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U2 and Apple hijacked my iTunes

U2 and Apple hijacked my iTunes

During lunch today I went to Easy Street Records in West Seattle and bought the new tribute to Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 album, Born in the USA, titled Dead Man’s Town (more about this in a future post). When I got back to my computer I went to Pitchfork to look for a review of the album. They didn’t have one up yet, so I clicked on their review for U2’s new free album, Songs of Innocence and read this:

Time was, the recipe for a superstar artist to create a Big Event Album was well known—a few teaser ads in the music mags, a lead single for radio, some late-night talk show appearances, then sit back and watch the fans line up at the record store on release day. But now that basically every entity in that sentence has been culturally marginalized, and the propeller churn of social media refuses to tolerate slow-burn marketing, the best—and, perhaps, only—way to get everyone talking about your record at once is to release it with no warning. U2 being U2, they’ve taken that strategy one step over the line into indisputably queasy territory, aligning with their old friends Apple to insert their new album, Songs of Innocence, into all of our libraries without consent. By updating the old Columbia House Record Club scam to the digital age, U2 and their Cupertino buddies have created a new avenue of opt-out cultural transmission, removing even the miniscule effort it takes to go to a website and click “Download.”


I immediately picked up my iPhone and opened iTunes to see if the new U2 album was there. It was.

Apple and U2 pushed the album to my iTunes and didn’t even bother to ask if I wanted it? They can do that? Well of course they can, but they actually thought about it and decided it was a good thing to push albums on to everyone’s devices with no opt out?

I hardly ever listen to music on my phone because I haven’t heard an MP3 file yet that was worthy of listening. The sound quality is terrible, and I can only stand listening to them in a pinch like when I’m on an airplane, on a bus, or stuck in a snowstorm somewhere without access to quality music. (Read all about it in this Guardian article if you are interested). But I digress…

The point is I don’t put very much music on my iPhone. I think I might have around 30 albums on it, but they are 30 very carefully chosen albums that I know I would enjoy listening to at any time anywhere. My 30 desert-island discs. But now there’s an album on my phone that I’ve never even listened to. I’ve only heard part of one song on a TV ad for the new album. I might not ever listen to it on my phone because MP3. Why would I? The Pitchfork review wasn’t very good – they gave it a numerical rating of 4.2 out of 10.

I think U2 and Apple have crossed a line with their brash decision to force an album onto users of Apple devices without notice and without an option to decline. Most people aren’t going to like this move no matter how much they might like their Apple products or U2.

Harikari shutdown

Harikari shutdown

Greetings loyal readers. Harikari is back online. We can either blame the temporary shutdown on a new developer version of OS X that has some connectivity problems, or we can blame it on John Boehner. I am going with Boehner. Everything bad that happens now – I blame John Boehner.

Thanks to webmaster Tony and President Obama for getting it up and running again.

Better Native PHP Syntax Support in Xcode

Better Native PHP Syntax Support in Xcode

I’m a big fan of the Xcode IDE from Apple. Unfortunately, it is myopically focused on development for iOS and Mac OS X, using Objective-C. A long time ago, it was a lot more open. You could find a variety of plugins that would extend its functionality to include the projects you work with, such as PHP syntax support, in Xcode outside of the Apple software ecosystem. But for the past several years Apple has made it difficult to extend the IDE beyond their intended purposes. I’m mainly a backend PHP developer, but I have been a long-time Mac user. This puts me in the position of having second-rate tools for the biggest reason I use my computer. Yes, there are IDEs for Mac OS X that focus on PHP, but they’re all cross-platform and written in Java, which is, itself, a second class citizen on the Mac platform.


I’ve suffered through using Netbeans, Eclipse, and PHPStorm for years, all the while yearning for a grown-up IDE like Xcode to do my job. No longer! With Xcode 4, Apple introduced CodeSnippets that allow a user to not only save commonly used code snippets to an easily accessible palette, but we can tokenize the snippets and define the prefix text to which Xcode’s autocomplete feature will respond. Type “fore…” and if you have a snippet called “foreach”, Xcode will offer up the helpful autocomplete list with your snippet. Hit tab or enter and the snippet will be inserted at the cursor. Hit tab again and you’ll be guided through the snippet’s tokens, one by one, allowing you to fill in the blanks.


