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Think Secret Shutting Down

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the settled-out-of-existence dept.

The Media 240

A number of readers are sending in the news that the Mac rumors site Think Secret will be shutting down, as part of the (secret) settlement of a lawsuit Apple filed in 2005. Apple had claimed that the blog, published since 1998 by college student Nick Ciarelli, had revealed Apple's trade secrets. The only other detail of the settlement that has been revealed is that Think Secret was not forced to reveal any sources.

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Oh, the horror! (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21764652)

Insert cloaked link to myminicity.com here, because I suck cocks.

Re:Oh, the horror! (2, Funny)

Poltras (680608) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765684)

I'm torn between moderating you +1 troll or -1 insightful. Then again, I'll just reply shamelessly.

Hope He Got Some Money (3, Informative)

Apple Acolyte (517892) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764666)

I really hope Nick got some money in exchange for agreeing to terminate his site. In any case, thank you for your years of work on behalf of the Mac community, Nick.

Re:Hope He Got Some Money (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764738)

I really hope Nick got some money in exchange for agreeing to terminate his site. In any case, thank you for your years of work on behalf of the Mac community, Nick.
Or he could just start another rumor site called "Vroom with a Pre-View".
c.f. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Apple_Inc._slogans [wikipedia.org]

Re:Hope He Got Some Money (5, Insightful)

electricalen (623623) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764838)

IMO, this is not a win for Apple. They have killed a very pro-Apple website which was read by Apple fans and customers. This was not some site that was trashing them, spreading damaging lies, and promoting non-Apple stuff. They were getting the fans excited and trying to sell more products, which is exactly what Apple is trying to do. If you kill off your friends, you are shooting yourself in the foot.

Re:Hope He Got Some Money (3, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765070)

You can be pro-Apple yet severely damage them at the same time. Anytime you expose secret projects that the company does not feel is ready for prime-time, you risk losing any forward momentum that you would have had over opposing companies in development. This is why corporate espionage is considered a serious problem. As it stands now, the "leaked" project that started this whole mess has been to most peoples knowledge, canned.

Re:Hope He Got Some Money (3, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765238)

This was not some site that was trashing them, spreading damaging lies, and promoting non-Apple stuff.
I'm not so sure about this one. When rumors of unbelievable Apple products get around the net, people's expectations get too high. And when Apple finally releases their new product, people are shocked that it's not as amazing as the rumors.

See also: dumb share traders who buy on rumors and sell when the real products arrive and aren't up to rumors specs.

re: not a win for Apple (1)

King_TJ (85913) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765294)

I absolutely agree, although the truth is, taking these types of sites down is equivalent to playing "whack-a-mole". Another will just pop right back up. If it had good readership/popularity before, there's no way that void will remain unfilled when it disappears. Someone out there is *always* looking for a popular topic to build a new web site around and get visitors.

Already, this new "9to5mac" web site seems to be coming up with an awful lot of fairly accurate rumors and informative facts. I imagine a lot of the "rumor info" they used to leak to thinksecret is simply getting redirected to them now.

Re:Hope He Got Some Money (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21765074)

Here is the breakdown of Nick's Compensation [tinyurl.com]

Re:Hope He Got Some Money (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21765804)

This kind of reminds me of Prince going after his fans. Nothing good ever comes of it.

nice tags...not (3, Insightful)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764686)

Since when is "protecting trade secrets" the same as "censorship". I think it's time for /. to abandon the tag feature.

Re:nice tags...not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21764726)

Since when is "protecting trade secrets" the same as "censorship".
Uhh.. since always? Protecting any secret is only achievable through censorship. Look it up. [reference.com]

Re:nice tags...not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21764744)

Actually, it's an automated tag. Do you see the icon to the right of the article? A face with a black strap over the mouth? Yes? Censorship. It tags the article automatically.

TAG PARENT censorship (4, Funny)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764762)

Wouldn't that be censorship?

Re:TAG PARENT censorship (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#21766006)

No. It would be eliminating a beta program that has proven to be ineffective.

Re:nice tags...not (2, Informative)

niceone (992278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764768)

Maybe it's the "Sorry, comments have been disabled for this story" at the end of TFA?

Re:nice tags...not (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764916)

If they really want to protect trade secrets, maybe they could try to make sure they don't get leaked in the first place?

When did speculation and reporting on rumors get deemed as private information? All I know is CNN is screwed.

Re:nice tags...not (1, Flamebait)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765286)

I think Apple tries pretty hard to keep that from happening. You can speculate all you want, the case that Apple really went after Think Secret for involved very specific information about an unannounced product. It wasn't just a lucky guess by a well informed guy, it was obvious that he had received information from someone "on the inside."

