Tuesday, June 29, 2010

MacNN | Foxconn moving some Apple production elsewhere in China?:

Foxconn is reportedly preparing to move a portion of its Apple production to north and central China, according to a Financial Times report. The change, which will shift Apple projects away from Shenzhen, is said to be driven by cost considerations as the manufacturer raises wages in its southern facilities.

Unnamed executives familiar with negotiations between both companies allege that Apple had been resistant to helping pay for the higher labor costs following a high number of worker suicides and dissatisfaction with working conditions.

To help avoid the wage hike, Foxconn reportedly proposed a move to production facilities in Tianjin or Henan. One executive was quoted as saying that Apple is "more ready now to use some of the new locations," despite earlier efforts to keep manufacturing centralized in Shenzhen.
MacNN | Air Phone No.4 clones iPhone 4, FaceTime:

The first iPhone 4 clone is now out in China, just five days after the original's launch. Called Air Phone NO.4, it's a little thicker, at about 0.37 inches, and is not a smartphone despite copying Apple's icon layout and interface. Twin 0.3-megapixel cameras allow for self-portraits and regular shooting; the company goes so far as to produce a fake FaceTime app.

Inside, it uses an MTK CPU and has a 3.5-inch resistive touchscreen. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi are built-in. The handset does not have Chinese support in its available languages, so it may be intended as an export despite its country of origin. The Air Phone NO.4 is now available in China, priced at the equivalent of about $100.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lawmakers guide Dodd-Frank bill for Wall Street reform into homestretch:

But with a few exceptions, the measure avoids dictating to Wall Street what it can and cannot do. The bill does not break up big banks or ban the trading of derivatives. Nor does it significantly streamline the confusing array of financial regulators in Washington.
iPhone 4:

It's unfortunate Apple simply didn't enamel the antenna or put a thin clear-coat on it for users who prefer their devices in their naked glory. Steve Jobs always pounds away on the external beauty points of new products in his on-stage speeches, so he logically shouldn't expect everyone to cover that loveliness with an unattractive rubber bumper. Think about it! But then again, an unobtrusive antenna-coating most assuredly was thought of by Apple engineers but rejected by Steve Jobs on the basis of it not looking as nice. Why does all this have me pondering the fanless Mac 128k design again?

To be fair, we wouldn't have the iPhone, iPad or decent looking desktop computers at all if it weren't for Jobs. And yet, we wouldn't have had his engineering failures either. Jobs probably downplayed the problem with iPhone engineers stating, "most people will buy a case -- problem solved." Funny that. An unobtrusive antenna coating seems to have been rejected but clearly a rubber bumper solution was accepted. Seems ludicrous until you start multiplying $29 times hundreds of thousands of buyers. Hmmm.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

No Sleep 'Til Fusion:

Dr. Robert W. Bussard was a a physicist at Los Alamos, a rocket builder in the age of rockets. His proposed hydrogen-compressing ramjet became the stuff of sci-fi legend. (There's one of the front of the U.S.S. Enterprise.) He was a classic scientist of the 20th century retro-future, when it was all going to be clean atomic energy, spaceflight, and freckled white people living on the moon. It didn't happen that way, and in the end he died an old man at the bottom of the same polluted and overheating gravity well he was born on.

But in the few weeks before his last lab shuttered from lack of funding, he'd had a breakthrough, and Bussard believed that he might have solved the most difficult physics problems of fusion energy.

Viacom v Internet: round one to Internet - Boing Boing:

The lawsuit has been a circus. Filings in the case reveal that Viacom paid dozens of marketing companies to clandestinely upload its videos to YouTube (sometimes "roughing them up" to make them look like pirate-chic leaks). Viacom uploaded so much of its content to YouTube that it actually lost track of which videos were "really" pirated, and which ones it had put there, and sent legal threats to Google over videos it had placed itself.

