Tech Update 3


Tech updates are back!

Apple gets tough on explicit material:

For a few days now I’ve been reading a lot about Apples decision to get tough on some of the more indecent apps in the Apple App store. They’ve removed some 5,000 apps from the store that they deem explicit or pornographic. Many are angry over what they see as blatant hypocricy, as Apple has let the Sports Illustrated swimsuit app, the Playboy app and the Hooters App stay in the store. Apple is saying that they are letting some of the more established companies stick around. Maybe they don’t want the image of an indie porn dealer or some back alley porn shop.

I knew someone was going to say this and they did, this is an email from an app developer that came into Mobile Industry Review:

I’m not usually to swayed by what companies do, but Apple’s censorship has really ticked me off. OK the apps they binned were probably crap (on that basis alone, they should kill another 100,000 or so), but Apple has no right to tell me what I might be offended by.

Actually, unknown developer, they have every right to censor what ever they want. They are a private company and private companies can censor what they want to censor, for what ever reason they want to. I’ve seen it happen, working for a radio station you are bound to see programs come and go, and the ones that go are sometimes nixed because they are offensive to some people. I don’t like throwing the word “right” around like it doesn’t mean anything.

One of the many apps that got a notice of deletion was the Simply Beach app that allows women (or men if they really wanted too) to shop for swimwear on the iPhone.

From Cult of Mac:

As previously reported, Apple pulled the app by Simply Beach, an online beachwear retailer, as part of its great sexy apps purge over the weekend. Among other things, the Simply Beach app sold bikinis. On Friday, Simply Beach received an email from Apple about the decision to remove any overtly sexual content from the store and that included the Simply Beach application. “The email also made mention to numerous complaints they had received from customers regarding ‘this type of content’ and implied it was these complaints which had led to the changes,” says the app’s developer, Andrew Long. He added that Simply Beach thought this was a hoax. A few hours ago, the Simply Beach app was again available on the App Store. Neither Long nor Simply Beach received any communication whatsoever from Apple, Long said in an email. The same thing seems to have happened with Daisy Mae’s Alien Buffet, a 12+  rated game that was pulled presumably because it features a female lead character in short shorts. Like Simply Beach, the game is quietly back on the App Store. Again, there has been no communication from Apple. It’s pretty clear that Apple’s doing damage limitation here, reinstating the high-profile apps, although iWobble is still banned.

There are issues like this that will inevitably come up and Apple seems be dealing with them. Its funny to see a company that has a fairly zealous young liberal backing be anything but young and liberal. This is a move that I commend, good on you Apple for taking a stand in a world where stands seldom are taken.

Read more at the New York Times and Tech Flash.

Wal-Mart enters the online video business:

Wal-mart has purchased a small company out of Silicon Valley called Vudu. Vudu’s business model centers around getting entertainment, movies and television shows to people with HDTV’s and Blu-Ray players. It seems as though they are looking to compete with some of the more established companies like NetFlix, which have similar services and offer those services on a lot of different hardware platforms.

From the New York Times:

At the International Consumer Electronics Show in January, Vudu announced deals to put its service into devices made by Samsung, Sanyo, Sharp and Toshiba and said it was expanding its older relationships with LG Electronics, Vizio and Mitsubishi. Panasonic and Sony are the only major manufacturers that have not yet added the Vudu service to their devices. With Wal-Mart, one of their biggest retailers, taking it over, manufacturers will now have another reason to include Vudu. Vudu competitors like Netflix, of course, are cutting similar deals with manufacturers, who are happy to build multiple services into their devices and make them more versatile. Vudu has sought to distinguish itself from its rivals by bragging about its large catalog of high-definition movies, its simple user interface and its integration of other Internet services like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Pandora.

To tie this story into the previous story, aparently Vudu has a pretty big pornography collection, something that Wal-Mart is not going to stand for.

Vudu also has a plentiful selection of pornographic movies available to its customers. A person briefed on the Wal-Mart deal said the retailer would close down that category “immediately.”

For those of you who have Playstation3 and XBOX360 I don’t know that there is too much that you can be happy with here, 360 and PS3 both have NetFlix capabilities, PS3 has the Sony Store, which I think is a bit pricey and you can also use programs like TVersity and PlayOn to stream sites like YouTube and Hulu.

FCC released a profile of Americans least likely to use broadband, as they try to bring the internet to all Americans:

It seems the government wants some of the action that the internet has to offer. As the recession rages on and people are without work the government is focusing some of its efforts on making sure that all Americans can have the internet.  The FCC has released a report on who is least likely to use the internet.

From the Wall Street Journal:

About 35% of Americans aren’t using high-speed Internet at home, the FCC says. Older Americans, the less-educated, lower-income Americans and some minority groups – including non-English speaking Hispanics – as less likely than average to subscribe to broadband. The agency is releasing the report Tuesday morning at an event in Washington. Only four percent of American households don’t have access to any high-speed broadband at home, the survey says, which means 31% of households aren’t subscribing for other reasons.

To paraphrase the WSJ, this is how the demographics brake down:

Digitally Distant: 10% of American population. Mostly elderly and retired.

Digital Hopefuls: 8% of the America population  these people can’t pay for internet. 26% Hispanic and 20% African American. Some are digitally illiterate.

Digitally Uncomfortable: They make up 7% of Americas population. They have the money but don’t buy internet because of a lack of skills or they don’t feel too comfortable with the internet.

Near Converts: 10% of the American population. They have internet, but Its generally dial up. They don’t like paying and they have high-speed internet at work.

This kind of stuff always scares me, because once the government start providing internet for everyone, then it makes it a lot easier for them to regulate the web, something that does not need to happen at all.

From Broadband.gov:

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) was signed into law on February 17, 2009. The Broadband Initiatives funded in the Act are intended to accelerate broadband deployment across the United States. The Recovery Act authorizes the FCC to create a National Broadband Plan, that “shall seek to ensure that all people of the United States have access to broadband capability and shall establish benchmarks for meeting that goal.”

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