Friday, October 31, 2008

Big BLUE Sues You Know Who ...

Apple Sued By IBM For Recruiting Chip Designer


I have a feeling we are finally about to see how nasty the breakup between Apple, Moto, and IBM was over the PowerPC processor.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

eBay, The BBB of San Jose, and Me

One thing I have been quite busy with over the last month is corresponding with eBay over a number of issues - including psychotic eBay sellers (which I will discuss in another post), miscalculation of feedback (so eBay can charge higher fees), and unfair advantages given to "big sellers" (whom are actually competing with 11 year sellers like myself).

The correspondence you will see here is unedited - it proves that the BBB (nationwide) is a joke. It's STILL a good idea to file a case with them if you have an issue with a business ... but just understand that they are VERY protective of paying and "badge displaying" members. Usually an outright scamming business is not part of the paid annual dues memberships to the BBB. This is why you often see huge amounts of complaints unresolved against small businesses - if you don't pay the annual dues to the BBB - they could care less ... that is of course unless they get press coverage for assisting a news crew or police with an investigation of a business. "Motel Hell" would get this response from a BBB complaint.

"The BBB remains neutral on the quality of lodging at hotels as we see comfort ratings as subjective. Motel Hell has provided excellent sausage at their Bed & Breakfast for many years. They are known internationally for their breakfast service."


* Even though eBay is located in San Jose, California - they are incorporated in Utah with a dummy office so they can be bound by very sketchy Utah business law.

Here is a message I sent The Silicon Valley BBB (who handles eBay complaints) after they closed my case indicating that eBay had resolved my case. Note that the San Jose/Silicon BBB reopened the case TWICE because I indicated eBay didn't answer questions I asked:

Verna,

I wanted to express again.

I took this case to my local Greenville BBB in Greenville SC and they indicated that you have closed the case improperly and allowed eBay to give very unclear, unprofessional responses without prompting them to follow BBB guidelines.

I have noted in our conversation thus far:

1) eBay admits that they are required by law to have a phone number, but also denied this fact in a contradictory statement. Which is it?

2) eBay SENIOR STAFF is not aware of certain sellers paying no listing fees that specifically compete against my unique product that I have been selling for 6 years. eBay's Kristin Hale indicated that no seller gets free listing fees. I provided proof to the contrary.

3) The responses do NOT reflect eBay's actual opinion on this; rather someone in PR who is NOT seeking any advice in their response.

4) The issue of "circular response" has yet to be addressed. [ If one emails eBay with ANY CONCERN beyond hate speech or listing violations they are directed to email someone else at "Trust & Safety". If one emails that "branch" they are told to call, when one calls, they are told to email "Trust & Safety"]

5) My issue of "extreme exceptions to presale auctions" was not addressed - simply given a "it follows all rules" response - when I have clearly pointed out that it does not.

Regards,

Philip Smith


Here is the response I received:

Dear Mr. Smith:

It is your right to contact another BBB for a second opinion. It is unfortunate that Greenville BBB does not agree with our procedures. AllBBB's work within the same standards set by BBB Council, but has different procedures and handles complaints differently. I would be happy to speak with anyone at the Greenville BBB should they like clarification. Perhaps their BBB does not work with very large Internet companies that must work under the confines of California law. I work with eBay complaints everyday. I am familiar with their TOS and with Mr. Feil's responses. I feel he has responded reasonably.

Please understand, the BBB simply asks companies to respond reasonably. I understand you may not agree with the answers eBay has given you, but we are unable to tell them how to run their business or how they must respond. Mr. Feil has responded within eBay's TOS. That is all we can ask him to do. If you remain unhappy with eBay's response and their TOS, you may wish to contact your State Attorney General. As a government agency, they may be better able to assist you with the problems you are experiencing and the answers you seek.

I apologize we were unable to reach a satisfactory resolution for you. However, we have processed your complaint within our standards and now must direct you to go beyond the BBB to seek the results you would like.

Verna Alberti | Consumer Services

Tel: 408-278-7416
Fax: 408-278-7444
Email: verna@bbbsilicon.org
www.bbb.org | Start With Trust

BBB | San Jose
1112 South Bascom


Verna,

1) Mr. Feil has NOT responded to me directly - someone named Kristin Hale has. I doubt that any senoir executive has heard of or seen ANY of my eBay correspondence. [Note: Feil isn't THE President - he's upper management in Trust & Safety]

2) The eBay rep did not respond reasonably and you even mentioned so yourself - reopening the case. Ms. Hale used the word "restate" several times. She was not asked to "restate" as her previous responses were incomplete. My questions were to clarify, not restate - I know what she said and I was able to prove with links and eBay policy quotes that she was wrong. So, NO, YOU NOR MS. HALE are familiar with eBay policy, nor was it applied properly or professionally in this case.

