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I registered my displeasure with Apple late last week with my post: the scales of justice don’t, often enough, balance out against evil. There, I criticized Apple for potentially influencing an over-hyped-up thug-squad task-force in bullying a blog-focused journalist because he apparently bought an (stolen, misplaced, found, misappropriated?) iPhone prototype and reported his findings.

I still think law enforcement from a sleepy California town over-reacted. And, if it turns out that Apple pressured them to do so, I’ll be more than disappointed. However, as I’ve settled down a bit, I understand that the journalist and the fellow that found the iPhone prototype at a pub MIGHT have broken the law. Boundaries around ethics were likely blurred. I feel that the “finder” should have turned the handset over to the bartender – that’s what usually happens, as in lost-and-found. However, it turns out he went to a twenty-seven year old buddy in graduate school that had served in the intelligence arm of the US Navy, and together they shopped the, now (possibly) stolen, device to a handful of media sources. Gizmodo wrote the check, and the rest is becoming the stuff of historical precedent.

By the way… Another engineering friend of mine, sent me an email with the news that the majority of updates promised on the new iPhone have already resided on Nokia phones for almost two years.

Question: Was this all worked-up into a play for media attention and publicity?

Here is a check-point summary:

The kid who is an product development employee at Apple was irresponsible and lost the prototype at a pub. Another kid, whom was apparently raised wrong, essentially stole it while he was at the same den of inequity. Some self-entitled journalist who has now lowered a completely different bar, chose to advance the bad behavior. A veteran intelligence specialist, acted like a terrorist by trafficking the technology. A lower court Judge (who probably barely passed the bar) did not ask enough questions and approved the demolition of a door – as opposed to simply issuing a subpoena for records. A local task force (i.e. bored peace officers), leveraging God knows how many tax dollars and steroids (as if California has enough of those to spare) overreacted. And, Apple got a bunch of press around an upgraded piece of technology that might already be a bit tired in the terms of raising the technology bar.

So… Everybody involved is wrong, in-part, and must needs share blame, or judgment. …bar none (sorry).

Thusly, it’s gut check time.

Hellooo…

What happened to us, as a people where we find ourselves, collectively obsessed with Jessica Simpson’s teeth (she apparently prefers not to brush them) and  the not-so-amazing features in the next iPhone? So…Check… It’s got a camera on the front and the back… That’s really it mind you. Now, you can take a picture of Simpson’s artificially white teeth, in California. And, it (the iPhone) might allow you to multi-task (the Nokia and Android handsets already do this*). How can this (and, the press make us feel) be critical when we’re occupying two countries in the Middle East, unemployment is cresting at civil unrest levels, and Goldman Sachs raped and pillaged our lower-income and middle-class American-dreamers – then got bailed out – with the help goofey President Obama; a man that’s never held down a real job during his adult life, and  whose trusted advisors are Goldman alumni. NOTE:  I understand Goldman leaders are now facing investigation and possible indictment. But, the same fraternity that enabled their behavior will quietly cuts deals that will pad, other, future political careers – and, allow for the type of examples we’re setting where corporate juggernauts, like Apple, can abuse the system as a publicity stunt.

Welcome to Microsoft’s world, Apple.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters

Brian Patrick Cork

* ALERT: (and, you likely read about it here first) Apple’s next-generation iPhone could move video calling into the mainstream. Expect a wave of new products by Christmas.

The iPad had a great opening week and will have a gangbuster first year as it “…changes media” as many pundita are want to crow. But it’s not about this first year. It’s also not about saving the media business, which it won’t.

As most of you know, I’ve evangelized Apple and it’s products for twenty six years. I’m an early adopter of all things Apple, and I have owned several hundred desktops and mobile devices (laptops, iPhones, etc) across my personal life, family and business.

Now we have the iPad.

