aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, January 11, 2007
The Apple Phone
Apple has been negotiating with Cisco about licensing the iPhone name, so they can hardly claim ignorance of the trademark, yet this week they announced the product without such a license and of course Cisco filed a lawsuit in response. As the trademark holder, Cisco had no choice, because to not file suit would have been to not defend the trademark, perhaps making it more vulnerable to poaching by Apple.
What makes these trademark shenanigans all the more peculiar is that at the same MacWorld show this week Apple introduced another product called Apple TV, which it first demonstrated last year under the name iTV. (Just as an aside, one reader pointed out, “Look at the Mac Mini, the Apple TV, and the new AirPort extreme, all the same size and Bob’s version of Apple’s multimedia PC is stacking up, for less than $1,000.") Well, it turned out that Elgato Systems makes a product called EyeTV (pronounced “iTV” obviously), which is a line of Macintosh video capture devices—some with tuners—so Apple backed off and changed the product name to Apple TV.
So Apple changed its marketing, diluting its whole “iThis” and “iThat” naming strategy in deference to Elgato, a company they could buy with a weekend’s earnings from the iTunes Store, but chose to go toe-to-toe with Cisco, a company that’s bigger, richer, and just as mean as Apple any day.
If an iTV can become an Apple TV, why can’t an iPhone become an Apple Phone?
I think it will.
He says the whole name thing was about publicity. Cory Bergman suggested it might be a publicity stunt, too, which makes sense to me. Negotiate with Cisco, announce the product, then launch later as the Apple Phone, all the while reaping the reward of continued publicity. Very Jobs.
Cringely goes on to suggest that the reason there’s no 3G is Cingular’s video service is based on RealVideo. He’s betting the two companies are negotiating, the pressure’s on Cingular to cave, and when they do (before release?) the phone will be faster and have more (iTunes compatible?) features.
Kingston’s anti-poverty plan: get married & work more
You may recall that last month Georgia Republican Congressman Jack Kingston argued that for him to work a 5 day week would be anti-family:
“Keeping us up here eats away at families,” said Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.), who typically flies home on Thursdays and returns to Washington on Tuesdays. “Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families—that’s what this says.”
Of course, that applies not to you and me, only he. On the House floor last night debating the minimum wage he said:
If the Democrat Party truly wanted to take on poverty, they would have to say what is the relationship between marriage and the poverty level and between hours worked and the poverty level, because the truth of the matter is, if people end poverty, many of them would marry and work 40 hours a week, they would be out of poverty… It’s not something I have the knowledge of or the information of, but it’s an economic fact that I hope we could have committee hearings on and discuss this.
Via Nico at Think Progress, who points out that Kingston is wrong. The annual salary for full-time workers earning the federal minimum wage “still leaves a family of three about $6,000 short of the poverty threshold.
When poll numbers plummet, come to Georgia
When the president is in a pinch, he comes to Georgia; twice in the week before the mid-terms. And today after last night’s speech:
Hours after detailing his new strategy to wrest Iraq from the grip of unrelenting insurgent violence, President Bush arrived in Fort Benning, Ga., Thursday to explain to soldiers why it’s necessary to send more than 21,000 additional U.S. troops to Iraq over the next few months.
Even here, just to be sure, he picked an audience under orders to support his plan. Hardly anyone else does, AP finds 70% of Americans oppose sending more troops, ABC/Washington Post finds 36% of Americans believing a “troop increase now will end the war more quickly.”
Last night Georgia lawmakers were hedging their bets; today MSNBC has conservative Democrat Jim Marshall praising the speech for its emphasis on patience. The piece doesn’t read like much praise to me. It seems that, even in Georgia, Bush support is tepid and cooling.
Barr & Borat
Yesterday’s sparsely attended Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on privacy was considered merely a prelude to next week’s, when Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will appear as a witness.
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) asked Barr, who was appearing as an expert witness on government data-mining programs, about his ["Borat"] movie role.
“Information was gathered at that interview under false pretenses,” Barr replied soberly. [...]
Later, Barr told a reporter that the interview took place two years ago and that his staff “checked out” the company requesting it. “They had a PR firm, a law firm, a Web address. We checked it out, obviously not as much as we should have.
“It became obvious after a few minutes that the guy was weird, and we threw him out of the office.”
I was irate over the movie prior to seeing it because, as a former filmmaker, I believe it is so unethical to deceive a participant, and the deception here was so explicitly intentional. Rereading the release today, it is not as egregious as I remembered.
Still, I don’t ask people to sign until after the interview is completed, and the last time I used a release filled with decipherably broad legalese jargon I was scolded and lectured for it by the man who taught me a good bit of what I know about documentary filmmaking. (He signed anyway.)
I enjoyed the movie and it was a good deal less objectionable than I expected, but I object to the use of footage for entertainment that was obtained through deception over the objections of those deceived. I hope some of those people win their suits; they were duped and that movie is raking in millions for it.
I gather we laugh thinking that’s not us. I think it is. And with a
hidden camera, obfuscation and editing, any of us could be made to look foolish.
EDITED: Oops! Obviously, the camera wasn’t hidden.
Sex abuse, predators, and the moral panic
Every day, i read more articles about child abuse and online sexual predators. They make me sad but they also make me very frustrated because the more we talk about these cases of strangers abusing children, the less we talk about the real perpetrators of child abuse: adults who know children intimately. Today, i ran across a phenomenal article by Peter Reilly entitled The Facts About Online Sex Abuse and Schools. In it, he shares a lot of data about perpetrators, the state of child abuse in general, and the importance of not buying into the fear.
She says these two images “capture my unbearable frustration with our obsession with online sexual predators:”
When we slice the “less than five percent pie” into these smaller pieces, the risk gets much, much smaller. Of course, statistics aren’t going to matter much if you are the parent of a child who has had an online incident, or the leader of school that has experienced one.
The question is, “Are we going to take a ‘zero risk’ approach to using technology and the tools of the Web?”
We don’t take a “zero risk” approach with our sports programs where the chance of injury, paralysis, and, in rare cases, death, is always present. We don’t take that approach with field trips where students travel to museums and historical sites in locations where they might be touched by crime. We don’t take that approach with recess on our playgrounds, or transporting our kids to and from school.
We can never eliminate all risk; but there are ways to maximize our students’ safety while using these incredibly powerful tools. Each tool needs to be analyzed individually to ascertain its benefits and the specific risks it might present. From there, thoughtful people can find solutions to the student safety issues that may arise.
I share danah’s frustration, but believe that people, given the facts, will ultimately make the right decisions. Those two qualifiers - “given the facts” and “ultimately” - are giant. The media won’t give us the facts, and “ultimately” is bound to be too long coming.
Genarlow Wilson’s still sitting in jail; and laws meant to protect children continue to victimize them.