shipping and handling. They also provide guidelines that sellers can use to make sure their listings are in compliance with the policy. Simply stated, sellers can feel confident they are in compliance by charging actual shipping fees plus actual costs for packaging materials.

Our Community has told us – and our research confirms -- excessive shipping prices drive buyers from our site. This hurts the entire marketplace. These unfair charges also un-level the playing field, allowing some sellers to hide their costs in the shipping charges to manipulate their priority in search. In the coming months, we will be proactively looking for listings that are in violation of our policy, and we'll be following up on member reports. Please know that it will take some time to clean up the marketplace, but your help and cooperation, we can regain buyer trust and re-level the playing field for the vast majority of honest sellers.

Thank you to those of you who have been reporting examples of excessive shipping that you see on our site. It is only through working together that we will make an impact on this issue.

If you would like to read further about this policy, please visit the Excessive Shipping Charges Policy page.


"...excessive shipping prices drive buyers from our site."

Many have said this is a simple matter of reading a shipper's policy and if they charge excessive shipping rates don't buy from them. Excessive shipping also drives sellers away because the buyers that buy these low priced items with ridiculous shipping charges have bad experiences and stay away from eBay, thus ... drying up the market of potential buyers for sellers. Buyers are also pavlov-ed into thinking that shipping charges must be high for a small item and some choose not to even look for small items on eBay.

This is my second MOST hated thing about eBay in general. First and foremost is how negative feedback is handled. More on that another time.

There Go The Hopes Of A New Newton





Intel Sells XScale Processor Business to Marvell


How ironic a development can this be?

Apple ends production of its pioneering PDA; the Newton, stays afloat in lean times by selling its shares of ARM (the processor producer that made the chips and technology used in the Newton) to Intel, Intel restructures ARM into XScale. Apple starts to use Intel chips; Intel sells Xscale.

Honestly, after analyzing the PDA market further ... I saw the hopes of a new Newton fade in favor of an Apple iPhone. It is highly probable that Apple's iPhone will have PDA functionality ... obviously it will have to interface with an address book (moreso than the iPod does now). It is also probable that the Apple iPhone will have a high end (but low power) processor in it so it can handle the feature set that it will have and potentially handle high end peripherals as well. I don't think the XScale/ARM processor (which is RISC based) fit in with Apple's processor roadmap or its processor requirements for future devices.

I think Apple wants to program and produce for Intel chips (CISC) and move away from PowerPC (RISC) based chips.

It's Obvious!



The Supreme Court has decided to review a case concerning obvious patents.

It will be interesting, after the ruling in favor of not allowing obvious patents, to see if Apple will continue with litigation against Creative for "audio playing devices with hierarchal menu systems" or whether they will ask a Circuit Court to throw Creative's case out based on "obviousness" and "prior art".

Followup stories:

Man Claims iTunes Is His, But Why Did He Wait So Long To Claim It?


Apple Gives The Old One Two To Hu

iPod City Workers Just Like The Self Employed In The US

Last week, Fix Your Thinking did an analysis of the "alledged iPod City Labor debacle" that was so widely reported amongst Mac News sites without any practical or rational commentary.

The press couldn't leave this story alone. It was suspicious to me because this seems like a common "misdemeanor deed" amongst manufacturers ... it almost seemed as if this information was being leaked by a competitor to hurt Apple.

FoxConn says iPod City allegations defaming ... may sue

As reported by ChinaCSR:

Foxconn, an original equipment manufacturer for Apple's iPod, has admitted that their employees work about 80 extra hours each month, which is against the law in China.

According to Chinese labor laws, a company breaks the law if it asks employees to work more than 36 extra hours each month.

However, Li Zong, a spokesperson from Foxconn, says Foxconn's complicated salary structure has caused misunderstanding among the media, and the company has paid the workers according to the minimum salary standards of the Shenzhen local government.

Li also says Apple has sent a special team to investigate, but has found no problem with Foxconn.

It was reported earlier that Apple's iPod OEM paid very little to the workers and provided very poor working conditions for them in their Chinese factories.


The truth to the story is that the overtime (while against China Labor law) was voluntary NOT mandatory (or "forced" as the article states) and it was paid. Some weeks, as I am self employed I have 20 hour days. Some days, for the work I do in those 20 hour days I earn less than minimum wage. Same goes for executive management in a lot of companies. Still it remains voluntary.

Why aren't human rights analysts excited about the opportunity for advancement that these factories provide? They have education plans as well. How are these people going to get the same housing, food, education, and career opportunity in a rice field?

Honestly, I'm glad that Apple is finally examining and using the low cost solutions that the competition uses against them to compete on price/margin. I am glad that they decided not to go with an Indian Call Center though.

Followup:

An Apple Costs Less In China

Monday, June 26, 2006

eMac Repair Extension Program

From APPLE.COM:
The eMac Repair Extension Program for Video and Power Issues applies to eMac computers that exhibit a certain video or power-related issue (scrambled/distorted video, no Video or No Power) as a result of a specific component failure. These computers were sold between approximately April 2004 and June 2005 featuring 1GHz and 1.25GHz G4 processors. If your eMac is exhibiting any of the symptoms listed below and your computer's serial number is within the noted ranges, your computer may be eligible for repair, free of charge. If Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) determines that your eMac computer is eligible as part of the program, the repair will be covered by Apple for up to three years from the original date of purchase even if your eMac is out of warranty. This is a worldwide Apple program.

Serial Number ranges:

G8412xxxxxx - G8520xxxxxx
YM412xxxxxx - YM520xxxxxx
VM440xxxxxx - VM516xxxxxx


Posted as an FYI ... Apple essentially listed a silent recall of eMacs on Saturday.

Not PC About Mac News!

Over the next few weeks I'll be trying out new slogans and I will be intermittently rotating the top graphic anyway ...

The first logo/slogan was: "Need a brain? Borrow mine!"

And certainly fitting is today's: "Not PC about Mac news!"

My reporting here isn't influenced by economics, advertisers, politics, or appeasement of any corporate structure like most of the mainstream media and many of the respected Mac news sites seem to be.

Is Apple's MagSafe Connector Safely Patented?


* Picture from Apple.com


A DIGG.COM submission seems to have found a prior patented magnetic "safe power cord" used on deep fryers:

From the CNN article:

The standard, developed by Underwriters Laboratories, was announced by the Consumer Product Safety Commission Wednesday. The "break-away" standard also applies to electric fondue and electric multi-purpose pots.

