Blog Archives

Here’s a small audio project for you and your iPhone:

I found this on Boing Boing the other day and it seemed to me an awfully clever idea: How to make a sort-of speaker for your iPhone.

It uses the cardboard toilet paper roll center that we usually just throw away. You just cut a slit in the middle that’s big enough to stick your iPhone in (speakers down, of course) and when you play music or radio or podcasts it’s like having an amplifier.

Try it. It takes about five minutes, Here’s what it looks like:

Love it.

 

Apple Computer may be acquiring Twitter

 

This was on Reuters‘ web site this morning:

(Reuters) – Apple Inc (AAPL.O) held discussions in recent months about possibly investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Twitter to gain a social networking presence, the New York Times on Friday, cited people briefed on the matter as saying.

The iPhone and iPad maker, which has never delved deeply into a social media space dominated by Facebook Inc (FB.O), at one point considered an investment that would have valued the microblogging service at $10 billion but the two were not in negotiations now, the newspaper reported.

Apple declined comment. Twitter did not respond to requests for comment on the deal, which the newspaper said might presage closer ties between the two.

Let’s keep an eye on this. It could be a big deal.

 

I’ve never missed a week of blogging since I started eight years ago…

Being in the hospital is no fun whatsoever…

…but this past week my record was shattered…as was my car and (almost) me, too.

It started last Friday when I was driving down to the Apple Store in Bethesda to get the trackpad fixed on my MacBookPro. On the way I had a car accident (if you don’t mind I’ll leave out the details) which put me in the Hospital for four days. I’m OK now…a little ribcage pain where the airbag hit… and looking forward to restarting things.

My mother and sister took care of my laptop… just got it back an hour ago… and I can get back to Under The LobsterScope. At least some things work out.

There’ll be some new posts pretty soon… just give me a chance to get it together again.

- Bill

An evening revelation…

It’s been so long that I’ve seen a rainbow… but, as Elly and I pulled into the parking lot of the Mountain View Diner in Charles Town, there it was… fuzzy in the clouds as the sun behind me was beginning to set.

I took a quick photo with my iPhone:

A little out of focus, but that’s what the air felt like.

Wednesday Night Graphic Amusement…

My friend Cecil sent me a ton of these, for which I thank him. I can only put a few up tonight, but more will come later in the week (Cec, there are soooo many of them!).

WORLD’s Best Graffiti:

 

 

 

 

 

 

WOW!

On my older MacBook and life has slowed down…

White MacBook laptop

My regular MacBook is sitting alone on the kitchen table awaiting a call from Apple tech Services at 2:00 this afternoon. This morning I changed the case bottom on it (second one I’ve had to put on do to the “warping” problem this model has… new base was at Apple’s expense since they know they have put a less than perfect machine out here) and after I replaced it, sticking point for point on Apple’s instructions, and turned the machine on, the network wouldn’t connect. The error message was that “the Airport card is missing,” which is unusual since I didn’t touch any Airport card… just took off te old base and put on the new one.

I’M ALMOST CERTAIN THAT APPLE WILL FIND A WAY TO COST ME MONEY HERE. They always eind a way.

Meanwhile, my older book is back in service (Elly has been using it but her new MacBook Pro came in yesterday.)  Hope your day is going better than mine.

Easter… I’m over at my daughter’s house…

Both my daughters, Cassandra and Penny, are at Penny’s house for Easter with all my grandsons. So that’s where I am this morning.

Image representing Adobe Flash as depicted in ...

I’m on Penny’s Mac and she uses Safari which I can never really get used to (I’m a Firefox guy)… I started on her iPad, but since I use a lot of  Adobe’s Flash on my blog, the Home

Page won’t even come up.  Anyway, here I am stumbling my way through.

We’re all going over to Blue Moon for lunch, then Cassandra, Matthew, and my grandson, Milo, are heading back on the 4-hour drive to Connecticut. Milo has school tomorrow and they need to get back early enough so he gets some sleep tonite.

