Apple has made an unlikely ally in its push for next-generation interconnects.
According to filings uncovered by Patently Apple, the company recently inked a deal with the Harley Davidson motorcycle company gain control of the trademark for the term "lightning."
The news site reported that Apple on 24 November finalised an EU deal which gave the company control over the "Lightning" name as a trademark.
The deal is an important legal manoeuvre for Apple, as the company uses "Lightning" as the name for the new interconnect on the iPhone 5. The system is paired up with the "Thunderbolt" interconnect platform on desktops to give Apple its "Thunder" and "Lightning" connection platform for next-generation desktop and notebook systems.
While Harley fans may have lost a trademark, the biker crowd will be pleased to learn that Apple has brought the complete catalog of heavy metal icons AC/DC to the iTunes store.
This is not the first time Apple has had to cut a trademark deal with an unlikely partner. In the 1980s when the company was developing its Macintosh operating system, The Beatles and their Apple Corps recording label took notice. Eventually the two firms settled on a 1991 deal.
The two firms engaged in a back and forth, and it was not until 2010 that Apple was finally able to bring the Beatles to iTunes.
For years now, Sneak has spent his spare time coming up with the perfect viral video, and remains pretty confident that once the RSPA banning order is rescinded, the world will watch in awe at the jaw-dropping site of chinchilla juggling.
It's with some trepidation then, that Sneak discovered just how many YouTube hits he's gonna need to claim the viral video crown.
It seems that while Sneak has be struggling with the animal rights laws, some cheeky Korean chappy has managed to get 825 million viewers to watch his odd horse-riding-dance on the ubiquitous pop song Gangnam Style.
Apparently, pop sensation Psy has now surpassed the record for most views of a YouTube upload previously set by Justin Bieber. If that wasn't enough to annoy the pint-sized pop star, the first person to alert Twitter users in the US to Psy's crazy dance moves was none other than Bieber's own manager.
Sneak has to confess to a certain degree of ignorance when it comes to Master Bieber's oeuvre, but reckons to be on pretty safe ground in suggesting that the young man let himself down by not having more animal references in his video.
Animals, as we all know, are what the viral video craze is built on.
While Apple has been pilloried over the laughable state of its Maps application for the iPhone and iPad, Sneak has learned its not the only tech giant with map making headaches.
When a team of intrepid explorers from the University of Sydney set off into the South Pacific, heading towards French-governed New Caledonia, they had been expecting to come across Sandy Island, a strip of land depicted clearly on Google Earth. Imagine the teams surprise when they reached the right locations only to find the island not there, and instead there was just 1.4km of deep, blue ocean.
As it transpires, Sandy Island isn't some real life example of the mysterious moving island in the long-running incomprehensible TV drama Lost. Sandy Island never existed in the first place.
Google told the BBC that it consults a variety of authoritative sources when compiling its maps, so it's not like the search giant just made it up. Instead, like some inept schoolboy cartographer, Google made the mistake of copying its answers from the class dolt.
While Sneak has been among those complaining loudly at the mistakes in Apple's Maps, it only sent Sneak the wrong way to Luton – and not hundreds of miles into the deep blue yonder.
With the Christmas season fast approaching, Sneak often has to make polite excuses to extricate himself from yet another spirit crushing festive party, where over-eager vendors mistakenly believe a bit of corporate flesh-pressing and a free mince pie will dispel our doubts about their dubious technology.
Not that Sneak is some latter day Scrooge: but with only so much drinking time left until the big day, Sneak has to be picky about which invites to accept.
In recent years, it's got so bad that Sneak has now run out of family members that can plausibly have succumbed to a mysterious ailment that needs our urgent attention. Thankfully for Sneak, this year help is at hand.
The good folk at Google have ensured that Sneak can now avoid all yule-time engagements simply by claiming to have a top-of-the-range smartphone. A bug in Google's Android Jelly Bean 4.2 means that scores of users are having problems entering calendar dates in December.
Not everyone is as delighted as Sneak.
As one complainer wrote: “Those dirty Google hippies are waging the War On Christmas.”
Given that Android Jelly Bean 4.2 is only found on the very latest top-end devices, such as the newly released Nexus 4, it's hardly surprising that some users are a little irked.
But one man's loss is another's gain. So now, faced with unwelcome invites to corporate shindigs, Sneak will just say: “Thanks, but my smartphone won't let me”.
12 Nov 2012
Sneak has never been one for forking out on time pieces – having stumped up £4 for a Casio digital watch in 1987, there seems to be little point in extending the largess any further. But not everyone is so frugal when it comes to time keeping.
