Monday, October 12, 2015

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Apple charges the most to its poorest customers

Posted: 12 Oct 2015 01:50 AM PDT

Databroker_scrooge_mcduck-346x260Fruity cargo cult Apple has touted its future success in China and India as reasons why it will continue to make money. However that has been called into question by its daft pricing policy.

You would think that trying to sell phones to poorer countries, Apple would reduce the price a bit so that more people could afford it.

Apparently not. Apple thinks it is better to charge poorer country's more for its shiny toys.

They say time is money, but unfortunately for Apple enthusiasts in India, they’ll need to spend more of both for the iPhone 6S.

Not only is it launching its iPhone 6S three weeks after it was released in much of the western world, it is charging Indians $955 for the 16GB entry model. The top-of-the-line 128GB 6S Plus, which will $1,415. The average wage in India is $295, so to own one a person will have to work for three months and not eat – a small price to pay for a phone with no compelling hardware and which will be out-of-date in a few months.

In the US they pay $949 for the 128GB 6S Plus, a full $466 less than those in India.

Analysts say that such expensive smartphones will alienate almost all of its prospective user base in India.

Though Samsung and its Galaxy S flagship devices have a presence in the Indian market, the S6 starts at $615. The most popular smartphones are budget, sub-$200 devices like Chinese handset maker Xiaomi’s RedMi range and products made by local brand Micromax.

When the iPhone 6 series launched in India last year, the 16GB 6 model was priced at $865.

Prior to pricing being announced for India, France was the most expensive place to buy an iPhone 6S, with the range starting at $845.

Apple helps China censor its citizens

Posted: 12 Oct 2015 01:48 AM PDT

ChinaFruity cargo cult Apple is helping the Chinese keep their citizens under control by censoring its news and wiping tricky content from phones and tablets.

Apple has disabled its news app in China because it does not want to offend the government by telling Apple fanboys about what is going on in the world.

Greater China is now Apple's second-largest source of revenue after the United States, with sales of more than $13 billion in the third quarter. There are fears that the Chinese are losing interest in the shiny cargo cult and Apple does not want a scrap with the authorities right now.

Beijing generally insists that companies are responsible for censoring content inside China. In Apple's case, that would mean it would probably have to develop a censorship system to eliminate sensitive articles from feeds.

Since this means developing working software, Jobs' Mob has placed this in the too hard basket and completely disabled the service for users in China.

The move is already troubling some users. Larry Salibra, an entrepreneur who founded Pay4Bugs, a software testing service, pointed out the issue last week on Twitter. Salibra said he found what Apple was doing "very disconcerting."

He said Apple was censoring news content that he downloaded and stored on my device purchased in the USA.

"On device censorship is much different than having your server blocked by the Great Firewall or not enabling a feature for customers with certain country iTunes account. That Apple has little choice doesn't make it any less creepy or outrageous."

Amazon’s dinosaur sex obsession inspired CloudFlare

Posted: 12 Oct 2015 01:47 AM PDT

dinosaurCloudFlare chief executive Matthew Prince said his business model was inspired by Amazon bosses Jeff Bezos’ obsession with dinosaurs having sex.

ZDNET  hacks were a little surprised that at the end of a long ordinary interview with lots of paradigms and synergies, Prince let slip that he was "worried about Jeff Bezos’ bizarre obsession with dinosaur sex.”

Prince was referring to how Amazon banned so-called “monster erotica,” a genre of fan-fiction revolving around fantasy-based fictional encounters with mythical or extinct creatures, including dinosaurs.

“You can make a rational argument that if you’re writing books fantasising about having sex with animals or children, maybe that promotes a certain kind of behaviour. But there’s no risk of someone abusing a dinosaur,” Prince said.

His point was whether a company should be, or determine who is a good guy and who is a bad guy.

CloudFlare has a core ethos of making the internet faster, and safer. The company provides content delivery services, domain name server solutions, and anti-spamming and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) protection for websites and services.