3) I am not asking you to tell eBay how to run their business. - I'm asking eBay and you, as the Better Business Bureau to make eBay BETTER and to apply their policy fairly to all eBayers. I'm asking you to understand that they have admitted that they are miscalculating feedback and admitted that they are responding generically and very scripted - disregarding long standing eBayers such as myself.

4) Be assured that I have been in contact with the attorney general's office regarding this issue and others, as well as the "protection" eBay seems to be given by the BBB. I was told BY MR. BROWN'S OFFICE to contact you then report back to them what the response was. It was the office of the attorney general that suggested I see if the case had policy applied correctly with my local BBB. I think my local BBB would take offense to your comment regarding "can't handle/doesn't handle" but I won't try to read anything into that ambiguous statement of superiority of your branch.

Regards,

Philip Smith


Over the past month ... I've branched out. I'm listing my ethernet adapter on multiple sites. While I have seen some positive results; I get no where near the sales or exposure I do on eBay. For eBay to suggest that one take their business elsewhere (for certain items) is not feasible. Many thousands of sellers have built their lives on selling on eBay - greater than half of those sellers have had their businesses ruined over the last year because of the oppressive monopoly eBay has become.

"eBay" has become a word. iOffer, craigslist, sellyourstuff, etsy - are not an everyday term people use. I probably say the word "eBay" 20 times a day.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say - I wouldn't be surprised to find out that Ms. Alberti is a plant in the BBB and actually kicked back some money under the table every now and then from eBay.

Here is a link I found via a google search for "Verna Alberti":

RIP OFF REPORT FOR SAN JOSE BBB

A reason why Apple stays away from pre announcing products ...

Although this is typical for an automobile company - I think this is a good example of why a company such as Apple tries to stay away from from pre announcing products. This is such a let down in design from Toyota - so much so that it might actually slow sales of the popular Prius.

This is what the original (and expected) 2010 Prius was to look like:



This is what it actually will look like as confirmed by Toyota:




From awesome to ugly in 6 seconds.

A similar thing happened to the Chevy Volt - but the kind of radical "bold to conservative" prototype/actual car design is usually expected from GM.

MacGruber = John Gruber + Mac ... no really!



If you haven't seen this MacGuyver parody on Saturday Night Live called MacGruber - take a look at these videos:

http://www.hulu.com/videos/search?query=macgruber

* This will sound like I'm kidding, but I'm not ... I heard from a VERY reliable source whose daughter works with the SNL production crew that the name MacGruber REALLY did come from John Gruber writing about Mac news and being called "a self proclaimed Mr. Know It All" in forums criticizing him around the internet. The idea came from Will Forte who plays "MacGruber" in the skit.

Monday, October 27, 2008

U.S. Army says Twitter is a Terrorist Tool



In another John Gruber related post ...

"Extremist and terrorist use of Twitter could evolve over time to reflect tactics that are already evolving in use by hacktivists and activists for surveillance," [The report by the 304th Military Intelligence Battalion] said.

DIGG | READ MORE

I assure you these links will make sense when I do my story on Gruber coming this week.

Good Halloween Movie?

So ...

I'm planning a Halloween costume party. One of the activities on tap will be a good Halloween movie. I have the choices narrowed down to these movies:

1) Silver Bullet - A screenplay by Stephen King ... Set in a small peaceful town where nothing much ever happens. Suddenly - the town is struck with gruesome killings. The townspeople believe it's a maniacal killer on the loose and they intend to hunt the man down. A young handicapped boy believes that the killer isn't a man at all, but a werewolf. After a personal encounter with the werewolf the boy and his sister hunt for the man that may be the werewolf.

One reason I'm interested in this movie is because the boy and his sister look for the werewolf in a rather unique way - by going door to door and collecting bottles and cans to return for deposit money. Lately, my wife and son have been collecting cans to recycle - cleaning up our neighborhood and getting a small bit of extra change.

2) Love At First Bite A campy comedy starring George Hamilton as Dracula centered around his search for model Cindy Sundial.

