Archive for February 2010
It seems that quite a few children were discovered working in the factories where they assemble Apple products and components. Why this would come as a surprise to anyone is beyond me. Did people think Apple had a special brushed-aluminum facility surrounded by parks and fountains, where volunteer workers happily put together iPads just for the chance to be part of something magical? No, Apple is a gargantuan electronics company just like any other. I keep telling you! Hold them to a higher standard than Acer or Samsung and you’re bound to be disappointed.
The truth, as John pointed out in his series of articles describing China’s manufacturing districts, is that they’re all sweatshops of varying quality. Even 75% of the workflow is overseen correctly and employs no minors or what have you, what about the subcontracting for this piece of memory or that hinge? Can you guarantee that a fair wage was paid for that, or that kids weren’t involved?
It’s a fact of our globalized and consumer-oriented culture that we need to have stuff created as quickly and cheaply as possible. I’m not taking a position on this, I’m just saying that’s the way it is right now, and stuff like kids getting a dollar a day in Chinese factories is a consequence of it.
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Save Web pages to read later with Instapaper app for iPhone There are myriad RSS readers for the iPhone , but there’s one app we use for storing and reading text on the Web that we’ve kept using even as others have come and gone.Related Posts:
This one slipped under our radar this week, but it’s interesting nonetheless: Apple’s filed for a “Magic Trackpad” trademark, which would seemingly indicate that there’s a companion to the Magic Mouse in the works. That’s all we know for now, but recall that John Gruber at Daring Fireball hinted that Apple was working on a “multi-touch trackpad gadget for desktop Macs” back in October just before the revised white MacBook was released. Obviously nothing’s come of that yet, but it all seems to fit — either that, or Apple’s trademark attorneys are just trying to cover their bases. We’ll see what happens.
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The internet has revolutionized nearly every form of media, and music is no exception. This week we look at the five most popular music streaming services to see how people are getting their music fix.
Photo by CarbonNYC.
Earlier this week we asked you to share your favorite music streaming services, and now we’re back with the top five contenders. Read on to learn about the services and then cast your vote in our poll at the end.Grooveshark (Web-based, Free)
When you’re ready to listen to some tunes online, Grooveshark allows you to jump right in. Unlike many services that require a subscription to use, Grooveshark lets you search for music and build a playlist as soon as the site loads. If you want to save the playlist, however, and access other session enhancing features like flagging songs to enable the music suggestion service, you’ll need an account. Aside from manually building a playlist, you can also listen to Grooveshark Radio, their suggestion engine. One of Grooveshark’s most unique features is that if you can’t find a song or artist you love, you can upload the music from your own collection to build the Grooveshark database.Spotify (Windows/Mac/Mobile/Web-based; Basic: Free/Premium: €9.99 month)
First the bad news about Spotify: as of this writing, 02/28/2010, Spotify isn’t available in the U.S. due to various legal issues and licensing requirements. The good news is that Spotify is an incredible music service, and we’re always hearing whispers that it’ll soon be available in stateside. You can collaborate on and easily share playlists using the service—as easily as you share a link to a YouTube video for comparison’s sake. A premium account adds more features, like commercial-free listening or the ability to listen to your playlists on your mobile phone. Premium service also enables offline mode for local storage of music, higher quality streaming, and travel access so should you visit a country like the U.S., where Spotify isn’t available yet, you can still enjoy it.Pandora (Web-based; Basic: Free/Premium: $36 per year)
Pandora is the easy-to-use front end for the massive database of attributes generated by the Music Genome Project. The Music Genome Project analyzes songs with up to 400 different attributes so when you tell Pandora “Play me something like the song Punkrocker by The Teddy Bears featuring Iggy Pop” it doesn’t just return a song that people who liked “Punkrocker” also liked—it returns a song that is also “genetically” related to your suggestion. Pandora may not have the most bells and whistles of the music sharing services rounded up today, but the power of the Music Genome Project and ease of which you can create and rate personalized streaming radio stations has won Pandora many fans. Upgrading from free to premium service allows you to stream more than 40 hours a month, gives you access to a dedicated desktop client, and increases the quality of your audio stream.Last.fm (Web-based/iPhone, Basic: Free/Premium: $3 per month)
Last.fm is another service that not only streams music but generates suggestions for new music based on what you like. In addition to building playlists and enjoying tunes on the web, you can “scrobble” your own music collection to Last.fm—which basically means you let Last.fm track the songs you’re listening to and add them to your Last.fm profile, allowing you to both listen to them and use them to increase the scope of Last.fm’s suggestion engine for better personalized picks. In addition to listening to streaming radio and building personalized stations, Last.fm also allows direct music download—when authorized by the copyright holder—so you can expand your personal collection as you listen.Lala (Web-based, Free with per-song fees)
Lala’s claim to fame is the ease in which you can listen to both your own music over the web and purchase new music inexpensively. Lala has a database 8 million songs that you can listen to once for free, purchase for online play for $0.10, or buy as a DRM-free MP3 for $0.79. If you have a song in your personal collection—on your computer at home—you can add it to the Lala database to allow unlimited play without paying a fee. Lala doesn’t sport a hefty music recommendation engine like some of the other contenders in the Hive Five—although we didn’t find the one they have lacking—but instead focuses more strongly on connections between people to drive music suggestion. As a result Lala supports easy rating and playlist sharing with friends to encourage organic music discovery.
