Sunday, December 19

Wednesday, August 5

Came across this story by Jim Dalrymple. Shows you just how COOL iPods really are! Those who buy into the whole status thing really needs to read this!

Just a side note before the story: remember how Apple acknowledges that there is a temperature regulating element that freezes your iPhone when operating temperature exceeds a certain range? This was in response to complains that the latest iPhone 3GS heats up to a point where it becomes uncomfortable for use. Apple blamed it on users who operated the device out in the sun. Hmmm so what's their excuse for exploding iPods? Still the sun i wager. But if the device can explode just by being used in direct sunlight, isn't that call for alarm? Or does Apple wish us to retreat into darkness?

The father of an 11-year-old girl in the U.K. said Apple tried to keep him from speaking about his daughter's iPod after it exploded last month.

Speaking to The Times in the U.K., Ken Stanborough said after he dropped the iPod Touch, it began hissing and started to get hot. As a precaution, he threw the iPod outside and "within 30 seconds there was a pop, a big puff of smoke and it went 10 (feet) in the air," he said.

Apple agreed to give Stanborough a refund, but only if he signed a confidentiality agreement, agreeing not to disclose any information about the incident. Stanborough said he found the letter "appalling" and refused to sign it.

To be fair, letters from companies in situations like this are most likely standard procedure. However, this isn't the first time Apple has been accused of trying to stop people from reporting on faulty iPods.

Reporter Amy Clancy of KIRO-TV in Seattle said it took her more than seven months to get documents from the Consumer Product Safety Commission on iPods that mysteriously burst into flames. She said she had filed a Freedom of Information Act request, but Apple lawyers filed "exemption after exemption" with the commission to stop her from getting the over 800 pages of documents.

Clancy said the documents show 15 "burn and fire-related incidents" that iPod owners blamed on the device.

Apple declined to comment for this story.

Jim Dalrymple has followed Apple and the Mac industry for the last 15 years, first as part of MacCentral and then in various positions at Macworld. A guitar player for 20 years, Jim also writes about the professional audio market, examining the best ways to write and record songs on a Macintosh with Logic Pro and Pro Tools. Jim is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET.

Thursday, July 23

Suicide dumps floodlight on protectionist Apple culture

I read with great sadness how the apparently obsessively secretive corporate culture of Apple Inc. indirectly caused a young old promising Production Manager in a Chinese factory to kill himself due to immense pressure from work regarding a missing prototype of Apple's 4th generation iPhone (4G?).

FYI: The recently launched iPhone 3GS is the 3rd generation.

The factory in question is run by Apple Inc's manufacturing partner Foxconn International, a unit of Taiwan electronics conglomerate Hon Hai. Apparently, Foxconn had a past history of alledged employee neglect in its factory, which also produced an Apple Inc. product, the iPod.

According to Nanfang Daily, Sun Danyong, 25, grew frantic when he discovered 1 of the 16 iPhone generation 4 protoypes under his care was missing. He vented his growing frustration in text messages to his girlfriend and a former classmate, and tried to find the missing device, the Nanfang Daily said. But company officials from Foxconn's security division apparently decided he was lying and raided his home although nothing was found.

Despite this, security chief Gu Qinming found Sun suspicious and summoned him to his office, where Gu got agitated and laid hands on Sun in an apparent attempt to coerce a confession. Sun was also alledged to have been locked away in a room to isolate him in an apparent attempt to psychologically pressure Sun to said confession.

Sun's former classmates further claims that Sun described what happened in an online chat with them as one of the most humiliating experiences of his life. As a result of the avalanch of pressure and cloak of suspision engulfing him, the Yunnan native caved in, and jumped from his 12th floor apartment the day after.

According to Steven Lin, a Chinese blogger and marketer, "most young Chinese guys don’t have friends who are lawyers, so they don’t know how to protect themselves in the legal system. They won’t even look for help from the legal system. They will just endure the pressure, and finally find an extreme way to end all their troubles."

This incident caused a furore when the account was published, triggering investigation both by the police as well as Foxconn. Apple Inc. released a statement stating that "(They) are saddened by the tragic loss of a young employee and (they) are awaiting the results of the investigation into his death. (They) require that (their) suppliers treat all workers with dignity and respect," it added, declining further comment.

