Apple has spun a very integrate and systematic marketing web in its ill-advised stand against the FBI in the San Bernardino terrorism case. The San Bernardino case is the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil since the 9/11 attacks. The terrorists were killed and the government needs information on one of their smartphones to discover evidence of the terrorist cell.

Apple’s flawed reasoning for withholding assistance in building a case against the terrorists, however, is filled with misinformation and outright lies. Apple has mounted a campaign that attempts to mold the facts to support a better image for Apple, one that has been fading since the death of its founder and cheerleader, Steve Jobs.scarecrow-on-bale-of-hay

Apple is, of course, no stranger to spreading marketing that inaccurately portrays their products and company in a good light. They have successfully convinced an entire generation into thinking they built the first smartphone when, in fact, smartphones of varying degrees have been around for years prior to the release of the iPhone. Every innovation that Apple conceives is portrayed as the first. Some might argue here that Apple just does it better, simpler, more stylish, etc. – and that admittedly may very well be true – but the facts seem to point to the conclusion that Apple is, for the most part, a follower in most of the actual technologies that it exploits.

So how does this tie in to the San Bernardino shootings and Court Order issued against them? The positions that Apple is taking in its refusal to comply with the court order are rooted in the same arrogance. Apple is portraying itself as the defender of data security and privacy in an effort to skirt the real issues.

The allegations of arrogance are clearly seen in Apple’s own “Message to Our Customers” posted February 16, 2016, beginning in the first paragraph:

The United States government has demanded that Apple take an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers. We oppose this order, which has implications far beyond the legal case at hand. This moment calls for public discussion, and we want our customers and people around the country to understand what is at stake.

The very first sentence of Apple’s plea is false. First, the step being ask of Apple in this case is decidedly not “unprecedented.” The FBI is asking for Apple’s assistance to “bypass or disable the auto-erase function” and “enable the FBI to submit passcodes” to the terrorist’s phone. Apple itself admits that it has complied with many such orders in the past, at least 70 times according to the FBI. This led to many allegations on the web from Apple-automatons blindly following their appointed savior, who suggest that the FBI is lying, as here.

It is actually Apple who is spreading the most lies regarding this issue. In a second statement in the February 10th message, Apple claims that “the FBI wants us to make a new version of the iPhone operating system, circumventing several important security features, and install it on an iPhone recovered during the investigation.” They claim that the new “operating system” would be a “master key, capable of opening hundreds of millions of locks – from restaurants and banks to stores and homes.” Really? That’s ballsy even for Apple.

What the government is asking is very clearly laid out in the judge’s Order of February 16, 2016 (note that, not coincidentally, this is the same date that Apple released its open statement). Instead of a “new version of the iPhone operating system,” Judge Pym ordered Apple to create a Software Image File that could be side loaded onto the terrorist’s iPhone. In complete denial of Apple’s claims, Paragraph 3 of the order specifically says “the SIF will load and run from Random Access Memory (“RAM”) and will not modify the iOS on the actual phone. . . .” Further, the judge says that the SIF will contain a “unique identifier of the phone so that the SIF would only load and execute” on the terrorist’s iPhone.

Apple lies are not limited to the current marketing campaign presented to the public, but permeate the testimony it has given in this and the New York case involving a similar fact pattern. In that case, Apple Senior VP of Worldwide Marketing said that it is literally “impossible” to unlock the current operating system on the iPhone.

Most of the families of the 14 victims in the attack have pleaded with Apple to comply with the order so that the government can bolster their case against the perpetrators, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, but those pleas have fallen on deaf ears, weakening the company’s assertions that they are “shocked and outraged” by the terrorist attack. Apple finds itself in the awkward position of being the underdog in its claims, as over 50% of the American public believes that they should comply with the order. Most also believe that assisting the FBI will have little or no effect on the security of personal data on other iPhones.

But that doesn’t mean that the unfounded marketing campaign isn’t effective. Several high ranking officials in both government and industry support Apple’s stance, for differing reasons and motivations. For example, one Congress person who should know better, Rep. Anna Eshoo, a ranking Democratic member of the Congressional Communications and Technology Subcommittee, ignores legal precedent in her assertion that “what Congress would not legislate, the FBI is now seeking to accomplish through the courts.” She quotes the now decease Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, who stated in Arizona v. Hicks, that “the Constitution sometimes insulates the criminality of a few in order to protect the privacy of all” in support of her position. Of course, in doing so, she thumbs her nose at her Commander-in-chief, Barrack Obama, who came out in support of the FBI’s position. In addition, Scalia’s statement should be taken in the context that such instances are rare when the rights of the few outweigh the rights of the many. Yes, there are times when that is the case, but our laws are built on the utilitarian principles that “what is good for the many is good for the few,” not the other way around.

The exaggerated claims of Apple’s key officials are perhaps best neutralized by the comments of Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, on the subject, who recognized the FBI’s request as fairly routine. “Apple has access to the information, “they’re just refusing to provide access. . . . You shouldn’t call the access some special thing,” Gates said, in an obvious reference to their allegations that the government is asking them to build an entirely new operating system. Gates compared the FBI’s request to a search warrant issued against a bank or some other third party who possesses sensitive information. “There’s no difference between the information.”

Gates is alluding to the fact that courts have allowed search warrants in the past on all types of data contained in all sorts of format, including digital: banks, medical records, financial information, smartphones, etc. Requiring a bank to release financial information of one customer does not have any impact on the date of millions of other customers.

The statement of FBI Director, James B. Comey, confirms as much:

“We simply want the chance, with a search warrant, to try to guess the terrorist’s passcode without the phone essentially self-destructing and without it taking a decade to guess correctly,” Comey wrote on the website Lawfare, a prominent national security law blog. “That’s it. We don’t want to break anyone’s encryption or set a master key loose on the land.”

The real question here is what gives Apple the right to refuse to comply with a court order? What gives the company the right to become a standard bearer for digital privacy at the expense of our country’s security. No ordinary citizen would be entitled to refuse the court’s request without being subjected to criminal contempt charges and be locked in prison. If the officers of Apple continue in their refusals to comply, the same should happen to them.

