KRON 4 San Francisco Camera Crew Outside Apple Store Trying to Make a Big Deal of iPhone Virus… er… SMS Exploit

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Apple, Technology | Posted on 31-07-2009-05-2008

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So I was at the Apple Store on Chestnut Street yesterday to buy a Time Capsule and Airport Express. As I walked outside of the store, a man with a camera stopped me and asked me if I was an iPhone user (turns out he was from KRON 4). While I normally don’t stop to entertain random people on the street, I was intrigued about where he might go with this. I said, “Yeah I’m an iPhone user.” His response: “Did you hear about that new iPhone virus that’s supposed to be unleashed today – how does that make you feel?” I said, “Oh I think you’re talking about the SMS exploit. Yeah I think some researchers are going to explain how to do it today.” He fished on further and responded, “How does it make you feel that ANYONE could just TAKE OVER YOUR IPHONE with a TEXT MESSAGE?” I was like, “Um… well, it’s just a security hole that a researcher discovered. This happens a lot with all operating systems and usually the companies issue fixes pretty quickly.” He retorted, “There has been zero response from Apple and this is going to be a huge deal.” I said, “Okay.” He asked me if I wanted to share my feelings on camera – I said no and walked away. Anyhow, it’s pretty annoying how much the media will try and twist reality just to get some idiot on camera to say something ridiculous. More pics after the break.

UPDATE: APPLE ALREADY FIXED THE EXPLOIT.

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Google Voice – My Impressions of the Product and the iPhone Fiasco

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Apple, Technology | Posted on 29-07-2009-05-2008

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IMG_0111I got my Google Voice invite a couple weeks ago. Since then, I’ve had some time to play with it. To make matters more interesting, there was a Google Mobile iPhone app released! To make things even more interesting, Apple yanked the app from the App Store (apparently at AT&T’s request). And to make things even more interesting, the developer re-released the app via Cydia (the application installer for jailbroken iPhones)! I’m happy to have GV Mobile on my jailbroken iPhone right now so read on for my thoughts about the Google Voice service as well as the experience on the iPhone.

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Intel Arrandale CPUs to Launch in 1Q10 – Here Come the New Macbook CPUs

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Apple, Misc, Technology | Posted on 24-07-2009-05-2008

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intelThanks to Tech Report for the update. DigiTimes reports that Intel is gearing up to release up to seven Arrandale CPUs in the first quarter of 2010. The great news is that these chips are coming – the bad news is that they’re not coming until 1Q10. Initially, there were rumors that these CPUs would squeak into 2009. Apple is expected to use these chips in their MacBook & MacBook Pro line.

These chips are based on Intel’s newer, smaller 34nm build process. Currently, Intel’s Penryn Core 2 Duo chips use a 45nm build process. The smaller process should yield lower power usage and less heat output. Furthermore, these chips have integrated graphics processors. It will be interesting to see what Apple does with the integrated graphics chip, given the interesting legal battles between Intel and nVidia. Theses future-MacBook CPUs will be launced at 2.4, 2.53, and 2.66ghz. I’m holding off upgrading my MacBook Pro until I can get one with these CPUs.

Palm re-enables iTunes Sync – But what’s the point?

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Apple, Palm, Technology | Posted on 24-07-2009-05-2008

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PREThe Palm Pre was released with the ability to sync with iTunes. It did so by pretending to be an iPod. Apple released iTunes 8.2.1, and the Palm Pre could no longer sync with it. Last night, Palm released a WebOS 1.1 update. Now iTunes syncing is back.

Okay so I really don’t want to delve into what is morally or legally right here. I don’t really care. I just don’t understand what Palm is trying to do.

iTunes now sells only DRM-free music. Therefore, any of the music in iTunes can be put on any device. Furthermore, the MP3 / AAC files are organized neatly into a folder structure and they have tags integrated in all the files with track information. Why doesn’t Palm just do what Nokia did and create a little media sync application. Let the user use iTunes, but let them sync their music in a completely legal, non-workaroundy way. This would let users put their music on the device, would keep Apple from filing any lawsuits (and with all those former iPod engineers on the Palm team now, I don’t think that’s far-fetched), and everyone would be happy. Just my 2 cents.

Microsoft Shits the Bed – stock down 8% after hours – PLEASE SPLIT UP THIS COMPANY!

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Finance, Technology | Posted on 23-07-2009-05-2008

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msftMicrosoft has some serious problems. Their business model is being threatened on all fronts. Go here if you want a liveblog of their earnings call. They missed street estimates of revenue by $1B. I know that in reference to the US economy, the “trillion” word is said a lot so that may desensitize us to the word “billion,” but make no mistake… that’s… A LOT.

