Tech News Today 425
Recorded: January 27, 2012
Published: January 27, 2012
Tech News Today 425: A Blackberry Bold Strategy
Is Apple responsible for Chinese working conditions? Why is Twitter censoring posts? Wii U with NFC, and more.
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- Tom Merritt ( )
- Sarah Lane ( )
- Iyaz Akhtar ( )
- Jason Howell ( )
- Sean Hollister
- Molly Wood
- Apple's supply chain flap: It's really about us
- Dear Apple: Do something about Chinese working conditions
- Tim Cook responds to claims of factory worker mistreatment: ‘We care about every worker in our supply chain’
- In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad
- Protesters Sour on Apple Over Working Conditions in China
- Apple and Labor
- Yesterday New York Times reported about the working conditions at its Foxconn contract manufacturer
- Apple Tim Cook sent email to employee that is published on 9to5Mac.com disupting the report.
- Petitions at www.change.org range from having a couple of signees to a few thousand. They demand that Apple reform its practices and publish labor reports for the sake of transparency.
- Larry Dignan at ZDNet points out Apple is not alone. In fact tech is not alone in using cheap Chinese labor.
- Former Apple exec in NYT story: “We’ve known about labor abuses in some factories for four years, and they’re still going on... Why? Because the system works for us. Suppliers would change everything tomorrow if Apple told them they didn’t have another choice... If half of iPhones were malfunctioning, do you think Apple would let it go on for four years?”
- Tim Cook: We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It’s not who we are.
- Twitter’s country-specific censorship tool prompts user protest
- Twitter Faces Censorship Backlash
- Twitter's chilling effects site
- Twitter Now Able To Censor Tweets, If Required By Law, On A Country-By-Country Basis
- Twitter's official blog post on the change
- Twitter can now block a post in one country without blocking it globally. This allows it to operate in countries that block certain communications that are not blocked in the rest of the world.
- Germany’s prohibition against pro-Nazi content was used as an example. Also said: “Some differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there,”
- TwitterBlackout and #twitterCensored have quickly become poular hashtags. A boycott is planned for Saturday.
- Working with ChillingEffects.org to publicise all takedown notices it receives.
- DannySullivan: any request made under US laws to remove content will continue to pull that content from Twitter worldwide.
- Country determined by IP though you can override through a dropdown menu." What if some country undergoing a revolution declares that tweeting about protests is illegal?
- Former Palm Head Jon Rubinstein Leaves Hewlett-Packard
- Rubinstein: With webOS Transition Under Way, It Was Time to Leave HP
- An exclusive exit interview with Jon Rubinstein: 'What we accomplished has been amazing'
- Jon Rubenstein has no immediate plans. He had been assigned a "product innovation role" in July
- HP spokeswoman Mylene Mangalindan told ATD Rubenstein had fulfilled his committment to HP
- “I am going to take a well deserved break after four and a half years of developing webOS.”
- Told ATD form Mexico: HP "Won the process" of acquiring Palm. Has been planning to leave since before TouchPad shipped.
- Told the Verge: Does not drink Margaritas before lunch. Very much enjoys fresh-caught sashimi.
- Rubinstein left Apple in 2006 and joined Roger McNamee as a partner in the private equity firm Elevation Partners, following its 2007 investments in Palm. In 2009 he replaced longtime Palm executive Ed Colligan as its CEO
- Report: Nintendo Considering Changing The Wii U’s Name
- Nintendo Network official, will start on 3DS and extend to Wii U
- Nintendo Wii U controller will include near-field communication
- WiiU to use near-field communications for easy online purchases
- ComputerAndVideoGames.com reports that Nintendo is considering renaming the already announced Wii U after public confusion about the 3DS (tagline for the 3D was "This is not Ds. This is Nintendo 3DS")
- Nintendo's also confirmed that "Nintendo Network" is the new name for its online service on the 3DS, and that it will extend to the Wii U when the home console launches this year.
- The Wii U will support user accounts, but it isn't clear if friend codes are being dropped.
- The Wii U controller will support NFC and that info comes from Nintendo's president - [Sah-toe-rue Ee-wah-tah] Satoru Iwata
- The controller will interact with cards and figurines and possibly could handle micropayments
- Nintendo doesn't store credit card info for the 3DS or the Wii unlike Sony
- Amazon merchant caught offering refunds in exchange for five-star reviews
- VIP Deals, Amazon merchant, offering customers refunds in exchange for 5-star reviews. NYT: customers purchased $9.99 (off $59.99) Kindle Fire case got a letter with shipped case. offer to refund the cost of the order in return for the customer writing a review.
- quote to customers "we strive to earn 100 percent perfect 'FIVE-STAR' scores from you!" 310 out of 335 reviews rated the product 5 stars. Company itself received 4,945 reviews, 4.9 rating out of five.
- NYT contacted Amazon, Amazon says this is against policy, VIP Deals removed from Amazon
- 2 years ago Belkin was caught using Mechanical Turk- $0.65 for positive feedback and also negative feedback on competitors
- FTC rules say if merchant/customer connection might affect customer credibility, it must be fully disclosed. Legacy Learning Systems, which sells music instructional tapes, settled for $250,000 last year over claims it hired affiliates to recommend the videos on Web sites.
- Says RIM CEO: "There is a LOT of Change!"
- New RIM CEO: No, really, there's 'a lot of change' here
- RIM CEO: BlackBerry is a differentiated product, Android OEMs 'are all the same'
- Thorsten Heins -- AUDIO CLIP: CrackBerry: I was talking about drastic or seismic changes. What I was trying to address was that there was some suggestion that RIM should be split up or should even be sold. My true belief is that RIM has the strength and the assets that we can really succeed in this market.
