Archive for April, 2010
As comedians such as Jon Stewart are having a party over the fiasco that seems to be the treatment of the “case of the lost iPhone,” it seems to be a news item that just won’t die. Say hello to Brian J. Hogan, 21, a resident of Redwood City, CA, who is the bar patron who found the next-generation iPhone in Gourmet Haus Staudt, a German beer garden in Redwood City.
Wired received a statement from Hogan’s attorney, Jeffrey Bornstein. While admitting he was paid $5,000 by Gizmodo, Hogan believed the payment was not for the phone itself, but for exclusive access tot the phone. Gizmodo emphasized to him “that there was nothing wrong in sharing the phone with the tech press.”
Apparently, Wired identified Hogan through social networking sites, and then confirmed his identity with a source involved in the event. Once again, this serves as another warning about just how much people should reveal on Facebook and other such sites.
Meanwhile, C|Net said that they have identified Sage Robert Wallower, a 27-year-old UC Berkeley student, as the go-between for “negotiations” between Hogan and technology sites. (We believe that some might call him a fence). While admitting he had some dealings in the matter, Wallower said he never touched the device, and that he may “need to talk to a lawyer.”
Police are still investigating the matter. Although many believe in the old saying “Finders, Keepers,” at least in California, don’t believe it. A California law dating back to 1872 says:
One who finds lost property under circumstances which give him knowledge of or means of inquiry as to the true owner, and who appropriates such property to his own use, or to the use of another person not entitled thereto, without first making reasonable and just efforts to find the owner and to restore the property to him, is guilty of theft.
Statements have been made that Hogan tried hard to return the device, but as San Mateo County Chief Deputy District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe indicated:
The person who found the phone “is very definitely one of the people who is being looked at as a suspect in theft. Assuming there’s ultimately a crime here. That’s what we’re still gauging, is this a crime, is it a theft?
Echoing somewhat what Jon Stewart said earlier, Borstein said, “This thing has gotten completely, completely out of control. “He made a mistake. He should have just immediately turned that phone in.”
Jon Stewart ripped into Apple on “The Daily Show” on Wednesday night, over the lost iPhone issue. While applauding Apple products (he has a MacBook, iPhone, and the bigger iPhone (iPad), which he says he uses to fool his kids into thinking he’s shrinking), he had to admit that when it comes to what Apple’s done in the “lost iPhone” case, he was on the opposite side of the fence.
As we know, the authorities broke into Gizmodo editor Jason Chen’s house last Friday night, and seized 4 PCs and two servers. Jon’s response?
“The cops had to bashed in the guy’s door? Don’t they know there’s an app for that?”
Apparently, the police don’t. Stewart gets to the point: Apple has become what it once mocked in its first ad for the Macintosh: Big Brother.
“Apple you guys were the rebels man, the underdogs. People believed in you. But now, are you becoming The Man? Remember back in 1984, you had those awesome ads about overthrowing Big Brother? (cut to Macintosh ad)
“Look in the mirror, man! [...]
“It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Microsoft was supposed to be the evil one. But now, you guys are busting down doors in Palo Alto while Commandant Gates is ridding the world of mosquitoes. What the f**k is going on?
“If you want to break down someone’s door, why don’t you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone! I mean seriously! How do you drop 4 calls in a one mile stretch of the West Side Highway? With no building around! What, does the open space confuse AT*T’s signal? [...]
Come on, Steve. Just chill out with the paranoid corporate genius stuff. Don’t go Howard Hughes on us. We don’t want to picture you holed up in a tower somewhere peeing into mason jars while designing a giant wooden touchscreen that you’ll use once. ‘It’s the new iSpruce.’
“I’m telling you this because it’s important, man. And believe me, I’m taking a big chance here. This is my audience. And this is way more explosive than putting Muhammad in a bikini to my audience.”
It will be interesting to see what will happen if Stephen Colbert decides to cover this. It will be still more interesting if any charges are filed over this.
While its true the raid on Chen’s house was done by California’s Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team, it’s also true that Apple sits on REACT’s steering committee. It doesn’t take much math to add two and two. C’mon, Apple. Be real. Drop it.