By all accounts, Farook and Malik were part of a “homegrown, self-radicalized [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][group of] individuals operating undetected before striking one of many soft targets in the U.S.,” according to the New York Times. The FBI has already uncovered and arrested at least one additional member of this terrorist cell, Enrique Marquez, Jr., their next door neighbor. The FBI and the San Bernardino County District Attorney, Michael Ramos, confirmed that their believed the iPhone in question belonged to Farook and was used to communicate information about the attack. They further believe it will contain evidence of a possible third shooter as well as a “dormant cyber pathogen,” i.e., malware, that could have been released into the government’s computer networks.

Knowing this, would not any reasonable person say that the needs of the people of the U.S. demand that Apple comply with the court’s order? The information is desperately needed to avert future attacks on U.S. soil and to prevent the spread of further terrorism. Apple responds that if they comply, the government “would have the power to reach into anyone’s device to capture their data” and “extend this breach of privacy and demand that Apple build surveillance software to intercept your messages….”  That is simply not true.  

Apple’s entire argumentative response falls squarely into the classical logical fallacy of the “straw man” argument, which attempts to refute a given proposition by showing that a inaccurate form of the proposition (the “straw man”) leads to absurd, unpleasant, or ridiculous consequences. Here, Apple sets up the argument that the FBI is requesting that they build a new version of the iOS, which will lead to unchecked government surveillance. The straw man argument relies on the audience failing to notice that the argument does not actually apply to the original proposition. In this case, all of Apple’s assertions contradict the actual language of the Court’s February 16th Order. Read it for yourself and see if you agree.  The Court’s order applies only to the single terrorist’s iPhone5 and does not ask Apple to build a new iOS for the phone.  This is the kernel of untruth that Apple is spreading through its marketing prowess.

The fact remains that Apple’s refusal to comply with the Court’s order is both arrogant and criminal.  They’re not selling iPad’s or iPhone’s here – it might be forgivable to spread false marketing claims in order to sell products, that’s the American way – rather, Apple is plainly impairing the ability of the U.S. people to defend themselves against terrorist attacks in the name of protecting the privacy of individuals, and that’s not American.  It’s time for Apple to do its civil duty and comply.


Is it time for Congress to draft a replacement for the 1976 Copyright Law? In point of fact, the law was drafted almost half a decade ago now and its last major amendment came in 1998 with the addition of the DMCA. Many argue that the advent of digital technology, driven of course by the ubiquitous Internet, makes the current iteration of the Progress Clause obsolete.
Recently, in March 2014, the current Register of Copyrights, Maria Pallante, made just such a proposal to Congress, urging them to create “the next great copyright act.” You can read those remarks here. But contrary to that proposal, other advocates of the status quo point out that Congress has amended the current law to keep it up to date. In fact, Pallante acknowledged as much in her remarks when she said “[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][a]s a general matter, Congress introduces bills, directs studies, conducts hearings and discusses copyright policy on a fairly regular basis and has done so for two centuries.” Her push is a part of a coordinated movement with the House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va) to leave a mark on copyright law.
While I do not necessarily disagree with the Register of Copyrights that perhaps a consideration of a new consolidated law may be necessary to combine these various amendments, I am bothered by the fact that much of the urgency for a new law is driven by the various interested parties on the Internet who believe that just because a copyright finds its way into digital form, it is no longer protected and should be free for all to use, “mash up” or do whatever the hell they want to with it. These radical thinking individuals, such as The Pirate Bay, Lawrence Lessig, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and others use heated rhetoric and emotional appeals to call for a lessening of the copyright protection that has made America the most idea-rich country in the world. While these illogical and emotional appeals are a good way to drum up support dollars and defeat well-meaning and good legislation such as SOPA, they do very little to advance the philosophical and legal debate and should not be the driving force behind our legislation, good or bad. Good emotional causes make for very bad law.
These dramatic appeals for changing the copyright act are most often done with a lack of understanding as to its philosophical underpinnings, and often demonstrate ignorance of the business realities faced by those who create the arts and sciences, as well as the benefactors who support them.
One of the things that bothered me most about Pallante’s remarks was the total absence of any discussion of these philosophical underpinning of the copyright construct. There was no discussion of Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of our Constitution (the Progress Clause) or any reference to some of the chief architects of its current form, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Charles Pickney, just to name a few. It also worries me when Pallante suggests that the current term – Life + 75 – “is long and the length has consequences,” thereby questioning the validity of the Supreme Court’s proclamation to the contrary in Eldred v. Ashcroft. The latter, of course, is one of about a half a dozen cases the aforementioned anti-copyright advocates has levied against the law over the years.
Sandra Aistars, executive director of the Copyright Alliance, summed it up well in an opinion piece for The Hill entitled “Protect rights of artist in new copyright law.” She said “Should Congress take on the challenge of updating the Copyright Act, it must do so guided by sound principles, and its deliberations must be based in reality rather than rhetoric.” At least Aistars points out that the principle of copyright law is driven by the fact that “protecting authors in in the public interest” and based on “stable property rights.”
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 gives Congress the right “to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” Madison and Jefferson debated the various components of this clause with some degree of fervor in their massive collection of actual correspondence, with Madison defending the idea that if our society gives up a monopoly (copyright) to creators, the value of that monopoly will generate the creation of widespread ideas that would ultimately reward society. There is no doubt that the equitable component that was bestowed upon authors and inventors the day the Congressional Congress approved the Progress Clause has created the America we know and love today through the wealth of new ideas and expressions that have been created in the form of books, music, films, visual arts, scholarly research and inventions. Without that value in the patent or copyright, there would be no Apple, no Microsoft, no IBM, no Ford, no Chevrolet . . . you get the point. This is the reward that Madison envisioned our society would gain by giving individuals control over their creations, a theory that Locke and others disseminated long before the new nation of America was conceived.
As Aistars summarized in her article, “Ensuring that all creators retain the freedom of choice in determining how their creative work is used, disseminated and monetized is vital to protecting freedom of expression. Consent is at the heart of freedom, thus we must judge any proposed update by whether it prioritizes artists’ rights to have meaningful control over their creative work and livelihood.”
The most important thing for Congress to consider if it picks up the gauntlet laid down by Ms. Pallante is this idea that society benefits by giving a monopoly to creators. Given an individual who has created a work of authorship stable property ownership in that work is the foundation of our great Country and is the primary goal of copyright. To take that away takes away one of our inherent and valuable Constitutional rights, even greater perhaps than our Freedom of Speech and Assembly. Any new proposal much cherish the rights of the creators that the current Copyright Act has created and retain the same privileges and advantages. The future of our Nation in the Internet Age depends on it.

