The web is buzzing with contempt over a statement by Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) Chairman and CEO Chris Dodd to Fox last Thursday:
“Those who count on quote ‘Hollywood’ for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who’s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don’t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don’t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake.”
As pointed out on the MPAA web site, Dodd is also a former US Senator from Connecticut. Surely he understood the implications of publicly confirming what we have always expected — that Hollywood spends a lot of money on politicans and expects a return on their investments. Rather than condemn him, perhaps we should be thanking him for putting this out in the open.
The movie industry, like many others, is facing a harsh new reality — one that, for the most part, they appear to be in denial about. Pushing for draconian, ill-informed legislation such as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act isn’t the solution. Perhaps it’s time that Hollywood stop trying to purchase politicians and apply some creativity to their business model instead.
As I sit here on my morning flight from Ottawa to London I’m contemplating my words of a year ago. I was wrong. The iPad is going to put a serious dent in the notebook market due to the convergence of multiple factors:
1) The iPad is beyond cool – it’s affordably cool. While the device may cost the same as netbooks and low-end laptops, consider the apps. $10 gets you Keynote — which last night flawlessly slurped in a .pptx from Microsoft PowerPoint. I put my final touches on today’s presentation and emailed myself both a .ppt and .pdf of the presentation.
2) As a device for mobile users, the iPad is light, has a battery life easily twice that of most laptops, and is virtually instant-on. The main drawback for writers is the on-screen keyboard, but with Bluetooth keyboard support the number of options continues to increase.
3) Mobile phone operators are slowly starting to provide affordable data plans for the iPad. In Canada they generally continue to screw their customers – the original $30 for 6GB iPhone plans are nowhere to be seen, but good deals will hopefully return as additional competitors enter the market.
4) Cloud computing is making remote access to virtual computers a cost-effective reality. With Citrix and Windows Remote Desktop clients available for the iPad, connecting to a remote computer with resources that far exceed that of any laptop is not only possible – it is about to become a commodity.
5) For many companies, the days of 3-year laptop refresh cycles are over as they seek all possible cost reductions. As a result, a new generation of workers are emerging: Those who are sick of lugging around heavy, old, and frustratingly slow laptops that have a negative impact on their productivity. (These same companies appear oblivious to the productivity losses and morale issues caused by their failure to provide decent tools to their employees, but let’s save that for another article.) Some workers now choose to use their own computer for work – and for many the iPad and virtual machine solution will be a winner. Some firms are embracing this, including updating their infrastructure to support corporate email on a variety of employee-owned devices.
In short, expect laptop sales to decline.
Apple seems to get this too — you won’t need a Mac or PC to set up, backup, or use your iPad or iPhone with this fall’s release of iOS 5.
There has been a lot of discussion and speculation lately about the iPhone, how it uses location information, and the privacy implications. Apple released this information today — I’m presenting it verbatim to preserve the context. I found the bit about collecting anonymous traffic data quite interesting!
April 27, 2011
Apple Q&A on Location Data
Apple would like to respond to the questions we have recently received about the gathering and use of location information by our devices.
1. Why is Apple tracking the location of my iPhone?
Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.
2. Then why is everyone so concerned about this?
Providing mobile users with fast and accurate location information while preserving their security and privacy has raised some very complex technical issues which are hard to communicate in a soundbite. Users are confused, partly because the creators of this new technology (including Apple) have not provided enough education about these issues to date.
3. Why is my iPhone logging my location?
The iPhone is not logging your location. Rather, it’s maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location, some of which may be located more than one hundred miles away from your iPhone, to help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested. Calculating a phone’s location using just GPS satellite data can take up to several minutes. iPhone can reduce this time to just a few seconds by using Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data to quickly find GPS satellites, and even triangulate its location using just Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data when GPS is not available (such as indoors or in basements). These calculations are performed live on the iPhone using a crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data that is generated by tens of millions of iPhones sending the geo-tagged locations of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple.
