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."
Yet Another Backdating Lawsuit
It was back in June 2006 that Apple announced it had found problems with its stock options. After six months of investigating, Apple said that it had cleared Steve Jobs of wrongdoing. But with him blameless, the former CFO Fred Anderson and former counsel Nancy Heinen were the ones to eventually take the blame. The U.
How can those people at Pixar continue to make terrific movie after terrific movie? It really is astounding how consistent they are, and of course very pleasing, too. Their most recent, WALL・
The World's Coolest Car
I've found the car I want: the Honda FCX Clarity. A Prius would be nice, but the Prius isn't nearly as amazing as Honda's hydrogen powered FCX, a truly marvelous machine. A few hundred are now becoming available in southern California, in the cities of Torrance, Santa Monica and Irvine. I am very disappointed, as I am up north in San Francisco, but I probably shouldn't be. Although I desperately want to drive one, I honestly cannot afford one. They cost US$600 per month for a three-year closed-ended lease, and that is just too much for me. My 1989 Honda Prelude is rapidly wearing out and has over 260,000 miles on it, but $600 for a replacement is too rich for my pocket. Still, I can dream, dream about driving a car powered by hydrogen, one that Honda claims is twice as efficient as a hybrid-electric vehicle and three times more efficient than one with an old-fashioned, regular gasoline engine. The FCX uses a fuel cell to convert hydrogen into electricity which then charges a supplemental battery and also drives an electric motor. It emits only water vapor and heat using the most plentiful element in the universe! What a fantastic vehicle. I remember working on the technical documentation of a large fuel cell system designed by the leading fuel cell manufacturer in the United States. That was when I was back in graduate school, and I was highly impressed with the technology. That company built the fuel cells used by the Space Shuttle and had built power generation plants in the United States and around the world. And here I am seeing that technology built into a personal vehicle and for the home! You see, what Honda is doing is even better, because the company is working on a "Home Energy Station" that will sit in your garage and not only generate hydrogen for the car but also produce electricity and heat for the whole home. I mean, can you think of anything more exciting than this car and a power generation system to put in your garage? Honda is being very careful about who it leases these few cars to. Who could they be looking for? Technically savvy people? Good drivers who need to travel a fairly long way but within the 280 mile driving range? No, it sounds like move stars are getting them, not people like me. I drive almost 90 miles a day round-trip, and I sure wish I could get one.