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The Media Apple

Apple Reverses Rejection of Ulysses Comic 422

gyrogeerloose writes "In yet another of what's become an almost predictable cycle of events, Apple today reversed its rejection of the 'Ulysses Seen' web comic, admitting, 'We made a mistake.' The comic is now available in the App Store — just in time for Bloomsday, June 16. The comic's author, Robert Berry, is pleased, and adds that Apple 'never acted as a censor, never told us what we could or could not say. ... We didn't believe these were good guidelines for art, but respected their rights to sell content that met their guidelines at their own store. Apple is not a museum or a library for new content then, so much as they are a grocer.'"
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Apple Reverses Rejection of Ulysses Comic

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  • Gatekeepers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Improv ( 2467 ) <> on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @02:37PM (#32593052) Homepage Journal

    The fact that Apple *could* reject apps for not meeting their rather precise ideas about what "The Apple Experience" should be like is still a big problem. If it's not an open platform, it's a step backwards.

  • Yeah. This whole episode is really dumb. No, it's not really censorship. But it's still ugly and wrong. I hate iProducts. They are all about control of the user for the benefit of Apple. The thing I hate the most about them is that they are so popular and wrongheaded at the same time. I get angry when masses of people let shininess override good sense.

  • by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @02:42PM (#32593110)

    Apple is not a museum or a library for new content then, so much as they are a grocer.

    While many may have troubles understanding this (which is why I'm going to quote it in the hopes of it being read again), it is nice to see that the person directly impacted by things least understands it well (which speaks greatly of his character).

  • Sony, Microsoft? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jamie(really) ( 678877 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @02:46PM (#32593142)

    Why no complaints about Sony and Microsoft? They both have a number of machines for which you must pass a draconian test to even get a dev kit. Basically, if Apple made the devkit $10k then you'd all be happy? Locked in systems have been around for more than a decade. The difference with Apple is that the devkit is $100 and anyone can publish on them.

    I've had games rejected by Sony and Microsoft: you fix the problem and send it back. No different on the Apple store. Apple is usually quicker tho.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @02:47PM (#32593152)
    "No, it's not really censorship"

    Yes, it really is, just not censorship performed by a government. Apple censors the content available on these devices, plain and simple -- why state it any other way? Frankly, what other way is there to describe Apple's behavior: they actively prevent certain material from being published.
  • Re:Gatekeepers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TrancePhreak ( 576593 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @02:50PM (#32593186)
    The years of the Windows desktops beg to differ.
  • by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @02:51PM (#32593200)

    By such an absurd standard any store that choose not to sell someone's product is also engaging in "censorship".

  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @02:51PM (#32593216) Journal

    Describe them as a grocer. :-) I think that's an apt analogy. My grocer might not let me buy Edy's Low-Fat Cookies'n'Cream, but that's not because he's a bad person. He simply chose not to carry that flavor.

    And so instead I drive another block to the other grocer to get my cookies-n-cream.

  • Control does not have to be absolute to be control. Governments use laws to control the behavior of their people all the time, but nobody thinks "The government made me do it." is generally a credible defense.

  • by pavon ( 30274 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @02:53PM (#32593240)

    If the appliances in my house refused to work with food that didn't come from Whole Foods then I would be complaining about their limited selection and arbitrary standards. And more so about the appliances.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @02:54PM (#32593252)
    Apple did not just refuse to sell the application: they prevented anyone who owns an iPad/iPhone from obtaining it.
  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @02:56PM (#32593298)
    "And so instead I drive another block to the other grocer to get my cookies-n-cream."

    So, where are all those other places that people can download iPhone/iPad applications?
  • by baxissimo ( 135512 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @02:57PM (#32593300)

    so why aren't people complaining about Whole Foods' limited selection and arbitrary standards?

