News Roundup: Apple Goes (Is?) Green, Digg Fights Back, Software Updates Abound, and More

News Roundup: Apple Goes (Is?) Green, Digg Fights Back, Software Updates Abound, and More

Jobs plans "a greener Apple": We see no porcine aerobatics in the skies above, nor has NPR reported sub-zero temperatures in Anbar Province, but the rarest of events has occurred today: Apple announced plans for future products. An open letter from Steve Jobs - inspired, no doubt, by recent bad press from Greenpeace and others - outlines Apple ongoing efforts to become a greener company, and reveals some of its past successes. Jobs wrote that he was "surprised to learn" of the extent of Apple's progress towards becoming more environmentally friendly, and admitted that "it is certainly clear that we have failed to communicate the things that we are doing well," and that "We apologize for leaving you in the dark for this long." Some highlights of Apple's environmental plans and successes:

 

> "Apple is on track to introduce our first displays using arsenic-free glass in 2007."

> "We plan to introduce our first Macs with LED backlight technology in 2007."

> "Apple plans to completely eliminate the use of PVC [polyvinyl chloride] and BFRs [brominated flame retardants] in its products by the end of 2008."

> "Apple recycled 13 million pounds of e-waste in 2006, which is equal to 9.5% of the weight of all products Apple sold seven years earlier. We expect this percentage to grow to 13% in 2007, and to 20% in 2008."

> "All the e-waste we collect in North America is processed in the U.S., and nothing is shipped overseas for disposal."

> "We are also beginning to explore the overall carbon “footprint” of our products..."

> "We will be providing updates of our efforts and accomplishments at least annually, most likely around this time of the year."

 

Much of the open letter (a PDF of which can be obtained here) is a comparison of Apple's efforts with those of other heavyweights such as HP, Dell, and Lenovo. We're not interested, however, in who wins the title of "greenest" manufacturer; we're just interested in getting all that toxic crap out of our shared environment. With that in mind, we applaud Apple's plans - and we'll keep an eye on their progress, as well.

 

Apple releases a flurry of upgrades: Apple's not only cleaning up the wider environment; it's also cleaning up its own software backyard, as evidenced by a cluster of upgrades relesed yesterday and today. Yesterday's Security Update 2007-004 v1.1 patches a host exploitable holes, including some in AirPort, the Help Viewer, and WebDAV. There's also an AirPort Extreme update, and an update of QuickTime to version 7.1.6. In an explanatory posting on its website about the QuickTime update, Apple goes so far as to credit "Dino Dai Zovi working with TippingPoint and the Zero Day Initiative," who uncovered the flaw, as we reported a week ago. Feel the love.

 

Digg weathers a user revolt - with class: Yesterday was a stormy day for social networking site Digg.com. After an intrepid hacker posted code on Digg.com which purportedly unlocks the security on some HD-DVD discs, the folks at Digg were served a "cease and desist" order from representatives of the Advaced Access Content System Licensing Administrator (known more concisely as AACS - sans LA), telling them to remove the offending code. The Digg brain trust did so, but were quickly swamped by thousands of repostings of the same code by angry diggsters - so much so that the site reportedly buckled under the load. After some rethinking of the company's position, Digg founder Kevin Rose relented, and allowed posts containing the offending code. In his blog, Rose wrote, in part, "You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you..." We applaud his guts - but are sure that this is but yet another skirmish in the battle to determine the legal responsibility for user-generate content. Oh, and what was that offending code snippet? You'll have to check out the title of Rose's blog to find out.

 

In other news: According to a report from Forrester Research, "Mac users are almost twice as likely to generate content on the web as Dell users." For reasons unknown, journalists are still quoting Rob Enderle about Apple's inability to crack he corporate market (although, in this case, one analyst has the sense to ask "whether Apple has any real interest in the enterprise"). Another analyst group seems disappointed with results of their survey which indicate that Apple will garner "only" six percent of the cell phone market within the next year. Hello? The cell phone market is one billion units per year, Steve Jobs has put the benchmark for success at one percent, and this group says that 60,000,000 iPhones would be a letdown? Someone's not doing their homework. And, finally, if you're as concerned about the intrusive privacy-impeding ramifications of RFID technology as we are, you'll be happy to know that an RFID firewall is under development: a "pocket-sized device that runs on its own battery and provides a circular 1m field of control over RFID tags, jamming any tags that the user does not want read." Sign us up as beta testers, please.

 

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Anonymous

What is "going green" anyway? Even when I exercise I exhale more carbon dioxide than some would want me to. Perhaps I should buy a "carbon offset" for exercising.
I think its Ok for Apple as a corporation to increase its overall energy efficiency but I don't need a apology from Jobs for not keeping me informed for what Apple has been doing to be more energy efficient or otherwise "green."
I don't know where Apples are manufactured but rest assured China and other emerging third world countries are sitting back just waiting for us to price our manufacturing completely out of existence. Even after third world manufacturers end up looking good on paper on the environment - this may take decades - I'll know their numbers will be rigged. Witness the failed attempts to find the source of the melamine that came from China and went into human and pet food products. Travel the third world and you'll know what I mean.

I had a friend in college, a biology major, who when he was a kid would go around and scare the other kids by telling them a product they had eaten or taken had "inert" ingredients in it. It would scare them half to death.
Much of the greeny rhetoric is very similar.

By the way, the carbon dioxide glaciers on Mars are receding. Coincidence? I think not.

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Anonymous debunker

It used to be hard for me to understand why people like "Anonymous," above, have such a hard time dealing with the fact that crapping in one's own home -- i.e, the environment -- might not be wise. Then it dawned on me: Most anti-environmentalists tend to be of a conservative bent, and most conservatives (I am, of course, generalizing here) believe that the government that governs best is the government that governs least. That sort of laissez-faire attitude is all well and good when it comes to personal liberties, but in the time-honored tradition of "your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose," a good government needs to put in place safeguards that ensure that your "right" to dump toxins in our shared environment is curtailed. If that's big government, if that's liberalism, then I welcome it. Oh, and the argument that we shouldn't control pollution because third-worlders will toxify the planet anyway is completely bogus (not to mention rather spineless and defeatist): "Oh, well, my neighbor is crapping on his front lawn -- I guess I better crap on mine, as well, or his will be better fertilized." Also, there's a lot of money to be made in clean technologies if (and that's a big "if") we can get out in front of the curve and become the world leader in their development. Green makes simple economic sense in the long haul, and the world will come around to that reasoning soon enough. I guess I just have more faith in American inventiveness and know-how (as opposed to the anti-environmentalists' "No, how!") than does Mr. Defeatist, aka Anonymous.

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