Thursday, May 31, 2007

1986 Mac VS 2007 PC: Showdown



Great blog post concerning the rather shocking results that a 1986 Mac BEATS a 2007 AMD running Windows XP.

Mac Plus VS AMD: You won't believe who wins!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I guess Apple can't be 1st for everything ... but will Microsoft help iPhone sales with the release of Surface©

Well ... Microsoft certainly did an Apple to Apple last night.

Steve Jobs won't be able to upstage Bill Gates today at the D: All Things Digital conference.


* I particularly liked the restaurant potential


The talk of the internet today is almost certainly to be Microsoft's new "iPhone like" Multi-Touch technology called Surface©.

Check it out here:

http://www.microsoft.com/surface/

* because of intense traffic to the Microsoft website for this video, it may be choppy or you may have to reload it --- several times

I think this almost solidifies that the new iMacs [soon] will be Multi-Touch and that this is the big secret with in 10.5 and the reason for the big delay it's release. (although it doesn't seem possible that Apple could do much better then the video offered by Microsoft for the demo of this product (above).

I wonder if this will help the sales of the iPhone [which has this EXACT technology right now] - as this technology (from Microsoft) is still a good year off from being integrated even into high society hangouts. Microsoft is specifically going to target high end hotels and restaurants first. The technology (in the form of a table) currently runs in the neighborhood of $20,000 EACH and that most likely does not include the RFID technology/tags integration to make the higher end functions seen in the videos work.



The most ironic thing about the video? These may be the only Zunes in use by the time this technology hits the consumer.

Make sure you look at the marketing perspective Microsoft chooses vs Apple in the video. It seems Apple always goes after "the attainable" -- whereas Microsoft always shows "the pervasive". Microsoft commercials are always pushing, "You will use" -- whereas Apple commercials always seem more human calmy saying "You are using".

.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Macrumors points out another fine Engadget rumor

ITWire, Slashdot, and Engadget are claiming that Quanta is confirming a 2nd generation iPhone order... however, the Quanta's statement was simply misread:

Quanta's statement simply quotes the original Commercial Times report (bullet #3), but then states (bullet #5):

It is important for the Company to gain new business to sustain growth and development. However, the Company would like to reiterate that as general business conduct, the Company will not comment on specific customer,order or any types of confidential information. All business remains solid and strong as planned.



You know your reporting is sloppy when Apple Rumors websites even call your stories with solid proof.

If Engadget isn't careful ... they will lose readers by the 100's like Slashdot has because of the political trolls.

Zombies: Not Even The Undead Are More Interesting Than Apple Products


Example of nuisance (picture by DECLAN MCCULLAGH)


IFO AppleStore reports:

"Zombies? No Problem

The story is not that a large group of zoobies periodically forms up in downtown San Francisco to wander the streets seeking victims. It’s also not notable that security guards throughout the downtown throw up a cordon to prevent the un-dead from coming into their stores, including the Disney Store, The Gap and the giant Westfield mall. No, the story is really about the Apple store employees’ utter non-chalance, and even amusement, when a group of 30 or so creepies staggered into the San Francisco retail store on Market Street last Friday, swept up the stairs and ended up at the Genius Bar. Staffers took photos, laughed and continued helping customers, while the security staff kept a discrete watch. Within minutes the group was gone, leaving only fingerprints on the glass staircase. After all, it’s more than a store



Example of fingerprints left (picture by Steve Rhodes)


Can anyone explain how this is entertaining or fun to do? I mean - I dressed up like Spiderman for Spiderman 3, but this makes a scene AND a mess apparently.

Monday, May 28, 2007

The Top 10 Geek Movies You Need To See Or See Again: Gattaca

Continuing with FixYourThinking's expanded movie coverage ... may I present another movie in:

The Top 10 Geek Movies You Need To See Or See Again

Gattaca




Gattaca is the ultimate geek movie for several reasons. First it's a story of redemption. Except the redemption comes from the outcast who is told he isn't smart; disproving it to all by sophisticated deception. The deception though could only be pulled off by the smartest of individuals. Vincent is such an individual. Vincent (played by Ethan Hawke) instead becomes both jock and nerd - also learning chemistry and biology in the process of covering up his identity.

Second, Gattaca is an ultimate Geek movie, because the short guy with glasses gets the uber attractive girl.

Gattaca centers around a type of "Brave New World" future where those born are genetically assigned to their place in society. Doctors are born doctors and the parents are made aware of it soon after conception.

Once assigned to your career, the only thing that can stop you from being wealthy and living out your destiny is fate.

Going underground, Vincent assumes the identity of Jerome (played by Jude Law), crippled in an accident, and achieves prominence at Gattaca, where he is selected for his lifelong desire: a manned mission to Saturn. Constantly passing gene tests by diligently using samples of Jerome's hair, skin, blood and urine, "his perfect (albeit altered) world is challenged just before his dream becomes within reach, when the mission director is killed and his real DNA is found near the crime scene!

This movie has a very good twist at the end. If you are a geek, the ending may make you cry.

In case you don't get the connection of the word Gattaca - the name for the Space Training Facility in the movie it is comprised of four of the five nucleotides [proteins] that make up DNA: Guanine, Adenine, Cytosine, Thymine. These proteins are listed by their first letter, G, A, C, T, with the fifth main protein being Urasil; U. One could stretch the meaning of the missing protein to mean [YOU] or [UGLY] - there are no [UGLY] genes at Gattaca.

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day





Memorial Day (originally called Decoration Day) was first recognized in 1868 to honor the Confederate US Civil War dead. Other veterans have "adopted" the holiday to "be honored" as well, although the true holiday for all veterans is Veterans Day.

Armed Forces Day (sometimes confused with Memorial Day) is also celebrated on the third Saturday in May.

The name Decoration Day comes from the original tradition to decorate Civil War graves with flowers or flags.

It is the politically incorrect view to hold that Memorial Day had anything to do with the Civil War and thus should honor just those that died - both Confederate and Union. Most history books have been updated since historians have chosen to censor history as it relates to Memorial Day because of its Civil War origin.

My Encyclopedia Britannica from 1981 is very clear about the origins and celebration of Memorial Day as honoring the Civil War sacrifices.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

It's Not the Software ... It's the "Where's The Business Model?"



Auctioning4U, a UK eBay Dropoff buys iSoldit UK

A comment left on FixYourThinking from Christian Braun CEO of Auctioning4U:

We definetely agree that the eBay drop-off business is not for the faint-hearted, it requires large scale operations and signifcant investment in software. Read more on our thinking here: http://www.auctioning4u.co.uk/news/iSold_It_UK.

Christian Braun
CEO
Auctioning4u


Auctiong4U has apparently purchased iSoldit assets in the UK. First, I say shame on this company for providing ANY capital to these guys - especially after the the CEO of iSoldit, Ken Sully, openly claimed that the eBay Dropoff business was not a viable buiness model and apologized to the hundreds of franchisee operators for taking their money.

The software IS NOT the problem. The business model is severely flawed. It can work, but only in high traffic markets with a niche focus (IE Star Wars collectibles, Tiffany Lamps, Apple Computer) The model is NOT franchise-able, accounting is only 1% of a successful business - 99% is repeat customers - of which the ebay dropoff has none (or less)

From FranchisePick.com:

Ken Sully, CEO of iSold It, has acknowledged publicly that there are serious flaws with the iSold It franchise concept. In an open letter published on Franchise Pick ( An Open Letter to iSold It Franchisees from CEO Ken Sully), Sully admits that 60 stores have closed and many more are struggling to survive. States Sully:

"Tragically, many individuals who believed passionately in the potential for the category have lost sizable investments, including homes and retirement savings….We personally find this unacceptable and, despite continued interest in this category, we do not feel comfortable selling any new franchises until we get the failure rate lower."


