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    Saturday, October 9, 2010

    Sony's Frankenstein..

    Interestingly enough..
    Al Kaf denied that the reason for canceling FaceTime from the iPhone 4 was Mobily or CITC.
    Instead he said that it was disabled by Apple because, according to him, there is no 
    regulatory regulationfor such a service in the region.
    Because they respect the communication systems in the world. - Khalid Al Kaf, Mobily CEO, via 
    What's so interesting? As noted by SaudiMac, and my news summary last week, Mobily's inside memos blame the CITC for the "blockade" of Facetime.. I can't help loving this split personality disorder Mobily's PR is going through..

    Now that you're looking at your Mobily sponsored iPhones in shame, let's dive into last week..

    Last week's update, i mentioned that Android apps are deviously sending your information to Death Star.. This week, Apple apps might be in it as well..
    When Apple addressed a congressional inquiry on privacy in July, the company claimed that it couldn't actually track a particular iPhone in real time, as its transactions were anonymous and thoroughly randomized. Bucknell University network admin Eric Smith, however, theorizes that third-party application developers and advertisers may not have the same qualms, and could be linking your device to your name (and even your location) whenever they transmit data. Smith, a two-time DefCon wardriving champ, studied 57 top applications in the iTunes App Store to see what they sent out, and discovered that some fired off the iPhone's UDID and personal details in plaintext (where they can ostensibly be intercepted), including those for Amazon, Chase Bank, Target and Sam's Club, though a few were secured with SSL. -Engadget
    Before you jump the blame button, the article continues..
    it's important to note that Cupertino's not necessarily the one to blame. iOS is arguably the best at requiring users to opt-in to apps that perform GPS tracking; transmitting the UDID and account information together publicly is strictly against the rules; and we'd like to think that if users provide their personal information to an application developer in the first place, they'd understand what they're doing. Of course, not all users monitor those things closely, and plaintext transmission of personal details is obviously a big no-no.
    So, basically, you might be giving out your information on a golden platter.. I think now is a good time to get back to your settings and check those "location" services off on the apps that don't need to know your location (not many actually, maybe this one though)

    Speaking of Apple loopholes, use your words wisely, and you might slip in what Apple wouldn't dream of approving (and later disapproving).. I mean, who would've thought:
    ..BitTorrent based “IS Drive” App was approved by Apple and added to the App store. The application allows users of Imageshack’s torrent download service to control and add torrent downloads through a handy interface. In addition, the App shows screenshots of completed video downloads. -TorrentFreak
    I've seen this done on Jailbroken iPhones before, and it's not a big deal (from a hardware point of view, especially with the new iPhones and iPad), but it is a huge slap in the face to no-porn-all-legal Apple.. Of course, letting those app store rules a little loose does come with a price, let's just hope that us legal none-jailbreaking users and app developers won't suffer an angry back lash *wink*.. Finally, if you Happen to download it before action was taken, Well, Lucky bastard, i hope you're enjoying a feature that won't require you to jailbreak.. One question, however, is it still working?

    In other Apple related news, this one pretty much blew my socks off (ok, flip flops).. In a country where grey market is the best solution, Saudi Arabia is not on Apple's happy side (or maybe it is.. hmmm)..
    قام مكتب المحامي ناصر كدسة برفع عدد من الدعاوى القضائية ضد عدد من المتاجر في المملكة العربية السعودية التي وضعت شعار شركة أبل (التفاحة) أمام إسم المتجر. مكتب المحامي ناصر كدسة متخصص في حقوق الملكية الفكرية و هو أول من قام بتمثيل شركة أجنبية و رفع دعوى قضائية ضد شركة متعدية من السعودية.-SaudiMac (the news is in Arabic) 
    Translation: Nassir Kadsa's legal office filed copyright law suites against several tech stores in the kingdom that use the Apple logo on it's front windows.. Nassir Kadsa's office is specialized in dealing with copyright infringement cases, and he's the first (in the kingdom) to represent a foreign company against a Saudi based company..
    I actually think it's about time that something was done about this, because am getting sick and tired of all those iStores that do nothing but rip our wallets open, over pricing Apple products, and then claim that it's the real deal.. As if i can't surf the web to know the price difference.. Yes, i know they might be putting in the shipping fees, but 500 SR (minimum) over the actual price? that's almost a rip off in some standards, let alone my not-so-cheap ones.. And as much as many see this as Apple marking territory, what's the possibility that Apple is finally considering to place a "legal" logo, thus taking the action after so many years? Or did Apple just realized those stores existed (a little bit on the late side)?