The new cord is connected to the fryer by a magnet. If the cord is pulled, it will break away from the fryer, preventing it from tipping over and reducing the chances of spilling hot grease.


Full story from 2001 can be found here.

MagSafe is Apple's new power adapter technology found on MacBook and MacBook Pros that safely disconnects if pulled quickly - saving the power connector port from damage.

[UPDATE] Hard to know whether or not the "body" that developed the "break away" magnetic cord, Underwriters Laboratories, actually has a patent on the technology or simply developed it to be used by electrical device manufacturers "free of charge". A comment noted that the word "patent" does not appear to be associated within the CNN article and I went to Underwriters Laboratories website where the word patented or licensed doesn't seem to appear either.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Five Things All Mac Users Want To See (And Are Coming Soon, So Be Patient)

The Five Things All Mac Users Want To See (And Are Coming Soon, So Be Patient):



Yahoo Messenger: With iChat AV, you may not think this is a big deal. Yahoo Messenger for the Mac has fallen far behind it's PC counterpart. In order to use a feature that a friend of mine wanted to use called "photoshare", I had to launch Virtual PC and use the PC version of Yahoo IM because the Mac version didn't support it. I was amazed by this cool feature. I have to be honest with anyone who doesn't use Yahoo Messenger on the Mac ... if you've ever seen the PC version, you don't know what you're missing. For years before iChat existed, even in OS 9, I was enjoying webcam chat (albeit jerky) with the Mac version of Yahoo Messenger. Yahoo IM is also more feature rich and seems more "social networking-like". Yahoo's broader "free services" community lends to a more MySpace feel. Now that Yahoo messenger has been opened up ... maybe good things are ahead ... including iChatAV integration. I just hope if Apple integrates it that they also open up the compatibility for different webcams. (As Yahoo IM has now.)

[UPDATE] Yahoo releases new Yahoo IM, hints at possible iChat integration

The Mighty Mouse (wireless): I made the case for this here, but to sum up ... the biggest reason is for a mass distributed wireless right hand / left hand interchangeable wireless mouse. A mouse that you don't have to worry about which side of your laptop is free to plug it in, or to have some (two port hogging) dongle protruding out of a USB slot. Bluetooth mice save ports, save hassle, and you don't have to worry about "port strain". * port strain is accidentally yanking on a corded peripheral or a cable and causing damage to an i/o port.

CAD Software I would imagine that either A) Apple is developing some sort of in house CAD software based on Pixar Renderman or B) Is lending a helping hand to someone to develop CAD software for the Mac. There are solutions now, but none with true prestige such as the industry standard AutoDesk's AutoCad. Google's release of SketchUp for Mac OSX was a huge step in the right direction. It's embarrassing that design professionals have no real means of 3D design and prototype fabrication for Macs. Again, there are programs out there ... just not an industry leader.

The Apple iPhone: It's coming. It has to. Apple is truly starting to get real competition coming from cellphones for the iPod. The cellphone industry is in the exact same place as the MP3 industry was when Apple entered the MP3 player market ... crowded and about to be moreso ... but no one was stepping up to the plate with a really good solution that was simple and (bigger than you think) was compatible with Macs. The only downside I see to an iPhone is that (unlike the MP3 player market) Apple will have to choose a carrier and thereby not be able to tap in to a full market. But here's the interesting part. You have to know that cell carriers see the potential that an iPhone would have on subscriber base. Geeks by the droves (droves = 100's of thousands) would switch to the carrier that Apple chooses to distribute the iPhone. I would imagine one or two carriers has already given Apple R&D money to gain exclusivity and been planning for the massive influx of subscribers for months now. My bets are on Cingular ... because of the "easy ownership" of phones. A Cingular GSM (or SIM chip) phone is not tied to a network like a Verizon or Sprint phone is. Technically, a Sprint or Verizon phone never belongs to the owner because it requires interaction with a Verizon/Sprint store to reprogram it. Whereas for Cingular, SunCom, and T-Mobile all one has to do is put their SIM card (a small ID and memory chip) into any compatible phone. Apple has also worked with Cingular in the past ... I suspect they will do so again. Then again ... Apple may choose a new route startup cell companies are taking ... becoming an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator). This entails Apple actually setting up their own service and just leasing air time from a larger carrier. This route is quite possible with the penetration of Apple Stores across the country at this point. MVNO seems just as likely seeing as how Apple likes to control "the whole widget" as Steve Jobs has said in the past.

The best thing that Apple will bring to the table for a cellphone will be a high quality digital camera ... finally re-entering the digital camera market and doing a cellphone/digital camera right without compromise. 4 megapixels instead of 1.3 or 2 that is common on phones now. I don't want Apple to rush it, but it seems like they are being overly cautious of timing this announcement. An Apple iPhone will be a hit on so many levels ... finally appeasing Newton fans, giving Apple users a quality digital camera, and letting the world see Apple can do things right ... a fourth time. (Mac OS, iMac, iPod, iPhone)

And finally ... I'm going to cop out on the last of the five and see what you have to say. Remember ... this isn't what YOU want but you think ALL, or at least a high percentage of Mac users, need or would benefit from. Tell me what you think in the comments.

* Apparently a draft version of this story originally posted ... it has since been corrected.

Where's the Mouse? Where is the wireless Mighty Mouse from Apple?



Here's a simple question:

Where is the wireless Mighty Mouse from Apple?


I don't see how this could be a major feat of engineering. I guess the thing that has always bugged me is why didn't Apple release the Mighty Mouse (wireless) simultaneously with the wired version?

Does the bluetooth circuitry take up a lot of space? No.



I have wanted a bluetooth mouse to use with my PowerBook G4 (and MacBook) but I really just don't like any of the options out there. I'm also one of those "Everything seems to work better if it all has the same logo on it" kinda people.

If I'm correct ... the Apple Mighty Mouse (wireless) would be the ONLY right hand / left hand interchangeable wireless bluetooth mouse distributed on a large scale once it came out. I want a mouse that you don't have to worry about which side of your laptop is free to plug it in, or to have some (two port hogging) dongle protruding out of a USB slot.

Is Apple just waiting for a 1 year anniversary? The Mighty Mouse was released in August of 2005.

Wanna know why The Mighty Mouse is so important? Here's a good article that came out around introduction time from Tom Conrad:

http://tomconrad.blogspot.com/2005/08/why-apples-mighty-mouse-matters.html

Apple products have shipped with bluetooth by default across the entire line for over a year now and many many Mac Users have bluetooth USB adapters ... Apple ... we're ready!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I see ... it's ok if YOU do it!



