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I don’t understand the stock market

Posted on July 22nd, 2015 at 10:54 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Microsoft

Microsoft earnings reports:

$7.6 billion write-off on Nokia, no big deal.

$1 billion Xbox writeoff, no big deal.

$900 million write-off for Surface RT, no big deal.

$6.2 billion write-off for Aquantive, no big deal.

Apple earnings reports:

Record profits, stock price takes a nose dive

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  1. It’s a matter of expectations more than anything else. MS did pretty much what people thought, so it’s ok. Apple didn’t earn quite as much as expected (record income and profits be damned), so it gets hammered… Go figure!

  2. Re. Apple. Actually, this is called “an adjustment” in the stock price, as in theory the price is bid up before the announcement in anticipation of results, since investors were expecting better results than they got. So, the result is that the price goes down to, in theory, where the price should be. Hence we have “contrarian” investors. They see people bidding up a stock before the quarterly announcements, figure the company won’t do as well as expected, so they sell short in anticipation of this price drop. The price drops, they cover their shorts, and make a fortune! Often these short positions are in the form of put options. IE, they can sell the stock at the shorted (higher) price and only pay the newer (lower) price. Risky, but potentially very lucrative. If the price goes the right way, they are only out the option costs (10% of the actual stock price when bought) plus brokerage fees. So, you buy puts on 100,000 shares (1000 contracts) at $5 / share – you pay $5000 + costs. The stock drops to $4 / share creating a $1 / share profit. You basically buy the stock at $4 / share and sell it back at $5 – an instant $100,000 profit on costs of about $6000. Works great if you can do it.

    However, if the stock were to go up, say to $6 / share, you may be on the hook for that $100,000! There are mathematical formulae that compute your risks about this stuff, so you can “hedge” your bets, potentially earning less than that $100K, but not at risk of losing that same $100K. I am somewhat aware of this stuff as I used to write risk-analysis software for the options industry market makers and professional traders at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (biggest options trading house in the world). We had to recompute their portfolio exposure when any trades or price changes that may affect their positions had occurred, and within 60ms we had to rebalance their positions and execute risk-offsetting trades for them! This was about 10 years ago. Now, 60ms is about 10x too slow! I recently interviewed for a position at a low-latency trading company in Chicago, and they had engineers to design and build their own FPGA ethernet / TCP-IP chips that handled the trading network connections and filtered the data stream from the various exchanges for the data they were interested in. Normal high-performance network cards and high-end servers could not handle the load at the latencies required. This is indeed the “rocket science” of stock trading!

  3. The high-speed stuff is unfair because only a select few can do it. “Flash Boys” by Micheal Lewis is a great read on the topic.

    Wall St. has never understood Apple – probably because Apple is unlike any other company.

  4. @johno – don’t disagree with the high-speed trading comment. Until there are appropriate regulations in place, and enforced, this will continue to be a decided disadvantage to all other traders who cannot afford such tools. I’m not in that field any longer – the pay is great, but at what cost?

Jony Ive promoted to ‘Chief Design Officer,’ handing off managerial duties July 1st

Posted on May 26th, 2015 at 8:20 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


Apple’s Jony Ive has served as the company’s Senior Vice President of Design for several years now, but Apple has announced today that the executive is being named Chief Design Officer (a newly-created position). Additionally, Ive and will be handing the managerial reins of both the industrial and software design units at Apple over to two new leaders on July 1st.


Next step for Jony: His Royal Highness Grand Emperor of Design, Lord of Edges, Master of Materials, Designator of Textures, Definer of Hues, Defender of Curves.

First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm… Oh wait, wrong fandom.

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Steve Jobs’ vision for Apple realized as iPhones reveal injustice, says Tim Cook

Posted on May 18th, 2015 at 9:47 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


“His vision for Apple was a company that turned powerful technology into tools that were easy to use, tools that would help people realize their dreams and change the world for the better,” Cook said of Jobs, Apple’s co-founder who died in 2011.“Our products do amazing things, and just as Steve envisioned, they empower people all over the world,” Cook continued. “People who are blind and need information read to them because they can’t see the screen. People for whom technology is a lifeline because they are isolated by distance or disability.“People who witness injustice and want to expose it. And now they can, because they have a camera in their pocket all the time.”


