Watching Apple & Scotland with Russell Brand

Amazing that Apple has so much money offshore it could end world poverty in a heartbeat (monitor)…and I find it odd the conversation about the iCloud hacks has avoided talking about NSA and spying implications for cloud storage (which Russell isn’t interested in covering, which I understand as it’s a bit of a sideshow issue involving celebrity and a few people getting on a moral high horse for their own profile).

The problem with iCloud, Dropbox et al is they don’t encrypt their storage and only give the key to their users unlike SpiderOak and others…they don’t want to make the access much harder to hackers as it will affect the state security using the same hacks.

And not sure I totally agree with his take on Scottish Independence though, that devolution is always the best thing. I’ve mostly avoided talking it here, because the debate on both sides has been appallingly bad – yes scare tactics on the No side, but Yes haven’t convinced me that they aren’t putting their eggs in a basket marked ‘Oil’ or ‘Major Corporates’ or ‘No Nukes, well Not Really cos NATO sez’. I’m glad he touches on the oil thing, it’s really bothered me that the green side has not been put forward as both sides squabble about amounts of oil, and nation states being completely problematic to begin with. It is strange someone who doesn’t want to play the game of electoral voting, understandably pointing out it’s supporting a system that isn’t working – then fine with this vote, which reeks of the same self-interests and propaganda from both sides?

I don’t think creating a new state will mean a closer trickle down of power…it might, and the power would be located closer to Scotland, but with the same bosses, same bullshit, different flag. It’s not true revolution, or even true freedom to change your current masters for others. Do I think Scotland would be better off independent – Yes. Do I think what has been proposed is workable? No. Where are the Scottish socialist on this? A lot of radio silence from the greens and left (no, Labour are not left wing!)…I suspect they’re mostly keeping quiet to see what happens then will mobilise if the vote is Yes. I hope so…because they’re probably the best hope for Nukes to leave and oil/corporate interests to not take over…the whole idea that Scotland has to be sold by the Pound (or Euro, or dram) will be presented as a necessary evil, to preserve those grants and free NHS, mark my words.

Black Friday Zombies

Black Friday zombies rosslafferty (image by rosslafferty I think)

I’m saddened that the UK is starting to creep towards Black Friday fever – which makes little sense since WE DON’T HAVE THANKSGIVING! I bought a few things online, but Asda (owned by Walmart), Apple and I think John Lewis took part in the UK in retail stores – apparently in Wembley there was fights and pushing, which doesn’t surprise me as when IKEA at Brent Cross had a massive discount sale years ago hundreds turned up and people got hurt, and the infamous Edmonton riot.

Why are sales like this evil? Well look at these video from the fracas over some crappy TVs or DVD players. SMH. There has to be a better way than this sort of rampant capitalism and zombie style consumerism, fighting over what is mostly worthless junk because it’s cheaper? It seems to just bring out the worst in people. (via Madge Weinstein)

Hack the charts

Amazing talk from Peter Filimore, an Australia security researcher, investigating hacking streaming services like Rdio and Spotify to make his test albums #1 and also get royalties. Amazing how little security checks there are…and how funny the ‘music’ and albums he put up there was, and some of the responses to his ‘Troll Music’

Also a good primer on how to get your music out there on these services…but also a reminder that to treat ‘plays’ as with ‘likes’ very sceptically. (via SC magazine)

Planned Obsolescence

Planned obsolescence does exist and is an evil that is hid in jargon such as optimum lifespan and product cycle…but certainly some products are designed to break. John had one of those iPods with the dodgy battery, and yes it failed just over year of constant use when I borrowed it – eventually started leaking in fact! From Nylons to printers, the lack of sustainable production and products is a serious problem…and yes Apple is one of the worst, making their products harder and harder to fix. So this documentary ‘The Lightbulb Conspiracy: The Untold Story of Planned Obsolescence’ is a must watch. (via Mikkel aka DJ MiF)

I saved myself £300 by fixing my own keyboard on this Mac Book Pro I am typing on – they said I had to replace the whole top, aluminium and all! How wasteful, and expensive. Where it turns out that the keyboard is easily replaceable if you look online (MBP 2010 17″ A297 keyboards can be replaced, for those Googling – follow the instructions for the 15″) but it’s a really fiddly job with nearly a 100 screws. I’m sure Apple doesn’t care about user serviceability just wants to sell more expensive parts, but that isn’t very good for the environment, and aluminium does not grow on trees. As said in the documentary, the internet makes a real difference in doing DIY fixes, but the companies make it quite hard – I skipped on fixing DJ Charles IV for instance after seeing how hard & fiddly it was.

Similarly it can have negative effects on the consumer – I used to support HTC who are now struggling, and I’m not surprised they are since I had my old Desire Z screen break 3 times – even when not dropped, it was really fragile. The repair place said they got that model in a lot, and it wasn’t a cheap phone, which suggests either some very bad design or more likely planned obsolescence. So I switched to Samsung which seem to create products that are durable – dropped mine a few times now and although the glass is cracked, it still works fine.

Although I have to say I’m not sure about the Phoebus Lightbulb example, as far as I can tell it’s a trade off between lifespan and light produced, but I’m sure like with GE and electric cars and trams, or RCA and FM radio further advances probably were stopped or ignored, like the East German long-life bulbs. Goes to show that the communists weren’t wrong when it came to resources, out of necessity of the cold war rather than choice, I hasten to add.