When CNet editor and reviewer Brian Bennett lost his "lovely HTC One test unit" while traveling, he was forced to use the other test phone he brought with him, a BlackBerry Z10.
He expected to be miserable missing out on Google Drive, Google Talk, Google Now and other Android apps.
But he was shocked at how much he liked the phone, once he was set up with Google Apps for Business. ("It requires you to configure your Gmail as an exchange account.")
He particularly liked BlackBerry Hub ("made missing important communiques very difficult") and the long battery life.
Wait a second.
He was forced to use the other test phone he brought with him?
May I ask a question: When did he intend to actually test what he was provided for the purpose of testing?
See, this is the problem you have relying on so-called "trusted" sources -- they're often intentionally dishonest.
How do you review something without immersing yourself in it for a short while and seeing what you think of it? You can't.
This is why when the Z-10 came out I bought one, at retail (so as not to be "bribed" by anybody) and then stuck my SGS-II, running ICS, in the drawer, turned off.
My intention was to use it for at least one week without referring to my Android phone and see what I actually thought of the new device. I was willing to take a $500 flyer and eat whatever the loss was if I thought, in the end, the device sucked.
It's been about two months and the Samsung hasn't been powered up since.
It's the Samsung that sucks, when one looks at the two in honest comparison.
Battery life, ease of communication (why I have a mobile computing device in the first place), security (including easy VPN and encryption of the device) and unlike Brian I find the gesture system to be ridiculously intuitive and easy. I did some painting the other day with the phone in my pocket streaming music to my bluetooth earpiece for four or five hours straight and I swear the battery in the earpiece would have gone flat before the phone did. I never did that sort of thing with my Android phones because I was unwilling to flatten the battery and then wait an hour or two for it to recharge. With the Z-10 not only is the battery not flat but if I do manage to run it down it charges at an amazing rate; restoring from 30 to 95% in 15-20 minutes is typical (provided you have a 2A charger!)
In short the phone just plain works for what I need to do when I need to do it.
Of course part of this experience, for me, is that I "sideloaded" a handful of Android apps that I really do need, including two trading apps. Both converted and loaded effortlessly. That required a bit of effort originally when the phone was first released, but now there are tools that make it a literal drag-and-drop affair, rendering the argument that it's "hard" moot.
I'm not a Netflix subscriber or Instagram user, so I don't care that Netflix and Instragram are not native. But both can be sideloaded and both work, if you care about them. Skype is now available native although again, I don't really care as I don't use it -- but for those who do, it matters to them.
But that's not really the point.
The point is that the device never got a fair hearing with CNET until their "reviewer" lost his other device.
Remember that this guy is an alleged "reviewer" and, one assumes, he was provided the device with the expectation that he would give it a fair shake and review it on that basis.
It appears he would not have done so had he not lost his HTC phone.
Bias? Sure. But we all have biases.
The important point is not that we have bias or don't, but that when it comes to the media and these sorts of issues it is rare that you ever see them disclosed; what usually happens is that they're concealed from you through either omission or commission.
Here's another anecdotal point for you -- the last couple of days I've spent quite a bit of time in the company of a friend who has an iPhone. Twice she's had her phone die -- out of power -- while we were in the same place, doing the same things, while the Zed had plenty of juice left.
The photos it takes and the general flow of the interface have gotten good reviews (again, from a dedicated iPhone user) as well.
How many people will not and do not look because they were "told" by people who "claim" to have "reviewed" new devices that they're just not competitive -- but in fact the so-called "reviewer" never took the device out of their pocket and powered it up?
Now you have something else to think about.
Disclosure: The author is long BBRY.
Pretty amazing, really. Yahoo paid what for Tumblr?
Cramer says "Social media is not understood by people older than 23."
Oh really? Let me give you a few hints.
What I continue to see is the model of the 1990s -- get a lot of users really fast and then sell yourself to someone before they figure out that you're not making any money and mathematically can't.
Facebook was bad enough -- this is worse.
Oh, and as for Bernanke and related folks?
They're denying a bubble again, just like the last two times.
When is a crime not a crime?
Enron Corp.’s 2001 collapse revealed the extent of its manipulation of spot gas prices. Twelve years later, European Union regulators may discover energy traders never learned the lessons of the scandal.
BP Plc (BP/), Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Platts were visited by EU inspectors last week over allegations they “colluded in reporting distorted prices” to manipulate the published prices of oil and biofuel products, the European Commission in Brussels said after the raids.
While ENRON was a scandal due to manipulation it was the accounting -- which was fictitious -- that brought the company down.
Of course when you'll lie and cheat about one thing you'll do the same with something else; right? We've already established what you are; now we're simply arguing over how big of a liar, cheat and fraud you might happen to be.
But look at what an "energy consultant" has to say:
“We’re making exactly the same mistakes we did with Enron, just with a different commodity,” Robert McCullough, an energy consultant, said by telephone from Portland, Oregon. “The same manipulation we saw in electricity and gas pricing is what we’re seeing in oil.”
They're not crimes, they're not felonies, they're not things that should land you in prison for bilking people, they're "mistakes."
We will NEVER solve any of these problems -- not in the energy markets, not in the land title business, not in the lending business generally, not in student loans, not in colleges, not in board rooms, not on Wall Street generally -- until we call things what they are.
A shark is a shark. A rattlesnake is a rattlesnake. An alligator is an alligator.
