I Was This Close

I came so close to unlocking my iPhone this morning, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger.
Shooby's unlocked iPhone screenShooby has unlocked his using iUnlock – the free unlocker from Harro Inc. the iPhone Dev Team. That’s a picture from his phone showing T-Mobile as a carrier – he posted the news on Pownce.

I got as far as running iFuntastic on the phone (Windows users should try the scarily named, iBrickr) but it didn’t quite finish completely, and I just don’t have the nerve to run iUnlock on it now.

It would be great to cancel this AT&T account (instead of cancelling my dormant T-Mobile account), but it would be even better to show an unlocked phone to the perennially skeptical Scott Bourne.

Maybe I’ll get up the nerve later today.

Apple Eyes the Wireless Auction

BusinessWeek is reporting that Apple is considering bidding in the FCC's 700mhz wireless spectrum auction January 16. 

Google has also indicated it may participate. GooPhone vs iPhone at 700mhz. Or perhaps the two might band together? Interesting.

iPhone Day


I thought I’d just stop by the AT&T store at noon just to see if there was a line. There was, and fearing I wouldn’t get a phone in time to review it for Saturday’s radio show I got out my folding chair and joined the line as number 13. Six hours later I got my iPhone. This is the last video from my poor old Nokia N95.

Monday in the Middle

newspaper.jpgPost CES and pre-MacWorld. Is there anything more to say? Well I’m going to say it anyway.
Indian tea first arrives in the UK on this day in 1836. The first subway opens in London in 1863. Oil is discovered in Texas in 1901. The 45 was introduced in 1949 (ask your parents). First passenger jet flight in 1951. Clara Peller first asks “where’s the beef” in 1984.

  1. Microsoft says that patches for the three critical Windows flaws I told you about last week will hit Windows Update next week.
  2. Mozilla and Firefox have security problems of their own. One hole makes phishing schemes easier, another allows a buffer overflow exploit in the newsreader, and a third involves predictable temp file names in Thunderbird and Firefox.
  3. There will be no live coverage of Steve Jobs’s keynote address tomorrow at MacWorld. Apple will delay the webcast until 6p Pacific and it’s rumored that no reporters will be allowed to transmit comments during the speech. This might kill our planned chat, but I’ll file here immediately after.
  4. The iHome media center is one rumor that’s clearly a hoax, but lawsuit against Think Secret seems to confirm the rumor of a sub-$500 Mac and solid state iPod. The suit claims that the information posted on Think Secret in November and December of this year, and earlier, could only have been obtained by someone who had signed a confidentiality agreement with Apple. I’m looking for the iWork package featuring a new word processor and Keynote 2.
  5. In the blogger world this counts as a massive merger. Six Apart, aka, the people who wrote Movable Type, aka Ben and Mena, have purchased Live Journal.
  6. According to the Wall St. Journal, Comcast is planning to offer voice over Internet service to 15 million of its cable customers this year, and to all 40 million customers within 18 months.
  7. Forget the moo-cow, I want a µcard. The Mu-Card alliance of Taiwanese solid state storage companies is promoting a new format that will hold two terabytes of data. The spec should be final next month with production beginning shortly after.

Listen in tomorrow at 6:45a Pacific for my weekly news commentary on KGO 810 AM in San Francisco.


Friday’s Foot In Mouth

All the news that's fit to rant aboutAccording to my Lego grandfather clock, it’s news time…
The metric system was established in France on this day in 1799. The first Nobel prizes were awarded in 1901.