- "What I wanted to make clear to the market is that we believe in our own strength, we are BlackBerry, we are an integrated solution, hardware, software, services, and network," he said.
- Android: "Just take a look where the Android OEMs are ... there is just no room for differentiation because they are all the same."
- The Daily reports it eyeballed prototypes of Asus laptops running Windows 8 that ditched the webcam in favor of a Kinect sensor fitted to the top bezel of the display with LEDs lining the bottom of the display. A Microsoft source told the Daily that the devices were official prototypes. Microsoft will release Kinect for Windows next month.
- Samsung announced very healthy fourth quarter financials with a profit of $4.7 billion, up 16% compared to last year. Revenue for the quarter was $42 billion, up 13%. Samsung no longer states how many smartphones it sold, but did say that shipments of smartphones were up 30% compared to the previous quarter. Estimates from analysts say that means about 36 million units.
- Hey, do you need a new job? Because one just opened up. The first US government chief technology officer Aneesh Chopra has announced he’s stepping down. Chopra has worked on engaging US citizens to use technology and has received bipartisan admiration. The Republican House Majority Leader, and representative for Virginia, Eric Cantor, paid tribute to Chopra and wished him well in a tweet. The Washington Post reports Chopra may run for office in Virginia.
- Andrey Sabelnikov, the Russian security researcher accused by Microsoft of being behind the Kelihos botnet, is sad. Sabelnikov said he's "surprised and shocked" at the accusation and insisted on his blog post that he is "absolutely not guilty," and plans to prove his innocence in court. Richard Boscovich, Microsoft's senior attorney for the company's digital crime unit said "We look forward to seeing Mr Sabelnikov in court so we can continue this discussion."
- The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook could file for its IPO as early as next week according to the omniscient "people familiar with the matter." Facebook would be valued somewhere between $75 billion and $100 billion. The company is also looking to friend Morgan Stanley as its lead underwriter (see what I did there? Awful). Facebook and Morgan Stanley aren't saying anything official about this rumor.
- Facebook and Washington State are suing Ascend Media over clickjacking and spreading spam through deceptive tactics. Facebook said that the clickjacking was accomplished by making the 'Like' button invisible and then tricking people to click images overlaid on the invisible button. This led to links appearing on Facebook walls and Ascend Media making up to $1.2 million a month.
- Strategy Analytics recently released data saying that Android tablets now make up 39% of the tablet market, taking some market share from the Apple iPad. Laptop Magazine asked the study's author, Peter King,what percentage of that 39% were the Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet. King clarified that about 40% of the 39% - which means those two comprise a little over 15% of the entire tablet market.
- PocketNow got its hands on the new version of HTC's Android skin, Sense UI for Ice Cream Sandwich. The skin will support landscape mode, Dropbox integration, support for HTC's Beats audio, and a new mail app. HTC also decided to stick to capacitive buttons instead of onscreen ones like on the Galaxy Nexus. The company also added in a three-dimensional task switcher, which PocketNow found "cumbersome."
- The Pirate Party of Catalonia is is taking on the FBI in a Spanish court, claiming legitimate users are owed damages over the closure of Megaupload. The group says the FBI "impeded the access to millions of archives of both private individuals and organizations, potentially causing huge personal, economic and image damages", and also that the investigation may have violated privacy rights. The Pirate Party and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are sharing the contact information of US residents who join the campaign.
- All Things D's: D: Dive into Media conference takes place Jan 30-31st with some big speaker names from Warner Music, Twitter, ESPN, even Neil Young!
- President Obama's Google+ Hangout takes place on Monday. He'll be answering questions submitted to youtube.com/whitehouse and chatting live with chosen guests. Would-be participants have until the 28th to submit.
"Hi gang, love the show (I've listened since episode 1).
A few episodes ago you discussed a woman who was fighting in court to keep from unencrypting her hard drive for the government. I used to investigate criminals with child pornography on their computers. Our biggest fear is that we would confiscate a drive from someone who used true crypt. With true crypt you can use a hidden partition with your very critical data on it and still unencrypt the drive but only unlock the outside container. This way you could give out the key but it would unlock an empty chest (even if there was illegal files in the hidden content).
So if anyone is concerned about this, use true crypt with a hidden partition. Just thought this might shed some light on the situation from a law enforcement perspective.
(Please don't use my name on the air)"
"Tom talked about how the rumored no-used-games feature rumored for the new Xbox 720 in anti-consumer. (I'd agree) But then Tom went on decry the inclusion of a Blu-Ray drive, asking instead for a ""3 Terabyte drive in there and just download all my games."" Or something like that.
To be clear, there's NO aftermarket for downloadable content (that's legal, anyway.) Please try to reconcile these two thoughts, I'm not picking on you, but I think they're meaningful trade-offs that should be considered.
Thanks, love the show,
Rob Maxwell Damascus, MD"
"Hy TNT crew,
after hearing Tom, on episode 423, saying that would be a good idea for carriers to compensate users that would like to extend their contract without buying a device,
I've sent an email to my carrier and asked for this type of business, since my contract is up on febr 14'th and I have 2 unlocked smartphones.
To my surprise, they responded with a 30% minutes increase, added some data and 4 euros down off my current contract.
Best regards / Cu stima Radu Bogdan"
- ad times: :34-:48 and 24:48
- Edited by: Jason
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