* From The AuctionPost Founder:

The conclusion after a years trading, refining and redefining the business model is that the retail drop-off store as a stand alone concept simply does not work.


* AuctionPost was a UK eBay Dropoff chain


Follow up stories:

Is eBay becoming the pawn shop of the 21st Century?

I used ISOLDIT but they bought it

Friday, May 25, 2007

Apple Security Update Also Contains A Firmware Patch

Apple released a new Security Update Yesterday.

I highly recommend you install it if you have Mac OSX 10.4.9.

Be aware of the following:

1) Make a backup before you install this update

2) This update will take a VERY VERY long time to reboot your Mac

3) This update seems to have made my MacBook a lot more stable

If after 20 minutes your Mac has not rebooted, hold down the power button to turn your Mac off, then press the power button again.

You can download the updates by following the links below or going to your blue Apple in the left corner of your screen and choosing Software Update from the menu.

Security Update 2007-005 (for 10.3.9)

Security Update 2007-005 (for 10.4.9 Universal PowerPC/Intel)

Pirates Of The Caribbean III: At World's End


Pirates Of The Caribbean III: At World's End

I admit that the Pirates Of The Caribbean trilogy are not my favorite movies, but they have been entertaining. The last movie: Dead Man's Chest was the first movie in years that challenged the box office records set by Titanic.

It was also very interesting to see how much Disney has concentrated it's entire theme park design/merchandise sales around Pirates when I went to Disney in Florida this past April.

My review:

I have to say again, that POTC is kind of a weird series of films for me. I wouldn't put any of the 3 in my Top 100 list, and I don't own any of them on DVD, yet I would watch any of them if they were on TV or if a friend said, "Wanna come over and watch Pirates Of The Caribbean?"

As for this particular movie - there seemed like something was missing and something wasn't written quite well as it should have regarding one of the important subplots.

No movie is good to me unless it has very memorable "one liners" - and this movie had a few. My favorite:

(At a gathering of Pirates, where a bad suggestion has just been made)

West Indies Pirate: Cut out his tongue!
French Pirate: Shoot him!
Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp's character): Cut out his tongue, shoot him, then shoot his tongue!

The plot centers around rescuing Jack Sparrow to help fend off a vengeful Lord who wants to bring about the extinction of the Pirates. The Lord obtains the help of The Keeper Of The Evil Pirate Underworld; Davy Jones. Through a series of manipulations there is a final battle scene where all the pirates from around the globe come to make a final stand.

I was really looking forward to seeing Sao Feng (played by Chow-Yun Fat) as The Pirate from Singapore - but truthfully he wasn't utilized as much as a better script could have.

I recommend it ... if you have nothing planned for your Memorial Day Weekend ... but don't go out of your way to see it.

* Don't forget to stay for a scene after the end credits.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Apple Hit With Lawsuit From Recording Artists

This has been in the works for a while ... but the "recording artists" involved need look no further than the labels that made the deals with Apple.

Apple Hit With Lawsuit From Recording Artists

That's not quite what it says ...



Yesterday, John Gruber posted this on his Daring Fireball website regarding the recent controversy over MacBook /MacBook Pro displays being falsely advertised by Apple:

Gruber writes:
I’m getting lots of email from people saying this whole issue of 6-bit notebook displays is [null], because all notebook displays from all vendors are in fact 6-bit, and that they all simulate millions of colors using “temporal dithering”. If so, fine by me, so long as the results look good.

But that’s not what this tech note from Apple says.

For example, regarding the 17-inch iMac, it says:

The graphics card temporally dithers the 6 bits per component to show up to millions of colors.

But regarding the MacBook Pro, it says:

The display supports 3D acceleration and display depths up to 24 bits per pixel at all supported screen resolutions.

The 17-inch MacBook Pro supports an LCD display size of 1680 × 1050 pixels at 116 dpi and
shows up to millions of colors.

Emphasis added.


Fixyourthinking:

Note on the 17" MacBook Pro display it says supports and shows; whereas the iMac display is specific in it's description of it's display's dithering. Is it misleading; yes. Is it wrong; no. It does support that on LCD displays that support that resolution, color depth, and response time.

I think this could easily be compared to the CRT "viewable" debate. If you recall, CRT's were measured by the size of the glass surface area - not the viewable image area. For example: a 15 INCH CRT was usually 14.8" viewable, a 17 INCH CRT was usually 16.7" viewable. Where this really made a difference was how curved the screen glass was. Some curvatures actually reduced the viewable by a half inch further. It wasn't that the whole computer industry was lying - this is just the standard they agreed on for reporting sizes. I don't see this "color bit depth debate" as any different. I'm happy as long as it looks good. I've NEVER had a nicer looking display on a laptop or seen one any better than the one on my MacBook.

Gates vs Jobs: This Time It's For Real


* A great composition posted on fakesteve.blogspot.com - look at the smirk vs the smile


I think this picture is very interesting. That truly is Bill Gates smiling. That truly is Steve Jobs smiling. It's almost a picture of opposites. Bill Gates is almost frowning. Steve Jobs is so happy it looks like he just solved world hunger.

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are expected to be interviewed at the 5th Annual "D -All Things Digital" conference in Carlsbad, Calif., hosted by The Wall Street Journal which runs from May 29-31st.

As usual ... people many industry analysts will pretend it's to hear both speak ... really ... no cares about anything Bill Gates has to say - but you have to pretend to listen to him because of his power and wealth. All ears will be on Jobs and Jobs will likely be more quoted (at least for insight.)

[UPDATE] Apple has posted the interview for FREE download from iTunes: Jobs & Gates At D

Apple Sends Cease & Desist To iGasm



A few years back you may remember a parody of the Apple iMac "She comes in colors" ad was made about a fictional product called "The iBrator". That was parody.

Well ... it appears as if a real product surfaced called "The iGasm" this week. Instead of parody, this is downright theft of an ad campaign. (And a stupid one at that!)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Did Engadget also break copyright and UTSA laws by publishing the false email?

More questions arise from "AppleGate"


An insightful reader left this comment last night on the FixYourThinking story; "Should Engadget be fined for posting false information.":

When considering whether Engadget should be "fined" (or otherwise punished), I'm curious as to why they didn't post this part of the bogus email (emphasis added):

"Copyright © Apple Inc. All rights reserved. As a condition of receiving this publication, you agree that you will not unlawfully duplicate, download to a database, transmit electronically, or disseminate by any means whatsoever any portion of this publication, nor will you use any information in this publication in violation of the Copyright Act. If you violate these terms, you will be subject to all penalties provided under United States copyright laws, including penalties of up to $50,000 per incident and all other remedies available to Apple Inc. in equity or at law."

Perhaps they didn't want to identify their obvious culpability.


Very good point!

* UTSA = Uniform Trade Secret Act

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Internal Investigation into "Apple Gate"

MacRumors is reporting that Apple has officially started an investigation into the "fake email" that Engadget failed to verify or to patiently confirm - reported on - and consequently caused a 4 billion (with a "B") stock fluction in a 23 minute time period.

In the wake of the fake iPhone and Leopard delay rumor that hit the web on May 16th, there's been a number of stories and claims regarding the events.

Engadget posted their sequence of events, which involved the fake email sent through an internal Apple distribution list to employees indicating that the iPhone and Leopard would be delayed. A couple of hours later, Apple sent out a followup memo stating that the previous memo was fake.

From what we've heard, the sequence of events described is accurate. A fake email was indeed sent to an internal email Apple distribution list as described. The source of the fake email is unknown, but an internal investigation has been launched at Apple to seek out this individual. There is speculation that the author of the email was an ex-Apple employee.

