Tech journos decrying Apple’s ‘child labor’ scandal miss bigger picture.

From Malcolm Moore in the Telegraph.

At least eleven 15-year-old children were discovered to be working last year in three factories which supply Apple.

Apple said the child workers are now no longer being used, or are no longer underage. “In each of the three facilities, we required a review of all employment records for the year as well as a complete analysis of the hiring process to clarify how underage people had been able to gain employment,” Apple said, in an annual report on its suppliers.

In its report, Apple revealed the sweatshop conditions inside the factories it uses. Apple admitted that at least 55 of the 102 factories that produce its goods were ignoring Apple’s rule that staff cannot work more than 60 hours a week.

Apple also said that one of its factories had repeatedly falsified its records in order to conceal the fact that it was using child labour and working its staff endlessly.
When we investigated, we uncovered records and conducted worker interviews that revealed excessive working hours and seven days of continuous work,” Apple said, adding that it had terminated all contracts with the factory.

Apple’s taking a lot of flak in the media for this from journalists, pundits and ‘bloggers’ who obviously are not seeing the bigger picture. Writers who are guffawing and retweeting these misleading headlines to the frenzied joy of their advertising managers who love to get an Apple headline in. Apple voluntarily undertakes these supplier reviews. They dutifully apply Western standards of working practise to their suppliers, regardless of region, with regards to employment laws, minimum wage and local standards of holidays and benefits. Re-read the areas I put in bold from the Telegraph article. Are they the actions of a company which is trying to hide it’s association with offending suppliers?

Which other Western tech companies are using those suppliers and why are they not being named and shamed? Why was it left to Apple to be the whistle-blower for these suppliers when they are used by dozens of tech companies around the world?

From the comments in that article:

According to the Wikipedia article, Foxconn – the people actually using child labour in the story – also make PC motherboards for Dell, HP, AMD, and Intel. They make Wii’s, XBox 360’s, and PS3’s. They make cell phones for Nokia and Motorola. They make the Amazon Kindle.

My guess is that Apple is the only one that draws headlines. My guess is that it’s another example of the poor quality of tech journalism in the world. My guess is that finding out who else uses these suppliers would be ‘work’.

Curtis Peugeot of Newtownabbey: idiots and time-wasters

I got one of those “The sender didn’t pay enough postage” leaflets through the door on Wednesday from Royal Mail and so I dutifully tripped down to collect it. The bill for the trip was seventeen pence for the unpaid postage, forty pence paid for parking and a pound to the Royal Mail for handling it. This obviously doesn’t count the cost of my time: which is pretty much the most valuable thing I have.

The end result – fucking junking mail from Curtis Cars (Peugeot) of Newtownabbey.

Curtis Cars are idiots
Curtis Cars are idiots

So, for 17 pence, Curtis Cars (Peugeot) just bought themselves a page on my blog describing how annoyed I am.

The lesson here – either just email your junk mail (and get filed like the Viagra and 411 scams) or do the right research and put the right amount of damn postage on the envelope.

So, I’ve called them and asked them to take me off the mailing list. They have offered to re-imburse me which I’ve declined. Apparently it was a mixup with the postage blah blah blah I don’t care.

Analysts and their fevered iTablet dreams

The hype mill is running overtime.

TheStreet’s Scott Moritz writes: Apple’s Tablet Can’t Prevent Sales Malaise

Like never before, Apple is at the top of its game. But like any champ, the focus has to be on the next big win.

For Apple, the stunning growth streak lives or dies with the upcoming Tablet.

So, Apple’s success is dependent on a device which may not appear, which may not exist and which Apple has never announced nor promised. Not only that, even if the unannounced Schrodinger’s Tablet does finally exist, apparently it’s not going to sell as well as it might? How does he know? Well – of course – he doesn’t. He just has to fill some column inches. (also see: Scott Moritz: always wrong but keeps trying )

And is this just a rehash of his previous article from March this year?

