Bad Luck Bitcoin


From Reuters:

As the most prominent trade group pushing adoption of the electronic currency Bitcoin begins its annual conference on Friday, it is being roiled by controversy. At least 10 members of the nonprofit Bitcoin Foundation have resigned over last week’s election of onetime Disney child star and current Bitcoin entrepreneur and financier Brock Pierce as a new director, officials at the group said.

As my colleague Lauren Orsini points out, this is actually the root of Bitcoin’s problem. Still, things aren’t looking good for Bitcoin in 2014.

The Sterlings Are The F*cking Lannisters


By now we’re all familiar with Donald Sterling’s ignorance, especially after Anderson Cooper’s embarrassing interview, but his so-called “estranged” wife Rochelle Sterling is trying to play the victim card and thus keep her 50% share of the Los Angeles Clippers organization.

For someone trying to play the victim, however, Shelly Sterling sure does use the word “fight” a lot. This tells me she’s ignorant to the bigger, more sensitive racial issue at hand, and we all know ignorance often goes hand in hand with bigotry.

Big thanks to Slate’s Josh Levin, who carefully summarized a list of alleged transgressions from Shelly Sterling compiled by Los Angeles Times’ Nathan Fenno.

  • In one federal housing discrimination suit against the Sterlings, a man accused Rochelle of calling him a “black motherfucker” when he asked her to reduce his rent. As Fenno reports, that renter’s lawsuit was folded in to a $2.765 million settlement paid by the Sterlings in 2009, a condition of which was that the Sterlings admitted no wrongdoing.
  • In a deposition in 2009, a property supervisor for the Sterlings said that Rochelle told her, “I can’t remodel my apartments the way that I want because Latinos are so filthy.” In a 2004 deposition, that same property supervisor (who had previously lost at trial after suing Donald Sterling for sexual harassment) alleged that Rochelle didn’t want children and “certain ethnic groups” in her family’s housing complexes: “She didn’t want—if they were playing in the hallway, if they were out hanging in front of the building, they didn’t fit the image.”
  • In a separate housing discrimination lawsuit, a judge concluded that Rochelle Sterling had posed as a health inspector, with the plaintiffs alleging she did so “in order to gain access to tenants’ apartments and to harass and intimidate African-American and Latino tenants.” The judge said that the allegations were “troubling” but did not warrant an injunction against the Sterlings.

Shelly Sterling says she plans on divorcing Donald, but the fact is, she hasn’t yet. Not too surprising for a couple that’s been married 55 years and counting.

These two billionaires have no interest in the Clippers besides the financial benefits associated with owning a high-profile basketball team in Los Angeles. Both Sterlings acknowledge this fact in a number of separate interviews, but they want to keep the team anyway— because it’s their “family’s legacy.” Ring any bells?

(Cut to 0:40)

The British Finally Did Something Right

From BBC:

Met Police officers are to start wearing cameras on their uniforms as part of plans to boost transparency and accelerate convictions.

Met commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said the cameras would result in speedier justice for victims, particularly in cases of domestic violence.

“Our experience of using cameras already shows that people are more likely to plead guilty when they know we have captured the incident. That speeds up justice, puts offenders behind bars more quickly and protects potential victims.

“Video captures events in a way that can’t be represented on paper in the same detail and it has been shown the mere presence of this type of video can often defuse potentially violent situations without the need for force to be used.”

He added: “I believe it will also show our officers at their best, dealing with difficult and dangerous situations every day but it will also provide clearer evidence when it’s been alleged that we got things wrong.”

Like The Office and House Of Cards, we’d all be better off by borrowing this from the motherland.

Al Franken Is The Only Senator Fighting The Good Fight

From BGR:

In addition to taking a leading role in trying to kill the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger, Senator Al Franken is also now leading a campaign to stop the Federal Communications Commission from letting ISPs create Internet “fast lanes” with its latest net neutrality proposal. In a new video posted by the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Franken makes his case that the FCC’s controversial plan could hinder future innovation and consumer choice by giving big incumbent companies a permanent competitive advantage over up-and-coming startups.

Bless you, Stuart Smalley.

Why Samsung Is Awful

From Vanity Fair:

According to various court records and people who have worked with Samsung, ignoring competitors’ patents is not uncommon for the Korean company. And once it’s caught it launches into the same sort of tactics used in the Apple case: countersue, delay, lose, delay, appeal, and then, when defeat is approaching, settle. “They never met a patent they didn’t think they might like to use, no matter who it belongs to,” says Sam Baxter, a patent lawyer who once handled a case for Samsung. “I represented [the Swedish telecommunications company] Ericsson, and they couldn’t lie if their lives depended on it, and I represented Samsung and they couldn’t tell the truth if their lives depended on it.”