    Gee, maybe it's because there are other stores where we can buy food?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @02:58PM (#32593324)

    No it isn't. Refusing to carry merchandise is in no way censorship.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @03:02PM (#32593386)

    Did they? So if you tried to buy a Ulysses paperback from Amazon yesterday, it would ask if you had an iPad or iPhone and then refuse to sell it to you if you did?

  • by FrostDust ( 1009075 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @03:03PM (#32593394)

    The complaints are there because the iPhone is a mobile phone, not a game console.

    Gamers are used to the idea that their systems can only play "approved" media, with the indie/homebrew developers being seen as on the fringe.

    With mobile phones, at least with smart phones, you can install whatever program you can manage to find. A Blackberry, Win Mo., Symbian, etc. device doesn't require you to get approval before installing a program. They act like most PCs, where you can install what you want, but it's your responsibility to not install harmful stuff.

    While Apple's strict control over their App store may have had a hand in the success of their products, but it's a phone, not a video game system. Treating it the same as a Xbox is disingenuous at best.

  • Re:Gatekeepers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SydShamino ( 547793 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @03:04PM (#32593414)

    He forgot to invent a superior web search algorithm in 1997, thereby failing to found Google and becoming a billionaire corporate executive able to fund Android development.

  • by obarthelemy ( 160321 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @03:05PM (#32593436)

    is there any legal way to obtain and install an iApp apart from the official apple appstore ?

  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @03:05PM (#32593438) Homepage

    or through their website to owners of jailbroken iDevices.

    Since when did hacking a device the same thing as using the device "as intended"?

    Listen people. I know you can do a whole hell of a lot with a jailbroken ipod/iphone/ipad, but saying you can just hack your device if you want other sources of apps is not an argument that should used to support your hardware of choice Seriously.

    A modification != a feature. Stop treating it like one.

  • by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @03:06PM (#32593452) Journal
    If I run a store, I'll actively censor porn. I'll let you complain about my censorship all you want. I'll even quite happily explain to you why I'm censoring you. If you want to organise a mass campaign to reverse my censorship, or just use your persuasive skills to change my mind, I'll consider your opinion.
  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @03:08PM (#32593474) Homepage

    Cydia. And that's not the only alternative App Store.

    From your link:

    "...a software application for iOS that lets a user browse and download applications for a jailbroken iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad" (emphasis mine)

    Again. Telling someone "oh sure, you can use a different store...just hack your phone" is misleading at best.

    Like I said in response to one of your previous posts, a mod isn't the same thing as a feature. Stop treating it like one.

  • by sed quid in infernos ( 1167989 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @03:08PM (#32593486)

    There would be nothing Apple can do to stop this person from selling it in an alternative store or through their website to owners of jailbroken iDevices.

    No, but it means a user has to choose between a valid warranty plus software updates and access to non-Apple-approved applications. I'd have zero probalem with Apple applying arbitrary and unspecified criteria in their app approval process if they didn't actively work to prevent people from acquiring apps from other sources.

  • by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @03:16PM (#32593586)
    How is it hysterical redefining of a term, exactly? So we are clear, here is the definition of "censorship," Wiktionary:

    "The use of state or group power to control freedom of expression, such as passing laws to prevent media from being published or propagated."

    Apple uses its power over iPhones and iPads to control freedom of expression (e.g. by preventing comics that happen to contain nudity from being installed). No, it is not absolute control, but it certainly is control.
  • by SmallFurryCreature ( 593017 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @03:20PM (#32593628) Journal

    What you and your fellow capitalists presume is that the museum and library despite endless cost cuttings will always be there. What is iTunes becomes the ONLY music seller and music publishers no longer give libraries the right to lend out music for free? What then?

    What when Amazon becomes only the book seller? What then? The issue at hand is NOT what happens now when Apple is a relatively minor player in the distribution of content but what might happen if it continues to grow.

    Would anyone have cared about Microsofts security problems if OS2 has not been made to fail (with a lot of help from MS). If you could still go into any shop and buy an Amiga? If Sinclair had a 2010 version? No. Then MS would never have been in court for abusing its monopoly and we would have laughed heartily at its attempts to do so.

