The Macalope's a busy mythical beast

It’s been a few days since the Macalope’s last post, so he thought he’d test the ol’ blog and make sure it’s still working.

The Macalope wishes he could post all the time, but his day job is really demanding.

What is the Macalope’s day job?

Why, delivering Macs and iPods to all the good little boys and girls throughout the world.

A lot of people think that’s done by Airborne Express or FedEx. That’s only because the Macalope works in strange and wondrous ways. Anyone who’s eagerly awaited the delivery of a new PowerBook or iMac or video iPod knows there are deep magical and spiritual forces at work, forces far beyond the ken of some guy in a brown shirt and shorts with a wireless punch pad and a name tag that says “Larry.”

But it’s hard work figuring out of someone deserves an Apple product or not. Just the other day, for example, you may have read that the Macalope was forced to deliver a bar of soap instead of an iPod. This was, quite simply, because the buyer was being a bit of a pill around his friends and family. It was a tough call, but someone’s got to make it.

Anyway, hopefully someone will post something stupid tomorrow and the Macalope will have something to write about. Keep your fingers crossed!

Never listen to drunk fauns?

Well, don’t say the Macalope didn’t warn you.

The Mac web-o-blog-o-rumorsphere is abuzz today with news of a patent filed by someone associated with other Apple patents.

The company appears to have filed a patent application earlier this year at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a “multi-functional handheld device” that could function as a mobile phone and music player, among other capabilities. Illustrations accompanying the application describe a multilayered device with a limited number of buttons.

Actually, if you look at the patent, it’s more than that.

In other examples, the electronic device can be an electronic game, a personal digital assistant, a multimedia device, a cellular telephone, a portable video player, a portable navigation device, or the like.

Hmm. A portable navigation device. Wasn’t the Macalope reading something about iPhoto having fields in it for GPS coordinates and some Googley bits?

So maybe it’s got some GPS capabilities. And take a look at this speculative piece from earlier in the month on Apple Insider. Some company apparently held a focus group on a hand-held device that might feature:

RSS access, full Internet access versus partial Internet access, Internet access via hot spots versus Internet anywhere, cell phone capabilities, as well as MP3, movie and television content access.

Are you feelin’ the vagueness yet? ‘Cause the Macalope’s feelin’ it.

It should also be noted that – other than a mock-up of a Safari screen on one of the dummy devices – it’s entirely unclear which company the focus group was for. To cover themselves, Apple Insider put this gem into the piece:

While there is little concrete evidence to suggest Apple was responsible for commissioning the survey, information to rule out the Cupertino, Calif.-based iPod maker is also lacking.

Indeed! Which gets us back to the rumors site credo: Is it irresponsible to speculate? No. It is irresponsible not to speculate.

So, what are we left with?

Well, if you want to include Apple Insider’s report, we have a full-fledged Internet device with GPS and cell phone capability that functions as a digital music and game player and has a touch-screen interface.

The only thing the Macalope doesn’t see is a camera.

Eh, but it’s got to have a camera…

On the other hand, a device that does everything under the sun sure doesn’t sound like Apple, now, does it?

Where’s a drunk faun when you need one?

Fun with headlines

Could FairPlay Hack Lead to iTunes’ Demise?

Apple Hacking Could Be Good for iTunes

You've gotta be kidding.

eWeek asks which version of Windows Vista is right for you?

Is it Vista Starter, which can only access 256 MB of RAM and run a maximum of three applications at a time and doesn’t include the Aero Glass interface?

Probably not.  You’re all about the bling.  So, maybe it’s Vista Home Basic which isn’t crippled (other than it just being Windows – zing!).  Oh, but it doesn’t include the Aero Glass interface either.  And it doesn’t work well in domain or Active Directory networks.

Well, maybe it’s Windows Vista Home Premium.  That has the Aero Glass interface.  Although, uh, it has the network issues, too.


OK. OK. OK.  What about Vista Business?  That doesn’t have the network issues.  It also doesn’t have Virtual PC or a multi-language user interface.

So you might want to consider Vista Enterprise.