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  1. …and also because the iMac is just amazingly thin, the unibody Macbooks are machined from a single block of aluminium, and the iPhone comes in “gold”.

  2. He’s not saying “And now they can, because they have an Apple product in their pocket all the time.”

Samsung design copy

Posted on May 2nd, 2015 at 13:25 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

The thing I find most striking is how hard it is to do a good Jony Ive impression. Here, compare with this:

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How to Turn Your Apple Watch Gold

Posted on April 25th, 2015 at 13:03 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

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Apple and the Self-Surveillance State

Posted on April 11th, 2015 at 14:56 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Privacy


Like lots of people, I’m paying attention to the Apple Watch buzz, and doing some of my own speculation. Needless to say, I have no special expertise here. But what the heck; I might as well put my own thoughts out there.

So, here’s my pathetic version of a grand insight: wearables like the Apple watch actually serve a very different function — indeed, almost the opposite function — from that served by previous mobile devices. A smartphone is useful mainly because it lets you keep track of things; wearables will be useful mainly because they let things keep track of you.

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Apple Watch Teardown – iFixit

Posted on April 1st, 2015 at 19:06 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

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  1. lol…put it in a blender…

  2. This is an infomercial for Apple. And @Sue, why waste a good blender? A high power shredder will do the trick 🙂

  3. @Mykolas: But it’s pretty spectacular in a blender:

Apple – Privacy

Posted on March 30th, 2015 at 20:31 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


Finally, I want to be absolutely clear that we have never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will.

Hmmm… I wonder…

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The newspaper, the marketer, and the Watch

Posted on March 13th, 2015 at 17:41 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


There was a scathingly daft story about the Apple Watch in the Guardian yesterday where someone who’d never seen it or used it opined about it being a major mistep and, to double-down on the daftness, trotted out the vapidly cliched “this would never have happened with Steve” line.


The sad part is, Jim Dalrymple of The Loop discovered the writer was actually a marketing consultant for the watch industry

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  1. So I guess the obvious message for all “luxury retailers” is that your sector can be disrupted. Watches, cars, handbags (well, perhaps not handbags).

  2. Although, I think the iBag would be kind of interesting 🙂

Thousands Have Already Signed Up for Apple’s ResearchKit

Posted on March 13th, 2015 at 9:22 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


Stanford University researchers were stunned when they awoke Tuesday to find that 11,000 people had signed up for a cardiovascular study using Apple Inc.’s ResearchKit, less than 24 hours after the iPhone tool was introduced.“To get 10,000 people enrolled in a medical study normally, it would take a year and 50 medical centers around the country,” said Alan Yeung, medical director of Stanford Cardiovascular Health. “That’s the power of the phone.”

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  1. I’ll be curious to see what gets revealed in the first papers that use data from these studies. I would believe that they’d either reaffirm what we already expected or completely demolish existing conventional wisdom.

  2. @Mudak: lol…you’re not going to make a prediction then? How can we test your hypothesis if you won’t make a prediction? I mean, for Science!

Keep calm and Apple Watch on

Posted on March 12th, 2015 at 12:03 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


The Apple Watch isn’t an iPhone any more than the iPhone is a Mac. Computing has moved from the server room to the desktop to the laptop to the pocket and now onto the wrist. Every time that’s happened, every time it’s moved to a new, more personal place, those of us who were used to it in its old place have become slightly anxious, we’ve become subject to our own expectational debt.

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  1. How typical of the Cult of Apple to act as if they have just broken new ground.

  2. Funny – I post a link to an article basically saying “hmmm this is different from what I expected” and somehow you read it THAT way? I don’t know what you’ve been smoking but I want some of it.

