Monthly Archives

October 2013


October 31, 2013

Touch ID takes hardware security to new levels

It was then discovered that the Touch ID sensor currently in the device was not the original one that came in the device. Once the original was returned, Touch ID started working again.

At this point, we knew there had to be some additional, previously undisclosed, hardware lockdown going on. To test this theory, we took two iPhone 5s handsets that had never been opened before, and verified Touch ID was working on both. The front assemblies, which contain the Touch ID assembly itself, were then removed and swapped. After re-assembly, both Touch ID setups failed. When returned to the original device, Touch ID once again operated correctly.

This confirmed for us that the Touch ID component cable assembly itself is tied to each individual A7 chip.

This is some absolutely profound hardware security that Apple integrated in their new Touch ID finger print scanner on the iPhone 5s.


October 30, 2013

How Was Supposed to Work and Didn’t

The Obama administration has announced that the federal health exchange Web site, which has been plagued by software problems from the start, would be fixed by the end of November.

This is a well documented and visually pleasing piece by The New York Times. For America’s sake, I hope Obama gets this website up and running ASAP.

The Cost Of Internet In America Is Way Too High

The report found that, for U.S. consumers, the best price available for a 150 Mbps connection is Verizon’s FiOS, which goes for $130 per month in the small group locations where it’s even available. Most international cities were offering comparable service for about $50 a month. Over the summer, Verizon rolled out a new 500 Mbps service in select in American cities for the hefty price tag of $300 a month. By contrast, someone in Paris could get the same level of service for a mere $86. (All dollar figures in the report are adjusted for the cost of living in the cities measured.)

The price of Internet service in Canada is also way too high. Our “Big 3” Internet providers all pretty much charge around the same amount. We essentially get around 25 Mbps down with an 80GB bandwidth  for $54 a month.

Does Life End After 35?

His advice to me: Don’t be in so much of a rush. Be easier on yourself. Comparing yourself to what others are doing is a waste of time.

Life has a new chapter for us at any age.

Apple Makes Big Tablets Beautiful All Over Again

The iPad Air may be a lightweight device physically, but it’s a heavyweight when it comes to performance. Benchmarks tell only one side of the story, and the one that most users will be more interested in is around how the tablet work under normal, everyday usage conditions. Put simply, Apple’s latest iPad soars.

It’s unanimous. The new iPad Air is a clear winner. I will be picking one up this Friday.

Adobe: Hacker attach much bigger than previously disclosed

Adobe Systems Inc. said on Tuesday that the scope of a cyber-security breach disclosed nearly a month ago was far bigger than initially reported, with attackers obtaining data on more than 38 million customer accounts.

The software maker also said that hackers had stolen part of the source code to Photoshop editing software that is widely used by professional photographers.

This ongoing crisis at Adobe is heading even more south. Terrible news for industry professionals.

Mac Pro, Ara, and Modularity

Inevitability has caught up with us. We’ve pushed hard to keep modularity around as long as possible. I’ll certainly miss it, as I’m currently typing this article on a computer that’s quite literally a pile of parts on my desk.

But in the end, it’s the right step. I’d rather make improvements to speed, power consumption, size, and cost than keep the bottleneck of modularity around. Apple has made one of the first large steps away from modular computing, and while it’s certainly not their first time doing so, they’re going to have an uphill battle initially. At some point though, modular computers and devices simply wont be able to keep up with specs of closed systems. Precision factory manufactured machines will outperform what home builds are capable of.

Interesting perspective. I know people would prefer one or the other. One group is always fascinated with being able to tinker and upgrade parts of their computers when need be. On the other hand, I know professional photographers and designers who don’t know or want to know how to do these things. They just want to crush and push their computers to the limits as much as they can.


October 28, 2013

Cheapest 150Mbps broadband in big US cities costs 100% more than overseas

In the US, wireless providers are increasingly monetizing data caps by charging users for any data they use beyond their limit.

American greed at its finest. Power equals knowledge. And the internet is fast access to a plethora of knowledge. Obviously, these Internet providers in the US are taking advantage and squeezing as much money as they can from their customers. It makes me sick.