Other filings reveal profanity-laced email exchanges between different Viacom execs debating who will get to run YouTube when Viacom destroys it with lawsuits, and execs who express their desire to sue YouTube because they can't afford to buy the company and can't replicate its success on their own.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Janice's Blog: Money money money:

Last night I attended a show performed by the seemingly great Mike Daisey called 'The Last Cargo Cult' as part of the Midsummer. The monologue which lasted a staggering 2 hours and 10 minutes (with no interval) was at it's root, about the nature of money. Or rather, human nature with regards to money. He raised some very interesting points and despite my bum being rather numb, and my attention drifting ever so slightly once or twice, his somewhat explosive and at times almost violent performance did keep me engaged throughout. You see, he gave us something that is impossible for any human, especially poor ones like myself to resist. He gave us money.

That's right. Cold hard cash. As we walked into the auditorium, we were each given a note. I received €5. My friend Amy who was just ahead of me, got €10, while everyone else I could see around me, appeared to also have €5 notes. Now, being the intelligent world aware person that I am, and feeling a little put out that by sheer chance Amy was richer than me, I figured the monologue I was about to watch would have something to do with the inequality of the rich vs. poor, and how there are so few rich compared to so many poor, etc etc. I wasn't entirely wrong.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Matt Ridley's Rational Optimist is telling the rich what they want to hear | George Monbiot | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk:

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column for the Guardian exploring the contrast between Matt Ridley's assertions in his new book The Rational Optimist and his own experience. In the book, Ridley attacks the "parasitic bureaucracy", which stifles free enterprise and excoriates governments for, among other sins, bailing out big corporations. If only the market is left to its own devices, he insists, and not stymied by regulations, the outcome will be wonderful for everybody.

What Ridley glosses over is that before he wrote this book he had an opportunity to put his theories into practice. As chairman of Northern Rock, he was responsible, according to parliament's Treasury select committee, for a "high-risk, reckless business strategy". Northern Rock was able to pursue this strategy as a result of a "substantial failure of regulation" by the state. The wonderful outcome of this experiment was the first run on a British bank since 1878, and a £27bn government bail-out.

But it's not just Ridley who doesn't mention the inconvenient disjunction between theory and practice: hardly anyone does. His book has now been reviewed dozens of times, and almost all the reviewers have either been unaware of his demonstration of what happens when his philosophy is applied or too polite to mention it. The reason, as far as I can see, is that Ridley is telling people – especially rich, powerful people – what they want to hear.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Strategist
Apple's no-nipples policy means fashion mags are censoring their iPad editions : Shiny Shiny:

And we're not just talking about Nuts; "edgier" fashion magazines like Dazed & Confused and Vice will have to seriously cut back on nudity in photography and fashion shoots. New fashion bible LOVE famously launched a first edition with a naked photo shoot of Beth Ditto. That would not be alright with Steve Jobs.

A D&C insider revealed that the mag's iPad edition has been nicknamed the Iran edition by the people putting it together, given the parallels between censorship in the Muslim theocracy and the iTunes store.

Every week there have been complaints about apps removed from the iTunes store - usally small-scale soft porn stuff, but it throws the Apple policy into relief when art or fashion magazines have to start censoring themselves.

It's even more ironic because the iPad has been billed as the saviour of the magazine industry and also given Apple's reputation as a maintstay of the creative industries.
MacNN | Apple reverses course on censored comic book adaptations:

Despite rejecting them at one point, Apple has now decided to allow two uncensored comic book adaptations of classic literature back into the App Store, a report says. The first comic to be blocked was Ulysses Seen, an adaptation of James Joyce's Ulysses. Apple reviewers are said to have objected to nudity in some panels.

The other book was an alternate take on Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, and was deemed unsuitable not only for showing men's buttocks, but more controversially for simply depicting men kissing. As of Monday, the restrictions on both apps have been lifted and they should quickly be available without any edits like black bars.