I’ve found it to be a useful “peripheral computer”, a unique device that complements, rather than replaces, existing computers and smartphones. It also extends Apple’s mobile, touch-based platform (iTunes 9.1 on Mac or Windows is a pre-requisite to set up an iPad, connecting via the device’s dock-USB cable (or an optional iPad USB dock). You also must be running Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) or later; the iPad won’t even talk with iTunes 9.1 on Mac OS X 10.4.), adding even more energy to a vibrant “ecosystem,” which is controlled from top to bottom by Apple but also benefits from the creativity and hard work of a growing army of third-party developers.

Aside from serving as a media repository (for music, movies, podcasts, photos, audiobooks and ebooks), iTunes also makes backups and controls software (firmware) updates, provides iPad-to-Mac/PC file exchange with selected apps (including Pages, Keynote and Numbers, and some third party apps such as OmniGraffle), and keeps your calendars, contacts, Safari bookmarks and mail account settings in sync with your Mac or PC.

All that said, mind you, there are two revolutionary and profound things going on here:

  1. The iPad’s price
  2. The way in which the iPad is likely to be used, which is fundamentally different than how both computers AND mobile gadgets are used

On price, I don’t mean the price for the full-fledged 3G 64G iPad version ($829), which is way too expensive for a big mobile device (especially with the $30/month AT&T contract). We mean the price for the stripped down WiFi-only 16G version: $499.

And it’s not today’s $499 price that’s important… $499 is still too expensive for what the iPad is. From my vantage point, it’s where the $499 is headed over the next couple of years.

If iPad prices follow the trend of iPod, iPhone, and other gadget prices, we should be able to buy the low-end version for $299 in two years and $199 in three years. At $199, especially, the whole game changes.

Why?

Because of the way the iPad is likely to be used.

One of the primary use cases for the iPad is consuming media and puttering around the house. It’s not walking around (mobile) or working at a desk (office). The iPad is not about productivity benefits (the sales pitch for most PCs and laptops) nor communications benefits (the sales pitch for most mobile computing gadgets). It’s about media consumption and entertainment for the home.

In three years, when the low-end WiFi-powered iPad costs $199, many households will buy 3 or 4 of them and just leave them lying around the house. These iPads won’t be “owned” by any one member of the household, the way PCs and cell phones are. They won’t live on desks, the way desktops do, and they won’t be carried everywhere, the way mobile phones are. They’ll just be there, around the house, on tables and counters, the way today’s books, magazines, games, and newspapers are, booted up, ready to use.

You’ll be able to play two-person games on them (also revolutionary for a handheld device). You’ll be able read newspapers, magazines, emails, books. You’ll be able to tap out and send short messages. You’ll be able to research and shop. You’ll be able to keep and share family calendars. You’ll be able to sit around the breakfast table with each member of the family scrolling through one, the way many families still do with newspapers. You, your children, and your guests will, most importantly, just be able to walk around your house and pick one up.

At $199, Apple will eventually be able to sell tens of millions (eventually, hundreds of millions) of them a year ($199 x 100 million = $20 billion, not counting app and advertising revenue). Eventually, every household will have them. And as long as long as the iPad becomes a platform in addition to a device, the way the iPhone has (and it’s well on its way to doing this), Apple should be able to maintain a very healthy market share.

Eventually, in other words, the iPad should blow away even today’s towering expectations. And it should be amazing for both consumers and Apple shareholders alike.

The iPad, today, is a “peripheral computer” — a highly portable, touch-based, but limited-capability tablet. It is designed to be a companion to a larger, traditional personal computer that provides printing, software updates, media storage, backup and other services that are missing from the mobile tablet.

But, conceptually, the iPad is a blank canvas. The big screen becomes whatever it needs to be. It’s a transformative experience, and it enables the iPad to be something that the iPhone and iPod Touch never could be  – a creator’s tool.

By the way… I’ve been telling you to buy Apple stock most of my adult life. You’ve been reading that on this Blog. I’m saying it again. At $240, it’s still a bargain. Apple creates products you did not know you could not live without until you have them, literally, in your hands. Few companies can say that. Few will try. Apple will likely keep doing so for another twenty six years.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

If all of the media was controlled by one group, and they chose to replace all images of skinny or athletic people with images of people who were more chubby, would we start to find fat attractive?

