Reddit, the “id” of the Internet, announces a new policy against the harassment that made it what it is today. There’s an irony behind the Reddit harrassment policy that won’t be lost on anyone who has ever had to deal with the service.
The European Union is about to file antitrust charges against Google, The New York Times reports. If found guilty of abusing its market dominance — Google controls 90 percent of search in Europe — it may have to pay a six billion Euro fine. That’s equivalent to 10 percent of Google’s annual profits.
But the worst thing for Google isn’t the prospective fine, says aNewDomain legal analyst Tom Ewing. It’s that the firm will likely have to substantially change its business practices. The claim against Google is around complaints that Google favors it own products and services, non search-related, when someone in Europe uses Google to search. The complaints came from Microsoft, TripAdvisor, Yelp and others. The EU announcement this week culminates a five-year investigation, during which Google didn’t do enough to satisfy EU complaints.
That’s the whole point of anticompetition law and, likely, the EU antitrust charges against Europe. But here is a possible out for Google: Buy Europe!
aNewDomain exclusive Auckland, NZ, 01.04.2015 — Apple is soon to announce a smart firearm and will unveil the new weapon, called the Apple Gun, at a special scheduled to coincide with next spring’s Las Vegas Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade show, the largest gathering of gun fans and dealers in the nation.
The event, according to documents leaked to aNewDomain reporters at the Auckland Gun Show in New Zealand, will be timed to coincide with Apple’s 40th anniversary celebration in early April 2016.
The Apple Gun is a continuation of the Cupertino giant’s strategy of expanding its reach beyond personal computing into other products, like its planned Apple Car and widely-anticipated Apple Drone, sources close to the effort told aNewDomain.
Legal correspondent T. E. Wing unearthed Apple’s Apple Gun patent application, as filed with US Patent & Trademark Office, in August 2014. A rendering of the Apple Gun as Apple lawyers drew it in the Apple Gun patent application is below. At this writing, the patent is still pending.
Apple PR woman Katie Cotton refused to comment on the Apple Gun information that sources revealed to aNewDomain, saying Apple does not confirm or deny “rumors or unannounced products, however slim and sexy.” Apple CEO Tim Cook, contacted via his Google + account, refused to comment on the report, saying simply: “Imagine.”
Luckily, we don’t have to. Early ad copy obtained by aNewDomain reveals a forthcoming Apple-branded firearm that is is “beautiful, simple and accurate.” Not necessarily affordable to every consumer, Apple Gunis about to do for personal protection what the Apple iPhone did to the telephone, sources say.
The ad copy, leaked to aNewDomain at the New Zealand firearms convention early today, continues:
Imagine a firearm that doesn’t make a sound when fired. A weapon that doesn’t look ominous, but to the contrary, sports beautiful design that fits in at the office, at Whole Foods, even in the classroom. A gun with state-of-the-art quality front and center, making accidental maimings a thing of the past.
“A weapon for design freaks and liberals,” comments one source, speaking on condition of anonymity. “It’s brilliant. And deadly.”
“Though it’s going to surprise some of the company’s crunchy NPR-listening client base, this is a logical move for Apple,” said Shell Jackson, an analyst at Goldman Sachs’ tech division. And it’s just the beginning.
“Guns are a $32 billion a year business in the United States. Not only is Apple Gun a smartplay for market share in an industry that hasn’t seen a major design development since the demise of the flintlock, it will familiarize the red states – currently PC country – with the Apple brand.” He adds:
“Once Apple Gun has achieved significant market share, it will expand throughout the weapons and munitions sector into high-caliber heavy weapons, long-range missiles and laserguided bombs, armed drones, maybe even nuclear.”
Featuring smooth, clean lines, a clickwheel and translucent whiteness, Apple Gun is the culmination of Steve Jobs’ last product initiative, Project DeepSix, which was initiated 17 months before his death with the goal of reimagining the handgun. “What if guns were invented today? They wouldn’t be hypermasculine death machines for dimwitted nativist jocks. They’d be pretty. They’d have multiple functionalities: text messaging and other telecommunications, music player, flashlight, sports fitness applications, all tethered to your iPhone and uploaded to iCloud. They’d simplify our lives with beautiful design,” Jobs, a Buddhist known for his angry rants, told his team from his hospital bed, angrily yet calmly.
The Apple Gun “will free the gun from the gun owner,” the source said.
According to an internal company memo accidentally shared to a Dropbox folder owned by an Indian restaurant in Mountain View, California, Apple Gun “will revolutionize the gun concept” by “freeing the gun from the gun owner.”
Let’s say, for example, that you’re worried about someone breaking into your home while you’re at work. Simply leave Apple Gun on a table near your front door. A laser-activated sensor will notify you if someone enters, flash their image to your iPhone, which then relays to your Apple Watch, which must be fully charged to work properly.
If you don’t know the person, press “Y” to fire. If it’s your cleaning lady, press “N.”
