Monday, March 31, 2008

Best Brand! Apple!

Brandjunkies on the Influence of Brands:

The 2008 Brandjunkie Survey Results

"What brand would you most like to sit next to at a dinner party?


Apple ranks 1st at 14.3%

"What brand, if sent back 100 years, would have the biggest impact on the course of history?"


Apple ranks 1st at 15.5%

"Which brand do you want to argue with?"


Apple ranks 2nd behind Microsoft

"Which brand inspires you the most?"


Apple ranks 1st at 22.1%

"If you were to describe yourself as being a brand, what brand would you be?"


Apple ranks 1st at 9.8%

"What brand can you not live without?"


Apple ranks 1st at 15.2%

What brand is most likely to revolutionize the branding industry in the next five years?


Apple ranks 1st at 22.0%


[SIDE NOTE] The second place through fifth place rankings were distant - with companies like Nike, Google, Coca Cola trailing Apple.

What the average reply email from an Apple executive has attached to it



I sent an email request for information to two different Apple executives that I know and have their contact information ... I got a response from both ... but this was attached to the bottom of the email. I don't think the message applies to this message too - just thought it was interesting to see and read.

iPhone Snaps

The pictures below are from the Fix Your Thinking "Pictures From My iPhone" series called iPhone Snaps ...



This is a pimped out Buick that was painted candy apple red. I heard the owner tell people in a parking lot that he just got the fresh paint and "pimp out".



This is a picture of me. I often get criticized for not having a lot of recent pictures. So here I am - I let a random person take a picture of me with my iPhone after they asked me if that was "one of the phones they touch on those TV commercials".



This is George Clooney signing autographs in my home town of Greenville, South Carolina last week during a premiere event for the movie Leatherheads that's coming out Friday, April 4th 2008. Renee Zellwegger was also there - but it seemed like none of the 2000+ people cared about her.



This is a picture of a beautiful dress that my girlfriend bought this past weekend - it's twice as amazing on her beautiful body!

Creative's fall from glory - Consumers fighting back!

Creative (infamous iPod competitor and litigator) failed to provide working Windows Vista drivers for some of their products. They then told "Daniel_K" to stop making his own "homebrew" working Vista drivers. Creative customers are apparently enraged ... Read the link ... Sign the petition, post your thoughts, fight back ... give Creative a dose of what they gave Apple a year or so ago. Reminder: Apple settled with Creative for a rather large sum of money - it (the lawsuit settlement payout) seems to be the main source of revenue that is keeping the company afloat.

read more | digg story

----- Fix Your Thinking Commentary -----


Maybe this is a bit of karma coming from the Apple litigation and settlement. As far as I know ... Creative has been slipping in the MP3 player market - getting more and more of second place stolen by Sandisk and even the Microsoft Zune.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Apple Store Employees steal 332 iPhones

Two men at an Apple Store in the Mall at Rockingham Park New Hampshire went into business for themselves, stealing more than 700 iPhones and managing ro sell 332 of them before being caught, police said.

read more | digg story

Hacking Conference: PWN 2 OWN contest yeilds MacBook Air getting seized in 2 minutes.

The PWN 2 OWN hacking competition at CanSecWest was over nearly as quickly as it started, as famed iPhone hacker Charlie Miller hacked the MacBook Air on display with no special software using only Safari. Miller had to sign a non-disclosure agreement until Apple is notified and given a few days to plug the hole.

read more | digg story

Thursday, March 27, 2008

LOST: Figured Out & Explained!

Lost: Theory On Time Lines

A Time Line surfaced for the television series LOST that I explained to my best friend as either being an intentional leak that explains the series without giving anything away, or is coming from a guy that has watched each and every episode a 100 times minimum and is an incredible genius. It is an excellent summary and shouldn't give anything away. If you're a LOST fan ... it's a must read.

Macalope reports; "George Ou Laid Off" - that answers a reader email

Last week I received a reader email asking me about my take on Leander Kahney's latest article entitled; How Apple Got Everything Right By Doing Everything Wrong.

I don't have a take because I decided that unless something VERY interesting came about, I no longer published stories and gave attention to anything from the list of GOONS that I identified in The 7 Goons Of The Mac World.

Well I think something happened very interesting to a goon ... word on Twitter as reported by The Macalope says that George Ou was laid off from C|Net.

* The Macalope got it's start by critiquing Ou and I made the mistake of thinking The Macalope WAS George Ou.

And as reported last week; Steven Levy is heading for WIRED magazine and may be taking Leander Kahney's place.

I think C|Net is wising up to see exactly who is making them the laughing stock with various contributors reporting.

Update 3/28/08: George Ou has confirmed it with his last post on C|Net

Bidzirk vs Smith featured in Inside Counsel Magazine


One interview about my case that I forgot to mention ( and was recently published) was a piece in InsideCounsel magazine:

Critical Response by Steve Seidenberg
* also published in the February 2008 issue of InsideCounsel print magazine


Some highlights:

Smith ran a small business in Greenville, S.C., supplying parts and service for a variety of Apple products. He hired a local company, Bidzirk, to sell a lot of computer inventory on eBay and deliver some items he had already sold.

However, Smith wasn’t happy with Bidzirk’s performance and in late 2005 posted a four-part article on his Web site titled “Special Report: You Gotta Be Berserk to Use an eBay Listing Company! The Whole Story.” The article detailed his problems with Bidzirk, as illustrative of the shortcomings of eBay listing companies.

According to Smith’s article, Bidzirk listed items on eBay “slowly, not at all, or with really overdone descriptions that focused too much on technical detail and pictorial content and not enough value to the buyer and what the bidder could actually do with the items.”

The company supposedly failed to watermark its online pictures of Smith’s merchandise, and so “some people were selling identical [merchandise] with the pictures Bidzirk was taking.” Bidzirk supposedly sold the merchandise at prices that were “far lower than average eBay auctions,” thus generating far less revenue than Smith had expected. And after the merchandise was sold, Bidzirk was “slow” to pay Smith his share, the article stated.