Obviously some people do, already… But I’m talking about the majority, who don’t.

Could majority opinion be swayed by the glamorization of portliness? If Tom Cruise were replaced by John Goodman, and Angelina Jolie by a Hairspray-era Rikki Lake, would we begin to fancy flab?

John Goodman’s a much better actor than Tom Cruise. However, he’d never have fit in the cockpit of that fighter jet in Top Gun, though, so I suppose movie plotlines would have to be adapted to accommodate the new regime.

Just food for thought (sorry).

Peace be to my brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

Perhaps it’s only the calm before the storm.

Storms do, after all, tend to clear the air, and make things feel more alive.

It seems like President Obama is making some headway. But, alternative leadership will declare this is an illusion created by the “obamacratic” media.

What happens when people finally come to the ugly terms that Obama has led the Fed in cutting a deal with banks that favors foreclosing on tax-payers homes by subsidizing the difference? He is also touting healthcare reform that he, along with members of the House and Senate, are exempt from. Is that when people rise up? Or, is that Byzantine (Of, relating to, or characterized by intrigue; scheming or devious: “a fine hand for Byzantine deals and cozy arrangements”) example the harbinger of change?

I don’t feel like bashing Obama any more.

I am, in fact, I am a proven patriot; and, willing to be a freedom fighter. But, what does that mean? For today and tomorrow? The winds of change are blowing stiffly through the country, and around the globe.

It’s storm-like because of the upheaval around shared economic pain that is historically unprecedented (but, certainly nothing new from a Biblical perspective).

I’ve been using a central “commodities” based thinking in some of my recent posts, coaching, and public speaking. Interpreting or defining losers and winners is challenging, but that investigation might prove rewarding.

So… Once I allowed myself to surrender to that notion, God jumped me with a different line of thinking:

Assuming God has the plan (and I do). What if He is using Obama, in an unexpected way – to break this country so it can begin to heal itself, later?

Apparently the Muslims have a saying: “the Promise is in the punishment, or the punishment is in the promise”.

I can’t say with absolute certainty such a line of thought actually exists in the Qur’An. …I better go investigate that as well. Or, perhaps one of my Muslim brothers can wade-in (even though I’m not Muslim, that person is likely still my brother). But, it certainly offers a dramatic platform for thought.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

President Barack Obama is blitzing the media, pulling no stops, it would seem, by including David Letterman’s Late Night show (seriously, it’s true, and here’s evidence) in an effort to develop support, let alone understanding (he’s clearly a terrific orator, but something, here, is missing), of his plans for national Healthcare reform.

I’ll offer Obama bones (rather like an “A” for effort) in terms of appearing passionate, and possibly trying, really. I suppose this is a keen way to reach the masses that don’t care to watch the, otherwise, biased news at regular hours. I wonder if he would dare approach Bill Maher?

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

You are going to start reading, here-and-there, short stories carefully generated by an Obama-biased media, about the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). It’s under historic pressure trying to support the deposits held by a rapidly growing list of failed banks.

All the history aside; someone else can offer-up dates, numbers, and statistics – the number to watch, at this point in time is the balance of the United States Treasury itself. I can’t help but notice, because I always look to read between the lines, is that number, and certainly a topic, the media and the government is tip-toeing around. And, when this administration says “don’t worry”, that means you need to be wary.

When you get a little bit of information, it usually means there is a lot of pressure that requires some bleeding off.

Just be aware. This needs to be a concern. Guide yourselves accordingly.

I can’t say this has much, if anything, to do with that smoking rabbit; but, a Prudent Society of Optimistic Gentlemen are certainly watching, yes they surely are.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

As Thomas Jefferson and that hardy and ferocious crew of Founding Fathers set the stage, I am confident they never meant for our emerging judicial system to be used as a blunt-edged weapon.

All too often we see people abuse the law, or the way it’s levied, in much too crude a fashion.

So, I suppose, considering the ominous circumstances, the fellow I am preparing to take to task won’t like my linking to an article about him, but that’s just tough. I have no tolerance for morons people like this, and even less so when they happen to be judges, and are supposed to know better.

