What's Now: Drenched with 'Purple Ra1n,' iPhone users caught eating 'redsn0w'
Drenched with "Purple Ra1n," iPhone users caught eating "redsn0w"
Afternoon of Sunday, July 5, 2009 • If you're a Mac user and you're wondering where those fruit-punch-looking stains on your keyboard are coming from, well, it must be an outbreak of "Purple Ra1n." Last Friday, independent developer GeoHot gave iPhone 3G S users a shower of sorts with his pwnage tool for Windows, enabling iPhone users to install their own apps outside of AT&T's control. Yesterday collaborator Ari Weinstein ported that tool to the Mac, although he also acknowledged that for the "full freedom experience," users should turn to the Dev-Team's "redsn0w" tool, for unlocking their 3G S units from the AT&T network.
Andreessen co-launching new venture-cap firm
Evening of Sunday, July 5, 2009 • The founder of Netscape and his longtime business partner Ben Horowitz have looked at those other Valley VC firms and figured out a fresh angle: Two general partners, one approval process. Andreessen Horowitz will launch with $300 million and is prepared to address companies at any stage along the launch continuum.
In a statement this morning, the partnership said it is willing to commit up to $50 million at a time, to any entrepreneurial venture at any stage of its development -- in other words, not necessarily fresh startups. This could be a boon for any venture looking to make a second or third try at a good idea.
Om Malik takes a look at the firm's wide net and streamlined process, while Sarah Lacy at TechCrunch got some quality time with the ever-quotable Mr. Andreessen and pulls out five points guaranteed to stir up conversation. (Guess how many VC firms Andreessen expects will go out of business in the next decade?) And those around long enough to hear "Andreessen and Horowitz" and think wait, didn't those guys hate each other? will enjoy Kevin Maney's take for Fortune.
Browser trends amuse nerds throughout holiday weekend
July 2008 - July 2009 • StatCounter's got a lovely batch of browser-adoption stats posted to its site, and since not everyone enjoys fireworks, an assorted of tech folk poked and prodded at the numbers throughout the weekend.
There's fun for everyone in there. Your reporter, for instance, is impressed by BlackBerry's massive jump in share over the past four months, from 4.74% in March to 20.83% this month, making it a close third-place finisher behind the iTouch. (Equally impressive is Android's drop during the same period, from 6.12% to .07%. Ow.) Erick Schonfeld at TechCrunch, on the other hand, notices that IE has lost 11.4% of share in that period to Firefox, Safari and Chrome. At Technologizer, Harry McCracken notes that such numbers probably aren't cheerful for Microsoft, which will have to convince folks to switch (back) to IE to rebuild market share -- something that, according to his Twitter followers, isn't likely.
ABC shows start to appear on Hulu
Over the weekend • So you missed the final episode of Scrubs? As of Saturday night, that and various other ABC shows are popping up on Hulu, the happy result of the deal announced back in April.
LucasArts to spill "awesome news for our old school fans"
Sometime Monday, July 6 > LucasArts spent Sunday whipping up excitement on the Twitter concerning the announcement of... something. One of their old-school titles is getting a fresh release. If George Lucas wishes to atone for the sins of Star Wars 1-3, it will be a DS release of Grim Fandango.
Flounder-flat CrunchPad nears launch
In a few weeks > CrunchPad, a Michael Arrington project, has announced that working prototypes of its much-awaited Linux-based Web tablet are on the way to their offices, and he'll have more to say about it at a press-and-user gathering in the Valley later this month. There's no keyboard and no hard drive, though scrutiny of images at the link above seems to reveal at least one USB port as well as something that looks a lot like a memory-card slot. (You can see plenty of the browser and the onscreen keyboard, as well as the onboard camera, in the YouTube video below.) The apparently-final prototype both slimmed down and plumped up slightly, with body depth down to a willowy 18mm and the price up a bit to around $300 (estimated).
Web 2.0-related horror film on the way for Halloween
October 13, 2009 > Like Charles Durning? Of course you do. About six years ago, he and Billy Dee Williams and some other actors made a movie called iMurders, concerning a "Facespace chat room" and the murders of various participants thereon. We know that movies with Internet hooks are generally so bad they're... well, bad. This one is going straight to DVD now. Based on the trailer I believe the words we're after are "delightfully sleazy."
Monday's tech headlines (special legal-affairs edition)
Technology & Marketing Law Blog
• Eric Goldman's fine blog has a couple of interesting case in the spotlight. First, he looks at Satterfield v Simon & Shuster, in which a plaintiff who signed up for "free ringtones from Firm A ended up having her phone number sold and resold repeatedly, and getting a bunch of unwanted text spam as a result.
• Meanwhile, it has apparently been a banner year for trials concerning one of the few bits of the 1996 Communications Decency Act that survive to this day. 47 USC 230 in a sense codifies the old "you own your own words" attitude of the Net; specifically, protecting Web sites and such from being liable as "the publishers" of content posted by someone else (generally speaking, users). In the courts, this has been working out to a lot of cases of people suing sites (eg., MySpace) for bad things that happened when users met other users offline. Fascinating stuff.
The Legal Satyricon
• The Satyricon -- known to you perhaps for its strong language as well as its great analysis -- is remarkably restrained in its coverage of last week's Lori Drew decision, choosing mainly to link back to its previous reporting on the matter, in which they fairly accurately predicted Judge Wu's assessment of the situation.
• In a similar vein, Marc Randazza has a barn-burner of a post on why the Nikki Catsouras situation is, like the Lori Drew case, one in which one's gut reaction -- eagerness to suppress some horrible, horrible photos -- is at odds with what makes for good law. If you're still furious at Drew (and if you caught her self-satisfied smirking over the weekend, I'll just bet you are), read Randazza's essay and see how you feel by the end.
New York Times
• What's Micron got to be cheerful about after ten consecutive quarterly losses? Maybe more than you realize, says Brooke Crothers.
• Symantec? McAfee? Are you running either of the two leading anti-malware packages? Ashlee vance thinks you may or may not have noticed that the two firms are in a heated competition for end users -- and that sometimes companies in battles like that do things that aren't so nice.
• Is Sony aiming to go Nintendo's Wii one (or more) better? Paul Miller has an overview (and a diagram!) of a Sony patent application for tech that can detect ordinary objects -- not merely controllers -- and store data about them for future use.
• Is your workplace sufficiently dehumanizing? No? Talk to your boss about new technology from Japan that'll let him/her strap cameras and ankle sensors to the employees for surveillance purposes. There, fixed it for you.