I have no doubt that Apple has all sorts of restrictions on what their employees are allowed to discuss, and you surely sign all sorts of agreements when you go to work there. But people being people, sometimes an individual or two just can't keep secrets to themselves, and feel the need to share it. I'm not sure what else you expect Apple to do to prevent it, maybe replace all their employees with robots?

Re:nice tags...not (2, Funny)

catxk (1086945) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765656)

Not robots, Oompa-Loompas!

Re:nice tags...not (1, Flamebait)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765520)

If they really want to protect trade secrets, maybe they could try to make sure they don't get leaked in the first place?

When did speculation and reporting on rumors get deemed as private information? All I know is CNN is screwed.


It isn't. Which is how sites like AppleInsider, MacRumors and others get their information, legally.

However, ThinkSecret has been known to "entice" Apple employees into breaking their NDAs with Apple and give it certain priviledged information. Apple sued ThinkSecret in an attempt to find out who at Apple was breaking their NDA. They lost, mostly because it was proven that Apple did not do a sufficiently good job at their internal investigation, and thus, ThinkSecret shouldn't be forced to give up their source. (This makes sense, when you think about whistleblowers). From all we can speculate, said source is probably still working at Apple, since we've not heard of any lawsuit filed for disclosure of priviledged information.

If Apple did find the source, ThinkSecret could find itself under another lawsuit if it can be proven people were paid for espionage. But I suspect the terms of the settlement involve immunity for ThinkSecret from further lawsuits related to this matter.

ThinkSecret isn't exactly innocent in the whole affair. After all, Apple went after them, and none of the other sites like say, Gizmodo, Engadget, MacRumors, AppleInsider who report on rumors obtained through the grapevine and are often wrong. ThinkSecret's "rumors" often turned out uncannily accurate.

Re:nice tags...not (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21765136)

The tag feature is my favourite thing about Slashdot! It's like a brief analysis of the article, but by someone with severe Tourette's.

Adrian

Re:nice tags...not (1)

mstahl (701501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765186)

Just tag it "!censorship" if you disagree.

Re:nice tags...not (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765654)

Since when is "protecting trade secrets" the same as "censorship". I think it's time for /. to abandon the tag feature.
I completely agree. Companies have the right to have their technology projects remain at whatever secret level they wish. But, the people who would call this censorship probably also don't think that sharing songs off their CD for free with the internet is wrong.

Re:nice tags...not (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#21766042)

Not only do they have the right to do so, they MUST do so to survive. My company has a leading software package used the Department of Defense. If our source code and trade secrets weren't protected, the "big dogs" like Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrup Grumman (to name a few) would put us out of business in the matter of weeks.

Monkey off his back? (4, Insightful)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764692)

It sounds like the creator of Think Secrets is pissed off but trying to act otherwise. He alludes to being "pleased" with the result, saying that he is now able to focus on his "college studies". Had college studies been important to him in the first place, he wouldn't have spent so much time on other projects like this. Most likely this statement is just a weak attempt to save face.

Re:Monkey off his back? (3, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764760)

I wonder if he's "pleased" in the sense that he has a "big fat Apple check" to "deposit."

Re:Monkey off his back? (2, Funny)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764816)

I wonder if he's "pleased" in the sense that he has a "big fat Apple check" to "deposit."
Maybe in an alternative universe, but not in the one where Steve Jobs runs Apple.

Re:Monkey off his back? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21765412)

Or maybe "pleased" in that he's "not" getting "sued to oblivion."

Re:Monkey off his back? (1)

catxk (1086945) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765702)

Or maybe in a "democracy", it's not illegal to publish stuff you hear about.

Re:Monkey off his back? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21765008)

lol. sounds like you don't know shit about jack. I don't even read think secret, I don't own a mac (I have run a hackintosh on my AMD)....but you sound like some jackhole armchair quarterback taking wild guesses about the psyche of a guy who had a long successful run.

Re:Monkey off his back? (1)

bondjamesbond (99019) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765026)

So, he's been trying to finish college since 1998?? I guess he can pay for it now.

Re:Monkey off his back? (1)

Arcady13 (656165) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765822)

So, he's been trying to finish college since 1998?? I guess he can pay for it now.

I think he was in high school when he started the site...

Re:Monkey off his back? (4, Insightful)

Minupla (62455) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765042)

I expect that what you see on the website was carefully vetted by the various legal teams involved.

MIn

Re:Monkey off his back? (5, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765222)


Most likely this statement is just a weak attempt to save face.

No, most likely this is a statement as part of the legal agreement. It might contain something like "ThinkSecret will not make any deragatory or defamatory remarks regaring Apple Computer Inc."

I on the other hand am under no such legal obligation. What Apple fans need to remember is that Apple is a big corporation that'll do whatever they like to defend what they see as their interest. That includes silencing critics when they're able to. In many ways Microsoft has been a better player in terms of free speech. I don't recall them suing anyone over spoiling the CEO's "big surprise". (Which is really what this is all about, Steve Jobs personal vendetta). That doesn't mean Microsoft doesn't exert the same controls over their product.. they just tend to take the "keep your friends close, and your enemies closer" approach.

