Steve Jobs' Unearned Free Ride

From MacNewsWorld

Let's be clear here. I am not saying Steve Jobs committed a crime. What I am saying is that it is pretty obvious by now that Jobs was extremely involved in both of the options grants that have become such problems. The notion that Jobs, a notorious micromanager, would be oblivious while his team worked on these grants is pretty ludicrous.

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SlingPlayer 1.0 gets Mac OS Right

From Macworld
It’s been almost two years since Sling Media, the makers of the Slingbox place-shifting video device, announced that they intended to make a Mac version. Monday, the final version of SlingPlayer for Mac was released, and users of the beta version will realize that it’s a radically different product from the most recent public beta.

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Under a Barrel

From MacJournals
In his latest column, CNet News's executive editor of commentary Charles Cooper does his level best to keep the options backdating scandal alive and well at Apple Inc. He starts by calling former Apple CFO Fred Anderson a liar, then goes on to cast Anderson as credible because Anderson is disagreeing with Apple's board of directors, people that Cooper says would never fire Steve Jobs because he is their "meal ticket."

Along the way, he distorts the facts without blinking to continue his decades-long crusade of venom against every Apple executive he can manage to name.

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The SEC's Apple probe: What You Need to Know

From Macworld

Earlier this week, the investigation into the practice of backdating stock options at Apple resulted in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing charges against one former Apple executive while reaching a settlement with another. Here’s a summary of what’s happened in the investigation so far and what could potentially happen in the wake of this week’s events.

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iTunes, Subscriptions, and getting it Right

From Playlist
Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs, chatted up the press following the company’s announcement of its impressive FY07 Q2 financial results and, in regard to subscriptions coming to the iTunes Store, had this to say to Reuters - “Never say never, but customers don’t seem to be interested in [subscriptions]. The subscription model has failed so far.”

Given the success of the iPod and the iTunes Store the ready response to Jobs’ subscription statement is "Perhaps that’s because a subscription model won’t really take off until Apple implements it."

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Apple Faces Unfair Criticism for its Green Ways

From Infoworld
Judging by the beating it's taken lately, both from Greenpeace and some of its investors, you'd think Apple was more toxic than the one that knocked out Snow White. Meanwhile, the company counters that its wares are quite Granny Smith green, thank you -- and from my perspective, the company does have a pretty green track record.

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Analysis: Apple-SEC Case Playing Out in Public

From IDG News Service
Legal and business experts will have a lot to learn from how the case against former Apple lawyer Nancy Heinen grinds its way through the courts.

Because most cases of stock options backdating by U.S. public companies have been settled out of court, and because Heinen is planning to fight her charges, the case could be one of few played out in open court, legal analysts say.

Heinen was charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Tuesday with violating federal securities law for her part in falsifying documents about the backdating of stock options grants to Apple executives in 2000 and 2001.

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Apple: A Romance

From Buzz Andersen
I will always look back very fondly on my time at Apple, and I'm forever indebted to the friends there who gave me my big chance, took me under their wing, and taught me so much. And who knows--as one of my bosses there was fond of saying: "The question's really not how long have you worked for Apple--it's how many times." I wouldn't be at all surprised to find myself back in the halls of 1 Infinite Loop someday.

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ArtRage 2

From Macworld

Once upon a time the Mac market was littered with paint programs—CE Software’s Amazing Paint, Microfrontier’s Color It!, Delta Tao’s Color MacCheese, MECC’s Easy Color Paint, Apple’s MacPaint, Electronic Arts’ Studio/32, Aldus’ SuperPaint, and Deneba’s UltraPaint, to name more than a few. Look now and what do you find? High-end applications such as Adobe’s Photoshop and Corel’s Painter. Where’s a dabbler (with a dabbler’s budget) to turn?

Ambient Design’s ArtRage 2.2 ($20), that’s where.

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Four Apple Pundits You should never Read

From AppleMatters
If you are a long-time Apple user then you have probably heard of the four pundits below. They have written reams of bad advice, poor comparisons, unclear analysis, insane predictions, and general crap. But if you are relatively new to the world of Apple then you might mistakenly assume that these guys actually know what they’re talking about. Rest assured, they don’t.

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The iPhone isn't a Distraction, it's the Point

From Macworld

No sooner did Apple announce that Leopard had been delayed did the gnashing of teeth and the rending of clothes begin among Macintosh users. Curse the iPhone! It’s nothing but a distraction to Apple, which has more and more become a consumer electronics company!

No. The iPhone is the point.

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The Blogosphere - where a Tawdry Culture goes to Die

From Wired

Civility? They're proposing a code of conduct for the blogosphere to ensure civility online? Who's kidding who here? Before you can expect a bunch of utterly spoiled, self-indulgent bloggers (i.e. the kind who indulge in their online mudslinging) to practice civility, you might try restoring a bit of it to what passes for civilization these days.

