AMITIAE - Wednesday 20 January 2016
Cassandra: Wednesday Review - Controversies Abound
By Graham K. Rogers
Despite a brief rally when markets opened on Tuesday, Apple shares have now fallen back to around $94: the lowest since the beginning of 2014. With market forces apparently unrelated to (or unconcerned with) the general health of the company, the price is not seen in some quarters as reflecting what Apple really performs at.
It basically makes a cheap gambling chip right now, although the odds should improve when the Q4 figures are announced and we know how many iPhones were really sold.
In other Apple notes, several sources report that the company has filed with the Indian Government and intends to build a number of retail stores there. Remember also there is one being built ion Orchard Road in Singapore currently. In Thailand, Apple would have to get past a lot more than the government to open its own store.
Russell writes that "The [Amnesty] report focused on Congo Dongfang Mining (CDM) and Huayou Cobalt, DC-based subsidiaries of companies from China and Korea respectively". The minerals are sold on and somewhere down the line the named manufacturers are making products made from these dubiously-sourced materials.
Samsung has denied it uses the source companies and Apple's response also states its ongoing efforts to help stamp out these practices. This is an ongoing problem that Apple does its best to deal with, but it seems to be like trying to plug a leaky sieve.
Also reporting on this question is Mikey Campbell of AppleInsider, who points out that "Apple has been under media scrutiny for years, especially when it comes to human rights violations." And not only human rights: Greenpeace took up a lot of the street in San Francisco and burned much fuel for its generators when protesting Apple's use of non-recyclables outside the Union Square Apple Store. the same week that the iPhone was introduced
The UK Parliament, Petitions Committee has also been debating the petition that sought to ban Trump from Britain, following the outrage about his comments on Muslims. Almost 574,000 signed the petition. 43,900 signed another petition to not ban him although 30,000 of those signatures were disallowed (one source). The Petitions committee debated both together to decide if they were to be forwarded to the full House of Commons for debate. For the life of me, I have watched the end of the debate and the vote (The Ayes have it) several times, but still don't have a clue what was decided.
Just imagine for one moment if Apple had to comply with such an insane and badly thought-out knee jerk comment like Trump's: for a start factories would have to be set up, machinery purchased and installed, a workforce trained. Just these things would cost Apple billions of dollars; and this would be gross interference in the operations of a company such as had never happened in the USA out of wartime.
If Trump were to be elected, the US would exchange a President who has been unable to govern effectively because of the hate for him, for one who will not be able to govern effectively because of his hate for everyone who is not him.
Digital assets are assets nonetheless: for example I have a couple of dozen works of digital Art bought from [S]edition and they have monetary value, as may some of the photographs and other data on my computer. Apple does not know that and a phone call or internet query may not be enough. Of course, with the publicity, someone at Apple waved a hand and Mrs Bush will be granted access, MacNN reported later, also outlining the problem of transferring digital assets after death.
Surely someone at Samsung should have entertained the point that this was possible, and fixed it before release? Apparently not, and now Matthew Miller on ZDNet reports that (several months down the road) the silo has been fixed. His headline, "but some folks found a way to break the S Pen by putting it in backwards" seems to blame the users rather than the design team. Just imagine if Apple had produced an iPhone that broke when used slightly wrongly, although there was nothing to indicate which way was up: what a rabid reaction there would be then.
As well as the applause about the arrival of Netflix in 130 countries last week, there were some negatives, especially here when it was found that less than 10% of the US programming is available to subscribers. Another question concerned China and it was presumed that this was another Great Firewall problem. This may now have been solved: at least in part. Daniel Van Boom reports on CNET that Netflix has been meeting with the authorities in China's hoping to provide the service there and CEO Reed Hastings suggests that they may have a licence there soon. Or a couple of years.
Also concerning Netflix, Kellen Bleck reports for Mashable that there may hundreds of hidden categories under all the stuff they display at the front. The article describes how to enter special codes into a browser to bring up this hidden cache, although there seems to be nothing on how this could be done on Apple TV using the Netflix app. At least knowing it is there, may help with searching.
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.
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