3) Poltergeist This is the ultimate horror movie in my opinion. It's also the only PG 13 horror movie that I know of that is just terrifying. Perfect cast of creepy characters. This movie made me even more scared of clowns and little blonde headed girls.

4) Saturday The 14th - this is an oft overlooked comedy from the 80's along the lines of Naked Gun/Airplane humor with a 30-45 second timer on jokes, prop humor, or wisecracks.

Those are my four choices ... do you have any suggestions? I have to choose a movie that no one will be embarrassed by and that an age range of 16-60 can watch.

USB To 10/100 Ethernet ( LAN Network ) Adapter For Apple G3 G4 G5 Intel Macs

Friday, October 24, 2008

The month of Noctober!

Sorry posts have been light this month - but honestly there hasn't been a whole lot going on that I want to write about lately.

On top of having a tad bit of writer's block ... I've been quite busy with paperwork, research, and attorney meetings and correspondence regarding my lawsuit against Bidzirk and attorney.

In case you're wondering why I posted the "DIGG" about coffee shrinking women's breasts and enlarging men's ... it's going to relate to an upcoming post about John Gruber of Daring Fireball.

From a reader email:

"While people seem to be defecting from John Gruber - you should seize the opportunity to make Fix Your Thinking their new destination."


As offensive as he has become with political talk and self admiration lately - I don't really care to compete with ANY website.

It's quarterly maintenance time for this site. Lately it seems I've been getting some really bad adsense match ups.

I've also been overloaded with my local Apple technical service business and some online sales and service as well.

Regular posting starts back up Monday.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Drinking Coffee Shrinks Women's Breasts, Enlarges Men's

Swedish scientists have caused a stir by suggesting women who drink more than three cups a day could see their bra size drop. Tests by cancer researchers found half of all women have a gene linking breast size to coffee intake. The reaction is the reverse for coffee-slurping blokes – it can make their “moobs" swell. (Just thought this was interesting ... I don't drink coffee.)

read more | digg story


* This post will relate to an upcoming story about Daring Fireball's John Gruber

Friday, October 17, 2008

Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About The New MacBook

We've had one of the new MacBooks for 24 hours and have discovered some interesting secrets hiding within...

read more | digg story

Steve Jobs email response re: lack of Firewire on MacBooks

Steve Jobs responds to an email from someone criticizing the lack of Firewire on the new Macbooks.

read more | digg story

Is Steve Jobs Preparing To Leave Apple?

Steve Jobs is leaving Apple. Not tomorrow, but probably very soon. [The recent Apple media event to introduce new laptops] was a play in which he clearly told everyone that the company is more than himself.

read more | digg story

LuxPro (infamous iPod knockoff maker) Sues Apple For Having The Best Selling MP3 player

As reported around the web:

iPod knockoff manufacturer Luxpro has decided to sue Apple, claiming that the company has monopolized the MP3 player market with a variety of unfair "schemes."


The iPod has achieved cult status - the last electronic device to do so (in my memory) is The Sony Walkman. Kids made fun of you if you had a GPX portable tape player - just as they do make fun of you today for having a Zune or a Sandisk Sansa.

Click on the "Copycats" tag to read more about what I've said about the loathsome company LuxPro before.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jobs calls Blu-ray "a bag of hurt"

At today's "keynotebook": "Blu-ray is just a bag of hurt. It's great to watch the movies, but the licensing of the tech is so complex, we're waiting till things settle down and Blu-ray takes off in the marketplace."

read more | digg story

Friday, October 10, 2008

If you didn't switch from Verizon for the iPhone -maybe this will help your decision.

As reported by Slashdot:

"It appears that Verizon is going to start double-dipping by charging both consumers AND content providers for SMS text messages. Verizon has informed content partners that it will levy a $.03 charge for messages sent to customers, effective November 1. From RCRWireless: 'Countless companies could be affected by the new fee, from players in the booming SMS-search space (4INFO, Google Inc. and ChaCha) to media companies (CNN, ESPN and local outlets) to mobile-couponing startups (Cellfire) to banks and other institutions that use mobile as an extension of customer services.'"


This also means I can't enter codes (as I have been doing) for MYCOKEREWARDS - Coke won't pay 3¢ for the confirmation that the code is valid.

Sherlock Holmes Style Rumors Are My Favorite

You know ... I enjoy reading about Apple computer rumors. I don't enjoy reading them when it seems someone has broken a non-disclosure agreement, gotten an Apple employee drunk, or seems to have stolen some information out of a factory or from a 3rd party developer. I also despise sites that post blind speculation or "wishful thinking specs for a product" that sends Apple stock lower because they don't introduce it.

