Apple Card

Twelve and a half years after Steve Jobs borrows technology already in use by Palm and Handspring to create the iPhone, Apple has today invented the credit card. Now, some will say, “wait a minute, credit cards have been around for decades.” But that would be incorrect. There has never been a credit card made of titanium before! An actual metal card, not plastic.

TechLeadWhy the Apple Card is pure garbage – Aug 21, 2019

I’m kidding. It really is garbage, as the video above goes into. In fact, cashback cards in general are garbage, something he doesn’t go into. Cashback is a gimmick. The card issuers count on you charging things and then forgetting to pay the cards off each month. They don’t make money unless you pay them interest for carrying a balance from month to month.

The solution to the credit problem is not to have any credit cards. Use cards tied to your bank accounts, issued by your bank or credit union (I try to only use credit unions myself) and only use credit when absolutely necessary. Then pay back the entire amount as fast as possible in order to reduce your own costs. If you have to have a card to do certain kinds of transactions, have one card to do those transactions with and then pay that card off before the issuer can charge you for the carry-over balance.

It would really be nice to have enough money (as the youtuber above clearly has) to be able to resist the urge to put essentials on credit. To go on a spending spree and not have to worry about doing without essentials later. If you cannot afford to buy essentials, you cannot afford to have that temptation lying around. Cut up the cards and never look back.

The concept of customers paying different merchants using the same card was expanded in 1950 by Ralph Schneider and Frank McNamara, founders of Diners Club, to consolidate multiple cards. The Diners Club, which was created partially through a merger with Dine and Sign, produced the first “general purpose” charge card and required the entire bill to be paid with each statement. That was followed by Carte Blanche and in 1958 by American Express which created a worldwide credit card network (although these were initially charge cards that later acquired credit card features).

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The US government has taken to issuing charge cards to people who qualify for benefits these days. I’m not sure what I think of this development other than that it is a way to get funds into the hands of the unbanked, a serious problem in poverty stricken areas. And as long as the card only works up to the point where the benefits end, that shouldn’t be a problem. What would be a problem is the government issuing cards that could then be used to tie more poor people to debt that they will never be able to pay off. That would be a problem.

So, there you have it. Apple creates the charge card in 2019, about 150 years after the idea is first proposed in speculative fiction, and about 60 years after the first general charge card is introduced into the consuming population. Just in case you thought Steve Jobs was full of himself when he claimed to create the smartphone. Apple creates Paypal for Apple, joining the leagues of credit card issuers that are only a benefit to the wealthy who can pay their cards off regularly. Charge cards which are just another cross for the poor to be hung on, unless those poor are lucky enough to qualify for government benefits. In which case, track your balance! (the one solid word of financial advice offered in the video) But, you know, shiney new overpriced technology. We’re all excited to see it. Can’t you tell?

A h/t is due to the Economist Radio episode Money talks: From bad to wurst-Germany’s economy shrinks where I first heard of this latest offering from Apple.

Those Halcyon Days of the Rolodex

Jim Wright over at Stonekettle Station on Facebook is a frequent read of mine. I have moved his notifications to view first in the Facebook interface. Why? Because he makes me laugh, and I need a good laugh these days. Today was no exception,

Once upon a time an address book was a simple list of names and phone numbers that you scribbled onto little squares of cardboard and put in a little indexed box and kept by the phone — which was a big black plastic box with a dial and a handset, attached to the wall via wires, and heavy enough to bludgeon somebody to death with.

Back then, how many people did you really need to call? A few dozen maybe. Relatives. Friends. Anybody else was listed in the phone book.

My mom still has such a box full of cards next to her phone in the dining room. I knock it over nearly every time I’m there. Damned cards, why do you still have this mess? I ask as I’m picking them up off the floor. Why?

See, with the invention of computers, an address book became something you laboriously copied from those little cardboard rectangles into electronic storage. In fact some of the earliest programs for home computers (remember when we called them “home” computers?) were address books and contact lists. Periodically something would happen, a crash, an upgrade, something, and you’d have to retype the whole damned list into a different machine. So you hung onto that little box of cardboard rectangles, the ultimate backup.

The first Smartphone, a Handspring Visor

This image is representative of the first smartphone. A device which was available long before Saint Jobs invented the iPhone. It had a music player before there was a iPod, too. I graduated from the Handspring Visor in the center to the Treo on the left, a device that was also available before the iPhone. It was cheaper, too.

I haven’t used a Rolodex (the little squares of paper) ever in my life. Other people kept Rolodexes which I transferred once to my daily planner (a 5 ring planner with transplantable address pages) and then transferred them one more to my Handspring (Palm) device. Every transfer after that has been electronic. To quote Egon “print is dead”.