Elly and I, of course, don’t really celebrate Easter, being certified non-believers, but seeing the kids ransack their Easter baskets is a treat. I grew up in the Easter season when mu father sold Easter baskets in his drugstore and we set up at home for about a month making them… filling them with candy and a big chocolate rabbit in the middle, then putting colored cellophane and a bow on them. What I remember most, heh heh, was sneaking into the dining room where we made the baskets, and taking candies from the stacks and stacks of boxes we got from the distributor. And there was a HUGE box of loose jellybeans… my favorite… to grab a handful from.

I look at that now from my position as an aging diabetic and realize that I’ve gotten my just reward.

I’ll be back later to update the blog.

Al Franken vs. Steve Jobs: Why are you tracking our locations?

Your iPhone may be tracking your every move and Senator Al Franken, with Congressman Ed Markey, has set out to do something about it.

From HuffPo:

Researchers found that iPhones and iPads track and record users’ locations by latitude and longitude, sometimes hundreds of times a day, for up to a year, storing the file in an unencrypted format on the device.

Franken highlights some of the potential dangers of this system, noting someone in possession of a stolen iPhone or iPad could “easily download and map out a customer’s precise movements for months at a time.” The senator also points out that there’s no indication the software can tell the difference between minors and adults meaning that “the millions of children and teenagers who use iPhone or iPad devices also risk having their location collected and compromised.”

I’m going to reproduce Franken’s letter to Apple Chairman Steve Jobs here:

Mr. Steve Jobs
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 90514

Dear Mr. Jobs, 

Sen. Al Franken

I read with concern a recent report by security researchers that Apple’s iOS 4 operating system is secretly compiling its customers’ location data in a file stored on iPhones, 3G iPads, and every computer that users used to “sync” their devices. According to the researchers, this file contains consumers’ latitude and longitude for every day they used an iPhone or 3G iPad running the iOS 4 operating system-sometimes logging their precise geo-location up to 100 times a day. The researchers who discovered this file found that it contained up to a year’s worth of data, starting from the day they installed the iOS 4 operating system. What is even more worrisome is that this file is stored in an unencrypted format on customers’ iPads, iPhones, and every computer a customer has used to back up his or her information. See Alasdair Allen & Pete Warden, Got an iPhone or 3G iPad? Apple is Recording Your Moves (Apr. 20, 2011), available at http://radar.oreilly.com/2011/04/apple-location-tracking.html. 

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The existence of this information stored in an unencrypted format-raises serious privacy concerns. The researchers who uncovered this file speculated that it generated location based on cell phone triangulation technology. If that is indeed the case, the location available in this file is likely accurate to 50 meters or less. See Testimony of Michael Amarosa, Before the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, June 24, 2010 at page 7 available at http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/pdf/Amarosa100624.pdf. Anyone who gains access to this single file could likely determine the location of a user’s home, the businesses he frequents, the doctors he visits, the schools his children attend, and the trips he has taken-over the past months or even a year. Cf: People v. Weaver, 909 N.E.2d 1195, 1199- 1200 (N.Y. 2009) (“What this technology yields and records with breathtaking quality and quantity is a highly detailed profile, not simply of where we go, but by easy inference, of our associations … and of the pattern of our professional and avocational pursuits.”). 

Moreover, because this data is stored in multiple locations in an unencrypted format, there are various ways that third parties could gain access to this file. Anyone who finds a lost or stolen iPhone or iPad or who has access to any computer used to sync one of these devices could easily download and map out a customer’s precise movements for months at a time. It is also entirely conceivable that malicious persons may create viruses to access this data from customers’ iPhones, iPads, and desktop and laptop computers. There are numerous ways in which this information could be abused by criminals and bad actors. Furthermore, there is no indication that this file is any different for underage iPhone or iPad users, meaning that the millions of children and teenagers who use iPhone or iPad devices also risk having their locationcollected and compromised. An estimated 13% of the 108 million iPhones and 19 million iPad devices sold are used by individuals under the age of 18, although some of these devices may not have been upgraded to iOS4. See AdMob, Admob Mobile Metrics Report at 5 (Jan. 2010), available at htt://metrics.admob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/AdMob-Mobile-Metrics-Jan-10.pdf; Complaint of Apple Inc. v. Samsung Electronics CV-11-1846 at 4-5 (N.D. Cal. Apr. 15, 2011).

