Politician wants to ban Tim Cook because he is gay, carrying AIDs and Ebola

Tim Cook 

Homophobic politician wants to ban Tim Cook from Russia for life
[Via Cult of Mac]

It was only a matter of time. Just a few hours after Tim Cook bravely and historically made his sexuality open, the gay-bashing has already begun.

[More]

Can’t have an openly gay man travel while being openly gay. So ban him for life.

Luckily, this is only being stated in Russia. But even Ted Cruz will not let Cook’s sexuality affect his love for the iPhone.

Bet Russian’s feel the same way.

Apple creams Samsung in the marketplace

 Samsung Galaxy S5 Rumours

 

How Apple, Inc. went thermonuclear on Samsung, erasing Android’s primary profit center
[Via AppleInsider]

After failing to do much more than embarrass Samsung Electronics in years-long legal battles over patent infringement, Apple has rapidly obliterated Samsung’s mobile division profitability, rendering it as barrenly unprofitable as every other Android or Windows licensee with razor thin margins in the phone, PC and tablet market.

[More]

Lots of people have claimed that Apple only competes in the court room, not the market place. The data indicate this is wrong. The court is a distraction, not an end.

Apple has gone thermonuclear on Samsung but only peripherally in  court.

They are whipping Samsung, the only Android mobile device company that makes a significant profit, in the market place.

Shipping lots of low profit phones to get market share does not work if the company makes no profits, while its competitor makes huge profits. 

Apple sells profitable smartphones. Samsung does not. Even a Harvard Business graduate will tell you that you cannot make up with quantity for a product that makes no money.

As a result, Samsung’s mobile division reported just $1.66 billion in operating income, compared to Apple’s earnings of $11.2 billion. 

A 74% drop in profits. Samsung leads the market with 24% of all phones shipped. They shipped 78.1 million units last quarter to Apple’s  39 million. Twice as many phones.

They shipped twice as many mobile devices but made about  1/10th the profit.

Bad business model. And it will get worse. Their mobile profit dropped  74% in the last quarter. And the data show it all comes from the high end.

Estimates have sales of the high end, profitable devices dropping 50% year over year and quarter over quarter.

The only advantage Samsung had was a larger screen smart phone. Analysts think the iPhone 6 will outsell the comparable Galaxy Note 4 smartphone 10 to 1. Sales of the iPhone 6+ are out pacing even Apple’s expectations (some telecos are reporting over twice as many iPhone 6+ are being sold than they expected – 45% rather than 20%). Even more profits for Apple.

It looks like the next quarter for Samsung will be awful.

Now that is thermonuclear. In the marketplace, not in court. What will be left will be a profitable Apple and a lot of cockroaches selling mobile devices.


CurrentC hacked. Most amazing set of headlines only an hour apart.

Cain by vidalCain by Vidal

I have never seen such a rapid dissolution in a company’s argument.

First there was this, at 7:52 am PST:

MCX defends CurrentC against Apple Pay controversy, says sensitive customer data is saved in the cloud 

Where the MCX CEO states this:

The CEO said that MCX will not store sensitive customer data within the application, and will instead save it on a “secure cloud-hosted network.”

Then there was this, at 8:53 am PST, one hour later:

Apple Pay competitor CurrentC hacked, alerts pilot program participants of security breach 

Where they admit that their servers had been breached and email addresses had been stolen. 

The first paragraph of the former, detailing an MCX blog post:

As Apple Pay and Google Wallet users have joined together in an attempt to fight a consortium of retailers that have blocked NFC-based payments, the company behind the CurrentC mobile payment program has come out in defense of itself, saying that members of the public are “misinformed.”

The first paragraph of the latter, an hour later:

CurrentC, a mobile payment system that has found itself at odds with both Apple Pay and Google Wallet, announced on Wednesday that it has been hacked and that some users’ email addresses may have been obtained.

Yeah, I trust them with all my data.

I think their system is just about dead in the water.

The web page for the merchants behind CurrentC makes me all warm and fuzzy

Home Depot Home Improvement Center Bristol CT 5/2014

Here is what is put at the top of the page, referring to “Our Story”:

Shaping the future of commerce.

Merchant Customer Exchange is the only merchant-owned mobile commerce network built to streamline the customer shopping experience across all major retail verticals.

I’d like to streamline a few of their verticals.

And it promises all sorts of wonderful things:

Protect and leverage valuable data to offer your customers better experiences and interactions throughout the path to purchase.

Integrate your loyalty programs and promotions to provide relevant experiences for your most valuable customers.

Streamline the customer experience at point of sale in-store and at customer service locations.

Just remember that CurrentC is made by merchants, for merchants. Your data is what they want. To send us more ads.

And that is made obvious at the CurrentC web page, where Paying is an afterthought behind Saving (getting to redeem special offers and coupons), and Earning ( getting rewards for loyalty).

And notice that paying does not mean by credit cards. They will take the money directly from your checking account, removing all the protections you have against fraud. No disputing a charge. Your money is already gone.