The Only Non Gimmicky way to get a discount at the Apple Store Online ...




I've used MYPOINTS for 5 years now. It's the only way I know of to "get a discount" at the Apple Online Store.

It works like this:

You sign up, fill out a survey to discover your interests ... MyPoints sends you emails based on those preferences. Each email you and related website you read and visit earns you from 5-50 points EACH. Each dollar you spend at various online retailers that participtae earn you from 2-20 points per dollar spent with the occasional bonus points offers of 500 points to 1000 points.

1500 points = roughly a $10 gift certificate to 100's of different brick and mortar businesses.

POINTS ADD UP QUICKLY!

You can even earn points for iTunes Music/Video store purchases.

Retailers like Office Depot allow you to combine their affilate programs, their bonus programs like WorkLife Rewards with MYPoints - my average discount at Office Depot when ordering online and using a coupon code exceeds 40% OFF!

* Clicking on the advertisement above helps support this site *

Does anyone want WhiteOverNiteOnline.COM?

I have a domain name WhiteOverNiteOnline.COM .... expiring on May 25th 2007. It isone of two protest websites I registered last year.

I've gotten a number of responses on the site and it's been a great way to educate people about this scam.

The current site is set up like this one on a blogger blogger blog that redirects to whiteovernite.blogspot.com

Lemme know if you want it ... it's FREE ... but you will have to register/renew it again.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Top 10 Geek Movies You Need To See Or See Again: Cube I & II

Over the next few weeks I will be listing great geek movies that you need to see or see again. I hope the list will be a majority of movies you haven't seen or haven't seen in such a long time - you've forgotten the majority of the plot.

I'm going to post one movie every few days.

The first entry is:

Cube I and Cube II: HyperCube



The first Cube Movie came out in 1998. It was released into 25 theaters in limited US release. The production budget was $25,000. The movie grossed $502,000 in it's 3 month theatrical run. It wasn't until its release on video the following year that it really gained "Cult Geek Status". The video, very popular at Blockbuster video rental stores, before the age of online rentals, had to be taken into multiple production runs - as it became a Top 25 rental.

Because of the video success, Cube II: Hypercube was placed into production in late 2001. With a much bigger budget to cover special effects and "semi-well known" actors, Cube II: Hypercube proved to be a worthy successor. In my opinion it far surpassed the originality and story line of the first film.

So what is "The Cube"? To answer that with the best answer would really give the movie away. The shortest and sweetest plot synopsis I can give is:

Eight strangers wake up in a bizarre 50ftx50ftx50ft cube shaped room with no recollection of how they got there and no idea of how to get out. Each surface - floor, ceilings, and walls have doors that lead semingly endless to other simalarly cube shaped rooms.


I highly recommend that you don't read any other plot descriptions. Finding out the details of the "The Cube" is part of the enjoyment. The ending to HyperCube is particularly shocking. You will never see it coming. You will think at first, the ending is cheesey, then within a minute - the final scene blows you away.

A third movie was made called Cube: Zero - which is a prequel. I thought the third was weak and don't recommend seeing it.

The Free Laptop Vs The Free Enterprise


* Photo courtesy of Engadget


There was an interesting interview last night on 60 Minutes.

Craig Barrett (CEO Intel) and Nicholas Negroponte (Spearhead of The One Laptop Per Child Program) were interviewed respectively.

In the segment, Negroponte tossed out such nasty comments as "[Intel] should be ashamed of itself." & "It's just shameless"

The comment came after Negroponte claimed that for-profit Intel is dumping its Classmate PC - offering it below cost - on the same governments he's offering his not-for-profit OLPC.

Why would someone who genuinely cares to see children have the educational tool - care where it comes from. Why would anyone question getting laptops (if they perform the same general function) to as many children as possible?

Here's why ...

I can almost assure you that ONE day we will find out that Negroponte shaved 50 cents or $1 off every laptop or at the very least some part of the supply chain did. I mean really ... if the goal truly does reach 1 billion laptops distributed, just 1 penny shaved is $10 million saved - by someone!

These laptops are a JOKE! They may cost the governments $100-$250 - but the REQUIRED IT and infrastructure that goes with them adds an additional $700-$800 to EACH one.



Video of the 60 Minutes segement

Followup:

I Hate Children And Their Little Laptops Too!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Apple MacBook (&Pro) Screens Subject Of Lawsuit


* picture courtesy of ENgadget


As reported by Engadget:

"... a San Diego filing by private citizens Fred Greaves and Dave Gatley calls for a class-action lawsuit, accusing [Apple] of deceptive advertising with regard to the displays on its MacBook and MacBook Pro machines -- specifically alleging Apple's screens aren't nearly as good as they were advertised to be. Citing observances that MacBook (Pro) displays are too often "grainy" and "sparkly", that Apple uses dithering to achieve higher color depths than is feasible for the equipment, and that apparently customers seeking repair or replacement were rebuffed, even "chastised" by rogue Geniuses, telling users they are "too picky about... the quality of the display."


"grainy" & "sparkly" - why didn't they just file the suit with the terms "Snap, Crackle, Pop"? Or "Dopey", "Sneezey", & "Grumpy"?

[UPDATE] I'm trying to follow a several stories around the internet claiming that MacBook displays are 6 bit rather than 8 bit - one capable of displaying thousands of colors - the other millions. It's very odd that this story would JUST NOW come out - right as this lawsuit is filed - yet have [quoting with two fingers in the air]NO RELATION[/quoting with two fingers in the air] to the lawsuit.

Jones Green Apple Soda



For the past few years I have been promoting Jones Green Apple Soda here on this website.





First of all, if you know anyone with the last name "Jones" (and who doesn't?) ... this makes a great gift or party favor. The unique flavor of this particular drink is very appealing. Each time I go to Panera Bread ... I get this soda to drink with my meal. I also have my own personal beverage machine - I always keep it stocked with Jones Green Apple Soda.



Second, if you are an Apple Computer Fanatic - being seen drinking this ... well ... you get some smiles.

I wanted to inform readers of an important new change to Jones Soda that you may find interesting.

From the Jones Soda Website:

To sweeten sodas, and a multitude of other food and beverages, companies typically use the sweetener high fructose corn syrup (or HFCS for short). But here at Jones we’ve decided to do things a little different. Thanks to phone calls from our fans, consumer research, and one passionately loud Jones Soda Receptionist, we are tossing out the HFCS. You may have seen that our 12-ounce cans of soda are now made with pure cane sugar, and by mid-2007 all of your favorite Jones products will be available with real sugar.

But why should you care? Simply put; it tastes better and overall it's better for the environment (No GMO’s). So leave the corn for your cars, and keep the sugar for your soda. Grab a bottle of Jones Pure Cane Soda and lets us know what you think!


Being that I am a Type 2 diabetic who is diet controlled and for the simple fact that I have a very high metabolism, I know what artificial sweeteners do to your body. Pure cane sugar is a welcome relief.



*By clicking on the links within the right hand column you help support this site.

Movies That Need To Be Remade Or Need A Sequel: Tron

Continuing with expanded movie industry coverage here on Fix Your Thinking may I present a list of movies that I feel should be remade. I'll cover one movie at a time over the next few weeks.

First:

Tron



Tron has a great premise with a great story and was actually cast pretty well in the early 80's (1982) - The visuals were way ahead of it's time and the game Tron (released by Bally Midway) was my favorite game as a child in the era of arcades.

I just watched this movie again a few nights ago. I had forgotten how cheesey the film actually was. The concepts were certainly different than any other movie before it, but now I see that the writing of the screenplay is where the movie really failed. With modern special effects and renewed interest in gaming - this should be a no brainer for a remake.

