22:57 PM

Newswatch 7.2.07: iPhone activation woes, the threat to China, hackers' delight

AT&T tries to fix iPhone woes

[Wash Post] While blogs continue to simmer with complaints from people who waited months to buy an iPhone and now are experiencing problems activating it, AT&T Inc. said Sunday that the situation has improved. "We are working on any issues on an individual basis with customers who were impacted," said Michael Coe, a spokesman for AT&T.

iPhone: brilliant device, horrendous activation

[Ryan Irelan] The biggest frustration I had was that everytime I called I got a different answer as to why my phone wasn’t activated. Once a rep even blamed Apple and their email server were backlogged. I confirmed that the final activation email is triggered by AT&T, but from a quick look at the headers is coming from Apple servers (Xserves, actually). I do not, however, think Apple was the bottleneck here. Do I know that for sure? No, I don’t. I don’t anything for sure about this whole situation because everyone at AT&T was treating it like a magical voodoo process, which was in the hands of a server and no one could change anything.

Asia fears impact of the iPhone

[NYT] “Apple’s impact will be bigger than Asian handset makers think,” said Kim Yoon-ho, an analyst in Seoul at Prudential Securities. “The iPhone is different from previous mobile phones. It is the prototype of the future of mobile phones.” The fear now is that Apple may repeat in wireless communications what it accomplished in portable music with the iPod: changing the industry. Manufacturers like Samsung Electronics and Sony could find themselves wondering what hit them, say analysts and industry executives.

Race is on to hack iPhone

[Computerworld] By Sunday night (U.S. time), hackers had made progress towards circumventing the iPhone activation process, gaining access to key system files and finding two passwords used with the phone, according to the iPhone Dev Wiki.
"I think by the end of tomorrow we'll have an activation crack," one user wrote on the site.

Text-friendly hopefuls vie for hearts and thumbs

[Wash Post] "Your cellphone is probably the one piece of technology that is with you all the time," said Joe Rospars, Obama's new-media director. He oversees the mobile campaign, which kicked off a few days ago. "The reality is, I don't think there's a campaign or a political organization right now that has figured out how to smartly use this technology. There's going to be a lot of experimentation."

Murder, (s)he Wiki'd

[Wash Post] Investigators had not yet discovered the bodies of pro wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife and their 7-year-old son when someone altered Benoit's Wikipedia entry to mention his wife's death, authorities said.

Public Enemy turns to digital distributor

[NYT] TuneCore, a digital music distributor, is expected to announce that Public Enemy, one of the seminal hip-hop groups, will use its service for its new album.

Scamming African scam artists

[NYT] Prized scam-baiter trophies include photographs of the practitioners and their accomplices holding signs intended to humiliate them and saying things like “I am a bad person” or making statements that are unsuitable for print. The Web site 419eater.com uses photos of scam practitioners holding signs as navigation tools for the site.
One scam-bait video that turned into a YouTube hit shows scam artists in a Lagos grocery store acting out the dead parrot sketch from “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”

RoboCops and Soldiers

[AP] "Right now, we have no plans to take any robot with a lethal-weapon approach to the market," Jim Rymarcsuk of iRobot said. "For this system, and all systems we have looked at, there is a human in the loop making the decisions. This in no way is giving
the robot the capability to use force on its own."

Hackers target execs and families

[InfoWorld] E-mails contained the name and title of the executive in the subject line, as well as a malicious Microsoft Word document containing executable code. The hackers are trying to trick the victim into thinking the messages comes from someone they know, in the hope that the victim will willingly install, for example, a program that can record keystrokes.