This rumor, as posted on a few Apple rumor sites, is pure detective work.



Yesterday Apple released this image - teasing for an October 14 2008 event to obviously announce new laptops.

From MacRumors:

It's hard to tell from the gloomy marketing shot, but the Apple logo is about 1.5 inches wide on my MacBook Pro. From that, this machine would appear to be under 13 inches wide, which would suggest a 13.3" diagonal. The edges, however don't look at all like the MacBook Air.

Monday, October 06, 2008

That Guy Who Posted The Rumor About Steve Jobs' Heart Attack Ruined Everything That I Worked So Hard To Create

My ruling in Bidzirk vs Smith was a huge step forward for citizen / blogger journalism. It established a formula for bloggers as journalists. The judge ruled in my case that news and news commentary is a very subjective term as laid out in the Lanham Act. It also established blogs as a medium for news - therefore providing free speech protections.

I was also able to prove in my case that I researched and verified every fact of the story - including the right to publish it and the method and technique TO PUBLISH it so that i would be protected under the law in case the owner of Bidzirk tried something malicious - which he did.

But my article wasn't rumor or especially unfettered critique. Apple rumormongers however I believe have been manipulating Apple Stock for years - critiquing Apple when it served them best in a "short sale market" like we are currently in and praising Apple when we are in a bull market - such as at the beginning of 2006.

Apple trades under the AAPL symbol.

This "rumor" has apparently set "blogger / citizen journalism" back substantially:

As reported by Slashdot:

On Friday [October 3 2008] someone posted a false rumor that Steve Jobs had suffered a heart attack on CNN's unverified citizen journalism site, iReport. Apple's stock price went vertical, losing 9% before Apple stepped in and denied the rumor; the stock then recovered most of its loss. The SEC is investigating. PCWorld looks at the hit taken by citizen journalism as a result of this incident.

"[The] increasingly blurred line between journalism and rumor is a serious concern for Al Tompkins, the broadcast/online group leader at The Poynter Institute — a specialized school for journalists of all media forms. 'How could you possibly allow just anybody to post just anything under your [CNN] label unless you have blazing billboards that say, "None of this has been verified, we've not looked at any of this, we have no idea if this is true?"' he asks."

Friday, October 03, 2008

Fake Rumors of Steve Jobs Heart Attack Circulate

Last night, an individual started spreading rumors of Steve Jobs suffering from a heart attack. The story was posted to CNN's iReport "unedited" & "unfiltered" citizen journalism site which subsequently got submitted to DIGG. Apple PR confirmed the claims of Steve Jobs having a heart attack are false. Apple stock dropped significantly on the news.

read more | digg story

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Google Proposes U.S. Energy Plan / Philip Smith proposes 11 things more

Google proposes an energy plan:

A link to a Google proposal on energy:

Over 22 years this plan could generate billions of dollars in savings and help create millions of green jobs. Many of these high quality, good-paying jobs will be in today's coal and oil producing states. Reduce, Develop, Electrify. In the process we will stimulate investment, create jobs, and empower consumers.


read more | digg story

This part of Google's proposal is particularly interesting:

We also need to give the American people opportunities to be more efficient. The way we buy electricity today is like going to a store without seeing prices: we pick what we want, and receive an unintelligible bill at the end of the month. When homes are equipped with smart meters and real-time pricing, research shows that energy use typically drops. Google is looking at ways that we can use our information technology and our reach to help increase awareness and bring better, real-time information to consumers.


I think if people saw their energy use measured in DOLLARS & CENTS as it was being used it would have a huge impact on energy use. In other words ... turning on 3 lights in the house would show you 1¢ a second being used or 1 mile driven would show you 20¢ gone.

Here's the deal ... the world isn't taking "energy" seriously. But more to the point ... the oil companies are being CRIMINAL in their response to the energy/economy crisis.

Make no mistake ... ALL of the issues with the current worldwide economic crisis - even the financial/investment meltdown is related to oil and energy costs. How is that possible? I don't know of anyone - outside of my family that has adjusted their driving habits at all - not even 5%. This has caused a major shift in money allocation. People are spending more money on gas and food - having less to spend on their mortgages and bills. They are getting into immense amounts of debt - all because of gas and food (which rose because of high distribution costs).

How could it be solved? Not easily, not popularly ... I can say that.

