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Not a Happy Customer

A customer in France marched into an Apple Store and began to smash the merchandise…

Apparently he was upset about a refund.

The man was arrested outside the store, and charged,

Ouch! Hope this guy won the French Lottery…He’s going to need it to pay for all that!

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2016 in Nawwwwww!, News, You Know It's Bad When...

 

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Apple Boycotts Trump Republican Convention

Another major corporation dumps their normal donation to the Republican National Convention…

Apple Withholds Support For GOP Convention Because Of Donald Trump

The real estate mogul’s candidacy is growing costlier for the party every day.

Apple will not contribute funds or other resources for the Republican National Convention due to presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump’s prejudiced remarks, Politico reported on Saturday.

The decision by one of the United States’ largest and most popular companies is the biggest corporate defection from the Republican convention, where the party will formally nominate Donald Trump. And it marks a significant win for progressive groups, which are pressuring major companies to boycott the convention over Trump.

Apple specifically pointed to Trump’s comments about minority groups, immigrants and women in explaining its choice, two sources with knowledge of the decision told Politico.

“The Apple news raises the bar for other corporations,” Rashad Robinson, a spokesman for ColorOfChange PAC, said in a statement. The PAC is leading efforts to pressure companies not to participate in this year’s GOP gathering.

“Not only has Apple declined to support the Republican National Convention, but they’ve explicitly told Republican leaders that Trump’s bigoted rhetoric is the reason that they’re sitting out,” Robinson said. “This is what real corporate responsibility looks like.”

There is likely little love lost between the tech giant and the presumptive GOP nominee. Trump called for a boycott of Apple in February when the company refused to unlock the iPhone of one of the gunmen in the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California in December. (Nonetheless, Trump continued to use Apple products after his pronouncement.)

An Apple spokesman declined to comment. The Republican National Committee did not immediately responded to a request for comment.

Emily Lauer, a spokeswoman for the Cleveland 2016 host committee, a nonprofit helping finance this year’s GOP convention, said the committee has already raised 90 percent of its budget. That means it raised funds at a faster rate than the previous two Republican conventions, according to Lauer.

“While the media’s focus has been on those who aren’t participating, what continues to be looked past is the fact that the Cleveland Host Committee continues to make forward progress in our fundraising efforts through the participation of more than 100 donors,” Lauer said.

Interesting you should say that Emily…

Floundering Trump campaign sends out ’emergency’ email to raise $100,000 by end of the day

Setting their sights low, the campaign of presumptive 2016 GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump sent out an “emergency” email Saturday morning with a goal of raising $100,000 by the end of the day — for a campaign that is expected to cost in the hundreds of millions.

With the Clinton campaign launching a multi-million dollar ad blitz at Trump in the wake of his ill-timed comments on the Orlando shooting, the Trump campaign is making an appeal to Republican donors at the same time that the party appears to be shunning him.

According to the email, “Right now we’re facing an emergency goal of $100,000 to help get our ads on the air. We need your contribution by 11:59 P.M. tonight,”

The email continues, “Crooked Hillary is about to invade your TV with ads attacking Mr. Trump. But we’re preparing to fight back,” adding Trump has plans to attack Clinton over Benghazi and the FBI probe into her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state.

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2016 in The Clown Bus

 

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Why Black Folks Need Encryption

The battle between Apple Computer and the FBI is not just about the encrypted messages on one iPhone. What it is really about is expanding the legal ability of the Federal Government to spy on it’s citizens.  This has been an ongoing battle largely behind the scenes between tech developers and Government agencies such as NIST and the NSA. Indeed in 1988 the Government forced standards groups to make TCP/IP the telecom standard upon which the Internet is based, and rejected the OSI standard in large part because the OSI Standard included encryption that was difficult to break, and features which allowed the development of advanced security technologies at the “transmission” level, whereas TCP had none, and was easily compromised by government spooks, who had been using and testing the vulnerabilities of the protocol stack for years. The Internet is not secure, and by design – can never be secured, which is why the Government defense and intelligence agencies use a custom variation of TCP/IP which incorporates capabilities to enhance secure communication.

There are roughly 7 major Commercial Off The Shelf encryption systems in use today. In order to sell those in the US, NSA requires that security “backdoors” be built in such that the systems may be easily compromised by the NSA, and we would assume law enforcement agencies. This requirement does not cover, and has not covered to this point encryption systems on devices which store information internally in flash memory or disk drives. As such manufacturers and equipment owners have been free to encrypt an secure their data by any means they deem appropriate.

