The Northern Spy: WWDC, Apple share buyback and more
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

The Northern Spy: WWDC, Apple share buyback and more

By Rick Sutcliffe

A sudden spate of email from last October last week should have been a clue that not all was well with the Spy's own company virtual server, where he has most of his mail accounts and the billing system for Arjay Web Services (WebNameHost and WebNameSource). Unfortunately, he failed to investigate until the following day, after customers complained about receiving bills they had already paid, even having their accounts suspended (all they on his big dedicated production server).

A few minutes examining the server revealed it had been rolled back to October 19, 2012. Relying on the actual date and the old database, his WHMCS billing system had dispatched a flock (or is that a gaggle or a murder) of overdue notices (including two customers no longer with the company) and suspended all the accounts it deemed in arrears. Following a herd of trouble tickets, his own ticket to the Atjeu data centre yielded a "yes, we had an outage and restored all the virtual servers," but it took another six hours for them to locate and apply a more recent backup, bringing the server up to only a couple of days old.

Meanwhile the Spy had to unsuspend the suspended accounts, send out an explanation to his customers (not all of whom got it, and still enquired), cancel the spurious invoices, and otherwise clean up the public relations mess. Abject apologies to his many customers. I can only hope it never happens again, after the stiffly worded but diplomatic note to Atjeu.

Now, stuff does happen, and this was the first catastrophe on his servers in all the years the Spy had been with Atjeu, but it would have been nice if they had told us customers what was going on. Theirs is a big DC, with thousands of servers, many virtual. When the (relatively new) manager returned the next day, he apparently did have late words with his staff. Apologies were profuse and satisfactory, but he never did discover how a six-months-old backup got restored when a two-day-old one was available.

The Spy is, as his faithful reader is well aware, a backup fanatic, moving files back and forth between home and work offices on a pocket drive (different partitions for each locale) with Time Machine operative at both ends, and another portable drive for weekly backups, plus additional backups of key current projects. He does not often lose things. And, he did have backups of both his company and personal web sites and the database for MAS (his Management, Accounting, and Support desk) run under WHMCS (recently acquired by CPanel/WHM, by the way). Thing is, since he was in the dark, he didn’t know he needed to apply the backup, which had it been done, would have prevented the mess until the whole server could be restored. Live and learn.

Apple got a speeding ticket of its own when it put the tickets for WWDC up for sale, as advertised, exactly at 2013 04 25 1000 PDT. The Spy planned to attend this time, it having been a few years, he deep in a language design project (Modula-2 R10), and expecting a new MacPro and MacOSCat 10.9 by then, but alas, he depended on last year's eventuality, when it took two hours to sell out, so indulged a couple of minutes too long in the science faculty photocopy room. When he returned to his office and reloaded the web page at 1003, it already sported a sold out sign.

All right, WWDC is popular, it was first come first served, and the Spy missed out entirely due to his own abysmal neglect and lengthy procrastination. Good on the young developers who were fast and nimble, and better on Apple for its student scholarship program. [MODULE Grump BEGIN] But it does seem to the Spy that the tickets need to be spread around on a more equitable basis--say, limit one to an organization, some reserved for universities, perhaps a little nod to developer seniority so us old crocs with arthritic fingers have a half chance, maybe even a wee tad of preference to ink stained wretches who've doubled as developers, hosting and domain providers, and computing teachers lo these last three decades. [END Grump.]

Printing a few thousand more tickets is no answer, though a few people who got their carts closed before completing the purchase did get calls from Apple with fresh ticket offers. No, there just isn't room, nor are there sufficient Apple engineers to make the event hands-on worthwhile for many more people. But something needs to change for next time. It's all very well to sell a million iPuds in the first five milliseconds after release of the latest model, because they can always make forty million more. Not so with WWDC.

Meanwhile, the Apple printing press is busy churning out up to a hundred billion or so in debased greenback bonds to allow the company to return that much to investors by way of a share buyback. The loan is against liquid assets held overseas, parked there to await a more favourable tax regime for repatriation. Bringing back the bucks would be prohibitively costly, even if it would help Washington solve its insolvency problem by some other means than printing more money.

