Apple making it really easy for some

As per the biography released about Steve Jobs a few years back, Jobs reasoning for reducing the number of features that can be modified [or upgraded] was to curb support costs. After all it is easier to support 4 products than 40.

The same could be said on the software side. He wanted the operating system to be the simplest to use. So anyone from a young kid to a senior citizen could use it quite easily.

Of course for some of those who are more technical, they aren’t thrilled with the limitations.

[Adding to the fact that you can’t officially change batteries in Apple products and in the case of some laptops, you can’t change the hard [or SDD] disk or memory because they are soldered down.]

This brings us to the Apple’s announcement of the iPhone and Watch last week. Towards the last portion of the presentation, CEO Tim Cook brought in the band U2 to do some promoting and to do a short set of songs. They also announced that the first 500 million [you read right] iTunes subscribers will get a free copy of U2’s next album that will be released in 5 weeks from now [but iTunes get it as an exclusive until it gets to the stores].

What miffed some was that the album [11 tracks] were automatically added to current subscribers without approval.

Now I am not an Apple expert, but if Jobs wanted things to be done easily, removing the album [assuming U2 isn’t your cup of tea] should be quite easy.

Instead Apple decided to release a “tool” that with what is described as a one click removed the album, instead of the few steps it would take to do it manually. [Maybe Bono’s voice should come on after the album is removed from the library with him saying: “I am not happy with your decision but Tim Cook forced me to do this.”]

Actually if you go to the removal link, you will notice it’s more than a click.

To date about 33 million copies have been used. When release in retail stores, the same tracks will be available on CD or other digital media formats. In addition there will be a “deluxe” edition with more tracks released on CD and probably on iTunes. This is just the beginning of Apple’s partnership with U2 that includes an upcoming ad campaign rumored to cost $100 million.

Oddly, if a reported 33 million have received a copy from their library, why did they bother with 500 million copies? I don’t think they have 500 million iTunes customers.

[Sometimes I wonder why the likes of Jessica Simpson or Britney Spears weren’t hired to promote Apple products. After all they don’t seem to possess a decent IQ. “Like look. If we can do it, then, like, so can you do it.” Or maybe Tom Hanks to reprise his role as Forest Gump – after all Gump had shares in the company.]

How not to handle a crisis

Well, we see the NFL seems to continue to have problems. Between owners with racist remarks to the dumb and stupid antics of their players, the NFL needs to do something to clean themselves up.

Consider the latest issue with Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice. He was caught on camera hitting his then girlfriend [and now wife] back in the spring. In the video, they were shouting obscenities at each other, and she appears to spit at Rice right before he throws a hard punch at a casino.

The NFL claimed they only saw it this past week when it was shown on TMZ but a law enforcement official claimed the full video was sent to a NFL executive back in April. But at one point, the NFL has said it asked for the video from law enforcement, but was denied. Something definitely wrong in the front office.

Rice meanwhile had been charged with felony aggravated assault, but in May he was accepted into a pretrial intervention program that will allowed him to avoid jail time [with conditions]. The program could lead to the charge being purged from his record. He was initially suspended for two games but when the video came out and was then cut from the Ravens and right after was suspended by the league indefinitely.

It’s not the only controversies in the past few years. The Miami Dolphins bullying incident in 2013, the New Orleans Saints bounties and the New England Patriots with their spying scandal.

Just within the past 48 hours, Philadelphia Eagles’ LeSean McCoy decided to give a waiter a 20 cent tip [yes, two dimes] on a bill of over $60 at a Philadelphia restaurant. The waiter – who is a Baltimore Ravens fan – claims McCoy and his friends were using rude language and making “derogatory comments” during their time in the restaurant. [The waiter did admit he forgot to deliver an appetizer.] Once the players received their food, one said “We ain’t eating this s**t. We don’t want it.”

As well, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is being sued by an exotic dancer accusing him of sexual assault. The $1 million suit claims that the 2009 incident caused the 27-year-old to fear for her life.

Another team owner, Jim Irsay of the Indianapolis Colts, is currently serving a six-game suspension and had to pay a $500,000 fine after pleading guilty to one misdemeanor count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

So, will the NFL front office do something?

Debate about only healthy food on campus

You’ve heard the stories going around that some college or university has decided to ditch less than healthy food such as fries and soft drinks [i.e. Coke, Pepsi, … ] in favor of a more healthy food.

We’ve had a couple cases locally.

In one case a college decided to ditch fries, soft drinks and even bottled water [bad for the environment even though the bottles cans with recycled] in favor of healthier food. The college claimed to have lost $40,000 a year in profits made from the sales.

The vending machines on campus are color coded. One color for items that you can eat quite often, another color for items that are not as healthy and the third color for items that you should rarely eat [such as chips and chocolate bars – comfort food for some].

In another case, a university has ditched the non-healthy food. Even the only Tim Horton’s on campus has been closed down [in comparison, a university on a university campus in Ontario has 14 Tim Horton’s].