With this in mind, I went to work creating over 5,000 snippets to cover the entirety of the PHP language. See my github repo here: Now I have native-like autocomplete for Xcode. I start typing “str” and here’s what I see:

Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 6.21.41 PM

I tap enter and this is what results:Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 6.23.58 PM

I type “if” and Xcode presents this:Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 6.25.17 PM

Arrow down to ifelse and tap enter:Screen Shot 2013-06-07 at 6.26.30 PM

Each of those blue rectangular ovals is a tabable token, just waiting for you to enter your specifics, just like Xcode’s support for Objective-C. It’s a huge advancement in the arena of Mac PHP IDEs. It took me about 6 hours to put this whole thing together so I’m sure that it can get better. Feel free to fork my GitHub repo for PHP Xcode Support and help make PHP a first class citizen on the only great IDE for the Mac.

I Like my iPhone but…

I Like my iPhone but…

…I’m pissed off at Apple today.

NPR reports:

Tech giant Apple used a “complex web of offshore entities” to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes in the U.S., a congressional investigation has found.

The subcommittee’s statement detailed some of Apple’s practices:

“[Apple Operations] was incorporated in Ireland in 1980, and is owned and controlled by the U.S. parent company, Apple Inc. Ireland asserts tax jurisdiction only over companies that are managed and controlled in Ireland, but the United States bases tax residency on where a company is incorporated. Exploiting the gap between the two nations’ tax laws, Apple Operations International has not filed an income tax return in either country, or any other country, for the past five years. From 2009 to 2012, it reported income totaling $30 billion.”


“A second Irish subsidiary claiming not to be a tax resident anywhere is Apple Sales International which, from 2009 to 2012, had sales revenue totaling $74 billion. The company appears to have paid taxes on only a tiny fraction of that income, resulting, for example, in an effective 2011 tax rate of only five hundreds of one percent. The third Irish subsidiary is Apple Operations Europe. In addition to creating non-tax resident affiliates, Apple Inc. has utilized U.S. tax loopholes to avoid U.S. taxes on $44 billion in otherwise taxable offshore income over the past four years, or about $10 billion in tax avoidance per year.”

That’s just wrong. They make billions of dollars setting up shop in places around the world that provide them with infrastructures that allow them to market their highly profitable products around the globe, and provide them with highly educated engineers to design their products.

Apple can certainly afford to pay taxes from the enormous pile of cash it’s been hoarding.

Apple has enough cash on hand to buy every man, woman and child in the U.S., UK, and Germany a $300 iPod Touch, and have a little left over for a case or two. Apple has enough cash to buy every person on the planet a $20 lunch. And Apple has enough cash to pay off the national debts of New Zealand, Kenya, Nigeria, Jamaica, Cuba, Egypt, Vietnam, and Singapore.

They shouldn’t have to be coerced by a Senate subcommittee to pay taxes. They should want to pay taxes into the countries that allow them to make so goddamn much money.

Unshackled – Set your iPhone free

Unshackled – Set your iPhone free

A friend recently showed me his iPhone. It was no big deal, I had my own in my pocket. But then he showed me the NES games he could play on it. Mine didn’t do that…

So, a couple nights ago I went about unshackling my iphone. The key to unshackling an iPhone lies in using iFuntastic. I used version 4.7.1, although it looks like version 4.8.0 just got released.

iFuntastic guides you through the entire process, which can be reversed, although it took me a little bit of time to get used to the cryptic instructions.

I now have several NES games including donkey kong, galaga, tetris, etc. Gameplay sucks, but who do you know with Galaga on there iPhone? Somethings you just do cuz you can.

Think the table at the cafe is titled, simply use iLevel on your unshackled iPhone to check…

Other amazingly useless applications include: iMoon (moon phases), PigShooter (game), and iFartz (fart generator).

When I showed off my unshackled iPhone to a group of friends (there must have been 10 iPhones in the room), reaction ranged from “you’re gonna end up with a brick” to “and…” to “Wow, I want to do that”.

iPhone IM with myself

iPhone IM with myself

I love to IM, but sometimes I feel like I am just talking to myself. 