Does this make sense? Yes, to the Spy. Indeed it seems iCook reads this column, for the Spy suggested here some months ago that the best investment for Apple at this point would be ... Apple. Indeed, no other purchase is likely to increase in value nearly as much over the medium term, and by the time the buyback is complete, Apple will no doubt still have over seventy billion in cash.

Chump change, especially after the value of the repurchased shares doubles, both for intrinsic value, and also because of coming inflation. Now, consider the subsidiary effect of, say, a subsequent ten-to-one stock split, which would broaden investor interest, increase the number of institutional buyers, and trigger a substantial further price lift. Yes, there could be method in this sanity.

However, there appears to be none in the behaviour of the stock market, in which Apple share prices (vs. Google) offer daily proof that the stereotype hardheaded and logical business/investor person is a myth, the reality instead a market ruled by wild emotional swings having no rational basis. [Disclosure: the Spy does not and never has owned any Apple stock.] Hey, how else do you explain corporations still buying obsolete cheap imitation PCs instead of the real thing?

'Course, the average voter fares no better, routinely electing parties that are innocent of any concept of competent governance, whose members indeed seem surprised at the necessity of same once elected, the very necessity that forces them to void most of their ill-considered and unfulfillable promises once in office.

The Spy notes the case this week of the Premier of British Columbia running for an unlikely re-election, who ran a red light the other day, much to the amusement of the other three parties hoping to dismiss her, none of whom are likely to prove any more competent or successful.

Oh, and last months' April tongue firmly out of cheek, the Spy notes a recent agreement between Apple and Radio Shack for the latter to carry more Cupertino accessories. Why not [buy the whole chain and] turn them all into Apple retailers? After all, Apple currently partners with long-term "premium retailers" who want to set up a mini-Apple store environment. It might not do to make the RS locations full blown Apple stores, as many are rather small for the full Apple experience, and it would be a shame to chop one of the few sources of components and parts, but snapping up the chain or its cooperation would expand Apple's retail reach immensely.

On another technological front entirely, the Spy laments the difficulty in getting a good wide format only-a-printer-not-a-four-in-one. His need is to print 229 by 389 mm, a little larger than the standard 216 by 337 paper. This is in aid of resurrecting his old stamp collection, a project that requires matching paper, and may occupy ten to twelve large binders when complete. With a little positioning care, his Epson V700 can avoid gutters and scan the necessary content, but most consumer laser printers, though they can handle the length, cannot feed the width of the larger paper. He's looking at models by HP and Epson that live in the inkjet phylum (advantage: can also print photos), and will let his readers know.

And why a single-function machine? Because he's learned the hard way that the more functions in a box the faster something will go horribly terrible wrong with one component, requiring replacement of them all.

Did you know how hard it is to get reams of oversize paper in an acid-free archival fifty-weight quality? Try School Specialty item 053925. Not fully recommended yet, as it hasn't arrived, but it was the only source he found at a reasonable price.

The "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers" Department

Fortunately for him and his company, Thomas Watson, the chairman of IBM in 1943 when he made this prediction, was nevertheless able to see said company successful in the very market he thought wouldn't exist. Ditto the experience of the recently passed Margaret Thatcher, who in 1974 opined, "It will be years -- not in my time -- before a woman will become Prime Minister."

Not so Canadian Pacific, which the Spy has before excoriated for its shortsightedness selling off its telecommunications arm some years back. (Disclosure: The Spy worked for same in the mid 1960s.) The buyer, Rogers, continues to make vast amounts of money in the wireless market, though boasting in its latest report that it extracts more dollars per customer than any other telco does seem like hubris.

The pitter patter of little feats goes on apace in our merry world.

--The Northern Spy

Opinions expressed here are entirely the author's own, and no endorsement is implied by any community or organization to which he may be attached. Rick Sutcliffe, (a.k.a. The Northern Spy) is professor of Computing Science and Mathematics at Canada's Trinity Western University. He has been involved as a member or consultant with the boards of several organizations, including in the corporate sector, and participated in industry standards at the national and international level. He is a long time technology author and has written two textbooks and six+ novels, one named best ePublished SF novel for 2003. His columns have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers (paper and online), and he's a regular speaker at churches, schools, academic meetings, and conferences. He and his wife Joyce have lived in the Aldergrove/Bradner area of BC since 1972.

