Category Archives: Crime

Apple Demands 30% of Everything!



The Money Grab has begun. Apple today through its walled garden has thrown down the gauntlet saying you shall pay me 30% to pass through our gateway. Seriously the implications of today’s announcement must have companies like Netflix, Amazon and anyone else selling a product via their iPhone app wondering if they should be on their devices.

Apple has said pay up or get the hello out. After June 30th you cannot charge for anything unless you are willing to give Apple 30% of the proceeds. Most companies’ profit margins are under 10% and to think that Apple wants 30% is simply insane.

As a content provider who may someday sell access to some of my content. The implications of having to pay Apple 30% for the right to do so on their devices is a very steep percentage to pay.

So what’s next, will Apple demand a portion of adverting revenue running in the content. At this point no one should be surprised at anything this company will do to cash in and fatten their bank accounts.

Makes you want to go out and by an Android Device doesn’t it.


BacTrack Personal BAC Monitor



Carissa stops by the BacTrack booth to check out the latest in breathalyzer technology.  BacTrack produces their devices for both law enforcement personnel and the man-on-the-street.

Almost everyone knows the “legal limit” in their area, but the average person has no clue what a number like .08 really means.  Well, now you don’t have to carry a badge to know if you shouldn’t be getting behind the wheel – you can pick up your own personal, certified-by-the-FDA breathalyzer at your local office supply store.  The one demonstrated in the video is only $149, which is a LOT less than court costs and jail time.  But, you’ll have to watch the video to see how much Carissa has had to drink….

Interview by Carissa O’Brien for Geek News Central.

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Are new media creators being used?



Two weeks ago I was contacted by a major marketing firm representing a major Fortune 500.  The pitch was pretty good, they wanted me and a crew of my choosing to come to Palm Springs and cover an event for their client,  a large number of their top partners would be their for three days of training. The basis of the assignment was that I would live stream the event to a site that would be behind a corporate firewall.  They also wanted me to interview and post produce 30 interviews from partner companies at the event. They made it clear that  I would have to submit those interviews to the company within 5 days of the closing of the event for placement behind their corporate firewall, and that I “would not” be able to use them on my site.

I submitted them a very fair proposal for a three people crew that contained expenses for Travel (coach), Hotel, Perdiem, Equipment shipping and a reasonable coverage and post production fee. The grand total of the proposal came in just under $25,000. All told there would be about two weeks of work on this project with post editing of interviews and the 24hrs of show coverage.

The response I got back from the company, was that they would be willing to pay for Travel, Hotel, Perdiem and shipping but not my fee to cover the event or post production costs. When I responded that this was unacceptable,  they were quite incredulous in saying that their would be 5 interviews I would be able to publish publicly, that should be worth the production cost, salaries and other expenses to cover the event.

I am shocked they would ask me to fly three people to palm springs and stay at a  5 star hotel per their request. Where we would be on location for 5 days to cover a three day event, ship in $40,000 worth of equipment. Produce 24 hours of live content,  plus do 30 interviews that would require a week of post event production time essentially for travel expenses?  I don’t know what you thinking but I will say this, they must have been smoking crack to think anyone would do this for expenses. If they had contacted a true production company, their cost to do what I proposed to do would have been a 100k with 10 people on the ground.

I am refraining in mentioning the company holding the event,  and representing marketing company in this piece, I told them that I would be posting an article pertaining to the discussions that broke down last week, and their legal department immediately threatened me with a lawsuit if I named them. That is the last thing I need, and want to warn other content creators to be careful to not be taken advantage of by companies looking to scam you into what they promote as a great deal for your time.

We could have really hit a home run for them in the production of this event, as I know the space and the players. But I refuse to be play along with this charade, like this is some great deal for my company, if the company was a sponsor of my show or something else maybe I would have considered it differently, but they want something for virtually nothing at my expense and time

If I had exclusive rights to the content  to post as I see fit and stream the event live, then I could have weighed this differently as well. The insinuation that was made that was because we are new media the trade of services for access was an acceptable trade off. I disagree and as a business person am in business to stay in business not do charity work.

So the question needing asked are companies now trying to take advantage of small companies like mine because they perceive we can be taken advantage of because we are new media?


Hawaii Internet Slow Down could last a Month or More!



Late last night a Fiber Optic cable between two islands was cut here in Hawaii that is causing massive disruption for users of  Time Warner Road Runner Internet service.  Road Runner did not have in place any redundant back haul, and customers statewide were without Internet service for many hours. When the service did come back on-line it is throttled to speeds that rival dial up days as you can see by the speed test I ran.

A very informed GNC reader told me tonight that they are in mass panic, because they are going to be hard pressed to keep services online at a level of service that customers demand and it could be a month or more before the fiber is fixed and service is fully restored to a level that is considered acceptable. He recommended I call other providers immediately, as their is going to a run on other service providers to get connected to something that resembles something other than dial up speeds.