Bidzirk was unhappy with the article and took legal action. Because Smith’s online article used Bidzirk’s name and logo without authorization, the company sued Smith in January 2006 for, among other things, trademark infringement.


Click on the Bidzirk vs Smith tag for more reference.

Urban Dictionary



I've found myself fascinated by URBANDICTIONARY.COM lately. It's a funny website that gives a great reference dictionary for pop culture and slang words. Visit often and increase your vocabulary!

The other day I looked up the meaning of "wiggety whack".

Today, I submitted my first entry:

"bleeped out"

1. To censor.

2. An offensive sound, word, or gesture that is blurred or masked by a "beeping" sound.

Example: 1. "I was watching Jerry Springer yesterday and they "bleeped out" almost every word this dude said."


I find myself making up words all the time. I obviously didn't make up the entry above, but I didn't see it in the database either.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Unlimited Wireless Internet For $35 or $40

Cricket, a small wireless MVNO, is selling a truly unlimited wireless data for $35/mo (some US cities) (The service is $40 without a Cricket voice plan.) The plan uses an EVDO Rev 0 system. (that is piggybacking on Verizon Networks.) One can expect speeds of 500-700 kbps/sec

"We expect our customers will be heavy, heavy data users, & we've never thought limits were a good idea." ~ Cricket Sr Manager Greg Lund

read more | digg story


* AT&T's unlimited plan is $59.99 per month as of March 26 2008. AT&T currently does not offer 3G Data outside of the top 20 major US cities. Verizon, however has a greater coverage area at this time.

Deluxe Seating Coming To Theaters ... But It Will Be Twice The Price Of Popcorn


* Picture from the movie "The Majestic" starring Jim Carrey


As reported by The Hollywoood Reporter:

A new moviegoing option called "Gold Class Deluxe Cinema" will open this year in Chicago. It will be one of 50 U.S. planned for construction during the next five years.

The theaters are to include premium amenities, such as reserved seating, VIP parking, and upscale food & beverage offerings with restaurant style wait staff.

Gold Class movie theaters will feature 40 seat capacity and a higher-end atmosphere. Tickets are estimated to be in the range of $35.

Gold Class Cinemas also plans to open a theater in Redmond, Washington by year's end. Investors hope to open 20 additional sites by 2010.

Apple Settles "Millions Of Colors" Lawsuit

As reported by Eric 2.0 / A Chicago Tribune Blog:

Apple settles "millions of colors" lawsuit

Apple Inc. has settled out of court a 10-month-old lawsuit over its displays.

Two California professional photographers filed a class-action suit last May, saying they were duped into buying MacBook Pro notebooks by Apple's claim that the MacBook and MacBook Pro could display millions of colors.

"The displays are only capable of displaying the illusion of millions of colors through the use of a software technique referred to as 'dithering,' " the lawsuit said.

"They made a misrepresentation," said Peter Polischuk, attorney for Greaves and Gatley, referring to Apple.

A clerk in the San Diego County Superior Court said this morning that Polischuk had called to say the suit had been settled. Polischuck said the plaintiffs didn't pursuit it further because it was difficult to find other people who were wronged because they had bought Macs solely based on the "millions of colors" claim.


---------- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY ----------


My commentary on this is in bold italics and underlined above.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

USB To Ethernet Adapter For Macs That Have Lost Ethernet Port Functionality / Save A Costly Motherboard Repair

Mac OS X Celebrates 7th or 8th Birthday!



TUAW (The Unofficial Apple Weblog) reports:

This weekend marked a very special date as Mac OS X turned 7 years old. Mac OS X was launched on March 21, 2001. Throughout the years, Mac OS X has definitely seen its share of changes. In these 7 years, OS X has been through 6 versions (7 if you include the first public beta version). Below is a list of the version names, numbers and launch dates of each

Mac OS X release:

Mac OS X Public Beta (September 13, 2000)
Mac OS X 10.0 Cheetah (March 21, 2001)
Mac OS X 10.1 Puma (September 25, 2001)
Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar (August 23, 2002)
Mac OS X 10.3 Panther (October 24, 2003)
Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger (April 29, 2005)
Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard (October 26, 2007)


---------- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY ----------


My favorite version of Mac OSX so far is Panther (10.3) - mostly because it left very few Macs in the cold when it came to installing. 10.3.9 (if it could run on your machine) was also very stable for me. As someone who writes software, I also appreciated that it had a common underpinning to Tiger and even to Leopard - something not shared with 10.1 or 10.2.

About AT&T's LIMITED Unlimited Data Plans

Last week I received this email from a reader:

Here's a link that I think might put a kink in your broadband plan. This is kind of an issue that has concerned me about other cellular carrier's broadband 3G as well.

It appears that the phone companies want to be able to sell lots of datacards/usb modems/etc. but they dont want people to know explicitly that its not unlimited. I think its fair if they limit it, but they need to be more explicit in their verbiage.

Verizon is going that direction now by stating their top end data plans as 5Gb for $59.99, but I think there's still a lot of confusion in the marketplace. Most customer's still believe their data plan to be "unlimited" and feel entitled to use the connection as though it were "unlimited" and they get mad when they find out that that is not the case.

[FIX YOUR THINKING: Then they should call it "The High Use Plan" - but that wouldn't get customers would it?]

This link from DSLREPORTS.COM says that AT&T is taking the same stance and may not be expressing it very clearly either.

You may want to add this as a caveat to your article lest people be led astray.


Here is the DSLREPORTS article in its entirety (My comments in red):

For years, Verizon Wireless was advertising their EVDO service as unlimited, but quietly imposing a 5GB monthly cap. That advertising charade ended courtesy of NY's attorney general last fall.

* Then why would AT&T want to subject themselves to the same litigation?

