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The iPhone dead strip August 17, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in iPhone, Issues.
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An increasing number of iPhone users have been reporting numb spots or dead strips on the touchscreens of their phones, either on the top or bottom portions of the screen, and London-based analyst Richard Windsor from Nomura International says it could become more widespread.

Windsor says Apple bought the touchscreen technology from a Finnish firm that now reports that prolonged and constant usage might lead to unresponsive display problems in about three to six months of extensive use.

Users report on Apple forums that Apple quietly replaces units with these problems with no questions asked, indicating that they are aware of the problem. As we approach the estimated time range where these dead areas might start showing up, expect more reports of these dead strips soon, if it really is a problem.

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Canada: iPod Tax? July 22, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in iPods, Issues, News.
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It seems that everything’s gone wrong

Since Canada came along

Blame Canada!

– Blame Canada/South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

I’ll be darned. Canada‘s charging an iPod Tax now.

The Copyright Board of Canada has approved a measure where digital media players and storage devices must be taxed on the assumption that they will be using copyrighted material, and that people who create these material need to be given their due.

Canadian Private Copyright Collective board member David Basskin says “We’d all like lots of things to be free. But those who create the music deserve to be compensated. When you go and buy an iPod, the retailer gets paid. So you can’t say that the people who make the music should get a free ride.” Eh?

This movement was begun in February by several industry alliances and councils who initially asked that levies be increased on recordable CDs and rewritable media like SD cards, including iPods and similar players. Logically, this would extend to any device that can play audio files, which will include computers and cellphones. The additional tax is there on the assumption that Canadians will be playing pirated material, and put there so that those wronged will get their due regardless. Double eh?

So does this mean that since the tax will be there, Canadians can now pirate with impunity? Hey, you guys paid for the right already, right?

If this becomes a trend (which I seriously doubt), blame Canada indeed.

More from Ars Technica.

iPhone Gotchas! July 11, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in iPhone, Issues.
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Almost two weeks in, the novelty of the social, cultural and technological phenomenon known as the iPhone is fading and reality is starting to bite. A million new users are waking up and looking at their purchase with a more critical eye, and some are not liking what they see. Aside from a few glaring design and OS shortcomings, there are an alarming number of other things coming to light.

It’s not all bad news, like the previous hullabaloo in the media about the battery only lasting for approx. 400 charges – not true; after 400 charges, it’ll work at 80% capacity or lower, but will still work fine, like most other gadgets. But there are other gotchas, though, big and small.

For example:

  • It’s got an onerous Battery Replacement Policy. See this previous post.
  • You can’t use an existing AT&T SIM in an iPhone. (Oddly, the new SIM that comes with the iPhone can work in other phones.)
  • If you buy it and use it outside the USA on roaming for two months straight, Apple/AT&T will brick your iPhone. It’ll have to come home every now and then to renew its citizenship/residency status. Meaning, if you are one of those tourists who bought one and activated it in the US but plan to bring it home, you’d better pony up the US$175 termination fee, or else be the proud owner of a US$600 paperweight beginning September. (Which begs the question, will iPhones activated outside of the AT&T/iTunes procedure automatically brick themselves after two months? Hmm. Food for thought.)

There’s lots lots more in the fine print. Look here for the rest.

True Tech Stories May 3, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Issues, People.
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As Editor-in-Chief of Mobile Philippines and former EIC of PC Magazine Philippines (yes, Mac fanboy, I was – don’t shoot me), I feel keenly about honesty and integrity in doing reviews. It’s a tough balancing act, believe me. But no compromises if push comes to shove.

The award-winning 12-year-running Editor-in-Chief of PC World Magazine in the United States, Harry McCracken, resigned yesterday over disagreements with his publishers regarding stories that criticize advertisers, according to Wired. Apparently McCracken’s boss, CEO Colin Crawford, killed a story still in draft form because it was criticizing a client. McCracken wouldn’t hear of it and resigned. Bravo!

So why is this story of the PC World editor quitting his job in a Mac blog?

The story that was killed was Ten Things We Hate About Apple.

Ahhhh.

The story was supposedly “light fare, just really innocuous stuff. The same kinds of things that people have said about Apple before — things that teased Steve Jobs,” according to the Wired source. The backstory gets even more interesting. Crawford, who has just been with PC World for a month, was former CEO of MacWorld (which is part of IDG, the same company that also owns PC World), and according to other sources, back then was called up by Steve Jobs every time there was a story critical of Apple. The plot thickens.

I don’t really know what to make of this yet; all I know is it’s sobering to see the dark and ugly side of our little world.

Cock-eyed view April 28, 2007

Posted by reverseengineer in Issues.
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Was reading an opinion column on MacNewsWorld over my oatmeal this morning and was struck at how my fanboy-ism tends to tint my Apple glasses too rosy sometimes.

I wrote a post the other day about how nice Apple was to declare all updates and software feature additions for the iPhone for free, and how this makes Apple stand head and shoulders above all other companies. Crowding Jobs & Friends on a pedestal is really one of the weaknesses of sideline commentators like me with questionable objectivity, i.e. Macheads.

In “When it comes to spin-doctoring, Apple has a PhD” by Vern Seward in The Mac Observer, Mr. Seward observes that yeah, Apple is giving that stuff away for free, but look deeper, fanboy – all they’re actually saying is that they can’t finish the iPhone they way they planned, so they will release it on sked anyway, and just catch up later on by adding the stuff that should have been on it in the first place in future “updates”.

Spin doctors indeed.

I didn’t see the forest for the trees. Of course that makes sense! Why didn’t I see that? I’m disappointed in Jobs & Friends, but more in myself that I was so ready to ride the spin. Damned sycophantic fanboy. Hmph!

Gotta learn to look at things cock-eyed now and then, especially where Stevie’s concerned; he’s been known to pull a fast one. Or two. In the end, Vern pulls the punch a bit (I guess he’s a fanboy like me) but the points have been made. (Speaking of cock-eyed views, this shows Apple’s and Steve’s doctorate degree in spinning; Bill, try as he might, has nothing on the folks at Cupertino in this department. Apple wins again.)

It’s an excellent, incisive piece, with much more analysis and observations that make sense. Great read, and you can see it for yourself here.

Shows how much I got to learn.