It has got into trouble because it believes that its platform should be open to everyone and the Powers that Be have accused it of protecting terrorists,

At the time Prince said that a website is speech not a bomb.

As the internet continues to consolidate into the big companies — Amazon for retail, Google for search and mobile, Apple for devices, and so on — he argued that the decision to ban or restrict on the “basis of personal value” worries him.

“I’m somewhat sceptical of slippery slope arguments. But, if you ban books that depict sex with dinosaurs, it doesn’t take much before you ban books.”

Linux golden age threatened by bug army

Posted: 12 Oct 2015 01:45 AM PDT

bugA top Linux geek has warned that its golden age is about to be bought to a close by security problems.

Golden ages are normally brought to an end by a rebellion of giants, titans or plagues. Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation said that Linux will be killed off by giant, titanic plagues of security bugs.

Several high profile zero-day vulnerabilities in popular open source technologies last year served not only to show the importance of open source to the internet and IT world, but how how badly it projects were under-resourced.

Heartbleed which impacted OpenSSL, Poodle, a vulnerability in SSL, and the Shellshock vulnerability in Bash damaged the reputation of open sauce badly and resulted in the creation of the Core infrastructure Initiative (CII), a Linux-Foundation led initiative to improve open source security.

CII's financial backers include Adobe, Bloomberg, HP, VMware, Rackspace, NetApp, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Google, Fujitsu, Facebook, Dell, Amazon and Cisco.

Zemlin said that this support was proof we're living in a "golden age" of open source.

"Almost the entirety of the internet is entirely reliant on open source software. We've reached a golden age of open source. Virtually every technology and product and service is created using open source," he said.

Open source was not immune to the security threat faced by the entire computing industry and said Heartbleed, and others, served as a wakeup call for the IT industry. It is believed 200,000 devices are still vulnerable.

"Heartbleed literally broke the security of the internet," he explained. "Over a long period of time, whether we knew it or not, became dependent on open source for the security and Integrity of the internet."

Zemlin said many people had asked him why had the peer review process not highlighted these vulnerabilities, but the answer was blindingly obvious.

Many of these projects were being worked by one part-time volunteer. Before Heartbleed, OpenSSL received less than $2,000 a year in donations, while OpenSSH and Bash had similarly meagre support.

"It's completely out of proportion to the attention these projects play in society and the Internet," said Zemlin. "OpenSSL for a long period of time was essentially maintained by two guys named Steve. Think about that."

Dell to announce EMC takeover today

Posted: 12 Oct 2015 12:00 AM PDT

Dell's Computer Shipments Increase 28% In ChinaTinbox shifter Dell will end speculation and announce its takeover of storage technology firm EMC in a deal worth more than $50 billion today.

What will be the largest tech deal of all time has been conducted without some of Dell's top managers knowing about it. In fact a lot of them were out of the country when it was leaked.

Sources say that the talks have been conducted directly between CEOs Michael Dell and EMC's Joe Tucci on the QT.

Numerous terms had not been finalised as of late Sunday night including plans to protect both parties from movements in the value of EMC shares after the deal is announced.

EMC will be allowed to seek superior offers from other companies. But that is just to stop the company being sued by shareholders. The only people likely to counter Dell's offer HP, Oracle, Cisco Systems and IBM are not interested.

The offer will include cash amounting to $27.25 per EMC share, plus the additional value of tracking stock to account for the value of EMC's stake in the cloud software firm VMware that would bring the value of the transaction to over $30 per share. Dell will maintain majority control of VMware but will likely sell or distribute a portion of EMC's equity in VMware to raise cash and offset some of the debt.

Dell is getting the cash by issuing high-yield bonds that will be linked to equity in the combined company.

It is not clear if the deal has been approved by Elliott Management, the activist hedge fund that is EMC's seventh-largest shareholder. Elliott wanted EMC to spin off its stake in VMware as a way of boosting shareholder value.

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