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Here it comes...

On September 24, all eyes will be on BlackBerry as we host exclusive, invite-only events in Toronto, London and Dubai to show off… well I guess you’ll have to wait and see.

That would be the Passport, the expected 10.3 software-driven "phablet" style phone with a monster screen, keyboard, insanely-large battery (full-day++ life under heavy use) and large improvements in specs across the board (e.g. 12mp camera, quad-core processor, etc.)

If you want to know how large it is grab your passport.  That also will tell you how it will fit in various places, like your pocket (yes, it will.)

I already have 10.3 on my Z10 and it's awesome.  Add to that the additional memory, battery size, keyboard, much larger and higher-resolution screen and ridiculously-faster processor -- along with the expected release of Blend, the software (which is in 10.3) that will provide a "virtual terminal" into your phone from your desktop and you wind up with an integrated messaging and information system that works when you're in front of your laptop or desktop on a seamless basis and when not, it's in your pocket and goes with you.

Oh, and it's not full of either Apple's or Google's spyware.

Shut up and take my money!

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So getting your selfies (nude) hacked and posted won't be enough.

It appears, if the morning news stream is accurate, that Apple intends to put a wallet on your phone.

That's nice.  It also means that if it's not secure you're going to find your "wallet" pick-pocketed and you won't have jack and crap you can do about it.

Oh sure, if it's your credit card that gets stolen you're "not responsible" -- well, theoretically anyway.  That is cold comfort when you're traveling and the card turns into a piece of burnt plastic while you're on the road, leaving you with no funds and no immediate replacement either.  If that's a debit card?  Well, sucks to be you.

I suspect the iSheeple will "embrace" this, right up until they start losing their money, anyway.  Then we might finally see people wake up.

Maybe.

PS: I'll bet it wasn't just nude selfies that were stolen.  Think videos, tax information and all sorts of other interesting corporate data that people were dumb enough to put into the "cloud" -- and the best part of it is that I bet that particular stupidity among American consumers and businesses continues too.

Update 9/2 15:21 CT: Apple claims there was no "hack" per-se and the accounts were "individually" compromised.  If so, how did old, deleted images get retrieved?  This of course is a testable hypothesis, never mind that the so-called "hammer attack" sort (where a hacker hammers an authentication service to try to discover credentials that work) is something that should never be functional in today's world -- when someone tries that the system should lock the account out; either entirely or on an exponential-back-off basis (so each "miss" doubles the time before a valid credential can be submitted.)  The latter removes the need for a "hard lock" that has to be reset but makes attack attempts pointless since even with a correct set of credentials you learn nothing until the timer expires.  (Most sites that choose that approach also have a reset function available because otherwise a denial of service attack is rather easy to implement against someone you don't like.)

But - there's also this article, which claims otherwise and points out that irrespective of any of that it's tough crap -- you stuck the data there, even if they didn't protect against a hammer attack (and it appears they did not) and even if you never let your password out into the wild it doesn't matter -- it's your fault.  And by the way, Apple isn't alone in this -- Google does the same thing as does Amazon.

The bottom line: NONE of these companies will EVER accept responsibility for the security of data you place on these "cloud" services.  If you are in a regulated industry and thus must care, or simply do care even though there is no legal requirement to do so, these services are incompatible with your alleged needs.

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Big surprise here, right?  Nope.

Google Tuesday removed a smartphone app called “Disconnect Mobile” from its Android Play store because it violated a policy prohibiting software that interferes with other apps.

Interference was precisely the point of Disconnect Mobile, a privacy tool aimed at stopping other apps from collecting data on users. In the six days it was available in Google’s store, it was downloaded more than 5,000 times.

Google has long refused to allow "ad blocker" programs on the Play Store; you have to sideload them.  Most of them also require a rooted phone, since one of the easiest ways to implement ad-blocking is to put in private "routes" for the IP addresses of the ad servers that go nowhere.  That means inserting entries in the "hosts" file, and that file can only be written with privileges.

Thus, you need a rooted Android device to do it.

Disconnect didn't target traditional advertising, however.  It instead targeted invisible linkages between various ad networks and the pages you browse, and did so by using a private VPN -- allowing it to intercept those silent and invisible requests and strip them from the returned data stream.  In doing so it also destroyed any value that would have otherwise accrued from monitoring IP addresses, since everything appeared to come from their VPN.

Google didn't like that and threw 'em out.

Well, that's not a surprise -- Google's entire business model relies on tracking everything you do.

Google, in short, as with Apple for IOS, sells you to various vendors.

YOU ARE THE PRODUCT.

If you're ok with that, well, then have at it.  But if not, then you might want to go ahead and load whatever protection(s) you think you need from such activity.

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You know you've gone from the ridiculous to the obscene when a company buys a web "property" that has as its claim to fame the broadcasting of people playing video games.

Really?

Really.  And let's not kid ourselves -- Amazon didn't buy the company because it makes gobs of money (it doesn't) it bought it because it is on the front end of an exponential adoption curve.  In other words, while costs are still (relatively) cheap to do what it does, and the fact that it earns nothing.  The actual capacity to earn a profit is considered immaterial.

It's worth a billion dollars to watch someone else play a video game?

I will note that it was worth billions to sell pet supplies over the Internet too.

In 1999.

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I have to chuckle at Amazon's ~3.5% stock rise this morning, coming on the back of an announcement that they're going to offer a competitor to "Square" and PayPal for "micro-POS" applications.

Amazon Local Register would allow local businesses to accept credit and debit card transactions from a smartphone or tablet. It requires users to download a new mobile app and attach an Amazon-provided card reader to their mobile device. Square and PayPal provide similar services.

The "gimmick" is a 1.75% discount rate for swiped transactions until 2016, at which point it will rise to 2.5%.

There's a problem with this business model: It's a money-loser.

The interchange costs exceed 1.75% and it gets especially bad with the ticket charge on small items, which is real.  The only way a bank or other financial institution can evade charging you a ticket fee (typically 50 cents or so) is if your ticket size is consistently large enough that they can absorb it in the discount rate without going broke.  

Note that it is broadly against merchant agreement rules to limit ticket size to "more than $X" for credit-card use; despite this many merchants do it for that exact reason -- the ticket fee eats them alive if you start charging $1.00 candy bars!

Square is barely hanging on with a 2.75% discount charge as it stands; PayPal has a material advantage here in that some percentage of their transactions are entirely internal or funded with bank account (ACH) transfers which are (much) cheaper for them to process.  But Amazon possess no internal funds structure that gives them a PayPal-like advantage and thus has a cost structure for this service much more like Square.

In other words they're going to lose money, and lots of it, particularly during this "promotional" period.

Here's the ugly reality of these systems, coming from a guy who has had a merchant relationship in one form or another since the late 1980s:  There is zero reason for any sort of "loyalty" to a merchant processor; there is no customer-facing advantage to one over another.

I remain amused by the premise that a company can enter line after line of zero-profit businesses, expanding expenses at a rate that exceeds revenues, and not get destroyed in the capital markets.  Apparently Bezos' Jesus halo has not yet completely worn off given the stock price reaction this morning, but even the most-charitable examination of the financial aspects of this "offering" show it to be utterly bankrupt -- and that's being kind.

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