CIA hacked iPhone, iPad and Mac security – Snowden documents reveal extent of privacy invasion

Posted on March 10th, 2015 at 16:47 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Privacy, Security


The CIA has spent almost a decade attempting to breach the security of Apple’s iPhone, iPad and Mac computers to allow them secretly plant malware on the devices. Apple announced on Monday, 9 March, that it had sold over 700 million iPhones since the first version was announced in 2007, giving some idea of the scope of the CIA tactics.

Revealed in documents released to The Intercept by Edward Snowden, the CIA’s efforts at undermining Apple’s encryption has been announced at an secret annual gathering known as the “Jamboree” which has been taking place since 2006, a year before the first iPhone was released.

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  1. Actually interesting bits:

    While the report details the efforts the CIA undertook to crack Apple’s security measures, it or the documents don’t say how successful the efforts were at undermining the security of iPhones, iPads and Macs.


    the CIA also claims to have developed a poisoned version of Xcode, the software development tool used by app developers to create the apps sold through Apple’s hugely successful App Store. It is unclear how the CIA managed to get developers to use the poisoned version of Xcode, but it would have allowed the CIA install backdoors into any apps created using their version.


    The CIA also looked to breach the security of Apple’s desktop platform, claiming they had successfully modified the OS X updater. If this is true it would allow the CIA to intercept the update mechanism on Apple’s Mac laptops and desktops to install a version of the updated Mac OS X with a keylogger installed.

Apple’s Fork Into Fashion

Posted on March 10th, 2015 at 11:32 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


Just look at who Apple has hired in the past couple of years. This should be obvious. Not only is Apple not resting on their laurels, they’re pivoting the company in a pretty big way that’s flying under the radar to all but those watching most closely.

And it feels like a smart bet. Because Apple is at a moment of absolute strength, they can use that clout to get the talent on board to change the engine mid-flight. That doesn’t mean it will work, of course. But it sure seems better than sitting back and atrophying as more nimble opponents approach. This is when you take risks.

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The Apple Watch Is Time, Saved

Posted on March 7th, 2015 at 16:41 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


One user told me that they nearly “stopped” using their phone during the day; they used to have it out and now they don’t, period. That’s insane when you think about how much the blue glow of smartphone screens has dominated our social interactions over the past decade.

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Apple Car Seen as Serious Competitor by Auto Executives

Posted on March 3rd, 2015 at 19:53 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google


Automotive executives are taking seriously the prospect that Apple Inc. and Google Inc. will emerge as competitors even as they consider partnering with the two.

“If these two companies intend to solely produce electric vehicles, it could go fast,” Volkswagen AG Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said at the Geneva International Motor Show. “We are also very interested in the technologies of Google and Apple, and I think that we, as the Volkswagen company, can bring together the digital and mobile world.”

Apple has been working on an electric auto and is pushing to begin production as early as 2020, people with knowledge of the matter said last month. Google said in January it aims to have a self-driving car on the road within five years.

The timeframe — automakers typically need at least five years to develop a car — underscores the aggressive goals of the two technology companies and could set the stage for a battle for customers. The market for connected cars may surge to 170 billion euros ($190 billion) by 2020 from 30 billion euros now, according to a German government policy paper obtained by Bloomberg News.

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Apple officially wants to be recognized as a car maker

Posted on March 2nd, 2015 at 23:49 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


Whether Apple is actually building a car, or it’s just a controlled leak to show that the company has more planned after the Apple Watch, isn’t known yet. What is sure, though, is that Apple is now legally covered if it wants to slap its name and logo onto an automobile.

Using its regular law firm Baker & McKenzie in Zurich, Apple recently expanded its corporate description to not just include the current array of watches, smartphones, tablets and computers, but vehicles, too. And Apple’s lawyers aren’t taking any chances, either. Apple aircraft, anyone?