What if you want to kill someone, or many someones, but you are too busy to stop them or lay in wait for them? Subscribers to the premium version of Apple’s iCloud storage service can load high-resolution photographs or personal descriptions of the target subjects, rank them in order of kill priority, sync up their Apple Gun, and violà! Just like that, thanks to Apple’s patented iHead facial-recognition software, whenever the intended victim steps anywhere near the line of fire, termination is automatic and guaranteed.
The twin problem is still being worked on.
A brief look at the Apple Gun patent application reveals a number of intriguing firearm tech features.
Merging traditional bullets and heat-seeking missile technology, Apple’s proprietary iBullet ammunition costs $100 each and will be sold in clips of 20.
Thanks to special casing and the replacement of gunpowder by the release of an electric charge, the dynamic rotation of the iBullet is fueled by the spin of the Earth’s electromagnetic field, working around the laws of physics that create that unpleasant bang in traditional modern firearms.
The last thing you’ll hear before an Apple Gun kills you is a soft “poof,” like the sound emanating from an especially mellow baby blowing a very tiny bubble.
Relatively small at the traditional barrel equivalent of .375 caliber, Apple Bullets locate a target’s heartbeat and follow it anywhere, even around corners. Upon striking flesh, DNA analysis determines the species of the victim as well as its obesity (or lack thereof), telling the bullet to travel the precise distance to the center of its heart before releasing its explosive charge.
Apple engineers on the gun team spent two years killing, and attempting to kill various life forms at a secret research facility in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, near the site of the annual Burning Man festival. It is pictured at left.
“It’s a combination of experimentation, algorithms and good luck,” explained one member of the team on the condition of anonymity. “Provided the gun is fully charged” – battery power, company insiders concede, has not yet been fully optimized – “you can take out a rhesus monkey, a rattlesnake, a groundhog, a capybara or a drug-enraged human sociopath at 250 meters with 99.965% accuracy,” he said.
I for one am excited — no, thrilled — about the forthcoming Apple Gun. You know, I wouldn’t buy a gun. But you can take my smartgun out of my cold dead hands.
San Francisco kicked them out of Baghdad by the Bay. Now the controversial app MonkeyParking may face a similar fate in Santa Monica and Los Angeles. Got a good parking space? You could sell it with the MonkeyParking app
Bay Area TV station KRON explains how the app works: “If you launch the free MonkeyParking app on your phone and click request a spot, monkey faces pop up. Those are street parking spots near you that other MonkeyParking app users currently have their car parked in but they are willing to sell. You can offer them $5, $10, $15 or $20 for that spot. If they accept, the two of you switch out your cars in the parking spot.”
Not since Los Angeles and other cities announced that they would install sensors in on-street parking spaces that would reset the meter to zero when a car pulls out — depriving the next motorist of the occasional extra few minutes left, and transferring the “extra” cash into city coffers — has a parking story made my blood boil more.
Some members of L.A. City Council seem to agree with me.
They’ve proposed a ban on MonkeyParking and similar apps.
As The Times reported last week, “Councilman Mike Bonin, who asked for the legislation, likened [the MonkeyParking app] to ‘pimping out public parking spots.’
“‘This is not the sharing economy, it’s the stealing economy,’ Bonin said. ‘They are taking a public asset and effectively privatizing it.’”
To paraphrase Elvis Costello, I can’t decide whether to be disgusted or amused. On one level, you have to admire the ingenuity of people who figure out a way to use technology to further separate society into haves and have-nots in order to skim a profit. They sure are smart. Like a mad scientist.
On the other hand, there are certain things that, if you come up with them, you should decide not to invent. Atomic bombs. New forms of torture. How to monetize public space for private gain.
As far as I can tell, no one has brought this up yet, but I foresee a public safety threat if this app is allowed to proliferate. I’m a gentle, nonviolent guy, but even I couldn’t guarantee my reaction if I pulled up to a parking space where a dude is sitting in an idling car, clearly ready to leave but refusing to go until his $20 parking app appointment shows up and swoops in ahead of me.
This is especially true if he tries to explain it.
Me: “Who’s this guy? I’ve been waiting for your space.”
Idling driver: “This is part of the new ‘sharing economy.’ Like Airbnb and Lyft. This guy either needed the space more than you or is able to afford it more than you, because he was willing to pay $20 for it. I’m very sorry you’re going to miss your job interview or your pitch meeting or your audition or your last chance to visit your dying mother. Life is tough, but $20 is $20.”
But this is a big world and a big city, and there are lots of people who just had a very bad day. Some of them are big and some of them have guns. This can’t be a good idea.
Ted Rall is the political cartoonist at ANewDomain.net, editor-in-chief of SkewedNews.net, a graphic novelist and author of many books of art and prose, and an occasional war correspondent. He is the author of the biography "Trump," to be published in July 2016.