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

TunnelBear 3.5.1 - Subscription-based pr...
TunnelBear is a subscription-based virtual private network (VPN) service and companion app, enabling you to browse the internet privately and securely. Features Browse privately - Secure your data... Read more
Typinator 7.4 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more
Monosnap 3.4.9 - Versatile screenshot ut...
Monosnap lets you capture screenshots, share files, and record video and .gifs! Features Capture Capture full screen, just part of the screen, or a selected window Make your crop area pixel... Read more
Fantastical 2.4.5 - Create calendar even...
Fantastical 2 is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event... Read more
TunnelBear 3.5.1 - Subscription-based pr...
TunnelBear is a subscription-based virtual private network (VPN) service and companion app, enabling you to browse the internet privately and securely. Features Browse privately - Secure your data... Read more
Typinator 7.4 - Speedy and reliable text...
Typinator turbo-charges your typing productivity. Type a little. Typinator does the rest. We've all faced projects that require repetitive typing tasks. With Typinator, you can store commonly used... Read more
Fantastical 2.4.5 - Create calendar even...
Fantastical 2 is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event... Read more
Monosnap 3.4.9 - Versatile screenshot ut...
Monosnap lets you capture screenshots, share files, and record video and .gifs! Features Capture Capture full screen, just part of the screen, or a selected window Make your crop area pixel... Read more
Skim 1.4.32 - PDF reader and note-taker...
Skim is a PDF reader and note-taker for OS X. It is designed to help you read and annotate scientific papers in PDF, but is also great for viewing any PDF file. Skim includes many features and has a... Read more
ForkLift 3.1.1 - Powerful file manager:...
ForkLift is a powerful file manager and ferociously fast FTP client clothed in a clean and versatile UI that offers the combination of absolute simplicity and raw power expected from a well-executed... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

What mobile gaming can learn from the Ni...
While Nintendo might not have had things all its own way since it began developing for mobile, one thing it has got right is the release of the Switch. After the disappointment of the WiiU, which I still can't really explain, the Switch felt a... | Read more »
Programmer of Sonic The Hedgehog launche...
Japanese programmer Yuji Naka is best known for leading the team that created the original Sonic The Hedgehog. He’s moved on from the speedy blue hero since then, launching his own company based in Tokyo – Prope Games. Legend of Coin is the... | Read more »
Why doesn't mobile gaming have its...
The Overwatch League is a pretty big deal. It's an attempt to really push eSports into the mainstream, by turning them into, well, regular sports. But slightly less sweaty. It's a lavish affair with teams from all around the world, and more... | Read more »
Give Webzen’s new billiard game PoolTime...
Best known for producing hugely popular MMO titles, South Korean publisher Webzen is now taking aim at a different genre altogether. PoolTime is a realistic eight ball pool simulator, allowing you to compete in real-time matches against players... | Read more »
Let Them Come Guide - How to survive aga...
Let Them Come is all about making it as far as possible against overwhelming odds. Check out some of these tips to help you last a little longer in your unwinnable fight: [Read more] | Read more »
All the best games on sale for iPhone an...
Happy last day of the week. I hope you've been having a good one. I have. I saw ten doggos today. So because I'm in a good mood, I thought I'd round up all of the best games that are currently on sale on the App Store. [Read more] | Read more »
The very best games that came out for iP...
We're getting to the end of the first real, full, proper week of 2018. And in that time we've seen some pretty awesome games landing on the App Store. Of course, we've seen some absolute duffers as well. The sort of games that you look at and... | Read more »
Rusty Lake Paradise (Games)
Rusty Lake Paradise 1.4 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.4 (iTunes) Description: Jakob, the oldest son of the Eilander family, is returning to Paradise island after his mother passed away. Since her... | Read more »
Antihero Guide - Sneaky tricks to get ah...
Games of Antihero start out small and streamlined, but they quickly turn into long strategic conquests as you fight for control of the Victorian-era streets. If you find yourself struggling in the skullduggery department, here are a few things you... | Read more »
Here's why Niantic pulling Pokemon...
If there's one thing that Pokemon GO did well, it was bringing people together. I still remember seeing groups of people around the marina near where I live in the weeks after the game came out, all of them trying to grab some water Pokemon. There... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

10″ iPad Pros on sale for $50-$75 off MSRP, n...
B&H Photo has 10″ and #Apple #iPad Pros on sale for up to $75 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY & NJ only. Note that some sale prices are restricted to certain... Read more
Apple refurbished Mac minis available startin...
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
Amazon offers Silver 13″ Apple MacBook Pros f...
Amazon has new Silver 2017 13″ #Apple #MacBook Pros on sale today for up to $150 off MSRP, each including free shipping: – 13″ 2.3GHz/128GB Silver MacBook Pro (MPXR2LL/A): $1199.99 $100 off MSRP – 13... Read more
Sale: 12″ 1.3GHz MacBooks on sale for $1499,...
B&H Photo has Space Gray and Rose Gold 12″ 1.3GHz #Apple MacBooks on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 12″ 1.3GHz Space... Read more
Apple offers Certified Refurbished 2017 iMacs...
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
13″ MacBook Airs on sale for $120-$100 off MS...
B&H Photo has 2017 13″ 128GB MacBook Airs on sale for $120 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 13″ 1.8GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MQD32LL/A): $... Read more
15″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros on sale for up to...
Adorama has Space Gray 15″ MacBook Pros on sale for $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NJ and NY only: – 15″ 2.8GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray (MPTR2LL/A): $2199, $200 off... Read more
21″ 3.4GHz 4K iMac on sale for $1399, $100 of...
Adorama has the 21″ 3.4GHz 4K #Apple #iMac on sale today for $1399. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NJ and NY only: – 21″ 3.4GHz 4K iMac (MNE02LL/A... Read more
B&H offering 13″ Apple MacBook Pros for u...
B&H Photo has 13″ MacBook Pros on sale for up to $75-$120 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only: – 13-inch 2.3GHz/128GB Space Gray MacBook Pro (... Read more
B&H continues to offer clearance 2016 15″...
B&H Photo has clearance 2016 15″ #MacBook Pros available for up to $800 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: – 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pro... Read more

Jobs Board

Commerce Engineer, *Apple* Media Products -...
# Commerce Engineer, Apple Media Products Job Number: 113161479 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: 01-Nov-2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** 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
Site Reliability Engineer, *Apple* Pay - Ap...
# Site Reliability Engineer, Apple Pay Job Number: 113356036 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: 12-Jan-2018 Weekly Hours: 40.00 **Job Summary** Read more
UI Tools and Automation Engineer, *Apple* M...
# UI Tools and Automation Engineer, Apple Media Products Job Number: 86351939 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: 11-Jan-2018 Weekly Hours: 40.00 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.