  1. IBM has, in fact, sold its PC division to Chinese manufacturer Lenovo for $1.4 billion and $500 million in debt. Lenovo is now the number three PC maker after Dell and HP. There’s a good history of the IBM PC at Internet News.
  2. Oh crap. Even though four other movie companies have decided on the HD-DVD format for their movies, Disney has opted for Sony’s Blu-Ray, ensuring that there will be a Beta/VHS style format war in the new Hi-Def DVDs. Disney said they’ll start putting out Blu-ray DVDs as soon as the players are available in 2006. That’s just Mickey Mouse.
  3. Yahoo is going to copy Google. Again. The Yahoo desktop search tool (based on the excellent X1) will be released in the New Year.
  4. The Inquirer says console games are in short supply this holiday season. The Nintendo DS is very hard to find, although Nintendo is planning to add an additional 400,000 units to the 1 million shipped to the US this year. Surprisingly, it’s very hard to find Sony’s two year old Playstation 2, too. Sony lauches the PSP in Japan next week, and that’s going to be a quick sell out no doubt – reports are that only 100,000 will be available at launch.
  5. Careful where you put your laptop. According to a study published Thursday in Human Reproduction, the habit of keeping your laptop in your lap can cause permanent sterility in men. It’s the heat generated by the laptop and the positioning of the thighs. How many times have I said that?
  6. A Gameboy is better at relaxing kids before surgery than tranquilizers, according to research from University Hospital in Newark. The study said “We find that the children are just so happy with the Game Boy that they actually do forget where they are.”
  7. Where was I? Oh yeah. Another reason to hate pop-ups: they’re security risks. According to Secunia, any browser that displays pop-ups, including Internet Explorer, Mozilla, Firefox, Opera, Konqueror, Safari and Netscape, is vulnerable to an injection attack that could make a malicious site look like a secure site. Turn on pop-up blocking and breath a sigh of relief.
  8. The December Windows XP patches will hit Microsoft Windows Update December 14. There will be five fixes, none of them critical – how long has it been since we’ve been able to say that?
  9. As one of its last actions before recessing for the holidays, Congress has passed a law prohibiting cell phone voyeurism. Upskirters will face heavy fines and prison time if caught. The bill only applies to Federal jurisdictions. President Bush is expected to sign it.
  10. Federal regulators will meet next week to consider revising rules to allow cell phone usage aboard commercial airline flights. It’s not the safety issue that concerns me, it’s the annoyance factor.
  11. AOL has accidentally deleted an unknown (but apparently large) number of screen names in an attempt to purge unused names from its database. The company says it will take until Monday to restore the accounts.
  12. Vonage is going to follow Packet8 in adding video to its Voice over IP (VoIP) service next year.
  13. News imageSun CEO Scott McNealy was fooled by a hoax photo that’s been circulating on the net for years. Claiming the photo came from a 1954 Popular Science article on the “home computer” he noted how far we’ve come in 50 years. More like how far Photoshop has come in 50 years.

Listen in Friday at 8:35a Pacific for my weekly commentary on KFI 640 AM in Los Angeles.


Tuesday’s TO Twingle

All the news that's fit to rant aboutIt’s snowing in Toronto, so I’m staying indoors and doing the news.
Today is a day that will live in infamy. Pearl Harbor was bombed on this day in 1941. The Model A was discontinued in 1931. Happy birthday Noam Chomsky, Tom Waits, and Larry Bird.