The full story covers Samsung’s storied history of stealing innovations from companies like Sharp, Pioneer, Kodak, Apple and others, detailing the company’s legal battles and the ways in which it capitalized off its “Infringe First And Stall As Long As Possible” strategy.

Pretty gross stuff.

The Next Apple EarPods Could Be The Ultimate Headphones

Many observers believe iOS 8, the next version of Apple’s mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads, will have substantial new health features. Some believe the long-rumored iWatch could be the primary way Apple captures data from our bodies to feed into this new software. But Apple could release an alternative way for customers to get in on the health action without needing to throw down serious cash for a presumably expensive smartwatch.

Read the full article here.

The iPhone 6… As In, 6 Millimeters?

I made a point in my last post about why smartphone case makers like to leak phone specs ahead of their launches, especially when those phones are iPhones. Now, take it with a grain of salt, but a Ukranian website claims to have several “legitimate” design renderings of Apple’s next iPhone.

The site allegedly has images of the phone’s antenna system, but I find this image to be the most interesting by far:


Compare this to the specs of the iPhone 5s:


Let’s keep in mind, the iPhone 5 and 5s are both 7.6mm thick, so making the phone physically bigger but significantly thinner at just 6mm would be a tremendous feat of hardware engineering.

It gets better. Compare this alleged thickness for the iPhone 6 to other rival smartphones:

Everyone’s talking about smartphone screen sizes, but I’d prefer a thinner and lighter phone any day of the week. But it seems like Apple wants the best of both worlds: Give people what they want—a bigger screen—but make the phone light and easy to hold. These images intrigue me (notice the iPhone’s power button is, again, depicted on the side of the phone for easier access):



iPhone 6. Six millimeters. I’m sure that’d give Apple’s marketing team plenty to work with.

Why This iPhone 6 Video Is Probably Legit

Here’s the video in question, courtesy of Unboxed Therapy:

  • The case is from Sonny Dickson, a well-known leaker of Apple product prototypes, which have usually proven legitimate. Last year, Dickson had the iPad Air and iPad mini cases before anyone else. Do yourself a favor and bookmark his site.
  • These days, with the scale at which Apple must mass produce its new products—especially iPhones—it’s nearly impossible to prevent leaks.
  • Case makers are typically the first to leak new product designs. They get designs far ahead of time so they can begin manufacturing prior to the big launch, and they have every incentive to boast their partnership with a company like Apple.
  • Since the iPhone design is expected to change this year, case leaks around this time shouldn’t be considered out of the ordinary.

Prior to seeing this video, I was extremely skeptical about rumors that said Apple would release a bigger iPhone this year. Apple only recently increased the iPhone’s screen size—two years ago, in time for the release of the iPhone 5—and that screen adjustment was relatively minor, from 3.5 inches to 4 inches. Rumors were saying Apple would release an iPhone with a 4.7-inch screen, just two years after forcing developers to scale their apps to the new screen size of the iPhone 5. I doubted this video at the start, but after watching it, I’m pretty convinced we’re looking at a legitimate early case. Again, I say early, because the design could still change a bit here and there before the final release date (as many Apple products are wont to do). But unlike every bogus iPhone 6 mockup you’ll see on the Internet, the design changes inferred by this case actually make a great deal of sense.

  • The form factor, according to the case, would be similar to the Nexus 5, which was one of Google’s best-reviewed phones; but this would be much thinner. The iPhone 5s is 7.6mm thick, which is already thinner than the 8.6mm Nexus 5; looking at the case, the iPhone 6 could possibly be around 7mm flat, which would be the thinnest smartphone of its kind.
  • The camera infrastructure looks largely unchanged. Given how most of Apple’s camera enhancements in the iPhone 5s deal with the phone’s software, not its hardware—which are mighty impressive, mind you, and not much in need of change—this aspect of the video makes sense.
  • The power button has moved to the side. This is by far the most interesting aspect of the video, and perhaps the sole aspect that convinces me the case design is legitimate. If you increased the size of the iPhone, the power button, which has traditionally sat atop the phone, would be difficult to reach with one’s index finger. According to the case design of the alleged iPhone 6, Apple would move the power button to the right side so it would naturally rest against your thumb as you hold the phone vertically. When you see Lewis Hilsenteger of Unboxed Therapy hold this iPhone case in his hand, the phone doesn’t look too big or uncomfortable at all. He even notes it might be his favorite design yet, since it also accommodates a bigger screen and more real estate to do, well, everything. If Apple’s going to make a bigger iPhone, this is how it’s done.

I didn’t think I’d want the next iPhone that would come out, based on the rumors I was hearing. But goddamn it if this video didn’t change my mind in just seven minutes.