Linkin' Log Technology

“Smart” Money on BlackBerry

From The Boy Genius Report:

Despite a sharp downward turn on Friday, BlackBerry shares were still up more than 36% year-to-date at the time of this writing, while Google shares have gained nearly 9% year-to-date. Microsoft is up about 2% after Friday’s gains and Apple shares have fallen about 6% since the start of the year.

Well, hot damn! That sounds pretty impressive!

Google (GOOG)$1211.57
Apple (AAPL)$530.92
Microsoft (MSFT)$37.88
BlackBerry (BBRY)$9.67


Never mind.

Linkin' Log Technology

Apple iCloud Keychain Sync Security

Rich Mogull gives you way more information on iCloud Keychain security than you probably ever wanted to know. From TidBITS:

For security professionals like myself, this is like waking up and finding a pot of gold sitting on my keyboard. Along with some of the most impressive security I’ve ever seen, Apple has provided a way to make it impossible for agencies like the NSA to obtain your iCloud Keychain passwords.

The paper is incredibly dense, even getting to the level of detail of which flavor of particular encryption algorithms are used in which security controls. I will likely be digesting it for months, but one particular section contained an important nugget that explains why the NSA can’t snoop on your iCloud Keychain passwords.

News Technology

Joyous Holiday Season Shipping: Ho, Ho, Oh Crap

One of the fun stories coming out of the Joyous Holiday Season was the number of packages that were guaranteed to be delivered by Christmas that, you know, weren’t. From The Wall Street Journal:

The bottleneck was largely in UPS’s air business, which retailers leaned on heavily in the past week as they scrambled to fill down-to-the-wire orders. UPS has a bigger share of retail e-commerce business than FedEx Corp., but its smaller fleet of cargo planes might have been a limiting factor, people in the industry said. UPS said it had added 23 extra chartered aircraft to its year-round operating fleet of more than 237 planes and regular 293 daily charters. FedEx owned 581 and leased 66 as of May 31.

This has lead to a number of online retailers, including Amazon, having to issue gift cards and credits to disappointed customers. Amazon, of course, is not pleased about this, and issued the following statement to The Denver Post:

“Amazon fulfillment centers processed and tendered customer orders to delivery carriers on time for holiday delivery,” said Amazon spokeswoman Mary Osako. “We are reviewing the performance of the delivery carriers.”

If I were UPS and FedEx, I’d be freaking out right now… As MG Siegler points out, it is unlikely that Amazon could outright buy either company. But until Amazon has their fleet of delivery drones swarming the sky, dropping our packages from the air, there is an interesting possibility available to them: extending their already-existing partnership with the United States Postal Service that was announced last month. From USA Today: unveiled a new partnership with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver online orders from the world’s largest Internet retailer on Sunday for the first time.

The service started this weekend in the Los Angeles and New York metropolitan areas and Amazon plans to expand it to a large portion of the U.S. population in 2014, including Dallas, Houston, New Orleans and Phoenix.

The revenue generated by taking on the shipping needs of someone like Amazon, who ships a bazillion packages a day, could help stave off the USPS’s potential bankruptcy, and create a pants-crappingly bad situation for the companies who had been eating the USPS’s lunch for the past few years.

Linkin' Log Technology

The Case for Buying A Shitty TV

Buzzfeed’s recent article, “The Case for Buying a Shitty TV”, has left a number of people in the Apple Blogosphere talking. Take, for instance, Shawn King of The Loop:

Purists will scoff but he’s not wrong. And with “good enough” TVs coming down in price, it makes it less and less likely Apple will be interested in trying to sell their own high margin sets.

This is exactly the mentality that made people scoff at the idea of Apple entering the mobile phone market in 2006, and that seemed to work out pretty okay for them.

This is not to say I think Apple will jump into the television-making business — I very much doubt they will — but this rationale is short-sighted. I think Marco Arment is the one who nailed it:

While I’ve followed this advice on a lot of “dumb” electronics so far, I don’t think I’d go quite as far as getting a “shitty” TV for one big reason: I hardly ever buy a new TV. In my entire life so far, including every TV my family owned during my childhood, I’ve only had five.

A few paragraphs down, he continues:

Their size makes replacing TVs cumbersome and wasteful, so I don’t want to do it very often, and I think this is a fairly common stance. (This is one reason why I don’t think it would be wise for Apple to enter the TV-set business.) Since good TVs aren’t that expensive and last a very long time by consumer-electronics standards, and replacing TVs is so cumbersome, I don’t think there’s much reason to get shitty ones.