There is no such thing as unbreakable encryption. Even that used by the most secret agencies in the Government isn’t unbreakable. What it is is a system which is difficult enough to break that only another government or massive corporation has access to the computer horsepower and scientists to do so – which costs lots and lots of money. So it is actually a race to develop new, more complex systems as the previous system is broken. And I can tell you from personal experience that two guys in a garage that against odds come up with something new and radical which might give those systems heartburn – are in for a visit by the guys in black suits shortly after letting the world know you’ve developed it.

Now – most of what you see on TV about the technology is bullshit. You are not breaking into a unknown secured local network just in time for the hero to do his thing with your trusty laptop. There is no such thing as a 100% secure network, if it has any connection at all to the Internet. The Internet of Things (IoT) which is a hot-button meme right now in the industry isn’t going to happen, because the security in wireless systems is so poor (on purpose and by design).

So…If you are using commercial off the shelf products like cell phones and computers – you can’t stop them from listening in. What you can do is make it difficult enough that unless somebody like the NSA comes after you, you have security. Which is exactly what Apple did.

Here’s why civil rights activists are siding with the tech giant.

Last night, the FBI, saying that it may be able to crack an iPhone without Apple’s help, convinced a federal judge to delay the trial over its encryption dispute with the tech company. In February, you may recall, US magistrate judge Sheri Pym ruledthat Apple had to help the FBI access data from a phone used by one of the San Bernadino shooters. Apple refused, arguing that it would have to invent software that amounts to a master key for iPhones—software that doesn’t exist for the explicit reason that it would put the privacy of millions of iPhone users at risk. The FBI now has two weeks to determine whether its new method is viable. If it is, the whole trial could be moot.

That would be a mixed blessing for racial justice activists, some of them affiliated with Black Lives Matter, who recently wrote to Judge Pym and laid out some reasons she should rule against the FBI. Theletter—one of dozens sent by Apple supporters—cited the FBI’s history of spying on civil rights organizers and shared some of the signatories’ personal experiences with government overreach.

“One need only look to the days of J. Edgar Hoover and wiretapping of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. to recognize the FBI has not always respected the right to privacy for groups it did not agree with,” they wrote. (Targeted surveillance of civil rights leaders was also a focus of a recent PBS documentary on the Black Panther Party.) Nor is this sort of thing ancient history, they argued: “Many of us, as civil rights advocates, have become targets of government surveillance for no reason beyond our advocacy or provision of social services for the underrepresented.”

Black Lives Matter organizers have good reason to be concerned. Last summer, I reported that a Baltimore cyber-security firm had identified prominent Ferguson organizer (and Baltimore mayoral candidate) Deray McKesson as a “threat actor” who needed “continuous monitoring” to ensure public safety. The firm—Zero Fox—briefed members of an FBI intelligence partnership program about the data it had collected on Freddie Gray protest organizers. It later passed the information along to Baltimore city officials.

Department of Homeland Security emails, meanwhile, have indicated that Homeland tracked the movements of protesters and attendees of a black cultural event in Washington, DC, last spring. Emails from New York City’s Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Metro-North Railroad showed that undercover police officers monitored the activities of known organizers at Grand Central Station police brutality protests. The monitoring was part of a joint surveillance effort by MTA counter-terrorism agents and NYPD intelligence officers. (There are also well-documentedinstances of authorities spying on Occupy Wall Street activists.)

In December 2014, Chicago activists, citing a leaked police radio transmissionalleged that city police used a surveillance device called a Stingray to intercept their texts and phone calls during protests over the death of Eric Garner. The device, designed by military and space technology giant Harris Corporation, forces all cell phones within a given radius to connect to it, reroutes communications through the Stingray, and allows officers to read texts and listen to phone calls—as well as track a phone’s location. (According to theACLU, at least 63 law enforcement agencies in 21 states use Stingrays in police work—frequently without a warrant—and that’s probably an underestimate, since departments must signagreements saying they will not disclose their use of the device.)

In addition to the official reports, several prominent Black Lives organizers in Baltimore, New York City, and Ferguson, Missouri, shared anecdotes of being followed and/or harassed by law enforcement even when they weren’t protesting. One activist told me how a National Guard humvee had tailed her home one day in 2014 during the Ferguson unrest, matching her diversions turn for turn. Another organizer was greeted by dozens of officers during a benign trip to a Ferguson-area Wal-Mart, despite having never made public where she was going.

