Be Wary Of The USB-C Cables - The Wrong One Can Destroy Your Devices

Source: CNN.

Never knew it would bee this complicated but you need to be aware of this as USB-C ports and cables become more common. Apparently, not all USB-C cables are the same. 

See, the new USB-C cables should be able to provide power, charge devices, and transfer data. Very convenient. But only off they're wired correctly. 

 A Google engineer was kid enough to sacrifice his Chromebook for is to make this point. Right now, the other mainstream laptop with an USB-C port is the 12" Macbook from Apple. Soon, more will follow including phones, tablets, and other devices that can benefit from USB-C connection to get power or for data transfers.

For now, get brand named versions of the cables. It'll be more expensive than cheaper ones from a Chinese company you've never heard of. But it'll be worth it when your device or laptop contents to work as advertised and not turn into a smoldering piece of plastic and fried electronics. 

Look for special seals of approval.  Even then, best to play it safe.

Sent from my Mobile

Netflix - Awesome if Co-Owned by Apple and Disney

Apple and Disney are practically famiiy.  This was made possible when Disney bought Apple CEO Steve Jobs' Pixar.  Relationship between the two companies have been cozy since with Disney being president for Apple's video store on iTunes and Disney CEO, Bob Iger, sitting on Apple's board. So, with Apple struggling into the video streaming market, maybe Apple should buy Netflix with Disney or another studio like Fox as a partner.  Apple buying Beats showed that CEO Tim Cook is not adverse to making a buyout to get what Apple needs. 

As for Disney, it already owns a part of Hulu and have linked to possibly buying the Netflix competitor.  But Disney taking a stake in Netflix makes more sense than buying Hulu because if a deal between Disney and Netflix to produce some Marvel titles (Marvel) has already bear fruit.  Furthermore, Netflix will begin showing Disney movies starting in 2016. 

Disney does not have the financial muscle to do it alone. And this is where Apple comes in with its more than $200 billion just ready to make some major M&A damage. With Apple's financial backing and Disney's Hollywood connection, there is no end to the possibilities what these three juggernauts can come up with for overall entertainment values, not to mention cord-cutting options.  We are talking about local broadcasts, ESPN, Disney channels, and more.

For Apple, it provides a platform that has the influence of a major studio when it comes to negotiating with other studios to provide content or broadcast for its streaming service.  It would allow Apple to get much needed licenses easier and quite possibly with an international reach.

I know, I know.  Just a pipe dream, right?  Well, we are talking about a dream team of sort after all.

Security Bug Found in Chinese Branded Android Devices Like A Beijing Backdoor, Not a Bug

Source:  GSM Arena, Phandroid. 

A high level security bug has been found in Android devices sold by major Chinese brands like Lenovo, I find it very generous that the media, including Android blogs, calling this a bug.  In all likelihood, it's a backdoor demanded by the Chinese government. 

So, let's call it for what it is.  A Backdoor for Beijing to monitor its citizens.  Why else would Phandroid say this is not an issue for Americans?  

What other companies are involved?  Huawei was mentioned but this likely goes deeper if, in fact, these Chinese government is involved.  So, you have to wonder about Google's Nexus 6P, made by, you gussed it, Huawei.  When Google selected Huawei to make one of these phones, I had my reservations.  So, I've been recommending folks to go with the Nexus 5X made by LG. 

In recent weeks and months, the Chinese economy has suffered contractions while it's equity markets have suffered huge losses and shaking global financial as well as commodity markets.  The Shanghai Stock Exchange has suffered more than 22% year-to-date and nearly 50% drop from its high.  Fearing widespread unrest over a contracting economy (Industry Week), fraudulent investment schemes (NPR - more than $7.5 billion Ponzi Scheme), corruptions (Google), and  the Chinese government has increased Internet monitoring and censorship (Fortune) while jailing human rights supporters and their family as well as kidnapping foreign nationals like British and Swedish booksellers based out of Hong Kong (Reuters). 

Bug?  Please...

Social: Escaped Prisoners, TV Fiction, And Living This In Real Time

More than a week ago, three prisoners escaped from a prison in Orange County, California.  Three very dangerous prisoners awaiting trials for murder, attempted murder, torture, and whatever else you wanna throw at them, they probably did it.  Bad, bad hombres.  One of them, Hossein Nayeri, was equated to Hannibal Lecter.  This had folks on edge as far south as San Diego and the US-Mexico borders and as far North as Los Angeles, probably even further north since two of them were appended in northern California on Friday.

This probably has a Hollywood script written all over it.  Which means the comparison of Nayeri to Hannibal Lecter an interesting one.  Lecter was far, far worse than this guy.  If Hannibal Lecter was a real person, he'd probably go and find the people who compared him to Nayeri and, well…anyways, during this time while Nayeri was on the run, his ex-wife went into hiding, fearing for her life since she helped authorities lure him out into the open.  Nayeri had escaped to Iran where we do not have any relationship with.  It was his former wife who go him to go to Spain where authorities was able to nab him and extradite him to the US (KTLA).