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Apple boss: We have a human right to privacy

Posted on February 28th, 2015 at 14:50 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


“None of us should accept that the government or a company or anybody should have access to all of our private information. This is a basic human right. We all have a right to privacy. We shouldn’t give it up. We shouldn’t give in to scare-mongering or to people who fundamentally don’t understand the details.”


“Apple has a very straightforward business model,” he said. “We make money if you buy one of these [pointing at an iPhone]. That’s our product. You [the consumer] are not our product. We design our products such that we keep a very minimal level of information on our customers.”

It also means that Apple’s strategy has made it less profitable than it otherwise might have been, at least in the short term (and even though few shareholders are likely to have noticed, given its massive cash pile).

“We don’t make money selling your information to somebody else. We don’t think you want that. We don’t want to do that. It’s not in our values system to do that. Could we make a lot of money doing that? Of course. But life isn’t about money, life is about doing the right thing. This has been a core value of our company for a long time.”

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This might be the worst argument against the Apple Car

Posted on February 26th, 2015 at 20:27 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


There are dozens of ways in which Apple’s apparent effort to build an Apple-branded car could go wrong, but there’s one argument against the idea that I’m hearing a lot of that really doesn’t make sense. From Henry Blodget to former GM CEO Daniel Akerson to the LA Times to Yahoo Finance people are saying this won’t work because the car industry is a “low margin” business in contrast to the fat margins Apple is used to earning most of all on its workhorse iPhone.

The misperception here is that Apple earns high margins because Apple operates in high margin industries. The truth is precisely the opposite. Apple earns high margins because it is efficient at manufacturing and firmly committed to a business strategy of sacrificing market share to maintain pricing power. If Apple makes a car, it will be a high margin car because Apple only makes high margin products. If it succeeds it will succeed for the same reason iPhones and iPads and Macs succeed — people like them and are willing to buy them, even though you could get similar specs for less.

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  1. The shrieking virgins notwithstanding, the car industry isn’t a “low margin” business by any means. The cars may perhaps be sold at a low margin (some models), but the financing, parts, service and leasing etc. make loadsamoney.

    This is one of the good things about our mercantilist system; if a corporation wants to go into a new market they can do it.

Former GM CEO on Apple Car: ‘They Have No Idea What They’re Getting Into’

Posted on February 18th, 2015 at 20:54 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


danakersonAmid rumors that Apple is developing an electric vehicle, former General Motors CEO Dan Akerson has shared his opinion on Apple’s plans, suggesting the Cupertino company avoid getting into a business with such low margins.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Akerson said that Apple may be underestimating the difficulty of operating in the car business, as it’s hard to navigate regulatory and safety requirements. “A lot of people who don’t ever operate in it don’t understand and have a tendency to underestimate,” he said

Okay… Here’s Ed Colligan, Ex-Palm CEO on November 16 2006:

We’ve learned and struggled for a few years here figuring out how to make a decent phone. PC guys are not going to just figure this out. They’re not going to just walk in.

If history repeats itself on this one I will laugh soooo hard…

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  1. Apple has an ability to make healthy profits in otherwise low-margin businesses by bypassing the existing practices and creating a vertically integrated “experience” around each product, like the Mac, iPod, and iPhone.

    One might argue that Tesla is already the iPhone of cars: no dealerships, no need for gas stations, and they’ve started building their own “supercharger” stations. They also charge a premium amount for what’s considered an exceptional experience. Interestingly, they also make only 1 model (with various submodels).

  2. @JimM: Some analyst predicted in the past week that Apple would buy Tesla within the next ~2 years using its crazy amount of cash on hand.

    Will Elon Musk get bored enough to sell out that soon, I wonder.

  3. @JimM: It’ll be a bit much to have to buy a car to charge a computer to charge a phone to charge a music player…color coordinated, natch.

Motivational poster inside Jony Ive’s office

Posted on February 16th, 2015 at 22:01 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


But perhaps the most interesting thing inside Jony Ive’s office is a motivational poster.


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  1. No mention of fucking, then.