Bill Gates had a rather interesting interview with Walt Mossberg & Kara Swisher of The Wall Street Journal recently. Here's the conversation:

Mossberg: Talk about YouTube. What do you think about that? Why aren't you doing something like that?

Gates: If we did YouTube, we'd be in a lot of trouble. First of all, people would say, "How do you make money?" Second, they'd say, what about all that copyright violation taking place up there. It's a neat site. I saw a bunch of old Harlem Globetrotters movies up there the other night, it's great.

Swisher: You watch physics lectures and Harlem Globetrotters?

Gates: This social-networking thing takes you to crazy places.

Swisher: But those were stolen, correct?

Gates: Stolen's a strong word. It's copyrighted content that the owner wasn't paid for. So yes.


Maybe he's stepping down from Microsoft before he reveals the massive MPAA and RIAA suit against him.

* Bill Gates from MACBOY.COM

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

John Gruber: "It's like a cure for cancer ... staring everyone right in the face"

I don't normally like to post links here without any commentary, but John Gruber has the amazing talent of saying what is exactly in my head so much better than it could ever come out and onto this website:

Read his latest masterpiece here:

Interoperability and DRM Are Mutually Exclusive

I've been "pronged"



At the beginning of May, Bill Palmer changed the name of his website iPodGarage to iProng. Instead of having a contest to come up with a better name, he structured a contest that promoted linkage to his newly named website.

Taken directly from the iProng Website page promoting this contest:

Here's all you have to do to play the iProng Name Game:

- Place a permanent link to www.iProng.com in the sidebar of your blog or website, visible from your site's front page (even though we haven't yet changed our name, the iProng.com domain is already active). [check]

- You don't have to let us know you've done it; we'll see your site in our referrer logs as soon as someone clicks through on your link. [check]

- Leave the link in place from now through the end of May. [check]

- Then on June 1st we'll count of the number of unique click-throughs from each sidebar link and perform a weighted random drawing to determine the prize winners. Sites with more click-throughs will have greater odds of winning, but even sites with a single-click through will have a chance to win top prizes. [see below]

First prize is a 1 GB iPod nano in your choice of white or black, delivered directly to your doorstep. Second prize is a $50 iTunes gift card. Third prize is a $25 iTunes gift card. Five other winners will receive a new iProng T-shirt.

Remember, all you have to do to win a an iPod nano is post a link to www.iProng.com in your site's sidebar and keep it there. Create your link today and help us celebrate our evolution into iProng! [check]


* copied directly from the iProng website without modification or grammar correction

I suppose that the rules for this contest forgot about this site. From May 5 to June 1 2006, I sent 10,280 unique IP hits to iPRONG.COM = about 1% of the monthly hit total for this site.





Well, two weeks late ... the winners were finally announced:

On May 8th, iPod Garage officially became iProng. And today iProng announces the winners of the iProng Name Game, the contest to commemorate the new name of the site and the new era that has come along with it. Participants needed to place a permanent link to iProng.com in the sidebar of their blog or website and register at least one-click through between May 8th and June 1st, with the winners selected by a weighted random drawing based on the number of click-throughs from each blog or website. Thanks to all of you who participated, and to all of you who have supported the iProng era and allowed our site to continue to grow under our new name. The winners and prizes are as follows:

First Prize, a 1 GB iPod nano: xenacarpenter.info

Second Prize, a $50 iTunes Gift Certificate: reformforchrist.blogspot.com

Third Prize, a $25 iTunes Gift Certificate: ronntaylor.com

iProng T-shirts were also awarded to five additional blogs/websites. Thanks again to everyone who participated in the iProng Name Game contest, and we encourage you to participate in the latest iProng contest, launched today.


Notice how the winners of the T-Shirts websites were not announced? Guess who won one of the T-shirts? This morning I got the following email:

Hello,

Congratulations, you have won an iProng T-shirt in the iProng Name Game contest. We will need your mailing address as well as your T-shirt size preference (S, M, L, XL). Your T-shirt will ship within two weeks of your reply to this email.


Much thanks,
Bill Palmer
iProng (formerly iPod Garage) Publisher and Founder
http://www.iProng.com


I had to find a "google cache" of the xenacarpenter.info website to find that she really did have a link to iProng as the contest required. The 3 websites that won are the strangest of strange and the most kooky of kooky ... but some say the same about this site ... right?

I have to commend Bill Palmer for at least being somewhat honest and awarding this site a prize. I most likely won the Nano or an iTunes Music Store Gift Certificate ... but ... I'm happy ... I've got something I can add to the prize and award chest for this site. (Thank you readers!)

iProng has a new acronym contest to "tell what iProng means". An example of what that means:

i = iPod
P = Partiers
r = Rule
o = Our
n = New
g = Generation

"To participate in the contest, simply post your entry in the comments section of this page. In order to be eligible, your email address MUST be included with your comment. Posting a comment to this page is the ONLY way to enter this contest. Any comment posted without an email address, or any entry that is obscene or otherwise inappropriate, will be disqualified (and in the latter case, deleted). Participating in the contest is easy, as you simply need to decide what you think each of the letters in the word "iProng" stands for. Winners will be selected based on creativity and relevance, and will be chosen at the sole discretion of iProng Management. Enter as many times as you like."


Guess what? I'm banned from the forums. I'll try to win any way, just to prove a point.

Thank goodness I can remove the logo from my sidebar ... I honestly think it was affecting my search results because sites were filtering the word "Pron" in "iProng".



My best friend and I joked about how winning the contest would be like being on MTV's "Punk'd" -- instead of Punk'd I'd be "Prong'd". We thought of a great cartoon ... I just don't know Flash or else I'd animate it myself. So ... instead I made up this logo:



Use the comments here to think of your own iProng acronyms ... maybe someone will see it and use it ... and this site can claim yet another "Prongtacular Award".

[UPDATE] Based on a reader suggestion I did the following in Photoshop:

Monday, June 19, 2006

Cute At Apple's Expense



I gotta tell the truth ... I thought the iPODMYBABY concept was nothing short of genius, but then I have to be realistic and say I side with Apple on this

Apple Sends Cease & Desist to iPODMYBABY.COM

I hate it whenever Apple steps up to defend its intellectual property and the trolls come out of the woodwork claiming they are growing more evil by the day. The clickwheel is patented - an actual patented design at the USPTO. iPodMyBaby had their run, they sold a lot of these little suits ... they should be happy Apple isn't requesting royalties on past sales.