Back in January, AT&T insiders insisted that the company was preparing to apply a 5GB monthly cap of their own to their unlimited HSDPA service. The company's terms of service already states as much:

The parties agree that AT&T has the right to limit throughput or amount of data transferred and/or deny, disconnect, modify and/or terminate Service if you use more than 5 gigabytes in a month. If you require more than 5 gigabytes per month, ask us about our DataConnect 5GB Overage plan.


That plan doesn't appear anywhere on AT&T's website. Gearlog called in to ask about the plan, and found that actually using AT&T's wireless broadband network in any volume can be a very pricey proposition:

if you call in, you'll find it's $350/month for 5GB, plus $0.50 per megabyte (really, $.0005 per kb, but my megabyte formula is more readable.) Since you're probably a heavy downloader, let's think of that as $500 per gigabyte. Yes. They want to charge you $350 for exactly what you're paying $60 for. Want 10GB instead of 5GB? That'll cost you $2,850 for that month. Now, to be fair, an AT&T rep told me that they'll probably give you a pass for a month or two if you accidentally go over 5GB. Then they'll give you a call and try to convince you to move to the Punitively Expensive Plan.


* This is a completely fabricated story on the part of Gearlog and NOT what AT&T will (or should) tell you

AT&T's website still advertises "unlimited" data for Blackberry and PDAs [And iPhones} provided you don't tether, but we'd be interested to see if any users have tested the boundaries with smart phone consumption alone.

* I come close to or exceed 5GB almost every month on my iPhone

Note that life as a bandwidth hog on Verizon's network is no easier. Buried amidst all the fawning adoration of Verizon Wireless for their recently announced unlimited yammering plan was the fact that they implemented some very pricey data overage charges of their own.


---------- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY ----------


Immediately this scared me because over the last month and a half I've been using AT&T's 3G service almost exclusively for my home and office. I've already recommended and installed it at two of customer's houses. I knew that I had used it to download Leopard updates to several computers and that my email alone would probably be over 20 megs a day!

* My actual usage per AT&T's website was 145 GIGABYTES!

I had gotten the reader email early in the morning, and went to my local AT&T store where I purchased the modem, as soon as they opened. I spoke with the management and my salesperson and asked why I wasn't told about this. They said, "Because there isn't a cap." I showed them the DSL REPORTS page the reader email alerted me to. They said they hadn't seen that and said it must be inaccurate. I grabbed a couple brochures and left the store feeling somewhat relieved.

I got into the car and read #10 at the bottom of the page on the "Wireless Data Plans brochure":



• A 5 gigabyte (GB) usage limitation applies. See Terms and Conditions for additional details.


I called AT&T and got connected with "a senior executive for wireless data at AT&T". (I knew who to call because I had previously worked with AT&T) I was told immediately that they were aware of the DSLREPORTS.COM report and that it was entirely false.

While on hold for "the AT&T senior executive" I had pulled out my brochure. I read her #10 on the brochure.

The response exactly as stated by a "senior executive for wireless data at AT&T":

"To describe it in a short and precise manner. We do not and will not charge for overages on any "UNLIMITED plan". Our computer systems are in the process of being updated. At the moment our system can not recognize an "all you can eat" type service so you must be billed after a certain limit. To bypass this, we made a high cap of 5 gigabytes. After this point you ARE billed at a rate of zero dollars and zero cents per megabyte over the 5 gigabyte limit. When our system is fully updated in June, the UNLIMITED plan will be truly unlimited. We are required to place that statement in our brochure because we do keep detailed billing after 5 gigabytes."


When asked why the iPhone "unlimited plan" doesn't mention this "zero charge system billing" and why the brochure doesn't just say exactly what I was told. I was told:

First, AT&T is quite aware of Verizon's poor decisions on customer service regarding this issue and canceling high usage accounts that went over a 5 gigabyte threshold. Second, you have been given a simple answer. It's a tad more complicated than that. Third, from a marketing and legal perspective if something were not to go as planned with our system upgrade and mass 3G deployment in June of this year, we could face litigation if we made a promise we are not able to keep it."


So, there you go. I stand behind my article that recommended switching from cable modems to 3G internet.

DSLREPORTS, whom I have had a lot of respect for in the past, seems hellbent on the issue of exposing this as some sort of scandal. It's not!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Macalope Says, "Oh Kay" To GuinessWeek Article

Something I missed during my spring cleaning week was a piece by Roger Kay of BusinessWeek magazine positing that Apple's growing marketshare will soon yield new computer viruses for the Mac platform. He goes on further to make the conclusion that Apple DESERVES it.

The Macalope comments about Roger Kay's piece:

"... this BusinessWeek piece by Roger Kay is just 10 tons of stupid."


I must say I agree. I've been thinking that lately most BusinessWeek articles seem more like:



Here's a choice quote from the BusinessWeek article:

Apple sold nearly 7.8 million Mac desktop and laptop computers in 2007. That's a 37% gain over the number sold in 2006 and well more than double the 2001 volume. It's little surprise then that reports of Mac viruses have been rising steadily.


The Macalope's response:

?

???

???!!!!???!?!?!???!!?!??!!


---------- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY ----------


The BusinessWeek piece is laughable at best, but does merit a quality response from the likes of The Macalope and John Gruber at Daring Fireball. I just have the feeling that people WANT to believe BusinessWeek more than they do the Mac editorial blogs - and usually they do just that. (Mostly because the leading Mac editorials don't garner respect in other areas.) I have customers tell me all the time that they need to buy anti-virus programs with their Mac purchase because they've heard about all the Apple computer viruses out there. When asked to name one ... they usually say something like,

"Well I read something in BusinessWeek a few weeks ago."

Steven Levy Going To Wired To Take Leander Kahney's Place?

InsaneLy Great Mac reports:

Steven Levy going to Wired

Steven Levy, invariably one of the first four or five people to post a review of just-released Apple products (ie he's got connections at Apple), is reportedly leaving Newsweek and heading to Wired (ValleyWag).

