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29 Feb 2012 17:14


Offbeat: Autocorrect mishap causes schools to go on lockdown

  • plan Over in Gainesville, Georgia, someone–unidentified in the report–accidentally sent a text message to the wrong number. The texter intended to write “gunna be at West Hall today.” Perfectly innocuous, right?
  • failThe phone’s overzealous autocorrect feature changed the text to “gunman be at West Hall today.” The recipient reported the text to police, and two West Hall schools were subsequently put on lockdown. source
  • » One question: Who uses “gunna” as shorthand for “going to?” We thought “gonna” was the standard abbreviation. But all jokes aside, we’re glad this was all just a technological snafu, and not an actual threat.

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

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?

08 Nov 2011 10:47


Tech: iPhone sales: Hong Kong really wants to try out Siri, apparently

  • 10 minutes to sell out iPhone 4S pre-orders in Hong Kong source
  • » Want to pre-order the iPhone 4s in Hong Kong? Too late. You’re stuck waiting in line. The phone will be available in stores this Friday and analysts are expecting “long lines and serial stock outs.” It’s a good sign for when the phone hits mainland China — a date for which has not been announced. It’s led to a black-market Apple-smuggling industry between Hong Kong and China, which is likely to only continue with the iPhone 4S

29 Oct 2011 12:09


Tech: Samsung ships more smartphones than Apple does these days

  • 27.8 million number of smartphone units Samsung shipped in the past quarter, way up from the prior quarter
  • 17.1 million number of smartphone units Apple sold in that quarter, down a bit from the prior quarter source
  • » A fast ramp-up for Samsung: Samsung entered the smartphone market in earnest just last year, and suddenly they’re bigger than Apple. How the heck did that happen? Well, Samsung gained a rep as having the best execution for mobile devices outside of Apple, and as a result, they were able to grow quickly. But it’s entirely possible that Apple could still top Samsung in the next quarter — part of the reason their sales are down is that they took longer than they usually do to iterate to a new iPhone. The iPhone 4S, it’s worth noting, is selling pretty well. (Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story claimed that both numbers reflected sales; as it turns out, Apple’s number reflects sales, while Samsung’s number reflects shipments, according to clarification MacWorld gathered from Apple and Strategy Analytics, the company that put out the report these numbers were based upon. We apologize for the confusion.)

18 Oct 2011 00:39


Tech: iPhone 4S is doing crazy well in sales. Why’s that, exactly?

  • The iPhone 4s has sold 4 million units since friday. PCMag has a few ideas why Apple’s latest product has done so well so soon. There was hype surrounding the 4S, as there usually is with a new Apple product; rumors floated all summer about the phone, giving it an air of mystique. Add that to the passing of Steve Jobs, and you have a good amount of buzz. The phone is now available on more networks and in more countries, two demographics that the iPhone 4 didn’t have for its release. Plus, owning an iPhone comes with some sort of blood contract, right? source

12 Oct 2011 20:34


Tech: iPhone owners minorly annoyed; BlackBerry owners pissed off

  • bad iPhone and iPad owners had some issues installing iOS version 5, released today, on their new devices, probably due to mass-install glut. (We had an issue with the install briefly — we threw it on our non-jailbroken iPad — but we got it to work on the second try.)
  • worse However, compared to the issues that BlackBerry owners have had over the past couple of days, that was cake. RIM says that the rolling blackouts were caused by a “core switch failure,” whatever that means. Oh no, what are all the policy wonks going to do!? source

04 Oct 2011 11:20


Tech: What to expect at today’s post-Steve-Jobs Apple event

  • Apple’s big speech is a real turning point for the company. It’s the first major one since Steve Jobs gave up his role as CEO earlier this year amidst significant health problems, passing the role off to Tim Cook. Since then, new competition has started to heat up — most notably from Amazon, whose CEO Jeff Bezos has shown some of that old Jobsian sparkle of late. But without getting too far ahead of ourselves, let’s do a check of what to expect today:
  • one Don’t expect Steve Jobs, unless there’s a late-in-the-game surprise. Instead, Tim Cook will be the man of the hour, and it’ll be interesting to see how he pulls this off.
  • two There will be at least one new iPhone, most likely, possibly two. The long-gestating iOS 5 will also likely launch soon, complete with a better notifications system.
  • three The original iPod, which is officially a decade old, could disappear once and for all today. We could use that spinny thing for hours and not get bored! source

31 Aug 2011 21:48


Tech: An iPhone prototype walked into a bar and … poof. (Yes, again)

  • 2 iPhone prototypes lost at bars; Apple workers probably shouldn’t drink source

20 Jul 2011 22:33


Tech: App lets iPhone users see all of your drunken mistakes

  • A new iPhone app allows you to view real-time video feeds from inside local bars, so you can, in the words of the creators, “see what a venue looks like, to get a head count.” Cool idea, but that means that if you’re in one of said bars, everything you do is being streamed online—whether you know it or not. Bars that opt-in to this aren’t required to tell patrons that they’re being filmed, and the footage is accessible from the company’s website, so it’s not just limited to iPhone users. The creators defend the app’s integrity, saying that “the point of the product is not to make a stalker utility.” Which is a vapid defense, of course, because the intent behind a product has no bearing on the manner in which it’s capable of being used. We suspect Apple might pull this one before too long. source