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Code/red: Samsung Mobile Design Chief Fails Up

Plus: Tom Wheeler's net neutrality nightmare and SAP CEO Bill McDermott's German house hunt.

Bandagephone via IGN


  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will not meet and mark up its eagerly-anticipated-by-everyone-but-Nathan-Myhrvold patent troll bill.
  • Demand Media, Deutsche Telekom, Dish and Priceline all report earnings.
  • Comcast and Time Warner Cable execs will tell the House Judiciary Committee their proposed merger is totally logical and awesome.
  • The House Intelligence Committee will mull its surveillance reform bill.

Samsung Puts Band-Aid on Phone Design Boo-Boo

Samsung has finally realized what critics of its flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5, have been saying for weeks: The handset’s uninspired plastic design really does make it look like a Band-Aid. Reuters reports that Samsung has replaced its mobile design chief, Chang Dong-hoon, with mobile design VP Lee Min-hyouk. Evidently, Chang offered to resign last week amid continued heckling of the S5’s design, which has been variously described as dull and cheap-looking. But rather than accept that resignation and publicly validate the criticism it’s currently facing, Samsung moved him to corporate, where he’ll head up its Design Strategy Team.

Might Want to Find Some New Footwear, Sergey

Evidently, those crazy monkey shoes you’re wearing have some issues.

Viel Glück, Bill — Here’s a Copy of Rosetta Stone and a Real-Estate Guide; Lederhosen Are in the Closet

Guess who’s been house-hunting in Germany? SAP’s soon-to-be sole CEO, Bill McDermott. Sources tell Code/red that as part of his deal with the company’s chairman and co-founder, Hasso Plattner, McDermott, an American, must either buy or rent a house near SAP’s Walldorf headquarters. Evidently there was concern among SAP’s old guard about too many Americans taking senior leadership positions in the company. So it’s been made clear to McDermott that he needs to spend “a good amount of his time, maybe 50 percent of his time, in Germany.” James Dever, an SAP spokesman, confirmed that McDermott will be moving soon, saying via email: “He’s selected the property and the move is expected in the summer.”

Remember Trying to Make Calls on the First iPhone? Good Times …

Andreessen Horowitz co-founder Marc Andreessen: “The great under-appreciated miracle of the iPhone — couldn’t make a reliable phone call for ~3 years yet glorious success anyway! My explanation: Was so overwhelmingly better at every other function than existing phones, in comparison phone calls didn’t matter.”

Delicious Clings to Life, Thanks to Science

Typically when startups suffer a catastrophic loss of relevance, they’re shut down. But not Delicious. Though it has spent the past decade failing to build a mainstream audience, it has managed to attract another buyer. The New York Times reports that Science Inc., an investment outfit run by former Myspace CEO Mike Jones, is acquiring Delicious from Avos Systems, which purchased it from Yahoo in 2011. Wonder if the Ghost of Internet Past was summoned to do this deal for what should be a dead company.

Yeah, but It Could Make the Kessel Run in Less Than 12 Parsecs

“Star Wars” set decorator Roger Christian: “The Millennium Falcon was difficult, because I had to train prop men to break down jet engines into scrap pieces and then line them all up into different categories and stick them to the walls.”

Why Is Yahoo Undervalued? Because I Said So, That’s Why.

What does Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer plan to do with all the cash the company stands to collect from Alibaba’s upcoming initial public offering? If she doesn’t yet know, she better figure something out fast, because without that full 22.6 percent stake in the Chinese company, Yahoo’s core business is going to have to stand on its own, and it’s not at all clear that it can. But don’t tell that to Mayer. Onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt Wednesday, she swore Yahoo isn’t worthless. “It’s actually undervalued,” she said. Sadly, she didn’t explain why she thinks that’s the case.

Welcome to Your Net Neutrality Nightmare, Tom Wheeler

Looks like FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and his contentious net neutrality proposal may be headed up a certain creek, with nary a paddle in sight. On Wednesday, Commission Democrats Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel both expressed reservations about the plan, which would allow Internet providers to charge for priority lanes of traffic. Wheeler’s response: To bully them both toward a quick vote, dismissing outright Rosenworcel’s suggestion that the commission should take its time reviewing the plan, which is being called “a grave threat to the Internet.” And that’s a risky move. The FCC has five commissioners — two Republicans and three Democrats. With the two Republicans generally opposed to the regulation of Internet traffic, Wheeler needs Clyburn and Rosenworcel to back him. If they don’t, he’s screwed. So why reject Rosenworcel’s request to delay a vote on what is clearly a controversial subject? It’s not like the FCC is facing a deadline on this one.

What Was That You Were Saying About Not Commingling Data With Facebook?

Moves, April 24, 2014:
“For those of you that use the Moves app — the Moves experience will continue to operate as a standalone app, and there are no plans to change that or commingle data with Facebook.”

Moves, May 5, 2014:
“We may share information, including personally identifying information, with our Affiliates (companies that are part of our corporate groups of companies, including but not limited to Facebook) to help provide, understand, and improve our Services.”

The Same Warnings Apply to Flooz and Schrute Bucks

Messing around with bitcoin — and other volatile and unregulated hobbyist cryptographic currencies backed by nothing — can be a perilous proposition. This, according to a not-at-all-timely alert from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. On Wednesday — more than two months after the ignominious collapse of Mt. Gox — the SEC told investors to beware the potential risks associated with bitcoin and other virtual currencies. “A new product, technology, or innovation — such as bitcoin — has the potential to give rise to both frauds and high-risk investment opportunities,” the SEC explained. “Potential investors can be easily enticed with the promise of high returns in a new investment space and also may be less skeptical when assessing something novel, new and cutting-edge.”

Wait. I Have Metadata?

Sandy Pentland, director of MIT’s Human Dynamics Laboratory: “The thing is, I can read most of your life from your metadata. And what’s worse, I can read your metadata from the people you interact with. I don’t have to see you at all. People are upset about privacy, but in one sense they are insufficiently upset because they don’t really understand what’s at risk. They are looking only at the short term.”

Alternate Title: Vibrating Capsule Gets Shit Done

Vibrating Capsule Shows Promising Results in Treating Chronic Constipation: “The capsule, which houses a small engine inside, is programmed to begin vibrating six to eight hours after swallowing. The vibrations cause contractions in the intestine, which help move stool through the digestive tract.”

Off Topic

Missed Connections for A-holes and the most overrated and underrated films of all time, based on data scraped from Rotten Tomatoes

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

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