Re:Monkey off his back? (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765326)

It's probably more along the lines of all this extra scrutiny has scared his sources away from providing him insider information, so at that point he just becomes another speculative website, of which there are already a bazillion. Even if the lawsuit had just gone away, losing your exclusive sources probably would've taken some of the fun out of it.

Re:Monkey off his back? (2, Funny)

MrPerfekt (414248) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765350)

Priorities certainly can change over 8 years, don't you think?

He would have closed down either way. (4, Insightful)

RandoX (828285) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764742)

Don't give up your source and shut down, or give up your source and don't shut down. You won't be getting any more "insider tips" either way.

Re:He would have closed down either way. (1)

hsdpa (1049926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764806)

You won't be getting any more "insider tips" either way.
Why not start a new site like think secret, but with another staff? ThinkGeekSecrets.com maybe :)

Re:He would have closed down either way. (1)

Doctor-Optimal (975263) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765454)

You won't be getting any more "insider tips" either way.
Why not start a new site like think secret, but with another staff? ThinkGeekSecrets.com maybe :)
Insiders predict a new (but still unfunny) command line shirt!

Re:He would have closed down either way. (1)

hsdpa (1049926) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765796)

Uncertain sources:

It will be a black shirt with the white text ":(){:|:&};:".

Re:He would have closed down either way. (1)

Selfbain (624722) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764954)

The site has been essentially dead for a while now anyways. I haven't seen a single interesting update there in months and what stories they did have were repeated from other sources. Now hopefully AppleInsider can hold out.

Re:He would have closed down either way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21765006)

Lack of "insider tips" did not seem to stop macosrumors.com from posting their, er, stories!

Re:He would have closed down either way. (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765030)

Don't give up your source and shut down, or give up your source and don't shut down. You won't be getting any more "insider tips" either way.
Oh well, there's always Dave Schroeder.

option 3: Think Secreter (1)

JonTurner (178845) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765112)

option 3: open a new site called "Think Secreter"

4. PROFIT!

Re:He would have closed down either way. (1)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765908)

He can always join the Mr. X initiative...

Re:He would have closed down either way. (2, Interesting)

daveywest (937112) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765958)

Nick now has an established and proven reputation for keeping his sources confidential. Even with TS shut down, I have to imagine he will be a coveted corespondent for mainstream Apple press.

I can't think of a publisher that wouldn't want a staffer that has exclusive stories dropping in his lap.

Dangerous Slippery Path (2, Insightful)

Bruha (412869) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764808)

So now corporations will determine what independent press is able to say or shut them down? Our news is already skewed enough as it is by the various corporate news outlets who cater to this and that political party.

Re:Dangerous Slippery Path (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764854)

So now corporations will determine what independent press is able to say or shut them down?
Corporations are now and have always been able to take someone to court who publishes - like in this case - their trade secrets.

Re:Dangerous Slippery Path (1)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765416)

Corporations are now and have always been able to take someone to court who publishes - like in this case - their trade secrets.

I was under the impression that trade secrets, unlike patents, have no protection under the law. That's the trade-off a company makes when it decides whether something will be patented or be a trade secret -- If you patent, you get exclusive use of the invention for 20 years, but the patent becomes public knowledge and after it expires anyone can use it. A trade secret, on the other hand, is not published and no one else can use it, assuming you manage to keep the secret to yourself. Let the cat out of the bag, though, and it's game over.

The only protection for trade secrets is any non-disclosure agreements you've had people sign. If someone who is not under a non-disclosure agreement finds out the secret and publishes, there's pretty much nothing the company can do except whine at him. They can sue whoever broke the non-disclosure, but the guy who publishes is in the clear. Of course, the company can always threaten a long, drawn-out court case which they have no hope of winning, but which will break the guy financially trying to defend himself.

IANAL, but this is how corporate lawyers have explained it to me in the past.

Re:Dangerous Slippery Path (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765650)

I was under the impression that trade secrets, unlike patents, have no protection under the law.

It varies widely by jurisdiction, but in the US this is not entirely true. The difference is that with a trade secret, if another company independently re-invents it, the other company can use it. However, a trade secret has legal standing in that employees cannot legally reveal them or take them to another company.

Although I don't recommend using Wikipedia to base legal decisions on, they have a description of the practical legal difference on the trade secrets [wikipedia.org] page.

Re:Dangerous Slippery Path (4, Informative)

ubernostrum (219442) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765856)

There are two issues people tend to go after here: the "I thought trade secrets weren't protected!" issue and the "OMG First Amendment!" issue. Both objections have serious problems.