Wait, wait, wait.  Forget that.  You know what should do?  Instead of trying to figure this out, you should just buy Vista Ultimate.  Have you got $400?  And another $1,500?  Because you’re going to need a new machine.


Well, sheesh, the Macalope is starting to wonder if you’re really serious about moving to Windows Vista.

Woz on options

Woz believes (tip o’ the old antlers to MacSurfer) Apple will need to “correct for what they’ve done.”

It’s really only interesting from a symbolic standpoint, and the Guardian piece he’s quoted in proffers several misconceptions.

By picking artificially low prices, some employees were able to buy undervalued stock at the expense of other investors and sell it at a huge profit.

The Macalope has not been a fan of backdating as a means of executive compensation because he believes it’s the wrong vehicle for the job.  If a company is looking to hand a bunch of cash to an executive (and that’s effectively what backdating is – you’re handing the difference between the stock price then and the stock price now times the number of shares to the executive), well, that’s what a bonus is for.

But the fact of the matter is that if it wasn’t against a company’s bylaws and it was executed and reported properly, backdating was not illegal.  Where the Guardian gets it wrong is that it’s not the picking of a particular date (and a particular price) that causes an expense to other shareholders, it’s the failure to report it.

Two weeks ago an internal investigation into the affair said Mr Jobs had known about a series of issues, but had not acted to stop the abuses.

Uh, yes, and it also said that Jobs was not aware they were “abuses.”

iPhone not what we're thinking?

The Macalope was at this big mythical creatures get-together over the weekend (and, no, that’s not some clever euphemism for C4). He doesn’t usually join those kinds of things but his friend the Minotaur talked him into it. The Minotaur, of course, takes the Macalope to a couple events and then stops showing up. Claims he was going to go but got lost in the maze, blah, blah, blah.


Anyway, the Macalope was mingling and started talking to some fauns.

Now, fauns are a pain in the ass. They’re highly unpredictable drunks who are always bumming a ride at 2 AM because they’re too blasted to drive themselves. And these fauns were no different. They were drunk as the proverbial skunk (who, incidentally, was also there).

But these particular fauns insisted they knew some leprechauns who knew a priest who knew someone at Apple. And they were saying that they heard through this channel that the iPhone is not a phone in the physical sense. It’s a technology – like VOIP – and that what Apple is going to do is put this into all Macs so each Mac ships as a computer and a phone.

The drunkest one also claimed that there would also be handsets that made use of open Airport connections to make calls.

But he was the one who threw up all over the back of the Macalope’s car. So, you know, take it for what it’s worth.

Apple must…

…evolve or face extinction (Link – January, 2005: “More realistically though, the company will have to give in and include Microsoft wma audio support on future revisions of its products.”)

…build a MusicPhone (Link – 2006: “Microsoft has strong assets it could deploy in musicphones if it marshaled those resources intelligently. Instead, it appears that Microsoft is chasing after the wrong iPod – today’s nano and iPod, rather than the upcoming iPodphone.”)

…act like it’s 1984 all over again (Link – Great advice!  Thanks!  Note to self:  buy thin ties…).

…entice developers to write exciting programs for Rhapsody right now (Link – 1997).

…abandon multimedia playback and adopt inferior Microsoft technologies (Link – 1998, Avie Tevanian’s testimony on Microsoft’s demands in the Department of Justice monopoly investigation).

…immediately acknowledge and address the manufacturing defect on the LCD screens of its Powerbook G4 laptops (Link).

…make its OS X compatible with non-proprietary PC hardware (Link).

…switch to Windows (Link – 2006 Crazy Apple Rumors story with a link to the original that was apparently so bad it was taken down).

…encourage cloning because without a successful clone market there will be fewer reasons to develop for the Apple platform (Link – September, 1997 final exams from a Berkeley class in Strategic Computing and Communications Technology).

…enable Rhapsody so that it supports the Windows interface and applications (same as above).

…take all out efforts to ensure the creation of a cross-platform system architecture, called CHRP (same as above).

