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The Geek’s Reading List; September 19th Edition

Piccioni: “Mark 2014 as the year Apple invented musical malware.”This has been a relatively quiet week for technology as most of the coverage was driven by Apple’s marketing efforts to convince people of unprecedented demand for its latest products.

There were a few setbacks in the world of “alternate energy”, however, those are to be expected. Topical trends include autonomous (“self-driving”) vehicles and 3D printing. I am bullish on the former and cautious on the latter, at least with respect to mass market adoption.

Got iTunes? You got a U2 album. Here’s how to delete it.

We have all been in meetings where people say stupid things like “maybe we should tell our customers about the bug” and stuff like that. So you can imagine a meeting where somebody at Apple said – aloud – “Hey, I like U2, everybody in the world likes U2, so let’s push the latest U2 album onto all our customer base’s devices!” What’s even worse is the thought that, apparently the leadership at Apple went along with this brilliant idea, oblivious to the fact that many of their customers were toddlers the last time U2 had a major hit. Mark 2014 as the year Apple invented musical malware.

“Do you own an iTunes account? Congratulations. You also own at least one (quite possibly only one) U2 album. Apple marked the iPhone 6 launch by slipping a copy of the aging Irish band’s latest album into every account, deliberately infecting gadgets with some people’s idea of musical malware. Think of it as a surprise Christmas present from a relative who doesn’t know you very well. Or knows you really well, if you like U2. If you DO like U2, great. It’s a Beautiful Day* and you’ll probably find Songs of Innocence an uplifting collection of soft-rock ballads. If you don’t, you’ll probably want to get rid of it, pronto.”

Apple releases U2 album removal tool

As a follow up, the complexities of the deadly embrace which is iTunes and related cloud services meant that removing the aforementioned US album was not easy. After all, whats the point of malware if it is easy to remove? I can’t wait for a class action suit to arise out of this fiasco. I stripped iTunes off of all my gear for the same reason I removed Adobe PDF reader: any piece of bloatware which needs to be updated on a weekly basis is not something I want running on any computer I own.

“Apple has released a tool to remove U2’s new album from its customers’ iTunes accounts six days after giving away the music for free. Some users had complained about the fact that Songs of Innocence had automatically been downloaded to their devices without their permission. It had not been immediately obvious to many of the account holders how to delete the tracks. The US tech firm is now providing a one-click removal button.”


This article is an excerpt. You can subscribe to the full version of The Geek’s Reading List here.


Progress rarely glows blue: EEStor and the lure of new technology

I have a theory that whenever the word “energy” is invoked, people’s IQ drop by at least 50 points. That makes for some interesting investment outcomes and, needless to say, I have to be cautious about what I say in order to not get sued. The author seems to fail to recognize that he fell hook, line, and sinker for a series of effusive claims and press releases without evidence (let alone proof) any of these were reflective of reality. And that is the problem with “long shots”: first you eliminate the ones which defy the laws of physics, then you use common sense to evaluate what remains. Admittedly, common sense ain’t so common when your IQ has taken a 50 point hit, but it is also useful to remember that tiny, obscure companies rarely deliver breakthroughs in physics or chemistry.

“I wrote about it several times, saying, “If the Texas company EEStor is running a scam, it’s a frakking brilliant one” and “If this is a bluff, it is one of the ballsier, more elaborate bluffs the cleantech world has ever seen.” Gold star if you can guess where this is going. In April, while I was on break, I saw this headline: “ZENN Motor Company’s EEStor technology fails again after year of excuses.”

>This article is an excerpt. You can subscribe to the full version of The Geek’s Reading List here. If you find any articles you think should be included please send them on to Brian at Or feel free to email him to discuss any of these topics in more depth.

Cantech Letter has published this article for information purposes only. The information contained herein does not constitute investment advice or advocate the purchase or sale of any of the securities mentioned.

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