I have never attempted to recreate my list of contacts because (and this is important) I never wrote anything down that I didn’t have to and I never kept things I wrote out of embarrassment at my poor handwriting (more on that here) consequently my address book exists in a few digital places and pretty much nowhere else and the sad part is I can’t think of anyone’s number aside from The Wife, the city emergency number and information number.

Or maybe it isn’t sad. There are a whole host of things that people remember for no good reason other than their lives require them to remember them. The Wife is my link to sanity and the rest of the world, so her number I really do need to know. Everyone else is findable through lookup or the eight or so social platforms that I would utilize if I wanted to talk to someone. I would use them because who calls anybody anymore? I don’t even talk to people I pay bills to unless I absolutely have to. The phone is as dead as print is, for all intents and purposes.

However, I may have run across the problem Jim is talking about. Android creates a phone-only contact that is your contact information, and it will delete your contact of the same name from the gmail interface. It will do this pretty consistently no matter how many times you create that card. I know this because I used to beam my contact information to others with Palm devices, which meant I had to keep a digital card of my information to beam. If there had been more Palm users this may have been more useful back then, but it is the reason I still have a card of my information today. Or had until Android removed it from my contacts list when I moved to Android and identified the phone user as the same name on the card. Android is probably trying to be helpful and is only helping me to discover more colorful forms of cursing in the process.

Facebook Status post expanded and backdated to the blog.

‘Former’ Palm user?

I’m beginning to think it’s time to trade up.

I’ve carried a Palm device since Handspring first offered it’s Visor. While I was content to nestle in the (expensive) corporate software world that Bill and his buddies have carved out, Palm desktop’s Windows exclusive interface was not a problem. Now that I’ve struck out into the (nearly) trackless wilderness of Linux, trying to get my Palm devices to reliably sync with any version of Linux has proven to be more problematic than I had ever envisioned.

Consequently, I was heartened to hear that Android rolled-out the long awaited open source OS for the as yet sight unseen gPhone.

By creating an open platform, Google is trying to make money not on software or hardware sales, but by creating vast hordes of ad-susceptible phone users. Google can be less selfish about design, and less worried about stumbles on the road to perfection. Google boss Eric Schmidt told us today that they would not be in the business of clamping down on independent development, and from the sound of it, would be encouraging carriers to adopt a hands-off policy toward third-party development.

Gizmodo – Analysis: Google’s Android Phone and the Four Carriers

Intrigued by this development, I wandered by the Engadget site, only to discover that

Palm, which has been struggling for years through countless setbacks to introduce its own Linux-based mobile OS, in the mean time using a continuously cobbled-together version of Palm OS 5 (originally introduced in 2002) throughout. Palm’s first attempt at a next-gen mobile OS, dubbed Cobalt, is announced in 2004 and quickly becomes the stuff of vaporware legend, delayed over and over until ACCESS eventually buys the flagging PalmSource (more here on how that whole thing went down); ACCESS pledges to finish development of Palm’s misplaced next-gen mobile OS, and then license it back to Palm (among other companies).

But Palm’s had enough, so earlier this year it announces its intentions to release its own Linux-based OS — again — but this time without the help of its spin-off sister company Palm Source (which, of course, is now a part of ACCESS). And that new OS is quickly hyped and lauded — and then delayed. Yet again. Pushed back into late 2008 at the earliest (although we won’t be surprised if Palm revises and makes that 2009 or even later). And so we ask, Palm, where the hell were you when Google was rallying its Open Handset Alliance?

engadget – Palm: assimilate with Android or die

Yes, where the hell were you, Palm? Why am I still forced to juggle an OS that has essentially remained unchanged since 2002 with newer and faster PC’s and their constantly updated OS’s? Why hasn’t a shift to a Linux based Palm OS come about? Why is the Palm Desktop still exclusively set up for corporate software solutions (Windows/Mac)?

Most importantly, will I have to endure a brain transplant? Long before the iPhone ad, or even the iPhone itself, I frequently referred to my Palm device as my brain. So will I need to get a brain transplant? Will I have to find some other smartphone manufacturer’s product that I can make myself understand in order to get a device that plays well with the OS that I intend to use for the foreseeable future? A Linux OS?

Will we ever see a gPhone? Google executives won’t say … yet. For now, Google CEO Eric Schmidt says there will be a variety of Android phones offered by several wireless carriers. But even without a dedicated gPhone, we can all look forward to a software platform designed to better the user experience, while also being light on the pocketbook. All the while, Google is extending its seemingly endless grip on the technological world.

TradingMarkets.com Google platform challenges Mac, PC markets

So, in the meantime, I’ll keep carrying my Treo 650. I’m just not sure what manufacturer I’ll be purchasing my next device from.


