Social: Extortion Over Porn, Kids Need to Wise Up

Let this be a lesson not just for kids but adults as well. You really want to think twice before sending pictures and personal information through regular text app, email, and, of course, social media. A man in LA had been charged with extortion over nude pictures teens sent him. 

Why anyone would send a naked picture of themselves on the Internet in this day and age, I'll never know. You have to know that if a man is asking you to do this, it's not a good idea or that the man is a nice guy at all. 

And more kmportantly, where were the parents?

Sent from my iPhone

Apple Payment Hits Roadblock In Australia, the Kind Banks Will Live To Regret

Source: Sydney Morning Herald.

Here is a worthy Sunday read regarding Apple's attempt to break into the Australian payment system where banks are so far successful in stonewalling Apple's attempt to offer Apple Pay to its Australian iPhone users. The sticking point appears to be the fee Apple would earn on each $100 transaction. And it does appear that the banks there have an upper hand given the structural payment system in place and what many perceived to be a lukewarm acceptance of Apple Pay else.

It is worth noting in the post that the banks there seem to pride itself in "innovations" that it has brought to payments and the banking system in general. Whether that is true or not and if it really has a role on banks balking giving Apple a helping hand to extend its mobile payment system to Australia remains to be seen.

People seems to like through the word "innovation" around as if its use will magically enhance one's stature or product or company. So far, the solution the banks there seem to pride itself on are focus mostly on Android devices. And uptake has been dismal at best.

Apple Pay will come to Australia once Apple manages to find a crack, perhaps, by working first with a smaller bank. Eventually, lucrative Apple customers will either switch or pressure their own banks into working with Apple.

And things would be righted. That is the best scenario for the banks. However, if Apple find itself at odds time and time again with banks, look out. Many have already speculated whether Apple will eventually decide it is too much trouble working with the banks and decides to become a bank itself or issuing its own credit cards backed by its $200 billion cash. It would figuratively such much of the air out of the room. Imagine tens of millions of higher income or high net-worth iPhone customers banking with Apple Bank. It would cripple if not outright put many banks out of business.

If anything, it makes sense for banks to find a way to work with Apple instead of against Apple. A similar situation is playing out in the auto industry where car markers have been resistant or dragging their collective feet to keep Car Play out of their vehicles. Now, there is more than enough smoke that Apple will be entering the auto industry.

Perhaps, it is inevitable that Apple would enter some markets, auto and banking, that it has an indirect link to if it is frustrated or believes it can do better than the incumbents.

And how would Apple go about getting into the Australian market if the banks do no play ball.

It's like the 1980s Strategic Defense Initiative pressed by President Ronald Reagan popularly known Star Wars. It scared the Soviets enough to bring them to the table and started an arms race that bankrupted the Soviet Union (short story version).

Apple might deploy a similar strategy - let word leak that it might be interested in getting into the banking business to either open up markets or get better terms.

So, while the banks may have some success in the short-term in fending off Apple Pay in place of whatever "innovations" it has in place, they are only making matters worse in the long-term.

The best option for banks is to work with Apple, buy time, and hope that Apple leaves them alone or truly innovate and reinvent themselves for the eventuality.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

New NASA Mars Rover: It's Just A Rock

Source:  Inquisitr

While I do believe that there are advanced alien civilizations, past and present, I don't think the photo NASA released from the rover, Curiosity, showed anything resembling a Martian sculpture of an alien head, headstone, or grave. 

First, my own disclosure. Like I said above, yes, I believe as much as Fox Mulder but I don't think aliens visit us on a regular basis dating back tens of thousands of years. However, I'm not saying that there are no evidence pointing to the existence of extraterrestrials or even an occasional encounter. There are just UFO, unidentified flushing things, that the government has no explanation for but is concerned about. 

Now, I do believe that a multi-decade long plan for disclosure, maybe over a couple of generations, is taking place. Maybe in the next decade, a future president will speak not only to the American people but the citizens of the world that humanity shares this universe with others. 

There will be others like the Catholic Church that will be informed ahead of time to enact their own disclosure plans. The Church will, of course, remind the faithful that just because there are aliens does not mean God does not exist and that they are just as much God's creation as we are. 

Anyway, you get what I'm trying to say. Maybe like the Inquisitr post suggests, this photo was purposefully allowed to leak into the public as a part of the disclosure plan.  

But more likely, that sculpture is just another Martian rock that Ufologists decided to make special. 

So, yes on existence of aliens. Yes on a disclosure plan. No to the alien grave in the above Curiosity photo. 

We will get more pictures from Mars, Pluto, or the International Space Station that cast lights or shadows in ways that fit our narrative whatever they are. Maybe it will end up being the real thing. I think it's fun to speculate and discuss the UFO issue but we also want to call it for what it is when the time comes. 

Frankly, it is just unlikely sophisticated multicellular species managed to climb out of the ancient Martian ocean given the short timeframe and hostile conditions. So, a definite no to a long dead alien civilization on Mars. 

Plague Pits Good Sources for Zombie Stories

Zombies are all the rage so science fiction fans like myself probably have read a zombie book or two.  Though I cannot remember the title off hand, I remembered how a zombie plague started when archeologists dug up a crypt or ancient cemetery in London that unleashed an ancient disease that resulted in a zombie apoclypse. 