…drool thinking about the other 95 percent of the market—the part it doesn’t own (Link – 2003: Dvorak predicts that in 2004, Apple will offer “another version of the OS for the plain x86 family, selling that version directly to any OEM (Dell, HP, IBM, and others) for bundling.”  Homer to Marge:  “Don’t you get tired of being wrong all the time?”).

…save big felines (Link).

The definition of an overreaction

Dave Rosenberg has a bad day at the Apple Store and decides the solution is to burn Apple to the ground.

If Apple wants to be an iPod company, they should at least give their business users a fair chance at being successful by licensing the OS to another PC maker.

Apple really needs to do something about this customer service problem because it’s apparently driving people insane.

UPDATE:  The Macalope had started a longer post about the subject of Apple’s customer service but the Masked Blogger pretty much already wrote it.

Damn these hooves!

Much ado about nada

The Macalope was listening to the latest MacBreak Weekly today which focused on the iPhone. Leo Laporte was most interested in the story about T-Mobile CEO Robert Dotson waxing poetic about how dreamy Apple is.

It suddenly reminded the Macalope of an incident three years ago when a friend in the cell phone business called him to ask who he knew at Apple that might be working on the iPhone, as his company wanted to get some of that action. The Macalope, of course, didn’t know anyone.

So, while he does still think there will be an iPhone, the Macalope thinks that that particular bit of shtick from Dotson was probably just him sucking up. Maybe he heard the rumors that Cingular had a six-month exclusive and wants to be next in line. Maybe he’s really a Mac fan. Whatever.

Frankly, none of the rumors – including the iPhone trademark in Asia – seem particularly compelling to the Macalope. It’s really more the idea of the iPhone – an elegant cell phone that doesn’t suck – and the movement of the market toward music phones that make a compelling business case.

Remember, an aging code base is a feature

The Macalope receives the InfoWorld Daily email and today’s Quote of the Day was:

Surprise, Microsoft Windows is no worse than most other popular platforms in terms of the number of vulnerabilities. Numbers alone never tell the whole story, but you can’t read the figures and come away feeling that the Mac OS X or Linux is somehow doing a better job.

Indeed, numbers alone don’t tell the whole story and, ironically, neither does InfoWorld’s security blogger Roger Grimes.  He does admit the following about the source of the information:

Jeff Jones, of course, is a Microsoft employee. But he compiled his figures from the commonly respected, vender neutral, CVE list.

Hmm.  OK.  That’s fine.  And, actually, Jones’ post is a fairly neutral, sober look at the numbers.

But let’s look at his conclusion:

Within the platform space, both Mac OS and the Linux kernel are experiencing a general multi-year trend of higher numbers of vulnerability disclosures, while both Windows and Unix systems have generally trended downward during that time period.  However, in the most recent year, Windows and the Linux kernel contributed relatively less than last year, while Mac OS and Unix contributed relatively more.

Hmm.  Hmm.  Now why might that be?  Hmm.  Hmm.


Could the fact that Microsoft has not substantially updated Windows for five fricking years have anything to do with it?

It should be rather unsurprising that an operating system which has only been updated with patches and bug fixes for five years would be more secure than one that’s been updated with new features every year.

The Macalope does believe that Microsoft is taking security more seriously than Apple currently is.  But that’s probably because Microsoft has such a huge security problem.  And it remains to be seen whether Vista’s solution to security – throw up a dialog box every time the user tries to do something – is really workable.  So, let’s look at those number in another year.

Grimes, meanwhile, rushes to a conclusion of his own which is wholly unsupportable:

If you want true security, use OpenBSD, otherwise what you use is going to have a fair amount of publicly announced exploits on a regular basis.

Uh, well, actually, Rog, there’s “a fair amount” and then there’s “next to none.”  Here on the planet Earth, you can count the number of OS X exploits on one hand (currently, at least).  Perhaps the 100-fingered creatures that inhabit Glaxxor 6 in the Arcturus Nebula can count the number of Windows exploits on one hand, but that’s not really a fair comparison, is it?

Vulnerabilities != exploits.

But the Macalope expects Grimes knows that.