  2. Shurely that should be, “Use fckuing spell check”.

  3. Can I get a copy of that fucking poster?

  4. “Make it F_cking sustainable.” Typo – should be: “Make F_cking sustainable.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook Speaking Live at 2015 Goldman Sachs Technology Conference

Posted on February 11th, 2015 at 20:46 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Privacy


Following up on the payment space, most of your competitors are collecting personal data. You’re not.

We believe customers have a right to privacy, and the vast majority of customers don’t want people knowing everything about them. When you make a purchase, we make a little bit of money. It’s very simple, very straightforward. You are not our product, that’s our product. There’s no need for us to know what you’re buying, where you’re buying, I don’t want to know any of that. We think customers will rebel on that. Similar with HealthKit…you want control over that. So we think over the arc of time, consumers will go with people they trust with their data. People are unknowingly sharing things with others, and info can be pieced together. Over time people will realize this more and demand privacy.

So with Apple Pay we needed something easier than pulling out a credit card, we knew it needed to be secure as well. We never give the merchant your credit card number. We don’t even have it. We’re making up a proxy for each transaction. Think about it…how secure is a card with your number on the front, and then a security code on the back! So Apple Pay had to be private. We’re facilitating a transaction between you, the merchant, and the bank.

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  1. From the Dutch newspaper AD today:
    Apple neemt ook op wat mensen zeggen als ze via hun iPhone of iPad gebruikmaken van de dienst Siri. Zij sturen niet direct herkenbare informatie eveneens naar servers op afstand om te vertalen. De telefoongigant anonimiseert de gesprekken door ze te koppelen aan een ander telefoonnummer dan dat van de gebruiker. Apple bewaart de informatie, volgens sommigen tot wel twee jaar, wel om meer te leren over de voorkeuren en patronen van de gebruiker.

  2. Loosely translated: “Using the Siri service, Apple records what people say when they are using their iPhone or iPad. They send information to remote servers to translate. Apple anonymizes the information by linking them to a different phone number than that of the user. Accordingly, Apple stores the information up to two years to learn more about the preferences and patterns of the user.”

    Which begs the question: If they anonymize it, what good is it if the user cannot be identified? Sounds like bullshit.

  3. @Mykolas: It’s the fig leaf if the data get stolen. “We made it hard to read.”

Tim Cook’s big day: Apple hits $700 billion

Posted on February 10th, 2015 at 23:46 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


By any measure, it was an epic day for Tim Cook.

On Tuesday he was sitting on stage at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco being interviewed by Goldman Sachs president Gary D. Cohn when Apple became the first U.S. company to close at more than $700 billion in market value on Tuesday.

“You will always remember exactly where you were,” Cohn said to Cook.

The milestone caught the attention of the financial world, some of whom had flocked to the Goldman Sachs conference to hear Cook speak on a wide range of subjects from the growth possibilities in China market to the upcoming Apple watch.

Ears perked up when Cook said cash-rich Apple would announce its cash distribution plans on its quarterly earnings call in April.

But Cook also made headlines with what he called Apple’s “biggest and boldest project ever.”

Apple has formed a partnership with First Solar to build an $848 million, 1,300-acre solar farm in Monterey County to power its headquarters, data center in Newark, Calif., all Apple offices and 52 Apple stores in California.

The solar farm will result in significant energy cost savings for Apple, Cook said.

“We know at Apple that climate change is real. Our view is that the time for talk is past and the time for action is now,” Cook said.

List to the interview

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  1. Just to put the $700 billion in perspective, that’s more than twice the market cap of Microsoft, which is the third largest company. (Microsoft closed today at $349.5 billion)

  2. Unbelievable, making those crummy products and still progressing. It’s like Coca Cola….

DOJ Tells Apple Kids Will Die Because of Their Encryption Stand

Posted on November 21st, 2014 at 18:40 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Security


This week the Wall Street Journal reported that Department of Justice officials recently met with Google and Apple, and basically told them that their decision to empower consumers would result in the death of children:


The No. 2 official at the Justice Department delivered a blunt message last month to Apple Inc. executives: New encryption technology that renders locked iPhones impervious to law enforcement would lead to tragedy. A child would die, he said, because police wouldn’t be able to scour a suspect’s phone, according to people who attended the meeting.