Of special note is the rumor that Newsweek is paying Levy a six-figure sum to terminate his contract early, which ValleyWag says is indicative of the sad and getter sadder state of print magazines as he was one of the genre's most-popular tech writers.

Along with David Pogue and Walt Mossberg, Levy is one of Apple's most-consistent mainstream press cheerleaders. One assumes he'll continue in that role at Wired—one assumes he'll bring his Apple contacts with him.


---------- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY ----------


I've been able to talk with Levy on two occasions. Once because he edited the 2007 Best Of Technology Writing because yours truly was in it. The other; to discuss my Bidzirk vs Smith trial.

I hope he's going to take Leander Kahney's place at WIRED.

Gruber Backtracks Twice After Saying The "F" word



From Daring Fireball: Regarding That "F-ing Headline"

John Gruber:

So I changed “Jackass” to “F*%$ing Jackass”, which expressed my thoughts aptly, and then published the piece. But it didn’t sit right. My concern over using fucking in the headline wasn’t squeamishness in the face of strong profanity, but rather that it might come across as slightly unhinged. So I re-read the entire piece again, and Kahney’s “Apple is irredeemably evil” line struck me yet again, and I realized irredeemable would make for a fine intensive in the headline, and add the satisfying click of a reference to Kahney’s own words.

So I changed “f*%$ing” to “irredeemable” and re-published, about 30 minutes after the piece went live. A few readers who noticed the change emailed to say they liked “f*%$ing” better, and, well, I aim to please, so I changed it back before calling it a night. When I woke up, I had emails from people who noticed that change and who preferred “irredeemable”. My gut feeling is that “irredeemable” makes for the better headline, so I’ve changed it back, this time for good.


* “f*%$ing” = U-C-K removed by me


---------- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY ----------


If he never said it and hadn't said it so unnecessarily in the first place - he wouldn't have even had the problem or have to make mention of the retraction in the first place. What a freakface! John Gruber frog you!

ValleyWag wrote a scathing Gruber piece as well:

Daring Fireball's Wired Takedown Fizzles

Covered previously:

So, I thought the rule in intelligent thinking is: Using curse words is not something an intelligent thinker does!

Yeah ... like Gruber would call someone a _______ to their face

iPhone Snaps

Continuing with my new series of weekly selections from the dozens of pictures I take with my iPhone ... here's this weeks selections:



I like to take unique or interesting pictures of anything apple related. This is Chip & Dale from a Disney See & Say - I saw this at a thrift store. When the handle is pulled Goofy says, " Yuck Yuck, that's Chip and Dale with two apples!"



This is a picture I took while stopped a red light. I thought it was interesting the way the contrails from the military jets intersected with the power lines.



This is a picture of a new park underneath a bridge in my hometown of Greenville South Carolina USA. Each support column for the bridge is painted with a color or mural.

The Gun Poll!

I had the most votes in my latest poll of any poll I've done yet. The question was, "Do you own a gun?" The question has been in my mind over the last two weeks as the United States Supreme Court debates whether or not the 2nd amendment means that Americans have the right to own a gun. I have recently purchased a gun and enjoyed going out with my best friend to go to a shooting range to fire. I'm going to go to a "Conceal & Carry class" in April - to learn responsibility of ownership and proper handling.

The results of this poll were interesting:



Amendment II from The Bill Of Rights – Right to keep and bear arms.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


I don't really understand the debate here or why there is a misinterpretation by any one.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

What Designers Thought We'd Be Wearing In The Year 2000



Very funny YouTube Video from 1930 showcasing what men and women might be wearing in the year 2000 - play close attention to the narrator when he says, "Oooh swish!"

You Thought Movie Popcorn Was Overpriced Now!

Due to the rising cost of corn - because farmers are cashing in on corn based ethanol rather than for food production - looks like the price of movie theater popcorn might be going up later this year.

According to this article at THESTAR.COM movie contracts for popcorn are set to expire soon and renewal contracts will be dramatically higher.


----- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY -----


The unbelievable thing to me about this is - people think they are saving money by buying this alternative fuel. It also baffles me as to why ANYONE would use ethanol when it achieves 15% less in fuel efficiency.

Rogue Amoeba Shows Themselves Why Apple Won't Allow Rogue Applications On The iPhone




As reported by Daring Fireball:

Rogue Amoeba Updates Instant Hijack Hack for Compatibility With Security Update 2008-002

Rogue Amoeba’s Mike Ash:

"Apple released Security Update 2008-002 yesterday and this led to a problem for some users on Mac OS X 10.5 using our Instant Hijack component. The Instant Hijack component is optionally installed by Airfoil, Audio Hijack Pro, and Nicecast, and enables these applications to grab audio from applications that are already running. Following the Security Update, ssh and some related programs would crash when they were run on Mac OS X 10.5 machines with Instant Hijack installed."

[Daring Fireball's John Gruber] The unfortunate irony here is that just a week ago, Rogue Amoeba asked Apple to allow for Instant Hijack-style system hacks in the iPhone OS. Rogue Amoeba fixed this bug in under a day, but this sort of incident is exactly why Apple isn’t going to grant third-party developers low-level access to the OS.


And also from the Rogue Amoeba blog (extra emphasis added):

Mea Culpa

March 16th, 2008

Early this morning, it was brought to our attention that Airfoil Speakers for Linux and Airfoil Speakers for Windows both contained a small portion of GPL-licensed code. If you’re not aware, the GPL is a license for open source code, and using GPL code in a closed-source project is a violation of that license. So, having GPL-licensed code in these versions of Airfoil Speakers was a big no-no. What happened here?

Simply put, we screwed up. A 16-line wrapper written by Jon Lech Johanson to access a system API on Windows was being used in Airfoil Speakers, in violation of the GPL. David, the programmer behind Airfoil for Windows, had used the code while making an internal prototype. When he built the official Airfoil Speakers for Windows, he mistakingly reused this code.