As an attorney, the majority of my practice hinges on the “devil” in the details, i.e., the minutia of a conversation can make all the difference in a deal or transaction, particularly when I’m trying to draft an accurate contract reflecting that deal.  Sometimes, I wish I had the assistance of someone like Lily Tomlin who could help me by “listening in” on the conversation and helping remember those critical details.  Historically, I’ve capture those details by hand by taking notes.  While I still maintain that practice (in Evernote), I found a new application for Android that is a tremendous help in “recalling” those details.  Global Efacrphotofect’s “Automatic Call Recorder” (hyperlink to Play Store) does just what its name implies:  it automatically records all of your telephone conversations.  Whoa, you might exclaim, doesn’t that invade a person’s privacy?  And you might have a point, so let’s discuss the elephant in the room (no offense to Evernote) before moving on to review the application:  is recording a telephone conversation legal in the State of Tennessee, where I practice, or elsewhere for that matter?

With regard to Tennessee, I have a very confident answer, and that is that this is completely legal.  As circular as it might sound in logic, Tennessee has what is commonly referred to as a “one-party consent” law, meaning that so long as one of the parties to a conversation consents to its being recorded, it is legal, even if the party recording the conversation is the one giving the consent.  So, since I am always one of the parties to all of my conversations (that’s the circular part), it is always legal under Tennessee’s law for me to record my conversations.

Here is a summary of the actual law and its exception:

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-601(a) makes it a criminal offense to intentionally “intercept” and/or record any communications, whether that original communication is oral, by wire or by some other electronic means.  This is a very typical form of what is referred to in case law as a “wire-tapping” statute.  However, there are several exceptions identified to this general prohibition, one of which is found in 39-13-601(b)(4), which states that “[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][i]t is lawful under [this statute] for a person acting under the color of law to intercept a wire, oral or electronic communication, where the person is a party to the communication or one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception.”  So, if I am one of the party’s to the communication, it is legally for me to record that conversation.  In addition to Tennessee, the “one-party consent” rule is in play in thirty seven other states.

That leaves twelve states where the rule is that ALL PARTIES must consent to the recording of the conversation in order for it to be legal:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • Pennsylvania
  • Washington

If you are a resident of one of these twelve states, my advise is to be very careful with this application, as it may be illegal for you to use it in automatic mode.  Check with the specifics of your state’s laws and/or consult with an attorney prior to recording telephone conversations.

Having said that, it is clear that even in Tennessee, my attorney ethical rules are still in play, so I must still maintain the attorney client confidences and secure the private conversations I have with my clients, so the ethical rules must be considered.  To address that, it is necessary for me to advise my clients that the conversation is being recording, either verbally or generally by disclosing that fact in an engagemacrent letter, for example.  In addition, if I’m representing transactional clients in any of the twelve identified states, there is an issue as to which state’s law applies.  It is probably always best to follow the law of the more strict state in cases where you are unsure.   By the way, Federal Law follows the “one party consent” rule as well, so this generally cuts against prosecution of interstate calls since they rise to a Federal level of jurisdiction.

Finally, you should remember that it is always a crime to record conversations of telephone calls to which you are not a party, so take care in using this application if you are merged into a conversation anonymously and it automatically records the conversation.

So, now that we have the legal discussion out of the way, what about this application?  The basic concept is simple, the application records all incoming or outgoing conversations on your cell phone without any intervention from you at all.  No button to push or widget to remember.  From my trial of the app, this functionality has been impeccable.  It has recorded every call since installation.

In the initial set up, you select the type ofacr4 file you want recorded – I chose mp3 – and the service to which you want the files uploaded.  You can choose between Google Docs, Dropbox or Skydrive in this context.  For this, I would have appreciated the option to use either Evernote or Sugarsync, but Google Docs functions quite well and is a nice interface.  You’ll notice from the screenshot to the right that you can also select the path of the folder to which you want the files to sync on your device.  This useful features allows you to direct the files to an external SD card rather than the emulated cards many of the new devices provide so as to conserve storage space.

Once you set the Automatic Call Recorder up to “automatically” record your conversations, it does that job effectively and seamlessly.  I haven’t noticed any lag time or battery drain as a result of using the recorder, and I’ve already utilized the recordings to make reference to conference call details, phone numbers etc.  Once nice thing about using Google Docs is that the program automatically creates a folder on your cloud drive which contains the recordings.  What this does is allows you to select and manage the recordings from your desktop or tablet and, even listen to the calls with Google’s built in file handler.  Very convenient.  The Automatic Call Recorder establishes a file naming protocol that is very logical and includes the date, a random file number, the phone number and, if you have the phone number in your contact list, the name of the caller.  This convention makes it very easy to locate the call you are wanting to revisit.

Of course, a lot of this functionality is built into the application itself, so that you can perform basic management functions on your phone as well as listen to the recordings.  As you can see from the screenshot on the left, you save calls as “important” and even add memo’s to those conversations you want to document.  Another fun feature is the ability to “share” conversations via email or text, or via bluetooth or even through other popular services like Dropbox and Evernote.

And if you are a pack rat like me, the application provide numerous means of backing up the files and restoring them, even if you switch devices.  Automatic Call Recorder is distributed as “trialware,” meaning that you can use it for two weeks, after which time you must purchase it.


