Samsung Fined $340,000 in Taiwan for Fake Online Comments

Aaron Souppouris reporting for The Verge:

After being caught paying for false praise and negative comments about competitors, Samsung has been fined just over $340,000. The issue first arose internationally in April, when Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) announced it was opening an investigation into the allegations. That investigation found the allegations were true: the FTC says Samsung used a “large number of hired writers and designated employees” to post in Taiwanese forums.

Embarrassing. But wait! There’s more!

While Samsung is by no means the first company to engage in astroturfing, it’s been caught in the act twice this year alone.

Not only are they engaging in unethical marketing practices—which hilariously enough has an official term—they’ve been caught doing it twice in the same year.

Get your stuff together, Samsung. You’re better than this.

Microsoft Talks Apple iPads and iWork

Frank Shaw on The Official Microsoft Blog:

Surface and Surface 2 both include Office, the world’s most popular, most powerful productivity software for free and are priced below both the iPad 2 and iPad Air respectively. Making Apple’s decision to build the price of their less popular and less powerful iWork into their tablets not a very big (or very good) deal.

I think they, like others, are waking up to the fact that we’ve built a better solution for people everywhere, who are getting things done from anywhere, and who don’t have hard lines between their personal and professional lives.

Microsoft looks incredibly stupid for publishing this garbage.

Who cares that you made a device you think “is the most productive tablet you can buy today,” when it’s not selling? Eighty-one percent of tablet usage is on the iPad, and I highly doubt that the Surface has a significant share of the remaining nineteen percent.

Microsoft has so much untapped potential they could use for making great new products. Instead, they waste their time writing a post like this that claims they understand “how people work better than anyone else.” Talk is cheap, but the fact is this: while Microsoft was busy loosing $900 million on Surface tablets in Q3 2013, Apple sold 14.6 million iPads.

A Look Back on Our First Month

A month ago today, I launched The Bold Report. I’m so glad I did it, and we’ve had some pretty great growth in our first month!

First of all, if you’re reading this, I want to say thank you. This site is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I love writing about my interests, and I love the fact that there are people like you, who have similar passions.

Now for Some Stats

The site has been viewed 5,013 times, and people stay an average of two minutes. The site had 3,006 visitors, 1,313 of which were returning. 1,902 visitors are from the United States, the United Kingdom came in second place with 399.

Not surprisingly, the two most common mobile devices the site is viewed on, are iOS devices. Coming in first place: iPhone with sixty-two percent.

Chrome was the popular browser, responsible for fifty-six percent of traffic. Nine people visited from Internet Explorer.1 Most visitors are using a Mac, but twelve percent is on Windows.2

The number one source of referrals was Twitter with 1,560, my personal site in third place, and Sidebar.io coming in fourth. The main RSS feed currently has twelve subscribers, and the Twitter account has sixty-six followers.

Top Five Posts

In the first month, these were the top posts:

  1. Freelancing and Saying “No”
  2. Document Everything
  3. Review: 1Password 4 for Mac
  4. Dear Reader,
  5. Using Portly for Local Development

Giveaway

As a token of my appreciation, I wanted to give away two “The Standard” Tonx Coffee Subscriptions. I’ll personally pay for your first month, which includes two shipments of great-tasting coffee. My pal Jory Raphael is also kindly giving away two of his amazing Symbolicons icon bundles! The winners will be choosen at random on Friday at 1pm Central. Here’s what you have to do to win:

  1. Follow The Bold Report on Twitter.
  2. Mention @theboldreport, and tell me what you like about the site, and what I could possibly do better.

In closing, a huge thank you to everyone who has followed, subscribed, and read. I sincerely appreciate all of your support, and I hope you continue to find the content here, of interest to you.

—Tim

  1. Even that, was a bigger number that I would’ve thought. Thanks IE folks! Hope you can see everything well! 

  2. Again, a bigger number than I thought. 

OS X Mavericks Review

Stephen Hackett on 512 Pixels:

The bones haven’t changed all that much over the last 13 years, but every time Apple updates OS X, it continues to improve and refine features and the underlying technologies that make them possible.

…I firmly believe that OS X is the best consumer desktop operating system on the planet. It has undergone some major changes over the years, but it’s the same OS under the hood. OS X is still as stable, powerful and resilient to viruses and other malware as it has always been.

Stephen is one of my favorite writers, and he’s published an amazing, in-depth review of the latest OS X.

Apple Event Day

Apple Event Days are always exciting for me, and this one will be no different.

You’ll be able to watch the event live on your iOS device, Mac, or Apple TV. 1 During the event, I’ll be in the #ssktn iRC chatroom, as a kind of virtual-viewing party.

After the event, Chris Enns, Kyle Roderick, and myself will be talking about the event and new gadgets on the SSKTN live stream.

Happy Apple Event Day!

  1. I’m so glad they’ve started to stream most of these events on the Apple TV. It seems that the only one they’re not streaming live these days is WWDC, which is totally understandable. 

John Gruber on iMessage Encryption

What Quarkslab’s research proves […] is that Apple’s iMessage back-end could be designed to allow for Apple to intercept and read message content, and there is no way we, as iMessage users, would be able to detect it.

