Not often that I like to Strumpette, as it’s mostly crap, but in "Exposing-The-Communist-Blogifesto" she really gets so much right. Things really come alive in the comments, such as this one:
With regard to the "conversation," it is inextricably tied to the “flat world” concept. And that is rife with problems.
Here, there’s a Nobel Prize winner that lives in my building. I intimately know a man who has taken college level physics classes. Now in academic circles (very hierarchical) the system can very readily differentiate between the two. In flat world, it just can’t. Slashdot is not an educated jury.
However, the flat world can rally Jeff’’s 6 million people with pitch forks and torches very well. But there’s no depth. That, by definition, is a mob. Mobs like takin property. Mobs like hangins.
Microsoft Monitor: Not Going Phishing.
Overnight, I got a disturbing phishing e-mail, which unsettled my morning.
The e-mail, allegedly from Barclays International, warned that there was an attempt to access my account from an IP address that didn’t correspond to my mailing address. I knew the e-mail was bogus for two reasons: I don’t have a Barclays account and I couldn’t see how the institution would associate an IP and physical address.
My freakdom: The email had my correct home address.
According to a Cnet report, Apple has abandoned its efforts to force web news sites to reveal their sources for a leaked story about Asteroid, a putative Firewire audio interface.
I’m not at all surprised. As I posted previously, the company made a lot of mistakes in its efforts to get the journalists to reveal their sources. Most notably, despite O’Grady et al publishing what it claimed were trade secrets, it did not attach them to the case as defendents – which significantly strengthened their hand. The fact that the company’s filings were also not specific or exhaustive over its efforts to find the leaker without a subpeona sealed things.
The reason that I’m not surprised is that it was these mistakes, rather than arguments over what constitutes a trade secret and a journalist, that made Apple’s case fail. It could, of course, do some comprehensive investigation and return again – but it would need to be very sure of its ground, and I think that it’s just not likely to be worth the legal expense.
MacFixIt notes the release of Boot Camp Beta 1.0.2:
Unfortunately, Apple has provided no documentation regarding enhancements in this release. The disk image download itself has a modification date of July 10th (yesterday) at 9:17 AM, but the files therein — including BootCampAssistant.pkg, the installer for the Boot Camp Assistant — carries a modification date of June 19th.
As I mentioned yesterday, Apple often fails to document its releases properly. I have absolutely no idea why it does this: presumably, it documents these changes internally (at least I hope it does). I can think of no possible reason to not release full documentation on changes for its applications and systems.
Documentation makes the lives of network administrators and those who support Macs much easier. Just Do It, Apple!
I’ve shyed away from writing about the controversy over OS X’s 10.4.7′s "dashboardadvisoryd", which, it seems, checks your installed Dashboard Widgets every few hours against the ones available at Apple.com, to see if they are legitimate. The reason I’ve held back from writing is simply that it wasn’t initially clear what was going on, and what Apple’s response to the controversy would be.
However, now things seem pretty clear. And, while I don’t think that Apple is doing anything that seriously invades anyone’s privacy, the decision to add this feature has been handled badly by the company in a way that reveals something about its priorities.
Many users have a dislike of features that contact companies without permission, which is what dashboardadvisoryd does. It’s not like Software Update, which is optional: you don’t get a choice about it, and there’s no Apple-sanctioned method of turning it off. As JC over at MacGeekery points out, you’re actually giving away less information than you do visiting Apple’s home page with Safari, but this misses the point: the lack of documentation over what dashboardadvisoryd is doing.
Documenting features that involve network traffic isn’t just a courtesy to the technically curious: it’s an essential if your machines are being used in an environment where security and performance are key. Network traffic that’s unknown – where the purpose of it and the contents of it are not documented – tends to ring alarm bells for anyone who takes security very seriously. It’s not the kind of thing that network managers like to see.
Apple could have avoided this issue had it taken its release notes seriously and linked to documentation for dashboardadvisoryd that showed what it was, what it contained, and how to turn it off if you want. Unfortunately, it allowed an incomplete set of release notes to appear that didn’t actually fully explain the new feature. Hopefully, it will learn a lesson from this and start to document its products in a way that’s more helpful.
If you want to see the more shrill side of Mac fandom, look no further than IGM: Microsoft to Release iTunes Spyware.
