Monday, July 23, 2007

Hackers attack iphone

Alas, all is not well with Apple's new iphone. Hackers have found a way to compromise the phone's security, making it possible for anyone (with the right computer savvy) to access someone else's iphone and retrieve all of his/her text messages, e-mail messages, phone contacts...

But Apple will figure this all out, I predict. Very soon the iphone's security will be unflappable (what a word!)

Read about all this in the above link from the NYT.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

I want my iPhone!


Okay, we've all heard the buzz about Apple's new, revolutionary iphone. If you're like me and sport an Apple decal on your VW Beetle, as well as brag about your Macs at your office and at home, you gotta have an iPhone!

Read about how long folks stood in line outside an Apple store in downtown New York City. They, too, had to have it:

"Gave Up Sleep and Maybe a First-Born, but at Least I Have an iPhone"

By Richard Perry/The New York Times/June 30, 2007

Outside the Apple store on Fifth Avenue. Not just in New York, but across the country, some shoppers waited in line for days. More Photos

Dozens of photographers hovered outside Apple’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue near East 59th Street, waiting to snap pictures of the elated, often sunburned faces of the first iPhone owners. Some Apple faithful had waited in line for days.

At 6 p.m., their patience paid off.

“I guess I didn’t need to get in line because they have thousands of them in there,” said Norbert Pauli, 52, who had waited since Wednesday morning outside the Fifth Avenue store. The sweaty tangle of people who lined up there included a customer service representative for a trucking company who took a vacation day to make her first Apple purchase; a jazz musician who declared, “I don’t stand in line for anything”; and a tourist from Argentina who said he was not even sure the phone would work once he got it home.

At Apple stores across the country yesterday, there were the so-called iCultists, the Internet entrepreneurs and technology consultants who would have surprised you if they said they didn’t wait in line all night.

“If Apple made sliced bread, yeah, I’d buy it.” said Andrew Kaputsa, who waited outside the Michigan Avenue Apple store in Chicago. “It’s just good stuff. Everything they touch.”

But then there were the iConverts, the not-so-savvy customers who did not know much about the iPhone other than that they had to have it.

“Have I drank the Kool-Aid?” said Marc Falato, 42, a Broadway producer who got in line at the Fifth Avenue store around 8 a.m. yesterday. “I think maybe to a certain extent. After all, you can order it online tonight and get it delivered in three to five business days. So I guess I bought into the hype.”

Tracy Carroll, a 42-year-old Internet consultant who waited in line just a few steps ahead of Mr. Falato, said, “I’m buying it sight unseen, and that’s kind of rare for me.” Later, as he was walking away from the cash register with two iPhones in hand, he said, “Oh man, it was so worth it.”

The iPhone, which sells for $499 or $599, depending on memory size, is a huge step for Apple. But it is also critical to AT&T’s growth. The telephone company has an exclusive contract with Apple in the United States to sell the phone and provide wireless phone service, and is betting on an influx of new customers. Of course, that would mean that people who already have cellphone service with other carriers must be willing to pay the hefty fees to break their contracts.

Indeed, there were several T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless customers in line yesterday in Manhattan. “That’s not even an issue. I want the phone,” said Cassie Tran, a 25-year-old who does public relations for a high-end fashion designer in New York. Ms. Tran has a contract with Verizon that she said she would “pay whatever” to break.

Some had clearly been following everything about the iPhone for so long, that they spoke as if they were reading from Apple’s talking points. “What Steve Jobs cited in his keynote in January was that everybody was looking for a device that brought it all together,” said Gene Lewis, 34, the owner of a Web site development company.

Mr. Lewis, who got in line outside the Fifth Avenue store around 7 p.m. on Thursday and slept all night in a folding chair, used words like “elegant” and “beautiful” to describe the phone, which at that point he had seen only in pictures.

Josh Topolski, 29, a blogger for the technology blog who waited all day outside the Fifth Avenue store, said Apple’s ability to generate such intense interest was remarkable. “Apple, they’re masters of hype and keeping people waiting. This line is proof of that.”

But the mania surrounding the iPhone’s debut has created somewhat of a backlash among bloggers and comedians, who have reveled in mocking all the hoopla.

“It’s going to do for phones what the iPod did for pods,” Rob Riggle, the “senior technology correspondent” of “The Daily Show,” said in a sketch on Thursday night. Mr. Riggle then asked to see the hands of an unwitting blogger who tested the iPhone and he then sniffed them. “Man, it’s still warm,” he cooed. wrote under the headline “Nerd Party,” “Do you wish you were hanging out in line at the 5th Ave Apple Store, but are stuck with a pesky job that won’t let you bum around with a bunch of nerds on a weekday?”

So exactly what type of people can take all day, and in some cases several days, to wait in line for a cellphone? Well, the mayor of Philadelphia, for starters. John F. Street waited much of the day yesterday to buy an iPhone. A spokesman explained that Mr. Street was conducting city business by cellphone and BlackBerry while he waited.

