Anticipation. It is a truly pleasurable feeling. In some ways, it is almost better than fulfillment (but not quite). Such is the feeling I have now for the soon-to-be released version 2.
I'm looking forward the new OS, but I am really, really hoping that Apple will improve the browsing experience on the iPhone. Little things like the progressive loading of pages, caching of pages, lifting the limit on eight pages only, opening "popup" pages in the same page (so that Safari won't refuse to follow a link, telling me that I have eight pages open already), eliminating the fancy shrink-slide-enlarge I must suffer when opening a new browsing page, overly sensitive motion sensors that flip pages at the slightest tip of the iPhone, limited zoom-in ability, lack of page up and down buttons, and limited PDF viewing (no jump-to-page option). Yes, mobile Safari might well be the best phone browser out there, but as I mentioned a few months ago, Apple still has quite a ways to go to make it a superior experience.
It may be the third-party developer who will make that experience better, and with more than 500 applications available on the day the App Store opens, it looks to me like the other phone platforms need to be very, very worried. Steve Jobs was quoted in the newspaper USA Today as saying, "This is the biggest launch of my career." I doubt that myself, thinking back to the launch of the Mac and the NeXT machine, and of course the iPhone itself, but it is without doubt a critical launch. Quite a switch from the day that Jobs suggested people use Web 2.
USA Today also says that Steve said that 25% of the apps will be free, which I think is a decent percentage but not as high as I hoped, and that 90% of for-sale apps will be $9.
Just to show how criminals have been attempting to make cash with iPods and how desperate some people have been to get them, a gang out of Brooklyn, New York stole thousands of dollars from people by convincing them to rendezvous in a remote location ostensibly to buy some iPhones in bulk (e.
Hacking Warcraft, A New Barrier
I've mentioned a few times that World of Warcraft players have been having hacking problems, most recently last month about a friend's terrible experience, and it is a growing problem. To combat this (and perhaps appeal to the more geeky player base) Blizzard will soon be selling a token generator which gives buyers an additional authentication check to the login process. It works like most any other token generator, and the process is quite straightforward: When you get your generator, you register it with Blizzard by telling them the serial number of the device. When you login, you press a button on the device and it calculates a six digit number. You enter that number on the login screen together with login name and password, and Blizzard compares the number to the one they are expecting. If you really do have the device, you'll enter the correct number and Blizzard will confirm it is you logging in. For only US$6.
And this points to one thing that I think Blizzard could do better job with: freezing accounts when they are told they have been hacked. I read a transcript of a conversation between a GM (probably means "Games Master" but could be "Game Moderator") and a WoW player telling the GM that an account had just been hacked right now and that the hacker was still logged in. The conversation was lengthy, and numerous other members of the hacked player's guild told the GM about it. But nothing happened immediately. Although not on the scale of a bank or credit card hack, a large number of people are still affected and it is quite distressing for the victims, who have probably spent many hundreds of dollars on their "toons."
Passwords are just one part of the security equation. I recently assisted my elderly father in resetting his password and "PIN" ("personal identification number") on a financial website he and I use, and they also required him to specify three "security questions" to help identify him in future. He had about fifteen different questions he could choose from, for example "What city were you married in?" and "What was the name of your first girlfriend" and "What is the name of your mother's mother?" These security questions are an additional barrier to a hacker getting access to your account, but aren't foolproof. With sufficient background information, a determined hacker may be able to answer them. I recently had to update my Federal Communications Commission password (I'm a "HAM" or amateur radio operator) and they require that a "Password must be 6-15 characters and have a mixture of letters, numbers, and a capital letter or special character."