The Journal reports that Apple wasn’t moved by the DOJ’s argument, and found the “dead-child scenario” to be “inflammatory.”

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  1. “Think of the children!” has got to be the penultimate refuge of the scoundrel.

Apple CEO Tim Cook comes out: ‘I’m proud to be gay’

Posted on October 30th, 2014 at 22:16 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


“Let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me,” he wrote in a column in Bloomberg Businessweek.

In his column, the Apple chief said that he had tried to maintain “a basic level of privacy.” But he said he decided that desire for privacy was stopping him from working for the benefit of others.

“I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others,” he said. “So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.”

I’m not surprised for a second, and I’m very happy he took this step.

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  1. “Well I’m gay too!”

    – The CEO of Samsung

China collecting Apple iCloud data; attack coincides with launch of new iPhone

Posted on October 21st, 2014 at 14:28 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


After previous attacks on Github, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft, the Chinese authorities are now staging a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack on Apple’s iCloud.

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Apple killed Finland’s two biggest industries, says Prime Minister

Posted on October 13th, 2014 at 20:52 by John Sinteur in category: Apple


In the early 00s, Finland’s two biggest industries were paper manufacturing and cell phones, led by the then-dominant Nokia. A decade later, both industries are in trouble — and as the country’s prime minister suggested in a recent interview, Apple might be to blame in both cases. “One could say that the iPhone killed Nokia and the iPad killed the Finnish paper industry, but we’ll make a comeback,” Prime Minister Alexander Stubb told CNBC on Monday. “We just have to keep at it.”

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  1. One could say a lot of things. The guy has a gift for getting attention.


Posted on October 5th, 2014 at 20:03 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

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3 Years ago today

Posted on October 5th, 2014 at 10:06 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

Remembering Steve

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Eric Schmidt on Google privacy: We’re ‘more secure’ than Apple

Posted on October 3rd, 2014 at 22:18 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google


The seemingly ongoing battle between Google and Apple has been well-documented, but it’s always at its best when the CEOs start trading blows. In an interview with Charlie Rose last month, Tim Cook took Google to task for its data collection practices. Unsurprisingly, Eric Schmidt wasn’t too pleased with Cook’s representative of his company, so he took the time to respond on a CNN Money segment this week.


“Someone didn’t brief him correctly on Google’s policies,” Schmidt quipped. “It’s unfortunate for him. In the first place, in Google’s case, we have always been the leader in security and encryption. Our systems are far more secure and encrypted than anyone else, including Apple. They’re catching up, which is great.”

First, Tim Cook wasn’t talking about how well they protect data from others – he was talking about how well they protect data from themselves… here’s what he said:


Cook said Apple makes most of its profits by selling hardware, unlike many of its Silicon Valley neighbors that profit from advertising targeted at their users.

“Our business is not based on having information about you. You’re not our product,” Cook said. “I think everyone has to ask, how do companies make their money? Follow the money. And if they’re making money mainly by collecting gobs of personal data, I think you have a right to be worried.”

So, Let me summarize this back-and-forth:

“You’ve been spying on your users!”

“That’s not true! We protect our users from being spied on by other people all the time!”

So, Schmidt, you’re a deceptive little douche.

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Apple Watch Sneak Peek

Posted on October 1st, 2014 at 10:46 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, batshitinsane

If you thought people waiting in line to buy an iPhone 6 was batshitinsane, check this:


Apple invited people to check out the new Apple Watch in person — for one day only — in Paris during Fashion Week, at the Colette boutique on Rue Saint Honoré.


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  1. No one creates buzz like Apple. It’s the 8th wonder.

  2. These look like genuine hipsters not placeholders.

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