In an almost comical move ... iPODMYBABY.COM instantly & officially became iPOPMYBABY.COM. C'est la vie!

This lawsuit/cease & desist will be added to the Fix Your Thinking Reference Section: Your Rights, The Law, & Litigation. This section contains all known litigation Apple Computer has been involved in and is presently seeking to be resolved.
As reported by Mac Vista

Foxconn Threatens Legal Action over ‘iPod City’ Sweatshop Claims

Foxconn Electronics, the contractor behind the now notorious Mail on Sunday story about poor working conditions in an iPod factory, has denied claims made in the report.

Describing the article as a ‘vicious attack’, Foxconn Electronics spokesman, Edmund Ding, told Digitimes that the company reserves the right to take legal action against the newspaper.

Among the discrepancies in the report, according to Ding, is the claim that one factory at Longhua employed 200,000 people who worked 15-hours a day for $50 a month. In fact, said the spokesman, Foxconn Electronics employs only 160,000 people worldwide. He also said that Foxconn abides by Chinese employment law which requires a minimum wage of $101 per month inside the Shenzhen Economic Zone and $88 outside.

Ding said that Foxconn had been making improvements to living conditions in its dormitories and had been named by the Shenzhen government as a role model among Taiwan-based investors in Shenzhen.


I knew something sounded fishy about these claims. It honestly seemed like to me that the reporter (from The UK's The Mail made the claims up. And to cite the claims without any "economics study" (US prices vs China prices) was not only irresponsible it was reprehensible. I hope Apple will help FOXCONN with litigation against The Mail.

Follow up exclusive FIX YOUR THINKING story:

An Apple Costs Less In China

Fix Your Thinking: Nominated For BLOG 100



Last year, by many a vote ... readers nominated this site for the NEWS.COM Blog 100. The site, at that time was called Jackwhispers. Today I was nominated under the site's new name: FIXYOURTHINKING.COM.

Today, I have completed the transition to the site's new name: Fix Your Thinking. Tell me what you think of the new look and if you have any changes you would make.

I appreciate all of my reader support. If you see a contest or an award that you think this site deserves, feel free to nominate this site.

Man Claims iTunes Is His, But Why Did He Wait So Long To Claim It?


* Photo courtesy of About This Particular Mac


A few reports around the web have indicated that Apple is being sued by a Vermont man claiming that he patented the iTunes interface 2 years prior to Apple releasing it.

Well, if that is so ... then Cassady & Greene who created SoundJam MP created and patented the software and interface 3 years before Apple bought it. If you remember, Apple bought Soundjam MP from Cassady & Greene (which was a paid program) and turned it into a free program ...aka iTunes. iTunes has since been refined and honed in many ways.

The most ridiculous part of the patent claim made by David Contois, owner of Contois Music & Technology of Essex Junction:

"To select a song in a digital jukebox interface"

That's the patent!

So basically he was granted the ownership of a click!

Patent to be thrown out after Apple requests a review ... NEXT!

For a followup story and history on Apple's iTunes and Other MP3 player software for the Mac:

Audion Is Now Audioff

This lawsuit will be added to the Fix Your Thinking Reference Section: Your Rights, The Law, & Litigation. This section contains all known litigation Apple Computer has been involved in and is presently seeking to be resolved.

Is Alky Another Cherry OS?



Over the weekend, a website called ALKYPROJECT.COM sent press releases to most of the major Apple websites. The promises of this software not only seem impossible to deliver on, but unrealistic.

The claims sound very fishy ... and reminds me a lot of the Cherry OS. I find it quite ironic that the name of the software initiative, which is a play of WINE for Linux is also an alchohol reference ... you'd have to be drunk to make the claims this software promises.

Wikipedia definition for WINE (stands for Wine Is Not Emulation)




From the ALKY.COM website:

Alky (pronounced "AL-KEE") is a tool that allows you to convert a Windows executable to a Mac OS X or Linux binary. We are focused on high-end gaming at the moment, though we will support other applications in the future. Our binary translation layer is already working fully for OS X and Linux support is in progress. Of course, Windows applications use a very different set of libraries from Linux or OS X applications so we are also working on a library called LibAlky that will provide those Windows libraries to the application.

How is Alky different from Wine?

Alky may seem similar to Wine/libwine in many ways, but Alky differs on a few major points:

Alky requires no Wine server-like software, reducing overhead greatly.
Alky converts binaries rather than running them through it at runtime, so a vendor can use it to port an application and ship with it without requiring any additional dependencies on the user's machine.
Since Alky runs at the binary level, applications can be ported without any access to the source.
Since Alky doesn't depend on access to the source to port applications (as noted in #3) we can greatly clean up the APIs, so long as we keep them binary-compatible. This gives us a lot of freedom.


Fix Your Thinking Has Exclusive & Exhaustive Coverage Of The Cherry OS Debacle:

Cherry OS On Hold

Cherry OS Stands For Cherry Open Source???

Arben Says, "I can not tell a lie, I chopped down that cherry tree"

Drunk, but alert enough to write a masterpiece

Losing A Classic: The Why & How Of Keeping OS 9

Fix Your Thinking: But Don't Try To Fix Your Shuffle.


* Photo courtesy of ENgadget


Engadget reported yesterday that a man trying to fix his iPod Shuffle using a knife as an opening tool; resulted in a minor explosion.

Uh oh!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Interesting Or Weird: You Decide!

Normal posting will resume Monday June 19.

In the mean time enjoy these two products that have circulated many a "geek gadget site" over the month:

First is The Concerto Table:



The Concerto Table is a piano-shaped dining room table/workspace (with built-in storage) that is, as is nearly everything these days, iPod compatible. Built into the table is an Apple AV connection kit and 2 two-way speakers. Diners can control the music using the controls on the mounted iPod of your choice (be sure to specify which you intend to use when ordering) or via remote control. Designers Lovegrove & Repacks have even put together a dining-appropriate play list for your downloading pleasure, which they have made available on iTunes.


My personal thoughts on this are that I love it ... but think the iPod dock would be a better centerpiece.


Next is The CombiMouse:



The left unit is stationary and provides the function of the left hand side of a conventional QWERTY keyboard. The right unit has a similar mass and centre of gravity to a conventional mouse. It also has a similar grip. Depending on the support surface it can have any desired mobility.