Balky carriers and slow OEMs step aside: Google is defragging Android

This is how you beat software fragmentation. When you can update just about anything without having to push out a new Android version, you have fewer and fewer reasons to bother calling up Samsung and begging them to work on a new update. When the new version of Android brings nothing other than low-level future-proofing, users stop caring about the update.

This is also why Google should stop calling Android “open-sourced” software.

Almost a third of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear Smartwatches sold are being returned

However, in Samsung Galaxy Gear review we found that despite its premium design, the functions and settings it brings to users, especially the lack of social network integration don’t really justify its hefty price of £299.

I’m not surprised in the slightest.


October 24, 2013

Carl Icahn’s Letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook

Just a few days before Apple’s Q4 report, billionaire investor Icahn gave his input to Cook.

We want to be very clear that we could not be more supportive of you, the existing management team, the culture at Apple and the innovative spirit it engenders. The criticism we have as shareholders has nothing to do with your management leadership or operational strategy. Our criticism relates to one thing only: the size and timeframe of Apple’s buyback program. It is obvious to us that it should be much bigger and immediate.

I have no doubt that Icahn has strong confidence in the executives at Apple. His issue is with the board of directors. He continues with:

As we proposed at our dinner, if the company decided to borrow the full $150 billion at a 3% interest rate to commence a tender at $525 per share, the result would be an immediate 33% boost to earnings per share, translating into a 33% increase in the value of the shares, which significantly assumes no multiple expansion. Longer term (in three years) if you execute this buyback as proposed, we expect the share price to appreciate to $1,250, assuming the market rewards EBIT growth of 7.5% per year with a more normal market multiple of 11x EBIT.

While, this in theory will boost AAPL shares to a new high of $1,250 per stock. Is this really what needs to be done? Shouldn’t Apple be using this large amount of cash to acquire companies and new technologies? Or at least a combination of both buyback and acquisitions?

Finally, a bill to end patent trolling

The bill would require patent holders to lay out details about their infringement case early in a lawsuit, and would require the loser of a patent suit to pay legal fees unless they could show that the case was “substantially justified.” It would expand a program to allow for the review of “business method” patents at the US Patent and Trademark Office, a key request by CCIA that has not been without controversy. And the bill would also allow customers or end users of a technology to stay a lawsuit while the patent holder and the manufacturer battle it out. That would prevent patent trolls from pulling moves like one last month, where a judge let Lodsys dodge Apple’s lawyers— while it continues to threaten iOS developers.

The patent system is broken. No question. Hopefully, this will end all of the wasted sums of money, time and energy by these companies. And maybe they can get back to doing something more productive.

HTC One Max Fingerprint Scanner

The new technology is a major feature of HTC’s behemoth phablet, and it mostly performs the way the company intended. But HTC failed to take into account everyday usability, which is a huge shame—planting it on the back is just plain awkward; it’s a huge oversight that greatly diminishes a stand out feature.

This is a prime example of what separates Apple from the rest. The design of the scanner on the new HTC device is so terrible. Why would anyone in their right mind place the camera lens right above where users are supposed to slide their fingers?

Google breaks 2005 promise never to show banner ads in search results

Google’s decision to start showing banner ads is a repudiation of many of its founding principles. The company gained attention when it started in 1998 because its opening search page, and following results page, was uncluttered by adverts and other elements – and especially banner ads. In 2000 Google’s founder Larry Page and Sergey Brin were offered $3m by Visa to display an ad for the credit card company on the site homepage – and turned it down, even though the site was losing money at the time.

Promises are meant to be broken eh Google? Eventually people are going to just be sick to their stomach with all the garbage plastered over the content they want.

Samsung fined $340,000 over faking negative web comments about competition

Throughout last year, Apple-friendly web sites were infested with an avalanche of ugly comments by anonymous posters concerning the iPhone, iPad and the Apple brand in general. While website owners were reluctant to publicly point the finger of blame at the South Korean conglomerate, many had suspected it was no coincidence given Samsung was riding high on its anti-Apple ad campaign.

I can only make fun of Samsung so much more…

Why Android first is a Myth

The reality is that platform constraints at the engineering and financing levels tell a much different story. “Android-first” faces structural and financial barriers which are unlikely to be overcome. iOS will remain the primary platform that startups develop for regardless of how much more quickly Android grows share.

Steve Cheney goes on to list a lot of outstanding and strong points on this position. I agree with all of them.