    When a Christian book store decides to carry only proper Christian books, they should be free to do so. But when that book store becomes a national chain, replacing all the other book stores, then this freedom becomes a serious liability. We could end-up with the self-censored state. Were you are free to publish anything you want, you just can't get it published. Or rather, sold. Everyone has a printing press but the market is locked up. Not by the state but by people who conveniently think the same as the most repressive censors.

    Think of the Walmart effect applied to freedom of speech. Walmart ain't the devil. It doesn't force you as a manufacturer to work by their rules. You just won't be selling your items in their store if you don't. If the local grocery tries to get a manufacturer to dictate its terms, it will be told to get shafted. A large retailer might be able to negiotate a deal but Walmart TELLS you how things are going to go. it doesn't negiotate a price-cut. It tells you that you are going to cut your prices. You WILL play by their rules and the bigger they get, the more they can do this and the more you will hurt for not playing by their rules.

    Look at the rise of the censored music cd spefically editted for the large retailers. It ain't state censorship, although it is mighty coincidental that what some in power want to be censored happens to be censored in the largest retail chains.

    Ever noticed the curious lack of reporting of the issues around copyright by the big media? Or how if Futurama mentions filesharing this is always a bad thing? Gosh, well it must be true then because media producers would NEVER report one-sided on an issue that affects them.

    Now imagine say MS-NBC be the only news source (or at least the only one most people access). How often do you think you would get reports on Windows security issues then? And NO, the CURRENT situation with PLENTY of competition for MS-NBC does NOT count. Now they have to, because people will hear it somewhere else. But what if they don't have to?

    You only have to look to Italy for the effect. Berlusconi controls the media and amazingly they completly fail to report on any of the issues around him. Or whenthey do they just happen so share his point of view. Freedom of the press? Yes, the state ain't telling them what and what not to report, but I don't think it is the freedom you imagine.

    In MS world, exploits don't happen and since they don't happen you don't report on them and you don't patch them. Luckily it ain't a MS world and some people do find exploits and publish them and then MS has to patch them but they get very miffed about it.

    What if it was an Apple world? What if iTunes was the music store for 99% of the people. Sure there are alternatives but nobody uses it. What if the iPad becomes THE new way to read books and if you don't get accepted by Apple, your book just doesn't get noticed. Would you then still defend their censorship?

    You claim that Apple is like a grocer. That means you are an idiot. Because Apple is a grocer then it is Walmart. Do you LIKE Walmarts censoring of music? How about 10 years in the future when they are the only store left?

    Protecting freedom is not about what you have today, but what you would have in 10 years if you do not fight for it now.

  • by Goaway ( 82658 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @03:22PM (#32593666) Homepage

    Yes, clearly anyone who does not share your exact values must be stupid.

    It couldn't be that they value other things than you and then go on to make rational decisions or anything.

  • by N0Man74 ( 1620447 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @03:24PM (#32593692)

    I've never seen ads targeted towards consumers for Linux, yet I've seen tons for Mac computers and for Windows.

    Granted, Windows is the big gorilla, but all things considered, the fact that Linux has about 20% of the number of users as the Mac is pretty impressive, considering the level of advertising and brand name recognition they both have. Linux has survived and kept a small niche user base and maintained a certain level of respect.

    All things considered, I don't think it's done too shabby.

  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @03:25PM (#32593704) Homepage

    In this particular parent's case, that is true...but you still presented jailbreaking as a viable option for anybody. Again, stop touting a mod as a feature.

    If it's really just that simple, what's the point of the walled garden in the first place? And if your response is "well, just stick to the appstore if that's all you want", why would Apple force someone to hack their phone just to use applications from another source? Why not offer the walled garden for those that want/need it, and allow people to freely download from another source as they saw fit?