Yes, I have been on a reviewing kick in the past few months.  In December of last year I reprised an old article I had written as “A Day in the Life of a Smartphone Enabled Lawyer, which you can read here.  In it, I hinted at the upcoming trend of “wearables” that were about to hit the market.  For Christmas, I was the recipient of my first wearable device, the Sony Smartwatch SW2.  It is actually Sony’s second foray into the wearable market, since their first connected “smart” watch, the SW1, has been available well over a year.  So now, I must extend my previous article and regale you with my thoughts on how to use this technology in the practice of the world’s second oldest profession.

sony3Actually, the Sony is only one in a burgeoning area of retail.  You’re sure to have heard of the Samsung Gear and/or perhaps the Pebble, the latter of which was a Kickstarter star prior to moving into the Siren’s Song of retail.  Even Apple is bringing a late dog to the hunt with the iWatch, although the rumour mill I still buzzing about when it will be released.  But there are at least a half dozen other positive contenders already on or near the market: the Qualcomm TOQ, COOKOO, Neptune PINE, i ‘m Watch, Martin, and Central Standard Timing’s CST-01 (just displayed at CES) are examples which come to mind.  The designs vary.  Some, like the CST-01, are high fashion bracelet designs, some are fairly normal looking watches, like the Martians and the Cookoo, some are B&W, such as the Pebble, while others are more like the color digital displays of the Sony and the Gear.

At first, I thought this was more of a splurge, even a gimmick, but since I am generally an “early adopter,” my family acquiesced to my request of Santa and gifted me with my choice, the Sony.  As I opened the package and began to play with it over the holidays, however, I soon to began to realize that this device was much more than a gimmick, it was productive technology.

Before I explain why, some of you may be wondering why I chose the Sony.  I chose the SW2 for number of reasons:  First, it’s second generation technology, which means Sony had a chance with the SW1 to work out some of the kinks;  Secondly, it was  much cheaper than most of the competitors, so I wanted to be frugal in my experimentations;  Thirdly, it’s closet competitor, the Samsung Gear, had a much lower battery life and a lump on the band that was it’s camera lens.  I didn’t like that, and the Gear was almost double the price.  Also, the Gear had the added flaw that it ONLY worked with the Galaxy Note and, although that is my phone, I didn’t want to be tied down to a proprietary technology.  If I wanted that, I would buy Apple!  Lastly, I think the SW2 is one of the more classic looking designs for a watch.

So, how is the smartwatch a productive addition to my day of lawyering?  It allows me to “cull” my communications without pulling my smartphone out of my pocket every few minutes.  When I receive an email now, it comes into Aquamail, which I have installed on both my phone and my watch.  I get a gentle vibration on my wrist, and then a little summary notification of who the mail is from.  Now, if the email is one of those annoying spam mails, I simply ignore it with a glance, and I get almost 10 of those type emails for every one critical email I receive from a client.  Right there, my day is ten time more efficient.

But that is not all.  Answering calls on your wrist is not as “Dick Tracy” fantasy as you might think.  I have my bluetooth earpiece connected to my phone and in my ear generally, or I have my phone connected to my car’s audio system.  When I receive a call now, I can simply look at my wrist and see who is calling, and then touch on answer to take the call IF I want to take it.  I no longer have to pull my phone out of my pocket or locate it in the middle of my desk to find who is calling.  Again, a quick glance is all that is needed and, if I want to take the call, it is routed to my headset like always.  It truly expedites the act of taking a call.  By the way, I can also MAKE phone calls using the wristwatch, since my entire phonebook is accessible on my wrist.  Not bad.

sony1One program that I use which bears mention is called “Watchit.”  It is installed on the Smartphone and will route the notifications from any app on my Android that I have selected.  If you are an Android user, you are familiar with the typical notification that appears in the bar at the top of the phone.  You can swipe down to access any notifications.  These are now accessible on my wristwatch in much the same manner.  I can swipe down on the watch anytime to see the notifications, or I can simply go the app and see the notifications. I use this feature for my to do list and a number of other apps on the Android.  Sweet.  This app provides notifications from your favorite applications, so you can tailor it to your needs.

As far as sending SMS from the smartwatch, that is entirely possible, although I find that I don’t use it often.  But, I have it set up so that I can send a template response if I need to in case I’m in a meeting and can’t get to my phone, that says just that.  Handy, again, for the ability to see the substance of the text message with a mere glance.  Again, a good filtering process for an active lifestyle.  You’re in a meeting, your wife needs a quick response, and you can discreetly respond without having to interrupt the tone of the meeting by yanking out your Galaxy Note and blinding everyone in the dimmed lighting of the restaurant! 

Of course, another fun advantage of a “smart” watch is the ability to change watch faces anytime you want.  You want a simple digital display (the default), no problem.  Do you prefer a more elegant, analog look?  Again, simple.  Or if you prefer graphics and pictures and all the razzle dazzle, that’s easy as well.  There are multiple applications for the SW2 that allow for a variety of watchfaces.  Clocki is one of my favorites, as is WatchFaces by NeFa.  The latter is particularly useful, as it allows you to change the watchfaces from the watch itself, whereas most of the others require that use the onboard app on the Android phone.  Definitely an advantage, but it comes with a much higher price tag and has “in-app” purchases of different styles of watch faces. 

So, in the end, I find that I am now relying on my SW2 as an important component of my day.  It’s subtle, but that’s how a watch should be.  It allows me to filter my productivity and focus on what I need to WHEN I NEED TO.  One of the problem with new technology in general is its ubiquitous nature:  it’s always there.  That leads people to believe that you should be accessible ALL THE TIME.  Remember the old days when you called someone who was not at home and it just rang?  You assumed they were not at home and went about your business and then called them back later!  In today’s society, we live by the rule of instant gratification.  We assume that they received our message or voicemail and wonder why they didn’t take the call!  The little bit of filtration offered by the smart, wearable technology might just give us a bit more control over who we communicate with.  At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.



February 24, 1955-October 5, 2011

“Steve was among the greatest of American innovators – brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it.” 

– President Barack Obama, October 5, 2011.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][T]he only way to be truly satisfied is to do great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

Death is very likely the single best invention of Life.  It is Life’s change agent.

[Stanford Commencement Address, 2005]

"My model for business is The Beatles.There were four guys who kept each others, kind of, negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other, and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. And that’s how I see In this Jan. 15, 2008, file photo, Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds up the new MacBook Air after giving the keynote address at the Apple MacWorld Conference in San Francisco. business. You know, great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.