Let's deal first with trade secrets. The revelant federal law [cornell.edu] is quite clear, and lays out some pretty stiff potential penalties for both Think Secret (who almost certainly knew they were receiving an inappropriately-disclosed trade secret, and thus would have triggered the statute) and the person who talked to them (who almost certainly misappropriated a trade secret or improperly transmitted one, and thus would have triggered the statute). 10 years' federal imprisonment or $5m fine is nothing to sneeze at, so we're talking about something that -- from the standpoint of the law -- is a pretty serious offense.

Now, as for journalism and the First Amendment: Think Secret originally attempted to claim the traditional right of journalists to protect anonymous sources, but there's serious doubt about whether they ought to receive it. The traditional protection afforded to journalists' sources exists to ensure that information which is important to, or which impacts the public good will be brought to light. But in this case the information does not serve any high and lofty public purpose: this isn't Watergate or the Pentagon Papers, it's some company's product lineup. And while we have freedom of the press, that's not the same as carte blanche to break the law: if you're going to wrap yourself in the Constitution, you need to go to the judge with something better than "Well, we really only did it because we can, and because we thought it'd be cool." Think Secret didn't have anything better to tell the judge than that, and so the judge (rightly) laid the smackdown on them.

The result is that they've been backed into a settlement which puts them out of business. Whether this means Apple is the next Google is the next Microsoft is the next IBM is the next Dark Lord Sauron, I don't know. But Think Secret basically screwed themselves, and have no-one to blame but themselves.

Re:Dangerous Slippery Path (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765028)

Most corporations aren't as secretive about their projects as Apple is for some reason. Intel publishes road maps of their upcoming technology years before it ever hits the consumer market, yet Apple keeps a lid on their "secrets" until the day the hardware is marketed in the Apple Stores or announced at a MacWorld event. Ridiculous.

Re:Dangerous Slippery Path (3, Insightful)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765122)

different fields. Apple is about hardware, in particular consumer and business products. Intel has to work with hundreds of companies to make products that are PART of their partners products (including Apple)

Intel has a vested interest in letting its partners know whats on the horizon. Apple has a lot to lose by doing so, since what makes them so popular, is how well they can design products for user simplicity.

Re:Dangerous Slippery Path (4, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765134)

So now corporations will determine what independent press is able to say or shut them down? Our news is already skewed enough as it is by the various corporate news outlets who cater to this and that political party.

Journalists are no less obligated to respond to subpoenas than anyone else. In this case, TS was obligated to name the source who had illegally leaked trade secret information. He chose not to do that.

Note that he actually was not barred from printing the information. It was not giving the guy up that was the problem.

Only Apple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21765140)

Because heaven knows if this were Microsoft we would already have a thousand comments against them

Dear Apple (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21764810)

Dear Apple,
I am a homosexual. I bought an Apple computer because of its well earned reputation for being "the" gay computer. Since I have become an Apple owner, I have been exposed to a whole new world of gay friends. It is really a pleasure to meet and compute with other homos such as myself. I plan on using my new Apple computer as a way to entice and recruit young schoolboys into the homosexual lifestyle; it would be so helpful if you could produce more software which would appeal to young boys. Thanks in advance.

with much gayness,
Father Randy "Pudge" O'Day, S.J.

At least Apple didn't really win (4, Insightful)

shorti9 (307602) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764868)

It's sad that this came out the way it did, but kudos to Think Secret for taking the cyanide pill for us. At trial, this case could have resulted in a terrible outcome. If Apple had won in court, it would have set a harmful precedent: you must reveal sources. By agreeing to some (probably less-than-ideal) conditions, Think Secret and their legal team has saved us all from that precedent. Thank you!

Re:At least Apple didn't really win (2, Interesting)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764926)

A harmful precedent being that encouraging people to break their NDA and then publish what they is actionable? I'm guessing that precedent has already been set.

Re:At least Apple didn't really win (1, Insightful)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764936)

Giving in seems like a great way to piss all over the first amendment. If this were MS, everyone would be up in arms, but since its our beloved Apple, we should probably just give in.

I hear what finally nailed him.... (2, Funny)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764878)

was when he got a hold of anti-reality distortion field unit. I hear got a look at Jobs' real face. All I can say is... he's lucky he's not dead. Count your blessings and move on man.

And all over "Asteroid"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21764904)

... a product they never released anyway.

I still can't figure out how Trade Secrets became legally protected. What a stupid legal system.

Re:And all over "Asteroid"... (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765400)

... a product they never released anyway.

Only because Woz called up Jobs and pointed out Atari already .

Re:And all over "Asteroid"... (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765446)

...did it.

Sorry to keep everyone in suspense, I need sleep.

I quit Macintosh a year ago. (0, Flamebait)

bigfox (597036) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764908)

I quit Macintosh a year ago. Been using Ubuntu ever since. Apple keeps trying to use the iron fist of their legal department every time somebody does something they don't like. Now they are trying to lock down the iPod. They get open source codecs pulled from the HTML5 spec while trying to tell us they support open source. With lawsuits like this, they are becoming as bad as the RIAA.