---------- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY ----------


It's obvious that Rogue Amoeba is the kind of application / software company that Apple is trying to prevent with the iPhone SDK restrictions from completely ruining the iPhone experience. I have to admit that I would absolutely LOVE an Audio Hijack-like program on my iPhone to record calls - but it could very well be harmful code to the iPhone OS as witnessed here. Very tempting applications can be made but I'm glad Apple is taking the approach they are for restricting the release of applications that may have immense utility, but cause crashes and even bricking of the iPhone.

]]]]] YOU ARE NOT AUTHORIZED [[[[[

Just in case you ever wondered if your local Apple Service provider was following all the rules in order to be a certified provider ... here the requirements.

Calling 1-800-SOS-APPL will get you with the right person to report violations.

Requirements:

Baseline authorization requirements for all prospective service provider organizations follow:

* Organization has been in operation for a minimum of 2 years
* Organization has an established credit line of at least $25,000 (or local equivalent)
* Organization maintains a professional walk-in service location with sufficient personnel
* All technicians performing Apple repairs must be Apple-certified
* Organization actively promotes, recommends and sells AppleCare service and support products
* Each service location maintains baseline performance levels for two months out of each Apple fiscal quarter

Lawsuit Filed Against Apple For Time Machine & iPod Patents

Lawsuit Over Time Machine & iPods

Apple's latest lawsuit comes from Mirror Worlds Technologies. The claim? Apple's Time Machine violates 4 of its patents that describing a "highly visual system that displays a line of documents & other items dating back (or forward) in time along with the option of searching these items to retrieve & edit them."

Mirror Worlds Technologies is also claiming that the iPhone and various model iPods also infringe on Mirror Worlds Technologies patents ... apparently due to the way they sort podcasts and information. Mirror Worlds Technologies is seeking an injunction against all infringing Apple products in question, and "triple damages" - also called trebled damages.

---------- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY ----------


Another day ...

The patent seems quite vague. "Highly visual"? <--- what does that mean?

I'm not quite sure asking for "triple damages" will help Mirror Worlds Technologies case ... a judge typically doesn't allow a damage to be trebled before trial. Typically this is something that is requested during the trial IF THEIR is one. What's also curious about this case - Time Machine has been out for well over a year - why has it taken so long?

101 Five-Minute Fixes To Incrementally Improve Your Web Site

What may have worked a few years ago when could be outdated today, so it's important to constantly improve your Web site. However, a massive overhaul is just too much work to undertake at one time.

read more | digg story

I'm personally trying to integrate some of these helpful tips into this site as I do my spring cleaning.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Apple Releases Safari 3.1

Safari 3 is out of Beta!

Apple announced the release of Safari 3.1.

According to Apple, Safari loads web pages 1.9 times faster than IE 7 & 1.7 times faster than Firefox 2. Apple also says that Safari's Javascript is "up to six times faster than other browsers."

"Safari 3.1 for Mac and Windows is blazingly fast, easy to use and features an elegant user interface ... best of all, Safari supports the latest audio, video and animation standards for an industry-leading Web 2.0 experience." ~ Phil Schiller Apple VP


I've downloaded it and not seen the normal Safari crashes that I typically see with Flash and Javascript editing and posting on this blog.


Safari 3.1 is available for download at http://www.apple.com/safari or via Software Update - go to your Apple Menu/Software Update

Talk Show Host Charlie Rose Takes One For A MacBook Air!


* pic courtesy Engadget


TechCrunch reports:

Charlie Rose, PBS Talk Show Host of The Charlie Rose Show appeared on television last night with a black eye and gauze on his face. He explained the injury during the broadcast. Apparently he was walking down 59th Street in New York, tripped on a pothole, and saved his MacBook Air instead of his face.


---------- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY ----------


Unless life threatening, my laptop and iPhone come first!

Apple's Marketshare Up To 14% For February 2008

According to preliminary data from NPD, Apple reportedly acheived 14 percent of the retail PC market share in February 2008, up from 9% just a year ago. This represents 60 percent unit growth and 67 percent revenue growth year-over-year.One highlight of the report: Mac Notebook sales were up 64% year-over-year. Mac desktop sales were also up sharply.

read more | digg story


---------- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY ----------


What's interesting to me about this figure is that FAR MORE computers are being sold today than 10 years ago when Apple's market share was hovering around 4.5%. Based on numbers of computers being sold in 1998 worldwide vs today - that number in 1998 would be somewhere around 25% of all computers being sold. So it's a much bigger feat than just increasing marketshare by 10% - it represents stolen marketshare from PC competitors AS WELL AS gained market share.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Return Of The Red Band Movie Trailer


AINT IT COOL NEWS is reporting:

Regal Cinemas To Bring Back Red Band Trailers

If you're not sure what a red band trailer is, you've probably seen a few online. It's a trailer that starts with a Red "Restricted" band instead of the Green "All Audiences" band. Pretty much that means that the trailer has a curse word in it, or a boob or some graphic violence... something that doesn't allow it to be shown to "All Audiences."

Back in the day the Red Band trailers would play your local movie house... now, I think I can only remember seeing Red Band trailers in art houses.

Regal Cinemas just changed that. They've decided to run Red Band trailers in their cinemas. Since Regal is the nation's largest chain, I bet we see the rest adopt this policy as well.


---------- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY ----------


While they were certainly funny ... the "Red Band Movie Trailers" before Grindhouse were very gross. They fit in with that particular movie, but I'm not so sure that I want to see that kind of scene in front of every Rated R movie I go to see.

I don't go see a lot of Rated R movies ... I especially don't go see a lot of horror films. When I'm in the mood to see a horror film ... I'm ready to be grossed out ... I'm ready for some random object to hit someone's head and snap it off and blood spew everywhere ... I'm ready for the occasional boob shot ... that's just not something I crave. Just because I'm about to watch a Rated R movie doesn't mean I'm there because it is a Rated R movie.