    That is the question I would like answered: Why does Apple force people to stick with the appstore unless they modify the hardware? Why can't we have the walled garden and a key to the gate?

    PS: don't respond with "just don't buy one". I haven't, for this very reason. Respond to the actual question posted above in italics, please.

  • by Knara ( 9377 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @03:26PM (#32593712)
    God forbid someone do research on the product they're purchasing, instead of simply buying it because its shiny and trendy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @03:28PM (#32593744)

    And there is no real censorship in China. Use a proxy.

  • by recoiledsnake ( 879048 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @03:28PM (#32593752)

    Yes. Jailbreak your iPhone and download it from someone else. Neither act is illegal.


    This is Apple's response to EFF's request for an exemption for jailbreaking to the Copyright office: []

    Some excerpts:

    Current jailbreak techniques now in widespread use utilize unauthorized modifications to
    the copyrighted bootloader and OS, resulting in infringement of the copyrights in those
    programs. For example, the current most popular jailbreaking software for the iPhone,
    PwnageTool (cited by EFF in its submission), causes a modified bootloader and OS to be
    installed in the iPhone, resulting in infringement of Apple’s reproduction and derivative works
    rights. Specifically, in the spring of 2008, hackers were able to determine how to circumvent the
    secure ROM in the iPhone and falsely sign the bootloader. Using such knowledge, a falsely
    signed modified version of Apple’s bootloader was created that will fool the secure ROM into
    loading it, thereby circumventing the TPM implemented by the secure ROM. PwnageTool
    directly modifies a copy of the bootloader and loads it onto the iPhone. The modified bootloader
    is configured so that it does not perform the authentication check of the OS, and it therefore
    loads a modified version of Apple’s OS that is not signed, thereby circumventing the TPM
    implemented by the bootloader. The modified OS, in turn, is configured so that it does not
    perform authentication checks on application programs loaded onto the iPhone, thereby
    jailbreaking the device. In sum, PwnageTool circumvents every link of Apple’s “chain of trust”
    TPMs in the iPhone. More generally, as the EFF submission admits, “decryption and
    modification of the iPhone firmware appears to be necessary for any jailbreak technique to
    succeed on a persistent basis.”32
    Jailbreaking therefore involves infringing uses of the bootloader and OS, the copyrighted
    works that are protected by the TPMs being circumvented. Unauthorized derivative versions of
    the bootloader and OS have been created. Copies of those infringing works have been stored on
    web sites, and infringing reproductions of those works are created each time they are
    downloaded through Pwnage Tool and loaded onto the iPhone.33 In addition, as discussed in
    Section II.B.2 above, the jailbroken OS enables pirated copies of Apple copyrighted content and
    other third party content such as games and applications to play on the iPhone, resulting in
    further infringing uses of copyrighted works and diminished incentive to create those works in
    the first place.
    In sum, the jailbreaking of the iPhone that would be permitted by the proposed Class #1
    exemption in 5A and 11A would result in infringing uses of copyrighted works. It would
    involve the creation, distribution, and copying of unauthorized modified versions of the
    bootloader and OS, and it would facilitate and encourage the making, distribution, and use of
    infringing copies of copyrighted material such as games and applications, owned by both Apple
    and third parties, that run only on jailbroken phones. The proposed exemption therefore does not
    satisfy the fundamental prerequisite of the statute that it aid “noninfringing uses” of copyrighted
    works and should be rejected.
    The infringing uses of copyrighted works that result from jailbreaking distinguish the
    proposed Class #1 exemption in 5A and 11A from that of the 2006 exemption for circumvention
    of firmware in a wireless telephone handset in order to connect to a wireless telephone
    communication network.34 With respect to that exemption, the Librarian of Congress found in
    2006 that the reason the four statutory factors “appear[] to be neutral is that in this case, the
    access controls do not appear to actual

  • by Tetsujin ( 103070 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @03:37PM (#32593886) Homepage Journal

    The complaints are there because the iPhone is a mobile phone, not a game console.