["60 Minutes" interview, 2003]

“That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

[BusinessWeek, May 25, 1998]

In my mind, Steve jobs was one of the most original thinkers of our time.  When I teach copyright law at Belmont University in Nashville, one of the first lectures I deliver to my students regards the origins of an idea, that sliver of creativity that some lucky few of the human race get to reach up and grab, an original idea.  Some philosophers and thinkers would have us believe that there is no such thing as an original idea, that everything had a predecessor.  Even Solomon is quoted as saying that “there is nothing new under the sun.”  Any truth in that philosophy is obliterated by the life of a man like Steve Jobs.  –Barry Neil Shrum, Esquire


Let me preface this post by stating unequivocally that I own both the original iPhone 4 and the iPad2, and I recently purchased both a Macbook Pro and Air for my son and wife respectively, so I am not by all counts an anti-Appleit, although I still use an Intel-based desktop machine at work, where I do most of my serious work. 

But seriously, Apple, do you really think this new product release was a good idea?  How long have rabid Apple fans been waiting for yesterday’s announcement from the marketing saavy technology gurus that you have taught us you are?  Millions of faithful minions waited in anticipation, with bated breath, scouring the blogs for any leaked news of the brand spanking new “iPhone 5”: rumors of sleek new teardrop designs and a larger edge to edge screen with higher resolution circulated around the blogosphere for months.  There we photos of cases from manufacturers showing a larger body design.  There we photographs of mockups of the new “iPhone 5.”  There were SKU’s from Best Buy and Amazon showing the new pricing structures.  None of these stories or photographs were leaked accidentally on purpose, I’m sure.

So what was the reward for the patience of the inquisitive Apple fans?:  an incremental hardware update that merely catches up to the technology Android phones have had for many months now, together with an AI-based voice-recognition software technology purchased from the third party upstart Siri!   Not even enough to really get the full treatment of Tim Cook – responsibility for discussing the new phone fell to a SVP!

You would think that this seemingly obvious faux pas would put some serious doubt in minds of the Apple zealots who have sworn their blind allegiance to the house that Jobs built (Applebots,as I like to call them)?  But even as Apple’s stock declines in response to the announcement – Wall Street was not fooled – I’m sure millions of these Applebots will march happily into the squeaky-clean Apple Stores to purchase this pitiful excuse for an actual upgrade. 

So what exactly are the specifications of this new iPhone?  It is the iPhone 4 with an upgraded duo-core processor and an 8 megapixel camera (with “improved optics”).  That’s it.  Nothing earth shattering right?  Nothing, as I said, that Android phones haven’t had for many months now.  There were at least four Android phones in the U.S. marketplace that had these specifications six month ago.  Oh yes – lest I forget – the new iPhone 4s boasts an “improved” operating system – iOS 5 – that “introduces” Siri – an artificial intelligence-based software it purchased just a few months after the upstart company of the same name released the iPhone version of the application!  

I don’t know about you, but I tried Siri on an iPhone 3s many moons ago and quickly deleted it from my apps for lack of interests.  Still, it’s different Apple says, because we’ve integrated into the OS.  Many pundits – not paid I’m sure – are calling Siri a revolutionary product:  a “most exciting” artificially intelligent personal assistant app built into the operating system.  One blogger even dared to credit Apple with a “mind blowing” prophecy of the advent of this kind of interactive voice/touch technology back in the 80’s with the release of a video called “Knowledge Navigator” (see this Techcrunch post by Rip Empson).  Another blogger describes the software release as a “world-changing event.”  Is it now?  Let’s explore that assumption:

Siri started operations over four years ago, in December 2007.  It didn’t receive serious VC capitalization until late 2008 – though that’s not bad for an upstart.  The application was released without much fanfare and, as I said, had less than stellar performance as an app.  Nonetheless, Apple acquired the company in late 2010, in the midst of the growing rumor grist about the iPhone 5’s impending release in June 2011 (Apple’s old release schedule). 

So, my question to the bloggers who acclaim the amazing merits of Siri is this:  If Apple had the vision of this kind of application when it built the prototypical “Knowledge Navigator” in the late 80’s, why wasn’t it incorporated into their early devices (read, failures?) such as the Apple Newton?  Better yet, why wasn’t something similar incorporated into earlier versions of the iPhone?   Ah, you might argue, the technology hadn’t been invented yet.  This is new stuff from the minds of Apple.  They ad the prophetic foresight to recognize the merits of Siri and purchase the product.

Not so fast.  If we are going to bestow the moniker of to prophet on anyone with regard to the oracle of artificial intelligence, let’s start with Gene Roddenberry, whose tremendously successful Star Trek series foreshadowed humans talking to reasonably intelligent on-board computers that could understand, analyze, evaluate and respond to instructions better than any iPhone app – and long before the late 80s!  “Computer, what is the weather going to be like on Alpha Centauri?”   A sweet voice replies:  “Captain Kirk, the temperature on Alpha Centuari is approximately 5790 Kelvin.”  Or how about George Lucas, who in terms of a “Knowledge Navigator” conceived of C-3P0 years prior to Apple in the movie Star Wars.  C-3P0 was the lovable “protocol droid” who was fluent in over six million forms of communication, and interacted with humans to assist them in understanding etiquette, customs and translations as they gallivanted around the galaxy.

But, in terms of real world application and, dare I say true prophetic vision, let’s get really serious and discuss the work of John McCarthy and his team at Dartmouth College beginning in the mid 50s!  That’s when artificial intelligence was more than just prophesized, it was actually conceived, designed and implemented.  Indeed, some would maintain that the field of Artificial Intelligence was actually born there in Hanover, New Hampshire.  McCarthy and his team designed systems that would ultimately speak English better than most Americans and deftly work out complex mathematical problems and verbally solve intensely sophisticated logical theorems.  By comparison, Apple’s latest iteration of Siri is no more than the most recent iPhone version of that “Hello Teddy” bear that was so popular in the 80’s!  “Let’s play a game.”

One last gripe of mine that is slightly off topic:  why on earth, Apple, would you release a new iPhone model that IS NOT 4G COMPATIBLE?  Where is your sense of being a leader in cutting edge technology?  I understand, you don’t have to be.  You’ve sold your product to your minions of Applebots and you will continue to do so:  but don’t you have any pride?

Now, if I take a moment to step down from my soapbox, l can say that I see the tremendous value of Siri, and have as one of the early downloaders from its humble beginnings as an app.  But where I have to part ways with the Applebots is when they start describing the application as “earth shattering” and “mind blowing.”  What McCarthy and his team was mind blowing.  That research was years ahead of its time when computer technology was still in its nascent phase. 