  1. A study released Monday by the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds that musicians do not see online file sharing as a threat to their livelihood. According to the study, “artists and musicians are more likely to say that the Internet has made it possible for them to make more money from their art than they are to say it has made it harder to protect their work from piracy or unlawful use.” Nor do most musicians agree with the RIAA’s tactics. Around half still think it should be illegal, however.
  2. Lycos Europe has dropped its plans to use an anti-spam screen saver to launch denial of service attacks against accused spammers. Lycos’s Make Love Not Spam screen saver was taken offline on Friday. There’s apparently no law against launching distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in the UK.
  3. The Pennsylvania Attorney General has sued two men for advertising an online diploma mill. The two allegedly sent out spam offering graduate degrees in less than 72 hours. Among the recipients, a cat who got an MBA. The men face only civil penalties, not jail time.
  4. MessageLabs says online phishing scams have increased tenfold this year. The company has intercepted 20 million phony emails so far this year.
  5. A German online ad firm, Adtech, says Internet Explorer users are four times more likely to click on banner ads than Firefox users. This is based on actual clickthrough on the 1,000 European sites that use Adtech. I hear Firefox users are better looking too.
  6. Another German study says computers hinder learning. Researchers at the University of Munich studied 175,000 15-year-old students and found that performance in math and reading had suffered significantly among those who had more than one computer at home.
  7. Former President Bill Clinton is helping to boost a Chinese-owned web search engine, saying “I hope you all make lots of money.” Life of Leo imageThe service, Accoona (from the Swahili phrase “accoona matata” meaning “no worries”) claims to use artificial intelligence to improve search results. When I did a search for “Bill Clinton” on the site it came up with a page of paid placements (after a long minute) including an anti-Clinton site. Worse than that, the second unpaid result was for a site selling Saint Clinton memorabilia. Hey Google, no worries!
  8. According to insiders, IBM is close to inking the deal to sell its PC business to the Chinese owned Lenovo Group, formerly known as Legend Computers. The $1-2 billion deal is expected to be announced tomorrow morning. The IBM brand would be retained for at least a few years. IBM would continue to sell its corporate servers. The PC business pulls in $10 billion in revenue but only breaks even.
  9. Apple shared jumped yesterday on rumors the company will announce an inexpensive flash-based iPod at MacWorld in January.
  10. Phew. Ken Jennings has found a job. The Jeopardy champion who lasted a record 75 games will become a spokesmodel for Microsoft’s Encarta encylopedia. Jennings (whom a Microsoft spokesman called “Jenkins” in a press interview) will embark on a “Quiz The Whiz” tour where reporters will be asked to challenge him with questions culled from Encarta. Here’s a piece of trivia: Jennings answered 2,700 questions on his way to winning $2.5 million dollars.

Listen in Tuesday at 6:45a Pacific for my weekly news commentary on KGO 810 AM in San Francisco.


Thursday’s Sore Loser

All the news that's fit to rant aboutForget it, I’m not leaving. But I will do the news. Audio to follow as soon as I stop sobbing.
Happy Birthday Walter Cronkite, he’s 88. King Tut’s tomb was discovered on this day in 1922. The Iranian Hostage Crisis began in 1979.

  1. It’s the day after tomorrow. The eight-nation Arctic Council is reporting that the icecaps are melting at twice the normal rate, due to global warming. The four year study will be officially released next week. Global warming isn’t all bad. 25% of the Earths remaining oil and gas reserves are hidden under Arctic ice. That amphibious Hummer is looking better than ever.
  2. E-voting went mostly without a hitch on Tuesday. It was the first extensive use of electronic voting machines and only about 600 glitches were reported, mostly minor according to the Verified Voting Foundation. On the other hand, the Election Protection Coalition reports over 1,000 problems, including touch screens that switched votes away from Kerry.
  3. CNET reviews the electronic gadgetry used by the television networks on election night. Tim Russert replaced his whiteboard with a Fujitsu tablet PC. CBS used a 50-inch touch screen plasma monitor to swoop and zoom over electoral maps. I followed the results on the radio but I don’t think NPR was using any of that stuff.
  4. A brother and sister spamming team have been convicted of a felony in a Virginia court. It’s the first felony conviction of spammers ever. The two sent junk email to millions of AOL customers. The jury recommended nine years in jail for the brother and fined the sister $7500.
  5. The Motion Picture Association of America is preparing to follow in the RIAA’s footsteps by suing movie pirates. The MPAA says it will make “a major announcement regarding illegal file sharing of motion pictures on peer-to-peer networks” this morning.
  6. Microsoft and Intel are joining forces this holiday season with an advertising campaign touting “Digital Joy.” The multi-million dollar campaign marks the first time the two companies have advertised together.
  7. Another reason to eschew HTML email. The latest phishing scams overwrites your banking bookmark with bogus sites where they’ll collect your login and password, and the email does this without any action on your part.

Listen in tomorrow at 8:35a Pacific for my weekly news commentary on KFI 640 AM in Los Angeles.