Now that you’ve had a chance to look over the top contenders for champion of the golden earphones, it’s time to cast your vote in the poll below to decide the winner:
Which Music Streaming Service Is Best?polls
Have a favorite that didn’t get a nod? Have a creative way to use one of the Hive Five nominees above? Let’s hear about it in the comments.
Props to LifehackerRelated Posts:
Apple Threatened Me With Legal Action For Selling a Broken Step From Their New York Store On eBay [Apple]
Last week we posted an eBay auction where the seller—an ex-employee of Apple—was selling a broken step from the Fifth Ave New York Apple store. Threatened with legal action, he was forced to remove it. Here’s his story.
Hi. Iʼm Mark Burstiner. I host a show called The Circuit. Iʼm an all around geek, Iʼm a project manager on a freelance basis, and I consult in digital strategy. I want to talk to you about a story thatʼs still unfolding.
It may seem trite, but for me, itʼs about the principle at this point. I also want to thank Gizmodo for taking this story, and allowing me to publish it in my own words. Multi billion dollar corporations should not be able to bully an innocent ex-employee into cooperation, especially when the corporations are at fault.
A year and a half ago, I was an Apple employee at the Fifth Ave flagship store. In that time, there was a silly, unfortunate accident. A woman came down the magnificent spiral staircase, and dropped a Snapple bottle. Yes, a Snapple bottle. After bouncing once or twice, the bottle severely cracked one of the steps. Since these steps are so well engineered, the structural integrity of the step wasn’t compromised, but it was certainly a cosmetic problem. Later that month, four or five very big men came to replace the step with a new one. After they were finished, and the steps that were replaced were out on the curb, I left the store. Off the clock and in civilian clothes, I asked the contractors who were there on behalf of Seele, the manufacturer, if I could have a step. “It could be a collectible some day,” I said. They, of course, saw no problem with it, and even collectively helped me lift it into a vehicle. That is the story of how I came to be in possession of a step from the spiral staircase at Apple Fifth Ave.
Fast forward to six days ago, February 20, 2010. Iʼve been cleaning up my apartment, because Iʼm going to be moving soon, and I realized I really didn’t want to move (for the third time) with this step. It should be about time I put it up on eBay, see if anybody wants it and see if I canʼt make some cash to help with moving at the same time. That makes sense, right? I mean people end up with rare memorabilia all the time. After all, I did procure it through totally legitimate means. I asked for permission from the person whoʼs possession it was in. They helped me lift it into the vehicle for chrissakes. We should be all hunky dory, right? Wrong.
The very next day, the eBay posting got a lot of press, and it even ended up here on the Giz. Not 24 hours later, the stair was up to $255, dozens of eBay questions, and 200+ watchers with 9 days to go on the auction. Things were looking good until I was reached out to by a Seele VP. This gentleman informed me that Apple has caught wind of this and is quite unhappy. He requested I remove the eBay listing so that we may work this out when we both had more time. Of course, Iʼm a reasonable guy, so I complied immediately.
Later that same day, we spoke again. He assured me he was doing me a favor by reaching out to me and requesting that I remove the posting and return the glass step. He repeatedly made the point that if I complied that he would be so kind as so email Apple and tell them Iʼve been cooperative. “Oh, how magnanimous of you,” I thought to myself. As tempting as it might be to relinquish what is now my property, I passed on the offer.
