Month: January 2012

Apple Boycott

I saw a few tweets this morning mentioning the Guardian and Apple boycotts. I didn’t think too much off it until I read the article in the Observer this evening and I’m annoyed. The title of the article is Apple hit by boycott call over worker abuses in China. I do tend to keep up with tech news, especially Apple tech news and I didn’t recall any calls for a boycott. The only boycott I’d seen in the last few days was around ACTA or a misplaced boycott Twitter campaign. But Apple?

The article stems from a post at the New York Times – In China, Human Costs Are Built Into an iPad. That report looks at the issues primarily with Foxconn who manufacture the iPad and iPhone for Apple. There have been a few accidents, deaths and suicides at Foxconn and as Apple is the best known brand it makes sense for these journalists to link Foxconn with Apple. However Foxconn make products for a wide range of companies.

You hardly ever see these companies called out though – only Apple. You also rarely see corrections and updates in the mainstream press. A letter from the Business for Social Responsibilty (BSR) who were quoted in the original NY Times article was never mentioned. They blogged about it on Jan 27th – Letter to the New York Times From BSR. Of course that doesn’t get mentioned. Only the original and now slightly discredited piece from the NY Times is mentioned. Why discredit this great story of ours – the Apple boycott. The article does mention the work Apple has done to better conditions in China but calls the publication of the work ‘unusual’. Not good, or a step forward, but ‘unusual’. No other company has been as public or vocal in discussing workers rights in China. Recently Apple has published it’s full supplier list, it’s auditing process and the progress it is making year on year all at Apple.com. I’ve struggled to find similar information for any of the companies listed above that work with Foxconn.

So who was calling for this boycott? I read hundreds of tech posts each day and I hadn’t seen it mentioned? A couple of journalists were calling for the boycott, not hoards of customers, not thousands of people who joined the SOPA protests but a couple of journalists. One of the journalists was Dan Lyons. He was best known for writing the blog Fake Steve Jobs and since it’s demise he’s best known for being a dick. Or a jackass. Time and again he’s called out for his wild stories but time and again newspapers like the Guardian will quote him when it suits their articles and further legitimise his dickness. So after reading who was involved I pretty much dismissed the story.

I read on and it rambled for a bit until I came to this cracking piece of journalism.

Through the iPod, iPhone and now the iPad tablet computer, Apple has revolutionised lifestyles across the world and built up a cult of worshippers.

The Apple cult. Of course, it’s a small cult of Apple users. Thats the only reason why people will buy Apple products. As Fraser Speirs tweeted this morning:

The iPhone sold 37 million units in the last 3 months. The iPad 15.4million. Thats not a cult. Thats just throwing an old concept into an already flawed article. Really disappointed that the Guardian would even publish this as it is link bait rather than an accurate piece of journalism.

Forbes who were quoted in the Guardian piece ran an article disputing much of what has been said – The Apple Boycott: People Are Spouting Nonsense about Chinese Manufacturing. First notable point is that the suicide rate at Foxconn, mentioned by many as shocking and something that Apple has to deal with, is lower than the Chinese average. The article then disputes much of the maths behind death and pay rates in China.

Whether you like or dislike Apple, hopefully you’ll see there is far more to this story than the Guardian has made out. Indeed they don’t even link to other articles mentioned which is a real pet peeve of mine. If you are upset at the conditions in China then it’s not Apple who are to blame but the Chinese government for allowing such conditions to exist.

I’m pretty pleased I didn’t subscribe to the Guardian iPad app now. While I enjoyed the format and many of the articles, it crashed daily so I couldn’t justify spending money on it. Whether I continue to spend money on the paper version is another question. Yes thats petty, but so too was their boycott article.

2012 Resolutions

2011 – your dead to me. Around a year ago I made some 2011 resolutions so before tackling 2012’s goals, how did I do on last years? (spoiler – not too well!)