    On the lighter side of news, creative commercials..

    Very creative commercials, indeed..

    The Rumor'meter is not so high this past week, yet, am still liking what am hearing.. Starting off, the next iLife iteration might be more juicy than just a yearly update..
    The translated description notes that the suite is entirely 64-bit, and that iPhoto will receive integration with social networking. iWeb has been "rewritten" from the ground up, and iDVD is no longer included with the suite. There's mention of a "new application," but no word on what the function or name of the new member of the suite will be.

    The red banner on the cover mockup at left reads "iPhoto, iMovie and more, with Apps for Mac, iPhone 4, iPod and iPad," which implies that iOS versions of the applications will be available as well. At this time, of course, iMovie is available for iOS, and it would not be much of a stretch to assume that iOS-compatible versions of the other applications could be developed. After all, Apple made an iPad version of iWork available on day one. -TUAW
    The 64-bit architecture is very impressive, keeping in mind that the tasks that you do on a 32-bit never complained much to need 64, so we might be looking on better end results here.. Also, the recognition of the iOS in iLife leaves room to what exactly (other than iMovie) would the new iLife hold on store? Since we're in the rumor and may-be-mistaken-for-cake german translation, allow me to send out a speculative wish.. Allowing users to create simple and quick free Apps? PLEASE! (too lazy to learn a new coding language other than C++ and the never dying Q-Basic :D )

    Speaking of rumors, this one is a little bit on the crazy side (which explains why it was shot down before it made a DIGG impact)
    Nick Bilton reports that "one of the main thrusts of the discussion was Apple and its control of the mobile phone market and how the two companies could team up in the battle against Apple. A possible acquisition of Adobe by Microsoft were among the options."
    Microsoft buying Adobe? Sounds pretty crazy, except that it almost happened before, back when Microsoft was still the most important technology company on the planet, a source tells Bits. The talks were frozen because at the time Microsoft was nervous about the Justice Department coming a knockin' with some antitrust concerns.-Gizmodo
    Here's why it won't be happening anytime soon..
    Memo to the Times (source of the rumor): When there is an acquisition afoot–in my experience–it’s all private airplanes and law offices and not a company HQ visit by the very loud and very noticeable Ballmer, the exact polar opposite of a shrinking violet.
    In any case, it is not a big surprise at this point if longtime rivals like Adobe and Microsoft (MSFT)–which makes a competing video technology called Silverlight to Adobe’s Flash–talk about trying to stop the explosive growth of Apple, especially in the mobile space.
    Microsoft is about to launch its Windows Phone 7, after many cloddish efforts in the arena have failed, and Adobe has been subject to a withering attack from Apple (AAPL) and its CEO Steve Jobs.
    Jobs, in no uncertain terms, has dissed Flash relentlessly as a technology. Others have not, such as Google (GOOG), which recently showed strong support for Adobe’s Flash in its recent launch of Google TV. In fact, it is Google that is more mentioned in Silicon Valley as the logical acquirer of Adobe, if there were to be a sale. -AllThingsD

    As much fun as Microsoft would "couple" with Adobe to be Microbe, it would be more easier to see the competition shaping up to the direction Apple spear-headed.. And with Apple strong presence in the mobile world (in impact, not in sale numbers, so STFU and GTO you trolls), the market seems to gang up on Steve.. Slowing Apple down would be good to buy the competition some time, stretch that time long enough and Apple might be releasing a new milestone.. I guess it makes sense why Apple sets it's launches a year apart, keeps those seats warm :D..

    Still dreaming of "seamless" streaming of your iTunes? More of Apple in the cloud you're always on? Well, the days of confirming (or debunking) the rumor is almost close to it's inevitable end.. Apple is putting on the boxing gloves and might be heading to the clouds..
    It seems we've been discussing Apple's upcoming, massive North Carolina datacenter for a long, long time -- since around May 2009, actually. Word is that the $1 billion facility is nearing completion, meaning we'll hopefully see the fruits of Apple's labor very soon.