Then there are the people who were being paid to wait in line for others. Dan Zabar, a 23-year-old production assistant for a company that produces television commercials in New York, was making about $150 to wait all day in line for his boss. Others got in line early to try to sell their spots. Along 58th Street, where the line for the Fifth Avenue store had spilled over, one young man was offering his place for $160 in the early afternoon. By late afternoon, he had raised the price to $180.

There were also the so-called early adoptors, the technophiles who habitually rush out to buy first-generation electronics. “I’m everyone’s guinea pig,” said Christopher Kokinos, a former Apple employee who now works for a marketing communications firm in New York. He spent a total of six hours in line outside the Fifth Avenue store yesterday. “All my friends say, I’ll wait until you buy it so I know if it’s any good.”

But not everyone was so enthusiastic.

Near the Chicago store on Michigan Avenue, Sara Bafundo, a guest services agent at the Wyndham Hotel across the street from the Apple store, looked at the long line and said, “I just don’t get it. I just don’t get it. The hype just doesn’t make sense.”

Eric Taub contributed reporting from Los Angeles and Eric Ferkenhoff from Chicago.

E-mail: It's good AND bad


I've been wondering a lot about e-mail lately. Ms. Ephron seems to have hit the nail on the head with her op/ed piece in the New York Times.

Published in the NYT: July 1, 2007

Stage One: Infatuation

I just got e-mail! I can’t believe it! It’s so great! Here’s my handle. Write me! Who said letter writing was dead? Were they ever wrong! I’m writing letters like crazy for the first time in years. I come home and ignore all my loved ones and go straight to the computer to make contact with total strangers. And how great is AOL? It’s so easy. It’s so friendly. It’s a community. Wheeeee! I’ve got mail!

Stage Two: Clarification

O.K., I’m starting to understand — e-mail isn’t letter-writing at all, it’s something else entirely. It was just invented, it was just born and overnight it turns out to have a form and a set of rules and a language all its own. Not since the printing press. Not since television. It’s revolutionary. It’s life-altering. It’s shorthand. Cut to the chase. Get to the point.

And it saves so much time. It takes five seconds to accomplish in an e-mail message something that takes five minutes on the telephone. The phone requires you to converse, to say things like hello and goodbye, to pretend to some semblance of interest in the person on the other end of the line. Worst of all, the phone occasionally forces you to make actual plans with the people you talk to — to suggest lunch or dinner — even if you have no desire whatsoever to see them. No danger of that with e-mail.

E-mail is a whole new way of being friends with people: intimate but not, chatty but not, communicative but not; in short, friends but not. What a breakthrough. How did we ever live without it? I have more to say on this subject, but I have to answer an Instant Message from someone I almost know.

Stage Three: Confusion

I have done nothing to deserve any of this:

Viagra!!!!! Best Web source for Vioxx. Spend a week in Cancún. Have a rich beautiful lawn. Astrid would like to be added as one of your friends. XXXXXXXVideos. Add three inches to the length of your penis. The Democratic National Committee needs you. Virus Alert. FW: This will make you laugh. FW: This is funny. FW: This is hilarious. FW: Grapes and raisins toxic for dogs. FW: Gabriel García Márquez’s Final Farewell. FW: Kurt Vonnegut’s Commencement Address. FW: The Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. AOL Member: We value your opinion. A message from Hillary Clinton. Find low mortgage payments, Nora. Nora, it’s your time to shine. Need to fight off bills, Nora? Yvette would like to be added as one of your friends. You have failed to establish a full connection to AOL.

Stage Four: Disenchantment

Help! I’m drowning. I have 112 unanswered e-mail messages. I’m a writer — imagine how many unanswered messages I would have if I had a real job. Imagine how much writing I could do if I didn’t have to answer all this e-mail. My eyes are dim. I have a mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome. I have a galloping case of attention deficit disorder because every time I start to write something, the e-mail icon starts bobbing up and down and I’m compelled to check whether anything good or interesting has arrived. It hasn’t. Still, it might, any second now. And yes it’s true — I can do in a few seconds with e-mail what would take much longer on the phone, but most of my messages are from people who don’t have my phone number and would never call me in the first place. In the brief time it took me to write this paragraph, three more messages arrived. Now I have 115 unanswered messages. Strike that: 116.

Stage Five: Accommodation

Yes. No. No :). No :(. Can’t. No way. Maybe. Doubtful. Sorry. So Sorry. Thanks. No thanks. Not my thing. You must be kidding. Out of town. O.O.T. Try me in a month. Try me in the fall. Try me in a year. can now be reached at

Stage Six: Death

Call me.

Nora Ephron, the author, most recently, of “I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman,” is a contributing columnist for The Times.