And a violation of black-letter law, whether in land titles, front-running, intentional misrepresentation by a company or anything else is a crime, not a mistake.
You want to know what drives me to want to say "screw this!", turn off the computer and decide to raise a few goats and chickens instead of innovating, building and employing, and which has destroyed my interest in the latter over the last decade and a half?
THAT is what has done so and will continue to do so -- and until it stops my position, and that of many other entrepreneurs, on this point will not change.
President Barack Obama will not cooperate in a “partisan fishing expedition” over who knew what and when about revelations that groups seeking tax-exempt status were subject to extra Internal Revenue Service scrutiny.
“We are going to work with Congress, as the president said, in legitimate oversight,” Dan Pfeiffer, a senior adviser to Obama, said today on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” program. “What we’re not going to participate in is a partisan fishing expedition designed to distract from the real issues at hand.”
With all due respect Mr. President (and that would be "none" as far as this goes, if you care) this isn't under your control and never was.
That's why we have a government with checks and balances, and three distinct branches. You only head up one of them. The others are equals to you, not your subordinates.
Congress has every right to subpoena whatever it wants. You can try to fight that but there is no valid "executive privilege" claim available when it comes to abuses by the IRS.
Using the powers of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens, impairing the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, or contravening the laws governing agencies of the executive branch and the purposed of these agencies.
This conduct has included one or more of the following:
- He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavoured to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be intitiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.
- He misused the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, and other executive personnel, in violation or disregard of the constitutional rights of citizens, by directing or authorizing such agencies or personnel to conduct or continue electronic surveillance or other investigations for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office; he did direct, authorize, or permit the use of information obtained thereby for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement of laws, or any other lawful function of his office; and he did direct the concealment of certain records made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation of electronic surveillance.
- He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, in violation or disregard of the constitutional rights of citizens, authorized and permitted to be maintained a secret investigative unit within the office of the President, financed in part with money derived from campaign contributions, which unlawfully utilized the resources of the Central Intelligence Agency, engaged in covert and unlawful activities, and attempted to prejudice the constitutional right of an accused to a fair trial.
- He has failed to take care that the laws were faithfully executed by failing to act when he knew or had reason to know that his close subordinates endeavoured to impede and frustrate lawful inquiries by duly constituted executive, judicial and legislative entities concerning the unlawful entry into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, and the cover-up thereof, and concerning other unlawful activities including those relating to the confirmation of Richard Kleindienst as Attorney General of the United States, the electronic surveillance of private citizens, the break-in into the offices of Dr. Lewis Fielding, and the campaign financing practices of the Committee to Re-elect the President.
- In disregard of the rule of law, he knowingly misused the executive power by interfering with agencies of the executive branch, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Criminal Division, and the Office of Watergate Special Prosecution Force, of the Department of Justice, and the Central Intelligence Agency, in violation of his duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.
Wherefore Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.
Care to do it again Mr. President?
I'll remind you, Mr. Obama, that this is not under your control either.
Homeland Security used a confidential informant, based in Maryland, to conduct the investigation. The informant simply created accounts with Dwolla and Mt. Gox, bought bitcoins, and then changed them back into dollars. Tracing that money, HSI was able to see that the money passed through a Wells Fargo account, number 7657841313, which was created by a single authorized signer: Mark Karpeles, the president and CEO of Mt. Gox. The Dwolla account shows transfers to Dwolla going back to at least December 2011, according to the warrant.
The problem is that Mt. Gox specifically declared that they are not a firm involved in money services.
Uh, yeah, ok.
Dealing in such without a license is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison (and/or a big fat fine.)
There are those who claim that this is no big deal and that it doesn't reach into the realm of what is to come. I disagree. The entire premise of a fungible means of exchange requires exactly that -- fungibility. If I am subject to having my funds seized because of what someone else did then I have custody and control of nothing.
There are those who argue (and rightly so) that one can keep all their "bitcoins" in their own personal wallet and deal with all that is required to do so. This is true but immaterial if most of the exchanges of said "currency" happen while under the control of a handful of such intermediaries as Mt. Gox and the "miners" who both look for and validate such exchanges. If the latter is the case (and it is) then you have once again a centrally-controlled system that is subject to destruction by outside forces.
The ultimate problem for Bitcoin (and other similar crypto-currencies) is that they are not self-validating. A dollar bill, with reasonable certainty, is. I can accept one from you and know with a reasonable degree of certainty that it is unique and valid, rather than printed off your color printer the same morning (that is, counterfeit.) The need for self-validation is very high in face-to-face transaction use. It is very desireable in many uses as well; if I must refer to some online source for validation (or worse, must wait any material amount of time beyond a few seconds for that validation) then friction is placed into the economic transaction stream and to the extent a third party is involved the transaction becomes subject to discovery and tracking.
This goes directly to what many of the proponents of Bitcoin claim -- "anonymous" transactions. In point of fact Bitcoin provides no such thing since transactions must be validated by external parties and the transaction stream going all the way back to the origin of any given coin is irrefutably and indelibly recorded in the block chain.
In this particular case the information necessary to "bust" Mt. Gox didn't reach into there, but if there is a debate over whether the alleged transactions took place there will be no ability to claim otherwise, since once again the block chain will prove that to be the case. As soon as either the recipient or sender of a given transaction "out" themselves (e.g. one is an informant) you are cooked.
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