John Gruber (one of the best Mac-related commentators on the web) takes a look at the Think Secret case in Daring Fireball: If The New York Times Jumped Off a Bridge.
Contrary to Think Secret’s statement-as-fact that Apple never would have even “considered” filing suit against The New York Times, I think in fact the opposite is true. If The New York Times, or any other deep-pocketed mainstream publication, had published the same information, obtained in the same way, Apple might have been more likely to file suit than they were against Think Secret.
Sorry John, but this simply isn’t true. In ten years of being a reporter, I’ve covered lots of stories which included so-called "trade secrets", and not once in that time have I been sued (and only once did a company even threaten it). The reason was simple – I worked for companies that had deep pockets, and good legal teams. John’s old enough to remember back to the era of MacWEEK, which covered Apple in exactly the same way and, despite occasionally frosty relations with Apple, never ended up in court.
Link: BBC NEWS | Technology | ‘Legal okay’ for Russian MP3 site.
A Russian website offering MP3 tracks for sale has been cleared of breaching copyright laws, say reports.
Last month the International Federation of the Phonographic Industries (IFPI) urged Russian authorities to take action against AllofMP3.com.
But Moscow prosecutors will not take legal action because Russian copyright laws do not cover digital media, according to news agency Tass.
Oh dear, how sad, never mind.
Link: The Mac Genius Livejournal – The Unofficial Apple Weblog – apple.weblogsinc.com.
Apple’s probably going to be suing LiveJournal next, in order to find out who is behind the brand-spanking new Genius-like LiveJournal, a blog reportedly written by a Mac Genius. The anonymous genius blogger reveals somewhat anti-Apple stances on several issues. For example: ”This sort of thing makes me glad that there are resellers and service providers out there, even though we aren’t doing them any favors. Sure, we won’t give them iPod Shuffles until months after they come out, but hey, we give them OS X themed fridge magnet words!”
Unsurprisingly, the LiveJournal concerned is already gone.
Link: KSU student no pushover for Microsoft. (Registration required)
“Obviously, when I saw they were suing me in federal court, like anyone, I was scared. But that faded pretty quickly when I researched their claims and saw I didn’t do anything wrong,” Zamos said. “Now, I’m not afraid at all.”
Brilliant stuff. A 21 year old student gets taken to court by the world’s largest software corporation, does some research, finds out the charges against him are baseless, and files a countersuit – all on his own. Now Microsoft is offering to drop its suit if he drops his, and he’s refusing until it apologises and pay his photocopying bill for the documents he’s had to file.
Link: F-Secure : News from the Lab.
We’ve found a mobile phone virus that appears to be the first one that replicates via MMS messages.
MMS stands for Multimedia Messaging Service. These are text messages that include an image, audio or video. MMS messages are sent from one phone to another or to email.
Phone viruses so far have been spreading over Bluetooth – so they only affected phones that were nearby. A MMS virus can potentially go global in minutes, just like email worms do.
This is bad, bad news. I’ve found that the level of knowledge of mobile phone viruses is incredibly low, even among techinically-knowledgable users. Ease of spreading, plus low levels of knowledge, equal a bad outbreak.
Former journalist and now Jupiter analyst Joe Wilcox has taken a long hard look at the ruling that Think Secret, AppleInsider and PowerPage are not protected by California’s journalist shield law in What Is Legitimate Press?. Joe gets it spot on here:
According to a story over at today’s SilconValley.com, a judge has preliminarily ruled that California’s journalist shield law does not apply to three Websites–AppleInsider, PowerPage and ThinkSecret–subpoenaed by Apple. According to the story, Apple contended that protections against revealing sources only applies to "legitimate members of the press," a position the judge apparently accepted in his preliminary ruling.
The question unanswered by the preliminary ruling: What are legitimate members of the press? It’s custom for a news outlet to credit one of its peers for breaking a story. I can think of several print publications–all arguably legitimate press–that credited ThinkSecret for breaking news on iPod mini. I would think that other legitimate members of the press regarding at least one of these sites as legitimate press to be enough validation.
Apple’s view of what counts as "legitimate press" is simple: it’s anyone that only prints what they want printed. At one Macworld Expo a few years ago, I was initially refused press credentials – on Apple’s instructions – because MacUser was "a rumour site". Given that it’s the oldest established print magazine in the UK covering the Mac market, you can imagine how interesting I found that. Thankfully, we were able to get some senior Apple Europe people to straighten things out, but the message was clear enough: Apple will only recognise as press those who print what it likes.
(As an aside, I’m told that Apple has improved in this regard recently.)
The notion that Nick Ciarelli, for example, is not a legitimate journalist is not only absurd but borders on a professional slur. Nick does better investigative journalism than 99% of the journalists I know. In an age when most journalists covering businesses are poodles who do little more than rewrite press releases, he’s not afraid to go after the real story. He certainly knows more about journalism than the judge in this case, who appears to have simply taken what Apple said as gospel truth and failed to actually bother to consult with any experts on journalism.
I can only hope this gets overturned on appeal. If it doesn’t, it’s a dark day for real, investigative trade journalism.
Matt Webb: apples powerbook (4 March 2005, Interconnected).
Apple’s PowerBook laptops now have a little accelerometer inside that’s used to protect the hard drive if you drop it (it notices the sudden speed increase and parks the drive heads). This guy has found a way to tap into the sudden motion sensor, and Timo was just round my house with his brand new PowerBook, so we spent a few minutes of looking at the stuff on that site (a window that rotates so it’s always the right way up). Then we saw there was a little tool that gives you the angle of the machine in three dimensions. Aha. (I love accelerometers.)
Incidentally, Matt’s the author of the marvellous Mind Hacks and is going to be at speaking at Foyle’s book shop in London on 23 March.
Link: Om Malik on Broadband � iMac G5 Meltdown.
Friends of mine have pinged me with news that iMac G5 machines are having a meltdown. Apparently, the machines have been a hit with corporate users who are snapping up these puppies. However, most corporate employees tend to leave their computers powered up overnight. This is resulting in overheating and resulting in power supply brownouts and fan problems. Anyone else hear this news? I wonder, the popularity of everything Apple is resulting in technical problems all the time. I had the same problems with iPods in the past.
Anyone know anything about this?
Observer Blog nails the cyclical nature of the debate about the BBC, in We love the beeb, kind of.
More than one editor observed that this is part of a cyclical debate in orbit around the beeb. It starts with the demand that they ignore the populist temptation to poach commercial viewers with crowd-pleasing TV-candy, preferring serious Reithian pursuits. The ratings duly fall. Then comes the argument that low ratings indicate a lack of popular engagement and, hard on its heels, the argument that the licence fee as currently configured is not justified since it amounts to a subsidy of minority viewing. So the BBC goes back to chasing ratings for ratings’ sake, at which point it is attacked for queering the competitive pitch. And so on.
Link: Yahoo! News – Microsoft Showcases Robots to Watch Kids.
The teddy bear sitting in the corner of the child’s room might look normal, until his head starts following the kid around using a face recognition program, perhaps also allowing a parent talk to the child through a special phone, or monitor the child via a camera and wireless Internet connection.
Does the teddy in the photo on this page remind anyone else of Teddy from "AI"?