  1. Lose another 5kg – SUCCESS. This time last year I was 95.8kg. Today I’m 89.2kg. I peaked in January at 97.8kg but my lowest was 86.6kg so I’ve gained a couple of kg’s in the last 6 weeks. Primarily this is due to my sciatica returning meaning no walking, bike or running in the last 7 weeks and a couple of slow and painful badminton sessions. Festive eating hasn’t helped either. So while a success it’s a bit disappointing to gain in the last couple of months.
  2. Publish my own iPhone app – hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha – FAIL.
  3. Climb at least 6 munro’s – FAIL. Four munro’s and the longest leg of the West Highland Way. Weather, illness (me and my walking buddies all had issues throughout the year) meant far less walking than I’d hoped for.
  4. Improve the podcast – FAIL. I was going to say partial fail but that would be pussying out. I’d hoped we’d have refreshed the website and the podcast by year end but instead that will be 2012’s goal. We did however get to episode 100. Nice. The website refresh has already started too, so hopefully that will be in place by mid January. Then it will be time to focus on the podcast (and website) content which won’t be so easy.
  5. Drink more water – SUCCESS. Not majorly, but I have been drinking more water and less diet Irn-Bru which can only be a good thing. Right?
  6. Cycle > 2000 miles – FAIL. So annoying! Total distance for 2011 was 1629.9 miles but the total at end of June was 1117 miles. What happened? Hill walking, illness in Nov and December and also a mad notion to start running all impacted in the last half of the year.
  7. Reduce migraines – SUCCESS. I’ve never got to the bottom of my migraines. They are mostly clustered around May and September with a few sporadic bouts in between but this year there been less, partly due to a dizzy spell at work, a trip to the doctors and more effective (more powerful) drugs. Whether this has helped reduce them overall, or it’s just coincidence I’ll never know but there’s been less actual migraines this year than the last 3 years which is a GREAT thing. Long may it continue.
  8. Read at least one book a month – FAIL. I really struggle to read books. I read a lot online and in magazines but I tend to start books and never finish. Total for this year is two books read, 5 others started but not finished. Out of all the resolutions made last year, this was the one I knew I wouldn’t manage. Idiot.
  9. Be shapeless – WTF? No idea why I added this…I think it was some Bruce Lee reference? Ah yes – it was. Anyway, FAIL. I have not become water.

Now that I’ve reviewed the list 2011 doesn’t seem that bad, but I saw too many friends suffering this year for it to be classed ‘a good year’ and certain aspects of my life didn’t exactly go well either. It’s at this point I want to mouth off about certain people and some work stuff too…but I won’t. Must resist.

I did enjoy some new toys this year – the new iMac is working a treat as is the Civic. Great to drive and a nice step up from the Focus. I picked up an Airport Extreme which has been 100% reliable and something I should have done a couple of years ago. I also enjoyed in no particular order Game of Thrones, Fifa 2012, Uncharted 3, Angles, Words with Friends, The Killing, Halo Reach, The Trip, Forza 4, Drive, Mission Impossible 4, No More Idols, The Shadow Line, Instapaper, Reeder, 21, Rev, This Is England, Portal 2, Senna, The Walking Dead and 5by5.

It was also notable for the toys I didn’t get, namely the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. I’m still amazed that I managed to resist, but resist I did. I can see an new iPad in the next few moths though as new app’s are a tad sluggish on the old girl.

So what about 2012? Despite research saying you shouldn’t tell anyone what your goals are here’s what I’d like to achieve this year.

  1. Lose another 5kg. Actually, get under 82.5kg. I got under 14 stones in 2011, so under 13 stones (or 82.5kg in new money) in 2012 would be very nice. Bloody hard but very very nice.
  2. Climb at least 6 munro’s
  3. Cycle > 2000 miles
  4. Run a 10k
  5. Photography – get out and actually use my camera

I’ve a few work related goals as well but thats not for the blog. Key to the fitness related goals are getting into a more regular schedule to fit everything in – time will tell if that will be achievable but key is staying healthy. There’s a nice podcast on resolutions that might help you achieve them over the next 12 months – Back to Work #47: Utter Failure & Hotel Steak. Well worth a listen.

Ultimately though, I’m looking forward to a healthy and happy year for myself and family/friends…and of course you too whoever you are. Happy 2012!

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