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Analysis: SanDisk's Sansa Surpasses iPod, Zune

From Computerworld

SanDisk’s Sansa Connect Wi-Fi-enabled media player is the first significant rethinking of portable media players—and how we acquire digital media—since the introduction of Apple’s iPod and the iTunes online media store several years ago.

In many ways, the 4GB $249 Sansa Connect surpasses iPod. For one thing, its bright, simple interface is, arguably, more engaging than the iPod’s. But its most notable capability is built-in Wi-Fi, which is missing, so far, in Apple’s offerings.

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Fewer Teens are "Stealing" Music

From CNN Money

Those crazy kids. It seems that more and more of them think it’s actually cool to pay for music. Who knew?

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Why Apple's Customer Base is so Loyal and Enthusiastic

From Blackfriars' Marketing

Pundits often refer to them as "zealots" or "fanboys." The more polite references include "Mac loyalists." I am, of course, talking about Apple's more vocal customers, those who will defend the company and its products in any debate going on around them. What is it that drives their passion for most things Apple? Is it a deluded mind, warped by the Reality Distortion Field that Steve Jobs so successfully wraps every new product in? In short, the answer is no.

The truth behind the scenes is not that Apple has a large group of customers that are too dedicated and passionate about their products, or the company as a whole. The reality is far more simple and obvious: Apple simply has a large group of very satisfied customers — and that's the secret ingredient left out of nearly every analysis or op-ed piece that mentions these "zealots."

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Hey Apple! Fix the Green Button Already!

From The Apple Blog

Sometimes it zooms, sometimes it maximizes and sometimes it just does wacky stuff that no one can really explain. The green button in all OS X windows has been a nuisance since the public betas and it’s (long past) time Apple fixed it.

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Some Facts about AAC

From Daring Fireball

I’ve noticed a slight uptick in misinformation about the AAC audio format. It could be coincidence, but I suspect it’s a result of Apple’s recent push towards selling DRM-free music on the iTunes Store. There are some people who have long insisted that Apple’s grand scheme for the iPod and iTunes hinges on proprietary file format lock-in, and I think what they’re doing now is grasping for some way to continue making this argument.

Last week’s announcement with EMI put those arguments to rest.

But why did these lock-in arguments gain so much traction in the first place?

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My Share of 100 Million

From Playlist

Yesterday Apple announced it had sold over 100 million iPods.

Damn, that’s a lot of iPods.

I’m not one to brag, but without my help, Apple might have had to wait nearly another .0000136 seconds for its Official iPod Odometer to reveal that important ninth digit. I’m writing, of course, about my collection of iPods, the glories of which I will now recount.

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Analysis: iPod Success won't Stop at 100 Million

From Playlist

Generally, Apple has very little use for anniversaries. Recent milestones—like 2006’s 30th anniversary of the company’s founding, the Mac’s 20th anniversary in 2004, and the iPod’s fifth anniversary last fall—passed without much official to-do from the company. But when Apple sold its 100 millionth iPod recently, the company made sure not to let the occasion go by without comment.

And for good reason, tech industry analysts say: “Obviously it’s a big threshold for Apple and industry,” said Tim Bajarin, president of high-tech consulting firm Creative Strategies. “ This clearly reinforces Apple’s dominance in the market.”

“I don’t think anybody knows what it takes to knock them [Apple] off,” Bajarin said. “They are in a leadership position that is not threatened by anyone.”

With the latest would-be iPod rival, Microsoft’s Zune, failing to make much of a splash—recent media reports have the Zune losing market share between December 2006 and February 2007—the only questions facing Apple as the iPod surges past the 100 million mark seem to be how the company managed to sell so many devices in the past five-and-a-half years, and whether there’s still room to grow.

An iPod for Every Kid? Are they !#$!ing Idiots?

From the Detroit News

We have come to the conclusion that the crisis Michigan faces is not a shortage of revenue, but an excess of idiocy. Facing a budget deficit that has passed the $1 billion mark, House Democrats Thursday offered a spending plan that would buy a MP3 player or iPod for every school child in Michigan.

No cost estimate was attached to their hare-brained idea to "invest" in education. Details, we are promised, will follow.

Their plan goes beyond cluelessness.

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Apple Stokes a Digital Music Standards War

From BusinessWeek

The Apple-EMI accord marks a fundamental change in the digital music landscape, a feat Apple is pulling off with increasing regularity of late. If I were an employee of Microsoft and involved with its confusing digital-music efforts, built around its highly DRM-protected WMA format, I'd be sweating right now.

