I give AT&T a lot of shit (and rightfully so for jackassery moves like this). But it’s important to remember that their main competitor, Verizon, is also a sleazy carrier. Today brings the perfect example of that. 

The largest carrier in the U.S. is apparently about to start charging a $2 fee if you pay your bill online or over the phone, sources tell Droid Life. Yes, they’re charging you to pay your bill. The only way to avoid the charge is to set up automatic payments which some people, like myself, don’t want to do. 

What a total shitbag move. Verizon is actually incentivizing many people not to pay their bill. Pure greed.

Update 12/30: That didn’t last long.

Dear Google+

Earlier today I noticed something funny. My Google profile picture — the picture associated with my Gmail account, my GChat account, my Google+ account, etc — had vanished. A bug? Nope.

It turns out, Google — without telling me — went into my account and deleted my profile picture. Why? Because I am giving the middle finger in it. See: above.

While ridiculous prudish, I figured this was probably the case so I uploaded the picture again to make sure. Sure enough, gone. At least this time, Googler Alex Joseph left a comment as to why:

As the first point of interaction with a user’s profile, all profile photos on Google+ are reviewed to make sure they are in line with our User Content and Conduct Policy. Our policy page states, “Your Profile Picture cannot include mature or offensive content.” Your profile photo was taken down as a violation of this policy. If you have further questions about the policies on Google+ you can visit http://www.google.com/intl/en/+/policy/content.html, or click the “Content Policy” link located in the footer of Google+ pages. 

My problem isn’t so much with the fact that I couldn’t have a profile picture of myself giving everyone the finger — which I can and do on Twitter and elsewhere — it’s that no one bothered to tell me or warn me before they just went into my account and deleted the picture. What if this was the only place I had stored the picture? 

Bigger picture: this seems like a ridiculous thing for Google to be policing. At first, they were all about ensuring that everyone was using their real name on Google+. After a shit storm about why that was stupid, they backed off. They should back off here as well because, honestly, who gives a shit? If my profile picture offends people, let them un-Circle me or whatever.

This also seems like a slippery slope. In certain cultures, various hand gestures mean different things. Is Google also going to delete my profile picture if I have my fingers up to my chin, for example? 

If I were Google, I would be much more concerned about the rampant spam problem currently plaguing Google+. Flag and delete those fuckers — not the fine, upstanding citizens of your network who just want to have a little PG-13 fun. 

Anyway, I’ve fixed my attitude and uploaded a picture (below) which should hopefully be in line with the terms of service no one actually reads anyway:

*based on things other than popularity

Yesterday, Facebook made waves by revealing that a game called Gardens of Time was the “most popular" game on their platform in 2011. The only problem? It’s total bullshit.

Only after Josh Constine called them out, did Facebook highlight the fact that “most popular” didn’t actually have much to do with number of people actually playing the games as much as it was based on ratings of the games from a select group of users. 

Why does this matter? Because Gardens of Time isn’t made by Zynga, the social game company that dominates Facebook’s platform. It sure looks like Facebook was trying to convey that their platform isn’t dominated by Zynga. As Constine puts it:

It’s almost as if Facebook used its cloudy methodology to keep Zynga from completely dominating the list, as the Mark Pincus machine currently owns all 5 Facebook games with the most DAU and still ended up with 4 of the top 10 spots on Facebook’s list.

Facebook’s post and list are disingenuous at best, pure jackassery at worst.

As Constine points out, Zynga’s CityVille had a peak of 100 million monthly active users. Gardens of Time had a peak of 17 million monthly active users. Which one would you say is the “most popular”?


Wow. Josh Topolsky is mad. And that by itself is fine — he’s clearly passionate about technology, which is great. What’s not fine is the fact that he’s way off-base in his rant. So far off-base that I need to respond.

First and foremost, Topolsky has decided to turn my thoughts on the Galaxy Nexus into full on class warfare between Android and iOS. That is, he twists my comparison of attention to detail into an argument about rich vs. poor people.

I mean, he actually tries to do this.

One little problem.

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The Apple Blogs Vs. Brooke Crothers

Congratulations to CNET’s Brooke Crothers for writing one of the most ridiculous things I’ve read in a while — and successfully getting myself (and undoubtedly many others) to link. Even more impressive: he didn’t have to break 400 words to do it. My guess is that he wrote this in 10 minutes. If not, that’s just sad. 

You used to see a lot more of these types of posts a few years ago. But once those writing them started getting exposed as fools, they slowed down. You see, the argument used to be that those constantly writing positively about Apple were both morons and brainwashed — Apple was insignificant in the all-important PC market at the time, so those who liked the products were obviously whack jobs on the fringe of humanity. 

Then a funny thing happened.

Apple became one of the most successful companies and the most valuable company in the world. They transformed the entertainment landscape, the retail landscape, the mobile landscape, and did something all the naysayers said was impossible: created an actual market for tablets. Now most companies around the world are trying to copy at least part of Apple’s business.

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Matt Rosoff responding to my post about his post on Business Insider. 

Spoiler alert: at one point he compares Business Insider slideshows to New Yorker photo essays. 


I’m not trying to pick on Rosoff. I actually think he’s very good. I’m just not sure how you can argue that a slideshow was a good format for that story — or really any story on Business Insider.

I suppose you can make an argument for using a slideshow when pictures are the key element of a story, but that wasn’t the case here. Also, if I’m going to view a slideshow emphasizing pictures, I want to see big beautiful pictures. Most of BI’s slideshows look like shit.

Anyway, I obviously get why you’d want to do slideshows from a business perspective. As Marco Arment writes:

Unscrupulous or desperate web publishers will always invent new ways to inflate pageviews and defraud advertisers into paying for more reader attention than they’re actually getting. 