4. Is this crowd-sourced database stored on the iPhone?
The entire crowd-sourced database is too big to store on an iPhone, so we download an appropriate subset (cache) onto each iPhone. This cache is protected but not encrypted, and is backed up in iTunes whenever you back up your iPhone. The backup is encrypted or not, depending on the user settings in iTunes. The location data that researchers are seeing on the iPhone is not the past or present location of the iPhone, but rather the locations of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers surrounding the iPhone’s location, which can be more than one hundred miles away from the iPhone. We plan to cease backing up this cache in a software update coming soon (see Software Update section below).
5. Can Apple locate me based on my geo-tagged Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data?
No. This data is sent to Apple in an anonymous and encrypted form. Apple cannot identify the source of this data.
6. People have identified up to a year’s worth of location data being stored on the iPhone. Why does my iPhone need so much data in order to assist it in finding my location today?
This data is not the iPhone’s location data—it is a subset (cache) of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database which is downloaded from Apple into the iPhone to assist the iPhone in rapidly and accurately calculating location. The reason the iPhone stores so much data is a bug we uncovered and plan to fix shortly (see Software Update section below). We don’t think the iPhone needs to store more than seven days of this data.
7. When I turn off Location Services, why does my iPhone sometimes continue updating its Wi-Fi and cell tower data from Apple’s crowd-sourced database?
It shouldn’t. This is a bug, which we plan to fix shortly (see Software Update section below).
8. What other location data is Apple collecting from the iPhone besides crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data?
Apple is now collecting anonymous traffic data to build a crowd-sourced traffic database with the goal of providing iPhone users an improved traffic service in the next couple of years.
9. Does Apple currently provide any data collected from iPhones to third parties?
We provide anonymous crash logs from users that have opted in to third-party developers to help them debug their apps. Our iAds advertising system can use location as a factor in targeting ads. Location is not shared with any third party or ad unless the user explicitly approves giving the current location to the current ad (for example, to request the ad locate the Target store nearest them).
10. Does Apple believe that personal information security and privacy are important?
Yes, we strongly do. For example, iPhone was the first to ask users to give their permission for each and every app that wanted to use location. Apple will continue to be one of the leaders in strengthening personal information security and privacy.
Sometime in the next few weeks Apple will release a free iOS software update that:
• reduces the size of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database cached on the iPhone,
• ceases backing up this cache, and
• deletes this cache entirely when Location Services is turned off.
In the next major iOS software release the cache will also be encrypted on the iPhone.
itBusiness.ca has an interesting article and video on the Self-Serve ER Kiosk.
It’s an interesting concept, and it makes some sense. But it also begs a question: Why aren’t we allowing pharmacists to deal with non-urgent issues?
It makes little sense, especially for someone without a GP, to go to an Emergency Room or wait for hours at a walk-in clinic for a condition such as a simple infection. We have experts at our local pharmacy counter with years of training and a knowledge of drugs that far exceeds most physicians. In many countries they’re allowed to write prescriptions. Why not not in Canada?
Kiosks are cool, and they have a role, but let’s leverage the professionals already out there first.
As I watched the launch of VMware vSphere 4 on Tuesday I was torn. Part of the event was more corporate group hug than product launch, and in many ways vSphere is a logical extension of the company’s existing products. But a little voice in my head told me, “This is something big.”
Some technological leaps seem clear, especially when viewed historically. For example, we speak of moving from the mainframe to the PC – from centralized to distributed processing – as if it happened quickly. But in fact it took years and there were several steps and stumbles before PCs replaced “dumb terminals” in numbers.
For the past ten years VMware has been developing leading-edge virtualization technology. In the early days it was primarily used by developers and geeks. Then more powerful servers appeared on the market, RAM prices plummeted, and virtualization moved into the datacenter. The business case for server consolidation can be simple: Less hardware, fewer racks, and power savings.
But virtualization is quickly moving beyond simple server consolidation. VMWare provides the ability to move a running computer between physical boxes without any downtime. A new feature allows a running “computer” to execute simultaneously in lockstep on two different physical machines — if one fails the other simply takes over. Security products will defend each virtual machine against attacks. And this will all work with existing operating systems and applications.
This year VMWare is bringing true cloud computing to the enterprise, and with it comes the ability to implement highly available systems and solid disaster recovery. We’re about to witness the next major jump in computing technology. Hold on tight, it’s going to be an exciting ride!