* FAKE RED BAND MOVIE TRAILER FROM GRINDHOUSE *

Since when?



From Technovia:

Ian Betteridge:

... since when was it the responsibility of the maker of an operating system to prevent poorly-written applications?


LINK TO FULL ARTICLE


---------- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY ----------


Since when are operating systems compared to government structures? Operating systems are something we expect to be perfect by design, something where we accept minor flaws , and expect the maker to correct major flaws immediately. On the other hand ... a system of government is flawed by design, debates minor flaws and proposes fixes, but in reality only band aids the minor problems, and never fixes any of the major problems.

I don't believe a software engineering team, such as those designing the Mac OS, should be in a role of an executive branch of a democracy. It should be a carefully orchestrated dictatorship - one of the ONLY areas where the population under such rule can prosper.

I think one of the reasons Apple has been so successful with the Mac OS, the iPod OS, and the iPhone OS is that they are not meant to please everyone at all times - like a democracy is intended to do. Instead, Apple has made sure that if you want to live in AppleLand - you have to live and abide by the rules there.

iPhone Snaps

Last week, I started a new feature called "iPhone Snaps" ...

Here's this week's post:





The pictures above were taken yesterday in Clemson, South Carolina. I visited an interesting restaurant called "F•R•I•E•N•D•S CAFE" that features what amounts to a bong on each of the outside tables. These bongs allow you to smoke through a small pipe, a tobacco like substance called; Hookah. I had never heard of this. I've never smoked tobacco (only tried a cigar and took a puff of a cigarette) and I've never smoked marijuana either.

South Carolina law prevents the sale of tobacco to persons under 18 ... however there was no such warning or message on the menu or any signage. The menu DID say that smoking "Hookah" is hazardous to your health and so smoke at you own risk.

I also found the Hookah menu at "F•R•I•E•N•D•S CAFE" interesting because two of the flavors were; Apple & Double Apple. No other flavors had a "double" designation.

If interested, here is the WIKIPEDIA entry for Hookah.

Wikipedia: Hookah: is a single or multi-stemmed (often glass-based) water pipe device for smoking, used for smoking herbal fruits, originating in India

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Happy
St. Patrick's
Day!


I heard this somewhere and can't remember where ... but I thought it was interesting because of my Irish heritage and that my brother is red headed. I had fire engine red hair when I was young ... hence my nickname is Rusty. (most people people call me "Rus").

My best friend's daughter is one of the most beautiful red headed girls I've ever seen ... shame that those in the future won't be able to see such beauty.

Irish factoid:
Fact: Scientists predict that due to the decrease in family size, abortion rates, divorce before children, women getting married later in life (and more importantly after child bearing years) and the fact that red hair is recessive - that there will be almost zero red headed children in 100 years. ~ from www.redhedd.com

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Apple sued for iTunes patent


It's almost as if the timing of these lawsuits is made directly to counter good news coming out of Apple. Today's lawsuit comes as Apple just announced 4 million Disney movies sold/downloaded:

As reported by ENgadget:

ZapMedia, with a patent granted Tuesday [March 11 2008] is claiming that [their new patent certificate] covers technology used in both the iPod & iTunes. The patent describes a central media server and a "plurality of media player devices" that access the server over various networks -- but it was filed for on September 20th, 2005, which, you'll note, is after the 2003 launch of the iTunes Store. ... ZapMedia also says it has an almost identical 2006 patent filed for in 2000 -- but that patent, as far as a quick USPTO search shows, hasn't been assigned to ZapMedia, instead remaining with Kenneth Liscomb and several other individuals also listed on the new patent.


---------- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY ----------


Apparently, ZapMedia has been trying to shop this patent around to several Intellectual Property firms and IP attorneys and have been unsuccessful so they've decided to take matters into their own greasy grimy hands.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Unsafe Magsafe: Fake Apple MagSafe AC Adapter Being Sold On eBay



A Hong Kong distributor has started selling fake/modded MagSafe AC adapters on eBay. Apple has not licensed any 3rd party that I am aware of to use the MagSafe adapter. As I was perusing ebay to find a replacement for a customer I found this.

From the auction description:

60W power charger AC Adapter for Apple MacBook ONE pieces.
*This is a Brand new Power AC Adapter made by PANASONIC, We modify with a Original Brand New Magsafe DC plug, and use for MacBook, (Not for MacBook Pro).

size: 170 x 82 x 40 mm

Input Voltage: 100-240V 50-60Hz (USE for WORLDWIDE)

Condition: Brand New Panasonic AC Adapter + Brand New Original Apple Magsafe cord, 30 days warranty, fully refund (less postage) and buyer need pay return postage by himself, If you no accept,Please don't BID.


---------- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY ----------



Besides this being ugly ... there's just no way this could be safe or convenient - it's just $30 cheaper than a MagSafe adapter from Apple. Its sad to see eBay allow such auctions.

Link to auction

* Thank you Buzmania for the tip

PATENT INFO:

Apple owns US patent 7,311,526, "Magnetic connector for electronic device", for this technology.

Apple also owns a copyright and trademarke on the name MAGSAFE©™

Who knew? Steve Jobs breaks rules

The latest Fortune magazine is featuring Steve Jobs; with Apple now being the Most Admired Company in America. Peter Elkind talks about "The Trouble With Steve Jobs."

read more | digg story

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

$100 Million for iPhone software applications

One of the many news items to come from last week's iPhone SDK presentation:Venture Capital fund, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) has announced a huge US$100 million investment initiative to finance new products developed explicitly for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch platform.

read more | digg story

Another benefit to that 70/30 split ...



A few days back I discussed the 70/30 iTunes Applications split that Apple will be giving. One of the questions raised in the comments was that the split was unfair because most of the iPhone App developers would be Mac Developers and that they already had the hosting and credit card processing taken care of.

Another benefit I thought of is;

What Mac developers have gift cards to their website in over 100,000 store locations worldwide? Any developer? Any store?