    Gamers are used to the idea that their systems can only play "approved" media, with the indie/homebrew developers being seen as on the fringe.

    With mobile phones, at least with smart phones, you can install whatever program you can manage to find. A Blackberry, Win Mo., Symbian, etc. device doesn't require you to get approval before installing a program. They act like most PCs, where you can install what you want, but it's your responsibility to not install harmful stuff.

    In that sense, it's like a battle to control people's expectations. Gamers are, as you say, used to game consoles being inaccessible to homebrew. In that case, if mobile phone users become "used to" paying for ringtone versions of songs they already have, or getting charged disproportionately large amounts of money for simple features like text messaging, or arbitrary restrictions on how they can use "unlimited" data plans, or (as in the case of Apple) losing the right to install software that's not been authorized by Apple - then will these policies then be OK? If people's expectations are adjusted to fit what the device provides, then there's no problem, right?

  • by metamatic ( 202216 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @03:49PM (#32594052) Homepage Journal

    Apple says the store is curated, my which they mean the apps in the app store have some level of QA and editorial filtering applied, just as you would find in the exhibit of a museum.

    That'll be why the app store contains quality apps like Less Cigarette [], iWatermelon [], Mirror [], Wart Healer [] and Farting Grandmas [], while blocking the Google Voice app.

  • by konohitowa ( 220547 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @04:03PM (#32594208) Journal

    So in that sense Apple does tell them what to do , through peer pressure : if you don't buy an Ipad/other Apple thing , you are not cool .

    Exactly. Because if you don't follow along with the group think you'll get modded flamebait, troll, offtopic -- and then your karma will take a hit. Oh wait -- different organization -- my bad.

  • by voidptr ( 609 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @04:07PM (#32594258) Homepage Journal

    Or alternately, people have different opinions on what the big issue is, and don't regard engineering tradeoffs as "evil".

    Linux/Android/OSS fanboys are outspoken about ignoring practical usability issues and focusing on it being "open".

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @04:17PM (#32594374)

    Nope, THIS grocer throws all my stuff out of my fridge. And if I refuse to allow him to fiddle about with my fridge, he'll complain to the electrical company and get me cut off.

    You see, THIS grocer sells fridges too. Nice ones. But he insists on "post sale services" that mean he gets to check that my fridge is in "full working order". Seemed good at the time.

    But now I want to put food from another grocer in there, he's now throwing all the produce out of my fridge.

    I'll never by iFridge again. But it's too late now.

    Hey, since you like it, will you buy my fridge for full retail? After all, it's not my fault the grocer is now throwing stuff away, so why should I pay for their asshattery?

    Go on. Buy my iFridge so I can swap over to a gFridge.

  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @04:21PM (#32594432) Homepage

    Lets say you love application X. You love and need it so much, you buy platform Y because it's can run on that.

    Why is that not then considered a feature of the device? To you, as the user, there is no difference - you bought Y and it can do X.

    It's a feature because it can run on it without modifying the underlying operating system. Doy?

    According to your logic, you could not consider any PC to have a feature that was not included in the original box, since all software updates had to be downloaded.

    Wrong. With a PC, it's a feature that I can install whatever the hell I want on there.

    You could never buy a car because it was easily tunable for better performance or handling.

    Cars are designed in a way that enables you to change parts on them. The iPhone wasn't designed to be jailbroken. If it was, the software to do it wouldn't have been developed by someone other than Apple.

    People buy PC's because it can run Autocad. Autocad itself is not a feature, but the ability to run Autocad IS. You can buy and iPhone and run any Cydia app on it - the ability to run Cydia apps IS A FEATURE BECAUSE YOU CAN DO IT.

    You don't have to modify your PC to run Autocad. You do have to modify your iPhone to run a Cydia app on it. There is a distinct difference. Do you really not see this?

    You are confused because you know something is technically distinct. you agree that there is a difference?

    But to REAL users, all they care about is the ability to buy a device to perform a task.