Watch the video:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
Hewlett-Packard has purchased Palm for $1.2 billion or $5.70 per share. As Palm desperately needed a suitor, a buyout is not a surprise. The question is: will HP be able to save Palm’s webOS platform?
Earlier, some thought HTC would buy Palm for its patent portfolio, for protection against Apple’s lawsuit. If that had happened, most expected webOS to die. HP, on the other hand, has no such intention.
According to Brian Humphries, HP’s Senior Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development, HP’s intent is to “double down on webOS.”
HP’s presence among smartphones has been pretty much non-existent. The last phone they did was the HP Glisten which was a Windows Mobile smartphone. They also do not have (yet) an Android phone, so there’s no conflict there, unlike, for example, HTC.
Palm made many mistakes in rolling out webOS devices, including tying themselves to Sprint for too long, missing a window of opportunity with Verizon, and adding no new devices since the Palm Pixi (Plus models don’t count). Contrast that with the multitude of Android devices that have been released.
HP’s bank vault should help in these matters. In order to save webOS, however, HP also needs to get developers more interested in coding for webOS. Palm made big mistakes there are well, not releasing a native SDK at launch.
Smartphones are really more “app phones” nowadays. We played with the HTC HD2 on T-Mobile. The device is powerful, and HTC’s Sense on top of Windows Mobile corrects a lot of the missing functionality of the OS. What it does not fix however, is the fact that there’s no burgeoning App Store on that platform. That is an issue HP will need to face down, as well.
Possibly responding to much criticism over Apple’s decisions around the iPhone OS and Flash, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has penned an open letter on the matter, titled “Thoughts on Flash.” The letter lists six reasons that Apple believes support of Flash is unwarranted.
Here are the six issues that Jobs noted:
- “Full Web”: Lack of support for Flash means there are tons of those “grey boxes” sitting around on sites that have Flash content. In his letter, Jobs said much video content is available using the “more modern” H.264 format. He points to the YouTube app and other video apps on the iPhone OS. He sidesteps the issue that the iPhone cannot play Flash games by noting games in the App Store. Of course, this does nothing to quench the thirst of those wanting to play FarmVille without an app.
- Reliability, security and performance: Jobs citing Symantec, noted Flash as having “one of the worst security records in 2009.” He added that Flash “has not performed well on mobile devices.”
- Battery life: Jobs writes that Flash cuts mobile battery life in half. “The difference is striking: on an iPhone, for example, H.264 videos play for up to 10 hours, while videos decoded in software play for less than 5 hours before the battery is fully drained.” It’s hard to imagine anyone playing Flash video for 5 straight hours on a mobile device, but also, it’s a lot easier to handle on a device with a user-replaceable battery, unlike the iPhone.
- Touch format: Jobs asserts that, with rollovers (fro example), Flash is made for a mouse-driven experience, not touch-screens. While a valid argument, it’s probably not something most end users care about.
- Adobe’s attempt to create Flash apps: It’s interesting that Jobs is using this as an argument. If Flash was allowed on the iPhone OS, this would not exist as an issue. It’s basically all about the decision Apple made to ban cross-compilers and other things like run-time engines from the iPhone OS. Jobs said, ” It is not Adobe’s goal to help developers write the best iPhone, iPod and iPad apps. It is their goal to help developers write cross platform apps. “
Therein, actually, lies the crux of the new restriction in the developer agreement, as we have said previously. It’s not just about Flash. It’s about prevent cross-compilation and other methods of developing cross-platform apps. In that way, since Apple has the major share of the market, by far, among the newest smartphone platforms, Apple will make developers think twice about developing for, say, Android, as well, as it will require a totally different set of code.
Truthfully, Apple can do what it wants to do. It has so much market share, developers are probably not going to abandon it for platforms, such as Android, that are both more open and less restrictive in their Marketplace policies.
In and of itself, the letter offers no new arguments or information. What’s most interesting is that a CEO found it necessary to take the time out to write such a missive.