The combimouse right unit is a mobile combination keyboard and mouse that can be moved around on a support surface like a conventional mouse. The keys are arranged in the fashion of the right hand side of a conventional QWERTY keyboard.


My thoughts on this are ... it looks interesting, but not only is it niche, but it would require a whole new thought process to use. Innovation can no longer happen in keyboard and mouse design in my opinion. It seems speech technology has either died or manufacturers just stopped developing it. The keyboard has become the 'defacto" interface and I think the standard layout of "keyboard and mouse" is here to stay for some time.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Apple Sponsors A Car?


* Photo courtesy of The Free Mac BLOG


I didn't notice this when I went to see Cars this past weekend ... but it appears the author at the FreeMacBlog had a better eye.

Cool how the white car has the #84 on it. It appears as if this is the ONLY product placement in the whole film.

Did I foreshadow this event last July? .... Apple Should Sponsor NASCAR

Good eye!

Read The Fix Your Thinking Review of Cars here

There's a first time for everything



Just as I tried out the Internet 14 years ago, eBay 9 years ago, Paypal 8 years ago, a SlashDot Journal 7 years ago, a commerce website 5 years ago, a news and editorial site 4 years ago, blogging 3 years ago, a MySpace Page 2 months ago ... I'm have now tried to create my first Wiki <---- click for defintion.

How To Protest & Complain

I thought I would on occasion submit different articles from this site (putting them in to Wiki form). I'm often praised through email on how informative my articles are here ... take a look and see if you think my first Wiki is a good one.

An Apple Costs Less In China.

$$$$$$$$$$


Unlike most Mac News websites, I wanted to wait to report on a rather important piece of drama to hit the Apple Community recently ... allegations that Apple's China factory that makes iPods has substandard working conditions and that workers only receive roughly the equivalent of $50 A MONTH.



First, before giving you the brief story as many websites reported it and giving you Apple's response, I wanted to give you a brief view of economics in China:

A loaf of bread in the US is roughly $2.25 (checked at PUBLIX.COM)

A loaf of bread (streetside) at a China outdoor market is roughly 5 cents (asked of a regular eBay customer of mine)

Minimum Wage in the US is $5.15

A loaf of bread = 43% of the hourly pay for a US worker.

A loaf of bread = 20% of the hourly pay to a worker in China

So - who gets paid less? US laborers or China laborers?

If we apply this same formula to "the fruit" Apple - a US consumer pays on average .75 cents whereas a Chinese consumer most likely pays somewhere around 2 cents. ( this figure was completely extrapolated and made up, but used the same formula for an actual example as given above )

Think of China as being in the 1940's & 1950's of the US - things cost less and people made less.

Another factoid about Chinese life is that families often live together ... each earning the wages you see here. Families of 2-4 live together communely - actually providing a better than average living. Working in a factory like this has opportunities for career and education advancement ... whereas workers in agriculture (rice fields) most likely would not have this opportunity.

Here is the original sensational story as reported by most websites:

Apple's iPods are made by mainly female workers who earn as little as $50US per month

Called 'iPod City' It offers photographs taken from inside the factories that make Apple music players, situated in China and owned by Foxconn.


The (UK Paper) The Mail visited some of these factories and spoke with staff there. It reports that Foxconn's Longhua plant houses 200,000 workers, remarking: "This iPod City has a population bigger than Newcastle's."


The report claims Longhua's workers live in dormitories that house 100 people, and that visitors from the outside world are not permitted. Workers toil for 15-hours a day to make the iconic music player, the report claims. They earn $50US per month. The report reveals that the iPod nano is made in a five-story factory that is secured by police officers.


Another factory in Suzhou, Shanghai, makes iPod shuffles. The workers are housed outside the plant, and earn $100US per month - but they must pay for their accommodation and food, "which takes up half their salaries", the report observes.


Today, Apple Computer responded:

"Apple is committed to ensuring that working conditions in our supply chain are safe, workers are treated with respect and dignity, and manufacturing processes are environmentally responsible," the statement explains.


The company also explains that it is "currently investigating the allegations regarding working conditions in the iPod manufacturing plant in China".


Apple stresses that: "It does not tolerate any violations of its supplier code of conduct, which is posted online".


This code is modelled on the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct and can be downloaded as a PDF here.


"Recognised standards such as International Labour Organisation Standards (ILO), Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Social Accountability International (SAI), and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) were used as references in preparing this code," the company says on its website.


The code of conduct includes a commitment to uphold the human rights of workers, and covers matters including discrimination, harsh treatment and harassment, involuntary and child labour, working hours, remuneration and freedom of association.


Readers, always assume you are not hearing the full story ... that is ... unless you read it here.

Why Should Apple Care About What The State Of Washington Says?

As reported by Yahoo! Finance:

Washington State fines Apple $100K

Apple Computer Inc. has been fined $100,000 by the state of Washington for not registering with the state, as required by law.
According to Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL - News) didn't register as a service contract provider from 2000 to 2004. A 1999 Washington law required all companies selling service contracts to register with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

In a statement, Kreidler said his office hasn't received any complaints regarding Apple's contracts and the company is now registered.


Interesting ... I don't quite understand this racquet. If the contracts do not originate or are are not designated to be entered with a company that is located within the state of Washington ... then how or why does Apple have to pay this?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Apple & Microsoft: The Actual AutoBots & Decepticons?


Speculation of the characters for the Summer 2007 live action version of The Transformers is running strong on the internet now that filming has begun. One recent rumor has surfaced that the Apple iPod and the Microsoft Xbox 360 will be starring as some of transforming robots.

I hardly think Microsoft would bless or even accept the portrayal of "being evil" - this would be intentional and defaming on the part of the director and producer - in a world of political correctness a studio wouldn't take this risk.

The Decepticon "SoundWave" was the only "audio device" in the original cartoon.

From what rumors I've read, "SoundWave" is going to be an AWAC airplane with a radio transceiver/signal tracker/jammer on top rather than a cassette player as in the original cartoon.

I'm not a complaining fanboy, but I don't understand why the director is choosing modern times to set this movie in ... it's okay to still set movies in the 80's ... the 80's had so much more pop culture.

[UPDATE] I answered this question in the MacRumors forums:

Originally Posted by cromestant

This is strange.. thinking back I never really understood transformers...
why in hell would a flying, ass kicking robot transform into an 18 wheeler...?

Better gas milage?


