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22 Feb 2012 16:17


Tech: Storify comes to the iPad: Full story curation, at your fingertips

  • “Whether you’re at a conference or at home … you now have storytelling at your fingertips.” Storify co-founder & CEO Xavier Damman’s totally psyched about bringing his popular online story-telling tool to the iPad. While Storify, which pulls content from a variety of social networks, does not contain all the functionality of it’s Internet-based counterpart, the team at Storify is confident that they’ve successfully migrated the core Storify experience to iOS. The team also added an additional function not found on the Storify website: The ability to tweet, inside the app, while creating a story. Have you tried it yet? source

18 Feb 2012 12:07


Tech, World: Audit proves the obvious: Foxconn not a fun place to work

  • Foxconn is cooperating fully with this audit and we will review and act on all findings and recommendations. This is a very professional and thorough review and any deficiencies the FLA might find in the implementation of customer or Foxconn policies will be addressed.
  • Electronic parts manufacturer Foxconn • In an emailed statement to Bloomberg, after reports surfaced that the Fair Labor Association auditors have found “tons of issues” during their investigation of Foxconn’s Shenzhen facility.  FLA Chief Executive Officer Auret van Heerden revealed the discovery during a phone interview, following a multi-day review of the facility, and reportedly while he headed to meet with Foxconn management and present the organization’s findings. A number of corporations, most notably Apple, outsource their manufacturing to Foxconn and a number of similar companies. source

18 Feb 2012 11:10


Tech: Growl creator thinks his notifications are cooler than yours

  • I’m sure that in the next 2-3 years we’ll see it all translated back to the desktop from the mobile devices. I’m sure it won’t be as cool as Growl, but it’ll be interesting.
  • Growl creator Christopher Forsythe • Discussing the nature of desktop notification systems with The Verge. He was a bit off — OSX Mountain Lion’s recently-announced desktop notification system basically does what he said, and it’ll be out by the summer. Forsythe (in reacting to the news) noted that, unlike Apple’s new system, Growl still gives users a multitude of customization options. Is Growl, which has basically had the OSX notification market to itself for years, a goner? Do you use it and dig it? Would you keep using it? Personally, nothing against him, but Growl’s notifications are starting to wear a little thin for us. source

15 Feb 2012 15:23


Tech: Apple affirms that Path violated their terms, issues iOS update fix

  • Apps that collect or transmit a user’s contact data without their prior permission are in violation of our guidelines. We’re working to make this even better for our customers, and as we have done with location services, any app wishing to access contact data will require explicit user approval in a future software release.
  • Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr • In a statement about Apple’s privacy policies, as pertaining to the iPhone. This statement came hot on the heels of the revelation that two Democratic congressman (G.K. Butterfield and Henry A. Waxman) had sent a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, requesting information about privacy permissions. The inciting incident here was the iPhone app Path, which was revealed to be uploading users’ address books to their company servers without asking permission, or offering any notification. Path tried to curb the controversy by apologizing and offering an opt-out, but  the damage to their credibility (and, by association, Apple’s) had already hit. And amidst word that a number of widely-used apps — most notably Twitterdid the same thing, Apple has affirmed that what Path did was a violation of their privacy practices, and has released an update for iOS that allows users to delete the database by switching off location services. source

10 Feb 2012 09:40


Tech: Three rumors currently circulating Apple’s third-generation iPad

  • release The next version of the iPad is expected to be released in March; the iPad 2 was released around roughly the same time last year.
  • features The device is expected to have a screen similar to the iPhone 4’s “Retina Display,” along with better cameras and a memory boost.
  • speed The device would be 4G LTE capable and have a quad-core processor, making it much faster than the iPad 2 in more ways than one. source

01 Feb 2012 15:43


Biz: New J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson on remaking the brand

  • I chose J.C. Penney because I think it’s the single biggest opportunity in American retailing. Inherently, department stores have significant advantages compared to all other retailers. Yet, our productivity is at the low end, and that just doesn’t make sense.
  • J.C. Penney CEO Ron Johnson • Remarks in an interview with the AP’s Anne D’Innocenzio. Johnson made news in the world of department store retail when he first took over, announcing a reduction in unique sales events coupled with a 40% across the board price cut. In this interview, he expands a bit on his plan for J.C. Penney’s future; he mentions his time with Apple frequently in the interview, as a reference point for the sort of modern imaginings that may be to come. It’s worth remembering that Johnson was the brain behind the Apple Store, the “Genius Bar” in particular, which we think says a lot about his insight on balancing design, efficiency and customer service in a retail setting. Apple just found their replacement for Johnson, John Brownett, but with the legacy he left there, we wonder how long it will be until they wish they had him back on board. source