Want to discuss this and other Northern Spy columns? Surf on over to ArjayBB.com. Participate and you could win free web hosting from the WebNameHost.net subsidiary of Arjay Web Services. Rick Sutcliffe's fiction can be purchased in various eBook formats from Fictionwise, and in dead tree form from Amazon's Booksurge.

URLs for Rick Sutcliffe's Arjay Enterprises:
The Northern Spy Home Page: http://www.TheNorthernSpy.com
opundo : http://opundo.com
Sheaves Christian Resources : http://sheaves.org
WebNameHost : http://www.WebNameHost.net
WebNameSource : http://www.WebNameSource.net
nameman : http://nameman.net
General URLs for Rick Sutcliffe's Books:
Author Site: http://www.arjay.ca
Publisher's Site: http://www.writers-exchange.com/Richard-Sutcliffe.html

URLs for items mentioned in this column
Modula-2 R10--see the link at: http://www.modula-2.com/
School Specialty: https://store.schoolspecialty.com/OA_HTML/ibeCCtpItmDspRte.jsp?minisite=...

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Chromium 64.0.3282.167 - Fast and stable...
Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all Internet users to experience the web. Version 64.0.3282.167: [806388] High CVE-2018-6056:... Read more
Parallels Desktop 13.3.0 - Run Windows a...
Parallels allows you to run Windows and Mac applications side by side. Choose your view to make Windows invisible while still using its applications, or keep the familiar Windows background and... Read more
Bookends 13.0.6 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Bookends uses the cloud to sync reference libraries on all the Macs you use.... Read more
macOS 10.13.3 Supplemental Update 1.0 -...
macOS High Sierra Supplemental Update includes security improvements to Safari and WebKit to mitigate the effects of Spectre. Version 1.0: Update fixes an issue where using certain character... Read more
ffWorks 1.0.6 - Convert multimedia files...
ffWorks (was iFFmpeg), focused on simplicity, brings a fresh approach to the use of FFmpeg, allowing you to create ultra-high-quality movies without the need to write a single line of code on the... Read more
Adobe Acrobat 18.011.20035 - Powerful PD...
Acrobat DC is available only as a part of Adobe Creative Cloud, and can only be installed and/or updated through Adobe's Creative Cloud app. Adobe Acrobat DC with Adobe Document Cloud services is... Read more
Adobe Acrobat Reader 18.011.20035 - View...
Adobe Acrobat Reader allows users to view PDF documents. You may not know what a PDF file is, but you've probably come across one at some point. PDF files are used by companies and even the IRS to... Read more
EtreCheck 4.0.3 - For troubleshooting yo...
EtreCheck is an app that displays the important details of your system configuration and allow you to copy that information to the Clipboard. It is meant to be used with Apple Support Communities to... Read more
Yummy FTP Pro 2.0 - $29.99
Yummy FTP Pro is an advanced Mac file transfer app which provides a full-featured professional toolkit combined with blazing speeds and impeccable reliability, so whether you want to transfer a few... Read more
Opera 51.0.2830.34 - High-performance We...
Opera is a fast and secure browser trusted by millions of users. With the intuitive interface, Speed Dial and visual bookmarks for organizing favorite sites, news feature with fresh, relevant content... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Check out these 5 games that are a lot l...
So you're in love with Minecraft, but you're looking for something else to play as well? You've come to the right place then, because this list is all about games that are a bit like Minecraft. Some of them, more than others. [Read more] | Read more »
Our top 5 characters from casual RPG Cre...
Creature Quest definitely lives up to its name with a host of collectible creatures based on fantasy tales and world mythologies. To celebrate Creature Quest’s first birthday, we’re going to lay out what we think are the five best characters in the... | Read more »
Around the Empire: What have you missed...
Did you know that Steel Media has a whole swathe of other sites dedicated to all aspects of mobile gaming? Sure you'll get the very best iPhone news, reviews, and opinions right here at 148Apps, but we don't want you missing out on a single piece... | Read more »
All the best games on sale for iPhone an...
Oh hi there, and welcome to our round-up of the best games that are currently on sale for iPhone and iPad. You thought I didn't see you there, did you, skulking behind the bushes? Trust me though, the bushes aren't where the best deals are. The... | Read more »