I personally have a lot of iTunes store credit that has been gifted to me and that I obtained at a very steep discount when a few Radio Shack locations closed doors locally.

I Want You ...

As tax time approaches in the USA ... this is an interesting video to watch:

Monday, March 10, 2008

The only mobile way to access iTunes ...

Last week I brought you the tip about how to get 3G on an iPhone ...

One point I forgot to add was that since iTunes can ONLY be accessed through WiFi on the iPhone ... if you are not near a WiFi hotspot - you can't access iTunes. I imagine the same will be true for accessing the iTunes App Store come this June. My solution not only gives you a 3G workaround for the iPhone but ALSO gets you 100% acesss at ANY time to the iTunes Music Store.

iPhone Snaps

Over the next few weeks I'm going to try something new here ...

I'm going to start posting pics that I take with my iPhone camera.

Here's this week:



This is a picture I took of "Adam Apple" - he's a local grocery store chain mascot. I spotted him at the Home & Garden Show in my home town of Greenville South Carolina this past weekend. I like to take (and find) unique pictures of apples as a side hobby.



Same as above ... I like to find unique pictures of apples ... I took this one in a grocery store parking lot.



I found this picture interesting. On my week off, I bought a gun and plan to take a "Conceal & Carry" class in April. I bought the gun first and foremost because it's a unique right to own a gun as an American. Second, I figure I need to learn how to shoot a gun and own one responsibly. Third, I have had death threats made on me recently. I've also had my share of stalkers in my life. I doubt I will ever need to defend myself with a gun, but it does give me some sense of security knowing I have it.

MacBook Air Not Believed By Security

As reported by Engadget:


TSA can't believe MacBook Air is a real laptop, causes owner to miss flight

The TSA [Transportation Security Administration] has been known to take issue with products designed in Cupertino before, but for one particular traveler, it was Apple's thinnest laptop ever that caused the latest holdup. Upon tossing his ultra-sleek slab of aluminum underneath the scanner, security managed to find enough peculiarities to remove it from the flow, pull it aside and wrangle up the owner for some questions. Apparently, the TSA employee manning the line was flabbergasted by the "lack of a drive" and the complete absence of "ports on the back," and while hordes of co-workers swarmed to investigate, the user's flight took off on schedule. Thankfully, said owner was finally allowed to pass through after some more in-the-know colleagues explained in painfully simple terms what an SSD was, but the poor jet-setter most definitely paid the price for trying to slip some of the latest and greatest under the sharp eyes of the TSA (and cutting it close on time, of course).

It's not weird at all ...

Daring Fireball's John Gruber commenting on Microsoft Exchange Server on the iPhone:

... it seems weird that the iPhone’s Mail app can talk to Exchange, but Mac OS X Mail can’t.


It doesn't seem weird to me at all. The Mac is not a Windows product ... greater than 75% of iPhone owners have Windows. I would imagine (though I could be off) that 99.97% of those that use Microsoft Exchange Server use Windows.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Explaining The 70/30 iTunes App Store Split

An insightful MacRumors reader about the 70/30 split on revenue Apple is offering for paid applications that will apear on the iTunes Applications Store in June 2008:



DICKLACARA writes:

The last time I saw a breakdown, the iTunes Store $ (for a song) went something like this:

$.03 to the credit card company (special rate for Apple)
$.02 profit to Apple
$.25 Store Costs, Servers, Bandwidth, Admin (some Apple, some 3rd Party)
$.70 Record Label

The record label pays the artist $.10 (and bitches at Apple to let them charge more than $.99)

I suspect the breakdown would be (somewhat) similar for games and other apps sold and distributed by 3rd party "software" labels

Lets just look at a few costs that you might incur if you were to sell your app on your own site:

$25 month web site development ( $500 prorated over 20 months)
$15 month web hosting
$100 month Shopping Cart ($2,000 prorated over 20 months)
$25 month download & encryption software ($500 prorated over 20 months)

7% credit card costs per transaction.... if you could even get a merchant account and accept credit cards (Prolly requires maintaining a minimum $25,000 balance in an account, and $1,000 up front)

So, after several months preparation, with several thousands $ spent, out of pocket, you are now ready to sell some apps.

Oh, how will anyone find you... Simple, You advertise (invest in future sales). What's a reasonable amount to spend per month $10? $10,000?

Gee, that $99 and 70/30 split starts to look like a pretty good deal!

It's That Time Again ...


* Pic from jimenapulse.wordpress.com


Don't forget ... this Sunday, the time changes, and you must set your clocks ahead one hour!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Complaint Remover Gets Rid Of "Negative Links," LOLCats



"Will you be able to push these disgusting "lolcats" off the internets so people can find my cat breeding page?"

Complaint Remover: "Yes, we can help you with that."


Don't understand this? Read the DIGG link to see how this Search Engine Reputation Management business, in my opinion, illegally censors and removes web critics - also called gripe posters - comments. Complaint Remover is also called REPSAVER.COM.

How Google allows the results from REPSAVER, Complaint Remover, and other "Search Engine Reputation Management" companies is unfathomable - it is a deliberate skewing and censoring of the truth.

This site has also been attacked by bots from Converseon's SERMA. Search my site to get more details.

This site has had a "Complaint Remover" attack made against it- commissioned by Bidzirk.

read more | digg story

How To Get 3G On The Apple iPhone

Can I get 3G data & 3G speed on my 1st generation iPhone & is it comparable to cable or DSL broadband?



Can I upgrade or mod my 1st generation iPhone to get 3G?



The answer is ... there's no need to hack your iPhone to get 3G. There's no need to install software on your iPhone. There's no need to disassemble or modify it - just follow the steps below.

How?

For essentially $200.00* in cost - you can get a USB Sierra Wireless 881U modem and a cellular to WiFi router from CradlePoint. The CradlePoint CTR-350 has a USB port that allows connection to a USB cellular 3G modem such as the Sierra Wireless 881U and in turn converting the signal received by that modem into an 802.11g WiFi wireless signal.