Now, we have another plague pit found, guess where?  Yup, London.  Will we never learn?

Source:  CNN.

Apple Is Making Apps for Android - Why Now and What Apps or Services We Like To See from Apple

When asked about iTunes on Windows, Steve Jobs said it was like giving someone in hell a glass of cold water or something to that effect.  Well, it does look like the Apple under Tim Cook realizes that Android with such a large market share globally is too much a market to ignore. 

We'll talk why Apple is doing this now and what apps we like to see migrate from iOS to Android.  First, why now?

Well, as well as Apple is doing financially, it does want to do better and the low hanging fruits are fewer and harder to find.  It's why Apple has moved into new markets like the wearable with the Apple Watch and the rumored look into the auto industry.  Still, as far as the mobile market is concerned, we are not even at half time yet.  So, Tim Cook is looking towards Android.

When Apple introduced the iPod, it did well but it did not really take off until Apple made iTunes available on Windows, allowing Windows users to enjoy using the most popular MP3 player in the world.  And while Apple made billions from the iPod family, the halo effect on other Apple products and services were not to be ignored.  We'll come back to services.

So, let's focus on the halo effect first.  The iPhone became such a financial success largely on the back of the iPod - the good will generated from the iPod allowed mobile warriors to consider the iPhone.  If the iPhone is as good as the iPod in their pockets, then they should give it a look. And now, hundreds of millions of iPhone users agree.  And on top of that, this good will that was transferred to the iPhone is now being transferred to the Apple Watch.  And who knows what other future Apple products will benefit simply because it's from Apple.  Had the iPod been a flop for whatever reason, well, then it's likely the iPhone would have met the market with a greater deal if suspicion and skepticism. 

By sell affluent and middle-class Android users on Apple apps and services, that could generate enough halo effect that when it comes time to upgrade their devices, they might consider the iPhone or iPad now that they have had a taste of Apple's ecosystem.  We are probably talking about iTunes stores and Apple Music to start.  Perhaps, even iCloud apps and services as well.  And if these Android users become iPhone converts, maybe they'll move deeper into Apple's open arms and embrace the Macs and Apple Watch or the iCar.

Now we come to services.  Apple has been making a bigger hay about its services sector.  And with the 11 million possible Apple Music subscribers along with a growing app revenue, Apple is looking at making a serious chunk of cash from content only.  This is all before the Apple TV service that is looking less and less like an unicorn and more of a real deal.  Perhap by Christmas, Apple's services revenue could be leaps and bounds beyond what anyone on Wall Street is expecting. 

Now, if you can add a few million of the global Android market to pay for Apple services, that is a serious chunk of cash. 

The only argument is to what degree is Apple willing to offer Android users its apps and services and what its motives are.  The motives are laid out above - halo and to generate paying customers for services. But Apple's model to balance between giving Android users just enough to get a taste of the iOS side of things or whether it is happy with just Android users paying for services is debatable. 

The thing is that switching from one ecosystem to another can be an expensive proposition.  For some, its a no-brainer.  After investing a lot of money on content and buying apps, forget about it.  For others just starting out or have yet to buy too much into the Android system (or iOS), making a switch involves very little to no sacrifice.  Apple maybe just be planting the seed for that. 

Looking great for Apple, right?  In a great position to steal users from Google? Not necessarily.  Google has offered apps for the iOS for years, locking tens of millions of iPhone and iPad users into its services.  For iOS users who are heavily reliant on Google services and are considering a move to Android, it's an easier decision to make.  In fact, with Android apps more natively integrated Google services than on iOS, it would benefit them immensely.  In light of this, some might consider Apple creating apps for Android users a defensive move.

Whatever the reasons are for Apple, one thing is clear.  Competition is great on any platform especially with a deep-pocketed player like Apple.  

Climate: Living In A Heat Index of 165 And Yes, I hate Summers

Source:  Washington Post.

It's been an uncomfortable week here in LA.  It's 90 with a 34% humidity.  Not as bad as yesterday but for someone who feels uncomfortable with any temperature above 68 F, it's bad.  I supposed I should be greatful I don't live Iran where the temperature is 115 F and a dew point of 90 (ours is 58) which create an off the scale heat index of 165.  Ours at the time of this writing is 98 F (36.7 C).

So, how bad it is to fee like that?  The heat index measure how our bodies fare under the temperature and humidity.  There is a Heat Index table that goes up to 137 F.  So, to get to 165, it has to be a combination of extraordinary conditions of heat and humidity.  See, on a hot dry day, your body can perspire to cool off.  On hot humid days, you cannot cool your body as effectively.  And the heat index is a measure of how your body would feel.

From NOAA.

So, for the 165 F in Iran, we're talking about a temperature of 115 F and humidity of 90.  A bad combination that would fry anyone if you're not careful.  In fact, NOAA indicated on its website that any area without a number is just a bad, bad environment to be in.  So, asn you can imagine, air conditioners are a must in the Middle East. 

This is mostly a mobile blog and you'll notice that I regularly complain about battery life, how Apple should stop making the iPhone thinner and just stick in a bigger battery, and related power issues.  Well, heat is a close second.  Yeah, at the risk of making a lot of readers upset, well, I hate summers.  There, I said it.