1) Give tax credits from both state & federal government on ANY VEHICLE that gets better than 40 MPG. Have a federal buyback plan for any car greater than 20 years old. Any car greater than 30 years old should be considered a luxury to own and should be taxed accordingly. Recycle old cars metals and parts - this would be a HUGE boom to the steel and auto industry.

2) Encourage solar, regenerative, and wind power with a national advertising campaign and give companies who are producing or researching such technology tax breaks. Similarly, levy taxes against businesses who refuse energy planning/efficiency programs.

3) Penalize the oil industry in any amount above a $2 billion profit - not revenue - profit! Tax this amount at 60%. Whatever a Republican says, whatever an executive of an oil company says about capitalism is pure bunk. Oil is not a commodity - it is a necessity. It is not something that should be unrestricted and unregulated. It is not something that investors should be allowed to manipulate in the markets. To be fair - there are PLENTY of other commodities that investors and stock market players could manipulate but wouldn't have the impact gas has on so many different things.

4) Force gas station owners to go back to full service. What? That's preposterous! Why would I suggest that? Three reasons: it would prevent drive offs and save time. It would also SAVE gasoline. Have you ever noticed how the nozzle from the gas pump drips gasoline as you put it back in the "holster". I have ALWAYS wished someone would do a study about how much gasoline is wasted every day around the world because of the poor design of gas pumps and people not "shaking those extra drops".

5) Municipal and education facilities should invest NOW and implement within 5 years solar parking arrays.

6) Schools should start teaching budgeting - including as part of the curriculum saving energy to save money, budgeting time to save money, recycling to make money, wasting less to save money, being involved more locally to save money.

7) Car manufacture companies should be implementing solar charging of automobiles NOW. There is no excuse why we should be plugging in hybrid or electric cars. Plugging in and charging for hours at a time makes no sense. Give incentives to businesses that build solar arrays in parking lots for employees to charge electric vehicles during the day while they work.

8) Bring all U.S. Troops home from around the world. Foreign governments and peoples do not seem to care or appreciate our presence. End foreign entanglements except in our own defense. Be slow reactive instead of slow proactive. Let all countries and leaders know that our reaction will be severe - so beware. Employ troops at home - securing our borders and securing our neighborhoods - assisting police.

9) Stop all immigration for 5 years. The immigration problem is also causing a severe drain on our resources and energy. The country's growth without a paying tax base cannot support itself. This also entails ending of all persons born in this country become citizens by nature. This was implemented to grow this country and GROW THE TAX BASE. Mexicans are growing the population without growing the tax base.

10) Encourage people to shop and entertain themselves locally. Encourage walking and exercising to save money by living healthier, having to eat less, and save gas.

11) End payroll deductions except for Social Security and move to a flat tax of 15% of all income over $36,000 / $48,000 for married couples / + $2500 for each child. Make a flat nationwide sales tax of 10% with no tax on food of ANY KIND prepared or unprepared. Require states to retreat to a 7% tax - with the federal government receiving 3%. Have one weekend a year be a tax holiday with no tax of any kind period. End excise or special taxes. End all property taxes. Tax all homes above $450,000 in value unless used for residence profitable business or farmed and profitable 10% annually. Tax all automobiles over $75,000 in value; 10% annually for 5 years.

These 11 things, if implemented would change the world. I know. I'm Philip Smith and I approved this message.

:-)

* It may seem like a popular thing to say the oil companies are cheating us and an anti-capitalistic statement. Review this financial statement at Yahoo!Finance and then ask yourself honestly if the oil industry is a "caring capitalist".

Many car dealers across the US face closure.

There could be 300 to 400 fewer auto dealerships in America by the end of the year, predicted Paul Taylor, an economist with the National Automobile Dealers Association.

read more | digg story

Apple Drops iPhone Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA)

Apple has announced that they have dropped the iPhone Non-Disclosure Agreement for released iPhone Apps.

read more | digg story

Copyright Board Decision Could Force iTunes Closure

The Copyright Royalty Board (A 3 member board appointed by the Director Of The Library of Congress) is scheduled to hand down a decision on Thursday that Apple said could result in the closure of the iTunes music store.

read more | digg story

[UPDATE] Royalty Rate Doesn’t Change for Apple, Music Retailers

The group representing music publishers had sought a per-song rate boost from 9.1 cents to 15 cents, a 66 percent increase. To sum up, Apple said, "Price hike? Take a hike."