Apple Hardware In The News

Apple’s Report On iPod Manufacturing

Apple just published a report of it’s findings during an investigation into one of it’s suppliers (Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. aka Foxconn)after a report about mistreatment of employees.

I must say that I’m rather impressed with the report they released, it’s more thorough than I ever would have expected to see. Noteworthy is confirmation of one of the pictures showing an open area with rows of beds rather than separate rooms for workers. It’s said to be temporary and resolved soon. Pay structure was too complex (and said to have been simplified now) among other significant findings.

Most interesting was the Apple “Supplier Code of Conduct” they published. The document (version 1.0 in the footer) dates from November 2005, before this controversy.  It seems to be pretty thorough for the most part.

Lastly they state they will be using Verité and that they joined the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct (EICC) Implementation Group.

Very interesting is that Apple uses less than 15% of the facilities capacity. Considering all the stuff they make for various customers (Dell, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Motorola) it’s interesting Apple got singled out.  Is it really specific to the iPod line?  That’s one thing that wasn’t answered in the report. Wikipedia touches on Foxconn’s far reach a little bit here.

Apple Hardware In The News

iPod Vending Machine

I find it hard to believe an iPod vending machine will ever take off. I see a few things wrong with this:

  1. I can’t imagine what the insurance must be when you have a vending machine with hundreds of dollars in iPod and iPod related gear in a giant box. I’m pretty sure it can’t be good.
  2. How many would be willing to spend that type of money like that? Return policy?

Just strange.


mozPod 0.2 Status

I have slowly been working on a new mozPod release, it’s just not going very fast, as it’s still a lower priority project. So far, it seems to be pretty well accepted. Here are a few of the changes planned, or already completed:

  • Preliminary Lightning Support
  • Having an LDAP server setup in your Address Book won’t cause the sync to fail
  • Some code cleanup, optimization, and bug fixes

For the record, I will be dropping support for Thunderbird 1.0.x in mozPod 0.2. Most people seem to be upgrading, and it’s just not worth the hassle. Many (or most) seem to have had problems with MozPod and Thunderbird 1.0 anyway.

Yes, development is a little slow, but it’s free (unless you feel like saying thanks), so don’t complain ;-).

Update: It’s out.

Apple Hardware

Virtual Click Wheel for iPod? Widescreen?!?!

The biggest complaint about the video iPod is the small screen size. If Apple made the iPod screen bigger, the iPod would be bigger, and use more battery life, two bad things.

This touchpad patent looks like the cure to one of these problems. It would let apple make the entire front of the iPod a display. Similar to what Palm did by getting rid of the graffiti area and making it virtual. Their’s the “ooh” factor that’s sure to sell, and the larger screen. Apple could even take a hint from Palm and design it so that the press of a “button” (likely something on that screen rather than a physical button) would make it show video in landscape mode (read: wide screen).

This article seems to hint it’s targeted more at tablet PC’s (which have been rumored for a few years now). Personally, I’m thinking a widescreen iPod is more likely.

iPod Wide Screen
iPod photo copyright Apple Computer Inc. Modified (poorly) by Robert Accettura.

Anyone else think this is a distinct possibility?

Apple Mozilla Software

mozPod 0.1 Released

I decided to release mozPod 0.1 as a late Christmas Gift. This is of course a 0.1 release (beta quality at best), so of course feedback is desired. I’m positive bugs remain, and I’m positive there are some larger bugs still in that code. Testing is needed to locate them. So if you download, make sure to come back here and let me know how it goes for you. I know there is no unicode support just yet, and the Thunderbird UI may get a little slugish during sync (though once sync is done it should go back to normal).



For those who don’t know, mozPod is a Mozilla Thunderbird extension to allow for easy transfer of the users address book to the popular Apple iPod for mobile use. The extension has a minimal UI and is designed to be as automatic as possible.


Special thanks to David Bienvenu (who hopefully will get a blog sooner than later 😉 ), and Boris Zbarsky for their help, and everyone who volunteered and participated in testing.