So, had me thinking about the TV show, The Following.  In the series, the wife of a serial killer had to go into hiding with her child because her husband and his killer cult were looking to find them.  I'm sure we do not have to go into the realm of Hollywood to find real examples of people in hiding to escape their abusive or whacked-out husbands.  

What had me thinking about this real life criminal episode was how close this was to me in Los Angeles and how developments from authorities and the media was followed so closely on social media like Twitter.  

It's another example of how indispensable Twitter has become as a source of news and information.  I know, I could have gone right to this part here.  It got me thinking about major events in the last year like the Paris attacks and how Twitter has supplemented 24-hour news networks to obtain up-to-the-minute news.  This is great, right?  For the most part.

The problem with this is that social media is also a platform for misinformation or wrong information.  In following the Oregon standoff, much of the information are incorrect.  Misinformation or false information came from Tea Party and militia groups on a regular basis.  But they were no the sole guilty parties.  The left also did the same but to a lesser extent.  You have to be careful about what you read on Twitter and other social media and gauge for yourself what sources are deemed trustworthy.

Main Reason That Current Slowdown Will Force Some Out And Apple Comes Out Stronger

Here is the post from 360 Mac I want to add a bit on to.  It generally provides a good and rather obvious road map on the "coming tech apocalypse" and proclaims that Apple will weather it and come out even stronger.  I agree for the most part and I like to explain why.  Apple's products are aspirational but they are among the best on the market.  There is no second or third place among its competitors as far as premium products, services, and ecosystems go.  None. 

And as millions in developing countries join their own versions of the middle class, Apple will be primed to sell them the products they want and need.  Phones, tablets, computers, wearables, and, yes, Car Play-ready cars or even Apple cars.  Oh, yeah, stuff for the homes that are HomeKit enabled.  Oh, yeah, Apple TV and relevant services as well.  Perhaps, even banking with Apple one day.

None of this will happen overnight and given what it feels like at times is the snail-like pace in which Apple unveils features and services, there is a meticulous and well through out road map at Cupertino, Apple's HQ.  And even through downturns, Apple continues to pour on the R&D dollars. 

In a downturn, folks will hold onto their gears longer and that upgrade cycle will hurt a lot of companies. Even Apple to some extent but a mast majority of Apple's customers have greater net worth which means a great many of them will continue to upgrade regardless of the larger economic slow down. 

Apple's competitors will mostly be forced to cut back their own development cycle to reduce costs or go away entirely.  Perhaps, even get picked up by larger companies.  What it essentially means is that the experience gap between Apple and its competitors will grow wider. 

All of this is good for Apple even if Wall Street thinks otherwise.  This is a long game.  Product upgrades and entry into new markets does not happen overnight.  I'm sure in a couple of years, the consumer tech landscape will be vastly different and Apple will resume its double digit growth that Wall Street wants. 

Comcast Looks To Screw Subscribers - No Pretense Even Attempted

Source:  Bloomberg.

Comcast wants to metere its subscribers into submission, or rather, subscription of its own video services isntead of competing ones like Netflix.  And yes, Comcast's Sith Lord wannbe, CEO Brian Roberts, does not think it is illogical for Comcast to do this.  Comcast is evil.  It is doing something evil.  What's the problem?

Essentially, Comcast will be charging folks who go over their 300 GB a month limit an extra $10 for each 50 GB. 

However, this is about Comcast trying to avoid becoming a dumb pipeline and pretending it is much more.  Comcast and other cable operators are faced with a growing number of cord-cutters - homes who use them as a gateway to the Internet and video services.  And these cable Internet companies are not getting a penny of that.  instead of innovating or providing incentives for subscribers of TV packages to stay, they are trying to prolong an evolving video consumption behavior and the notion that people no longer wants to subscribe to channels they don't want or watch and be forced to pay for them.  

Instead of facing reality and doing away with a dying and archiac business model, cable companies are trying to prolong its agonizing death.  Their focus is on the short-term bottom line and making shareholders happy.  No one ever said the executive suites is where boldness comes from.

Otherwise, why would this artificial cap and extra charge for Internet access not count against Comcast's own video services?  What Comcast also ant is to make sure that subscribers pay them for video services they purchase elsewhere.  One way or another, Comcast wants you to pay them for video services no matter who you subscribe it from.

Again, it is about the bottom line.  Consider that T-Mobile's Binge-On program where subscribers can steam services lik Netflix and Sling TV for free without using allotted  monthly data plans.  It is the opposite of what Comcast is doing here.