Techdirt: AT&T Does Nothing, Convinces Reporter It Has Now ‘Opened’ Its Network. Basically, absolutely nothing happened here except that AT&T’s marketing crew declared that AT&T’s network is now open, and convinced USA Today to report it as if it were a big deal. If there was any change at all within AT&T, it’s that retail store employees are now supposed to admit that you can use other devices on the network, rather than pretending you can’t. Not quite as exciting as “flinging the network open,” though.

True, the technology change here is precisely zero — it was always possible to use any GSM phone on their network. But the fact that AT&T felt a marketing advantage to proclaiming itself “open” is still a bit noteworthy.

Now, we’re still talking about a terrible company in many ways. Still, let’s be glad for this tiny improvement.

Amazingly, Apple has downgraded one it the key applications in its new operating system, OS X 10.5 “Leopard” — it removed the “information drawer” feature in its iCal calendar software, and it now requires multiple mouse clicks to create new events.

Beyond stupid, this is arrogant. There is absolutely no good reason to remove useful features from software.

Meanwhile, I’m not the only customer who’s annoyed by the company’s casual decision to make life harder for users. In the Apple support forums, for example is this dicussion: “Want my iCal info drawer back!! …

And this thread starts with a post I’ll quote in full, because it sums up the problem:

Is it just me…but why does it seem like iCal is way harder to use in Leopard?!?!?! Just look at the number of steps/clicks it takes just to enter an entry.

In month view, you double click on the day, but you can only enter in a title. you have to double click on the new event before you can enter in any details or even a time. And the box that pop-up is a tiny little box. In the old version of ical you could enter in everything in the right hand panel right away.

Then there is viewing events you have to double the event to get a little pop-up in order to see the details of the event. All you had to do before was click on an event and it would display in the side panel. Much much easier and less work.

Does the new ical bother anyone else? or is it just me? it just seems like they rushed it. there’s lots of other little annoyances and inconsistencies in it too.


Will Shipley: iPhone & iPod: contain or disengage?

But with the iPod Touch, what’s Apple’s excuse for locking up the platform? Why can’t I write programs for this device? Who might it hurt? Why is Steve announcing that he’s playing cat-and-mouse with developers who intend to do so? Is Apple so far removed from its customers that even when the latter overwhelming votes for extending a device (by downloading iPhone programs in the hundreds of thousands), Apple’s response is, “No, you can’t do that. We know what you want, you don’t. You want AJAX apps, you just don’t know it yet.”

That sure reminds me of the old, crappy Apple. The one that almost went bankrupt because of its hubris.

I don’t write programs for Apple because I worship Apple. I write programs for them because they have the best development environment. But I’ve always said that I will move from the platform the day Apple starts acting like a monopoly — trying to make money by using its marketing position to extort money from users, instead of innovating so quickly that users willing throw money at Apple.

Apple’s control-freakery is more than inconvenient for customers and potential partners. It’s insulting, and counterproductive.

I still use a Mac because it’s the best tool for the job — and because it’s infinitely extensible. But I won’t consider an iPhone or iPod Touch until the company lets go of its insistence that Apple, not the customers, are in charge. That may be never. Too bad for Apple, which is losing a customer.

John Dvorak: Google Pulls Plug, Everyone Misses Point. The scary part is that we are not talking about some flaky, small underfunded company. We’re talking about Google, a behemoth. This tells me that if Google can throw in the towel and abandon one of its online-related services, then anyone can do it—and they will. And then they’ll all point to Google. “Well, if Google can do it after it made promises, then we can do it.” It can happen anywhere. You have all your family photos online? Good luck with that. Your blogging software and blog are all online? Have a nice day. Your business is completely reliant on online systems? How does your insurance policy look?

The case here is about customers’ ability to use a service they purchased. Google is reneging on its promise. But the bigger issue is in the latter part of this quote — whether the photos, text, videos, financial information and other things you put online are yours, or whether they end up belonging, in practice if not principle, to the company you use to store and/or display them.

For citizen media creators contributing their work to a variety of sites, this is not a trivial issue. The portability of data is one of the absolutely crucial problems in a world of online-everything.

You cannot absolutely depend on online vendors to protect your information, despite their best intentions (and most of them have very good intentions). If you can’t download your data to your own computer, in a form that lets you use it elsewhere with not too much hassle, then you should be clear: It’s not really your data after all.

Should there be a law about this? I suspect, in the end, we may need one.

Nokia has issued a recall for its BL-5C battery line for the following phones:

Nokia 1100, Nokia 1100c, Nokia 1101, Nokia 1108, Nokia 1110, Nokia 1112, Nokia 1255, Nokia 1315, Nokia 1600, Nokia 2112, Nokia 2118, Nokia 2255, Nokia 2272, Nokia 2275, Nokia 2300, Nokia 2300c, Nokia 2310, Nokia 2355, Nokia 2600, Nokia 2610, Nokia 2610b, Nokia 2626, Nokia 3100, Nokia 3105, Nokia 3120, Nokia 3125, Nokia 6030, Nokia 6085, Nokia 6086, Nokia 6108, Nokia 6175i, Nokia 6178i, Nokia 6230, Nokia 6230i, Nokia 6270, Nokia 6600, Nokia 6620, Nokia 6630, Nokia 6631, Nokia 6670, Nokia 6680, Nokia 6681, Nokia 6682, Nokia 6820, Nokia 6822, Nokia 7610, Nokia N70, Nokia N71, Nokia N72, Nokia N91, Nokia E50, Nokia E60

If you have one of these phones, don’t fail to take care of this.

Marketwatch: For some iPhone customers, activation delayed for days. Some buyers of the new Apple iPhone, after waiting in line for hours and even days to purchase the much-hyped product, were still waiting to activate the phone Sunday.

Most folks seem to be blaming AT&T, which is convenient. But this is an Apple product, too, and letting the iPhone maker off the hook, as it were, is too easy.

They’re both responsible — or maybe that’s irresponsible — for screwing up the launch for a significant number of their customers.