Monday, April 26, 2010

iPhone Beer Goggles? Gawker Media may be guilty of grand theft

If a California law dating back to 1872 is applied, then employees at Gizmodo (a web property of Gawker Media) may be guilty of grand theft for paying $5,000 to obtain the iPhone prototype famously lost by Gray Powell in a Redwood City bar.

This isn't the first time that Gawker Media has crossed the line from "aggressive journalism" into douchebaggery; in 2008 Gawker published screenshots of Sarah Palin's email after her Yahoo account was hacked.

Posted in reference to: Lost iPhone prototype spurs police probe | Apple - CNET News (view on Google Sidewiki)

Skype Mobile lameness continues in Android

During the past week my wife and I upgraded our mobile phones and made a major shift away from Blackberry to Android.  This ends (for me) an era which began in 1998 when RIM gave me an Inter@ctive Pager (aka the RIM-900) as part of a pre-sales effort to convince Verifone to use a RIM data module in their Omni 3000 handheld credit card terminal. 

I'll have more to say in future posts about why we made this change, but for today I'm focusing on the ongoing lameness that is Skype Mobile.  You'll recall that I wrote last month about how Skype Mobile's privacy features are sorely lacking because it doesn't allow you to block IM from people not in your contact list.  It also doesn't offer you the ability to report abuse via the mobile client. 

During the switch from Blackberry to Android I'd hoped that these limitations would prove to be a limitation of the Blackberry client, but alas the lameness extends to the Android client as well.  Queries to Skype support have proven fruitless; they basically have said "Skype Mobile doesn't filter non-contact IMs.  Thanks for using Skype Mobile."  This needs to get fixed.  I'm going to launch a Twitter campaign against @SkypeMobile to put pressure on them; if you're interested in lending your voice then follow @W6DTW

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pointless in the extreme

The ARRL reported yesterday that, in a shining example of government inefficiency, the FCC intends to lower fees for amateur vanity call signs by one penny per year. Honey! Come here and see this! Looks like we'll be able to afford that yacht after all!

In fairness the lowering of the vanity call sign fee is in the context of an overall fee restructuring across most if not all communications services including TV, commericial radio, etc. That being said the FCC's process for dealing with Notices of Proposed Rulemaking is that there will be a period in which the public may file comments. I can guarantee you that there will be at least a few comments filed by amateurs who feel compelled to pontificate on this matter, and by doing so will generate work for the FCC who has to compile, read, and consider comments on NPRMs.

The smarter thing to do would have been to simply leave the vanity call fee structure alone and not draw attention. And the cost of vanity call signs just recently increased, so why now a decrease? Is all this churn worth the effort and expense? It's like the US Postal Service raising stamp prices by two cents every year or so; the cumulative cost of publicizing each change, changing signs at the Post Office, reprinting documents, modifying the website, reprogramming the stamp dispensers, etc is more than the revenue generated by the price increase.

Seems like there are better ways for the government to spend my taxes. Like, I dunno... Lowering my taxes?

in reference to: FCC Looks to Lower Fees for Vanity Call Signs (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sorry: Have to activate comment moderation

For a long time I have been allowing free posting of comments. Unfortunately I have seen an increasing frequency of spam comments to my posts. These appear innocuous enough on the surface, usually saying something like "Thank u..." Invisibly contained within the comment is a long list of web URLs to porn sites. I have to manually delete these, and it's officially become annoying as of this evening.

The change is fairly innocuous; anyone coming from outside Google will have to complete a "captcha" by verifying a couple of words.