In fact, I question whether Siri even has enough pizazz to sway those patient early adopters who have been waiting for months to purchase the “new” iPhone.  This is why I ask “Siri-ously Apple?”   Now, those poor misled people are left with only two options when it comes to the purchase of a new phone:  (1) buy the incremental upgrade to the iPhone 4 or (2) wait 8-12 months for the real iPhone 5 to be released.  The problem is, if they do wait, these people will still have no certainty of what features the next release will have or whether it will be yet another incremental upgrade (perhaps with 4g capabilities, hmmmm?).

And that brings me to crux of my point at last:  there is a third real and very viable option:  they can choose to buy an Android!  Why wait for the new technology that might be on the iPhone 5 in 6-8 months when the technology is here right now.  No longer are Android phones second fiddle in terms of design.  They have really nice, 4+ inch screens with super amoled screens and dual core processors boasting performance beyond that of the iPhone. They have – Apple forbid – external storage.  The can run flash programming, which is still a prominent feature of the web, despite Apple’s stubborn refusal to incorporate it into their phones (ask yourself, why can an Apple desktop run flash programming, and yet an iPhone or iPad cannot?).  Many model are, in fact, vastly superior to anything Apple has on the market.  In fact, as of August 2010, Android sets overtook iPhone sales by a margin of 27% of all U.S. phone sales as compared to 23% for Apple (Source: Nielson Company).   Judging from initial reports about the disappointment over Apple’s latest offering, this trend is likely to explode in the next few months as Android manufacturers begin to release their latest offerings for the holiday season.

But, a true Applebot may say, what about the millions of apps that are available for the iPhone?  Recently reports indicate that there are approximately 400,000 apps available for the iPhone as compared to just over half of that for Android as of this month.  If you remove all the really useless apps from Apple – tilting beer mugs, fart machines, etc. etc. – then the numbers are even much closer than that.  There are very few productivity applications that are available on the iPhone which are not available for the Android.  The Android even has a slew of artificial intelligence based applications that can perform many of the same functions as Siri, although not as integrated into the system.  Finally, if we count in terms of downloads, Android is actually the winner:  it overtook iPhone last month with just over 8 million applications downloaded.  So, this is not such an issue anymore.

Bottom line:  Apple is losing its spark.  It is losing its sex appeal.  For the first time in a long time, it is losing its market saavy, which will soon show up in market share.  Alas, it is losing touch with the consumer.  Most in the majority are NOT Applebots.  They don’t blindly purchase anything Apple throws out for consumption the way teenagers blindly purchases Dr. Dre headphones that are vastly inferior to almost any other headphone on the market sold at a third of the price.  We evaluate.  We compare.  When he or she can buy, just as an example, a Samsung Galaxy IIs with superior specifications as compared to the latest, newest iPhone at the same or lower prices, the typical consumer begins to see the flaws in the fairy tale that was Apple.  And perhaps those millions that waited patiently for the iPhone 5 will look elsewhere, beyond the incremental, “catch-up” upgrade.  A recent article in the New York Times points out this strong trend in consumer behavior that is likely to be fueled by Apple’s incremental reasoning.  With it’s lackluster announcement, even Apple’s new deal with Sprint may not be able to save them from the consumers’ inevitable recognition of this new design for what it is:  a mere incremental upgrade.  It’s sad to see the iPhone fall into that same loop of incremental upgrades that both the MacBook and the Air have been stuck in for years.  Nothing exciting, just speed boosts and software tweaks.  Yes, it’s faster.  Yes, Lion is pretty.  Yes, like the app screen – but it’s nothing astonishing.  It’s sad that Apple is becoming nothing more than one of many.  They used to have an edge.  And perhaps that is the most sad fact of all:  Apple has shown us nothing in this upgrade that is earth-shattering or mind blowing.  And, after all, that’s what we have come to expect from Apple isn’t it?   Siri-ously!

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Origins of an Idea–Nothing New Under the Sun?

It was allegedly King Solomon who declared “there is nothing new under the sun!” Now a recent strain of thought seeks to recast King Solomon’s casual observation in order to challenge the basis of U.S. copyright laws, i.e., original ideas. This line of reasoning is perhaps best exemplified in the popular cult film by Brett Gaylor entitled RIP, A Remix Manfesto, inspired by his need to defend the work of his favorite mash up artist, Girltalk. Gaylor makes no bones about his attack on ideas, explaining to his audience near the beginning of the film that this is “a film about the war of ideas, where the Internet is the battleground.” So be it. Let’s debate the film’s primary cornerstone, the first and foundational clause of the Remix Manifesto, which is that “Culture always borrows from the past.” Is that true? Let’s look at what Jefferson said about ideas:

That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. – Thomas Jefferson

To be fair to Gaylor, let me initially point out that the entire ReMix Manifesto, and certainly the ideology that undergirds it, is actually borrowed from Dr. Lawrence Lessig, who is a professor at Stanford Law School. Lessig develops the thesis in his book, Remix: Making Art & Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy. Lessig is prominently featured in the film and Gaylor does not shy away from his support of Lessig’s thesis.

Now back to the premise that “culture always borrows from the past.” Without getting too far down the path towards the logical fallacy of drawing a universal conclusion from purely inductive reasoning (as Gaylor does in the film), such a conclusion is, at best, probable, and not definitive. Further, it is only probable if one can assume the truth of the premises used to support the conclusion, for the instant a person can find but one example of an contradicting premise – i.e., in this case an example of something that does not borrow from the past – then the conclusion must be flawed.

Can we find such an example, or are King Solomon and Dr. Lessig correct? Is there no original thought? I personally have a hard time accepting this premise. Spawning original ideas or creating an original thought is, in my humble opinion, what separates us and truly defines us as a species. Sure, the human species uses words, notes, colors, shapes, etc. as the building blocks of its ideas. In that sense, yes, we are using “the past” to create, at least in some fundamental sense. But if you think about it, you’ve heard the old postulation that if you put 50 monkeys in a room filled with typewriters they are statistically incapable of creating a work of Shakespeare simply by striking out random characters on the page and even, perhaps, hitting upon a string of a few words every so often! This illustrates the proposition that the mere existence of the building blocks does not negate original nor creative thought.