The first question I am asking is how come Oceanic / Road Runner did not have a backup plan. If a single fiber optic line being damaged was enough to bring down the states internet infrastructure there is some gross negligence by Road Runner management here in Hawaii in my opinion, and someone should be held to account for this lack of basic planning.

This should not come as a surprise because basic bandwidth speeds have not increased here significantly in many years. We have waited and waited for promised increased speeds and it has never happened. This incident makes it very obvious that they do not have the infrastructure in place to handle increased speeds. If one fiber cable is damaged resulting in this massive decrease in available service it is obvious that they have not been investing in infrastructure . This should be a wake up call to Oceanic.

Wait times to talk to customer service representatives were endless. While the cutting of a Fiber optic line is bad, they should have realized we live in Hawaii and our nearest neighbor is 2500 miles away.  This slow down is going to cost Hawaii business owners literally 100’s of thousands of dollars.

I encourage Hawaii Road Runner customers to keep the heat on Oceanic / Time Warner. I do not feel sorry for them, they should have considered this as a possibility before, and had the back haul in place to keep us connected at acceptable speeds.


Secret Trade Agreement To Criminalise Copyright Infringement



According to La Quadrature du Net and based on both official and  leaked documents, secret trade negotiations for ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) by the EU Presidency includes negotiating criminal penalties for counterfeiters and copyright-infringers, bypassing the normal legislative system and significantly increasing the scope of “trade agreements”.

My understanding is that within the UK counterfeiting goods and copyright infringment are generally considered to be civil offences and imprisonment is not normally an option (cf OiNK).  However, criminal offences can be punished by imprisonment.  Of course, I’m not a lawyer and I’ve no idea what other countries do.

To be fair, the criminal part of the legislation is clearly aimed at large scale copying of goods and films as it mentions “commercial scale” in a number of places (article 2.14).  There’s a certain part of me that says criminal gangs and organisations need to be dealt with by criminal penalties which is arguably a good thing.

However, this isn’t the point.  ACTA is a trade agreement and should not be dictating legal penalties.  The ACTA agreement is negotiated between the US, EU, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, South Korea and Switzerland, so it’s impact will be widespread and is likely to be adopted into law with little or no debate from countries’ elected representatives.  While we might agree with criminal penalties for criminal gangs, what will it be next time?  Prison for file-sharing teenagers?

Fortunately, the UK Government does appear to have come out against the change in the legislation.  In an interview for ComputerActive, a spokesman for the UK’s Intellectual Property Office said, “These are not appropriate penalties for copyright infringement.  Acta should not introduce new intellectual property laws or offences. Instead, it should provide a framework to better enforce existing laws.  The UK is opposed to the creation of new criminal offences at UK or EU level through Acta.”

The latest round of ACTA negotiation finished last week in Lucerne, Switzerland so further news may be forthcoming.


Apple App Store being Used to Steal money!



If you have a credit card on file with the Apple App store, I would consider removing it immediately. Apple has a very serious problem on their hands as numerous iPhone and iPad users are having charges made against their credit cards in some sort of scam being run. Some are saying some scammer developers are running “App Farms” more like scam apps. One poor user got hit with $1600.00 in charges and Apple basically told him to change his password and remove his credit card from being on file.

Pay attention to your purchases folks until Apple get this under control.


Daniel Brusilovsky is that an Apology or Damage Control?



It was revealed last night that Daniel Brusilovsky an early Teen Podcaster and more recently an editor over on TechCrunch was asking for computer gear in exchange for posts on TechCrunch. Michael Arrington got wind of this, and after an investigation revealed the extortion scheme on TechCrunch, Michael did the right thing in order to maintain the reputation of the site and the other bloggers there. TechCrunch took the extra step of immediately removing all the posts Daniel had written.

I have known Daniel for a while now, initially as a podcaster and was pretty shocked to read the post. I recently saw him at CES representing TechCrunch, how they got an underage person a pass to the event which is supposed to be 18 and above is beyond me. He was also a guest on a podcast we were helping record. I cannot imagine what the host of that podcast is going to do with that material now.

Shortly after the posting on TechCrunch Daniel posted “The Line was Crossed“. Reading the post he talks about letting people down, but I do not see where he takes responsibility for his actions. He pawns of the mistake for his age and while I am sure age played into this, there is no excuse as he knows very well that extortion was wrong. Daniel has been in the New Media and blogging space for a long time he knows the rules.

I am not satisfied with his response and quite honestly it looks like he is more in damage control spin mode. Does his spin and lack of serious apology have to do with the Teens in Tech Conference? At this point his reputation is damaged to such a degree that I am surprised that he is moving forward with the event. If you are going to ride the new media / blogging pony then you have to realize we live life online, and online is were he has to make peace with those that trusted him.

His actions should be a wake up call to all of the other folks out their who are in positions of trust that the internet can giveth and it can taketh away!