The VP continuously threatened me with “thousands of dollars in legal fees” because both Seele and Apple would not hesitate to take legal action. Even after repeated explanations of how I came into possession of the step, he continued to mitigate for Apple and attempt to make the point that it was Appleʼs position that since I was on Apple payroll as an employee (part-time, non-exempt, off the clock, out of uniform), that requesting the step was on par with giving a direct order to the contractor. That, if you will pardon my language, is bullshit. I donʼt buy it. He proceeded to assure me that Apple would take the position that anything that began in its stores is Appleʼs property. Frankly, Apple can take any stance they like, it doesn’t change the facts.
This man then attempted to convince me that if I were to move forward with not relinquishing the step, that it would be my responsibility in a court of law to prove that I had not stolen it. This, again, is bullshit. In the United States, we are innocent until proven guilty. If Apple would like to attempt to prove that I managed to wrestle a 250lb step from the five very large men handling it, then they are on the good drugs, and I want to know where I can get some.
What this sounds like to me is Seele trying to save face because Apple is furious that they were irresponsible enough to relinquish ownership of the tread. Though it may be embarrassing for both corporations, it may simply be a lesson learned at a high price. Let me put it this way: If you caught a foul ball at a World Series game, got it signed by a player, received a high five from the security guard on the way out of the stadium, and went home, that ball is now yours, right? It started as one entityʼs property, and through a series of consensual transactions, it ended up in your hands. Now, letʼs say a year and a half later, the player who signed it is huge, and you decide to put it up for auction. If the MLB reached out to you and said, “Hey! No way, buddy. That was OURS. Hand it over!” Guess what? That wouldn’t fly.
The next day, we spoke once more over the phone. Again, I heard the same points from the man, but this time I did not take a passive approach. I made it quite clear that if he wanted the step, heʼs more than welcome to purchase it from me, or participate in the eBay auction. He made me an offer lower than the most recent bid on the auction, and I declined. At this point, Iʼve lost time and money due to dealing with this. Not to mention, now that the step has seen some press, the demand is growing. (Iʼve been receiving eBay messages all the way up until this morning.) He assured me if I did not comply, my information would be forwarded to Apple, and the conversation ended.
As far as Iʼm aware, I have done nothing illegal. I have not stolen. I have not deceived in any way. The step is not confidential, and it is not IP. The step is the very same that any New Yorker could see by walking into Apple Fifth Ave. The only thing I am guilty of is taking the risk of throwing out my back through having to move the step multiple times. I saw an opportunity, I asked for permission, received it, and proceeded. I wonʼt allow a major corporation to bully me into a corner. At the time of this posting, it has been seven full days since I put the listing up, and I havenʼt heard from Apple directly a single time. I have every right to sell my property, and I plan to do so.
Hereʼs what Iʼm going to do. Iʼve put the tread back up for auction, but have shortened the auction period from 10 days to 3, starting at the same $200 price point and Iʼm dropping the buy-it-now option. I just want to get rid of this thing. If it sells for a lot, great. If it sells for a little, whatever. Either way, Iʼll keep you posted if I hear from Apple or on any other developments.
I realize this has been long-winded, but it was important to me to share this. I just donʼt think itʼs right for corporations to take cases that might otherwise be passed off as trivial and turn them into a week-long ordeal, all for the sake of paranoia. If youʼve read through all this, thank you. I appreciate your attention and time.
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Ipad is expected to sell between 3 to 4 million units by many people. However, some optimistic projections hit the 6 million mark.
How successful do you think the Ipad will be? How many units will it sell in the first year?
I expect the high end of projections: between 4 and 6 million.
Apple did a terrific job with the starting price point of 499. In addition, the ipad can be purchased without any monthly data plan. The combination of a low price and the option to bypass a monthly data…
Props to gdgt – new in gadgetsRelated Posts:
Hey people, i might be getting a locked iphone from my friend soon, and i was wondering what the current status of the unlock is. Some websites i read that there are programs and other methods that are already out that will unlock the iphone. Other places, i hear that there is no current method of unlocking the iphone 3g. Can you please clarify this for me(directed more towards the people who have an iphone)
Analyst: Apple iPad will be hit, lower cost iPhones coming People are underestimating what a hit Apple’s iPad will be, according to Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty.Related Posts:
MacBook offers plenty of storage space. It includes a larger 160GB hard drive (expandable to 500GB). And it comes standard with 2GB of memory (expandable to 6GB).
Inside the MacBook is a powerful 2.13GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor based on advanced Core 2 Duo architecture. MacBook White provides a fast 1066MHz frontside bus and 3MB of shared L2 cache.
Built-in 802.11b/g/n wireless capabilities plus Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR.
Props to gdgt – new in gadgetsRelated Posts: