Friday, July 16, 2010
Users who buy the new version of the iPhone by Sept. 30 will be able to sign up on the Apple website to receive a free case -- or 'bumper' -- starting late next week. Users who already bought bumpers will receive refunds, he said. 'And if you're still not happy, before or after you get a free case, you can bring your iPhone 4 back undamaged within 30 days for a full refund.'" More...
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Google handles nearly two-thirds of Internet search queries worldwide. Analysts reckon that most Web sites rely on the search engine for half of their traffic. When Google engineers tweak its supersecret algorithm — as they do hundreds of times a year — they can break the business of a Web site that is pushed down the rankings.
When Google was a pure search engine, it was easy to appear agnostic about search results, with no reason to play favorites with one Web site or another. But as Google has branched out into online services from maps and videos to comparison shopping, it has acquired pecuniary incentives to favor its own over rivals.
Google argues that its behavior is kept in check by competitors like Yahoo or Bing. But Google has become the default search engine for many Internet users. Competitors are a click away, but a case is building for some sort of oversight of the gatekeeper of the Internet.
In the past few months, Google has come under investigation by antitrust regulators in Europe. Rivals have accused Google of placing the Web sites of affiliates like Google Maps or YouTube at the top of Internet searches and relegating competitors to obscurity down the list. In the United States, Google said it expects antitrust regulators to scrutinize its $700 million purchase of the flight information software firm ITA, with which it plans to enter the online travel search market occupied by Expedia, Orbitz, Bing and others.
The accusations in Europe may or may not have merit. Google says it only tweaks its algorithm to improve its searches. Some Web sites that have accused Google of unfair placing are merely collections of links with next to no original content of their own, precisely the kind of sites that Google’s search algorithm screens out to better answer queries. Antitrust regulators in the United States could well let Google buy ITA because it does not now provide online travel services.
Still, the potential impact of Google’s algorithm on the Internet economy is such that it is worth exploring ways to ensure that the editorial policy guiding Google’s tweaks is solely intended to improve the quality of the results and not to help Google’s other businesses. More...
John H. Armwood
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
In response to the iPhone 4 technical findings reported by the consumer buying advice group, engineer Bob Egan observed on his own site that 'Consumer Reports' [radio frequency] engineers should know better than to think they can run an engineering grade test for an issue like this in a shielded room. And certainly not one with people in it.'
Egan explains, 'To even reasonably run a scientific test, the iPhone should have been sitting on a non-metallic pedestal inside an anechoic chamber. The base station simulator should have been also sitting outside the chamber and had a calibrated antenna plumbed to it from inside the chamber.
'I have not seen Consumer Reports' claim directly that the finger effect reduces the iPhones sensitivity by 20db as reported elsewhere, but unless Consumer Reports connected to a functional point inside the iPhone that number is fantasy."
The Pixelmator Team has also made some improvements to the app's graphics processing architecture, taking advantage of Snow Leopard. Combined the changes are said to significantly boost performance, for instance by cutting start times in half and increasing overall speed by about 40 percent. A new Import component should simplify grabbing images from cameras, scanners and other devices, including Apple handhelds." More...
'When your finger or hand touches a spot on the phone's lower left side -- an easy thing, especially for lefties -- the signal can significantly degrade enough to cause you to lose your connection altogether,' Consumer Reports says. 'Due to this problem, we can't recommend the iPhone 4.'
Apple, of course, is no stranger to conflict and controversy -- hell, the company's practically as famous for its self-righteous ways as it is for its products -- but with the iPhone reception issue, Steve Jobs' team has dug itself into a pretty deep hole. And the prospect of escaping with grace grows more difficult by the day." More...
The firm said 35 percent of consumers in the region used more than 11 percent of their monthly spending to make online purchases, compared with a global average of 27 percent of consumers.
South Koreans were the heaviest online buyers in Asia, with 59 percent directing more than 11 percent of their monthly spending to online purchases, followed by 41 percent in China, Nielsen said in a report.
A further 31 percent of Asian consumers use between 6 percent and 10 percent of their monthly shopping spend to buy items online." More...
It is not uncommon for Apple to cleanse its forums of discussions with a negative outlook on its products. Several threads relating to the antenna issue remain in the forums, including a reference to a PCWorld article calling the issue 'overblow,' however the Consumer Reports findings directly contradict Apple's public stance downplaying the problem as a software bug rather than a design flaw." More...
Unfortunately Apple is following the lead of B.P. in at first denying the existence of a design flaw in the antenna of its new iPhone 4, then it tried to mislead the public, by claiming the problem was caused by a calibration issue relating to the signal strength indicators. Now it is erasing posts on its forums concerning the problem. Apple needs to issue a recall. Apple released a defective product.
I have loved both my MacBook and iPod Touch but I no longer have much respect for the Apple Company. It's handling of this debacle has been as despicable as B.P.'s behavior handling the Gulf oil spill. Dishonesty and deception are not a good way to conduct business. We all expected more of Steve Jobs and Apple.
John H. Armwood
Monday, July 12, 2010
Apple finally admits problems with Time Capsule and offers replacement | Technology | guardian.co.uk
"Nine months after a Guardian investigation pointed to a limited lifespan for the wireless backup, the company has offered free replacements - but only to a limited number of owners. Will others sue?
The Time Capsule memorial register site has the details of 2,500 of the devices which died suddenly - fondly remembered by their owners...
Apple has finally confessed that something is wrong with its Time Capsule wireless storage product - nine months after a Guardian investigation pointed to problems, and after thousands of people saw their valuable data lost when the devices failed to power up.
Owners of units whose serial number lies within the range of XX807XXXXXX - XX814XXXXXX can get them repaired or replaced free of charge, by post or in person - though to save your data you'll have to take it to an Apple Store or authorised retailer so that they can retain the data from the hard drive.
But if you've got a dead Time Capsule and its serial doesn't lie in that range - ah, you're going to have to take that fight up with Apple. Possibly via a lawsuit." More...