    Here's one interesting item to come out of the story: the company reportedly paid one family upwards of $1.7 million for their one-acre lot. Even having paid that amount for such a small bit of land, Apple could have come away from this having paid as little as $35k per acre. -TUAW
    Cloud computing is becoming the online/offline standard for your media (which is already happening if you're picking up on the signs), and like i said, rumor about an Apple product long enough and it might end up happening after all.. I just wonder why my iCEO honorary position wasn't given to me yet despite the number of times i rumored it amongst my friends? it's been 3 years now..

    Now, what you're about to see might disturb you.. I advise you to step back as far as possible from the screen, in order to see this "gadget" in a reasonable scale so it won't seem proportionally horrific and obviously-painful to handle..

    I give you..

    Sony's way of enjoying Google TV (i saw this one coming, but i was joking, and there were penguins)

    Nope, this is not a Photoshopped picture.. And no, it's not a 1980's parody ad, it's the real deal..

    Well, this is a bit unexpected. We just happened to catch ABC Nightline's Google TV special, and lo and behold, there's a sneak preview of Sony's Google TV ad blitz... and with it, a never-before-seen controller. Two circular directional pads, a QWERTY keyboard, volume, channel selection, some play / pause buttons... everything you'd need to rock the web and video all at once. -Engadget
    I can't really get a grip on why Engadget is so happy listing one physical function after another in a machine that am supposed to toss around the living room, with so many little buttons.. Actual buttons.. Maybe Sony is aiming for the comfort of tactile feedback, and maybe get the blind to use Google TV, but this is really stupid.. and BIG.. and Stupid.. Especially in compare to the minimalist competition.. 

    I guess my own solution of WebTV (an HDMI MacMini + Wireless Keyboard + Wireless Trackpad) seems to have less of a clutter feel than what Sony has to say.. Screw the price tag, i have big fingers, alright?

    Google TV was released this week, and so far, the flame wars are fighting for your living room (and tortured fingers, thanks to Sony)..

    Pro Google TV (in compare to Apple TV)
    Recently I wrote about how the rumored Apple iTV could help your company with tools including easy videoconferencing and online video libraries. Then Steve Jobs unveiled hisApple TV product, which could do little more than a Roku box. Let’s hope Google TV, which is actually more of a platform rather than just a box, doesn’t do the same.
    To make sure, here are some suggestions for how Google can gain more business users and consumers by offering more than the bare minimum of features. -PCWorld

    Pro Apple TV (in compare to Google TV)
    Perhaps you were disappointed with the new look Apple TV when it was introduced one month ago; perhaps you expected more from Steve Jobs’ hobby; perhaps you think it seems a little puny in comparison to the Google TV solutions we’re hearing so much more about this week. Look a little deeper though and it seems pretty clear Apple’s quietly putting together the pieces it needs to outmaneuver its Android enemy. Here’s five clues: -ComputerWorld
    And like the iPhone, the chances of having more Android powered TV's lurking around you is more than a chance of having Apple TV's stacked in your drawer in shame.. Either way, personally, they both offer ways of media that don't interest me.. I'm happy with an HDMI out of an actual computer, with actual none-iOS crippled horsepower for now, until something good comes along.. I though the new iTV would do it, but neither that or the future-android army is worth the hassle.. Anything to avoid paying for TV, eh?

    And finally, two more geographically relevant news that might interest you to share (or accidentally comment)..

    It seems that RIM's BlackBerry will finally see the light of Day in the UAE (don't know why it took them this long, it took us less than a day lol)
    The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority said that BlackBerry's data services "are now compliant with the UAE's telecommunications regulatory framework," however it's not known whether RIM obliged and agreed to housing a data center in the Emirates, as per the government's requests. Perhaps they handed the government security access? -Gizmodo
    And Kuwait is the country of the App stores youngest Arab game designer.. Memo to GCC : this is the type of thing you should celebrate and promote, malls and football are not the only achievements by the way..
    Unusually for a teenager, Abdulrahman Alzanki doesn't enjoy computer games. Even more unusually, he creates them -- and they're wildly popular.
    At the tender age of just 14, Alzanki has authored an Apple iPhone app that has been downloaded no less than 900,000 times, a success story he hopes will propel him onto greater things. -CNN

    Have a great week guys.. 

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