They are also kind enough to tell us that all the data is stored in the cloud, on their servers. So we have no control over all that data. 

But they do. And so does the government.

Looking at the companies involved. Every one of of the merchants with major data breaches recently – Target, Kmart, Home Depot and Michaels – will be using CurrentC instead of Apple Pay.

That makes me feel so much better. 

CurrentC potentially sends a lot of personal data to the merchants

Target 

In-Depth Look at CurrentC and the Personal Data They Want to Collect
[Via Daring Fireball]

Nick Arnott, investigating for iMore:

On launch, the app immediately does a few things. First, it starts sending pings to https://my.currentc.com/mobile/pinggateway every two seconds or so. No interesting data is sent in the requests and blocking them seems to have no impact on the app. Next, a deviceState request goes out. In the request are your device type (iPhone or iPad) and a unique device identifier. This identifier is stored in the device keychain so even if you delete the app and re-install, it persists, allowing CurrentC to track users across app installs. The third and last request seen on launch is a call to Localytics. Localytics is a mobile analytics company and is used in countless other apps. As with the many other apps using Localytics, this call seems to include a variety of analytics information: not surprising for many apps, and not surprising for CurrentC (though it probably should be for an app seeking to handle payments and personal data).

Looks like an awful lot of personal information going over the wire.

[More]

Loved this line from the article:

With CurrentC, you’re not the customer — you’re the product being sold.

Read the article and see just how much data appears to be sent to servers under the control of the merchants. They want your name, address, email address, etc.

And then read how insecure the system is right now. A brute force approach could reveal who is signed up and who is not.

It also collects GPS and health data. So much personal data in their control (along with, I expect, information about your bank accounts, and the merchants have shown themselves so good with security. Not!

Forty million card information stolen from just one merchant. That breach at Target cost credit card issuers $200 million just to issue new cards. Lord knows how the information stolen was used. 

And how many of those breaches have we seen recently? Letting the merchants control our data is not reasonable.

For those who want so see just what these merchants will do with this data. Yes, Target knew a teenage girl was pregnant before her family did. And sent ads to her father.

They know when you are ill. Or dating. All because they have access to your credit cards which allows them to tie addresses, etc. to purchases.

None of the information Apple Pay transmits is accessible to the merchants or any of their employees/terminals. That is one reason CurrentC hates Apple Pay – they want access to that information which gets transferred to their servers.

To send us ads and coupons.

CVS and others do not care about you. They want your data.

 NFC IMG_4564

The Apple Pay refuseniks at CVS won’t win this battle | 
[Via Computerworld]

The fact that the CVS network of US retailers has decided not to support Apple Pay isn’t such a big deal — it’s precisely the kind of fragmentation that caused Apple to wait for a few years before entering the payments industry.

You see, on a global basis there are or have been numerous mobile payments systems. When it comes to NFC the industry has been extraordinarily fragmented, which led to the creation of numerous incompatible technologies to support NFC payments as retailers, bankers, and payments processing firms all battled for dominance.

No great surprise that Apple Pay was released alongside similar initiatives from Visa and Mastercard. There’s no doubt Apple’s well-connected Apple Pay teams worked closely with key partners to create the harmony it takes to enable a system that works.

[More]

I simply never understand the stupidity of a corporation to limit its market. 

The reason there has been such little uptake of these iWallet designs is that they have all previously been designed for the corporation’s convenience, not the customer’s. Which means the company gets your usage data and you get a messy, less secure interaction.

And they do not want to pay the fees for credit cards. So they have come up with a really stupid approach that they have been working on for at least 3 years without really getting out there. 

I’m not too worried about the CVS chain and its decision to abandon Apple Pay. I don’t imagine its own alternative payment system will succeed. It is a great illustration of the kind of intransigent stupidity that you get when you allow reactionary corporations to favour their own well being above that of the society in which they reside.

The approach they want to use provide much less fraud protection than a credit card transaction and is much less secure. But they get all your purchasing data.

Apple Pay does not transmit all this data the corporations want. It stays under the customer’s control. It is much more secure than your credit card since the credit information is never transmitted, staying in the Secure Enclave of your phone.

Not so with the process CVC and others want to use. A classic battle between distributed solutions and authoritarian dictates.

The former almost always ends up winning.



Technology changing learning? Let’s hope so

 Classroom Chairs

 How computers change the way we learn
[Via BBC - Future]

Can technology improve the way we learn and think? Google’s head of research argues we’re headed into a new era of education.

Will we fear tomorrow’s internet? “This discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners’ souls, because they will not use their memories,” a concerned commentator once spoke of a new technology. “[People] will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality.”

The commentator? Socrates, quoting an Egyptian king. And the technology? Writing.

Two thousand years later, the technology has changed but the dialogue remains the same. Facebook, smartphones, and video games are all supposedly bad for us: damaging our concentration, or leading to falling grades.

[More]

Couple this with another article about 5 year olds learning how to code in new digital classrooms and you have a recipe for real disruption as we shift our schools from learning useful for the Industrial Age to ones more suitable to an Information Age.

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