What Apple has said, and reiterated today, is that iMessage’s back-end is not in fact designed in that way — that there is no mechanism in the system for Apple employees to surreptitiously change the encryption key to allow for messages to be decrypted during transit.

I don’t have much to add to this one, I just found the article to be interesting. I agree with Gruber that it would be a huge mistake for Apple to lie about something as sensitive as this. However, at the end of the day, which side does it make more sense for companies to side with? Users? That’s naive.

Netflix Likely to Have Overtaken HBO in Paid US Subscribers

Amar Toor reporting for The Verge:

According to analysis from Needham & Co., it’s likely that Netflix’s paid US subscriber base reached 30 million by the end of September. That may be enough to overtake HBO, which has an estimated 28.7 million subscribers in the US

In its fiscal Q2 earnings report this year, Netflix said it had more than 29 million US subscribers and expected to add between 230,000 and 880,000 in Q3.

Netflix is one of those companies that I love to root for. However, as someone in the comments for this article pointed out, the fact that Netflix has more subscribers than HBO, doesn’t mean they’re making more money. Still, these numbers might just give HBO the scare they need, to consider an online subscription that isn’t tied to any cable company. With Time Warner Cable being the parent company of HBO, I see this as a small probability, but there’s no way they don’t see the potential business they’re missing out on.

One thing is for sure, the competition between these two channels will be interesting to watch.

Freelancing and Saying “No”

No. That word has been given lots of importance in our industry and rightly so. Jason Santa Maria spoke about it, Julie Zhuo wrote about it, and I’m sure you’ve read your fair share of articles on the topic.

It’s a powerful word, and I’m glad that we’re a community that looks out for each other and is willing to share with newcomers how to avoid bad projects. There are some relationships that will rob you of your joy, and in the end cost you more money than you’re being paid.

However, I think it’s been given a misleading reputation. Lots of people confuse saying no,with turning down projects they don’t deem as “fun”. In some articles, I’ve seen it turn into advice that only strokes the growing ego that many designers have. We turn something great, into snobbery and haughtiness. Consequently, people are given the wrong impression of what saying no actually means.

“Tim, my business is already struggling and you expect me to say no to a project?”

Of course not. I always take projects that help keep the lights on. Everyone does. If they say they don’t, they’re lying. Not every single project will meet all of your requirements 1, and even the ones that do will have difficulties and moments of frustration. That’s just a fact of life.

Saying no means to turn down projects that will kill you or your business. You know exactly what I’m talking about. The client that you’re having a preliminary meeting with, and your gut tells you that you shouldn’t work with the person. The reason could be one of many. They don’t know what they want, they want to pay you considerably less, they’re condescending, whatever. That’s when you say no.

It’s important to note that someone with a low budget isn’t always a red flag. Learn to trust your gut. You’ll know when it’s a good idea to work for less money, and when it’s just someone that’s trying to take advantage. If you still don’t know, ask a friend. Don’t have someone to ask? Email me.

“But I need the money!”

You think you’re poor now? Just wait till you’re working an insane amount of hours on an insane budget. What happens when you finally get sick of it? Do you fire the client? Will you have to issue a refund? How do you pay for that?

Trust me, something else will come up. I’ve been hours away from having no money in the bank with no prospects of money, and something has always come up.In all honesty, it’s better to pick up a shift at Starbucks, than work in a toxic relationship.

“I’m freelancing so I can have fun.”

Freelancing is work. There are a lot of hardships. Lots of anxiety. Lots of stress. Maybe even playing “credit card shuffle”. 2 Not every day is going to be fun, and that’s something you have to come to terms with. However, it’s also very rewarding. I wake up when I want, I work when I want, I get to choose my clients,3 I can choose to collaborate with other designers, developers, etc., and I can work from wherever there is internet.

You’ll land three projects one month, and have no work the next.4 Money management becomes crucial when you freelance. But, don’t worry. If I can do it—and I’m literally the best blower of money—you can definitely do it.

Wrapping Up

All projects aren’t going to be fun, and they won’t all be big brands or names. Learn to appreciate projects that allow you to work with people who care, make an impact on peoples lives, and teach you new things.

Not all clients are bad. Most are well-meaning people who are trying to do their best by their business or company. Saying no, should never satisfy an emotional need to rebel. Instead, it should be educated by the goals of your business, and that of the client.

In closing, remember that the objective of saying no, will give you the opportunity to say yes.

Further Reading

Saying “No” Effectively — Via Mark Rondina


A very sincere thank you to Hamish Macpherson, Matt Riopelle, Mark Rondina, and Sara Wachter-Boettcher, for their help in editing this article.

  1. You’re the one that decides what those requirements are. For me, I have an internal checklist. Is the project fun? Do I believe in the message of the project and the company trying to communicate it? Does the client show respect for me, my work, and my time? Who else will I be working with? What will I learn? Will I be able to display the work in my portfolio? Do I have time? Is the budget reasonable? 

  2. This is when you pay one card with another card. Or you’re paying bills with a credit card. It’s scary stuff. 

  3. This is true whether you have clients are not. You’re never forced to work on something you don’t want to. Even if the work is horrible, it was my choice

  4. July was killer. September was dry. Feast or famine.