The movie is about a hacker named Flynn (played by Jeff Bridges) who is physically transported into a surreal world of computing and gaming by an ego maniacal server called "The Master Control Program". The movie follows Flynn's adventures in this "world" to stop the MCP and reppace him with a safety program called Tron.


The movie could be made much more plausible if Flynn were instead plugged into the Master Control Program's "world" Matrix style.



* I play a 3D Tron light cycle game on my Mac on a weekly basis: Download it here: GL Tron

* I have the movie poster from this film which I consider one of my favorites as far as artwork:



Since this movie is also a Disney property ... I see this movie making a great ride experience at Disney theme parks. Could you imagine a light cycle roller coaster?

Shrek 3: The 3rd Worst Shrek Film



I went to see the premiere of Shrek 3 tonight.

I have never been a big fan of the Shrek films ... but certainly always thought they were entertaining and that it's an interesting concept to combine the characters from all the popular fairy tales into one plot line.

The plot to this movie was weak - the "moral to the story" was forced. (You know a forced "moral" when a character has to give a speech about what he learned.)

There wasn't enough Donkey in this film. That said ... a scene where Donkey (played by Eddie Murphy) and Pus N Boots (played by Antonio Banderas) switch bodies is probably the most memorable moment in the film.

I would say wait for Ratatouille to see in the theaters - wait for this one on video or watch Shrek I and II again - I + II = III.

An apology??? I want something better from Engadget who set blogging back years for credibility and cost shareholders 4 billion!



Here is an email response to the letter I sent to Ryan Block, Senior Editor at Engadget yesterday:


Subject: Re: Engadget comments: Apple Story apology
Date: May 17, 2007 7:14:56 PM EDT
To: FIXYOURTHINKING

Expect to see a post regarding this in the immediate future.

Best, Ryan


Here is the post about which he is referring to in full:

Regarding yesterday's Apple news

Posted May 17th 2007 7:21PM by Ryan Block

Yesterday Engadget posted an incorrect story about an iPhone delay, and I wanted to go into greater detail about how this happened.

At 9:09am CDT yesterday a number of Apple employees received an email that appeared to be from Apple corporate reporting that the iPhone and the next version of OS X had been delayed. An Apple employee who we trust then forwarded this email to us. Let's be clear that this is someone who we know without any doubt is an employee of Apple, not someone we merely believe to be an employee of Apple. We contacted our source after receiving their email, and they confirmed for us that they had indeed received this email, an email which by all appearances was a legitimate email from Apple corporate. In fact, this Apple employee certainly believed this, especially since the email had also been received by other Apple employees. They gave us absolutely no indication that its origin might be in doubt.

For a reporter, this kind of thing -- an internal memo to a company's employees -- is solid gold. You don't often get inside information more sound than a memo stating plans -- and it is not uncommon to see these sorts of internal emails quoted in mainstream newspapers and magazines -- but we are still aware of precisely how dangerous it would be to leave any story at that. So after verifying that the email was indeed sent to internal Apple email lists -- but before publishing anything -- we immediately contacted Apple PR, trying to reach our contacts on their PR team that handles iPod / iPhone matters. It was before business hours on the West coast, though, so we even called an Apple PR manager via their private cellphone in search of a statement. When no one was immediately available, we left voicemail and email.

The question we faced at that moment was: Do we run with the story without Apple's comment or not? The answer seemed fairly clear there, too, at the time. We possessed what confirmed Apple employees believed was an internal Apple memo that with absolutely no doubt had also been received by any number of other Apple employees. This memo was passed to us in good faith -- our source believed that what they were sending was real because it was exactly like every other email of this type they had received from Apple corporate. And it stood to reason that Apple, which normally holds its cards very close to the chest with this kind of news, would more than likely not comment on these matters. (How many times have you read a news story with "Apple was not available for / declined to comment"?) Even when Leopard was facing multiple accusations of delay from across the media, Apple denied it up and down for weeks right up until the very day it announced the delay.

So we were sitting on news of obvious importance -- the email was circulating, and it was enough to set off the alarms of other sources at Apple who also started forwarding it outbound. (As it happened, we were not the only site that acquired and published that memo, perhaps just the first.) Given the nature of that news, we felt we had an obligation to inform people that Apple had sent out an internal memo in preparation of a delay in the iPhone and Leopard. And so I ran the story; I believe most people in my place would have done the same.

About an hour and 40 minutes after the initial memo went out, a second memo was sent to the same internal Apple lists, dismissing the first. Soon after, our source -- who we'd been in contact with through the morning -- let us know that Apple was dismissing this earlier email; the second memo passed off the first as "fake" and "not from Apple". Fake indeed, but it still came from someone familiar with Apple's internal mail systems, lists, memo composition structure, etc., who found a way to plant a phony memo in the inboxes of who knows how many Apple employees. (Both emails are published in the original post.) Why Apple took nearly two hours to respond to the situation we do not know.

The person or persons behind the phony email had apparently put one over on Apple employees to the extent that those employees who received that memo and passed it along to us and others took it as truth -- as did we. Although we made sure to confirm and reconfirm with our source that this email was legit at the time it was sent out, unfortunately no amount of vetting and confirming sources can account for what happens when a corporate memo turns out to be fraudulently produced and distributed in this way.

So who sent the memo, and why? We don't know, and we're not sure we ever will. Again, it was not a public memo, and it was not distributed outside Apple's internal Bullet News list to employees. Ultimately we did the only thing we felt right in doing after the initial post: leave it up unedited (but struck through), making sure the developing situation was made as lucid as possible for anyone involved in order to minimize the damages the leaked email caused.

Credibility and trust is the currency of our realm, and it's clear we lost some of that. (And to be 100% clear, no one at Engadget is allowed to own stock in any of the companies we write about.) We take what we do very seriously and would never knowingly pass along information that we believed could be false or inaccurate; in this case, as stated above, we had confirmation from within Apple that this was in fact information that been distributed via Apple's internal corporate email system. If we had had any inkling that ANYONE could have exploited that system that would have greatly affected how we proceeded.

Could things have be done differently? Definitely. We might have waited until the press release the memo mentioned hit the wires. That could have been any time, though, an hour, three hours; we were obviously sitting on a pretty major story, and we believed that would have been a disservice to our readers. We might also have presented it as rumor or whim, although given the information we had at the time, there was truly no reason to believe it was anything but totally legit, and would have been a misrepresentation of the situation.

We also might have waited to hear what Apple had to say, however long it would take for them to get back to us. While we did indeed do our best to get in touch, but we were unable to immediately produce a result, so I chose to run the without comment, as is standard practice for a reporter working on a big, urgent story. (As it happened, we only heard back from Apple after we got the second internal memo.) Of course, had I waited long enough, that second memo would have made its way to me through the pipeline, and the story would have died on the vine, never to be published. (Well, maybe we would have done a story about a planted internal memo at Apple.)

We have learned a very serious lesson yesterday. We will work very hard to earn back the trust we have lost and to do our best to be what we have always strived to be: a trustworthy source for the latest on gadgets, consumer electronics, and personal technology.


I still want an apology to shareholders - 4 billion was exchanged (read as lost) due to this "lesson learned".

I also take issue with this statement:

And so I ran the story; I believe most people in my place would have done the same.


No ... I didn't run the story even though I saw it within minutes of the post. I DID however call my source and they said it wasn't true and was unsubstantiated. I refuse to believe that MY sources are better than Engadget's. I waited it out and I'm glad that I did.

I plan to send the SEC a letter to look into the possibility of Engadget manipulating stock prices.