These developments raise several questions:

  1. Why does Apple collect and compile this location data? Why did Apple choose to initiate tracking this data in its iOS 4 operating system?
  2. Does Apple collect and compile this location data for laptops?
  3. How is this data generated? (GPS, cell tower triangulation, WiFi triangulation, etc.)
  4. How frequently is a user’s location recorded? What triggers the creation of a record of someone’s location?
  5. How precise is this location data? Can it track a user’s location to 50 meters, 100 meter, etc.?
  6. Why is this data not encrypted? What steps will Apple take to encrypt this data?
  7. Why were Apple consumers never affiamtely informed of the collection and retention of their location data in this manner? Why did Apple not seek affirmative consent before doing so?
  8. Does Apple believe that this conduct is permissible under the terms of its privacy policy? See Apple Privacy Policy at “Location-based Services” (accessed on April 20, 2011), available at www.apple.com/privacy.
  9. To whom, if anyone, including Apple, has this data been disclosed. When and why were these disclosures made?

I would appreciate your prompt response to these questions and thank you for your attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Al Franken

United States Senator

So the next time you make a call on your iPhone or bring up the web on your iPad, you should realize that you are not alone. And, by the way, if you thought you were beating the location cache problem by buying an Android device, you should be aware that they have been found to cache location data in a similar manner.
Gotcha!

Cheers for Steve Jobs…

…who appeared today unexpectedly (he’s on medical absence at Apple) to present the new iPad.

Steve said:

“We’ve been working on this product for a while and I didn’t want to miss today.”

…and I, for one, am glad he didn’t.

Black Friday

OK… this is the big shopping day beginning the Christmas Season and Elly and I are off to visit my mother in Manassas. On the way we are going to stop at the Apple Store at Tyson’s Corner and take a look at IPhones, which Elly wants to move up to (so do I).

I’m waiting for her to get back from a morning appointment so we can leave… meanwhile I’ve been browsing the Apple Store on line… turns out that today is the only sale event they are having all year (Apple never does “sales”… they cut the prices of things when new models come out. Today is different.)

What I don’t understand is what the real costs are through AT&T… even though we currently get our cellphone service from them. I see so many things quoted on the net I don’t know what to think. Perhaps today we’ll get everything straightened out.

Today was release day for Apple’s iPad… looks like 150,000 sold so far

That doesn’t seem like a lot to me somehow. Then again, using Easter weekend as the sales time might not have been the best move (100,000 of the iPads were actually pre-ordered, so the day only sales are even lower than expected).

Well, I don’t have one… and, as I sit here entering this on my MacBook, I don’t think I will be likely to get one in the near future. I have seen neither the need nor the affordability to make it a go.

Let’s give it some time, though. After all, I still can’t afford an iPhone.

________________

UPDATE:

CBS Sunday Morning said 700,000 sold. Don’t have a source for those figures however.

As I predicted… here’s what meets you at the top of the NY Times Web Site…

And there’s Steve Jobs with the new “iPad”. BTW, when I went here at 4:25 PM, there was nothing at the top of the Times page about Pelosi saying she could bring in the House on the Senate’s Health Care Bill.

Cheers for independent blogs!

clipped from www.nytimes.com

Apple’s chief executive, Steven P. Jobs, introduced the iPad on Wednesday in San Francisco.


Apple Reveals the iPad Tablet

Steven P. Jobs said the new iPhone-like tablet computer, starting at $499, is prime for video, music and e-books.

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