Archive for June 17th, 2012

Why The New Macbook Pro’s Repair Problems Matter

Kyle Wiens at iFixit and Wired took apart the new Macbook Pro the other day, and he was dismayed by what he saw. This was the least repairable laptop he had ever encountered. Apple had soldered together just about everything it could, glued the battery to the frame and presented the display as a single, expensive piece.

In a column in Wired today, Wiens compares the new Macbook Pro to the Macbook Air, which sacrificed upgradeability and reparability in pursuit of thinness and sold millions as a result. The success of this model, he argues, has broad consequences for the industry, and the environment:

The success of the non-upgradeable Air empowered Apple to release the even-less-serviceable iPad two years later: The battery was glued into the case. And again, we voted with our wallets and purchased the device despite its built-in death clock. In the next iteration of the iPad, the glass was fused to the frame.

 

For products like the iPhone, the iPad, and now the Macbook pro, the marketing strategy is all about magic. These are not collections of electronics in a case, it says, these are whole, perfect units that serve as conduits to a world of possibility. At least, until they break and the next unit comes out. Then they’re pathetic dinosaurs.

For Apple, planned obsolescence is like a religion — it’s able to do that because it makes fantastic products that people want, and it’s a master of hype and ceremony. Its products are very expensive, but it sells to people that want the intellectual ease that comes with having a smooth, shiny Apple product. I don’t spend a lot of time upgradeing my computers or thinking about what’s inside of them, and for consumers like me, Apple is perfect.

It isn’t that Apple has no upgradeable products, argues Wiens. It’s that consumers have overwhelmingly chosen to support thinner, easier products over more durable and powerful ones. Apple is applying this principle to the new Macbook Pro.

It’s not surprising – for years, Apple has profited from taking the tangled mess of electronics that constituted computers and presenting them in easily understandable products. This is the natural outcome of that process. For Wiens, support for products like this encourage the disposability of high-end electronics.

Every time we buy a locked down product containing a non-replaceable battery with a finite cycle count, we’re voicing our opinion on how long our things should last. But is it an informed decision? When you buy something, how often do you really step back and ask how long it should last? If we want long-lasting products that retain their value, we have to support products that do so.

 

 

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Newmail screenshots leaked

Screenshot 1

 

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British LulzSec Hacker Indicted in U.S. Won`t Face Immediate Extradition

U.S. officials say they have no immediate plans to extradite British citizen Ryan Cleary to face federal charges that he hacked into the Web sites of a several major U.S. companies.

Accused LulzSec hacker Ryan Cleary may not face extradition in connection with his recent indictment in the United States.

Cleary, who is a British citizen, is facing charges in the U.K. related to distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against the country’s Serious Organized Crime Agency Web sites as well as other sites.

On June 12, a grand jury in California returned an indictment against Cleary alleging he ran a botnet used to launch DDoS attacks on behalf of Lulz Security, also known as LulzSec. LulzSec registered on law enforcement’s radar in 2011 after a number of high-profile DDoS attacks targeting companies such as SONY Entertainment and the CIA. The group publicized its exploits on Twitter.

According to U.K.-based newspaper The Daily Telegraph, a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy said the U.S. “is not making any request of the UK regarding Ryan Cleary’s extradition at this time.”

Cleary’s attorney, Karen Todner, was quoted as saying that any attempt to extradite Cleary would be “fiercely contested.” ”Mr. Cleary suffers from Asperger’s syndrome and is on the autistic spectrum and extradition to the United States is totally undesirable,” she said.

The indictment in the U.S. alleges Cleary hacked into Fox’s website and stole confidential information belonging to people auditioning for a television show called “The X-Factor.” Clearly is also accused of attacking SONY Entertainment to steal information and hacking PBS’s website after PBS aired a documentary he believed to be critical of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

The indictment against Cleary in the U.S. follows charges being brought earlier this year against six people involved in a series of attacks. Among those charged was Xavier Monsegur of New York City, also known as Sabu, who was also revealed to have been a government informant after secretly pleading guilty to last August to his involvement in attacks on HBGary and HBGary Federal as well as Sony, Fox, PBS and Infragard Members Alliance.

Cleary faces a maximum of 25 years in prison if he is eventually tried and convicted of the charges in the United States.

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Ubisoft registers various movie-oriented Watch Dogs domains

The Hollywood rumor mill overflowed into our own yesterday when Deadline reported that Ubisoft is in talks with Paramount and Warner Bros. over the possibility of a Splinter Cell movie. Now it seems that may not be the only film franchise the French publisher is considering, as a cache of Watch Dogs movie URLs have been uncovered by the domain sleuths at Fusible . All registered by Ubisoft, the domain names in question (WatchDogsmovie.com, WatchDogsthemovie.com, Watch-Dogsmovie.com, Watch-Dogsthemovie.com) seem to indicate that the possibility of a Watch Dogs film has crossed Ubisoft’s hive mind, or at the very least that it wants to guard against potential domain squatters should a movie ever enter production in the future.

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Draw Something game show pilot coming to CBS

CBS will team up with Zynga to produce a pilot for a primetime gameshow based on the mobile game Draw Something . CBS beat a number of other networks in a bidding war to take on the Sony Pictures Television, Embassy Row, and Ryan Seacrest Productions project. Ryan Seacrest, Michael Davies, and RSP CEO Adam Sher are teaming up as executive producers on the project. The show has players and celebrities use their drawing skills to win money. Seacrest’s website added that “viewers at home will also be able play along and compete with for prizes using phones and tablets, ushering in a new era in game show viewing.” Seacrest is not anticipated to be the host of the show, according to Variety .