Good for the Source (4, Insightful)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764958)

I work for a large Telecom corporation, and I had to sign quite a bit of paperwork regarding trade secrets. My training material, which did not include any usernames, passwords, server paths, etc., was not allowed to leave the building. We were granted access to quite a bit of information that was not intended for anyone outside of the company.

That being said, this is an excellent outcome for the Source. As the Source does not have to be revealed, something within Apple, perhaps at a significant level, will not be losing their job for divulging information that he had probably signed agreements to not disclose but felt the information should be shared anyway.

The person who wins this is the Source, as he most likely violated enforced company policy and came out of it free and clear.

Re:Good for the Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21765098)

so really the only person that got anything good out of this is the person who was actually breaking a law. That's good old American justice for you

Re:Good for the Source (1, Insightful)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765500)

so really the only person that got anything good out of this is the person who was actually breaking a law. That's good old American justice for you
Except company policy is not law, so this really has nothing to do with the American Justice System other than the fact the matter was settled out of court.

He's been in college since 1998? (5, Funny)

radiotone (629610) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764970)

Wow. That beats my record.

A year ago this would have been sad, contentwise (5, Informative)

ThatbookwritingWheel (553383) | more than 6 years ago | (#21764972)

But since the "issues" he had with Apple, the content on thinksecret wasn't really much beyond what someone with an Apple Developer Connect membership could access. To many articles on the latest seed of this or that. Before that ThinkSecret sometimes had some real gems every now and then (and was plain wrong lots of times also)

Re:A year ago this would have been sad, contentwis (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765268)

But since the "issues" he had with Apple, the content on thinksecret wasn't really much beyond what someone with an Apple Developer Connect membership could access. To many articles on the latest seed of this or that. Before that ThinkSecret sometimes had some real gems every now and then (and was plain wrong lots of times also)

In addition to this there are still plenty of other sites providing this sort of information, including appleinsider.com

My first anti-apple rant (3, Interesting)

ahoehn (301327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765018)

Before I begin my first real anti-apple rant on Slashdot, I should note that I have and love an iBook, a 4th Gen iPod, a 2nd Gen iPod Shuffle, a Hackintosh, and an iPod Mini.

Now, to the rant. Perhaps I'm just paying more attention, but it feels to me that Apple is becoming more and more of an Evil Empire(tm). Suing a site that is completely devoted to Apple Fanboys out of existence seems pretty anti-customer. The "You installed bootcamp beta and now you must upgrade to Leopard if you ever want to boot your computer again" fiasco a few weeks ago reeked of the same.

My most recent bout of self-righteous indignation came when I went to Apple's online store to buy a new nano as a gift. I wanted to buy one of the 4gb nanos, and I wanted it in green. Sadly, this is impossible. The 4gb nano only comes in silver. To get a colored nano, you have to pay the extra $50 bucks for the 8gb model. It's a little thing, but it pushed me over the edge. Part of Apple's appeal has always been, "You pay a bit more to get something a bit cooler", but this is a bit too blatant for me. It's enough to kick me out of the fanboy camp. I'm sure Apple-product-lust will still rise in my greedy heart from time-to-time, but I'll do my self-righteous best to suppress those longings in favor of less restrictive fare.

In a related story, are there competitors to the nano that are as elegantly designed and easy to use?

Re:My first anti-apple rant (1)

Raineer (1002750) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765100)

Quality rant. Seriously. I have quite a few Apple-logoed devices around my home, and this is how I feel as well.

Re:My first anti-apple rant (4, Insightful)

MrPerfekt (414248) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765566)

I'm with you that the whole suing a fan-site thing leaves a bad taste in the mouth but really the site was more than that. If ThinkSecret got word of a product a few months away from launch and it seemed credible enough, that really does give the competition an opportunity to get an early start on a similar product. That could have an effect in the millions of dollars range. I'm not saying everything ever printed does that but then again Apple doesn't sue for every rumor every printed, in fact, they've done so only a handful of times. Presumably when a 'rumor' report hits far too close to home to have come from anywhere but inside of Apple.

Apple certainly isn't the only company to use the 'upgrade to a higher model and get X' tactic. It's grossly common in the Auto industry as well. Take Audi, for example, sales of the A4 with the 3.2 engine were suffering because everybody wants a 2.0T engine, which is not a terrible amount slower, much cheaper and more upgradeable. What's Audi to do? Well, cut out options from the 2.0T and make convenience features like 'memory seats' only available on the 2.0T. And the engine upgrade option is much more than $50.

The point is that if you really enjoy the product, you'll dish out the extra cash to get more of it. More memory, more engine. The concept is definitely not unique to Apple.

