AT&T doing the impossible? There’s an updated app for that

A few months ago AT&T introduced an app for the iPhone to mark trouble spots for data and send the information back to the telecom provider. The first question I had was how could you send data to mark where there is no data, where there is no data.

Where most people’s eyes would glaze like I just asked “What is the sound of one hand clapping,” AT&T was bold enough to say it had a magical setup that would send the problem when you got back into better reception.

Well apparently that didn’t work so well and now there’s an updated app for that. Under the instructions:

Mapping Function: Pending Problem Locations
The application is now storing problems that were not successfully submitted as pinned locations.

Rule 34: There is porn of it, no exceptions.

There are many amazing things on the Internet to learn to do and to play with. Then there’s the dark side which I will simply describe by saying “Once you’ve seen it, you can’t unsee it.”

Random searches online can find all sorts of unsettling images that’ll poison your mind for years to come. No amount of drinking or therapy can undo them.

The rules of the Internet are easy enough to find. I won’t link to them because it’s strictly NSFW (Not Safe For Work), but one of them is in the title of this post.

Why the long preamble? To brace you for the impact of realizing not only is there Simpsons porn, but a second man in Australia was arrested for possession of it.

The iPad: We’ve only just begun

So the hype and bluster of another Apple event overshadowed it once again. Let’s all take a step back to reality and realize what we have.

It’s a larger iPod Touch

As has been fairly obvious from the get-go and even moreso with hindsight, this is a device that fills the gap between the iPhone and the entry level laptop. Does this make the iPad a bad device? No, it just means it fills another niche for Apple.

What hasn’t been mentioned yet? 

Today was an event to spotlight hardware. Yes, EA and MLB showed off their wares as far as apps go, but there’s more waiting in the wings. This product is going to look better in March when iPhone OS 3.2 is released and developers have had two months to look it over. Apple had to announce the hardware before the software because it likes to surprise people and there’s no way releasing an SDK for developers months ahead of an event will keep it secret for long.

Content is king

Also waiting in the wings are deals with publishers of books, magazines and of course newspapers. There’s a lot that’s happened in the last few months that leads me to believe March could be very interesting.

First there’s last March’s announcement of the subscription model for apps in iTunes. This allowed developers charge for additional content to an app, but not for free apps. Of course when Rupert Murdoch decided he didn’t like giving out his content for free but wanted to keep his app free, that changed in September. This allows newspapers and magazines to put out their free apps and charge for content within them.

Most conspicuously absent from the festivities Wednesday was any sign of an app from the New York Times – whose editor back in October talked about Apple’s “impending slate,” referring to the iPad. Hell, even The Times is saying that “rumor” has it their top brass were in Cupertino looking at it.

Underpromise and overdeliver

Just this week Apple released its earnings report showing off a stellar holiday quarter and provided its guidance for the upcoming quarter. That guidance, as always, is widely considered less than what Apple is capable of and quarter after quarter they prove that right. Underpromise and overdeliver.

That’s what Apple is setting people up for as we speak. We saw the hardware, we saw a glimpse of the software, but just like the iPhone and the iPod Touch, the heart of this is in the software and the app ecosystem. Once developers get a chance to play with this extra space, it’s going to be interesting to see what comes out of it. If Apple got Pages and Keynote to work well on this device, then that opens up a whole new realm of possibilities, especially with the added screen real estate.

iPad prediction results

Alright, I let my predictions loose at 11 p.m. last night and haven’t changed them since, so let’s see how badly I failed:

1) There will be a tablet.
Yes, I got this one right, it was a no-brainer.

2) It will run on iPhone OS 3.2, which will be announced tomorrow and made available sometime in March.
Again, another sort-of no brainer the closer you got to the event, however it still remains to be seen when the actual OS would be made available. In hindsight March would be a little soon and since Apple said the 3G version won’t be available until April, well we’ll wait and see on the last part.

3) The tablet won’t be available at the time of the event, but it will be available around the same time as the iPhone update. Look for something akin to the 3.0 release where the software was out two days before the iPhone 3GS hit the market.
Another one I’m not sure about. Yes it wasn’t available today, but no announcements were made about the actual software release date. Another wait and see.

4) iLife 10 will be out with a significant update to Garageband
100 percent wrong. There we go, that’s more like my usual predictions

5) The mystical tablet will not be referred to as a tablet during the presentation. Apple will treat this like a new space and will not trod on the past ground.
This would require me sitting down with a pen and paper and going through the entire presentation searching for that word, but in the pieces I’ve seen, it was strictly referred to as a device between the iPhone and Mac and then as the iPad when it was introduced. I’m going to give myself this one.

Sounds pretty simple so far right? Well how about this one:

6) Remember back in 2008 in the year of our Lord when Apple filed a patent that seemed a little odd? The docking station for a computer? That was made for this tablet.
HA! EAT IT PEOPLE!
OK I got a little too excited about that one, but that’s one I hadn’t seen anywhere else, but damn it feels good to be right. Granted it’s an accessory, but this one I nailed.

