Monday, October 22, 2018

HTML Injection for the Better Good?

This is surprising and it doesn't make me feel good.

HTML Injection in the bottom right.
This morning I received an e-mail from my ISP (Cox) stating that I'm getting close to my 1 TB monthly bandwidth limit. This is the first time I've received any type of warning from Cox. I clicked the link in the e-mail which gave me daily and monthly bandwidth usage stats for the previous two months. Everything quickly seemed to make sense. This month, I ran several upgrades for my laptop and iPhone plus I began storing my 100,000+ photos and videos in iCloud, so the extra bandwidth usage all seemed correct.

But then Cox went one step further.

HTML injections by Cox into a random website I was viewing.

Later in the day, as I was surfing the Web, I was surprised to see an HTML injection ("Cox Browser Alert") into an online article I was reading on a non-SSL/TLS news website. Again, Cox was reminding me that I was approaching my bandwidth limit. While this is clever, HTML injections feel a bit like a personal violation.


Having an ISP inject HTML into a webpage is analogous to the USPS opening a third party envelope that's addressed to me and placing a note, inside the envelope, that I have some business to conduct with the USPS (i.e. a registered letter to pick up, an unpaid USPS bill, etc). It's great that they went above and beyond to let me know. But, it's also a scary reminder that man-in-the-middle attacks... or at least interference... is very simple for ISPs to do; and this is much worse than when they highjack a 404 page.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Apple Logo History: Why a Bite? 

During my Apple talk about what makes Apple different in terms of design and marketing, I'm frequently asked why there's a bite in the Apple logo. Now, I incorporate the following answer into my talk.


It's been said that the bite in the Apple logo comes from the Bible story of Adam and Eve. In the Garden of Eden, Eve took a bite out of an apple and gained additional knowledge. Therefore, if you bought an Apple computer, you too could have additional knowledge. It's a colorful tale, but it's not true.

Apple II?

It's also been said that the Apple logo has a bite out of it since the first Apple II had an Apple logo with a lower case "a" slightly overlapping the logo, taking a bite out of it. This seems like a more practical story, but it's also not true.

The Real Reason

The real reason that the Apple logo has a bite out of is because the original graphic designer, Rob Janoff, needed to show scale. Without the bite, people could mistaken it for a cherry or tomato. Since no one would take a bite out of either of those two, it wouldn't be confused with any other type of fruit.

After Janoff came up with the Apple logo, it was immediately noticed that the bite was also a play on words with "byte" which reinforced its memorability. 

Are Logos Important?

While I don't attribute a business's success to its logo, it's always better to have a simple, memorable logo. And, even though what a logo looks like isn't critical, how a logo is used for branding and marketing-communications is of paramount importance. Today, at Apple, you'd never see what we saw with the Apple II; today we'd never see the Apple logo next to the word "Apple" because that's redundant (Apple = Apple Apple).

Why a Multi Colored Apple Logo?

The reason there are six different colors in the Apple logo is because, in 1977, when the first three modern personal computers were introduced, only the Apple II had a color display. The TRS-80 Model I had gray/white characters on a black screen and the Commodore PET has the traditional phosphorescent green characters, like an oscilloscope, on a black screen.

Out with "i" – in with 

We will probably see the Apple logo appearing in more product names since Apple can't trademark the letter "i." Apple TV is now branded as TV and iBooks was rebranded, this past June, as Books. This will avoid the branding confusion we saw with the iHome product line. The iHome was one for the first combination iPod docking speakers and alarm clock, all in one. Many consumers mistook the iHome for an Apple made product, especially since it was sold in Apple retail stores. Preventing brand dilution is key. 

PS: On macOS, you can generate the "" character simply by pressing option-shift-K at the same time.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Rule of Law: Punish Everyone?

Judge Judy, chatting with my mother in Little Italy, NYC,
epitomizes the rule of law – with a big dose of common sense.
The rule of law states that every person (or legal entity) is subject to the law. But that doesn't mean every person must be punished for every crime.

Thanks to the Constitution and jurisprudence, a punishment can be reduced or suspended. We've frequently been the recipient of this benefit when pulled over for speeding and let off with a warning. This doesn't violate the rule of law since the warning is a form of punishment.

But, what about the case where most people aren't warned, sentenced, cited, arrested, or punished? Does it violate the rule of law when a police office sets up a speed trap and ignores all the drivers who are going over the speed limit by only a few miles per hour? The short answer is no, because even though these drivers aren't punished, they are still subject to the law. So, while they aren't punished, they could be. Rule of law is upheld.