    Oh, I get it. Now I'm not a real user because I care about the details of said task?

    So they buy the device that gets them as close as they can, and then if that's not far enough take it the rest of the way. They still consider it a feature that it can do X, even if they had to add it later.

    Again, Apple didn't make the software that jailbreaks an iPhone. How can you possibly consider utilizing a third-party utility to modify the original operation of a device to be a feature and not a modification?

    You are just trying to redefine "Feature" so as to specifically exclude a use case you don't like. As with most attempts to redefine what people do every day and label it uncommon, it simply doesn't work.

    Once again, Apple didn't design or release the Jailbreak utility, and they actively try to squash it with every update. If it were a feature, you wouldn't have to hack the fucking phone. What about this don't you understand?

    I'm not redefining anything; I'm merely calling a spade a spade. You're trying to tell me that it's not a spade, but in fact a poorly endowed titmouse. Sorry buddy. If I have to hack a device to enable it to do something, that is not a feature, that is a modification. If it was a feature, I wouldn't have to hack the damn thing in the first place.

  • Re:-sigh- (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @04:22PM (#32594462) Journal

    They review on the order of 10,000 apps a week. This kind of thing is inevitable when you have a limited number of people with that kind of workload. People are making judgment calls all day, so some edge cases are going to get miscalled. Humans are making the decisions, and humans make mistakes.

    The review process is there solely because Apple has decided to put it their, for their own benefit. Consequently, they have a moral obligation to contribute whatever resources necessary to reasonably minimize mistakes - such as, you know, having more than one reviewer go over any given app separately, and only reject if all reviewers unanimously agree that this should be the case.

  • by ArsonSmith ( 13997 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @04:27PM (#32594562) Journal

    Why do you care why someone else buys something? Unless you're employees in apples marketing department does it really matter? My wife's ear rings have no functional value there were purchased strictly because they were shinny. Does that make them less valued? I haven't purchased an iPad, iPod or iPhone, although I have nothing against them I just haven't had the need. Though I am considering an iPad as it does run pretty slick and allows much easier access to the things I fumble through to get at now.

  • by bhagwad ( 1426855 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @04:54PM (#32594990) Homepage

    since when did the right to display content on your mobile device become a first amendment right?

    There's your answer

  • Re:Wrong (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @05:08PM (#32595196) Journal

    It's not a "law of no jailbreaking" it's a "law of no copyright infringement". Making a copy of Apple's bootloader and modifying it is copyright infringement. If you want to wipe your device and build an OS for it from the ground up, you are absolutely free to do so.

  • by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Wednesday June 16, 2010 @05:30PM (#32595548)

    Okay, let's follow this analogy out. If Apple is a grocer, then the iPhone and iPad are like refrigerators for the goods you purchase at the Apple grocery. Funny thing, though -- I can put products from any grocery I want into my refrigerator. Obviously, the iPhone/iPad are brand-specific refrigerators, something that doesn't actually exist in the real world.

    This is what we call a reductio ad absurdum or, in modern parlance, calling bullshit.

    What Apple is really like is one of those totalitarian homeowners' associations in an expensive condominium development. You bought the condo, but if you want to change anything about it, you have to pick from a list of approved changes and pay the association to have one of their hand-picked contractors do it for you.

    Some people like living in those developments despite the restrictions because there's a certain amount of prestige -- mostly among other residents -- involved in paying way too much for a tiny space that you don't actually control. And like iPhone/iPad owners, the residents of such developments are baffled that everyone else doesn't want to live there, too.

  • It isn't artificially hard. GM didn't purposely insert things into the engine or chassis to make it melt if you tried to take it apart. They didn't make it so you had to go to a semi-seedy seeming person to get the right tool to open your hood. They didn't encase the engine in a lucite block.

    Apple has done the digital equivalent of these things with the iPhone.

"There is no distinctly American criminal class except Congress." -- Mark Twain