Apple arrogance, Microsoft muddling, privacy problems -- the rants rain down

Apple Maps, the quest for the next Steve Jobs, and rampant data mining sure get a rise out of readers, Cringely learns

It's been a long time since I reached into the reader mailbag, and it's pretty darned full. Here's a sampling of what the residents of Cringeville had to say about topics like Apple, Steve Jobs, Windows 8 tablets, and data mining.

Let's start with the most recent one first. Earlier this week I recounted how both the Obama and Romney campaigns are hoovering up all kinds of data about voters -- including where they shop, what they buy, the kinds of beer they like to drink, and what they're doing on Facebook -- the better to harangue us with.

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Reader D. K. has a scheme for keeping credit reporting agencies from selling our information to anyone with a working bank account: Pay them to shut up.

For an additional annual fee [credit and debit card issuers] promise not to report your transactions to data aggregators, the fee being at least what they make in total from selling their data on one customer. Serendipitous synergy: this would also encourage holders of multiple credit cards (i.e. every adult in the country) to concentrate as many charges as they can onto one or two credit or debit cards for which the extra fee has been paid.

I dunno, that feels a little too much like extortion to me; then again, that's probably just how the agencies like it. Really, it's the opposite -- reporting agencies should be paying us for the use of our data. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if "pay us to keep quiet" becomes the industry "solution" to the privacy problem.

I wrote two posts about Apple's Mapocalypse, which still makes me chuckle. (The government minister in Ireland whose garden estate was mislabeled by Apple Maps as an airport? Probably not as amused.) In response, regular correspondent C. S. replied thusly in an alarmingly large teal-colored font, which unfortunately I cannot produce here:

You must sell your Apple stock!! The iPhone 5 will write doom for the whole Apple corporation. The fan boys have already purchased 2 million of the i5. As they use the new mapping app, following where Apple leadeth, they will drive into walls, highball into barriers, fall into rivers, sink into swamps, launch into landmarks, creep into creeks and Ford into fjords. The law suits brought by the families (fan boys must have them) will finish off Apple. Act now, you have been warned.

Hey, at least he didn't write it in ALL CAPS. Then I would have been really worried.

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