Re:My first anti-apple rant (1)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765580)

And how long have you been using Apple products again? This isn't new. They did the same with Xgrid. The Technology Preview of Xgrid back on OS 10.3 had a couple slick GUI's that made it easy for joe user to create a render farm. (It was a better looking Qmaster interface but...). When OS 10.4 shipped, gone was the GUI and the controller features (needed OSX-server for that). [Caveat, the features were there, but turned off. If you knew the least bit of how to navigate and use Unix, you could enable the Controller feture. Or download Xgridlite to enable it. Couple it with the Xgrid control from the Xserver remote tools (free download) and you had all the functionality. I was working in Video production and we were all salavating over this. Finally an easy to use system for distributed rendering of video, animation, etc..


However, for the slick, easy to use GUI to Xgrid....gone. While it wasn't too bad for people like me who was a *iux systems admin before hopping over to the Animation side of things, it was no big deal. But to the true artists who worked in Maya or Lightwave all day and used to using a GUI interface to Screamernet or other renderfarm engine, Xgrid in it's final form wasn't that impressive. Hell, even the guys over in editing continued to use Qmaster. The only application I've really used on Xgrid has been Terragen. And that's mainly because it's not a multi-threaded application. So in order to use all 4 processors on my quadcore to render Terragen output, it has to be run through Xgrid.

Apple has defended their trade secrets for years. And vigerously. So much so that the Microsoft Mac Business Unit across the street didn't have an inkling to the switch from PPC to Intel until it was announced. Company I worked for had some in house graphics apps (Ported from IRIX to OSX) and we had to sign a huge number of NDA's for some of the developer documentation.

Anyone who's worked around Apple for any length of time should know two things by now: Never by a 1st Gen product and don't get overly impressed with any previews.

So long as I remain in video & post at some level, I'll continue to run Mac. For the money, Final Cut Pro and Shake are slick apps.

Re:My first anti-apple rant (1)

zigziggityzoo (915650) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765808)

The "You installed bootcamp beta and now you must upgrade to Leopard if you ever want to boot your computer again" fiasco a few weeks ago reeked of the same.

This statement may work well for your argument, but it's completely false. When Leopard was released, the Boot Camp Beta software would cease to modify your current boot camp volume. Your current Boot camp volumes would continue to work flawlessly, as if nothing had happened. You just lose support, and the Boot Camp software on the Mac partition. And that doesn't even go into effect until the end of the year.

double standard (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21765046)

The double-standard is getting really tiresome.
If MS did this to a fan site, they'd get torn a new one for it. Apple does it, and it's "OK cuz it's trade secrets".

Whatever happened to "fair is fair" and "what's good for the goose is good for the gander"?

Re:double standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21765718)

goose and gander is not apples and oranges or something

!News: Apple fanboys brook no criticism (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21765066)

It's amazing how Apple has trained its fanboys to come to its defense at every juncture, irrespective of the egregiousness of its conduct.

Talk about double standards - the situation with Apple is probably the worst case that I've seen.

If this had been Microsoft, those same drooling fanboys would be baying for Redmond blood.

Can Apple really do no wrong?

Re:!News: Apple fanboys brook no criticism (1)

reidconti (219106) | more than 6 years ago | (#21766054)

Try reading the comments before posting, Gomer.

The New Apple... (0, Flamebait)

TheNetAvenger (624455) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765114)

The New Apple, making Microsoft look less evil everyday...

issues (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21765166)

Well I have serious issues with this coming from both sides. I frankly am enamoured with Apple, OK? But part of that means I checked thinksecret.com daily for new insights. So I'm very sad to see it go and I don't think appleinsider is an adequate substitute. Hell, whole legions of the mainstream and online press have used thinksecret as a source countless times. It's been a leader in the community as a source of Apple news. So I think this is a sad development and not the best outcome for anyone, including Apple. But what were the issues?
1. Trademarked or copyrighted knowledge was released by thinksecret. From what we know, it was information provided by a source outside of thinksecret itself, and we presume the source was inside apple. The actual information apparently concerned a firewire musical instrument, from before 2005, that never was released. So should thinksecret be held liable for releasing a trademark secret? Legally, I don't know the answer. I would bet any hard-copy publication, such as the New York Times, would balk before publishing trade secrets. The times and other major newspapers have admitted to halting publication of government secrets on those occasions when the government has convinced them of the security risk. And publishing trade secrets probably is illegal. Thinksecret was always skating on thin ice, that's why we liked it, after all. So, let's agree that it was a legal blunder and thinksecret had to admit this.
2. Lawsuits in themselves are stressful. A college student involved in a suit against a major corporation must be overwhelming. Even if there was a legitimate way to thwart Apple, would any college student have the resources to undertake such a fight? And from the beginning, wouldn't Apple be aware of its strength in that regard? I'd like to think that if I were faced by a lawsuit from a major corporation I'd have the money to afford a single lawyer for at least a few hours of work. But the truth is, I don't.
3. Apple allowed thinksecret to publish many secrets. Did it finally get mad, or was there some other precipitating event? I don't think Apple would sue thinksecret over a product that was never released. At least it would have no reason to continue that suit. I think that Apple was concerned over a related product, whose secrecy was more important, and whose developing team may have had some overlap with the firewire guitar, or whatever it was. So they wanted to protect some other development. A company with a number of great engineers can't just fire a development team because they're worried about trademarks leaking from one disgruntled employee.
4. Nick may have acted illegally. His settlement makes him happy because he doesn't have to go to jail or even be arrested. That would make me happy too. Furthermore, as far as we know, nothing is to keep him from working on a similar site in the future, perhaps with lessons learned and a tempered attitude. Of course, if he checks with Apple each time he wants to publish a new secret, well, we won't really be reading him any more than we read MacWorld, now, will we?