The Battle of Polytopia Guide - How to H...
A new update just released for The Battle of Polytopia (formerly Super Tribes), which introduces online multiplayer. For all the fans of Midjiwan’s lite take on Civilization, this is certainly welcome news, but playing online isn’t as easy and... | Read more »
Here are the very best mobile games to p...
It's Valentine's Day! Did you get loads of cards and chocolates and other tacky, simple expressions of human affection? Did you send out tat because you find it almost impossible to express emotion unless there's a section dedicated to it at your... | Read more »
Florence (Games)
Florence 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Florence is an interactive storybook from the award-winning lead designer of Monument Valley about the heart-racing highs and... | Read more »
Purrfect Date (Games)
Purrfect Date 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Cats are a lil’ like marmite. Either you absolutely head-over-heels love’ em, or… nahhh, who are we kidding?! Everyone... | Read more »
More monsters to collect and evolve in C...
A laid-back mix of RPG and TCG, Creature Quest is all about building your deck, evolving your creatures and winning in battle. It’s the creation of VC Mobile, set up by Might and Magic producer Jon Van Caneghem. There are elements of that classic... | Read more »
Check out this awesome hands-on with the...
Well, PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds has come out on mobile. This isn't a clone, this isn't a riff on the battleroyale mechanics of the game, it's the official mobile port by Tencent. But there's a little bit of a hitch. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple refurbished Mac minis in stock again st...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished Mac minis starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: – 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off MSRP – 2.6GHz Mac... Read more
Tuesday MacBook Deals: $250 off 15″ 2.9GHz Ma...
Adorama has the Silver 15″ 2.9GHz Apple MacBook Pro on sale today for $250 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax for residents in NY & NJ only: – 15″ 2.9GHz Silver MacBook Pro... Read more
Save up to $350 with these Apple Certified Re...
Apple has a full line of Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $350 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. The following models are available: – 27... Read more
B&H offers $200 discount on Silver 15″ Ma...
B&H Photo has Silver 15″ Apple MacBook Pros on sale for $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 15″ 2.8GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro Silver (... Read more
12″ Apple iPad Pro Sale of the Year! Models u...
B&H Photo has 12″ #iPad Pros on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only: – 12″ 64GB WiFi iPad Pro: $719 $80 off MSRP – 12″ 256GB WiFi... Read more
Deals on 32GB 9″ iPads: Up to $50 off MSRP, s...
B&H Photo has 2017 9.7″ 32GB iPads on sale for $299 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $30 off MSRP, and it’s currently the lowest price available for these... Read more
15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro available for o...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pros available for $1699. That’s $300 off MSRP for this model, and it’s the lowest price available for a 15″ MacBook Pro currently offered by... Read more
13″ 3.1GHz/256GB Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro...
Amazon has the Silver 13″ 3.1GHz/256GB Touch Bar MacBook Pro (MPXX2LL/A) on sale for $1649.99 including free shipping. Their price is $150 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for a new 13″... Read more
Saturday Sale: Amazon offers 13″ 1.8GHz/256GB...
Amazon has the 13″ 1.8GHz/256B Apple MacBook Air on sale today for $250 off MSRP including free shipping: – 13″ 1.8GHz/256GB MacBook Air (MQD42LL/A): $949.99, $250 off MSRP Their price is the lowest... Read more
Roundup of Apple Certified Refurbished 12″ Ma...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 12″ Retina MacBooks available for $200-$240 off the cost of new models. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free.... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Store Leader - Retail District Manag...
Job Description:Job SummaryAs more and more people discover Apple , they visit our retail stores seeking ways to incorporate our products into their lives. It's your Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.