An analyst on the call asked Microsoft about margins, and the CFO said he’s not making any promises. He better not – their number one piece of business is selling operating systems. When your competitor, Apple, viewed as the maker of premium products, says it is going to sell OS X Snow Leopard for a flat $30, that sure makes Windows 7 pricing look downright stupid.

Their online services revenue was down by 14% too. I have said this once and I’ll say it again: MICROSOFT NEEDS TO SPLIT ITSELF UP. They have no synergy. Imagine how good Office could be if it were free from any sort of corporate mandates from HQ… The XBOX is great. They should focus on making it not sound like a jet engine, not on how to integrate with Zune. Speaking of Zune, can they just put that out of its misery? It just seems like there are so many wheels at Microsoft that aren’t turning together. Either fire Steve Ballmer and find someone who can align the wheels… or take apart the car and let each part run freely. Until they do one of the those two things, I’d be shocked if MSFT turns around any time soon.

Notes & Commentary from Apple’s 3Q09 Conference Call

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Apple, Finance, Technology | Posted on 21-07-2009-05-2008

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AppleLogoApple released their 3Q09 Quarterly results just now. I’m not going to post any of the boring press release details. You can read that here. However, I’m listening to their conference call right now, and I’ll post any interesting tidbits below. Click to continue reading!

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United Airlines Choice Menu: My Impressions

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Travel, United | Posted on 19-07-2009-05-2008

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This past Friday, I flew LGA-IAD-SFO. My upgrade from Dulles to San Francisco didn’t clear, which was a bit of a bummer. However, I knew that United had a new “Choice Menu” that they were testing on the SFO-IAD routes. I was excited to give these new food options a go. The flight attendant walks up and down the aisle, passing out paper menus to everyone. I think having an actual menu is a nice touch. There were three sandwiches and three salads to choose from. Here is the official list of items.

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I decided to get the Spinach and Bacon Salad, the Lays Stax chips (pretty similar to pringles), and a toblerone chocolate bar. All of that ran me $15. It’s a bit pricey, I suppose, but so is the airport food that would be your alternative. The salad had spinach, tomatoes, a little baggie of croutons, walnuts, cranberries, and some great honey dijon dressing.

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Interestingly enough, this menu has caused me to really re-think my upgrade strategy. Why waste an upgrade from SFO to DC? If I get an exit row economy plus seat, I’ll have more legroom than I do in first class. The Choice Menu food is better than the food in first class, and I can conserve my upgrades. Of course, in first class you get the wider seat, better service (depending on the flight attendants!), WARM NUTS, and free drinks. In any case, I really applaud United for actually making an ENHANCEMENT to their service. That hasn’t happened in years.

Google Voice Invites Finally Sent Out!

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Technology | Posted on 15-07-2009-05-2008

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Time to give this a try!

Google Chrome OS / Android… Nobody is Asking the Right Questions

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Finance, Technology | Posted on 14-07-2009-05-2008

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On July 8, 2009, Google announced that they would be entering the Operating System space with their own product, Chrome OS. This will be designed primarily for netbooks. Unfortunately for Google, this is a fairly crowded space. They have Windows XP, Windows 7, Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Intel Moblin, and a whole bunch of other operating systems to compete with. So they’re jumping into a crowded market. Let’s just say they succeed. Let’s say they grab 50% of all netbook marketshare. Great! Now… they make money off this how?? Am I missing something here? Same with Android! When Android was first released, I thought locally targeted advertising would be forced down the user’s throat. Instead, there’s no locally targeted advertising – just a mediocre UI. We have to imagine that a significant amount of developers are working on both Chrome OS and Android. Both operating systems have a long battle to fight. If either of them prevail, how does Google win? I am VERY surprised Google shareholders aren’t pissed off about this lack of direction. SHOW ME THE MONEY!

A recent successful trade for me – DTO – Oil Double Short

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Finance | Posted on 14-07-2009-05-2008

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I haven’t posted here much about money, finance, or trading, but I’m dabbling with the idea of doing so a bit more often. I’m feeling especially good about this recent trade. Oil was up over 80 for what seemed like no reason. Oil inventories were at record highs and consumption was down due to the weakened economy. Deciding to play oil on the short side as a quick trade, I bought DTO. DTO is an ETF designed to follow DOUBLE the opposite performance of Oil in a single day. So if Oil dropped 1%, this should go up 2%. The trade worked like a charm. I bought my shares at 68.85 and sold them all for 95 flat last week. I still think oil might trend lower, but I think the big run down is over. So here’s the real question… when is it time to turn back around and go long? I’m thinking that if oil hits 50, or especially 45, it might time to pile back in… Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.