In light of the history and their own personal experiences, many activists have been taking extra precautions. “We know that lawful democratic activism is being monitored illegally without a warrant,” says Malkia Cyril, director of the Center for Media Justice in Oakland and a signatory on the Apple-FBI letter. “In response, we are using encrypted technologies so that we can exercise our democratic First and Fourth Amendment rights.” Asked whether she believes the FBI’s promises to use any software Apple creates to break into the San Bernadino phone only, Cyril responds: “Absolutely not.”

“I don’t think it’s any secret that activists are using encryption methods,” says Lawrence Grandpre, an organizer with Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle in Baltimore. Grandpre says he and others used an encrypted texting app to communicate during the Freddie Gray protests. He declined to name the app, but said it assigns a PIN to each phone that has been approved to access messages sent within a particular group of people. If an unapproved device tries to receive a message, the app notifies the sender and blocks the message from being sent. Grandpre says he received these notifications during the Freddie Gray protests: “Multiple times we couldn’t send text messages because the program said there’s a possibility of interception.”

Cyril says “all of the activists I know” use a texting and call-encryption app calledSignal to communicate, and that the implication of a court verdict in favor of the FBI would be increased surveillance of the civil rights community. “It’s unprecedented for a tech company—for any company—to be compelled in this way,” Cyril says….

 

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2016 in BlackLivesMatter

 

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Silicon Valley Funds CBC Parties for “Diversity”

Perhaps I am a bit too cynical, but HTF does funding yet another cabaret make jobs for underemployed, and unemployed black tech workers?

And HTF is it that with 12% of the graduates in Computer Engineering being black, there is a “shortage in the school pipeline”?

Bullshit!

The way things are done in the tech business is you hire some competent recruiters (“headhunters”) to go and get what, and who you want to hire. There is no shortage of minority middle managers, tech staff, and senior tech staff – although you may have a hard time getting them to move to the West Coast whitopias anymore. That shouldn’t be an issue – because most of these companies have data centers and offices all over the east coast, and a lot of companies hire “virtual” workers…

I been in this business over 20 years, working in senior positions for startups, as well as big players and hold patents in the technology…I haven’t heard jack shidt from these people – although I do get calls from big eastern based companies.I know a couple of guys who read my blog are senior techies like myself…When exactly was the last time you got a recruiting call from Google or Amazon?

But I guess it is just easier to buy off the CBC with a couple of parties.

Under diversity pressure, tech courts minority groups in D.C.

Congressional Black Caucus chairman G.K. Butterfield warned that “talk is not enough,” in diversity in tech.

Some of Silicon Valley’s biggest tech companies are quietly funneling money to minority groups in Washington, including those affiliated with black and Hispanic lawmakers — a move that comes as the firms face growing criticism about the lack of diversity in their workforce.

The donations, known as “honorary expenses,” fund events like dinners and cocktail receptions where members of Congress and federal regulators are the guests of honor. The leader of the pack is Google, which spent a record of more than $490,000 on such expenses last year — devoting most of it to minority groups like the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, according to newly filed federal ethics reports.

Apple chipped in $1.2 million for an awards gala for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, and Uber wrote a $10,000 check to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, the disclosures show. It marked the first time either Apple or Uber reported any honorary expenses.

The recent uptick in these donations coincides with growing political pressure on the tech industry over diversity, as companies struggle to address complaints that their employees are largely white and male. The debate has taken root in Washington, including with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, which sent a delegationto Silicon Valley in August to demand that the industry recruit more African-Americans.

The tech industry’s newest tactics don’t appear to have quelled the outcry from Capitol Hill, and they don’t sit well with some diversity advocates.

“We’ve had years now of campaigning and advocacy around the diversity problem … [but] the only thing that’s gotten better with these companies are their talking points,” said Rashad Robinson, the executive director of ColorofChange, a nonprofit that works on civil rights issues. The problem, he added, is “not going to be solved by throwing money at the CBC and other institutions.”

Asked about their spending, Apple and Uber declined to comment for this story. A Google spokeswoman said the company believes it’s important to “help policymakers understand our business and the work we do to keep the Internet open and encourage economic opportunity.”

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute serve as the educational and policy arms of their respective caucuses on Capitol Hill. While they’re technically separate organizations, many black and Hispanic lawmakers serve as board members for the nonprofit groups. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund, meanwhile, is a nonprofit that provides scholarships and other support for African-American students at historically black colleges and universities.

The CBC Foundation, for one, stressed that the tech industry’s donations have gone to a good cause. They’ve allowed for “professional development briefings for our interns offering them real-world, first-hand exposure to careers” in key tech fields, Shrita Sterlin-Hernandez, a spokeswoman for the group, said in a statement. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund did not comment for this story.

