Tuesday Morning: Brittle, Two

Yesterday I talked about the shift toward mobile computing centered on smartphones, moving from PCs. Behind that transition, out of sight of the public, is the cloud which supports this shift. Content and applications are increasingly stored not on the user’s device but in a server (read: data farm) accessed over the internet.

One manifestation of the shift is the largest technology merger ever — computer manufacturer Dell‘s $70B acquisition of storage company EMC. Dell’s PC sales have been slowly falling over the last handful of years, not unexpected due to the maturity of the market and the shift to mobile devices. Servers have been a large part of Dell’s profits for years, but many opportunities often ended up with competitor EMC when Dell quoted storage. Mobile users need much more remote computing and storage — servers and storage in the cloud — which EMC’s storage area network (SAN) products provide. This made EMC an appetizing fit to augment Dell’s server offerings while offsetting the slowly fading desktop computer sales.

With the acquisition, Dell Technology (the new name for the merged companies) now competes more squarely against Hewlett-Packard, which also sells both desktop computers and enterprise storage.

HP, however, split into two companies late last year. One manufactures desktop and other smaller computing devices (HP), the other sells servers and storage products (HP Enterprise Business). One might wonder if HP was preparing to spin off the portion of the business that makes PCs just as its competitor IBM did in 2005 when it spun off its PC division to Chinese manufacturer Lenovo.

Media will say with the EMC acquisition that Dell is positioned for better end-to-end service — but with so much computing now done on smartphones, this is not true. Dell and its competitor HP are only offering up to the smartphone.

Speaking of smartphones…

Suspect ordered to open Apple iPhone with Touch ID
29-year-old Paystar Bkhchadzhyan, a small-time crook charged with identity theft, was ordered by U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia Rosenberg to swipe an iPhone seized from her boyfriend’s apartment in order to unlock it.

It’s not clear whether the iPhone has been identified as belonging to Bkhchadzhyan based on multiple reports, only that she may have “control over” the device. Nor is it clear — since she has already pleaded no contest to the charge against her — if the iPhone’s contents will be used against her, or against her boyfriend.

It’s also not clear why law enforcement hasn’t used the “gummy bear technique” to open the phone, which would not force Bkhchadzhyan to lift a finger but instead use fingerprints already provided as evidence, bypassing any question of Fifth Amendment violations. Is this simple technique too much effort or too complicated for today’s police force?

DISH TV techs to offer Apple iPhone repair service
Not authorized by Apple, mind you, but DISH TV will offer new service to their customers who use iPhones, including battery and screen replacements. The company anticipates offering the same limited repair services to Android users in the near future. This says something about the transition of content consumption from TV to mobile devices, and the use of mobile devices as TV and content controllers.

LuxLeakers in court this week – Luxembourg’s version of Panama Papers
Antoine Deltour and Raphael Halet, former PricewaterhouseCoopers’ employees, appear in court this week on charges they stole and leaked documents on many of PwC’s corporate clients — Accenture, Burberry, Icap, Ikea, Walt Disney Co., Heinz, JP Morgan, FedEx, Microsoft Corp.’s Skype, PepsiCo Inc., Procter & Gamble, Shire Pharmaceuticals to name a few. The documents outline the tax avoidance/evasion strategies employed by these firms with PwC’s assistance and Luxembourg’s implicit or tacit approval. This case should have as much impact as the Panama Papers as the corporations involved are quite large and the Luxembourg government is implicated.

Australia: Your human rights abuses suck, but we Americans have no room to talk
If you don’t watch Australian politics, you should. Aussies have forced approximate 900 refugees to remain indefinitely on Manus Island of Papua New Guinea and the island country of Nauru, which are little more than rocks in the middle of the ocean with penal colonies masquerading as a refugee ‘welcome centers.’ The conditions have been wretched — and they must be if an outlet like Foreign Policy calls Australia’s practice ‘intolerable cruelty.’ Their captivity is now illegal according to PNG’s court, but the refugees are left without recourse. Two refugees have immolated themselves within the last week out of desperation. But Americans have not demanded Australia take the refugees because it would mean having to take some refugees here, too. Oh, and Gitmo — can’t point to island-based human holding pens without allowing other countries to point to Gitmo. Or our immigration detention and deportation processes.

That last bit — both of the immolated refugees were not offered immediate health care — is so disgusting and disheartening I can’t come up with anything more to write. Hope for a better day tomorrow, see you in the morning.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
9 replies
  1. bloopie2 says:

    Re: Computing moving to the smartphone. I notice a lot of people squinting at their smartphones. Generating frown lines and, I would assume, eyestrain. Should I go into the eye-wear business? Or the Botox business? After all, high definition screens don’t really make up for small font size.

  2. arbusto says:

    1. Anyone have an idea on the evolution of desktop computing for business and government?
    2. Why would anybody with a lick of sense or wanting a modicum of privacy would use cloud based storage or apps.

  3. Rayne says:

    bloopie2 (1:39) — LOL I bought stock in an eyewear manufacturer. Heh.

    arbusto (1:44) — 1) S-L-O-W because total cost to own+operate must be recouped in business, and in government, representatives are too busy campaigning to really take the time necessary to develop effective policy for funding an effective technology life cycle program for government.

    2) For some folks, the risk of self-managing and self-maintenance as well as TCO is higher than the risk of privacy loss in the cloud.

      • Evangelista says:

        John Casper,

        [question carried forward] I am puzzled: If what I write is nonsense, how would providing links to supporting ‘nonsense’ improve it? [sorry if this is out of sync, I don’t usually drop in that often]

  4. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Some Aussies make Jesse Helms seem downright, aw shucks multicultural. As for the forced opening of an iPhone, I suspect the mandate is to set judicial precedent more than to open a phone.

  5. Rayne says:

    John Casper (8:20) — Keeping in mind I am NOT a broker, my opinions are not intended for investment purposes, and YMMV — I bought $LUX. Largest in the world, only one listed on NYSE to best of my knowledge. Many other smaller manufacturers are either private/owned by investment bankers/acquired as holding by larger corporation (ex: Bausch & Lomb now owned by Valeant). I bought it on a whim when Google Glass looked like it might be a thing and Luxottica was a potential partner in that project. Now? I figure it helps diversify my holdings which are too tech-oriented, and it may still do well over next couple years as long-term hold as Baby Boomers continue to age and need glasses, and mobile devices are still a PITA to read for older eyes. LOL

  6. Mr. Helpmann says:

    I am kinda getting the vibe the 128gb micro SD card will not be able to outwit  the magicians slight of hand as well.

    The irony of a cloudy day being sold as sunny and clear.

    Forces forecasting future fables of faddy falicition fixed.

    Facilities forcing fahrenheit.

    But the faceless factual of fruity fingerprints fizz just right.

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