Here is my most recent example:

[12:31] Cory: The iPhone’s most controversial feature, the omission of a physical keyboard in favor of a virtual keyboard on the screen, turned out in our tests to be a nonissue, despite our deep initial skepticism. After five days of use, Walt — who did most of the testing for this review — was able to type on it as quickly and accurately as he could on the Palm Treo he has used for years
[12:32] Cory: Crap. now I want one too!!!!
[12:33] Cory: The article also mentions that it synchs seamlessly with both macs and windows., USING iTunes…
[12:34] Cory: Does that mean that iTunes is being used to synch contacts, etc.? It looks like iTunes is becoming much bigger than music player software.
[12:35] Cory: I don’t know if you recall a previous article I sent you. I think by these same authors that mentioned that iTunes installs Bonjour on windows machines and is actually a robust “OS” in its own right…
[12:37] Cory:
[12:38] Cory: With parallels, iTunes, AppleTV, Safari, and now the iPhone, Apple products are really integrating into the Windows world…
[12:40] Cory: Interesting:
Walt: This first model is missing some features some other smart phones have, like video recording, instant messaging, and real-time GPS navigation. Do you plan to upgrade iPhones purchased now so they have these features? If so, when?
Steve: We don’t talk about future products. I will say that the iPhone is the most sophisticated software platform ever created for a mobile device, and that we think software features are where the action will be in the coming years. Stay tuned.

[12:40] Cory: From:

[12:40] Cory: No IM?
[12:41] Cory: Well, I hope I haven’t bored you to death. Maybe you are already dead. Sorry.   


Oh well, I must be one of those people who IMs because they like to hear the sounds of the voices in their heads. 

 Is it true that the iPhone doesn’t have Instant Messaging capabilities?




New Embedded YouTube Interface Very Leopard Inspired

New Embedded YouTube Interface Very Leopard Inspired

I just downloaded the Safari 3 beta today and eventually made it around to viewing a YouTube video in a friend’s LiveJournal post. To my surprise, at the end, the video’s familiar Play Again and other navigation features had been transformed, as if inspired by the new Leopard Desktop that was shown off today.

You Tube Leopardized

Dock like icons adorned the bottom of the embedded window along with a nice reflective surface and even the bubbly mouse over effect! I thought perhaps it was a secret new player for Safari 3 only using the new h.264 encoded files, but confirmed that it does also look the same in IE and Firefox. But, oddly enough, only in videos embedded in a website.

This looks like a sign of bigger things to come from the partnership between Apple and Google. Besides that, Apple isn’t telling you about how much faster Safari 3 is than Safari 2. Especially its Flash support. I’d say it’s easily twice as fast! And don’t even get me started on the INCREDIBLE new page and source search features.

So go download the Safari Beta and check it out for yourself:

How to get HD content for your Apple TV

How to get HD content for your Apple TV

Last week I eagerly tore into my new Apple TV and started using it. It is the now main component of my entertainment center, especially since I can’t have both a DVD player and the Apple TV connected at the same time. I rip DVDs using my Dual 2ghz G5 and then stream them over the wireless G.

Other than that, I’ve been getting all of my entertainment from either the iTunes store or from podcasts. NBC Nightly News and CBS provide a light overview of the day’s events, I watch 1 or 2 episodes of the TED and CoolHunting (fascinating!) podcasts, and sprinkle in a few cartoons and animations, plus shorts from PBS, Discovery, National Geographic, and a handful of amateur science podcasts.

As for paid programming, The Daily Show and Colbert are daily requirements, and then Heroes, Lost, and BSG when they’re available. I still haven’t purchased a single movie from the iTunes store and likely won’t until they either make the pricing more reasonable or come up with a rental scheme since I usually only watch most movies once, I can’t justify paying $10 for a low quality, stripped down version of a similarly priced DVD!

I have the HD capable, widescreen TV, the Apple TV, the HDMI cable to get them talking to each other, the surround sound. So what’s missing? There’s no freaking HD content! Even the Apple movie trailers are in a grotesquely compressed, low res format.

Yeah, shocking. So I have done the legwork and pulled together a list of resources for getting a little 720p action from your new honey. If you’re able to find something I haven’t listed here, let me know and I’ll update this post.