John Gruber added Engadget as a "Jackass of the Week" on his Daring Fireball website:

Jackasses of the Week: Engadget

The stock sell-off after Engadget’s report on the bogus announcement of iPhone and Leopard delays knocked $4 billion off Apple’s market cap.

There is some intrigue, though: the bogus email was sent through Apple’s internal email-to-every-employee system. Just a prank, or part of a scheme to profit from the false news?


*MyiPhone.COM proposes that this was a conspiracy on two different levels

* although I am positive that Apple used the FCC approval as damage control not as a tool of malfeasance.

* eWeek: Apple Denies Internal Source For Fake Email

* See yesterday's story: Should Engadget be fined for posting false information about an Apple iPhone delay?"

* Another interesting take: Engadget should have been able to TELL the eMail was fake

* The last thing Apple needs right now is a stock market scandal due to the options "backdating" issue.

Question: Does any reader know how I could get a list of who traded (sold) Apple stock on Wednesday of this past week. There should be some reference somewhere to see who bought and sold the biggest blocks of Apple's stock. I also hold accountable any large stock trading company/mutual fund that sold based on this news. I feel they too should be investigated by the SEC and fined.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Should Engadget be fined for posting false information about an Apple iPhone delay?

Yesterday Engadget (one of my favorite websites) posted a story in haste without verifying it just so as to get a scoop about Apple delaying the iPhone and Leopard.

The best line, if I may steal it from the 1st Spiderman movie, to sum this whole thing up:

"With great power comes great responsibility"

Here is the full post:

This one doesn't bode well for Mac fans and the iPhone-hopeful: we have it on authority that as of today, the iPhone launch is being pushed back from June to... October (!), and Leopard is again seeing a delay, this time being pushed all the way back to January. Of 2008. The latest WWDC Leopard beta will still be handed out, but it looks like Apple-quality takes time, and we're sure Jobs would remind everyone that it's not always about "writing a check", but just how much time are these two products really going to take?

Update:

Here's the story. A trustworthy source supplied us with an actual internal Apple email that went out to thousands of Apple employees earlier today (published after the break). The fact that this was an email sent within Apple's internal email system to its employees is not in question. Let us reiterate: this was an ACTUAL email distributed within Apple's internal email system to Apple employees.

As it turns out, the internal memo Apple employees received was actually retracted by Apple shortly after it was sent out. (Also published after the break.) We received confirmation from Apple PR that this initial email sent out to Apple employees was incorrect, and they let us know that the iPhone and Leopard are both still on track, and should meet their expected launch timeframes.

Presumably, Apple is now on the hunt for whomever was able to spoof its internal email system.


I understand the desire blogs have to get scoops and the rush to press without verification. It's always a temptation, but incidents like this really weaken blog credibility. Engadget has one of the highest hit totals on the internet though - they don't NEED to do this.

Kevin Kelleher at Gigaom made an interesting observation:

In the volatile 23 minutes of turmoil between the minute the disinformation hit the stock market at 8:55 PST and Apple’s announcement that the initial email “is fake and did not come from Apple,” nearly 15 million shares changed hands. That’s 60% of Apple’s normal volume in well under a half hour. That’s also an awful lot money lost for some investors - and gained for others - all of it because of a lie.


I think it's worth noting also that many people may not have seen the correction and it could take days to set people's psyche straight. With the iPhone being one of the most hyped product launches in history (no doubt THE biggest) such sloppy rushed reporting could do immense damage to Apple.

To me ... this is a very serious problem that Apple has on its hands. The iPhone launch must be so perfect that even the tiniest error at launch could cost them billions due to over reactive bloggers, financial analysts, and Apple fanatics - even Apple haters - wishing to spread bad information quickly.

While I don't think we need the "Code of Manners" as proposed by The New York Times - I do think there should be some sort of voluntary commital to the SPJ Code Of Ethics - and in turn some sort of seal that blogs could place on their websites.

Some blogs, such as this one, need to be able to distinguish themselves from other blogs for legitimacy sake anyway. Adding a type of blogger commital to a code of ethics and an indication on the site of a dedication to an ethical code would legitimize certain blogs a lot more.

I also propose that there be a rating system for each article where peers who are part of this "proposed seal program" could either provide positive ratings or hand demerits out to websites for their reporting.

I know that I would give many many kudos to Arnold Kim at Macrumors.com (even though I dislike rumor sites) - I think Arn (his nickname) deserves to be recognized for his immense contribution to the Apple news world and they way in which he presents his information.

Macrumors.com reported this as such:

iPhone and Leopard Delayed? [Update: False]
Posted by arn

I'm cautious to post this, as there has been no other verification, but Engadget claims that both the iPhone and Leopard have been delayed.

According to the gadget site:

This one doesn't bode well for Mac fans and the iPhone-hopeful: we have it on authority that as of today, the iPhone launch is being pushed back from June to... October (!), and Leopard is again seeing a delay, this time being pushed all the way back to January. Of 2008.

Engadget only states "we have it on authority" and no other source is given.

In the past, Engadget has been very liberal about linking almost any Apple rumor found on the internet, but they rarely post Apple rumors based on their own sources. That being said, the last time they did (October 2006), they were wrong. However, due to Engadget's popularity and confidence in this report, this has been posted on Page 1 rather than Page 2.

Apple has repeatedly stated that the iPhone is on track for a late June release.

Update: Engadget has retracted the story, saying they received "further correspondence stating that this isn't accurate" and that Apple PR let them know that the iPhone and Leopard are still on track.


I chose not to report on "An iPhone delay" yesterday because I knew without any doubt that it wasn't true - as I am involved closer than most with the project. I also have a local source that can verify any information about the iPhone.

Everyone who writes and reports makes errors ... we are only human. But ... this wasn't a factual error - this was "a non factual unverified rush to judgement".

Whereas I'm positive Engadget would receive many many positive ratings - they do deserve something other than a smirk for their sloppy reporting without double verification of the facts.

Just thinking out loud here but ... Maybe if we had some internal voluntary blogger fining/policing and fines would be contributed to a legal fund to defend bloggers?

I sent this email to Engadget this morning:

To Whom It May Concern,

I would like a better apology than a strike through to Apple Shareholders and to fellow bloggers concerning yesterday's irresponsible posting of an Apple iPhone Delay.

I understand the desire blogs have to get scoops and the rush to press without verification. It's always a temptation, but incidents like this really weaken blog credibility. Engadget has one of the highest hit totals on the internet though - they don't NEED to do this.

Kevin Kelleher at Gigaom made an interesting observation:

In the volatile 23 minutes of turmoil between the minute the disinformation hit the stock market at 8:55 PST and Apple’s announcement that the initial email “is fake and did not come from Apple,” nearly 15 million shares changed hands. That’s 60% of Apple’s normal volume in well under a half hour. That’s also an awful lot money lost for some investors - and gained for others - all of it because of a lie.

I chose not to report on "An iPhone delay" yesterday because I knew without any doubt that it wasn't true - as I am involved closer than most with the project. I also have a local source that can verify any information about the iPhone.

Everyone who writes and reports makes errors ... we are only human. But ... this wasn't a factual error - this was "a non factual unverified rush to judgement".

Engadget deserves something other than a smirk for their sloppy reporting without double verification of the facts ... especially without apology.

You are one of my favorites sites on the internet - please suck this up and apologize to bloggers, readers, and Apple shareholders.

Philip Smith
www.fixyourthinking.com


* See this for the personal response from the Senior Editor at Engadget and a statement posted to the Engadget website.

.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell Dead At 73: Makes Yet Another Indirect & Unintentional Contribution To Free Speech


As reported by CNN:

The Rev. Jerry Falwell has died, a Liberty University executive said Tuesday. He was 73. Earlier today, Ron Godwin, the executive vice president of Falwell's Liberty University, had said Falwell was found unresponsive around 10:45 a.m. and taken to Lynchburg General Hospital. Godwin said he was not sure what caused the collapse, but said Falwell had "a history of heart challenges.