And it will always work.

I just wouldn’t stand for such nonsense ruining an otherwise compelling story that I had written. I’m not convinced that Rosoff isn’t suffering from Stockholm Syndrome here.

ANNOYING: The Article As A Slideshow

Matt Rosoff’s thoughts on Google becoming more like Microsoft should have been a provocative and effective article. Instead it’s a slideshow. Why? I have no clue. 

Well okay, pageviews, clearly. But it’s still weird to see this type of story formatted this way. 

Business Insider has taken a lot of shit over the past year or so for pageview pumping by way of slideshows (AND CAPS-LOCK HEADLINES). Whatever, that’s their decision and it seems to be working out for them. All I know is that as an author, I would hate this. 

Rosoff’s name is on the landing page and nowhere else. As a result, it doesn’t feel like an article he crafted. At best, it feels like a collage he made. I can’t believe any writer would appreciate this. 

3 slides (of 12) in, I have no clue who wrote this. And the whole thing lacks the flow of great writing. It’s a bunch of mini-blurbs instead of one cohesive article making a strong case.

Both the reader and the writer lose as a result of this nonsense. But Business Insider wins, I suppose. 

Well, we all knew this was coming

In a sit down with Forbes’ Eric Savitz, Microsoft Chief Research and Strategy Officer Craig Mundie talks about how Microsoft has actually been doing what Siri offers for the past year with Tellme technology on Windows Phone. He dismisses Siri’s buzz as basically just good marketing and people being “infatuated” with Apple. 

Sadly, the majority of the time a company comes out with something that excites people, a competitor will come out and yell “FIRST!”. When Apple makes the product, it tends to happen every single time. And Microsoft is the worst at this type of “us first” nonsense. They don’t seem to realize that it just makes them look pathetic — or worse, highlights their own irrelevance in the space. 

I’m reminded of a line from the Mark Zuckerberg character in The Social Network:

"If you had invented Facebook, you would’ve invented Facebook."

How nice, Google is allowing you to opt out of having your wireless access point (read: your wireless router) included in their Google Location Server (read: their giant location database). All you have to do is append “_nomap.” to the end of your SSID.

That’s great — 99% of the people who will want to do this will have absolutely no idea what any of the above paragraph means. 

I mean, this entire post is a joke, right?

Please tell me this is a joke. 

Fine, I’ll take the bait. A few things here.

First, Blodget sets up his argument by saying that Apple fans are more or less in denial. He cites the continued march of the Android platform both in terms of phone quality and market share which are huge blows to Apple. 

The result of these huge blows? Apple becoming the most valuable company in the world while pulling in more profits than most of its competitors combined.

It’s the most beautiful kind of losing ever, apparently. 

Then Blodget dives into why the latest VERY IMPORTANT story about Samsung “winning” the smartphone sales war will be the latest disaster for Apple. Of course, as he notes, "winning" still needs a fairly large asterisk for a few reasons.

Doesn’t matter. Apple is still in big trouble. A company that sells dozens of models across all carriers is outselling a company that sells two models (now three) on a limited number of carriers (though expanding). 

Just as with overall Android marketshare, it’s a bit pathetic that Samsung wasn’t ahead of Apple earlier. 

Then, after essentially setting up why Apple is so fucked because history is repeating itself all over again, Blodget argues directly against that idea.

Sure, this time is different. But that doesn’t matter. Apple will fall because they just will.

They will be the most profitable failure ever. The most valuable failure ever. 

And it’s their own fault! “Apple’s decision to move the launch of the latest iPhone back three months, as well as its decision not release a revolutionary new phone until next year, have helped Android close the gap,” Blodget notes.

Apple definitely had this incredible meeting a few months ago to say, “how can we best screw ourselves?” A decision was clearly made to not release the best device possible, but instead to release a shitty one — and also to delay the shitty one. This was all done on purpose.

That shitty one just set a record for sales — for any phone ever, mind you — with 4 million units sold in three days. Apple will sell by far a record number of iPhones — the shitty one, remember — this quarter. They’ll make more money than ever.

Doesn’t matter. They’re going down. Just as they have been. IN CAPS.

This is, quite simply, one of the worst pieces I’ve ever read on Apple. 

Zach Epstein starts off trashing Apple’s iPhone 4S announcement as perhaps “the beginning of the end” — and does so citing a bunch of analysts.


As anyone who watches Apple closely knows, analysts are absolutely fucktarded when it comes to Apple. If you bet directly against what they’ve said about the company over the years, you’d be a very rich person. They’re always wrong. And it’s clear that the vast majority of them do not understand the company. 

Of course, posts citing analysts about Apple are nothing new. Some writers keep going back to the well despite getting diarrhea of the mind over and over again from what they drink there. It’s fascinating to watch.

But what makes this post particularly bad is the way Epstein pussyfoots around the position he sets out to take. The entire end of his post is basically “don’t get me wrong, I think the iPhone 4S is great but…”

So he loves the device, but analysts don’t, therefore it’s the end of Apple? Right.

He also cites the seemingly tepid reaction from the crowd during the event itself. I’ve been to pretty much every single Apple event over the past five years. This is the reaction about half of the time.

Rumors leading up to these event often set the stage for things that simply aren’t coming. This leads some to be disappointed — a natural reaction. It’s only when Apple is able to truly surprise people — like with the iPhone — that everyone is wowed. Even the initial iPad announcement was dubbed “underwhelming”. 

If you judge Apple’s products by the reaction of analysts and the press, you’re an idiot. Pure and simple. Apple doesn’t make products for analysts and the press. They make products for everyone.