Televisions don’t pass what I refer to as the Civic Test: if a device cannot fit easily into a Honda Civic, the likelihood that you will give that item to a child, spouse, parent, wild-eyed hobo, or whomever else you please when you want to upgrade in a few years is diminished considerably. That means making room for a new one that you might not need is more difficult, and therefore you will hang onto that device for a longer period of time. Phones, tablets, and computers — areas where Apple is already active — pass the Civic Test easily, allowing for higher sales numbers and repeat customers.

Additionally, Apple’s devices are very personal in nature, especially the ones where they draw the most profit… You upgrade your phone or tablet to build a better experience for yourself, which makes the impulse to upgrade much stronger. A television is a communal device, and multiple people will have a say in when that device needs to be upgraded, which also screws the pooch on the whole “24-month upgrade cycle” mentality.

News Technology

Guess Who Was The Target of a Security Breach?

Spoiler: It was Target. See what I did there? 1

From The New York Times:

Target’s announcement came one day after a security blogger, Brian Krebs, first reported the breach. In a statement, Target confirmed that criminals gained access to its customer information on Nov. 27 — the day before Thanksgiving and just ahead of one of the busiest shopping days of the year — and maintained access through Dec. 15.

Target said it had confirmed that its online customers were not affected by the breach, which appears to have been isolated to the point-of-sale systems in Target’s retail stores.

Given that gaining access to the physical point-of-sale systems should be an infinitely more difficult task than gaining access to the online database 2, this does not fill me with the most hope for Target’s ability to protect customer data in the slightest.

  1. That wordplay in the title link will shame my family for generations to come. I have no regrets. 
  2. Not that it’s easy to gain access to the online transactions, either. But this is like robbing Fort Knox instead of robbing a bank, y’know? 
Linkin' Log Technology

Excel: Adding As Well As I Do

In a bold marketing move, Microsoft is putting up billboards to advertise the Surface 2 that show off Microsoft Office, specifically Excel and its inability to add correctly.

Less than a month after a Microsoft PR executive dismissed Apple’s Pages, Numbers and Keynote productivity software as “watered down imitation apps,” the company has erected giant billboards depicting its own Excel failing to add seven numbers correctly on a Surface tablet.

Microsoft: Your home for laser-focused attention to detail since the debut of Microsoft Bob.

via The Loop


6 Essential Mac Tips

I didn’t know about the ‘clean paste’ option until now. That’s pretty great.

via Laughing Squid

Linkin' Log Technology

Ars Technica Reviews OS X Mavericks

If you’re looking for a deep-dive review of all the stuff found in the brand-spakin’-new OS X 10.9 Mavericks, you aren’t going to do much better than Ars Technica’s 24(!) page review by John Siracusa.

Linkin' Log News Technology


Toyota has announced a recall of a bunch of cars because airbags are being deployed by spiders in the freakin’ air conditioners.

Spiders and their webs are apparently responsible for clogging the air conditioner drainage tubes, causing the water spillover onto the airbag control module. Fortunately for the hundreds of thousands of car owners potentially affected by the recall, this has only happened to a small number of cars — three airbag deployments and 35 warning light activations have been documented, according to Toyota. In all cases, spiders were a common factor — but given the very limited number of issues Toyota has seen, this feels like a “better safe than sorry” recall. In fact, Toyota notes that it’s voluntary, and the fix sounds pretty simple. The company will apply a sealant and install a cover to eliminate the dripping.

This “fix” falls far short of what should be done: light the car on fire because HOLY CRAP THERE’S SPIDERS IN THERE I MEAN SERIOUSLY WHAT IS GOING ON TOYOTA.



Hover!, a game that originally came bundled with Windows 95, has been recreated for the web using WebGL.

The most impressive part, at least for fans of the classic Hover! version, is that Microsoft has also built in a “secret” retro mode to activate a web version of Windows 95 complete with the original. If you visit the site and type bambi at the mainscreen, the original codename for the Windows 95 release and a nod to an old easter egg in the game , it will activate the retro mode. While it’s not a full version of Windows 95, you can also double click on share_fb.exe and tweet.exe from the desktop and Windows 95-style setup wizards will appear allowing you to share the site to Facebook and Twitter. It’s all very retro and executed perfectly for those who remember using Windows 18 years ago.

I loved this game so freakin’ much, you guys, and the web version is just as frustratingly awesome as I remember it being. Everyone wave s’long to my productivity for the day.