AMITIAE - Monday 31 December 2012
Cassandra - Monday Review: It will soon be 2013
By Graham K. Rogers
Opening Gambit:More from the Apple SEC filing. Another reason for stock price drops. The NYTimes and Pulitzer lust. Apple makes others improve working conditions. Demand for Apple products, especially in China. Apple increases crime figures in New York: Mayor Bloomberg really said that. Did Apple kill the netbook: no, the netbook killed the netbook. iTunes movies in Thailand: dire trailers; and a need for subtitles. Security predictions. Samsung told to post large bond over patent abuses. The Google internet and standards. Trying to find RAM for my Mac.
And, of course, I wish you all a happy new year.
Apple StuffOn Friday we reported that the SEC filing that Apple makes, before its shareholders meeting in February, was available and in it we were able to see Tim Cook's salary and Bob Mansfield's enticement package. iPodNN reports that also in the text was the information that a Human Rights Committee is to be proposed at the meeting, but this will be opposed by Apple.
For those not used to such terminology, this concerns short interest, and this is explained in the article with a clear graph: as the short interest increased, the price fell accordingly. As I said, Greed.
The article also suggests (as do some of the figures coming in from Xmas retail sales) that Apple is going to have another excellent quarter when the figures are reported in February. [My link for this was MacDaily News.]
Not everyone is taking the bait (we hope the Pulitzer committee don't either) and Philip Elmer-DeWitt takes the NYTimes to task over the way it has worked towards this apparent goal. As he writes, forget all the stuff about the others, ". . . Apple -- always a draw for readers -- made a big, fat, easy target."
The source for this is MacDaily News who are even more critical than Philip Elmer-DeWitt. Indeed, some of the comments are not for reading until the children have gone to bed.
Without doubt improvements needed to be made, but the critics were holding these factories to western standards when the modes of operating are somewhat different in Asia. However, under Apple's leadership, change has begun, Chris Foresman writes on Ars Technica, and there is an effect being felt by others too, not just in factories that make Apple products. But then, the NYTimes and the other critics conspicuously failed to mention these other (particularly US) OEMs.
The demand for the iPad mini, in particular, is seen as "Insatiable" according to comments in a MacNN article and we are told that "virtually every model of the Mini appears to be selling out in Hong Kong", with similar sellouts at mainland Stores. The article also mentions high demand for the iPhone 5. Also looking at the demand is Neil Hughes on AppleInsider who reports similar facts: insatiable demand; and stock sellouts. And that is just China.
Indeed, Jeff Gamet reports on The MacObserver that sales in the App Store jumped 87% over the Xmas period with the implication being that a lot of these sales were to new users of iOS devices. Revenues increased by 70% for the same period. How many new iOS devices does that translate into?
Also looking back is Jaqui Cheng on Ars Techica who examines the rise and rise of OS X from the origins at NeXT and the first version: 10.0, called Cheetah. The first version I used was 10.1, called Puma, and the screenshots show the familiar pin-striped interface and the Aqua look. Page 2 of the article goes through Jaguar, Panther and Tiger, when it begins to look a bit more up to date. With Page 3 we have Leopard and Snow Leopard, with Lion and Mountain Lion on the last page bringing us up to date. All along are comments from John Siracusa who was not wholly positive about the earliest versions, but enthuses about 10.8.
I was interested to seem an item by Louis Bedigian on Forbes, with the title "Is Apple's iPad, MacBook Air Behind the Death of the Netbook?" as the reasons that Jobs listed were reason enough (unless you were Acer or Asus) to kill the device.
The article relates what the netbook is (or was) and there is an out of place comment in brackets after paragraph 2: (Which Apple products are going to be built in America?) with a link to another article by Louis Bedigian. I just don't get the relevance.
Back at the main article he then explains the superiority of the MacBook Air and the price comparison of the iPad which did the job better. Like me, he comes to a conclusion that it wasn't Apple (but the headlines have already got the hits of course) but the Netbook killed itself. Which was what Steve Jobs said in 2010. [My original link for this was MacDaily News.]
While there is still a limited selection, many of the movies listed have different trailers from the Board of Censors green screen offerings and instead of a selection of clips giving an idea of what to expect, the trailers here are a single section with all the voices dubbed in Thai; and if you have ever seen a movie here with Thai voiceovers, these are dire. These trailers do the movies a great disservice.
I suppose I could go to an iTunes store in another country, or visit the website of the movie, but these alternatives are not alternatives: the iTunes store needs to serve all customers better.
Reviews are also not positive about the delivery, with some wanting Thai subtitles (there is Thai in a stereo version) and some wanting English subtitles, which I would like as this is good for learning.
Half and HalfMcAfee, the former security company, not the crazy guy in Guatemala, have issued their estimate of threats for 2013, Charlie Osborne writes. Predictions are increased mobile cyberattacks, ransomware, and "hacking for profit", with activists declining. There is an interesting comment on the "bump and infect" mechanisms expected to increase. I am not sure what platform is being discussed, but mobile phones and tablets are mentioned. There is also a mention of ransomware with a link to this for Android, but nothing for OS X. So I went looking and this is a type of worm, so is less likely to appear on OS X computers that are properly maintained and even less likely on iOS.
Samsung argued that a 4.9% royalty rate was a more appropriate bond amount but they have been warned not to push this point as he may raise the figure to to 100%. However, Mueller does point out that design-arounds are possible, but things are not yet good for the company.
Other MattersThere was an interesting take on the way Google, and the demand for advertising revenue, is changing what the web is. Ron McElfresh on Mac360 has an item critical of the way Google keeps changing the maths in the algorithms it uses and this affects the ways a site appears in searches.
This is another way in which the standards are being affected: many write to gain the hits and thus gain advertising revenue, usually with a eye-grabbing headline, but with content lifted from others. [My source for this was Pixobebo.]
Local ItemsI need more memory for the MacBook Pro I have. At times, with 4 GB it creaks, especially if I use Aperture: I wish Apple would rejuvenate that. I have been thinking about more RAM: putting it up to 8 GB, which is the maximum for the model, with 2 x 4 GB modules. The last couple of times I bought RAM it was easy. For the PowerBook (was it that long ago?) I took it into Apichaya in the Paragon Center iStudio and he put in an upgrade quite quickly. The iMac I did myself as the modules are easily accessible on the model I have.
I prefer a technician to do the job on a notebook computer, so went into iStudio in Pinklao where I was quoted about 720 per 4 GB module. None in stock: call me on Monday. I am still waiting. The iStudio across the road is new and there I had the "No have. No can" treatment. In Siam Discovery this week, I asked at the iStudio there and was quoted 4,580 for the 2 modules. As much as I want this upgrade, 720 is feasible, 4,580 could be better put towards a new Mac.
I did make another call in at the iStudio in Pinklao, and the moment the manager there saw me, he said, "Memory" which was a positive note. Nothing yet, he told me and the time of year has made things difficult. But there may be some hope here.
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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