Weekend news round-up: RIP iPod Classic, NSA spies become start-ups

15 Sep 2014

The iPod Classic

In our round-up of the weekend’s tech news, farewell to the iPod Classic, hi-tech parents such as Steve Jobs were actually low-tech dads, and NSA spies leave the agency to start businesses.

RIP iPod Classic

Wired posted a thought-provoking piece that charted the early days of the iPod and the ultimate demise of the iPod Classic, raising questions about the future of the device that changed music forever.

“For 10 years my iPod – in various incarnations – was my constant companion. It went with me on road trips and backpacking through the wilderness. I ran with it. I swam with it. (In a waterproof case!) I listened to sad songs that reminded me of friends and family no longer with me. I made a playlist for my wife to listen to during the birth of our first child, and took the iPod with us to the hospital. I took one to a friend’s wedding in Denmark, where they saved money on a DJ by running a four hour playlist, right from my iPod. And because the party lasted all night, they played it again.

“Everyone played everything again and again.

“And now it’s dead. Gone from the Apple Store. Disappeared, while we were all looking at some glorified watch.”

Lobbying for position

GigaOM had an interesting story about how tech giants in the US are spending their money on Capitol Hill and how Google is the king of spending in this regard.

“Internet companies aren’t always so different from other large companies, especially when it comes to addressing the issues that affect their businesses. They open their considerable checkbooks, hire a lobbying firm or some in-house experts, and get to work trying to influence laws and regulations.”

Doing things Apple’s way

In a PBS interview with Charlie Rose in the States Apple CEO Tim Cook could have brought out a bigger iPhone or Apple Watch years ago, but prefers to wait until it is ready and the technology is good enough, The Verge reported.

“Cook says the same adage was in place for things like the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, and how the company now views its next product — the Apple Watch. Cook noted that the product is arriving later than smartwatches from other companies, but represents Apple’s first attempt at combining 400-500 components in a single chip. ‘There is a computer on a chip in here. You know, it’s the first one we’ve ever done,’ he said.

Could Apple become a bank?

Following the launch of its new Apple Pay mobile wallet technology, The Hill has asked should the tech company be regulated like a bank?

“The product has generated tremendous buzz in the tech community, with some analysts predicting a revolution in the way people shop.

“Apple is putting its considerable muscle behind the product, promising to work with more than 222,000 merchant locations in America. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are already onboard, as are Whole Foods, Macy’s and Disney. 

“But by moving into the mobile payment space, Apple might soon find itself subjected to new oversight from federal regulators.”

Low-tech parenting

The New York Times Nick Bilton had an interesting tale revealing how hi-tech dads like Steve Jobs were actually low-tech parents who put time limits on their kids’ use of technology at home.

“I’ve met a number of technology chief executives and venture capitalists who say similar things: they strictly limit their children’s screen time, often banning all gadgets on school nights, and allocating ascetic time limits on weekends.

“I was perplexed by this parenting style. After all, most parents seem to take the opposite approach, letting their children bathe in the glow of tablets, smartphones and computers, day and night.

“Yet these tech C.E.O.’s seem to know something that the rest of us don’t.”

The spies who came out from the cold

Forbes reported that a growing number of former NSA agents are leaving the agency to set up their own security software companies.

“NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden may have immersed the agency in controversy but it hasn’t stopped it from becoming a fertile breeding ground for privacy and security entrepreneurs who are leaving the agency and quickly raking in millions from venture capitalists.

“Synack, Virtru, Area 1 Security and Morta Security are a few of the start-ups in recent years whose twenty- and thirty-something founders got their engineering training at the NSA.”

iPod image via Shutterstock

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years