This brings us to the following question: Is barring unhealthy food actually helping things?

In the case of both schools [and probably the same for most schools across North America], they are located in towns or large cities. If you walk a block [or less] off the campus, you will find plenty of unhealthy restaurants serving pizza, burgers, fries, and the artery killer poutine but also healthy restaurants.

So exactly who is it helping?

Maybe those restaurants off campus. After all, if the students can’t buy a burger on campus, they’ll go off campus. So those restaurants will need to hire more staff during weekday hours.

Scammers taking advantage of iCloud controversy

Not surprising, after the breech in Apple’s iCloud security, phishing scams have started to circulate. In one case, an Email from Apple claims someone is Russia downloaded a movie using your Apple ID.

icloud1

Apple requires you to log in and verify. But the link is using a public shortened URL that directs you to a phishing page that resembles an Apple web site login page.

icloud2

Clues of a phishing scam:

  • You don’t have an Apple account.
  • Apple would never use a public shortened URL.
  • Message claiming your account has been hacked, temporary closed, restricted or needs to be updated.
  • The phishing page isn’t coming from the apple.com domain but maybe apple-store.com or something like that.

Computer tip: Get a fast listing of Outlook contacts

Woo Hoo! This is my 500th post!

Here a little simple Outlook related tip.

Ever wondered how you can get a fast and simple listing of your Outlook contacts on the screen?

To do so, you need to go into PowerShell and issue the following commands:

$Outlook=NEW-OBJECT –comobject Outlook.Application
$Contacts=$Outlook.session.GetDefaultFolder(10).items
$Contacts | Format-Table FullName,HomeTelephoneNumber,Email1Address

If you want additional columns, you can add some of the table columns can include the following:

FullName, CompanyName, JobTitle, FileAs, Email1Address, WebPage, IMAddress, BusinessTelephoneNumber, BusinessFaxNumber, BusinessAddress, MobileTelephoneNumber, HomeTelephoneNumber

Microsoft to drop support for older versions of Internet Explorer in 2016

If you support Windows in a large enough organization [or maybe not], here’s something to think about….

According to a report, as of January 12, 2016, Microsoft will only release patches to Internet Explorer for the latest supported version. For example, Internet Explorer 9 in Vista, Internet Explorer 11 in Windows 7 and 8.1 [and server equivalents].

So, if you are still using Internet Explorer 10 on Windows 7 by then, you will not get any further security updates for IE after that date, since the latest version is Internet Explorer 11.

This could be a problem for many organizations that are using older versions of Internet Explorer for compatibility reasons. I work for one such organization and not all web based applications are compatible with Internet Explorer 11.

Microsoft has previous backtracked on some issues. Will they do it again?

This change gives organizations just over four months to make the necessary changes.

Wondering if some will drop Internet Explorer all together and use another browser as their officially supported browser.

In addition, now comes word on the same date [January 12. 2016], Microsoft will stop supporting .NET Framework 4.0 and 4.5 and 4.5.1. As of that date, you will need to be at .NET Framework 4.5.2 [released this past May].

Note: .NET Framework 3.5 and 3.5 SP1 are still supported because SQL Server 2008 requires that version.

Celebrity iCloud accounts hacked – but who’s at fault?

You’ve heard of the data breach from Apple’s iCloud. Many celebrities found out that someone [or some group] got into their accounts and pilfered content stored in their accounts.

Seems the perpetrators [I’ll keep it plural for simplicity], seemed to go after primarily young female celebrities. Those celebrities include Jennifer Lawrence, Kim Kardashian, Kate Upton, Rihanna, Cat Deeley, Mary Kate Olsen, Kate Bosworth, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Kirsten Dunst, Kaley and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

Apple had acknowledged the breach but said it was a limited one and has already issued a fix related to vulnerability in the Find My iPhone application. [I’m surprised they reacted so fast.]

The perpetrators claimed to have grabbed nude and semi-nude photos of many of the “victims”. It is interesting to note that a few of those listed above claimed that the pictures were not them but others say they are. A bit odd.

Some claim that it was an invasion of privacy and similar comments. Others said they will go after anyone who publishes their photos online or in a magazine.

Well, good luck to that. The pictures may end up on not-so popular web sites that specialized in illegal content or maybe just end up on file sharing sites.

But here comes the big question: Why are these celebrities storing nude pictures of themselves in the cloud? Are they waiting to show off their pictures or something? Don’t they know that with all these reports of hacked sites and hacked cloud services [for example, Dropbox had a security issue a while back]?

On the other hand, I’m sure a few of these celebrities already have nude photos floating around the Internet. [At least some can verify if those were doctored or not.]

These celebrities show go back to the old fashion way – which means back up your data on a flash drive or portable hard disk and shove it in a fire proof safe. There is no need to use the cloud if it is just for storage.

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