The company has previously threatened lawsuits against media and bloggers that try to publish information about its upcoming products, often arguing they obtained the information from employees who violated confidentiality agreements. Apple has traditionally build up hype surrounding forthcoming product releases by enforcing media blackout on said products as well as a slew of savvy teaser ads, designed to mount anticipation. This is why confidentiality is of primary importance to Apple Inc. It also explains why there is tremenous pressure working in partner firms of Apple.

While many may feel this is an over-dramatised event, i beg to differ. A life has been lost through senseless discrimination stemming from a closeted and oppressive corporate culture. Why Apple Inc. consistently partners with a company that has a history of employee neglect amazes me. Their press release also leaves much to be desired; it appears Apple's strategy has always been to disclaim any responsibility and to instead apportion blame on others.

  • Reports of iPhone 3GS led Apple to state that this is due to users operating the latest gadget in scorching temperatures - in other words, its your fault, not theirs!
  • Discoloration of that same device? It is due to 3rd-party casing accessories, Apple claims.
  • Same thing's happening here - "We require that our suppliers treat all workers with dignity and respect." How's that for being responsible?

I honestly believe something needs to be done, both within Foxconn and with Apple's contractual clauses. In Foxconn's case, security have no right to manhandle anyone, much less their company's production manager, when there are no evidence supporting their hypothesis in the first place. Even if Gu did not beat up Sun, Gu himself admitted to grabbing Sun's right shoulder roughly. This is manhandling. Eliminate this type of behaviour from the workplace! If, as security chief, you cannot even contain your anger and lash out at people, i'm afraid this bode ill for that company's security.

Also, Apple might wish to consider mandating some kind of audit check to enure employees of partner firms are not ill-treated by imposing fines, which can only confer benefits to Apple by offering an opportunity to swell its coffers while at the same time generating goodwill.

Monday, July 20

The many faces of me

hmmm which one looks better? longish hair or short ones?

Thursday, July 16

Baking @ midnight

yawnz. really tired today cause i slept at 3am last night. What was i doing? well... baking!!

Wanted to make a really chocolatey Black Forest Cake (黑森林蛋糕/シュヴァルツヴェルダー・キルシュトルテ/Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte). However, in light of the fact that half my office is coughing, i decided it might be better to do just include 1 layer of chocolate cream sanwiched by two light chocolate genoise and covered with fresh cream (with a 38% fat content) encircled by a ring of sponge fingers and smothered in chocolate shavings.
Couldn't find fresh chrries in my fridge last night for deco so i used the only other fruit available - grapes! At least there are loads of cherries in the cake even if you don't see them on top!
Okay. Gotta go - supposed to be rushing report!

Wednesday, July 8

Post Birthday Post

*Big Sigh* Finally got down to blogging about my birthday. Someone told me birthdays are usually week-long affairs and i guess to an extent, it was! Met a couple of people both before and after my birthday for dinners and chat and it was great - except i'm on diet and can't eat as much as i'd like to.

Oh and on the actual day... you'll never guess where i spent it. In the Hospital! Yea!! My mum apparently got a bad case of adominal pain (she did not tell us about it until it got too painful - two days later, and on my birthday!) and we called the ambulance and she was groaning and all. So we got to hospital at noon. And waited to see the doctor. and waited for test results. and waited to see doctor again. and waited. and waited... and... waited. a grand total of 7 hours spent waiting!

The doctor finally saw us and told us my mum needed to be in hospital. And nope, they still couldn't tell us exactly what caused it - that will come later after the ward doctor has seen her. So we got down to waiting. Again. finally got up to ward. Man. i was so tired coz i slept at 6am the previous day and got woken up at 11!

Thank God my mum's fine now - they removed a gall stone which wascausing the pain in an procedure that was quite simple - they merely inserted the apparatus down the throat and operated. Cool huh? Been going down to hospital everyday after work. yawnz. dead tired. Hopefully it'll be over soon.

See ya!

Monday, June 29

Monday blues

Man, this is some depressing day. Went for wedding dinner last night but did not really enjoy myself coz (1) i was down with flu (H1N1 alert!!) & (2) some super sarcastic person was antagonising me the whole night. Just wanted to go through the entire affair quietly but nope, sorry, it was one joke after another, at my expense. Sigh. I hope this streak of XXX goes away soon coz i really liked XXX and wish XXX will just get over this whole bitching business.

Talking about THE FLU, Singapore reported another 124 cases on Sunday, bringing total number to over 500. And that's Sunday.... I'm sure the numbers will go up again after tallying Monday's headcount. Gosh. Thank god i don't have fever or i'll be hurled to CDC!

Gotta go - boss coming in!