Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Short takes: Is it now on to the general election?; U.S. Economy grew at 3% in the last quarter of 2011; Apple now faces the kind of scrutiny Microsoft used to deal with

After all the talk of a possible win in Michigan, following victories in other state primaries, the Santorum campaign's losses last night feel to have a finality to them.

Yes, Mitt Romney was supposedly from Michigan, but that was simply a campaign spot, anyone who has been governor of one state can't really claim another as his home state. So Rick Santorum could have won Michigan last night, despite his wild campaign talk. George Wallace, after all, won the state in 1972. Why not Rick Santorum?

I actually am from Michigan – born there, raised there, went to school there. After 22 years of listening to my fellow Michiganians (or Michiganders, if you like) I headed to the west coast and never looked back. Michigan is a state of Reagan Democrats, Dixiecrat Republicans. It is a state of union members who watch Fox News and hate unions right up until the union picnic.

Or at least, that is the way I remember it. Maybe it is different now. After all, the crazy guy spouting on about the evils of a college education and the dangers of legal contraception lost.

And because of this the whole GOP circus seems to be leaving town. Sure, next week is Super Tuesday. But last night feels like the end to me.

The Commerce Department revised upward its estimate of GDP growth for the final quarter of 2011 to 3.0 percent, from 2.8 percent. GDP growth in the third quarter was at 1.8 percent.

This should be good news for the President as the economy would appear to be turning around. But the numbers are more than a bit fuzzy (at least to me).

Real GDP growth for 2011 came in at 1.7 percent compared to 3.0 percent in 2010, so the question is whether we saw a slowing of the economy in 2011 with an uptick in towards the end that will to further growth this year, or whether the economy overall is grinding to a halt?

The answer will most certainly effect the election season.

Apple sure it getting hammered for privacy issues with its mobile software. Now, I guess, Apple is learning what is was like to be Microsoft these past could decades.

The latest security hole involves access to one's photographs on their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. It's a big deal, but yet it's not.

This is one of those security holes that no one is claiming is there on purpose – at least no one has claimed that yet. Also, no one is pointing to an app that is using the security hole in location services to access the library.

But Apple's typical response – that is, no response – ends up making this another story the media can play with. Users can expect a software update to fix the problem, but not a quick press release to calm users.

As a result Nick Bilton's story for the NYT is filled with quotes from developers and others about the issue, but only one line that explains that the problem is unintentional: "It is unclear whether any apps in Apple’s App Store are illicitly copying user photos."

Followed, of course, with the inevitable "Apple did not respond to a request for comment."