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Final Fantasy now available on Windows Phone

Dictionary.com defines an anachronism as “something or someone that is not in its correct historical or chronological time, especially a thing or person that belongs to an earlier time.” A steam-powered car on an interstate highway, for instance, would be an anachronism. Similarly, playing a game that dramatically pre-dates the technology you’re playing it on is delightfully anachronistic. Case in point, 1987’s Final Fantasy is now available for Windows Phone. The $6.99 app works on Windows Phone devices running Mango or newer and supports four languages: English, French, Chinese and Japanese. It also allows ancient cave-people like the Joystiq staff to reflect on how far technology has come, and gives young whippersnappers a chance to impress their friends by pretending to remember a game that came out before they were born.

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Facebook to launch ad bidding system

San Francisco/New York: Facebook Inc. plans to introduce real-time bidding for advertising on its site, a technology used by Google Inc. and other Web firms to more effectively target ads to consumers.

“The service, Facebook Exchange, will let advertisers reach specific types of users on the social network based on their browsing history,” Annie Ta, a company spokeswoman, said in an interview on Wednesday. “Prices will be based on the cost per thousand viewers and spots will be sold via third-party technology partners. It will debut within weeks.”

Facebook has tumbled 28% since its stock market debut last month, a decline caused in part by concern that ad revenue growth isn’t keeping pace with surging membership. The company brought in $3.15 billion (Rs. 17,580 crore today)
from advertising last year and has introduced mobile ads and other services to boost sales.

The firm “is hoping to use that inventory on the right side of the page to deliver advertising that is more targeted”, Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at New York-based eMarketer Inc, said.

With Facebook Exchange, marketers will be able to target people who have perused certain kinds of websites in the past based on cookies, or small pieces of code, that can track activities on the Web. For example, users who have visited travel sites to research trips to Hawaii may later see a promotion on Facebook about hotels in Hawaii.

An increasing portion of display ad sales are driven by this type of technology. Real-time bidding will account for about $5.08 billion, or 27%, of the projected $18.9 billion to be spent on American online display ads in the US in 2015, according to researcher IDC. Last year, real-time bids generated $1.07 billion, or 9.8%, of display ad sales.

Facebook’s shares rose in extended trading on Wednesday, after earlier falling less than 1% to $27.27 at the close in New York.

The company’s technology partners for selling ads based on user browsing patterns include TellApart Inc., Turn Inc., Triggit, DataXu Inc., MediaMath Inc., AppNexus Inc., the Trade Desk Inc. and AdRoll.com, Ta said. Facebook has started placing cookies on the Internet browsers of its members, which will be used by its partners to identify members of the social network, Ta added. While there isn’t a way to opt out of this tracking on Facebook’s site, the outside vendors will give users an opportunity to block cookies.

The new bidding process is designed to help advertisers deliver more time-sensitive messages. Advertisers now target users on Facebook based on the interests they list in their profiles and the pages they “like” on the site. The firm will continue to offer these ads, and such interests won’t be used as part of the real-time bidding exchange, Ta said.

As its stock declines amid concerns about sales growth, Facebook has been working to show advertisers that its website is an effective way to reach customers.

Brian Womack in San Francisco and Lisa Rapaport in New York contributed to this story.

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Weekly changes in Facebook stock prices

On its first day of trading, Facebook Inc.’s stock closed barely above its public offering price. It gained 23 cents, or 0.6 percent, to close at $38.23. Since then, the stock price has fallen each week — until now.

Here’s are the closing prices each week since the first day of trading on May 18:

— May 25: Closed at $31.91, down 17 percent for the week.

— June 1: Closed at $27.72, down 13 percent for the week.

— June 8: Closed at $27.10, down 2 percent for the week.

— June 15: Closed at $30.01, up 11 percent for the week.

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Facebook to pay $10 million to settle suit

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook Inc has agreed to pay $10 million t o charity to settle a lawsuit that accused the site of violating users’ rights to control the use of their own names, photographs and likenesses, according to court documents made public over the weekend.

The lawsuit, brought by five Facebook members, alleged the social networking site violated California law by publicizing users’ “likes” of certain advertisers on its “Sponsored Stories” feature without paying them or giving them a way to opt out, the documents said.

A “Sponsored Story” is an advertisement that appears on a member’s Facebook page and generally consists of another friend’s name, profile picture and an assertion that the person “likes” the advertiser.

The settlement was reached last month but made public this weekend. Facebook declined to comment on Saturday.

The proposed class-action lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Jose, California, could have included nearly one of every three Americans, with billions of dollars in damages, according to previous court documents.

In the lawsuit, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg was quoted as saying that a trusted referral was the “Holy Grail” of advertising.

In addition, the lawsuit cited comments from Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, saying that the value of a “Sponsored Story” advertisement was at least twice and up to three times the value of a standard Facebook.com ad without a friend endorsement.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh said the plaintiffs had shown economic injury could occur through Facebook’s use of their names, photographs and likenesses.

“California has long recognized a right to protect one’s name and likeness against appropriation by others for their advantage,” Koh wrote.

The settlement arrangement is known as a cy-pres settlement, meaning the settlement funds can go to charity.

The case in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California is Angel Fraley et al., individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated vs. Facebook Inc., 11-cv-1726.

Facebook shares closed at $30.01 on Friday, down 21 percent since the company’s initial public offering last month.

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