Wednesday, July 8, 2009

iPhone Jailbreak

The Wall Street Journal has a profile on hacker "Arix", iPhone jailbreaker-- jailbreak enables users to install software onto their iPhones (particularly software unapproved by Apple). "Arix", also known as 15 year old Ari Weinstein, began hacking Apple code to download free games for the iPod touch he received at his bar mitzvah. The story of his early exposure to computers is highly entertaining:
Ari became interested in technology as a preschooler, when he would flip through the manual for a cable set-top box and change the settings on the family computer. "I remember it being a big relief when he went to kindergarten," says his mother, Judy Weinstein, 43, a social worker.

At age 7, Ari teamed up with two other boys to create playing cards, decorated with hand-drawn characters, to sell online. The business never took off. But Ari says he learned to build Web sites, among other things: The site he created wasn't on the child-approved list of his AOL Internet service, he says, so to access it, he had to figure out how to get around AOL's parental controls.

"That's when we knew we should start teaching him ethics," says his dad, Ken Weinstein, 45, a real-estate developer.

Jailbreaking an iPhone violates the terms of use, and voids the warranty. Apple is trying to take legal action by filing a claim with the US copyright office that modifying phones is a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Is this claim outrageous in that the physical equivalent would be buying a book and gluing or ripping select pages, or does it have merit as ad revenue and app sales are part of the iPhone's pricing model? The ruling is scheduled for the fall.

Watch the video after you read the article, it is a great illustration of how medium impacts the perception of its subject.

Sent from my iPhone

1 comment:

Pete Abbate said...

I enjoy the hacker that wants to work for Apple, or the one that works for Google. The best way to beat these guys is to have them join you.

I look at this as somehow related to the issue of Linus vs. Windows, or Mac OS, or Google. I believe they use the word "hobbyist" in the video, and it seems most computer programmers view these types of activities as hobbies. The industry may well be heading towards an equilibrium where all software is free (didn't we have to pay for e-mail a decade ago?).

Good call on the video. Oh, and he's from Philly? I bet DiPillo is involved, that s.o.b.

Compared with the totality of knowledge which is continually utilized in the evolution of a dynamic civilization, the difference between the knowledge that the wisest and that which the most ignorant individual can deliberately employ is comparatively insignificant. ~Fredrich Hayek in The Constitution of Liberty