But one of the truly remarkable aspects of the pact is how Apple is pulling it off.

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DRM Free Video from iTunes Unlikely

From iLounge

Following this week’s announcement of DRM-free music from EMI in the iTunes Store, many are calling for a similar plan to offer DRM-free video at the store. Jobs’ stance on video DRM, however, differs greatly from his views on music. During the EMI conference call, Jobs was asked about the potential for a similar DRM lift on video. “Video is pretty different from music right now because the video industry does not distribute 90 per cent of their content DRM free. Never has. So I think they are in a pretty different situation and I wouldn’t hold it to a parallel at all,” Jobs responded.

Due to Apple’s 10 percent share of US music sales, it has a good position to negotiate with the music industry. This is not the case when it comes to video, where Apple has yet to prove itself. “No movie studio would ever support the iTunes store if it was clear that Jobs would be pushing them to remove DRM,” said James McQuivey, a principal analyst at Forrester Research.

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Changing Tunes

From Forbes

When Steve Jobs speaks, everyone listens. And when the Apple boss does open his mouth, it's on his terms: only during Apple-sponsored events, almost always in his Cupertino, Calif.-based company's backyard, and rarely with anyone else.

So when Jobs showed up at EMI Group's London headquarters Monday morning to sit next to EMI chief Eric Nicoli, the message was clear: The two companies were up to something big.

And they are. Sort of.

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DRM's Demise just the Beginning

From Macworld

Two months ago, when I imagined a world without DRM, I had no reason to believe that such a world would be upon us quite so quickly. But today, with the announcement that EMI would be bringing its catalog to iTunes free of soul-sucking DRM, it seems that that future may be just around the corner. While this is great news for anybody who likes music, there’s still a ways to go before that DRM-free world is a reality.

Don’t kid yourself: as exciting as it is that high-quality, DRM-free tracks will be available at the iTunes Store in May, all this really does is level the playing field between iTunes and brick-and-mortar retailers.

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Apple TV Heat Test

From Digital Trends

I thought it would help to have some thermal images of the Apple TV in use and at rest. To give a frame of reference, I placed the Apple TV next to my MacBook Pro and a LaCie "mini" external hard drive. I kept my hand in each of the photos for another point of reference - body heat.

I was surprised to see such a vast difference in heat signature between the Apple TV and the MacBook Pro. I didn't expect the results to be quite as dramatic as they were.

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Why Microsoft should Fear Apple

From Computerworld

Should Microsoft fear Apple's Macintosh? Maybe not quaking-in-your-boots scared, mind you, but Redmond should certainly be concerned.

I'll tell you why. Apple has gotten smarter about how it competes with Microsoft. Clearly the underdog, Apple has to make moves that can be seen as both supportive of the Windows marketplace and good for its Mac customers at the same time.

The switch to Intel was just such a chess move.

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A Designer’s Random Thoughts on the Adobe CS3 Launch

From Macworld

You would have to be living under a rock not to have caught yesterday’s massive roll out of Adobe’s revised product line, with a wide range of software now falling under the “Creative Suite” monkier. My “day job” as it were, is as a motion graphics designer, designing content primarily for television, although I do have an interest in other aspects too such as print.

As someone who’s job depends on Adobe’s products, I found a lot of interesting things in yesterdays rollout. Before I begin though I have to say; hats off to Adobe. I have given them a hard time on this blog before, but the new creative suite is massive and must have taken a tremendous effort to deliver that many product updates while transitioning to a new platform at the same time. They certainly deserve kudos for that.

So without further ado, and in no particular order here are some details about the various releases you might find interesting.

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Adobe PS CS3: Top 5 Standout New Features

From Zoom In

Upon first digging into Adobe Photoshop CS3, a few features have really popped out at me as incredibly useful. I would like to offer a brief overview of some of these new ways of attacking your creative challenges using the latest version of Adobe's flagship app.
My current favorite five new PsCS3 features in order are:

1. Nondestructive Smart Filters
2. Quick Selection Tool & Refine Edge
3. Photomerge with advanced alignment and blending
4. Automatic layer alignment and blending
5. Vanishing Point with adjustable angle

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What's Unique to Photohop Extended?

From John Nack on Adobe

I'm often asked what features of the CS3 release are unique to Photoshop Extended. This edition of starts with all the capabilities of Photoshop CS3* and extends them (hence the name) with the following.

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Top 10 Apple Products which Flopped

From NewLaunches

Apart from phenomenal products like the iPod, iMac and Macbooks, Apple in its 30 year old history has churned out super flop products too. Here is a list of 10 products in reversing order from Apple which fizzled in the market.

(Shawn's Comment: Sadly, I remember each and every one of them....)

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