King_SolomonEvery now and again, albeit perhaps rare, a human being has a spark of an idea: something is invented or created – something original and unique – that changes, even if only in a small senses, the very nature of life for all humans that follow. It is these original thoughts that propel us forward toward the destiny that is mankind’s, affected forever by the new idea. What it must have been like to be around in the days when the first human species began to formulate language. Creating symbols, be it words or drawings, that communicated their thoughts to another human being. To have been present when the first rudimentary tools were developed to perform the tasks necessary to sustain one’s life in a hostile environment. In the film, Gaylor makes the point that Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press occurred during a time when the “public domain” flourished. His use of this example is, in this case, ironic, since the printing press can truly be defined as one of those creative bursts of unique ideas that only come along one is a few millennia. Since that invention, perhaps only the creation of the Internet has affected the world as much as Gutenberg’s original thought.

So, with these examples, I ask what part of the past did they build on? One might argue that language “borrowed” from the idea of communicating through gestures. Another will say that Gutenberg incorporated language and writing and therefore borrowed from the past. But only in the most general of senses can one seriously maintain that these remarkably useful and unique ideas sustain the principle that “culture always borrows from the past.” I maintain that these are examples of those brilliant moments in human history when someone has that flash of an original idea – whether inspired by God, by his or her muse, by hallucinogenic means, or by heartburn – and creates something that is uniquely and totally new, something that does not, in any substantive sense, borrow from the past. In that moment, we witness the origins of an idea. Perhaps more importantly, when that original idea is expressed in a tangible format, we see the origins of a copyright in the U.S., a copyright that is protectable as a limited monopoly for the life of the author plus seventy years.

In that last conclusion lies the crux of the problem. Lessig and Gaylor make their proposition in the context of trying to solve a perceived problem with current copyright laws: because the length of protection has been extended, there are fewer works going into to public domain and therefore fewer ideas from which to borrow. As a result, “artists” like Girltalk who use pre-existing copyright sound recordings to “mash” together and “create” new songs have fewer popular songs to work with.

In Remix, Lessig says that this results in the criminalization of copying ideas and that, therefore, we should deregulate amateur creativity and decriminalize file sharing. In his words, “chill the ‘control freaks.’” This is where Lessig jumps in to save the day with his “creative commons” license, which uses existing copyright concepts to allow an author to “issue” a license allowing anyone to freely use his or her work, with the only requirement being that of attribution. Ironically enough, Lessig has copyrighted his own books and has, to date at least, not issued a creative commons license for Remix! Now who’s the control freak?

In regard to this issue of works no longer falling into the public domain, while it may be true that extending the period of protection has the effect of slowing down the process, the fact is that our forefathers, primarily Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Charles Pinckney, clearly anticipated and struggled with the concept that “ideas should spread freely” – as Jefferson says in the quote above – but nonetheless built appropriate safeguards into the copyright provision of the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 8), providing that Congress may protect the works of “authors and inventors” for “a limited time.” While one can argue, perhaps, that the period of a “limited time” has been grossly exaggerated, one cannot argue that the public domain concept has been abolished.

Frankly, as I see it, giving up on the concept of original thought is not the foundation upon which we as a society should build a debate against the current construct. We should cling to that concept, for it is in that moment – that origin of an original idea – that persons can distinguish themselves from the past, not borrow from it. It is at that moment that our culture is propelled into the future. It is at that moment, I believe, that we are truly alive.

By Barry Neil Shrum & Nathan Drake

Since before the day that Napster was a twinkle in Sean Parker’s eye – well over a decade ago now – the legal and music industries have each struggled with ways to cope with and transform their dusty old business models from the physical status quo to the digital revolution. After the industry watchdog, the RIAA, initially targeted the Diamond Multimedia’s Rio MP3 player and then Parker, and then finally individuals were illegally downloading, the major record labels began to realize something: that perhaps the fact that consumers were downloading music illegally was merely a symptom of the problem rather than the source of the problem. So, the RIAA also began suing P2P file-sharing websites that sprang up instantly in the place of Napster, websites like Kazaa and LimeWire. While this method proved to be a bit more effective, the process still accomplished little in preventing future P2P file sharing services from materializing, each taking the place of its predecessor and each growing as rapidly as the one before. In yet another continuing effort to solve the music industry’s nightmare, new legislation has been introduced to Senate which is entitled “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act.” (S. 3804)

The purpose of the “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” (COICA) is to provide owners of intellectual property additional weapons in the battle against illegal downloading. As indicated, the inherent difficulty of deterring and prosecuting these myriad individuals who aimagere profiting off copyrighted materials is that they easily hide behind the anonymous wall of the Internet. Many of the sites providing access to this illegal property are situated well off the shores of the United States, overseas and beyond the long reach of the court’s jurisdiction.

Another problem is the sheer mass of the problem. One study indicates that as much as 1 in 4 Internet users download illegal music – an astonishing statistic! Let me state that another way: 25% of the traffic on the Internet is to sites that allow illegal downloading of copyrighted material, be it digital books, movies or music.

As Senator Leahy, one of the sponsors of COICA says, it is essential that the government enforce a

“means for preventing the importation of infringing goods by rogue websites, particularly for sites that are registered overseas.”

Through focusing on the domain names, COICA gives the Department of Justice the authority to pursue and prosecute offending website, both domestically and abroad. Incentivizing and rewarding creative endeavors remains the core ideology of American copyright protection, and instilling this value in our society is crucial if our society will continue to create. According to the Chamber of Commerce, “…American intellectual property accounts for more than $5 trillion and IP-intensive industries employ more than 18 million workers.” Therefore, protecting this integral aspect of American ingenuity and economy should be a priority.

Additionally, COICA provides universal jurisdiction to the Department of Justice in pursuing and prosecuting domain names that solicit American intellectual property in the United States. If the law succeeds, individuals committing copyright infringement will no longer be able to hide behind the protection of their native country, without fearing that their action can and will be pursued by the United States.

