Mobile Carriers Are Trying To Control Your Texting

mom-textWho owns your telephone number? According to Section 251(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, you own your number and can move it to the carrier of your choice. But who owns your texting phone number? It’s the same number, just used for a different purpose. The law says nothing about texting so the major wireless carriers (AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon) are claiming that number is theirs, not yours, even if you are the one paying a little extra for unlimited texting. And the way they see it, unlimited is clearly limited, with carriers and texting services not offered by the Big Four expected soon to pay cash to reach you.

Fear and loathing in Rolex-ville

apple-watch-Edition-830x576In all the coverage and hype concerning Apple’s event on Tuesday I’d like to concentrate on one easily-overlooked product I feel is by far the most revolutionary of those announced. I am of course talking about the Apple Watch Edition — Apple’s gold watch.

Where we might expect an Apple Watch to be aimed at competitors like Samsung, LG, or even Sony, the Apple Watch Edition is aimed squarely at Rolex. It is Apple’s first-ever true luxury product.

There have been near-luxury products from Apple before, but nothing like the Apple Watch Edition, which I am convinced is the brainchild not of design director Jony Ive or CEO Tim Cook, but of SVP of Retail and Online […]

Oh Vern, where art thou?

I’ve been trying to get in touch with Vern Raburn. You remember Vern, who was an early employee at Microsoft, Lotus, and Symantec. Vern was very involved in pen computing, ran Paul Allen’s investments, created the first Very Light Jet — the Eclipse 500 — and most recently sold Titan Aerospace to Google. That’s a busy career. Well I’ve been trying to get in touch with so far no success.

I contacted a couple old mutual friends, but they’d lost touch with Vern, too. I saw he was on LinkedIn so I tried to connect. No luck. Then I upgraded my LinkedIn account so I could send Vern e-mail, to which he didn’t reply.

Oh Vern, where art thou?

An economist walks into a bar…

defendingDid you ever see the 1991 Albert Brooks movie Defending Your Life? A movie that clearly could not be made today because it includes neither super heroes nor special effects and isn’t a sequel, it’s about a schmo (Brooks) who dies only to find heaven has an entrance exam of sorts in which you literally defend your life. Well the other day I watched a very good TED talk by my friend Bob Litan in which he defended his entire profession — economics. I know no braver man.

Few of us would defend our professions. I’m a journalist — what is there to say about that except that being a Congressman […]

Home Depot and the smoking zip-zap machine

VigodaI was at Home Depot on Sunday, buying flower pots and some lumber to repair the fence where Sadie the Dog has been plotting her escape. Checking-out of the Garden Department I handed my credit card to the cashier, who promptly dragged out an old zip-zap machine (that’s the technical term coined by BankAmeriCard 50 years ago) and took an impression of my card.

“You’ve been hacked,” I said.

“No, it’s just that my terminal is down so I have to do it the old fashion way,” said the cheery cashier.

“Don’t give me that, you’ve been hacked,” I said.

The lady behind me with fertilizer and a Jack Russell Terrier began to […]