31 Jan 2012 15:39


Biz: Petition demands humane work practices in production of Apple products

  • 35,000 sign petition for an “ethical” iPhone source
  • » And that’s just the first 24 hours: Apple’s production chain in China has gotten a ton of ink lately, exposing the dire workplace conditions and inhumane treatment that are present in the production of the iPhone (author’s note: in the interests of full disclosure, I’m an iPhone user, and am thus as guilty of neglecting these implications as anyone). In response, a petition has been circulating urging Apple to install hard and fast regulations for how their manufacturing workers are treated in advance of the release of the iPhone 5. Says the petition: “Can Apple do this? Absolutely. According to an anonymous Apple executive quoted in The New York Times, all Apple has to do is demand it, and it’ll happen.”

21 Jan 2012 17:01


Tech: On Apple, the U.S. economy, and China’s manufacturing prowess

  • The U.S. factories couldn’t get close enough to perfection for Steve Jobs. So Apple went to China. In perhaps the broadest profile you’ll read about the manufacturing process that creates most of the electronics you use today, The New York Times’ analysis of the structural reasons why the iPhone isn’t made in the U.S. manages to pull off a surprising trick: It turns a story which on the surface is about one of the world’s largest corporations into a story which shows weaknesses in the recession-laden U.S. economy. A quick roundup of what we learned from this article:
  • one Apple was a late-comer to the international manufacturing racket, and as recently as 2003 built their products in California. Before they went to Asia, they struggled to keep up with the rest of the tech industry, which used the kinds of contractors Apple uses now.
  • two In Asia, it’s much easier to get all their ducks in a row in terms of supply chain management. The lower labor cost helps, but it’s the ability to turn on a dime — such as when Apple changed its iPhone screen from plastic to glass — that really makes a difference in terms of cost.
  • three Despite the outsourcing, an important point to keep in mind is that Apple’s success does create jobs in the U.S., both directly — 8,000 in the past year alone — and indirectly, with companies like FedEx and UPS adding many jobs based solely on Apple’s needs. source
  • » What it means for the U.S. economy: With speed, flexibility and manufacturing prowess better in China, Apple’s move abroad has taken two types of jobs out of play: One, the low-paid but stable manufacturing job (which FoxConn offers both to Apple and numerous other manufacturers); and two, the mid-level engineer, which the article suggests is hard to find in the U.S., but easy to find in China. In fact, the story features a fascinating anecdote about a mid-level engineer who once worked a well-paying job at a U.S. Apple factory, only to get laid off and, years later, work another Apple job he was overqualified for — at a much lower salary. That’s the real story. Look past Apple. They’re the hook of the article, but the real story is how the U.S. economy is no longer the best spot for these kinds of jobs. How can the U.S. change that?

30 Dec 2011 22:26


Tech: Knight of the night: That’s SIR Jony Ive to you, unworthy Windows users

  • But seriously, this is awesome: Jony Ive, the industrial design icon who became Steve Jobs’ right-hand man during his second run at Apple, will honored as a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) next year. Jobs, who called Ive his “spiritual partner” in the biography released weeks after his death, enabled Ive to help create radical, minimalistic designs that have defined the company since the release of the original iMac. It’s not his first honor from the British government — in 2005, he was made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE). This is an upgrade for the design icon — the equivalent of moving from a Mac Mini to a Mac Pro. source

20 Dec 2011 14:56


Biz: Apple scores court victory against HTC, Android in patent case

  • A bad day for HTC smartphones: While it didn’t represent everything Apple had sought to secure through the legal process, today’s court ruling against HTC struck a blow, and moved along Apple’s bid to prove Google’s Android operating system copied the iPhone. This was, you may remember, a rather intense preoccupation on the part of the late Steve Jobs — the ruling held that some of Android’s data collection software was, in fact, an infringement of Apple’s patent rights, and will cause some HTC phone models to be blocked from sale in the United States starting next year. source