They’ve got some great, free content over there in QT format.

Technology Evangelist
Fun tech geekery in glorious 720p. It’s a podcast!

The world’s first HD internet TV show. Chicks in bikinis. Site may not be wholly SFW.
These guys are marketing directly to you, you AppleTV owner you.

TrailerCast HD 720p
HD movie trailers! This is a direct link to the podcast in the iTunes store.

They’re now producing an HD podcast.

That’s enough to get you going. There are a couple more on similar subjects that I haven’t listed here because I couldn’t find a link to their website, but just do a search in the iTunes store for 720p and you’ll find them.


Reader Contributions:

Nasa in HD

Petroleum based products combine forces to create a Perfect Storm

Petroleum based products combine forces to create a Perfect Storm

I would summarize, but so much would be lost.

Just check it out:

VALLEJO, California (AP) — A cell phone apparently ignited in a man’s pocket and started a fire that burned his hotel room and caused severe burns over half his body, fire department officials said.

Luis Picaso, 59, was in stable condition Monday with second- and third-degree burns to his upper body, back, right arm and right leg, Vallejo Fire Department assistant chief Kurt Henke said.

Firefighters arrived at the residential hotel Saturday night to find Picaso lying on the bathroom floor after a malfunctioning cell phone in his pants pocket set fire to his nylon and polyester clothes, Henke said.

The flames spread to a plastic chair, setting off a sprinkler that held the fire in check, he said.

Authorities declined to name the phone’s manufacturer and model.

The fire and water caused $75,000 (euro57,955) damage to the room and a business on the ground floor, Henke said.

In case you lost count, that was 4 petroleum based products combining to nearly kill this man.  Wow, I have heard that petroleum was flamable, but had no idea how dangerous it was when used to manufacture clothing, a plastic chair and a cell phone…

While I do in fact understand the flamable nature of petroleum, I think only one of two scenarios is plausible.  The first involves a crack pipe that is suspiciously absent from the new story.  The second scenario is that he was secretly testing Apple’s new iPhone (note that authorities “declined to name the phone’s manufacturer and model).
What do you think???

2007 Macworld Keynote Speech Raises the Bar

2007 Macworld Keynote Speech Raises the Bar

Steve Jobs knows how to work the crowd. At this year’s keynote, he started of by announcing the actual launch of the iTv (branded AppleTV) which was first shown to the public late last year.

Steve Jobs went on to introduce not one, but three killer products, that will revolutionize the industry.


That’s right, the iPod, the iPhone, and some sort of Internet device.

But, it turns out that he is not introducing three individual products but one killer product.

The iPhone. I know, the iPhone already launched last year from Linksys, but this one is different. I am sure the attorneys are already busy working on this.

Basically, it is a subcompact tablet computer (running OS X) combined with a cell phone and an iPOD.

Notice that there is only one button. All other input is through a touch sensitive interface(the entire screen).


From engadget’s take on the iPhone:

Sweet, glorious specs of the 11.6 millimeter device (that’s frickin’ thin, by the way) include a 3.5-inch 480 x 320 touchscreen display with multi-touch support and a proximity sensor to turn off the sensor when it’s close to your face, 2 megapixel cam, 4GB or 8 GB of storage, Bluetooth with EDR and A2DP, WiFi that automatically engages when in range, and quadband GSM radio with EDGE. Perhaps most amazingly, though, it somehow runs OS X with support for Widgets, Google Maps, and Safari, and iTunes (of course) with CoverFlow out of the gate. A partnership with Yahoo will allow all iPhone customers to hook up with free push IMAP email. Apple quotes 5 hours of battery life for talk or video, with a full 16 hours in music mode — no word on standby time yet.

It does so many things, that it is somewhat overwhelming. The Apple Store website has an excellent page about the new iPhone.

Unfortunately this product will not ship until June, but I am sure it will revolutionize the way we communicate and share data.

And finally, Apple Computer, Inc. is now Apple, Inc. With the name change, look for new products for the entire home. Maybe an Apple HDTV? Or how about a line of Apple Smart Appliances.

I can hardly wait until June to get my hands on an iPhone.