If he takes offense to my umbrage he can fight me (preferably behind a courthouse).

In any event… This Richard Posner, a stolidly conservative judge, wants to ban hyperlinks – e.g., those found on Blogs and even on many newspaper websites (but, obviously I am more concerned about Blogs).

“Those who wish to keep the internet free and open had best dust off their legal arguments. One of America’s most influential conservative judges, Richard Posner, has proposed a ban on linking to online content without permission. The idea, he said in a blog post last week, is to prevent aggregators and bloggers from linking to newspaper websites without paying.”

Hah! I just used a hyperlink to help exhibit my very point! Judge that Posner.

That may already sound rather bad, but now read what Posner writes in his original piece (and, yes, I will link to, and quote from it):

Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, or to bar linking to or paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, might be necessary to keep free riding on content financed by online newspapers from so impairing the incentive to create costly news-gathering operations that news services like Reuters and the Associated Press would become the only professional, nongovernmental sources of news and opinion.

Let’s see what’s wrong with this nonsense theory.

Posner thinks we should ban hyperlinks to free content in order to …keep it free.

This is flat-out silly and impractical. I can see, for example, that newspapers might seek to ban news aggregators like Google News, because they are competitors. But every link a newspaper site receives, such as from a blogger who graciously links to a story on the newspaper’s website, should be celebrated. Contrary to Posner’s one-sided ignorant ill-researched (sigh) shallow thinking, perhaps bloggers should get a commission or share of the profits for driving eyeballs to the newspaper website. In some cases, I suspect a substantial portion of newspapers’ site traffic is derived from bloggers today.

While he at it, Posner thinking paraphrasing should be banned as well.

That would put an end to the entire newspaper racket right there. Most news reports in newspapers are a series of direct quotes and paraphrased quotes in indirect speech. If paraphrasing were banned too, it would leave a lot of empty space on newspaper pages. Newspapers themselves would be reduced to single-page editions.

Note: We have to assume the integrity of the media. This is, of course, problematic for me because, as consistent readers of this Blog are fully aware, I am deeply suspicious of the media, in general, and their collective agenda.

We shouldn’t forget in this context that any non-opinion, non-editorial pieces in newspapers are factual accounts of current events (at least in theory). Which means that the entire story, say, about the latest ethnic clashes in China, has to be  – by definition  a paraphrase from beginning to end.

Leveraging his years on the bottle bench and highly questionable greatly evident grasp of the law, as it pertains to intellectual property, Posner says linking to content is, and should be, a copyright violation.

Don’t judges have to take a test before they put on a robe? This really is nonsense, and would never stand up in a court of law. There is no precedent or case study to support this position (and, why doesn’t Posner understand this?). No lawyer, unless they chase ambulances (or, unless the presiding judge is a moron too) would consider filing a motion or brief trying to initiate such thinking. If linking to copyrighted material were illegal, then what about all the pages and longs lists of bibliography and references in, standard scientific papers? The very existence of such a list of “links” to names of authors, titles of books or papers, etc. would, in Posner’s view, be a major felony – as would be any quote from or paraphrasing of any of the titles thus referenced.

All my ranting aside (which, for me is most of the fun), I am reservedly confident this scheme idea will never fly. Apart from being uninspired and certainly unfair, it also feels like an underhanded attempt to silence citizen journalists and, thus, ultimately, an affront to people’s right of free speech – and, thus unconstitutional.

I will be very curious to see if any news writers pick up on this. Or, maybe Posner gets relegated to Night Court.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

what’s all this about?

I can’t explain what that damn tree means - or, if it might stand for something.

However, here I do discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman.

brian cork by John Campbell

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"Perhaps victory can be realized best when the heart changes."

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about this particular Theme:

I'll warn you now that Tarski is theme of this blog created by Benedict Eastaugh and Chris Sternal-Johnson. It is named for the logician Alfred Tarski. I'll recommend his papers ‘The Concept of Truth in Formalized Languages’ and ‘On the Concept of Logical Consequence’, both of which can be found in the collection Logic, Semantics, Metamathematics.