If you watched the pilot episode: they crashed on Earth 1 - 5 million years before the cartoon was set (the 1980's). As the story goes, something minute triggered a probe to go out and find objects (containing metal) and sources for metal to repair the damaged robots. The best fit (for Autobots) were cars because they were transporters of "energon" and couriers for the planet Cybertron. They were also security gaurds and centrys (police cars).

The Decepticons on Cybertron were often weapons and war devices. IE ... why they became guns, strike planes, tanks.

They found out that they needed to remain invisible so as not to disturb the planet and possibly prevent their quest to find energon (on earth) ... so they remained cars and weapons so they would go undetected by humans.

I feel very geeky knowing that the info above takes residence in my brain.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Email answered:

From a reader email over the weekend:

"Fix Your Thinking" - can you please explain what a "Gateway page" what is a "Doorway page" and what is CSENTRY.COM.

Also, can you explain the whole "net neutrality" thing? I am getting the impression that it is being attacked by companies, which must mean that "net neutrality" is good. But I don't really understand it.

Isn't this another battle in the struggle to control the internet vs. leave it as a cacaphonic, level playing field that was its beauty in the first place?


Craig Neumark Speaks on Net Neutrality


The latest buzzwords floating around the internet are: "Net Neutrality". If you want to know what it means, Craig Neumark of the famous "Flea market/Classifieds" site CraigsList explains it in the most laymen way I have seen it explained yet. I just can't believe its being discussed at all.

Simply put, a "Gateway page" or "Doorway page" is a page setup specifically to confuse one page for another. For instance. Most of the scam emails you receive have homepages that look identical to your banking institution's website. These pages are filled with buzzwords and keywords. Their purpose is to direct traffic to them instead of directing traffic to the proper site. Another use of a "Gateway page" or "Doorway page" is to outdo another page to sap off of hits or even redirect a search engine's attention to that page instead. For example. Someone could effectively type this entire article onto a webpage. They could throw in a few keywords that are common for search engines and then pay Google to rank the page higher. Upon doing so, it would effectively eliminate this article from the search results, and thereby increase search results for the "fake page".

CSENTRY.COM is run by a company called Converseon -- Converseon uses CSENTRY.COM as a gateway and doorway page aggregator site to confuse search engines.

Dvorak Uses Mac Users: Petition To Fire John C Dvorak & Call To All Websites Not To Report His Stories



On Friday a very alarming video was posted to the internet; John C. 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.

PC Magazine should fire him immediately and I sincerely hope that this video exposes him enough to the public at large that no one will report or even comment on his news stories again. PERIOD!



I'll start a petitiononline petition soon and post here ... I hope all of you will sign it.

A Four Part Series On Protesting & Complaining: Pt II

A couple days back I started a series on Protesting & Complaining. Today I will continue the series with part two.

Pt II: Rally The Troops & Drop The Nukes!


I last left you with an anecdotal story of getting ripped off by an online teeth whitening company. I laid out the steps of getting a refund. Now I want to lay out the steps of letting others know. Think of this as helping others to help yourself. Take the energy of being upset and do something constructive. It's real therapy for a bad situation.

After I made sure I sent the product back to WhiteOverNite and got my friend's money back, I went to GODADDY.COM and registered: WHITEOVERNITEONLINE.COM I'm using this site to expose the WhiteOverNite scam and hopefully others will learn about it before they too are scammed. Don't look at anything you do as revenge. If you are vengeful minded, then a protest isn't for you.

I registered a blogspot blog (such as this site is) and quickly created a site with information concerning the scam. No biggie, took me about an hour to do the whole thing.

After finishing up my protest website I went to RIPOFFREPORT.COM to file a report. WhiteOverNite has one of the highest numbers of reports on the site! I filled out my report and submitted it.



* Tip: You may think that reporting someone to the Better Business Bureau is effective, but it's not. Certainly you should take the time to fill in an online complaint for a company with whom you have a grievance with, but most bad companies know that they can surpress bad BBB reports by either A) Telling the BBB they plan to sue you over the matter or B) If they are a member of the BBB, they are given special consideration and mediation. Most likely the report will be tossed out. RIPOFFREPORT.COM is also called The Bad Business Bureau. They aren't politically correct and they don't cater to those who are members.



Next, I filled out an FTC Consumer complaint. This reports the business to the federal government. Enough of these reports and the government will make an example of the business to the public. Also, since these records are public domain, this is often where investigative news shows such as DateLine NBC get their leads for stories.

You can file a report here: FTC.GOV Consumer Complaint Form

Next ... give your state's Attorney General a call. Let their office know that a constituent has been ripped off. Again, this is usually a "case building" matter. That means, that while your particular case is important to report ... usually action isn't taken if the item is under $10,000 or a dozen or more people haven't reported the exact same scam.

You can find a list of Attorney General phone numbers in the Fix Your Thinking reference section: Attorney General Phone #'s By State

* Most Attorney Generals will give you an aside that they hate the Better Business Bureau and realize the ineffectiveness of a complaint filed with them.

Next ... report the company to the IRS. You don't have to make up a story. Just print out a form and say you think there's impropriety ... they may be flagged for investigation. Most scammers don't report their revenue properly. This is one of the less known, but more effective ways of reporting a bad business.

Go to this page to fill out a form: Suspected Tax Fraud Reporting

If your complaint doesn't involve money and you think others may know your cause and feel the same way ... construct a short but sweet PETITIONONLINE.COM petition.

As for what else you can do that is effective online ... find websites such as the one you are reading. If I don't want to report on it, I will guide you to a place where you can. Try to find a website with a high readership and then, if the story is reported on that website ... submit it to the big news aggregating services like Slashdot. A well told story even posted in the forums at Slashdot can generate millions of hits. Submitting the story to other places like DIGG helps too. Don't be hesitant to send emails to any entity related to the company either ... their Internet Service Provider (ISP), their local Chamber Of Commerce, businesses that you know well that do business with them.

My rule of thumb is usually 10 ways is adequate as I find 10% of complaining is effective. 1 in 10 of the methods I have shown here is usually effective ... it varies as to which one gets attention.

In the next segment ... I will detail physical protests, sending a cease and desist letter to a business, and filing litigation against a business.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Reel Fix Your Thinking: Cars: Pixar's 1st Clunker!?!

Back in March, I mentioned that I thought Cars was going to be Pixar's least successful film to date. Well, if a 19 million Friday is any indication, then I may have been right. I went to see a matinee of the movie with a >5 year old child. Here are some of my thoughts:

The theater for the matinee was packed, moreso than when I went to see Over The Hedge. Good thing? Most likely. But, in general these movies are all packed their first weekend.

