Not Upgrading to the iPhone 3G

Thomas Hawk nicely summarizes why I won’t upgrade to the 3G… I’ve had my “original iPhone” for about a year (bought it post price cut) and generally like it but the new iPhone simply doesn’t do it for me and I can’t see shelling out the $$ to get something that is a minor version release.

Originally I was not planning on upgrading to the new phone. But when my old phone was dropped and broken this provided the entry to try out the new iPhone 3G. My experience with the new phone so far is that it is very similar to old phone. But for people with a working first generation iPhone I do not feel that upgrading is worth it after a month of hands on experience and here are my reasons why.

[From Thomas Hawk's Digital Connection: The Top Five Reasons Not to Upgrade to the New iPhone 3G]

Hawk points out that the 3G network is less than impressive and having seen my wife’s Verizon Blackberry side-by-side with a new 3G iPhone, I concur. Verizon’s network is simply better than AT&T on many levels… and that’s here in Bay Area, I can only imagine what it must be like on the east coast where Verizon is dominant.

I do disagree with Hawk’s assertion that wifi will be ubiquitous, but that’s really a small point and I don’t think the iPhone on wifi is all that great either when public wifi connections often require you to submit an email or have some other login feature before activating.

FlyClear Security Breach

Not sure how I feel about this:

We take the protection of your privacy extremely seriously at Clear. That’s why we announced on Tuesday that a laptop from our office at the San Francisco Airport containing a small part of some applicants’ pre-enrollment information (but not Social Security numbers or credit card information) recently went missing. None of your information was in any way implicated. However, we were prepared to send those applicants and members who were affected the appropriate notice on Tuesday detailing that situation.

Before we could send out that notice, the laptop was recovered. And, we have determined from a preliminary investigation that no one logged into the computer from the time it went missing in the office until the time it was found. Therefore, no unauthorized person has obtained any personal information.

But they do have a reasonable notification process and even though the breach occurred two weeks ago, it doesn’t appear that the latency is any worse that other data security issues in the past. I thought that this part was particularly candid:

The personal information on the enrollment system was protected by two separate passwords, but Clear is in the process of completing a software fix – and other security enhancements – to encrypt the data, which is what we should have done all along, just the way we encrypt all of the other data submitted by applicants.

Which actually leads me to the reason for my post. When will companies realize that any secure data on a portable computer is an inherent security risk? I can think of no compelling reason that would require this kind of applicant data to be on a portable computer when the data in question could easily be stored on a server and downloaded when required and destroyed locally when no longer needed.

Strong security begins not with the technology you are deploying but the process you are using to work with data.

ICRC Absurdity

The International Red Cross said Wednesday that Colombia broke the Geneva Conventions by deliberately using its humanitarian emblem during the covert military mission that freed Ingrid Betancourt and other hostages.

[From Red Cross: Colombia broke Geneva Conventions by using aid emblem in hostage rescue -- Newsday.com]

No word from the ICRC on whether the FARC terrorists were in Geneva Convention compliance… seriously, is freeing civilian hostages not humanitarian enough? Does the ICRC not apply a “doh!” test before releasing such statements? It makes me wonder if the ICRC and PETA are using the same PR agency.

Their argument is not without merit but the ICRC has not displayed the same veracity when drug smugglers and terrorists abuse the Red Cross logo.

More on this topic (What's this?) Read more on Investing in Colombia at Wikinvest