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Code/red: BlackBerry Embraces New Tech Industry Buzzword

Plus, Samsung Music’s impending dirt nap and some boring news about Apple.



  • Hewlett-Packard heads into the earnings confessional.
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is hoping this year’s shareholder meeting won’t be quite as uncomfortable as last year’s.

Is Amateur Hour Over Again Already?

With its handset sales in precipitous decline, its tablet effort collapsed and its BBM messaging platform under siege by upstart juggernauts like WhatsApp and Line, dilapidated smartphone maker BlackBerry has found itself a new, developing market in which to struggle: The Internet of Things (IoT). On Wednesday, the company announced Project Ion, an effort to create an IoT ecosystem around its QNX embedded operating system, or maybe another wild “Amateur Hour Is Over” grab for relevance. Said BlackBerry CEO John Chen, “No other company is in a better position than BlackBerry to provide the technological building blocks, applications and services needed to enhance productivity, improve real-time decision making and deliver on the vision of the Internet of Things.” This from the same company that said the BlackBerry PlayBook was to be “a quantum leap” over its rivals.

Nest CEO: Enough With the AdWords for Thermostat Jokes

Nest CEO and founder Tony Fadell: “We have nothing against ads — after all Nest does lots of advertising. We just don’t think ads are right for the Nest user experience.”

Point/Counterpoint: Red Light vs. Green Light

USA Freedom Act author Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis.: “The days of the NSA indiscriminately vacuuming more data than it can store will end with the USA Freedom Act.”

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., an original co-sponsor of the USA Freedom Act: “This bill green-lights the government’s massive data collection activities that sweep up Americans’ records in violation of the Fourth Amendment.”

Samsung Music Headed for a Dirt Nap

Wait. Samsung had a streaming music service?

Heck, Apple Legal’s Samsung Hit Team Alone Will Fill Half of That

Apple hasn’t even finished construction of that new 2.8 million-square-foot “spaceship” campus it’s building in Cupertino, but already it’s feeling the need for more office space. The San Jose Mercury News reports that the company has agreed to lease a seven-building campus in Sunnyvale that can accommodate up to 1,450 employees. As Steve Jobs said back in 2011, “Apple’s growing like a weed. It’s clear that we need to build a new campus. We’re just out of space.”

Haha — You Said “Lapability”

Microsoft: “Lapability: The ability to get things done comfortably from your lap with the all-new Surface Pro 3.”

Tell Me Again How “This Is the Fun Time,” Jason …

Looks like Fab founder and CEO Jason Goldberg has at least partially answered the question posed in his seminal “It’s a fucking startup. Why are you here?” memo. Late Wednesday the online retailer — which went through three rounds of layoffs last year — announced a fourth, rendering Goldberg’s maudlin missive so ironic that it disappeared from the Web. Probably a good thing, as the 80 or 90 employees who lost their jobs in Fab’s latest round of cutbacks aren’t going to find much solace in ill-starred pronouncements like this one: “If you’re really into startups, this is the fun time. This is the time you earn it and learn it. Want to know what it takes to turn around a company and rebuild it? Fab is one of the only places in the world you can get that kind of experience. If you’re a real startup person, this is the best time to be at Fab.”

And They Insist on Taking Quarters Instead of Bitcoin

Washio co-founder Juan Dulanto: “The laundry and dry-­cleaning industry, it’s all, like, old people. They’re not tech savvy, and they still put up those really ugly stickers with that ’90s clip art.”

Heck of a Job, eBay

Graham Cluley: “If you’re one of the world’s top websites, and hackers broke in a couple of months ago making off with a database of your users, wouldn’t it make good sense to make sure that users visiting your website were clearly informed as to what was going on? And wouldn’t it be good if you provided an easy link where people could reset their passwords?”

Sharp Drop in Facebook Shares

It’s taken nearly five years of outcry and complaint, but Facebook is finally changing its default privacy setting for posts by new members from “public” to “friends.” “If people share more publicly than they want to be sharing, that doesn’t benefit us because it leads to bad experiences over time,” Facebook privacy product manager Mike Nowak told Bloomberg. Quite a change from the days when Facebook recommended its users share status updates, photos and posts with everyone.

And Then I Tried to Look Up the Ruling Again — And It Was Gone!

Emilio Silva, president of the Spanish Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory: “The ruling on Google gave me pause. Sure, it sounds great that we all have the chance to cleanse our image, but what are the limits? … The notion of forgetting by legal decree scares me. Any right to be forgotten has to be compatible with a right to know the truth.”

“Lead on, Adventurer. Your Quest Awaits!”

Panic co-founder Steven Frank: “With all of these people watching, I played through the final scene of Dragon’s Lair, but with a twist. I didn’t make the last move of the game (sword button, which kills the dragon) allowing myself to get incinerated by his fire breath four times. Not only did this ratchet up the crowd tension to palpable levels, it also increased my score higher than if I had simply beaten the game on the first try.”

Did He Just Say Microsoft Will Spur Apple to Innovate?

Dan Frommer, Quartz: “Really, Microsoft has just made a good argument for Apple to release a larger (and even thinner) iPad Pro sometime sooner than later — that actually sounds great.”

SWM Seeks Cooperative Asian Elephant Mother for Gene-Play

Futurist Stewart Brand: “If we can fund it, Church will have a woolly mammoth embryo in three years’ time to implant into a cooperative Asian elephant mother. Two years of gestation go by, and we will see the first baby woolly mammoth in a really long time. … We could have herds of woolly mammoths back in the Arctic. If all goes well, these could be back and could still be around long after we’re gone.”

Off Topic

Rodents on turntables, Frostie the snow goat and vocal ranges of the world’s greatest singers (Axl Rose can hit a lower note than Johnny Cash?).

Thanks for reading. Got a tip or a comment? Reach me at, @johnpaczkowski. Subscribe to the Code/red newsletter here.

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