Here's an interesting detail about most Pixar movies vs. most Dreamworks & Fox Computer Animated movies: Cars is rated G. Over The Hedge is rated PG. One thing I have always noted about Pixar's competition is that they ALWAYS relegate to "potty humor". Pixar almost never makes references to passing gas, burping, or cursing. Does this translate into a bigger audience?

One other comparison I wanted to touch on is the absolutely amazing computer graphics that Cars had. When I was sitting in Over The Hedge my best friend and I commented on how incredibly lifelike the animals looked and that finally Pixar had met it's computer generated match. Not so. No detail is left out in Cars. It's nothing short of stunning. Many of the backdrops you will THINK are real or "computer enhanced" rather than computer generated.

As always, I love the adult pop culture references that Pixar movies make. Movies like Shrek usually have 1 or 2 pop culture references that make you snicker, but Pixar's writers are just much more witty. One scene where two cars are "tractor tipping" (in reference to cow tipping) is one of the funniest things I think I have ever seen in an animated movie.

Now comes the bad. I have a tad bit of ADD. It's very hard for me to sit still for more than 30 minutes. I wasn't the only one. The under 10 crowd that was in attendance, including one that was with me, was incredibly fidgety and squirmy. Many kids were saying they wanted to go home. I didn't hear that at Monster's Inc, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, or The Incredibles.

This is the 1st Pixar movie to date that I did not see opening day at the earliest time possible. I just wasn't as interested in it as I have been in past Pixar films.

I recommend it ... just make sure that if you take your child that they are well behaved and fed ... because, while my child was ... others were not. I would consider going to see it later at night so as to avoid the "kiddy crowd".

This movie will not do as well as Finding Nemo.

As always, make sure you stay after the film to see some "extras" and "outtakes" - the John Ratzenberger bit is so funny and so "Cliff Clavin".

[UPDATE] Cars made 63 million its opening weekend ... the least of ANY Pixar movie since A Bug's Life in 1998.

Friday, June 09, 2006

King Kong II: King Prong?

King Prong


Bill Palmer has officially changed all of his sites to "Prong" now, becoming King Of Prong:

MacMischief (which no longer exists and just redirects) is now officially MacProng

MacBookGarage is officially MacProng



Bill Palmer's iPod in a headband sales company formerly known as HeadPod is now known as "HeadProng"



And Palmer's iPod Loading Service LoadPod is now officially LoadProng.



And, as you know, iPodGarage officially changed to iProng.



So, the question is ... if it's true that Bill changed the name of iPodGarage to iProng solely because of growth and to better reflect the mission of the website ... then what is the reasoning behind "LoadProng", "MacProng", "HeadProng"?

Sounds to me like Apple legal said he couldn't use the name ... just like they told iPodLounge. iPodLounge just changed to iLounge, kept up a credible site, and didn't look back.

Is it just me or does this border on being the most bizarre story in the Apple Community this year?

[UPDATE] A reader email indicated that Bill Palmer still has billpalmer.net. I forgot about that one ... may I suggest billpronger.net ?

Why 6 Billion People Should Tell Information Week They Have Bad Writers


* Photo taken from Google Earth (no-Apple logo added with Photoshop)


InformationWeek submits a poorly researched and non sequiter article from Paul McDougall called:

"How 6 Billion IBM Dollars Helped Chase Apple Out Of India"

Here are a few excerpts:

"...Apple Computer said it's cutting and running from a fledgling tech services operation in India, while IBM announced plans to invest a further $6 billion in the country over the next three years. These can't both be smart business decisions, can they?

Of course not. In tripling its investment in India, IBM is embracing the global economy not as it is, but as it will be in five years or so ... IBM is betting big that India will for years to come be the center of excellence for software development and related work like IT services and help desk support.

Apple's decision to shut down its services center in India just three months after its opening is the right one only in so far as the company really had no other choice. The Mac and iPod maker realized it's just too late to the party in India. There are now too many companies chasing Indian IT talent to try and build a base there from scratch. In all likelihood, IBM's plans to spend billions more in the country put the final nail in Apple's own Indian ambitions.




Hardly any of this argument makes sense.

Apple was opening a customer service call center to take customer service calls at a lower cost ... IBM is going to open a research and manufacture facilty. One takes joe blows off the street with a minimal education, the other takes doctorate degrees. Apple is making the right decision because (yes) it's US customerbase HATES talking to hard to understand, scripted Indians for a problem. Dell and ALL the others are criticized for Indian service reps ALL THE TIME. Apple is better than that ... and they know it. IBM is doing this because you don't have to pay doctorate and masters degrees NEARLY what you have to pay them here in the US and you don't have to pay widget assemblers even half of what minimum wage is here in order to give them twice the pay they receive at any other job they could do in India. The arguments are therefore invalid and non sequitur. Also, if I'm not mistaken ... Apple decision to open up a call center in India was criticized at the last shareholder meeting.



A comment in the forums on this article was very insightful:

one name - Quark

Since Quark shifted development and support to India , you can see what happened, remember the change from 4.11 to 5.0 ?
5.0 had to be scrapped and re-written 3 times due to the wonderful "dev skillz" out in Bangalore. The Indian devs couldnt understand the bugs from the American QA. They had no concept of how the program was "supposed to work" so they "fixed" problems that werent there etc...

The lack of daily use of the software they were writing , and the lack of the use of American english prety much led to the 4 year gap in releases

Defective Protesting?



A group called Defective By Design is planning a protest of several Apple Stores tomorrow.

Protest Planned for Saturday, June 10th at Apple Stores

From the Defective By Design website:

Defective by Design (DBD) is planning a protest at many U.S. Apple Stores Saturday, June 10th at 10:30am.

The protest is against Apple's DRM which makes it possible to purchase music legally via iTunes and listen to it on your iPod and up to 5 computers.

DBD has made similar protests against other forms of "Digital Restrictions."

During protests we show up in yellow Hazmat suits and inform passers-by of our cause.

Sites targeted include San Francisco, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Long Island, and New York.


As an experienced protestor ... Apple don't mess with em, but if they get out of line, are within 15 feet of the front door, harass customers in any way, or do not have a permit for EACH protestor, then PLEASE don't make a scene, but call the proper authorities.

My opinion ... the name alone, of this protest group, could be construed easily as defamation. It implies that Apple is producing defective products.

What a crock ... yet another group tipped off ( and most likely anonymously donated to) by Apple's competition!

