Monday, September 14, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Mr. Calacanis makes his point well, and lays blame on those that blindly follow Apple's lead. It's really shocking how many people seem to be willing to follow Apple to the ends of the Earth. It's not just the iPhone. I've seen numerous people on teh intarwebz raving about how cool the matte screen on the 15" MacBook Pro is. It's a matte display. Get over it. Apple giving you a simple choice that you should have had all along is not the second coming. Some people even see this as grounds to replace their current model. Didn't you just buy one? Can't you at least wait until the next version comes out with a 200Mhz CPU bump?
It seems that Apple has gotten used to their users going with the flow. They are so caught up in controlling the iPhone user experience that they're forgetting about their users. To top it off, I think they're also forgetting about innovation. What has the iPhone really brought to the table UI-wise since it's release? If we've learned anything from WinMo and Symbian, it's that you can't stop innovating. I have an iPhone, and I'm getting fed up. I don't want to go with the flow. I think an Android phone is in my future. I'm doing the capitalist thing, and voting with my dollars.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
AT&T for its part said they didn't do it. Nope, no involvement whatsoever. And just why the hell are you even asking? They just want to sell phones, dammit. The straight talk:
"Let me state unequivocally, AT&T had no role in any decision by Apple to not accept the Google Voice application for inclusion in the Apple App Store"
Okay... so maybe they actually didn't do it? Everyone on the internet thought they did. I'll admit they certainly had a better motive than Apple. Being disingenuous to reporters is one thing, but the FCC? Hopefully no one at AT&T is that dumb.
Apple sort of takes responsibility. The juicy part reads:
Of course, they say that it technically hasn't been rejected. So really, if the GV app didn't make calls, send SMS, or store voicemail Apple would be FINE with it. I'm sure Google will get right on that. Apple goes on to bitch about protecting their user experience some more. I have news for you Apple, the user experience has barely evolved in the 2 years the iPhone has existed. It could do with a little less protecting.
"The application has not been approved because, as submitted for review, it appears to alter the iPhone's distinctive user experience by replacing the iPhone's core mobile telephone functionality and Apple user interface with its own user interface for telephone calls, text messaging and voicemail. Apple spent a lot of time and effort developing this distinct and innovative way to seamlessly deliver core functionality of the iPhone."
I still don't understand Apple's objection. It's like Google actually hurt their feelings by suggesting people might want to run the GV app to make calls and such. It's all pretty characteristically Apple. Do not, under any circumstances, fuck with their "revolutionary" interface or else. Apple apologists out there that wanted to absolve them of all wrongdoing in this case, need to step back and take a look around. Apple isn't the same company that asked you to "think different" back in the day.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
You know Aspartame well, it's also called "Nutrasweet". It's a low calorie sweetener used in all kinds of stuff (including, prominently, soft drinks). What really got me riled up about this, is that the HuffPo article was reposted, and given credence on The Consumerist. I like The Consumerist, but this is unacceptable. They're just parroting the fear-mongering. Why is this just fear-mongering? I'll tell you why...
The good doctor is talking about a study conducted in 2006 by the Italian Ramazzini Foundation that showed that Aspartame caused cancer in lab rats. The results of the study were presented in April of 2007. Why Dr. Epstein feels action on this is imminent now, two years later, is a mystery. If you take him at his word, it does sound damning. But... lets apply some skepticism, just to be sure.
Firstly, despite claiming that the rats were fed Aspartame within the acceptable daily intake (ADI), many of their experimental animals were being fed well over 100 times the ADI. These subjects, in fact, had no reduction in average life span compared to the control group. None! This flies in the face of the authors assertion. (source)
Above: Delicious, safe.
Indeed, even the competency with which the study was conducted is highly questionable according to the European Food Safety Authority. Cancer rates for older rats were compared directly with young rats, leading to skewed results. The feeding methods for the rats was also poorly recorded. It was also indicated that serious over-crowding of the rats likely led to respiratory disease, which is known to cause cancer in rats. Additionally, there was no randomization of the test animals. (source)
And after all these problems, even the histological studies of test animals were poorly done. The U.S. National Toxicology Program found that the researchers had misdiagnosed simple, benign hyperplasia as cancer in multiple cases. (source) In response to this, the US FDA requested that the Italian Ramazzini Foundation provide its raw data and tissue slides. They refused. So, just as the European Food Safety Authority had, the FDA determined that the study was flawed and no changes were needed. (source) If a group of researchers will not share data after publishing, that's a sure sign that there is something fishy going on.
This business with the HuffPo and the original study is another stab into the mainstream by the same activist, anti-science loons we've been hearing from for decades. There's no new evidence. Aspartame has been found to be safe in study after study for over 40 years. Okay... tinfoil hats off now.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Google Voice is a free service that allows you to have one number that rings multiple phones. It also provides full call screening, call recording, cheap international calling, transcription of voicemails, and free SMS. In short, it is the coolest thing to happen to cell phones since their inception. On the Blackberry and Android platforms it is possible to install apps that integrate the phone with Google Voice and make it useful away from a computer.
