AMITIAE - Friday 3 February 2012
Cassandra - Friday Review: The Weekend Arrives
By Graham K. Rogers
Opening Gambit:Apple's update to OS X with Thai localisation (at last) and new digital camera support. Trump knee-jerks on Cook, Apple, Foxconn and US Jobs. Rush Limbaugh sees through the fog. Possible iPad event in March. New iPod nano with a camera. More on Apple TVs. Barnes & Noble muscle up against Amazon who are the real bad guys in the eBook market. Patents. A new CEO at Sony. A new loss of $1.2b at Sony (Thai floods caused that). Serious Sharp losses: will somebody buy the company? GOP support SOPA but ignore copyright. Slim monopoly overcharging in Mexico.
Apple StuffThe expected update to OS X, this week, brought an unexpected (but welcome) change to the way locals can use OS X when the long-awaited Thai localisation was included. I installed this on Thursday morning, and switched to Thai menus in the Admin account. I posted a brief information article on the improvements on the eXtensions website with some screen-shots. We also saw that Safari had been updated. Information in Software Update suggests this may have been in part connected with the alleged swifter updating of pages. It does seem they have finally cracked this and when opening pages that have been dormant for a while, there is none of that infuriating delay that left me staring at a white page while OS X thought about trying the internet, or maybe not, ummmm. . . . Instant displays so far. About time too. About 12 hours of running the update shows it to be more snappy than before, especially with the reload problem. And it looks from reports as if my usual decision to use the Combo was spot on again. You do know what Cassandra was famous for? Nobody bloody-well listens.
On those problems, have a look at the article by Topher Kessler who has some suggestions. I suggest downloading the combo and installing it over the top. Some problems show as application crashes with the letters CUI appearing. This is weird as the testing done before a release is extensive and involves even ordinary users like me, so why this had not appeared before is a mystery right now.
I did not get a chance to look at the new digital camera support, but fortunately Stephen Shankland did and he comments on how this update confirms the shift from DSLR to the newer compact interchangeable lens format.
But, Great Scott, I agree with Rush Limbaugh. I guess it had to happen sometime. MacDaily News has a transcript of his criticism of the NYTimes article and the comment that is most intriguing (for its plausibility) is "It's also 'cause Jobs isn't there anymore. They wouldn't do this with Jobs there. I'll guarantee you." That may well have a lot to do with it as some do not see Tim Cook for the strong person he is proving to be. An additonal note on Cook and his different style came in a note from Daniel Eran Dilger on AppleInsider who reports on a Town Hall meeting at Cupertino at which the CEO spoke of the philanthropy Apple had been practising for years, but just didn't brag about. Even that had been criticised. No one had ever mentioned the Project (Red) effort of course.
Confirming this is more criticism of Cook in the decision to appoint ex-Dixons man John Browett as the new Senior Vice President of Retail. Josh Ong on AppleInsider reports that Cook comments, "His role isn't to bring Dixons to Apple, [it's] to bring Apple to an even higher level of customer service and satisfaction.""
He is not the only exec recruited of late as Apple has hired -- dare one say poached -- Robin Burrowes an executive from Microsoft's Xbox division, we are told by MacNN. This and other appointments may suggest a stronger move into games.
As I wrote before, some of this excess comment on Apple's relationship with Foxconn, comes from that pile of money that Cupertino sits on and that those who think they have something to say cannot stand. Another, Apple do something comment, comes from John P. Mello Jr. on MacNewsWorld, who makes several suggestions as to what Apple could do with the money, but wisely makes no prediction apart from business as usual.
This has not stopped some do-gooders launching online petitions about the "abuse" at the factories we read on iPodNN. I might sign if the petitions were not emotive and looked at all manufacturers and alleged abuses, not singling out Apple and not totally ignoring Apple's online information that indicates they are doing something.
Also battling it ou with Apple is Avid which has been a real rival to Final Cut. Now, Chris Oldroyd reports, there is a version of this for the iPad and it is expected to be a serious competitor for iMovie. Lots of details in the article by Chris. If this is a competitor to an Apple product, why didn't Apple just ban it? Think about that (but don't think too hard).
Here's a nice little potential trivia question for you. How many free ads did iPhone users download in December? 6 million (per day) according to Lance Whitney. A massive rise from earlier norms.
Nothing like a good rumour to set us up for the weekend. How about a new iPod nano with a camera? That would be nice. According to iPodNN there are photographs of the case of the alleged new product online.
Another rumour concerns that mythical Apple TV that is coming soon we expect. Steven Musil reports that Apple is allegedly scouting for components. Maybe they should try Sharp (see below) who could do with a boost right now.
And a final undefined rumour is about a sort of unspecified special event (this is so vague) that might be held in February before an event to launch the iPad 3 in March Josh Ong reports on AppleInsider. We look forward to any and all Apple events, strange, undefined or not. Indeed, the stranger the better. However, Jim Dalrymple on The Loop tells us this rumour has no legs.
Half and HalfDespite some recent positives, Foss Patents reported a slight setback on Thursday (Thai time) when Apple was denied a request for a preliminary injunction against Samsung. Apple tried to fast-track a patent decision and the court was having none of that. I also like how, in this article, Florian Mueller admits that he was scooped by Bloomberg. Some younger writers should learn from the openness here.
Other MattersWe have mentioned before how Amazon have tried to tie some authors to their site only and that limits distribution and choice of course. Barnes & Noble, citing Amazon's continued taste for exclusivity, have had enough and have announced that it will not be carrying any books in its retail outlets if they are published by Amazon we are told by Chris Welch on The Verge.
Could I just refer you back for a moment to the discussion on Apple's cash reserves as it applies to the supply-chain and availability of components for Apple products, for example (say) hard disks? . . .
This seems to follow a pattern among the Party's members who think they can use any work they want and to hell with copyright, but when it comes to things like SOPA are all gung-ho for protecting the rights of the companies who support them.
And another thought or two are carried in a BBC report concerning corruption in India where the Supreme Court has cancelled 122 telecommunications licences awarded to companies in 2008, in a corruption scandal that has allegedly cost the country about $40 billion.
Late NewsI had an email this morning to tell me that The Daily is one year old. Although this was an inspiration when its launch was announced -- others saw the potential for the iPad -- its execution left much missing with no international access initially, and a fairly localised (and non-international) content. I have not been back.
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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