AMITIAE - Friday 6 January 2012
Cassandra - Friday Review: The Weekend Arrives
By Graham K. Rogers
Opening Gambit:Lunar New Year deals at Apple Store. Not a brilliant few days for Apple with patents problems, an app released that wasn't ready, a Final Cut defection and an earthy comment on app quality. Apple and the Premier League: maybe not. Apple onto iOS app piracy. Comet in UK allegedly pirates MS disks in the best interests of customers. Vinton Cerf on the Internet as a tool for Human Rights. Updates, ideas, comments and other news
Apple StuffThe Lunar new year deals were online within a few minutes of midnight and there are several savings, lie 3,100 off MacBook Air, MacBook Pro or iMac as well as several other interesting little adjustments.
With what is expected to be another record quarter, Apple announced the Conference Call details for its Q1-2012 financial results at 2pm Cupertino time on Tuesday 24 January (about 5am Wednesday here).
It was also revealed this week that there is to be a Special Event in New York in late January which some think is about ebooks, others about iTunes U and others all of the above plus, according to AppleBitch, a long overdue iWork '12, which would be a surprise a year after its imminent arrival. Pages in iWork does create ebooks but the end result is not as good as might have been expected and is rather limited in some ways. I tried to create an ebook on Lion preferences and many of the images in the second half of the book were missing, so I fell back on the PDF standby.
There were lots of criticisms of Apple's iAds and head began to roll at one stage, but now Apple has hired a new head of the service and, according to Josh Lowensohn, hired a former Adobe executive: Todd Teresi, who was vice president and general manager of the Adobe's media solutions group. He had previously been at Quantcast, Yahoo, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
You recently purchase the GameStore app. The app was made available for sale prematurely. We apologize for the problem and have refunded the purchase amount back to your account. These funds will be applied to your original payment method within 5 business days.
There has been lots and lots online about the AppleTV thing that may or may not be coming (and probably not here), but Neil Hughes on AppleInsider tells us that there are reports that Sir Jonathan Ive (Jonny Ive as he calls him) has a slick 50" TV in his special design studio. We also expect that Apple will be the elephant on the wall at CES next week as others try and figure out where it will all be going. As Scott Martin reports on USA Today, Apple does not have to be there to be the star of the show.
In the future, we may expect that Thunderbolt may well be available for iOS devices, we are told in an item on Patently Apple, which has a diagram of the technology as well.
On the App store is the second app from an Irish teenager who is said to be the world's youngest app developer with the new app PizzaBot Seasonings according to the RTE News. However we do recall that Lim Ding Wen a Singapore boy of 9 put out Doodle Kids a couple of years ago; and the developer site has a mention of Lim Xin Quan who designed an app when she was 5. I don't want to detract from the achievements of a 13-year old -- all praise to him for doing something I cannot -- but a little fact-checking might have found some others. One thing I guess Apple may really own all the rights too is Steve Jobs and we expected that the plastic action Steve would not last long. Matt Brian on the Next Web tells us that the Cupertino giant is stirring.
Half and HalfThe Register reports on a study that they say finds that piracy is withering against legal alternatives. I would agree with that on the surface as, where I can, I buy legal software and music online. And if I cannot, I do without these days. But the survey, as reported by Iain Thomson, is limited and does not cover the situation that people in these parts find themselves in every day and have done ever since the first PC arrived here. Where do we get legal software? It is of course much easier now, with the App Store and other download sites that make purchase and delivery straightforward. But so many do not have a credit card and they are lost as the software is rarely on sale here, or if it is it is for grossly inflated prices; or there are so many strings attached (Adobe is a winner here) that users give up and head for Phantip or one of the many other sources.
In the UK however, this takes a new twist when we read in an item by Vlad Savov on the Verge that Microsoft is suing Comet, one of the largest retailers there, for piracy of its disks. The copies they made were produced at a Comet factory. As ever, of course, there is more to it that meets the eye as (while Comet did supply certain Windows Vista and Windows XP recovery CDs) Comet is claiming it acted in the best interests of customers as MS had stopped providing these. Note my comments above about non-availability of software in certain markets.