I can see it now... (1)

slapout (93640) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765180)

...Coming soon.... Secret Think! Get all your rumors here!

Or how about... (1)

Traegorn (856071) | more than 6 years ago | (#21766112)

...the grammatically correct Think Secretly? :-p

Hoo-ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21765290)

... but he's not a SNIIIIIITCH!

Does anyone really care? (1)

Enrique1218 (603187) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765396)

I know I certainly don't care one way or the other. I know the Macbook was upgraded recently without so much a whisper from Apple or the enthusiast community. Leopard seems at best to get a lukewarm welcome. I have lost my enthusiasm for new tech toys especially since they are longer designed for quality but rather planned obsolescense and limitation. I getting the feeling that the novelty of Apple is wearing off.

Re:Does anyone really care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21765690)

I know the Macbook was upgraded recently without so much a whisper from Apple or the enthusiast community. Leopard seems at best to get a lukewarm welcome.

I think you're confusing "the ehtusiast community" with "the Slashbots." For one, incremental upgrades usually don't get a whole lot of press, and Leopard got a very warm welcome -- yes, it has bugs, and since when has a .0 release not? Meanwhile, everybody loves Time Machine, the unified graphical theme, IDLE support in Mail.app, a Terminal.app with lots of new features, and so forth.

I getting the feeling that the novelty of Apple is wearing off.

Right, that's why the iPhone has been such a flop.

Less hype == less business for Apple (1)

Tibor the Hun (143056) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765398)

As a huge OS X fan I must say that I think this is a bad move on Apple's part.
For me, part of the excitement about Apple is all the hype and "can they really manufacture that?" attitude that comes in the months preceding a product launch.

Thinksecret was a major part of the hype machine, for better or worse, and I'm sure Steve realizes that all of us fanatics enjoy the hype and wonder.
I understand they need to protect their trade secrets and should do so, but it would be nice if the site could have stayed in business.

Of course, I didn't RTFA, so maybe I'm way off base... (+5 informative then)

Re:Less hype == less business for Apple (1)

catxk (1086945) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765914)

I guess they have to hunt down people exposing their secrets, even though they really profit from it. There are many reasons for this, one is obviously PR: If info about a future Apple product "leaks out", the leaking is fundamental to the hype! If Apple didn't try to stop the leak, the leak-hype would vanish, Apple's leak-PR model would lose credibility.

Another reason is the similar, but is more of a legal concern: Apple must hunt down trade-secrets in order to honor the NDA:s their employees has signed. If they don't hunt down rumor sites, what's to stop employees from leaking _real_ trade secrets?

A bit conspiratory, but still...

Typical slashdot comments (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21765410)

Slashdot: Apple is closing a website! Apple are against freedom of speech! The horror!
Truth: That website was leaking company information, that's illegal.

Slashdot: Apple aren't supporting BootCamp for Tiger users in 2008! The bastards!
Truth: Apple said that BootCamp on Tiger was a Beta,since the beginning. Also, it won't stop working in 2008, you just won't be able to re-install it.

Slashdot: Apple is forcing me to pay $50 for a green iPod nano! How greedy!
Truth: Nobody is forcing you to get a green iPod nano, and that $50 also gets you twice the storage capacity.

Etc, etc.

Slashdot. News for nerds, nonsense comments.

i Don't get it (0, Flamebait)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765418)

How is what thinksecret was doing in any way damaging to apple? I work in the marketing field. ALl of my peers and I agree that while we don't exactly buy into the apple lemming philosophy, they are absolutely GODS of marketing. Take a product like the iPhone....which is NOT revolutionary in any way, shape, or form...let apple's marketing department put their spin on it and before you know it, you've got people camping outside of stores to buy A CELLPHONE!

Most of us honestly thought that thinksecret was secretly owned and operated by apple...that would make sense. Thinksecret, really, was doing a service to their marketing goons. They were creating hype about products without giving TOO much information, and they were doing it for free.

