Daily question: No lutefisk for iTunes in Norway?

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Norway’s top consumer advocate said Monday he is taking Apple Inc. to the government’s Market Council in a test case seeking to force the American company to open its iTunes music store to digital players other than its own iPod.

“We discussed this at a meeting two weeks ago, and decided that Norway will do the test case,” Consumer Ombudsman Bjoern Erik Thon said by telephone. “This could have international consequences.”

So many questions come to mind. Just the Top 10:

  1. Should a government tell its citizens what store they should get their music from?
  2. Are Norwegians unable or unwilling to burn a CD to transfer their music anywhere else DRM free?
  3. Norway recognizes copyright, DRM can be used to protect copyright and it’s legal to strip DRM. Should Apple bundle iStripper with iTunes?
  4. Has Norway compelled music labels to provide DRM-free content to Apple so it can sell them?
  5. Why is Norway so interested in making DRM cross-platform instead of illegal?
  6. Will Norwegian taxpayers pay Apple the financial burden of breaking its licensing agreements with the labels that compel Apple to sell DRM-laden music?
  7. If iTunes is shut off in Norway will Norwegian citizens be better off?
  8. Has Norway asked gamebox manufacturers to implement mandatory cross-platform licensing among consoles like XBox 360 and PS3?
  9. Has Norway also asked Microsoft –– whose PlaysForSure DRM won’t play on Zune, but Zune DRM (which Microsoft won’t license to anybody else) will on PlaysForSure hardware –– to eliminate or license its DRM?
  10. So what if FairPlay-protected songs only play on iPods?

But perhaps the most important question in this instance is:

Has anyone asked the Norwegian consumers if this is what they really want?

Daily question: Microsoft’s epiphany

From the “Can you believe this?” department. Scott Guthrie, “fearless leader of IIS, ASP.NET and Visual Web Dev”:

I’m excited today to announce that Microsoft will be shipping jQuery with Visual Studio going forward. We will distribute the jQuery JavaScript library as-is, and will not be forking or changing the source from the main jQuery branch. The files will continue to use and ship under the existing jQuery MIT license.

Why? Scott:

Providing the ability to perform selection and animation operations like above is something that a lot of developers have asked us to add to ASP.NET AJAX, and this support was something we listed as a proposed feature in the ASP.NET AJAX Roadmap we published a few months ago. As the team started to investigate building it, though, they quickly realized that the jQuery support for these scenarios is already excellent, and that there is a huge ecosystem and community built up around it already. The jQuery library also works well on the same page with ASP.NET AJAX and the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit.

Rather than duplicate functionality, we thought, wouldn’t it be great to just use jQuery as-is, and add it as a standard, supported, library in VS/ASP.NET, and then focus our energy building new features that took advantage of it?

Was this a freaky accident or can lightning possibly strike multiple times at 1 Microsoft Way, Redmond, WA?

Daily question: Reverse graffiti

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Paul “Moose” Curtis is a British artist who pumps high-pressured water through stencils to remove dirt from tunnels and walls to create large-scale urban “reverse graffiti.”

A video by Doug Pray depicts a recent project by Moose in San Francisco:

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Apparently, however, not everyone is happy with Moose, says Guardian:

But, in Leeds, they do have a problem. Gerry Harper, a city councillor, described it as vandalism.

“It’s totally ridiculous really,” Mr Curtis replied. “All I am doing is cleaning their walls. Councillors only want me prosecuted because they’re embarrassed by how dirty their cities are.”

He claims his art is legal because he isn’t actually painting anything on to the walls or street.

No other similar case has come before a court, but the crown prosecution service says he may be in breach of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act.

A Leeds city council spokeswoman said: “Leeds residents want to live in clean and attractive neighbourhoods, and expect their streets to be free of graffiti and illegal advertising.

“We also view this kind of rogue advertising as environmental damage and will take strong action against any advertisers carrying out such campaigns without the relevant permission.”

Should Moose be forced to get “the relevant permission” to create his reverse graffiti?

Daily question: In the back seat?

In the last six months alone, 31,544 mobile phones in New York and 55,843 in London were left behind in taxi cabs, says a new survey by Credant Technologies.

Now to be sure, Credant is a security software vendor with interest and this survey was done on 300 licensed taxi drivers each in NYC and London, but still, that’s a pretty shocking number if true.

Other things were also left in the back seat:

The research also found drivers discovered other strange objects in the back of their cabs, including a sawn-off shotgun, 12 dead pheasants, two dogs, toilet seats, a casket of funeral ashes and £2,700 in cash.

But mobile devices can contain sensitive personal and corporate data, as BBC indicates:

A survey by credit reference agency Equifax in April suggested 16% of its customers put PIN numbers on their mobile devices while 24% recorded birthday dates.

It wouldn’t be a wild guess then to extrapolate from this survey that perhaps a million mobile phones are annually left in taxi cabs all over the world.

How likely is it then that the West will embrace the mobile-phone-as-wallet concept?

The Big List: 30 critical issues with Google G1 phone

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“The most exciting phone in the history of phones.”

says the handset manufacturer HTC. “T-Mobile G1 With Google,” is the official name. Based on Google’s Android OS, G1 has a lot going for it. It’s been immediately designated as the most probable iPhone-killer. If it weren’t for these:

  1. No SIM-unlocking, T-Mobile only
  2. No tethering
  3. No Adobe Flash
  4. No Microsoft Silverlight
  5. No Microsoft Exchange
  6. No iTunes
  7. No Skype or VoIP on 3G
  8. No standard 3.5 mm headphone jack, must use G1 headset or adapter
  9. No stereo Bluetooth A2DP
  10. No multi-touch
  11. No desktop synching with PCs or Macs
  12. No compatibility with the standard iPod/iPhone connectors
  13. No video recording
  14. No built-in video player, must download from third-party
  15. No camera flash
  16. No proximity sensor
  17. No ambient light sensor
  18. No data-only T-Mobile plans
  19. Limited to 1GB bandwidth cap, speed down to 50kbps after 1GB
  20. Limited to 3G coverage in only 22 locations in the U.S.
  21. Limited to stores within vicinity of T-Mobile 3G covered locations
  22. Limited to users with Google accounts only
  23. Limited to Google email, contacts, calendar, plus another generic email
  24. Limited to maximum 8GB memory, with additional microSD card purchase
  25. Limited to read-only Word, PDF, and Excel docs; no editing
  26. Limited screen size (3.2″) and colors (65K)
  27. Limited language support
  28. Limited apps and games
  29. Limited transparency on how Google or carriers will ‘validate’ app submissions
  30. Limited industrial design appeal

Would Apple have been utterly crucified and AAPL have tanked if the iPhone came out with so many shortcomings?