In another patent dispute we are told in a Reuters article on Huffington Post that Apple is to pay $5 million to Elan Microelectronics for a patent infringement concerning touch screen technology.
Some more on my comment on the perils of company survival above. Stephen Shankland has similar ideas. He analyses Kodak and there are some revealing mis-steps some of which could also have been strides forward. But then he also lays down a warning for some companies that may need to avoid complacency, and singles out Canon as one company that is responding.
Other MattersIt's all change at RIM again, we think as Roger Cheng is reporting that this week's mega-decision from the terrible twins, is to scrap all development and put all its eggs in the BlackBerry 10 basket. Or is that basket case? That is going to make that Blackerry shop in Siam Paragon look a bit silly, presuming it actually happens and someone does not put the company out of its misery once and for all. Perhaps this may happen before they give away the family jewels to Samsung, HTC and others as is suggested in a report by Zach Epstein on BGR who tells us of a major transition (another one?) involving software on Android devices which would at least bring in some cash.
But are those secret messages all that secret? We heard of the efforts of countries in the Middle-east and Indonesia to have the messaging servers under some form of control which BlackBerry has complied with (although there has been some delay with Indonesia) and then in the UK there were reports that in the summer riots in London RIM handed over everything, so it is not really a surprise to us, but it is to Drew Olanoff on the Next Web, who is suggesting that a recent murder conviction in Canada (the home of RIM) was helped by the police gaining access to the messages from gangsters. Not as secure as we were all led to believe, perhaps.
We also heard from Motor Sport this week. I had a check of the recently released iPad app and was disappointed to find that the first pay-for edition that was released on 31 December, was not waiting for me. A check with the magazine and the Subs exec, Ash Luchmun told me that he could "confirm that the February 2012 issue is in the process of being approved by Apple and this should allow the issue to be available for download within a few days from now." All very nice and I am keen to have this, but I would rather they get to grips with the technology and embrace the Newsstand so that, like New Yorker, when a new issue is out, the readers get it right away.
We know that Yahoo! has had an up and down existence ever since Microsoft came a-sniffing and they lost one CEO in Carol Bartz after Jerry Yang had moved over. Now we hear from Electronista that they have a new CEO in Scott Thompson who is currently PayPal president.
While WD and Seagate are still wringing out their factories to the north of Bangkok and sending prices of hard disks higher (at least for a while until the panic settled), Hitachi is plugging away and they have some new disks aimed at Mac users -- Windows folks can play too with some initialization.
We reported earlier that Belarus had banned all outside internet access to its citizens, which sounds a bit silly to us, and we were reminded of the comments of the UN Special Rapporteur who said that the Internet was a basic human right. However, no less an authority than Vinton Cerf (who was in part responsible for the way the internet works) disputes the finer points and, while providing a link in his NYTimes comment on the subject to the LA Times Blog where the Rapporteur's comments were made available several months ago, seems to split hairs a little. He asserts that the internet is not a human right but the technology is an enabler of rights.
There was an interesting article in The Economist that I was directed to this week, that compared the "social networking" of the Arab Spring to the religious changes that began with Luther, suggesting that there were distinct similarities with the equivalent networks that were in existence at that time. I guess, whatever the technology, wherever there is discontent, sooner or later it will out and it will spread.
Local ItemsI had some email from someone in the US with whom I have been communicating for several years and he sent me a link to an archiving service that actually had some pages from the now-dead AMITIAE site. The service sends out a crawler and grabs the pages, but alas the last crawl was done in April. What a shame. I also tried with eXtensions and saw that between 2003 and 2008 there were lots of hits, but not much after 2009. To get this to crawl and backup regularly, I registered eXtensions there and on another service.
We read on the Straits Times in an item by Robin Chan that several DBS Bank customers have had money withdrawn from their accounts by ATM transactions in Malaysia, possibly by the use of cloned cards.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.
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