* Story credit to imacazine.com

Now That You Have It, You See Why We Didn't Want To Give It To You?


As reported by MacMinute:

Apple's iTunes under new attacks in Europe

Apple is gaining increasing pressure in Europe for its iTunes policies and practices. "Government protection agencies in Norway and Sweden want Apple to allow customers to play iTunes-downloaded music on devices made by other companies, as does the British recording industry's trade association," notes the story. "The report noted an Apple spokesman comment to a Norwegian Web site as saying the company would try to settle without closing its Scandinavian operations."


* Similar efforts are being discussed by politicians in France.

* UK politicians discussed unfair pricing (because iTunes songs were priced higher in the UK due to more restrictive licensing).

* Canadians wanted a special tax on iPods.

I find this very ironic ... I hated visiting forum after forum where the wonks and wonkettes from Europe and other countries were complaining about there not being an iTunes Music Store in their country. Then, almost a year later, Apple delivered and has had an uphill battle with making profits in these international stores due to crazy licensing terms, determination to kill Apple's business model, and in my personal opinion, politicians in these "other countries" being paid off by Apple's Competition (Creative, Real, etc)

I suppose these countries don't understand that litigating and defending the iTunes Business model (unnecessarily) costs Apple a small fortune and therefore makes it next to impossible for Apple to EVER lower prices or have a consistent pricing scheme worldwide.

Test Of A Theory



Today, Cars ( a new Pixar Computer Animated Movie) opens nationwide. If you remember, back in March of this year, I hypothesized that Steve Jobs was selling Pixar just before the release of one of Pixar's least successful films in it's history. As you know, Pixar merged with Disney earlier this year.

I hope I am proven wrong and this is one of the bigger films Pixar/Disney release. Its success could trigger many new opportunities for Apple.

From the original article:

5) Lastly ... the Disney buyout of Pixar ...

Personally, I think this merger comes at a different time than say Pre-Incredibles.

I think the merger is dishonest because this will be Pixar's least successful film to date.

This movie (Cars) is geared towards boys - girls have no interest in cars ... I feel it's why A Bug's Life didn't do great ($160 million) vs Finding Nemo ($340 million) (US Domestic)

While I'm sure it will be a great film --- outdoing anything Dreamworks could possibly think up ... I just think this deal is being made at a time when Pixar stock could take a huge hit because of lackluster box office results for Cars.


The article; 5 Things Steve Jobs Has Misled Us About In The Last 30 Years is the most popular article to date released on this site. Here are some interesting statistics about that article:

It remains as one of the the top 10 stories dugg on DIGG.COM in the Apple Category.

The article is my most commented on article here at FYT (79). It is my most linked article here. (62 websites)



The article alone brought in 4.6 million hits +/- to this website. Before the article, this site was receiving between 750,000 to 1 million hits a month. Now, and I can attribute this solely to this particular article ... I receive between 1.2 million and 1.8 million hits a month. It seems to have doubled my readership. The most incredible statistic from Alexa.com is that the article temporarily raised my reach (how many potential viewers I could have) to 150 million people. For 2 days this site outranked EVERY SINGLE MAC SPECIFIC NEWS SITE, including MacMinute, Macworld, and even MacSurfer!

It is mentioned on 4 sites on how to write a BLOG entry, how to write a news story that will get comments, and how to write a story that will be dugg at DIGG.COM. Since the time it was published, dozens of Mac websites have posted "5 Things Style articles"

Again, I'm just hoping I was wrong about one of the points.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Congress To Get Personal About The Personals

Regular readers will remember that I brought you my story and experience from "Internet Dating" back in March. Well, now it seems Congress may be considering regulation of "Internet Personals".

As reported by SlashDot:

Fraud in Internet Dating Prompting Regulation

"...an increasing tide of fraud in internet dating is prompting lawyers and lawmakers to examine possible regulations and consumer protections. Wire fraud scamming, plane ticket ripoffs, fraud perpetrated to fund trysts, fake "date bait" messages -- these are just a few of the issues the courts are beginning to deal with. Dating websites were immunized from lawsuits over false statements by the recent Communications Decency Act. Other attempts to regulate internet dating, such as the 2005 'mail-order bride' legislation, are already being challenged in court, but an increasing number of states are sponsoring their own legislation."


All I can say is, I hate government regulation, but, at the same time, the personals websites (Yahoo, MATCH.COM, eHarmony, and True being the top sites) aren't doing enough policing of their sites. Most of the fake personals and "bad date experiences" are just downright obvious or could be prevented ... EASILY!

One thing I think personals sites should do is have a very visible, "Something Is Fishy About This Person" link on everyone's profile. 2 unique IP hits on that button flag the personals site, and the personal is NOT ONLY REVIEWED, but the person who was flagged is emailed and warned.

Second, I think there should also be a very visible, "I dated this person" button. You should be able to rank a person on criteria such as:

1) Did they tell the complete truth in their profile?
2) Were they courteous?
3) As far as attractiveness ... did they meet or exceed your expectations?
4) Who paid?
5) Describe your date with this person in 100 words or less.

I also hope that if regulation does come about that politicians have insight into of social networking sites like MySpace. I have found that the majority of MySpace is nothing more than a site that playboys use for "free hookups and one night stands"

Followup FIXYOURTHINKING story:

The Worst Date Ever For An Apple Tech

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Apple Gives Creative The Old One Two To Hu



As reported by iLounge:


Apple has filed a second copyright lawsuit and a U.S. trade complaint against Creative Technology, according to Channel NewsAsia. “In its latest lawsuit, Apple claims Creative is infringing three patents relating to using icons, and displaying and editing data,” reports the publication. “It is asking for cash damages and a court order to stop Creative from further breaches. At the same time, Apple wants the International Trade Commission in Washington to block imports of Creative’s music players.” Creative sued Apple last month for infringing on its “Zen Patent.” Following the company’s legal actions, Apple countersued Creative.


Creative's CEO Sim Wong Hu declared war on the iPod two years ago and his company has been hemorrhaging $$ ever since. I have also made the assertion here on this site that his company may be behind several of the "weird & hypochondriac" type "problems Apple has gotten bashed in the news for over the last year. I think that their is a secret team of people that scour the web for Creative and blow anything out of porportion concerning Apple they can.

Followup stories:

ParoNANOia

Is The Competition Paying For Apple Security Flaws

ZenCast=ZenCopy

Creative: Claims Apple Didn't Create The iPod.

This will be added to the Apple Litigation Section of FIXYOURTHINKING.COM