No question, the tablet will dazzle Apple fans who typically don’t think twice about paying upwards of $2,000 for the latest, greatest Mac. But beyond the core fan base, Apple will discover what other PC makers have known for a while: Consumers find big tablets hard to swallow.

Very droll.

This is why Apple’s stock always dips after their planned events. They might come out with the most revolutionary phone in the universe, but they didn’t produce a Tablet. They might produce the Tablet but they won’t have produced a 48″ screen that folds into a pocket. They might produce a giant folding screen but they won’t have produced a Moon Pony.

Things we know.

The iPod touch will be updated. It’s overdue.
The AppleTV will be updated. Shipping times are long.
Scott Moritz is probably wrong. He usually is.

That’s pretty much it. Anything else is fevered conjecture and link-bait.

Will the Tablet fail?

Frankly I’d rather not offer conjecture here but considering Apple’s turnaround with the iMac, the turnaround of the company into music, the success of the iPod, iTunes and the iPhone, the rise of interest in Mac OS X: I’d rather not bet against them.

Northern Ireland Water: Sewage Spill Shenanigens

Screen shot 2009-08-26 at 20.25.29

He’s referring to this.

Northern Ireland Water discharged untreated sewage into a body of water right beside a bathing and dinghy sailing area at Ballyholme in Bangor.

And they were fined £2000 plus £25 court costs.

If you think about it, they might as well just start pumping it in there wholesale – might be cheaper than actually treating it. What utter bastards. This occurred in August 2007 so it’s taken two years for the offence to be punished?

I’m surprised at the Environment Agency. They should have gone for blood especially because it was a government body which committed the offence. They may say that no-one is above the law but does £2000 really reflect the seriousness of the offence?

UK Security Minister afraid to walk streets – LOLZ

TGDaily starts with the headline:

UK Government minister says iPhone is a security risk

and then continues with the text:

London, England – UK Security Minister, Lord West of Spithead, says he won’t carry an iPhone or Blackberry due to security concerns.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday to announce the set-up of the UK’s Cyber Security Operations Centre, Lord West said that he fears attack from muggers or hackers and does not feel safe in his home neighborhood in east London.

Tells you one thing.

TDDaily knows that no-one gives a flying fuck about headlines mentioning the Blackberry.

As for the actual content, the honourable government minister should shut the fuck up considering the data loss we’ve suffered under this current administration which, I note, was fuck all to do with iPhones or Blackberry devices and more to do with CD-ROMs, laptops and USB memory sticks.

IT Bullies

Twenty years ago the most intimidating person in a company was the person with the key to the stationery cupboard. They’d query why you wanted two pens instead of one, complain about how quickly you were going through your notebooks (as if documenting less would be better) and positively sniffed at you if you needed pens and notebooks at the same time especially if you were a new start.

The grumpy sod in charge of the stationery has been replaced with the IT Bully. They still hold the keys to productivity but they actively attempt to stymie you, or so it would seem.

They don’t enable
The more functionality you have, the more the IT Bully has to manage. This can be simple (like preventing the user from changing his desktop background) to complex (hiding the Connections tab in Internet Options so not only can you not change the proxy setting but you can’t even view them – should you need to, for example, attach to a different network or try and get a machine working on your current network) to inane (setting up all of the machines on the LAN to talk to a Time Server in order to keep the clocks in sync – but that clock is not only 10 minutes fast, you’re also blocked from changing it manually).

They don’t care about your work
It’s not their work. Their world is all wrapped up in WINS, Active Directory, Forests, DOMAINS, Policies and Profiles. The ports they use are tied up in Windows-specific services, MAPI, their own monitoring ports. They don’t consider that you may need to access services in high order ports, use IMAP/POP3 services outside the LAN, connect using SSH/SFTP or any number of other possibilities.
For example, changing the firewall and proxy settings over the weekend and not telling the client which means that anything they have added to the network stops working on Monday morning. The event which inspires this rant involved exactly that – a forced change which we were not informed about, when queried, was initially denied and then responded to with aggressive language designed to intimidate.