There are routers that are available that convert PCMCIA / Cardbus Cards & Express Cards that connect to 3G/Cellular Data networks as well ... but not all Apple computers have such slots (including my black MacBook or the new MacBook Air). I also thought that if I wanted to make my travel a bit easier and lighter - I could carry just the modem. If I had a PCMCIA, CardBus, or ExpressCard modem; I couldn't use it with my MacBook.

Besides, it seems to me, that as of the writing of this article that the 3G/EDGE ExpressCard & PC Card to WiFi routers are a few hundred dollars more than the CradlePoint solution.

Here's some "spec-speak" from the CradlePoint website:

The CTR-350 creates a Secure WiFi Hotspot from broadband-enabled cellular phones & modems.

Enjoy the simplicity & convenience of WiFi without having to search around for a hotspot and without risking a non-secure connection.

Security:

Built-in firewall and secure chat allows you or your group to work securely while protecting your bandwidth. WEP & WPA encryption meet strict IT standards for WiFi security.

Simplicity:

Easy-to-set-up sharing for friends and colleagues.

Features:

• A WiFi extension to Cellular Broadband
• Compliant with IEEE 802.11 b/g Standards
• Tethers to Cellular USB modems for WiFi access to 3G/EDGE
• Compact & portable
• Charges handset via USB or powers USB modem
• 10/100 Ethernet port available for wired uplink when available
• Added firewall prevents unauthorized use of your cellular connection


If you have 3G in your area, the 3G to Wifi solution is a perfect way to get ultra-fast speeds on the iPhone accessing the 3G network by WiFi instead of using the EDGE network with the built-in iPhone EDGE / GPRS radio. This solution also saves your battery usage AND most importantly DOES NOT affect the iPhone's ability to receive calls. Most calls (on the iPhone) will be sent directly to voice mail if an iPhone user is on the internet, using an EDGE connection for stocks, weather and maps, or checking email.

What's the catch?

Well ... there is a slight catch. You must subscribe to a 3G/EDGE unlimited monthly data plan from AT&T. This costs me (with my current cellular plan) an additional $39.99 a month - which is very competitive with a Charter cable modem bill.

Recently, I switched to AT&T's Unlimited Monthly plan for $99.99. I must also pay the required iPhone data plan rate of $20.00 a month. This makes my total bill $159.98 + tax. (Roughly $171.00 a month in the US). You may be able to reduce this cost if you don't need the unlimited plan.

Why did I make this move?

First ... until this solution, Charter Cable was just about the only viable broadband service available in my area. I loathe Charter. I have expressed my distaste many times here on this site for them.

I would get DSL installed, but really DSL in my area doesn't hold a candle to the speeds of a cable modem ... the 3G to WiFi solution as I have discovered and discussed here, is a solution to many of my issues, provides me with one unified bill, and frees me from the tyranny of Charter cable.

With a car adapter, I'm also able to go on the road and access the internet not only with my iPhone at 3G speeds, but also with my MacBook.

The solution also does not require any additional software to be installed on my Mac if I don't want to. The Sierra Watcher program (which is a slight bit buggy) is only required if you plug the Sierra Wireless Modem directly into the Mac's USB port. The CradlePoint router has software built into the device that autodials/connects to your 3G data service provider.

While a router can be purchased directly from CradlePoint for $159.99 + shipping and handling; I purchased mine from an eBay seller named CellGuru.

CellGuru preloaded the latest firmware and shipped my router very fast. I paid $120.00 + $9.95 shipping & handling.

* At the time of this writing AT&T is offering the Sierra Wireless 881U USB Cellular Data Modem for $149.99 with a $100.00 mail in rebate.

* CradlePoint offers OTHER modems for Cellular to WiFi connections that may better suit your needs.

* Note that as of 3/6/08 the United States has about 55% 3G coverage with 70% promised by June 2008 and 75% by December 2008.

* This solution is also viable for USB Cellular EVDO 3G modems from providers like Sprint & Verizon


digg story


[UPDATE] Reader JensonB came up with a great idea ...

Turn an iPod Touch into an iPhone (the SDK does not restrict VOIP by the way):

JensonB: "You've now put the idea of using it to serve mobile internet to my iPod touch too."

----------------------


For more information about this topic from this BLOG see:

Wireless Broadband And Get Rid Of Cable?

AT&T Unlimited Plan Includes iPhone

Apple Could ... But Apple Isn't / More About Why The iPhone Doesn't Have 3G

About AT&T's LIMITED Unlimited Plan

...

USB To Ethernet Adapter For Macs That Have Lost Ethernet Port Functionality / Save A Costly Motherboard Repair

Remember the iLoad ... well someone less shady is doing the same thing - even prettier.


Ripfactory.com sent out a press release today about their new "RipServer":

The Ripserver is a complete stand-alone solution ... a simplistic but eye pleasing black or white box that lets you rip & store your music without any additional hardware or software.

The RAID 1 device comes in 500GB or 1TB configurations, rips as FLAC files or MP3s (with adjustable bit rates), functions as a NAS device with UPnP support, supports connectivity with additional USB drives, and is DNLA compliant.

The Ripserver runs a Linux build atop an Epia 1GHZ CPU, with 512MB of RAM, and boasts VGA, USB, and PS2 ports.

A 500GB version costs £599 (or around $1,189),

A 1TBversion costs £699 ($1,388)

both are shipping now


---------- FIX YOUR THINKING COMMENTARY ----------


I'm not so sure as to the usability of such a device - especially with the cost of a MacMini that could essentially do the same thing and be WAAAAYYY more useful ... but at least someone with more integrity than Winspan Partners (iLoad maker) is making it.



Previous commentary & analysis of iLoad & Wingspan Partners:

iLoad: From Vaporware To "Something-else-ware"

An iLoad of Drama: The True Story About Wingspan Partners