In addition, COICA allows third party participants to be prosecuted for “enabling” the website to sustain itself and lend legitimacy to the practices and products of the website. As Senator Leahy states, “These [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][third] parties monetize the Internet site by enabling U.S. consumers to access the infringing website, to purchase content and products off the website, and to view advertisements on the website. Without partnering with these entities, the financial incentive to run an infringing Internet site is greatly diminished.” Those directly and indirectly supporting copyright infringement will be prosecuted.

For the purposes of COICA, the government defines a website as, “dedicated to infringing activities.” Due to the outstanding number of infringing websites, the government intends to pursue only the most “egregious rogue websites that are trafficking in infringing goods.” To be considered an infringing website, one of two criteria must be identified. First, the website exhibits the “existing threshold for forfeiture” under U.S.C. 2323, or the website reveals no commercial value and intends to only sell copyrightable items protected under Title 17 of the United States Code.

One of the primary opponents to the passage of COICA is the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Although CEA supports and agrees with the general direction of COICA, they feel its vague and wide reaching language could potentially harm legitimate businesses that are not committing copyright infringement. CEA says, “Our primary concern is that the scope of S. 3804 was significantly broader than its intended purpose of shutting down ‘rogue’ or foreign websites solely engaging in the exchange of pirated content or goods.” The ambiguous language of COICA could potentially diminish previous milestone cases according to CEA, including the “Betamax Case” determined by the Supreme Court in 1984.

While the technological environment is constantly changing and creating new hurdles for the consumer and business, the importance of copyright protection still remains. A constantly transforming environment requires innovative and relevant legislation to meet the creative needs of our culture. In an attempt to counter this decade long battle, legislation like COICA would allow the government to target the source of global piracy, and enforce the relevance and weight of American copyright protection. But our legislators must be certain to craft language that does not impede the rights of its citizens. Balance is need lest we resort to the overreaching, irrational, and over reactive activity the RIAA engaged itself in over the past decade.


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My belated Father’s Day gift this year was a brand, spanking new iPhone 4 32mb!  So, now that I’ve been using it for about two weeks, I decided to share my thoughts and insights, particularly since I’ve previously blogged about my love/hate relationship with Apple and the predecessor phones.  I am a staunch Windows 7 user, and have my doubts about the seriousness of anyone who uses the Apple operating system!  Just kidding really.

Without a doubt, the first thing you notice about the new iPhone is the superior clarity of tiphone4mainbigfront he 960×640 screen. It’s brighter, fonts are clearer, pictures more vibrant and, overall, it’s simply much more impressive.  Don’t’ take my word for it, hold one up next to your old iPhone and you’ll see the difference instantly.  The 480×320 screen on the older phones appear almost muddy by comparison.  Apple doubled the pixels per inch, and it shows.  They also increased the contract ratio to 800:1.  In the end, the resolution upgrade alone is worth the price of admission!

The next design element I noticed was the shape.  The new iPhone 4 is very distinct from its predecessors in its very UN-zen-like feel, stepping toward a more “slate” type approach.  That can be either a good or bad choice, depending upon your perspective, and how much you liked the original Zen-like design.  I personally really liked the “Zen Stone” feel of the original, with it’s rounded back and corners.  My previous model was the white 3g (oh, sorry Apple, I probably shouldn’t mention the “white” right now huh?).  That said, the new shape and feel have grown on me and I actually like the new aesthetics, although it did take some adjustments in my holding style.  The new model is much starker, with metal edges, creating an almost industrial feel (the very same edges that give the iPhone 4 it’s trademark reception problems).  The phone is more slender than its predecessors as well, which gives the misleading appearance of a smaller screen.  It’s not – actually they are identical in size at 89 mm.  The edges also give the appearance that the 4 is thicker than its ancestory.  Again, it’s not.  It’s actually shaved thinner – 2 mm to be precise!

Putting aside the incredible screen, the next real beauty of this new model is the software revisions.  Many of my faithful readers will recall my constant berating of Apple about the lack of multi-tasking, something the very first Palm Pilots could pull off with ease.  So, how many years and version upgrades have we been through?  Having poked at the giant enough, I will state unequivocally that Apple’s implementation of this mission critical component is very well done.  Two clicks on the home button and up pops a menu at the bottom showing all running applications and allowing you to move between them.  One can, for example, read a book and take notes, or time a runner and jot down the time.  I know, these seem like simple, ordinary tasks, but try that on an older iPhone!  One feature of multitasking that would be an improvement in future version, however, is the ability to shutdown all applications without having to individually close them.  After several hours of use, the multiple applications begin to pile up and exhaust valuable resources.  But, that caveat expressed, I am SO happy to have multi-tasking on my iPhone.  I was beginning to miss those days with my Palm.

Another one of my expressly desired features that did NOT appear on this new model is the week view in the calendar.  It might sound like a petty request, but in the business world, many people rely on the week view for advance planning and scheduling.  And please, don’t tell me about the “List” view – a more useless apparatus I have never witnessed – it is simply not a replacement for the week view!  Ironically, Apple HAS implemented the weekview feature on its enigmatic iPad.  I was so put out when I found this.  “So, why can’t I have it too?” I asked The “Genius” at the store.  She tells me it is planned for a future version, but I don’t know if I trust The Genius.  Apple’s sin is further amplified by the fact that because of its proprietary philosophy it will not allow third party software designers to access the code to their precious default programs, so no one can even design a work around!  Pocket Informant has a beautiful weekview in its application, but you are relegated to using Google Calendar, not the Apple default.  So, this complicates issues with Exchange servers and is not a good work around.  Ok, so enough of my bitching, let’s get back to the many things I LIKE about the 4!

Let’s talk folders!  Another sadly missing item was rectified by the new operating system by the addition of the foldering system.  Now, instead of 10 or so unorganized pages containing a hodge podge of programs, I have one main screen with my most utilized programs, and a page and one half of folders!  An organizational system in a Personal Information Manager, imagine that!  It’s truly great.

There are, of course, many other wonder additions on the iPhone 4 – the 5 mp camera and front facing camera, video conferencing, gyroscope, etc. —  but these are my initial thoughts.

Over the next few months, I will be sharing some of my favorite applications on the iPhone with you, but suffice it to say that the new iPhone is working out quite nicely.  I highly recommend an upgrade if you’re considering it and/or are waivering.  There is a a good comparison at Wikipedia.