But the checks can also double as powerful forms of leverage in Washington, where influence often is measured in dollar signs. “There are many ways companies and other organizations can establish a presence in Washington, and gain access to politicians. And one way to do that — that some people pay less attention to — is by giving money to a charitable cause that a politician is associated with,” said Viveca Novak, a spokeswoman for the Center for Responsive Politics.

Such contributions are a “well-trodden path,” in the words of Novak, for established industries in Washington, from big tobacco companies to telecom giants like AT&T and Comcast. The donations, in addition to supporting nonprofits, provide lobbyists with greater access to lawmakers and regulators.

And Silicon Valley certainly could use more allies in Washington when it comes to diversity issues.

Apple is almost 70 percent male globally and 54 percent white in the U.S., according to the company’s most recent diversity report, though the company emphasized that many of its new hires have been women, Asian, Hispanic and African-American. Google’s workforce is also 70 percent male globally and 60 percent white in the U.S., despite its own efforts to diversify. Uber, for its part, has not released a report detailing the composition of its employees.

Those poor report cards prompted the Congressional Black Caucus last May to launch an initiative dubbed Tech2020, hoping to pressure tech companies to add more African-Americans to their ranks. The CBC later dispatched top lawmakers to the Valley — including its chairman, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) — to make that point directly to executives at Apple, Google, Intel and other firms.

Butterfield sounded the theme again in September at the CBC Foundation’s annual legislative conference, where he warned that “talk is not enough. And we need more than an amen from the choir. … We want to see results.”

Tech companies have pledged to fix the problem, but as they invest in hiring initiatives, they’re also pumping big money into Washington. Over the course of last year, Google covered $150,000 in honorary expenses for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and provided an additional $95,000 in multiple checks to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, according to an analysis of the ethics records.

Another roughly $150,000 in spending went to “various vendors” that aided events with women, black and Latino lawmakers, the records indicate. At the CBC Foundation’s annual legislative conference in September, Google played a key sponsorship role at a reception that featured FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, according to an invitation for the event.

Google has donated to the CBC Foundation before, but its “honorary expenses” for the group and other minority organizations have increased in recent years. Asked whether this amounts to a form of lobbying, the CBC Foundation stressed in a statement that the support benefits the organization’s mission: “Our sponsors and partners provide support to our organization because they share our goals of providing important opportunities for the communities we serve.”…More

 

 
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Posted by on February 29, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Man Records Entire Album in Apple Store

INcredible ingenuity!

 

He Made a Secret Album in an Apple Store

 

Prince Harvey needed to make an album. So after his computer crashed, he spent four months in an Apple store singing the entire thing into a display computer.

Standing in the middle of the Upper West Side’s Apple Store in Manhattan, 25-year-old artist and rapper Prince Harvey seemed at home, almost like he knew what was going to happen next.

“As soon as I jump on the table, they’re going to kick us out. So just keep taking pictures,” Prince says, as he puts on a bright silver, ankle-length trench coat and hops on the wooden display top closest to the entrance.

It only takes 10 seconds before he’s proven right. An employee shuffles over to us without missing a beat.

“All right, I told you already, chief: no pictures,” the employee says.

Harvey, now standing on Broadway after being asked to once again leave an Apple Store, pauses to consider his next move.

“I would take you to the SoHo store,” he says with a smile, “but security knows me there.”

Familiarity is an understatement. After a second computer failure left him without a means to record his album and no money to buy a replacement, Prince finished recording the vocals and backing instrumental tracks for his new album entirely in that one Apple Store.

Prince Harvey sang, hummed, and rapped into a display computer at the SoHo Apple Store every weekday for four consecutive months.

The album, after all, is called PHATASS—an acronym for Prince Harvey At The Apple Store: SoHo.

 

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The Thugs of Silicon Valley

Bunch of strange stuff has been going on in High-Tech for the last 5-10 years. I have discussed previously the use of H1 Visa employees from other countries to steal American engineering jobs, paying H1’s  half or less than what a qualified American Engineer would get.  Resulting in several hundred thousand American kids who did the right thing, and got a college education in the Tech field…Being unable to get a job.

Then there was the outright age/salary discrimination against experienced and older workers. Resulting in the strange situation where the very guys who invented much of the current technology in the first place…becoming pariahs in the view of company HR.

If that wasn’t criminal enough, now we find that some of the biggest names in the Tech business have participated in a conspiracy, the result of which is to eliminate the ability of American workers to find a new job.