This is the best post ever on DIGG for adding to my DIGG user block list.

Whether or not you liked him - all (who have said so) should feel ashamed for wishing him dead.

Falwell, eventhough he was on the opposite side - brought about the most sweeping change in media in history!

1) Satire/Parody made legal

2) Porn not considered bannable under the constitution

3) Religious leaders not being protected under the law or given special consideration

He was controversial and stuck by his convictions.

I've exercised my right to block as many of the people that wished Falwell dead as I possibly could.

If you're lazy and don't care to Google for the above facts ... you can watch:

The People vs Larry Flynt starring Woody Harrelson. This movie details Falwell's struggle against Larry Flynt, a porn industry mogul.



* correction to Larry Flynt

Occam's Razor = Obviousness In Patents

As reported by Slashdot:

"Faced with a duly unimpressed USPTO examiner who rejected its new 1-Click patent claims as 'obvious' and 'old and well known,' Amazon has taken the unusual step of requesting an Oral Appeal to plead its case. And in what might be interpreted by some as an old-fashioned stalling tactic, the e-tailer has also canceled and refiled its 1-Click claims in a continuation application. As it touted the novelty of 1-Click to Congress last spring, Amazon kept the examiner's rejection under its hat, insisting that 'still no [1-Click] prior art has surfaced.' The Judiciary Committee hearing this testimony included Rick Boucher (VA) and Howard Berman (CA), both recipients of campaign contributions from a PAC funded by 1-Click inventor Jeff Bezos, other Amazon execs, and their families."


"1- Click" is used at the Apple Store Online for purchasing and for the iTunes Music Store.

Apple licenses the "1-Click" style of shopping cart from Amazon.

I have always thought this patent and it's reasoning were ridiculous.

It follows Occam's Razor:

"The simplest answer, must be the correct one"

"1-Click" is obvious because it is the simplest way to shop online. THAT is why it is an obvious patent. Amazon tries to make the claim that it should be granted because of no prior art. That is JUST one of criteria for patents - the other is "obviousness". To me patenting "1 Click" is like patenting "1 ear" - a patent on placing a cellphone up to your better ear to answer.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Pan's Labyrinth Out May 15 2007


Don't forget that May 15th 2007 is the release date for Pan's Labyrinth on DVD.

I went to the theater to see this independent film by director Guillermo del Toro 3 times.

I think the best description I saw before I went to see it was "A rated R version of Alice In Wonderland" & "A children's story that you want to see, but don't want your children to watch ... you may want to sleep in your child's bed after seeing it."

The character and creature design in this movie gives you chills ... yet it's not a horror movie.

The movie is in Spanish with English subtitles, but the story can easily be followed. I want to get the DVD just so I can translate the Spanish myself and pause if I need to.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Other 2 of the 10

On Friday ... I set out to narrow The Top 100 movies of ALL TIME down to just 10. I listed eight ... here are the last two I feel are worthy.

#9 Interview With A Vampire

Like Forrest Gump, this movie provides another great view of history from a unique perspective; this time, a Vampire.

I'm not a big fan of horror movies and in particular Dracula/Vampire movies. While I like the Blade series - I think this movie is as Anne Rice, the original author of Interview With A Vampire, states, "Better than my book, it's so good."

Best line: "I'm going to give YOU the choice I ... never had.



#10 Jurassic Park

This is the movie that solidified the new age of realistic special effects. In my mind, it's unmatched in fantasy believability. This movie also brought about a whole new interest in paleontology. Michael Crichton deserves a lot of credit for writing a very well researched plausible novel. And Steven Spielberg deserves another nod as the best director in movie history. The movie was cast perfectly and was edited perfectly. The sequels are entertaining but never quite stack up to the original.

Best line: (Dr. Ian Malcolm (played by Jeff Goldblum) when asked his view of dating and marriage)

"I'm always on the look out for a future EX- Ms. Malcolm."



All but one of these movies have central key modern connections:

Stan Winston - makeup and creature design
Steven Spielberg - directing / executive producing
George Lucas - writing/directing/special efffects

All 3 of these Hollywood heavyweights cite the movie in this list that they were not involved in as the biggest part of their inspiration to get into movies; Forbidden Planet.

Now there are obviously more movies that are likeable - it IS hard to narrow down a top 10 - as ALL lists are subjective. I do think however, it would be hard to disagree that these all very likeable movies without much bias.

Later this week I will be posting the Top 10 Geek Movies You Haven't Seen Or Need To See Again.

* The first 8 of the 10.

The RCA H115 H125 H116 MP3 player problems, fixes, firmware, and suggestions



A few weeks ago I found an RCA H115 5GB MP3 player at my local flea market (in the original package) for $5.

When I got it home I tried charging it first before I started to play with it.

First I have to say - this player and my customer service experience exemplify why the iPod has such a major market share. No other manufacturer seems to understand service and quality as well as Apple.

I was more or less hoping to use this device as a hard drive backup rather than an MP3 player for my Mac.

I already have an iPod.

I immediately noticed that the device is NOT supported for Macs because it uses a weird file system ... but I did learn by scouring the internet for days that you can mount the internal Microdrive on the Mac desktop by doing the following. (This tip also applies to Windows ME 2000, XP, Vista, and Windows 7 owners)

1) With the unit turned off, plug the small end of the USB cable into the device.

2) Hold the center joystick down (the little squarish button in the center of the scroll pad)

3) While holding the center joystick down with the mini B USB cable plugged into the MP3 player, plug the flat standard USB end into your computer. (Not into a USB hub)

4) The unit should start up and a message should appear on the screen that says "Transferring..."

5) Give the device 10 seconds ... the hard drive inside the unit should mount on your Mac's desktop

6) You may use the unit as a hard drive mounting it with these steps, or load the unit with music by finding the right place on the hard drive by digging into the folders contained

Notes:

* There are litterally dozens of forums discussing this MP3 player. None of them seem to have answers.

* It seems to be a common problem that the hard drives (5GB Hitachi Microdives) fail - if this is the case - you MUST send your player back to RCA* - there is NO OTHER SOLUTION that works.

Call RCA Thomson Customer Service at 1-866-449-7112.

You will receive an Indian Customer Service Agent.

Have the phone up to your best listening ear.
They will most likely tell you to try resetting the device. You can knock this step out before calling by turning the unit off with the right side power button. Then holding the power button down for 15 seconds (keep holding down even if the unit turns on). If that solved your problem ... great. If it did not ... call the RCA customer service number.
* With the unit on, place it close to your ear, if you can hear a clicking noise or like a "tiny gear grinding" noise - your hard drive is bad. You have two options:

You can send the unit back (after obtaining an RMA from this phone #:1-866-449-7112 ) to this address:

Thomson Inc.
Attn SR# SR04118915
11721 B Alameda Avenue
Socorro, Texas 79927

OR you can disassemble the unit by removing the the serial number sticker from the bottom backside of the unit. At the center bottom there is one black screw holding the unit together. Remove this screw. Slide the backside of the device upward. You will see the microdrive inside. These drives are warranted until December 31, 2007 from Hitachi*. You MUST give Hitachi a later purchase date than the current month*. Meaning; if the current month is May 2007*. You must give them a date AFTER May 2006 for your purchase*.

* The contents of this article no longer apply to warranty service.

Hitachi will quickly replace your drive which you can use in a standard compact flash slot with a 6GB drive as they no longer manufacture 5GB drives.