R.I.P. thinksecret.

Re:i Don't get it (1)

RetiredMidn (441788) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765664)

As somebody said way back at the beginning, you can be pro-Apple, even have the 6-color Kool-Aid running through your veins, and still do things that are harmful to their efforts.

Apple could have been harmed by the premature release of product information in at least three ways:

- It gave potential competitors time to position or re-position their own products against Apple before the product was released.

- It could alter consumer buying plans, causing some to defer a planned purchase and impacting Apple's near-term bottom line.

- It diminishes their ability to spin the product release their own way, which you cite as one of their great strengths.

Re:i Don't get it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21765882)

Indeed. It'd be a disasterous precident though if they did *not* try to protect their trade secrets, though: Unlike patents, trade secrets run on shaky grounds, and have to be closely protected to be maintained; but you don't have to disclose them for the protection and you don't have to worry about them expiring (admittedly, lesser a concern daily)

Think Secret shutting down...or are they? (1)

kannibul (534777) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765716)

Maybe that's just what they want us to think...

Will Success Spoil Apple? (1)

axafg00b (398439) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765838)

I have to be a ditto-head with the earlier post about Apple finally pissing someone off. They are no longer the lovable underdog (nor have they really been except during the lost years under Gil Amelio), valiantly battling M$oft for world dominance. They are also a business that has to protect their intellectual property. A nuisance lawsuit by a patent troll or a blogger with great, if confidential, resources are both fair game for any firm - not just Apple - to go after if they feel their property has been improperly used. Sure, it's great for us fanbois (and grrls) to get the really advance word on OS or hardware decisions, but for Apple (or any business) it can mean their business would be adversely affected.

I will continue to look at Apple products first in certain areas because I like the fact they work with relatively minimal fuss. I like not having to support my daughters' laptops over the phone and late at night before one of their papers/tests/etc are due. I like the whole iPod ecosystem - with DRM and without - because it works. However, I would expect that, as a business, they will be just as evil as others /.'ers have dumped on in these pages.

Think Secret 2.0? (1)

davidwr (791652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765870)

Someone should mirror this site and start a Think Secret 2.0.

Attn: Mac Fanbois & Fangrrlz (4, Insightful)

seandiggity (992657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765902)

There are free operating systems that will run well on your Mac hardware and do not shut down websites for revealing "trade secrets". In fact, there are no trade secrets and you are invited to join in on the development process. Begin here [distrowatch.com] .

Re:Attn: Mac Fanbois & Fangrrlz (1)

seandiggity (992657) | more than 6 years ago | (#21765928)

Before someone points it out, yes I know that OS's don't do anything by themselves. But you know what I meant :)

That's fairly normal "agreement" wording (3, Interesting)

mrbill (4993) | more than 6 years ago | (#21766108)

Back in 2000, I got a letter from a Sun attorney threatening me with a lawsuit [sunhelp.org] over some material on the "Rumors" section of my web site [sunhelp.org] . They didn't like the fact that I'd copied documents (blueprints/engineering drawings) from their web server to mine and those documents were marked "Proprietary and Confidential". They also disliked the fact that I used the color purple on my web site and had a logo that was vaguely reminiscent of theirs.

I countered with the fact that I got the documents from a search on their publicly-accessible web server, and that after AOL, the next six top visitors of the site were Sun employees themselves hitting it from internal Sun proxy servers, and that no one had ever expressed concern over the logo or the purple color since the site was created in '97.

After a couple of weeks of negotiations, we came to an agreement and I made this public statement:

"I'm happy to announce that I have amicably resolved my situation with Sun regarding SunHELP.org. The site will function much like it has in the past, but in a manner that protects Sun's trademarks. In fact, although I will continue to operate independently of Sun, Sun has offered to help me provide you with better information about Sun and its products. I am pleased with the outcome and the manner in which this situation was resolved. I now consider this matter closed."

A couple of weeks later, I got a FedEx delivery of a brand-new Ultra 10 workstation as a "thank you" for "resolving the dispute in a friendly and speedy manner that avoided litigation". Since then, I've had good relations with the company. I was a member of the Opensolaris Pilot Program and have talked in email with both Scott McNealy and Jonathan Schwartz. Sun has greatly improved their relationship with third-party supporters since 2000; in fact, in 2006 they donated a fully-loaded T1000 system to SunHELP.

Nick at ThinkSecret probably ended up with some free Apple gear in exchange for shutting his site down - after all for Apple, "no publicity is bad publicity".

student for life (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21766132)

the blog, published since 1998 by college student Nick Ciarelli,

Well, maybe now he'll have time to finally graduate.

Apple == Evil (0, Flamebait)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21766152)

Google may not be evil,
But Apple surely is - especially this year!
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