Now iPhone users cannot get Google Voice apps. Some users (myself included) were already using "GV Mobile" by Sean Kovacs on the iPhone when it was pulled. Now we're left twisting in the wind, not knowing when a change in Google Voice or the iPhone OS will break the app, leaving us with poor access to the service.
What they are doing is removing consumer choice. There is no reason to reject these apps. At least before when something was rejected there was some sort of rational. It was usually the concern that AT&T's network would collapse if people started using too much data. But this... this is just AT&T being scared to death that empowering consumers will hurt their bottom line. They hate the idea that you could have a number that isn't tied to them. None of that messy number porting, just one number for life that they can't control.
So... cut to today. The FCC sent letters to Apple, AT&T, and Google asking a lot of questions about why the official and unofficial Google Voice apps were rejected. They seemed particularly interested in exactly how much say AT&T had in the decision. This gives me hope that someone will decide it's not worth it to block this service everyone clearly wants.
The FCC also wants to talk to the devs of third-party apps that were banned, like the aforementioned Sean Kovacs. It would be great if the FCC gave these people a chance to explain how this decision hurts all involved; customers and devs. Banning GV apps from the iPhone is only good for AT&T.
Update: Word has spread that Apple expects devs of banned apps to cover the cost of refunds to people that bought the apps. All this despite the fact that they no longer have any connection to the app store. This is sort of beyond the pale, Apple. Not only do these people spend weeks or months developing apps only to be told they can't sell them anymore, but they have to cover the cost to refund people that are upset with Apple for pulling them.
I find myself really watching upcoming Android handsets. It's too bad. The iPhone is a great piece of hardware with a great platform. If they'd open it up a little, nothing else would stand a chance.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
4chan is a bulletin board system based around posting images and anonymous messages. Almost every meme you've ever heard of came from the depths of 4chan's /b/ board. LOLcats? Started as "Caturday" (posting of cat pics on Saturdays) on 4chan. Facepalm? 4chan. Rickrolling? Oh, you better believe it came from 4chan.
This may seem like nothing... not a big deal. I'd say it a huge deal. Whether or not you've ever heard of 4chan, ISPs shouldn't be blocking websites because they don't like the content. This is contrary to the concept of Net Neutrality. Access to, or traffic from a website should not be given preference one way or another.
AT&T doesn't really have any good will to burn after the ongoing iPhone shenanigans. So going up against 4chan seems like a terrible idea. Perhaps you remember the recent Scientology protests? All came from 4chan. Under the collective moniker, "anonymous", 4chan users have a history of pranks and hacks designed to punish those they feel need punishment. AT&T may have a real problem on its hands if this is a real policy, and not just a mistake.
Like they say... 4chan: Because none of us is a cruel as all of us.
I'll update this post as things progress.
Update: AT&T has issued a statement:
Beginning Friday, an AT&T customer was impacted by a denial-of-service attack stemming from IP addresses connected to img.4chan.org. To prevent this attack from disrupting service for the impacted AT&T customer, and to prevent the attack from spreading to impact our other customers, AT&T temporarily blocked access to the IP addresses in question for our customers. This action was in no way related to the content at img.4chan.org; our focus was on protecting our customers from malicious traffic.
Overnight Sunday, after we determined the denial-of-service threat no longer existed, AT&T removed the block on the IP addresses in question. We will continue to monitor for denial-of-service activity and any malicious traffic to protect our customers.
A Customer was DDoSed? Who? Seems fishy to me that this was coming from the img domain. I choose to believe that AT&T had some other reason for doing this. I imagine after realizing that this would be a PR disaster they reevaluated the block.
So AT&T overreacted and blocked the domain for everyone? Interesting. So the war is off. For now at least.For the past three weeks, 4chan has been under a constant DDoS attack. We were able to filter this specific type of attack in a fashion that was more or less transparent to the end user.Unfortunately, as an unintended consequence of the method used, some Internet users received errant traffic from one of our network switches. A handful happened to be AT&T customers.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I contacted support by email on July 8. Within the next day I was informed that my replacement request would be granted. I supplied the information (including a scan of the receipt) that they requested. Here's where things went off the rails. I didn't hear anything back. No shipping confirmation, no tracking numbers, nothing. I emailed once a few days later to make sure that everything was progressing. No response. On Monday the 13th I called the customer support line. They told me it was listed as in the warehouse and ready to ship. The fellow on the phone said he didn't know why it was held up, but it should go out soon.
A week passes, I call again, I get the same story. I was sort of concerned at this point. It shouldn't take almost 2 weeks for something to be shipped (I'd had a replacement once before and it only took a few days). I could live without it for a while, I just wanted to know that it would actually be shipped at some point. The people on the customer service line had no more information about it. So, dejected I did what everyone is doing these days, I complained about it on Twitter. I made some sort of snarky comments about how Logitech's warranty exchange systems was a bit ridiculous. The next day I had a reply from @Logitech asking for my case number, which I immediately supplied.
The very next day @Logitech explained that the MX5500 was on back-order. No one in the actual customer service department knew this. Not only that, but they were going to pull one from their "stash" in California and ship it to me overnight ( I assume retail stash?). So here I am today with my replacement mouse courtesy of @Logitech on Twitter. After waiting 2 weeks on Logitech Proper, it only took Logitech on Twitter 2 days to get me taken care of.