2019 – It was LG. That was the next phone. LG, then HTC, Then a Nexus 5. I’m currently using a Motorola/Lenovo G5. Get me as close to pure Android as I can get, please. That’s what I’ve determined that I want. As open source as I can get without having to program it directly myself, please.

iPhone Conundrums

The class-action lawsuit alleges that Apple and AT&T had illegally exerted a monopoly by telling customers their iPhone contract was two years long when in actuality the companies’ exclusivity agreement was for an indefinite, undisclosed amount of time. That means even after iPhone customers’ two-year contracts have expired, they still don’t have the option of switching to another carrier because AT&T is still Apple’s only U.S. partner.

Gizmodo – Lawsuit Accusing Apple and AT&T of an iPhone Monopoly

Intentionally breaking third party applications for their phone hardware is what is going to get Apple in trouble, in the end. It’s what got Microsoft in trouble, intentionally breaking Netscape‘s ability run on updated Windows products (something that was reversed in later releases) so that Internet Exploder, urm, Explorer, would run unchallenged on Windows systems. This was SOP at Microsoft for many years.

Yes Microsoft dominates the software market currently, but I wonder how much longer this will be true; and how is Apple ever going to gain customer loyalty when they alienate whole sections of their user base by purposefully breaking their customers phones with software updates?

First you pay 200 dollars too much for the thing, and now it doesn’t work at all. Thanks Apple. Stick with Palm or LG or Nokia next time, lusers.


…And then the other shoe drops. So much for Apple’s control over their product base.

Hackers Claim to Revive ‘Bricked’ iPhones

It’s unclear, however, how permanent any “unbrick” fix will be, or whether changes to the hacks that allow modifications will survive the next Apple iPhone update.

PC World Magazine

I still say you should have bought a Palm.


2019 – While updating the links in this one I ran across the Gizmodo article I quoted from at the top. The lawsuit was granted class action status in 2010. As far as I can tell, the lawsuit is still ongoing twelve years later.

Are we not clever enough to withstand Apple’s spin?

Steve Jobs has a mind control ray? It would explain a great many things.

Today’s papers are full of the announcements, all buying into Jobs’ “seven wonders of the world” line about the new touchscreen iPod. There’s no doubt it looks great but DO YOU REALLY NEED IT! And yes, I know you can say that about all technology but it’s a serious point where iPods are concerned.

Apple feeds off the hype that follows its announcements and I am surprised they still get away with it. I mean how often do you change your washing machine? Or you oven? Or your TV? Or your digital camera?

We buy those expecting them to last years but far too many people seem happy to splash out a couple of hundred quid or more on an iPod only to “trade up” six months later when Steve appears on a big screen presumably sending out some sort of psychic wave. I can’t think of any other explanation for the cultish behaviour that sees millions seemingly brainwashed into replacing a product that’s perfectly good for one that doesn’t really do anything different to what they hold in their hands.

Jonathan Weinberg, – TECHDIGEST –
Opinion: Are we not clever enough to withstand Apple’s spin

I’ve never owned an iPod. Even though my first exposure to computers was on a Mac (the original) I’ve never had the need to own any of Steve Job’s new gizmo’s.

I’ve carried a Palm device since Handspring was formed; years before Jobs had his vision of the iPod. The first add-on I bought was a 64 meg MP3 player, which I used for several years as my only MP3 player. I’ve currently got a Treo 650 (which is two iterations behind the latest and greatest Palm device) and I have no need to upgrade to a newer Palm, much less a use restricted MP3 player that doesn’t include a phone.

When I first decided to invest in Palm devices, I did so based on the concept of one device that performs the functions of several devices I might need to carry; phone, camera, data, music and video. The first Handspring with add-ons could live up to this expectation. The current Treo does it with nothing more than an SD card for additional memory.

The iPod is just a walkman that plays MP3s, and now it plays video. Nothing new there. The iPhone is just another cell phone with a really cool interface. Also nothing new. Palm was the innovator of handheld devices, Apple is just the copycat. They lost their cutting edge when they lost the Woz.

I don’t know who the next innovator will be, but it won’t be Apple. Perhaps Google has something up their sleeve? Ever heard of Archos? Who knows what the future holds; history, however, has shown that giant corporations do not produce innovations.

No iPhone For Me

I’m glad Rankin took the time to write down his reasons for not buying an iPhone. I’ve been thinking I needed to do this, and it saves me the time. Frankly, I don’t know what the buzz is about. I’ve been carrying a Palm device for more than 5 years now. My first device was a Handspring Visor (still have it) and it had expansion cards for cell phones and mp3 players (still have those too) it predates the iPod, and cost half what the iPod does. My current device is a Treo 650, and it does everything the iPhone does for about half the price as well. Go figure.

Ten Reasons Why the iPhone is not myPhone