Tag: Apple

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Biden-linked Totalitarian CCP continues campaign against Jimmy Lai and free speech. After a judge released Jimmy Lai on bail pending a February court date prior to Christmas, a very public campaign of intimidation against the judge saw Jimmy back in custody for the new year. Notice the reverence in Hong Kong for social distancing among […]

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Fighting to Stay

 

Just when you are ready to give up on Millennials as ignorant, selfish, and anarchistic snowflakes, along comes a story that gives you hope for the future. A young lady, Melody Yang, was a student at the university, Santa Clara, where I teach. I’ve only just become acquainted with her (I’m in the English Dept., she was in the B-school and taught herself computer science), but her story is so compelling that I had to share it.

Melody Yang is Taiwanese, here on an F1 student visa, and behaving like a true Silicon Valley entrepreneur taking control over her life and earning the right to stay here. She already has designed — as an undergraduate — a successful new product and earned a job at Apple (as you can imagine, not an easy task). Apple now is applying for her to stay as “an individual of extraordinary ability and achievement.” In other words, when many of American’s children seem to despise their country, this young lady is fighting to stay.

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On Monday night, my iPhone turned off and wouldn’t turn back on. That’s just a minor personal inconvenience with a straightforward, if not pricy, solution—right? So the next morning, I scheduled an appointment at a repair shop for that afternoon and tried to log in for work. And that’s where the “minor personal inconvenience” snowballed. […]

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The Oprah Conversation: “Racist!”

 

Let’s have a conversation about race, shall we? Because Oprah wants us to. Like on her new Apple TV show, “The Oprah Conversation,” the first episode of which was entitled “How To Be Anti-Racist” (because simply not being racist isn’t good enough). But be forewarned, white people. It is necessarily going to be a tad one-sided. That’s because the fundamental premise of any conversation with you about race is going to be that, well, you are just . . . no . . . damn . . . good. Alrighty? Let’s do it then.

Let’s talk about white racism, “white privilege,” “white advantage,” the “white power structure,” “whiteness,” and “white” this and “white” that and nothing but white, white, white, until if you hear the word “white” used in a derogatory way one more time, you’re just going to . . .

Anders Hagstrom returns to the show to discuss the Big Tech menace (?), the Tik Tok menace (!), and the pleasures of video games (?!?).

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A not-quite rebuttal to Susan’s post on the perils of contact tracing (when performed by government employees over the phone)… As I previously mentioned on R>, I’ve been intrigued by the Distributed Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing (DP-3T) protocol as a voluntary way of notifying individuals who may have been exposed to COVID-19 without revealing how that […]

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Early in the Duration (h/t @jameslileks, for the umpteenth time since 2007-ish when I started reading lileks.com), I read that Apple and Google were collaborating on an API for anonymous Bluetooth-based contact tracing technology. Any collaboration between AAPL and GOOGL, whose iOS and Android platforms dominate the mobile phone space, is rare enough that I […]

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Friends, what are your thoughts on smartphone costs? What’s your setup, and what do you like (or not) about it? What prompts my interest is this week’s news that Apple has no qualms about setting $1,000 as the starting point for new iPhones, at least in America. I’ve never tried to keep up with the […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are pleased to see a key figure from the Florida high school shooting replaced in the Broward County Sheriff’s Office but are irritated the media has stopped covering Sheriff Scott Israel, who still has his job despite failing to perform his duties before and during the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. They also reject Democrats’ call to regulate the internet as a public utility in the wake of Facebook, Apple, and YouTube’s ban of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. And they mourn for Venezuelans as dictator Nicolas Maduro survived a botched drone assassination attempt, and they discuss regulations on drones and the potential to use them for terrorism.

Quote of the Day: Apples and Oranges

 

“Do I look like I have stupid written all over my face?” – Ernest P. Worrell

In the case of Jim Varney’s iconic character, well, yeah, that’s exactly what he looked like. But what about the rest of us? We’re constantly being told stories by the government, the media and corporations that would strain the credulity of a five-year-old.

Apple is currently experiencing a bit of a public relations problem after being forced to admit that they have been intentionally slowing down the older models of their phones. Of course, they would never do something like that to try and promote the sales of newer models. No, it was done solely because as the lithium ion batteries become older and no longer perform at peak efficiency, the performance must be degraded to maintain full functionality. They really had no choice. It’s not as if they could have made that information public from the beginning, and offered replacement batteries at a reasonable price.

What’s the Upside of America Being Home to the Tech Giants?

 

As Tony “Iron Man” Stark once said, “Actually, [Captain America] is the boss. I just pay for everything and design everything and make everyone look cooler.” In a way, that is how I think about America’s tech giants. All they do is bring us great products and services while creating lots of jobs and wealth. That’s all. Europe would love to have them.

Of course, that doesn’t mean they didn’t mess up this Russian election interference thing. Nor does it mean they shouldn’t be regulated or reviewed by antitrust officials. Not at all. It’s just that they remain tremendous economic assets. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that, I guess.

So I was happy to see this piece by Farhad Manjoo of the New York Times, “The Upside of Being Ruled by the Five Tech Giants.” Manjoo, by the way, typically refers to Alphabet-Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft as the Frightful Five. From his recent column, which tries to look at the upside of Big Tech:

Break Up Big Tech? It Wasn’t Long Ago That It Was “Break Up Walmart”

 

Before “Break up Big Tech,” there was “Break up the Big Banks.” And before that, “Break up Walmart.” Oh yeah, lots of interest among a certain group of activists in breaking up the giant retailer. In 2006, for instance, Washington wonk Barry Lynn wrote in Harper’s about “The Case for Breaking Up Wal-Mart” and then again “The Case for Breaking Up Walmart” in 2013 for Foreign Policy.