You can contact Hitachi customer Service (Having a valid serial number on the microdrive):

By webform: Hitachi Customer Support

By phone: Toll free: 1-888-426-5214 OR 1-507-322-2370

You will send your microdrive (with RMA obtained) to:

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Inc.
C/O UPS SCS
30336 Whipple Road, Building F
UNION CITY CA 94587
UNITED STATES

* Note, that you will no longer be able to use the RCA H115 / H125 as an MP3 player if you replace the internal hard drive, but the exchange with Hitachi is worth nearly $125.

If you have a working Lyra, I'd suggest you copy the firmware to another Microdrive or UDMA 33 Compact Flash card. Doing so will help you if the drive fails. This suggestion may not always work!

I hope this helps ... leave a comment here if you have any other suggestions or need further assistance. I will try to do my best to answer.

If a person identifying themselves as MRC offers to help you in this forum or any other forum concerning this player, do not engage him!

Apple Gets Cease & Desist but "submission, that may be a bit of a problem"

From a PR Newswire Headline:

Media Rights Technologies and BlueBeat.com Issue Cease and Desist to Microsoft, Apple, Adobe and Real Networks

"Media Rights Technologies (MRT) and BlueBeat.com have issued cease and desist letters to Microsoft, Adobe, Real Networks and Apple with respect to the production or sale of such products as the Vista OS, Adobe Flash Player, Real Player, Apple iTunes and iPod. MRT asserts Apple, Microsoft, Real and Adobe have produced billions of these products without regard for the DMCA or the rights of American Intellectual Property owners, actively avoiding the use of MRT's technologies. Failure to comply with this demand could result in a federal court injunction to any of the above named parties to cease production or sale of their products and/or the imposition of statutory damages of at least $200 to $2500 for each product distributed or sold."

The Top 100 Movies Of All Time Finally Narrowed Down To The Top 10



I have had a Top 100 movies list for a long time .... every now and then one movie would get bumped because once every 3 years or so a great movie comes along - movies so good ... you could watch it over and over and never get tired of it.

I think I finally have a Top 10 list of movies that I could watch all in a row or ten times straight.

My new #1 is The 300. I went to see this in theaters twice and I bought it on bootleg DVD from my local flea market. I have now seen it more than 25 times. I watch it while I'm writing, doing paperwork, and most recently to fall asleep to. I will certainly buy the DVD when it comes out in August. I also own an original movie poster.

Best line: (King Leonidas is asked to kneel by Xerxes)

"Kneeling ... now that might be a bit of a problem. You see ... killing all of those soldiers of yours has left a nasty cramp in my leg ...

Honestly, The 300 is full of great one liners.

#2 Shawshank Redemption

My previous #1 was Shawshank Redemption. Like The 300, it is a very inspirational movie. This movie has one of the best written plot twists of any drama I know.

Best line: (The hypocritical "Christian" warden opens his bible - in it he sees an outline of a rock pick used to escape from his prison.)

On the front inside cover is an inscription: "You were right warden, redemption lies within."

Again, Shawshank Redemption is full of great lines - the narration of the story by Morgan Freeman is practically Shakespearian in it's delivery.



#3 Star Wars

A very close #3 is the entire Star Wars collection - this isn't a cop out to fit more movies than 10 into my Top 10 - really the 6 films are all one long story. While Empire Strikes Back and Revenge Of The Sith stick out as the best films - all movies are equally entertaining.

Best line: (Han Solo is about to be put into hybernation and it may kill him. Princess Leia says, "Han, I love you" passionately as she looks into Solo's face descending into the freezing chamber)

Han Solo replies: "I know"

The prequels were in part written by Lucas on an Apple PowerBook Duo.



#4 The Matrix

This is one of the only trilogies where I would not include the two sequels. The first movie can stand on it's own. This was one of the most overdone concepts but handled in a competely unique way by The Wachowskis brothers directing. It's a shame they ruined the sequels.

Best line: (The main character Neo has just been told that his whole life is not real and that he is actually a slave in a computer generated prison. He is given the choice to "enter the real world")

Morpheus ( a member of a resistance that can enter The Matrix ) says, " Remember, all I'm offering is the truth"

That is a very powerful line. To use the the phraseology of "all I'm offering" and the offer is "the truth" - how could you refuse?



#5 Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump gives an excellent view of 1950-80's America. It's the greatest pseudo documentary ever made.

Best line: (After beating up a white guy who identified with The Black Panthers and the protest of the Vietnam War)

Forrest (saying sincerely): "Sorry to ruin your little Black Panther party"

It's not that the words are funny ... it's more about the delivery with sincerity that makes this a great line.

Forrest Gump also features his purchase of Apple Computer Stock and getting independently wealthy from it.



#6 Forbidden Planet

This movie from 1956 has special effects that rival films from 2007. It has some of the greatest set design, matte painting, and robotic design - in cinema history.

Best line: (Robbie the Robot, explaining why he was late in responding to being summoned)

"My apologies. I was giving myself an oil job."

This line is only good due to the very "matter of fact" robot voice that Robbie had, dubbed by Marvin Miller - who also did the robot voice for Lost In Space with the famous line, "Danger Will Robinson! Danger!"



#7 The Breakfast Club

This is the only movie I know of where you know each character already before they are even introduced. It has such an amazing character development for such a short film and such a confined set - the library of a high school on a saturday for detention.

Best line: (Allison - an odd alternative type is asked why she was in detention after the other 4 students have given dramatic reasons)

Allison's reply: "Nothing better to do" ( Indicating she was there by choice to hang out. )

I identify with this movie a lot because I knew each one of these high school stereotypes and I feel that I was ALL of them rolled into one.



#8 Back To The Future

This trilogy in my opinion is the only movie series that appeals to every generation and age level. It is, again in my opinion, the greatest family movie series ever made. I've never met anyone who doesn't love this movie and its two sequels.

In part II, when Marty (played by Micheal J. Fox) travels to the future he sees a Mac Plus for sale in an antique shop - something that will not be far from the truth I would imagine. The Mac Plus already fetches a premium on eBay.

Best line: "Lorraine you are my density ... I mean ... my destiny"



The Other 2 Of The 10

If you have some suggestions I should consider ...list them in the comments. I have three in mind that I will narrow to the final two, but I might be missing a movie or two.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Screen scrubbing: the new hack from way back! Will LED backlighting coming from Apple prevent this old hack?

Back in the day, Mr. Wim Van Eck "proved it was possible to tune into the radio emissions produced by electromagnetic coils in a CRT display and then reconstruct the image," effectively rendering the images on a distant monitor without the user knowing. A modern hacker has found that the methodology used in 1985 can still be just as useful today - on laptops and flat panel LCDs. Markus Kuhn has discovered that by tuning into the radio emissions produced by the cables running into a monitor, hackers can garner the pixels one at a time, and carefully stack them together to form a picture of someone else's screen.

Reportedly, Markus was able to "see a PowerPoint presentation from a stand 25 meters away" and he also noted that laptops with metal hinges were particularly good targets as they tended to broadcast the necessary signals quite well.

Interesting ...

My theory has always been - if someone wants your information - they will get it BUT the average person, even the most talented hacker, doesn't know how.

Not that anyone is doing this - but this could be a way to hack Macs some time in the future. I wonder if the new LED backlighting for LCDs coming from Apple will be better and make this more difficult or impossible.

PC, Didn't you make that?



Apple has posted three new Get A Mac commercials:

See them here.

I especially like the one pictured here.

These commercials have gotten better and better as Microsoft has opened up more fodder to make fun of.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

We've Got a Bunch Of Zunes!

Found on The Consumerist:




Tweeter stores are going out of business nationwide and having fire sales.

A $25 Discount On An iPhone?