Microsoft will reportedly introduce what The Inquirer aptly labels ‘volish’ spyware which will scan iTunes libraries and add songs purchased from the iTMS to their Microsoft (presumably URGE) account, engadget reports.
The difference? The tracks will be in .wma format. But their [sic] free. For now.
That’s the bait.
I couldn’t initially find the Inquirer’s story, because IGM doesn’t link to it: it links, instead, to itself – which is a nice way of boosting your page views. Once I did find it (here) I found it was a report on comments over at MacDailyNews. The Inquirer, in fact, doesn’t refer to the plan as "spyware", which is the impression you’d get from the above.
And, of course, the MacDailyNews story is a summary of something Engadget posted (neither of which mention spyware).
MS hope to get you to latch onto their new music service by reeling you in by duplicating the tracks you already own. By definition, this is spyware, pure and simple.
Well, no, it’s not. According to Wikipedia:
Spyware refers to a broad category of malicious software designed to intercept or take partial control of a computer‘s operation without the informed consent of that machine’s owner or legitimate user.
I simply can’t see how what MS is reported to be doing fits in to that category. So, in other words, IGN is simply doing what it often accuses others of doing: spreading FUD. If you want accurate reporting, IGN is obviously NOT the place to go.
I’m something of a font junky, thanks to my history in print, so I was very glad of the chance to see a comprehensive Look at the New Microsoft Fonts at The NeoSmart Files. I actually saw most of these fonts at last year’s Typographica conference (where I also saw the first public look at QuarkXPress 7, a story I wrote up for Publish.com).
At Typographica, Matthew Carter – one of the designers behind the new fonts – gave a talk on them, and the one thing that I remember was his statement that the fonts had been designed with resolution independance in mind: they had to look good from 72dpi upwards, and be extremely readable on high resolution, dense-pixel screens.
I think they’ve done a good job – and in particular I love Calibri.
I’ve been resolutly ignoring the departure of Amanda "Z-List" Congdon from RocketBoom, but, on the principle that everything is funnier in comic form, I point you at Rocketboom the comic.
I love the fact that someone who creates content that never hit more than a million downloads (and more often did around 300,000) can cause such wailing and gnashing of teeth around the Blogosphere, while the same bunch of people nod their head in agreement with Chris Anderson that "the era of the blockbuster is over". By comparison, the best selling album in the US of 2005 (Mariah Carey – people, are you nuts?) sold 6 million copies, closely followed by 50 Cent (nearly 6 million). An average episode of Desperate Housewives reaches 14 million households.
Does this whole video podcasting thing remind anyone else of Warhol’s quote that "in the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes"? I think that Andy would have LOVED all this.
In The Rise and Fall of the Hit Christ Anderson claims the era of the hit is over, and extends this to other forms of content.
I’m going to work on something about this, because my hunch is that Chris is wrong: what’s dying is, in fact, just bad repetitive "more of the same" work. Where something is unique, it does well: look at the 21 million people who watched England’s world cup game with Paraguay in the UK. Of the top 10 box office movies, nine were made in the last ten years, and seven in the past five. When a film like Titanic can make $1.8 billion on sales alone after having cost $200 million to make, there’s still a lot of profit to be made on Blockbusters: it takes an awful lot of small-budget movies to make up a profit of $1.6 billion.
Engadget has this little interesting snippet on Microsoft’s plans to launch a portable music player:
But it gets better. To attract current iPod users Microsoft is going to let you download for free any songs you’ve already bought from the iTunes Music Store. They’ll actually scan iTunes for purchased tracks and then automatically add those to your account. Microsoft will still have to pay the rights-holders for the songs, but they believe it’ll be worth it to acquire converts to their new player.
I’ve banged on for a long time about the lock-in between iPod and iTMS, and this seems like a good way to break it – although an expensive one for Microsoft. Even assuming that David Card’s research is correct and most people have 20 or less iTMS songs on their iPod, that could still work out at around $10 per iPod convert. And of course, it raises the question of whether this will act as a disincentive to buy from Microsoft’s own service (or it’s partners). Why buy from them when you can buy from iTunes, and get the same song on both platforms? Or will the scan be a "one-time-only" thing?