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Code/red: Shut Up, Bono

Plus, Macworld Expo, Microsoft's YouTube takedown notice carpet bombing, and a North Carolina shark feeding frenzy.


  • Time Warner investor day.
  • EBay and Netflix report earnings after market close.
  • is expected to launch his new smartwatch.
  • The Inc. 5000 conference kicks off in Phoenix, Ariz.

Oops? Sounds Like a Good Title for the Next U2 Album.

U2 frontman Bono has an answer for iTunes customers questioning Apple’s handling of the band’s “Songs of Innocence” album giveaway: “Oops.” Asked during a Facebook Q&A to “never release an album on iTunes that automatically downloads to people’s playlists ever again,” Bono apologized for the debacle, for which U2 reportedly received $100 million in fees and marketing, blaming ego and altruism. “Oops, I’m sorry about that,” he said in a remark full of enough treacle to flood a sugar refinery. “I had this beautiful idea and we got carried away with ourselves. Artists are prone to that kind of thing. Drop of megalomania, touch of generosity, dash of self-promotion, and deep fear that these songs that we poured our life into over the last few years mightn’t be heard.”

Amazon Announces Sense of Humor

Speaking of “Songs of Innocence,” now that Apple’s exclusive on the U2 album has expired, Amazon has begun offering it for free to members of its Prime service. And it’s been promoting it on Twitter by poking fun at Apple and the company’s ill-starred decision to foist it upon iTunes users whether they wanted it or not. “Stream deluxe version of @U2’s Songs of Innocence FREE in Prime Music,” Amazon said in a tweet. “Add it to your library — we won’t do it for you.”

HBO Announces Plan to Do Thing It Should Have Done Years Ago

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes wasn’t kidding last month when he told attendees of the Goldman Sachs Communicopia conference that the idea of taking HBO’s streaming product, HBO Go, to customers a la carte was becoming “more viable and more interesting.” This morning, HBO CEO Richard Plepler said the company will launch “a stand-alone, over-the-top HBO service” sometime in 2015. “That is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped,” he said. “It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO. … There are 80 million homes that do not have HBO, and we will use all means at our disposal to go after them.”

I’ll Have a Quad Half-Caf Iced Venti Caramel Frap, Extra POODLE

Erratasec CEO Rob Graham on the POODLE vulnerability in SSL 3.0: “This attack is really against clients — you have to worry about it if you’re in a place like Starbucks. If you’re at home there’s probably no one man-in-the-middling you except the NSA. So as a home user, you don’t need to panic. As a server [administrator], you probably don’t need to panic if your customers are coming in over home connections. Only if they’re coming in over [something like] a Starbucks Wi-Fi.”

Apple’s Sapphire Partner Was Total Shitshow as Early as February

GT Advanced Technologies, Apple’s bankrupt sapphire partner, has been foundering for some time, according to securities filings. The Wall Street Journal reports that GT began missing the technical milestones tied to its $578 million contract with Apple as early as last February. Which casts subsequent stock sales by its CEO and COO — pre-arranged and otherwise — in a decidedly unflattering light. Meanwhile, GT’s bankruptcy proceedings grind on with all manner of complications. The latest: Apple’s request to lodge its objections to the bankruptcy filing in secret.

Conference That Died Six Years Ago Goes on Hiatus

Macworld Expo, the event at which Apple unveiled marquee products like iTunes, OS X and iPhone, is over — for the time being, anyway. IDG on Tuesday canceled Macworld/iWorld 2015, and while it characterized the move as putting the conference “on hiatus,” it provided no details about any future events. Hardly surprising, given what’s become of the show since Apple stopped attending it back in 2009. “While technically this is a ‘hiatus,’ I think it’s safe to assume that the Macworld Expo as we knew it won’t come back,” said Jason Snell, former editor in chief of Macworld. “Maybe it will take some other form — there are lots of amazing Apple-themed events out there — but I’ve got my doubts.”

Point/Counterpoint: Hold Your Fire, I’m With You Guys vs. As Bono Would Say, Oops

Chris Pirillo: “WHAT THE HELL, @Microsoft?! Dude, Microsoft is going after EVERY SINGLE video about Windows on YouTube?! WARNING!”

Scott Hanselman, principal community architect, Microsoft Web Platform: “So Microsoft did a copyright takedown on my ‘How To use Windows 8.1’ @youtube video. I kind of work for Microsoft. …”

Microsoft: “We have already taken steps to reinstate legit video content and are working towards a better solution to targeting stolen IP.”

Who’d Have Thought Renting the Flint Center Could Be So Damn Expensive?

Daisuke Wakabayashi, the Wall Street Journal: “Apple paid more than $1 million to stage the Sept. 9 event at which it introduced new iPhones and the Apple Watch, according to records obtained from the Foothill-De Anza Community College district. … The cost included a ‘disruption fee’ to the college of $500,000, rental fees for campus buildings and around-the-clock security involving more than 35 officers from three departments.”

In Many Ways, Gamergate Also a Total Nightmare

Kyle Wagner, Deadspin: “In many ways, Gamergate is an almost perfect closed-bottle ecosystem of bad Internet tics and shoddy debating tactics. Bringing together the grievances of video game fans, self-appointed specialists in journalism ethics and dedicated misogynists, it’s captured an especially broad phylum of trolls and built the sort of structure you’d expect to see if, say, you’d asked the old Fires of Heaven message boards to swing a Senate seat. It’s a fascinating glimpse of the future of grievance politics as they will be carried out by people who grew up online.”

Or Just Tear Down the Apple Watch

Horace Dediu, Asymco: “What Samsung needs is a disruptive improvement. A disruptive improvement implies a new business model. Put another way, it means that Samsung needs to invent a new way of making money.”

Good Call Making Mark Zuckerberg No. 10 on Your List of 10 People Who Don’t Matter, Now Defunct Business Magazine

Business 2.0, June 2006: “In entrepreneurship, timing is everything. So we’ll give Zuckerberg credit for launching his online social directory for college students just as the social-networking craze was getting under way. … But there’s also something to be said for knowing when to take the money and run. Last spring, Facebook reportedly turned down a $750 million buyout offer, holding out instead for as much as $2 billion. Bad move. After selling itself to Rupert Murdoch’s Fox for $580 million last year, MySpace is now the Web’s second most popular website. Facebook is growing too — but given that MySpace has quickly grown into the industry’s 80-million-user gorilla, it’s hard to imagine who would pay billions for an also-ran.”

Off Topic

North Carolina shark feeding frenzy (thanks, Elizabeth) and German Shepherd wakes from deep sleep.

Thanks for reading. Send tips, comments, Off Topics and Lost Souls Alley tickets to, @johnpaczkowski. Subscribe to the Code/red newsletter here.

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