This may be a way to get a $25 discount on an iPhone.

Of course it's not possible to verify if the discount can be applied just yet because the iPhone launches in mid-June:

Cingular.com coupon: $25 off cell phones and accessories orders of $25 or more with activation of service, Cingular.com takes $25 off most Cell Phones and accessories orders of $25 or more via coupon code "WLS25". It's the only dollar-off coupon we've seen from Cingular.com. Deal ends July 15.

* found on DEALMAC.COM

Notes For Bloggers Who Go On Vacation: Use Your Blog To Turn A Vacation Into A Business Expense.



First I want to make it clear that this IS NOT professional financial, legal, or even useable information to ALL bloggers. Your state, country, or content of your blog may not allow you to take advantage of the following:

Recently I went on a vacation to Walt Disney World In Orlando Florida.

From the very start of planning (which was very last minute) I had planned to take notes while on my vacation so as to post a review here on my website. For what reasons?

1) I found that not many reviews of Disney World or vacation planning were personal ... they are all set up to bring in hits to sell something (like a $19.95 Guide to Disney) on their website.

2) I felt like I would have a unique point of view concerning my trip ... I hope you got something different out of my review/guide to Disney (see below if you have not read them).

3) I knew that a review would bring me a heavily Googled "keyword" (Disney) that would appear in my ADsense bar - thus spiking ADsense revenue and draw in hits. (I'm not trying to make money off of the reviews, but none the less it does generate revenue and hits)

4) I made my review topical to this blog which covers eBay & Apple drama in a collective op-ed kind of way. I made note of the Apple Keyboard at the HP Sponsored ride; Mission Space at Epcot and the Apple PowerBook 145b (shown as a vision of the future in the year 2010) on Spaceship Earth.

5) While I bring in next to nothing in revenue for this blog - the revenue does get reported on my taxes. Any review that I do or subject that I talk about (that was of expense to me) is a legitimate business expense. (* see note above) I was actually paid to go on this trip and I actually performed a service while on this trip; that of babysitting and as vacation planner and tour guide. I have my taxes set up as two businesses: My Apple Consulting/Sales/Service business & A business called Phil's Services. Phil's Services covers the revenue I receive from odd jobs that I do. I consider this blog (because it does bring in revenue) an odd job. I am also paid for babysitting at other times during a tax year for my brother and friends (including dogsitting / boarding). This too is considered revenue and ANY expense I incur while performing these services is a legitimate business expense.

Now ... I can't take off most of the expenses from a trip, but I can take off things like parking, gas, some food, and other expenses that relate or are similar to other expenses that I itemize on my taxes.

I also discuss my business, my blog, and Apple Computer/eBay regularly with just about every one ... so realistically I consider SOME of those expenses consulting and or business / strategy planning just like some CEOs take a day at the golf course off their taxes.

If you do go on vacation - it is best to go with a group (friends/neighbors) and it's best if you are going to be writing about it to have the group use you as a clearing house for all funds during the trip. Also, if you can work out a payment as a vacation planner, a babysitter, or a tour guide - this also helps legitimize your purpose as doing a job while you were on vacation. It will also give you some additional substance for your review.

Here is a great article about what to do with your BLOG while on vacation with tips like having a "Guest blogger" in your place while gone or "making advance posts" or having a "look back".

What To do With Your Blog When You Take A Vacation

Remember, if you compensate a guest blogger this could also be a legitimate business expense / tax deduction.

My review of DisneyWorld Florida can be found in these 3 posts:

Doing Disney! The Ultimate Review & Tip Guide To All Things Disney World! Part I: Tickets!

Doing Disney! The Ultimate Review & Tip Guide To All Things Disney World! Part II: Budgeting Your Time, Money, & Psyche!

Doing Disney! The Ultimate Review & Tip Guide To All Things Disney World! Part III: Observations.





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Monday, May 07, 2007

SpiderMan 3: The Third Best SpiderMan Movie


I wanted to post this update and review on Thursday night after I got back from the midnight premeire. But ... the weekend was busy with paperwork etc etc.

My best friend and I had been planning to dress up like Spiderman for a few months before the premiere and finally decided to make our own suits last month - working on them until the very last minute.

We decided on the black suit for several reasons - one - I like the black suit. Two - the black suit is more trimming. While I'm in pretty good shape, I don't have a sculpted body and my best friend has just come off losing 50 pounds. Three - I really like the black suit.



Before I go any further, I have to thank Camelot Cinemas in Greenville SC for roping off the 5 seat THX row in the center of the theater for my friends and I. We didn't want to have to wait in line for hours in Spiderman suits so I asked if the 5 seat THX row could be reserved for us. The theater owner was very kind to do that. Seeing any blockbuster in the digital THX certified theater (one of 26 in the country) is BY FAR the best way to see a movie.

My review:

Honestly, I'm not a big fan of any of the Marvel Superheroes. They always seemed to be Pepsi compared to DC's Coke. I just dressed up as something fun to do - and I really really like the look of the black suit.

The first Spiderman movie is probably the best superhero film adaptation - maybe possibly being neck to neck with the first Tim Burton directed Batman.

I thought the character of Sandman in this film was weak and seemed rushed. The story of Sandman seemed pieced into the film just to give more whiz-bang to the special effects. I think the whole Sandman story would have fit in much better and seemed slighltly more plausible and fitting to the story had they tied the creation of Sandman into the crashing of the meteor that carried the "Venom symbiote" - even though that's not how it happened in the comics.

Sandman, Venom, and Goblin II, and in some ways Dark Spiderman as a villian just made for too many subplots. I've never understood why directors choose to saturate films with bad guys when one bad guy always proves better for chracter development - ie the first Tim Burton directed Batman.

I loved the portrayal of Venom by Topher Grace - I would have liked to have seen more of the villian. I would have liked to have seen Eddie Brock (Topher Grace) discover all the different things he could do. I would have liked to have seen more about how the "black suit" symbiote controlled you.


* Me in my homemade Spiderman costume


Sam Raimi definitely came true to form with his campy side in this movie. While the dance numbers (yes ... dance numbers) were certainly funny - they seemed slightly out of place in a superhero movie and more in line with Raimi's Army Of Darkness. I enjoy campy - but I don't think it fits into good superhero films so as to make the superheroes believable. This is where the X-Men movies excel greatly.

I will most likely go see this again and wear my suit to the movie ... I have a good costume to keep in case of an emergency birthday appearance or Halloween costume contest.


* My suit flat - I added the silver webbing with Tulip© dimensional paint


I wasn't surprised to see this break just about every movie box office record this past weekend both domestically and internationally. However, I also won't be surprised for the movie to get bad word of mouth and probably be this series' Matrix 3 - ending the franchise (at least for now and with Raimi as director).

After actually seeing the movie, I don't expect this to make as much money as either of the first two Spiderman movies. Also take into account that movie ticket prices are up dramatically since SpiderMan 2 by almost $2 per ticket nationally. Also, this film opened in 300 more theaters in the US than any other film ever released!

This was one of the most expensive (if not THE most expensive if you add in advertising) movies ever made - but within just 3 days made $357,000,000.

Spiderman I production budget: $139 million / Total gross: $822 million / + $120 million in DVD sales

Spiderman II production budget: $200 million / Total gross: $784 million / + $53 million in DVD sales

Spiderman III production budget: $258 million
* source boxofficemojo.com

* Scattered throughout the offices of the The Daily Bugle were Apple HD displays and Apple keyboards.

* I had a bit of trouble looking at Kirsten Dunst during the movie after watching an episode of The Family Guy where Peter says:

... that's like making me choose between Kirsten Dunst and Sarah Jessica Parker in a Weird Face / Hot Bod Contest.