Apple Mozilla Programming

iPod Sync Private Testing

Before I do a more general release, I want to get a few more technical people to give it a try, so I can get any big issues resolved.

Please email me (using the form) the following info if you wish to participate:

iPod Version

You will need to be using Thunderbird 1.5. This is rather untested stuff, so I do put an emphasis on only technical users with experience testing and doing QA with Mozilla products.

If you don’t think you qualify, just wait a little longer until this round is over. I do plan on a 0.1 release by the end of the year.

Update [12-26-2005]: It’s out, and available here.

Apple Mozilla

iPod Sync Unteaser

Unfortunately it’s not done yet. The big issue remaining is to ensure the Thunderbird UI doesn’t completely freeze up (which many people apparently don’t like). I just don’t feel it’s right to release like this, since it’s annoying and problematic. My first stab at it was unsuccessful, so I’m taking it on from another angle, but need some solid time to sit down and really dig into it. I’ve been hoping to also handle non-ASCII characters as well, but that might get pushed out to the next release. My plan was to have done this already, but real life interferes with my plans at times. This week is Thanksgiving (read: I’m not coding when I can be eating, as I’m sure most of you can relate with), and I’ve got finals rapidly approaching (read: less coding time). I’ve also got a few other projects that I’m balancing here. There’s lots of great announcements coming up on this blog in coming months, so keep an eye on that RSS feed.

So how much longer?
The correct answer is “when it’s done”. My true hope is by the end of the year at the latest (which is only a couple weeks). Hopefully earlier than that (I’d really like to have it by early December). It all depends how much time I get to work on it.

I guess that’s just life… everything takes a little longer than you want.

Daniel Glazman is sitting on two really sweet extensions (CaScadeS II and OpenWengo), and hacking away at them ever so diligently. So I’m not the only one making people crazy by not going fast enough (seriously, check out some of those screenshots on his blog. Really cool stuff he’s been working on).

While your waiting, check out the Mozilla Quality Blog for ways you can help ensure 1.5 totally rocks. There’s no such thing as too much testing.

Update [12-26-2005]: It’s out, and available here.

Apple Mozilla

iPod Sync

Looks like things are delayed for several days. The biggest issue is not freezing the Thunderbird UI during the sync. Boris Zbarsky was kind enough to take a stab at getting threading going, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to work out. I’ve got another approach in mind, thanks to David Bienvenu, but I’ve yet to get that worked out. In addition to that, I’ve got enough going on that I don’t have the necessary time to code/debug that right away. This is still a hobby and not a job [shameless plug I’ll be looking for one this summer], so please be patient.

So earliest possible timeframe is some point next week. More realistically is 2-3 weeks, because there are several things (of various sizes) I would like to actually do before I start with some testing. Rather than a release I’ll likely take a few beta testers reading this blog (so keep reading if your interested), and expand from there based on feedback.

For those wondering, I will be supporting Lightning, though likely not until there’s more integration with Thunderbird. I’ll judge that as we go along. Lightning support is still in question. Having two instances would be rather awkward, both polling for the iPod device. Something that just shouldn’t happen. Not to mention Sunbird is still somewhat early in development. I’ll evaluate that as time goes on, based on demand, and Sunbirds development.

It’s great to see so much support for this project. It’s more than I actually expected to see.

Update [11/08/2005 11:05 AM EST]: Corrected Sunbird/Lightning confusion.

Update [12-26-2005]: It’s out, and available here.

Apple Mozilla

iPod Sync Teaser II

The new iPod sync extension is so simple that besides the options GUI (which most people will never need to touch), this is the only UI a user will ever see.

Update [12-26-2005]: It’s out, and available here.

Apple Hardware Mozilla

iPod Sync Teaser

Coming Soon

iPod Detected

Yummy. Properly detecting iPod, syncing address book, and everything. Very cool.

First release will likely be Windows only, but Mac support is easy once I get things stable. I just don’t feel like debugging on two platforms at once (reformat iPod each time).

Update [12-26-2005]: It’s out, and available here.