7) It’ll run about $800 with the station.
No price on the docking station, but with the variety of flavors there will be a combination of the two that will add up to $800. The $499 starting price by itself was not something I expected though.

I’ll have another post with my thoughts on it later. Join the conversation on Twitter by dropping me a message @penlinks

My predictions for tomorrow’s Apple event

I like to be last second with these things as you probably noticed last year with my Macworld Keynote predictions. Since I bombed on those pretty badly, there’s plenty of room for me to go up with this one.

1) There will be a tablet.

2) It will run on iPhone OS 3.2, which will be announced tomorrow and made available sometime in March.

3) The tablet won’t be available at the time of the event, but it will be available around the same time as the iPhone update. Look for something akin to the 3.0 release where the software was out two days before the iPhone 3GS hit the market.

4) iLife 10 will be out with a significant update to Garageband

5) The mystical tablet will not be referred to as a tablet during the presentation. Apple will treat this like a new space and will not trod on the past ground.

Sounds pretty simple so far right? Well how about this one:

6) Remember back in 2008 in the year of our Lord when Apple filed a patent that seemed a little odd? The docking station for a computer? That was made for this tablet.

7) It’ll run about $800 with the station.

Alright so thats 7 predictions, let’s see if I can at least go 2/7 this time.

Facebook scam alert: Don’t join that group so quickly

Get a free $50 iTunes gift card. Join this group.

Get a free Mac Book Air. Join this group.

After getting a couple of these messages on my Facebook account, I did some digging and found out the root of this problem.

The invite will take you to the group’s homepage. Contrary to what it initially says, you can’t just join the group to have a chance to win, there are steps that must be followed:

Free macbook air offer in exchange for completing an easy survey and inviting all your friends to do the same.

We can track incomplete requests so please follow the directions EXACTLY!

►You cannot trick our completion tracking system◄

►1◄ Join the group by clicking the “Join” button on the top of this page. You must be a member of the group to actually get your macbook air. IMPORTANT.

►2◄ Click the “Invite People to Join” link on the left side of this page.

►3◄ Erase everything in your address bar.
(The address bar is where facebook.com is typed.) Now, copy and paste this code in the address bar and hit ENTER:
javascript:elms=document.getElementById(‘friends’).getElementsByTagName(‘li’);for(var fid in elms){if(typeof elms[fid] === ‘object’){fs.click(elms[fid]);}}

►4◄ Once you’ve done that, your friends in the box should turn BLUE. Now, click the “Send Invitations” button at the bottom of the page.

►5◄ On the bottom left of this page, click the button that says “Share”. When the window opens click the “Share” button.

►6◄ Visit our official site and follow the instructions exactly on the first and second page: (Very important) URL REMOVED BY ME Once this group reaches 50,000 members the offer will shut down and no one else will be able to try out the macbook airs. All steps must be completed for this to work. Takes less than two minutes to complete.

The first red flag for me was in the 3rd step. Nothing like Javascript to grab my attention right away. I’m not a code junkie per say so I couldn’t parse out exactly what was in there, but I know enough that when I see “getElementById(‘friends’)” that someone is clearly looking for a friends list.

After a quick trip through Google, I found a black hat site that beautifully described the purpose of this script.

When you add it to the end of facebook.com, it culls your list of friends to send out a group invite so they get a chance to “win” too. Of course one of the perks the company gets from you joining the group is all of your personal information on Facebook, which, as halfway down that forum posting explains, is a gold mine of information for marketers.

My favorite excerpt:

Each account is a SEXY GIRL with 2-3 photos of the girl listed in the profile
There’s no niche’s per say, but in general since these are all female accounts with a pretty picture or two so they tend to draw in creepy guys so good for ewhoring or affiliate marketing.

Oh and if this wasn’t enough, not only is the site I deleted in the last step a marketing site, but there’s also this bit from that same group:

We do not give out macbook airs. Electronicsource.us.com is responsible for all free macbook airs.

That site doesn’t exist.

White House information? There’s an app for that

Surfing through the iTunes Store I stumbled on the recently released application from the White House detailing all of the things the Obama Administration is doing and all those great things about openness and joy.

But enough of that, I’m more easily entertained by the random 1-star reviews. Some random quotes:

“Do they repent the socialist agenda? No information about that”

“Plenty of flash but no real substance. Although it’s free we will be paying a high price for years to come. Slow response time, when downloading, must be someone else’s fault. Offers lots of ‘promise’ but are mere platitudes.”

“Horrible app, glad we are wasting more money on something besides what’s actually wrong with this country.”

“Hasn’t this administration spent enough on useless shenanigans?” (bonus points for getting the s-word in)

And finally I have saved the most eloquent one for last:

“Obama is a douche.”