More recently, Lynn has been a leading proponent of cracking down on the megaplatforms such as Google and Facebook, though perhaps not necessarily breaking them up into smaller companies. But let’s not forget about Walmart, a company Lynn once described as having such vast power that it actually “subverts the functioning of the free market.”

But how is Walmart doing these days? Does it face any competitive pressures? Well, yeah it does. It doesn’t take much searching to find stories about how Walmart is “under siege” from Amazon, and how with every passing year, it becomes “harder and harder for Walmart to compete with Amazon.”

Will Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon Be Forever Dominant?

 
President Donald Trump, Satya Nadella of Microsoft, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon.

I’m skeptical that Washington will break up Big Tech like it did Standard Oil or AT&T. Likewise, New York Times tech columnist Farhad Manjoo also doubts such action is on the near horizon, or really governmental action of any kind. One difference is that Manjoo — who refers to Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft as the “Frightful Five” — seems far closer than I am to being convinced strong action is necessary. From his lede: “The tech giants are too big. They’re getting bigger. We can stop them. But in all likelihood, we won’t.”

David French of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome the news that special counsel Robert Mueller is looking at possible criminal activity by the Podesta Group, which not only shows Mueller is looking at activities on the left but also highlights the fact Russia and the Soviet Union have meddled in U.S. politics for decades. They also discuss the latest reports of former Fox News allegedly shelling out $32 million to settle a lawsuit from a former Fox contributor who alleged a “non-consensual sexual relationship” with Bill O’Reilly, and David concluding the political right should treat O’Reilly as a pariah akin to Harvey Weinstein. And they roll their eyes as CNN unveils its new “Facts First” campaign by showing an apple and saying that some people – clearly referring to President Trump – insist the apple is a banana. They explain why CNN’s does not have the moral high ground in this debate.

The Great Sort and the Rise of Populism

 

Over the course of a generation, American politics has increasingly been shaped by a series of forces which are only now beginning to be understood. This phenomenon has created effects as divergent and seemingly disconnected from each other as the inflation of real estate prices in California’s Silicon Valley to the election of Donald Trump and the rise of populism. Trying to understand the underlying forces which animate these disparate occurrences requires traveling back in time to track both their origins and how they’ve progressed over time.

Let’s start in 1976 with Jimmy Carter winning the Presidential election with 50.1% of the popular vote. He does so with just 26.8% of counties voting for him with a margin in excess of 20%. After Carter’s inauguration in 1977, Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs found the Apple Computer Corporation in April. Later that year, Paul Allen and Bill Gates found Microsoft. The median price of a home in the US is $33,000. The median price of a home in Cupertino, CA — where Apple will ultimately place its headquarters — is slightly higher, as California Real Estate tends to be.

I’ve picked this moment in time as a baseline. There was it seems, a much greater sense of interconnectedness between people throughout the country at the local level. The numbers bear this out. The still relatively small number of people who attended college mainly returned home and went to work, married a high school acquaintance (the even smaller number of women who attended college then practically guaranteed this) and lived their lives. People were far more likely to live next to a person of differing ideological persuasion or even a different income stratum.

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FAKE NEWS! It’s the Left’s panique du jour: There was an alleged wave of false stories that somehow hoodwinked, hornswoggled, and otherwise bamboozled enough Americans (but not enough to win the popular vote!) to let Donald Trump and those dastardly Baby-Eating Republicans to steal the Presidency. What were those fake news stories? Well, I’ve heard […]

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I was one of those warbloggers that got started after 9-11. I posted like crazy at first. I got into Blog arguments and discussions day and night. Eventually I got some Instalanches and got onto the Instapundit blogroll, back when that was a thing. I blogged for 5 or 6 years to daily audience… But […]

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Europe Gets Apple Right

 

iPhone_6_PLUS_preview_MG_1875On August 30, the European Commission issued a blockbuster ruling that required Ireland to recoup, with interest, the €13 billion in tax benefits that it has granted Apple since 1991. The tax breaks, the commission held, violated the European Union’s “state aid rules” that no company should be given preferential treatment under the law.

The decision elicited a strong reaction from Apple CEO Tim Cook who denounced it as “total political crap.” He was not alone in this belief. Holman Jenkins, Jr., writing in The Wall Street Journal, for example, said the decision was motivated by the European Commission’s desire to impose “tax harmonization” on all EU members as a way of “defending Europe’s stagnant social model,” which could not generate any Amazons, Googles, or Facebooks on its own. The United States Treasury echoed the same theme in a white paper that anticipated the EC’s ruling. And now Ireland, backed by Apple and Treasury, has decided to appeal the EC decision to the European Courts. Who is right, and why?

My initial judgment—always subject to revision on the strength of additional information—is that the EC was correct in its decision. In making this assessment, I admit that I harbor a deep suspicion of the EC in its multiple roles. In general, there is much to the charge that the EC’s policies are prejudiced against American companies that do business in the EU. But it is one thing to start with a strong presumption, and another to put the pieces together in a prudent fashion.