The change in course is a result of complaints, says Apple representative Trudy Muller. "We made a mistake. When the art panel edits of the Ulysses Seen app and the graphic novel adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s Importance of Being Earnest app were brought to our attention, we offered the developers the opportunity to resubmit their original drawings and update their apps."

The bans nevertheless raise the issue of freedom of expression at the App Store. Apple has come under fire numerous times for its rules, which for instance led to the rejection of a political cartoon app. A sudden decision to eliminate "overtly sexual" apps resulted in thousands of titles being deleted, while ignoring the likes of more obvious targets such as Playboy. Apple CEO Steve Jobs has defended the strategy, insisting that it represents "freedom from porn."

Monday, June 14, 2010

It Gets Worse: Apple Censors a Gay Kiss in Oscar Wilde Comic | The Big Money:

The message that these black boxes send to Apple's customers isn't: hey, kids, don't look at porn. The message is that the sight of two men kissing is a bad thing, and that homophobia is a good thing. For allowing Apple to send that message, Steve Jobs should be ashamed of himself.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

DNA/How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet:

This subjective view plays odd tricks on us, of course. For instance, ‘interactivity’ is one of those neologisms that Mr Humphrys likes to dangle between a pair of verbal tweezers, but the reason we suddenly need such a word is that during this century we have for the first time been dominated by non-interactive forms of entertainment: cinema, radio, recorded music and television. Before they came along all entertainment was interactive: theatre, music, sport – the performers and audience were there together, and even a respectfully silent audience exerted a powerful shaping presence on the unfolding of whatever drama they were there for. We didn’t need a special word for interactivity in the same way that we don’t (yet) need a special word for people with only one head.

I expect that history will show ‘normal’ mainstream twentieth century media to be the aberration in all this. ‘Please, miss, you mean they could only just sit there and watch? They couldn’t do anything? Didn’t everybody feel terribly isolated or alienated or ignored?’

‘Yes, child, that’s why they all went mad. Before the Restoration.’

‘What was the Restoration again, please, miss?’

‘The end of the twentieth century, child. When we started to get interactivity back.’

The Rebel County gets into the party groove - National News, Frontpage - Independent.ie:

Cork Midsummer Festival of the Senses started yesterday, and runs until June 27. A celebration of contemporary arts and culture combining local, national and international events, it's designed to deliver different experiences that appeal to everyone. In its 14th year, the festival attracts over 90,000 people with theatre, contemporary and popular music, free events, a family programme, dance, debate, and visual and conceptual art.

Groundbreaking 'monologist' Mike Daisey, whom the New York Times described as a "master storyteller" brings with him his blend of autobiography and gonzo journalism in Monopoly!, The Last Cargo Cult and a new show, From Away. Cult dancer Jerome Bel will be presenting The Show Must Go On. Composer Philip Glass will be presenting An Evening of Chamber Music and Heineken Midsummer Nights will provide entertainment into the small hours, with Crane Lane hosting comedy and cabaret.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Five Hundred Wi-Fi Networks Walk into a Bar | the Blog | Future Tense with John Moe | American Public Media:

The metaphor of the commons breaks down in wireless, because one person’s use of it can be invisible, except for interference from other people’s use. That is, imagine a commons of grass for feeding your cows in which you always appear to be alone on the commons with your animals—but as you stand there, the grass disappears, replaced with mud and ordure.

It’s not Novatel Wireless’s fault; they make the MiFi, and it’s a perfectly appropriate device to offer. The problem of this invisible, overlapping commons being fouled is an emergent property. The less people can trust a common shared network, the more they turn to their own, which then, in a vicious cycle, destroys their own network, too.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

"A Convicted Serial Environmental Criminal" - The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan:

On the Daily Show last night, I learned of BP's astonishing record of malefeasance and safety corner-cutting. From ABC News:

OSHA statistics show BP ran up 760 "egregious, willful" safety violations, while Sunoco and Conoco-Phillips each had eight, Citgo had two and Exxon had one comparable citation.

BP is responsible for 97 percent of safety violations.