One of the things Unions did back in the days of the Robber Barrons was to break this sort of “restraint of free trade” up. One of the reasons conservatives are so anxious to destroy unions is they know if Unions move from the manufacturing of physical devices into the High-Tech development world…

Theirr clients won’t be able to get away with this shit.

The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

In early 2005, as demand for Silicon Valley engineers began booming, Apple’s Steve Jobs sealed a secret and illegal pact with Google’s Eric Schmidt to artificially push their workers wages lower by agreeing not to recruit each other’s employees, sharing wage scale information, and punishing violators. On February 27, 2005, Bill Campbell, a member of Apple’s board of directors and senior advisor to Google, emailed Jobs to confirm that Eric Schmidt “got directly involved and firmly stopped all efforts to recruit anyone from Apple.”

Later that year, Schmidt instructed his Sr VP for Business Operation Shona Brown to keep the pact a secret and only share information “verbally, since I don’t want to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later?”

These secret conversations and agreements between some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley were first exposed in a Department of Justice antitrust investigation launched by the Obama Administration in 2010. That DOJ suit became the basis of a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of over 100,000 tech employees whose wages were artificially lowered — an estimated $9 billioneffectively stolen by the high-flying companies from their workers to pad company earnings — in the second half of the 2000s. Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied attempts by Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe to have the lawsuit tossed, and gave final approval for the class action suit to go forward. A jury trial date has been set for May 27 in San Jose, before US District Court judge Lucy Koh, who presided over the Samsung-Apple patent suit.

In a related but separate investigation and ongoing suit, eBay and its former CEO Meg Whitman, now CEO of HP, are being sued by both the federal government and the state of California for arranging a similar, secret wage-theft agreement with Intuit (and possibly Google as well) during the same period.

The secret wage-theft agreements between Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, and Pixar (now owned by Disney) are described in court papers obtained by PandoDaily as “an overarching conspiracy” in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Antitrust Act, and at times it reads like something lifted straight out of the robber baron era that produced those laws. Today’s inequality crisis is America’s worst on record since statistics were first recorded a hundred years ago — the only comparison would be to the era of the railroad tycoons in the late 19th century.

Shortly after sealing the pact with Google, Jobs strong-armed Adobe into joining after he complained to CEO Bruce Chizen that Adobe was recruiting Apple’s employees. Chizen sheepishly responded that he thought only a small class of employees were off-limits:

I thought we agreed not to recruit any senior level employees…. I would propose we keep it that way. Open to discuss. It would be good to agree.

Jobs responded by threatening war:

OK, I’ll tell our recruiters they are free to approach any Adobe employee who is not a Sr. Director or VP. Am I understanding your position correctly?

Adobe’s Chizen immediately backed down:

I’d rather agree NOT to actively solicit any employee from either company…..If you are in agreement, I will let my folks know.

The next day, Chizen let his folks — Adobe’s VP of Human Resources — know that “we are not to solicit ANY Apple employees, and visa versa.” Chizen was worried that if he didn’t agree, Jobs would make Adobe pay:

if I tell Steve [Jobs] it’s open season (other than senior managers), he will deliberately poach Adobe just to prove a point. Knowing Steve, he will go after some of our top Mac talent…and he will do it in a way in which they will be enticed to come (extraordinary packages and Steve wooing). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2014 in American Greed

 

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The Computer Goes Round…

Some of my supercomputer buddies out there from back in the day would correctly identify the massive machine below as a Cray 2. The mega azz-kicking rocket propelled computer of it’s generation. The difference between it and the Cray 1 is they got rid of the “window seats” and upped the computational horsepower on the order of megaflops… Got to “play” with one of these once…actually about 12 CPU seconds…which is all it took to process a computation that took a small campus of building size IBM General Processing Machines (AKA Mainframes) a year to do.

The other pic? The new Apple Mac-Pro.

What goes round comes round.

Now don’t get me wrong here, the Apple is no Cray…And the Cray certainly “ain’t” no Apple, as it’s sole function in life was to move massive numbers from Bucket “A” to Bucket “B” after performing whatever mathematical gyrations questing scientists and mathematicians far above this poor boy’s head could come up with…

Back in the day I belonged to a group of rather nondescript guys “of limited notoriety” who usually got the call shortly after the customer plugged one of those things in, taking down the power or a small city…

“Oh, you actually wanted that to work?”

Little round machines…Indeed.

About the only thing that hasn’t changed is the price.

Cray 2 Towers

Apple Mac Pro

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2013 in General, The Post-Racial Life

 

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