Take Apple. The paragon of modern technology design chic paid $21m to license the clock design seen in its latest mobile operating system, iOS 6, according to Tages Anzeiger.
The clock design is indeed a magnificent example of the designer's art. But in this case it belongs to the Swiss Federal Railway, rather than Apple, and can be seen on station platforms up and down the country. Sadly for Apple, the design is jealously guarded by the Swiss train firm and their officials were quick to notice when it started popping up on their iPhones.
As lovely as the design is, however, Sneak can't help but wondering if for Apple, which admittedly has more money than most, $21m represents good value for money. Whatever its design guru, Sir Jony Ives is paid (and it's probably a lot), surely he could have spared a few minutes to come up with an original clock face design, without it costing the firm quite so much?
When it comes to Star Trek technology, Sneak was always more impressed that Captain Picard had a computer that could conjure him up any drink he could think of, rather than one he could talk to. But some people, it seems, just love to talk.
Take Google, for example. According to Amit Singhal, senior search engineer at the firm, Google will have developed a Star Trek-like computer that responds to spoken commands, within three to five years.
“We have built baby steps of this already,” Singhal told The Telegraph.
Singhal's vision is to create a device that could help the flow of conversations, giving the user bits of data to back up their arguments, without having to stop what they're doing.
So instead of barking out questions at a smartphone-based digital assistant, such as Siri, the user would merely punctuate their sentences with a quick question, and carry on talking until the answer was flashed up on their fridge – or perhaps their Google Goggles.
Sneak has long lamented the widespread use of smartphones to make pub quizzes easier, and suspects Singhal's plans will only make matters worse.
Surely these whizz kids would be better off working out how to build a computer that could magic up a pint of Saddleback Bitter?
17 Oct 2012
In honour of Steve Jobs Day, news site Motherboard asked a psychic to get in touch with the ghost of the Apple luminary. So while most everyone else forgot that California had an annual day of remembrance for the technology iconoclast, deputy editor Sean Yeaton was headed to The Twilight Zone.
Yeaton got a hold of New York psychic Betsy Cohen to perform the ghostly séance. Unfortunately for the living, Cohen was unable to gleam any Steve Jobs-style wisdom about the current state of affairs in the technology world.
Cohen did, however, get a chance to chat with ghost Jobs about what he's doing in the afterlife. The psychic said that ghost Jobs told her he was learning to be less competitive and harsh in the afterlife.
To quote Cohen, "[Jobs] is learning survival of the fittest is a made-up thing." In other words, kind of like psychics or a successful Zune product.
While a happy Steve Jobs ghost sounds wonderful, we'd probably say the same thing if we were pretending to communicate with famous dead people.
While Sneak thinks psychics don't actually exist (just ask ghosts) Yeaton's video was one of the more original Steve Jobs tributes to pop up in the man's honour. Not only has Jobs received a day, a statue, and a movie within the last year, but he also received a pseudo-psychic reading.
Maybe next year someone can get Jony Ive to attempt a séance. After all, Jobs once called Ive his "spiritual" partner at Apple.
A French woman has been billed €11,721,000,000,000,000, or £9.4qn, for cancelling a phone contract.
Sneak understands that she will not have to pay the bill that was sent out in error, but judging by reports it gave her the shock of her life.
"I almost had a cardiac arrest! There were so many zeros I could not even work out how much it was", said Solenne San Jose in an interview with French newspaper Sud Ouest.
The child minder had asked to close her account while she was out of work. Her provider Bouygues Telecom said fine, but because it was going to be before the end of the contract she would have to pay a cancellation fee.
Ms San Jose was not expecting the cancellation fee to have more zeroes that a binary swear word, and was stunned to see a note at the bottom of the bill that told her that the money would be debited from her bank account.
She called a helpline and tried to convince someone that a mistake had been made. This did not work initially, and the person suggested that there was nothing that could be done, except perhaps, paying the €12 quadrillion in instalments.
At some point common sense descended and someone at the firm understood that no individual could possibly owe or pay a sum higher that France's annual gross economic output.
Following this realisation Ms San Jose was told that she must pay the much more reasonable sum of €117.21. Some reports have it that the whole bill has been waived. Sneak is waiting for official confirmation.
Wait, here is the letter from the phone operator...yes it turns out she now owes just 0000000.1p. But it must be paid, the letter says.
Ms Jose was last seen shaving the edge off a penny coin.