Even Muggers Don’t Think Flip Phones Are Worth a Dime


Beggars can’t be choosers, but apparently robbers can.

When a mugger held up 25-year-old Kevin Cook in New York City’s Central Park this weekend, he was so disappointed by Cook’s outdated cell phone that he simply rejected it, the New York Post reports.

“Once he saw my phone, he looked at it like, ‘What the f–k is this?’ and gave it back to me,” the Brooklyn resident said.

The mugger and his accomplice both fled before police could apprehend them. Cook said the whole situation was “kind of humorous” — besides, you know, the fact that the would-be thief had a gun.

Perhaps if the altercation had occurred in Brooklyn rather than Manhattan, the mugger would have wanted the phone for its vintage appeal. Or just to use it ironically.

[New York Post]

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What’s next for Ultra HD?


Ultra HD was a star with great promise at last year’s CES. The big question for this coming CES 2014 is, “When will Ultra HD make good on that promise?”

We know that Ultra HD could the next big thing for TV. At the same time, there is concern that too much hype could lead to disappointment.

Will consumers be able to see a difference? Will they care? Will there be a “wow factor”? What about content and distribution? Will it be too expensive for studios and service providers? What needs to happen before an end-to-end ecosystem can display the improved capabilities of 4K displays?

The first phase of 4K TVs

Ready or not, consumer 4K TV displays are here and their price is dropping fast. A year ago one could buy a small car for less than the cost of a 4K TV. The smart consumer bought the car…

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Facebook’s Cutesy Annual Report To Partners Reveals First Country-By-Country Mobile Stats


TechCrunch has obtained never before published metrics showing Facebook’s international growth. Facebook sent some partners a playfully illustrated eMagazine called The Annual, but I’ve acquired a copy from a source and the stats inside are serious business. The report divulges user counts for some key international markets like Germany, which now has 25 million users, and 18 million mobile users.

Previously, Facebook had only shared combined web and mobile user counts by multi-country region, and its mobile user counts as global totals. The problem is that hides what parts of the world are driving its mobile growth, which has brought it to a total of 874 million monthly mobile users and 507 million daily mobile users as of September 2013, out of a total 1.19 billion month user across all devices.

So for several quarters I called for Facebook to release more detailed international mobile stats. The company partly acquiesced in…

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Injuries Open Spots, But Picking All-Star Guards Won’t Be Easy

NBA.com | Hang Time Blog

[nba-video vid=channels/nba_tv/2013/12/28/122713-russell-westbrook-injury.nba]
VIDEO: Russell Westbrook will be out until after the All-Star break

HANG TIME SOUTHWEST — Kobe Bryant is going to win a starting job on the Western Conference All-Star team. A second round of returns has the Lakers star well ahead in votes among the West’s legion of worthy backcourt candidates. Bryant has played in just six games and although he could return from a fractured knee in time to play in the Feb. 16 All-Star Game at New Orleans, let’s assume that he will not play.

NBA All-Star 2014Oklahoma City’s injured point guard Russell Westbrook was well on his way to a fourth consecutive selection as one of seven reserves to be picked by Western Conference coaches until Friday’s stunning announcement that he underwent a third surgery on his troubled right knee. Westbrook will not be back in time for the All-Star Game.

That leaves (potentially) two backcourt spots up…

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SD Cards Aren’t As Secure As We Think


The hardware hacker Bunnie Huang gave a talk at the Chaos Compute Club Congress where he offered some good news and some bad news. The good news? SD cards contain powerful, handy micro controllers that are useful to hackers and hobbyists. The bad news? SD cards are woefully insecure.

In a detailed and readable post, Huang describes the exact problems with Flash memory. In order to reduce the price and increase the storage space, engineers have to fight a never-ending form of internal entropy that slowly but surely scrambles the data on every Flash drive.

Huang writes:

Flash memory is really cheap. So cheap, in fact, that it’s too good to be true. In reality, all flash memory is riddled with defects — without exception. The illusion of a contiguous, reliable storage media is crafted through sophisticated error correction and bad block management functions. This is the result of…

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The “No Whining” Rule

A Map of California

no whining

I don’t know about you, but I’m sick and tired of businesses that gripe and complain about whiny-ass customers who make unreasonable demands.  If not for us customers, you wouldn’t exist.  When no one is willing to purchase your products any longer, you and all your profits will vanish without a wisp of smoke.

And I, for one, will shed no tears.

If you want a glimpse of what I mean, take a look at Stacy Hall’s columns about customer service on deliveringhappiness.com.  First she claims that customers should be nicer to businesses, then she justifies telling us “no” as long as businesses do so politely.

“Co-Dependency” or The Balance of Power

Hall describes the relationship between many businesses and their customers as “co-dependent” on the grounds that “one person is continually serving the needs of the other without reciprocation.”

Checking further into the definition of “codependency,” I found

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