more comments on Apple, and other stuff

It’s out and about now that Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, has resigned from Apple’s board. Regulators from the Federal Trade Commission had already been looking into whether Schmidt’s presence on the boards of Google and Apple was causing collusion that would diminish competition. I guess the actions of Apple against Google over the past week have shown this to not necessarily be the case! While a statement yesterday from el Jobbso himself indicated that it was the announcement of Chrome OS that triggered this,

Unfortunately, as Google enters more of Apple’s core businesses … Eric’s effectiveness as an Apple board member will be significantly diminished, since he will have to recuse himself from even larger portions of our meetings due to potential conflicts of interest

it is intriguing timing that the resignation comes so shortly after the Google Latitude and Google Voice debacle kicked off. Both parties would be well aware of the signals that would be sent to the world, regardless of PR statements to the contrary, and we know Google management is not impressed with Apple’s attaitude and handling of the situation from the tweet I mentioned last week. It’ll be interesting to see further developments here, as another Google director, Genentech Inc. Chairman Arthur Levinson, remains on Apple’s board. So we should be seeing him gone from one or the other companies soon, especially if the FCC has it’s way. Says Charles Elson, director of the University of Delaware’s Weinberg Centre for Corporate Governance:

If it has been determined it’s a conflict for one director to serve on the boards of both companies, I would think it should be for the other, too. It’s impossible to be on the boards of two companies that are increasingly competing against each other.

Also, here’s copies of the letters sent by the FCC to Apple, Google and AT&T requesting detailed information regarding the lack of approval for Google’s Google Voice app, and the removal of previously approved Google Voice based apps from the Apple App Store [thanks TechCrunch]. Gizmodo is also reporting that the rapid response to the allegations of collusion and other general naughtiness is due to the new Chairman of the FCC, Julius Genachowski, who appears to be the driving force behind the agency’s quick response to the Apple-Google situation.

And, yes, it’s been done already, a nice developer man by the name of Nat Friedman has rocked out a script to enable iPhone users to utilise Google Latitude anyway; playnice is a sweet little script which gets your iPhone’s location from MobileMe, passes it to Latitude. It needs MobileMe to work, so you have to give el Jobbso some cash anyway, but it is a fix in the interim. I wonder if Apple is starting to get the hint yet, or if they even care. Methinks probably not. Also, having a look through Nat’s blog I came across these goodies (here and here). They’re from back in the middle of 2008, but are awesome for their concept and results. Nat set out to create and pull together the best one-line program that would fit inside Twitter’s 140-character buffer. Here’s a couple of my favourites, but check out the links to see the full extent of how cool this is.
This one decodes Morse Code:

m=etianmsurwdkgohvf?l?pjbxcyzq;p=0;while read -sn1 c;do [ -z "$c" ]&&p=0&&echo&&continue;let p+=c;echo -ne \\b${m:$p:1};let p+=p+2;done

Here’s an etch-a-sketch for your terminal! Use the 1 2 3 and 4 keys to move the cursor around the screen:

c=12322123;x=20;y=20;while read -sn1 p;do k=${c:(p-1)*2:2};let x+=$((k/10-2));let y+=$((k%10-2));echo -en \33[$y\;"$x"HX;done

And, here’s a prime number generator in C:

main(x,y){for(;x++;) for(y=2;x%y;)printf( ++y/x+"%d\n",x);}

My next pick is that this app here for using iPhones as a payment portal by attaching a card-swipe dongle to the headphone jack will get approved, but then Apple will release their own version and pull the original as it “now duplicates features of the iPhone”. Next I’m going to create an iPhone/iPod Touch application which cooks your battery and cause the said device to catch fire. I simply want to do this so I can get an email from Apple stating my rejection is for “duplicating already existing features of the device“.

Joshua Topolsky from Engadget sums up the news around Apple and all their shenanigans on this report here.

In local news down here in New Zealand, we are finally starting to get some vaguely decent cellular servicing and pricing. Some of the charges we get here in New Zealand would cause people in the US, and even Australia, to have heart attacks. And the servicing and connectivity (or lack therof) is kinda ridiculous. Don’t even get me started on our inability to get decent data plans. I actually nearly brought US international roaming plans into NZ with free BlackBerry Storms when they were being released, because the US deal gave UNLIMITED international data roaming for about US$50 (I can’t remeber the exact figure). Anyway, it was cheaper to do that than to get dta from inside NZ. The stumbling block was not that this deal required 400+ connections (ie Business Plan) because we figured out how to do it through a “club” structure based in the US, but came up when we were not able to find a client useful way to block calls. Who wants a phone without calling ability?? And to leave calling ability in the plan would mean we became a cellular provider and had to chase call costs every month. Not entirely practical as a part-time lurk. The Skype calls route wasn’t fully practical at the time either. Back to the point though, with the launch of a new cellular provider in New Zealand this week, 2degrees and their launch pricing plans here. They’ve halved the cost of texting, and of most calls, so this should hopefully cause Vodafone and Telecom to come to the party and start to be competitive and internationally realistic! I guess it remains to be seen what happens; the only hiccup I can currently see is that they are only offering “Pay-As-You-Go” servicing, which won’t help them bring over bigger corporates easily (hopefully they’ve got this covered) and isn’t the most attractive to me personally. I just like being able to pay once a month, as opposed to needing to remember to top up as I run low. Intriguingly, in Australia Woolworths supermarket chain has just announced they will be getting into the telecommunications market, offering a no-frills mobile phone service.

It’s doing the rounds, but I thought I’d better share it too. Here’s a video of how to NOT demolish a building. Turkish demolitions experts may not be so expert after-all.

I’ve also been polishing a few more tutorials, so I’l have them up tomorrow or Thursday, so stand-by for those. Also, if you’re in the US, check out this competition here. 1800 Tequila are offering one lucky winner the chance to spend $10,000 creating their own “man cave”!!


About Cameron
I'm a final year Computer Science/Information Systems major. Already finished my BA in Politics/Philosophy. I do web and software freelance on the side, while I finish studying. Hoping to be self-employed by the end of my degree, otherwise off into the real-world I go....

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