They exploit fear, uncertainty and doubt
This serves to intimidate the non-technical using language like “I’m sure you can all appreciate the importance to retain the highest level of security feasible…” or “I’m sure you understand the need to maintain the need for review of security on the ICT systems and the importance of authorisation to open service ports to the Internet” while stripping us of essential services or denying us products and services which might actually make our job easier. Sadly things haven’t changed – they don’t like it if you want to use a Mac or if you want to use an Smartphone or PDA with the system. They’re not keen on new software, on web-based services which bypass their provisions and claim ignorance if you ask for the settings which would enable you to sort things out yourself.

When cornered, they attack.
Another memorable IT Bully was Justin. He talked the talk but never quite managed to walk the walk. He claimed knowledge of UNIX and network that he could never demonstrate and had to be guided through even the simplest processes but he was in charge of the Windows IT network on site. For nine months he ‘evaluated’ a top spec laptop running the latest Windows build yet in the end it had to come down to the other members of his team to deliver the promises he made – and even then the build was lacking multimedia (promised), PCMCIA support (essential), Sleep/Suspend support (obvious for laptops) and support for additional monitors, IrDA, modems or wireless. When confronted at a project meeting with the problems, his response to me was “Shut up, Macboy” which thankfully ended his participation in any of the important projects that we had to manage.

Tom Raftery tries out WWT

Darth Vader said:

“Give yourself to the Dark Side. It is the only way you can save your friends. Yes, your thoughts betray you. Your feelings for them are strong.”

Tom Raftery, on the other hand, recently converted to the Mac and tried out Microsoft’s World Wide Telescope which was released this week:

This is, unfortunately, typical Microsoft software behaviour. Launch bloated, Windows only, error-prone software with the minimum of QA or testing. Let the unsuspecting public be your free testing department and hopefully get the software right by the third revision.

WorldWideTelescope, if you recall, was the thing that made Scoble cry. I guess he must have been using DirectX 10 (again from Tom’s comments)

“Tried installing in Vista Ultimate – the Directx 9 install came up, which I cancelled since 10 is already installed – and it crashes upon opening!

Does this program not recognize DirectX 10?? Who does the hiring at Microsoft?! UFB!”

I must add that I’ve been pleasantly Microsoft free for over a year now. I do have Windows around but that’s for support work at $BIG_COMPANY and only that. I don’t use Microsoft products on my Mac at all and it’s made my life easier. There are some web sites that have faults but a quick email to the webmasters have sorted things out (certainly in the case of Argos/HomeBase).

It’s certainly a different climate to a few years ago where any mention of the Mac was met with scorn. Anyone that doesn’t see the change in the weather is deluding themselves.

Pat Phelan on Twitter. Unfollow the popular

“First one I’ll call it Broadcasting Mode. Fucking annoying. I un-followed Guy Kawazaki for this reason. 200 tweets per day with hyperlink.Duh!! Have you heard about RSS feeds?? What are you trying to do? The worst usage someone can do of Twitter is definitely Broadcasting.”

– Pat Phelan – Is Twitter Gone Mad

This is why I unfollowed Jason Calacanis last week and unfollowed Scoble and Kawasaki today. It’s all adverts and ‘aren’t we having a great life’. I went onto Twitter because of the promise of less advertising (though it seems that’s coming as they monetise their assets blah blah)

But these A-listers whom we all flock to for wisdom and who follow thousands of people (and thoughtfully ignore most of them) They provided absolutely nothing in content. All noise.

Anniversary of the Titanic

At 2.20 am, ninety-six years ago, the Titanic sank.

Since then, it’s been pretty much public knowledge that Northern Ireland make a big deal out of crap.

I mean, look at George Best. His feet had more action off the field than on it, even when he was sober enough to stand, he wasted a liver transplant by returning to drink and still we hold him dear as a national hero.

So, we have Titanic and George Best. What other monumental fuckups do we hold up as our best and brightest in Northern Ireland?