Hal Blaine the Wrecking Crew

The secret behind many hit songs of the 1960s and 1970s – Hal Blaine and the Wrecking Crew:

Hal Blaine put his hand on my shoulder. “This is going to break your heart, but much of the music you heard in the ’60s and early ’70s wasn’t recorded by the people you saw on the album covers,” he said. “It was done by me and the musicians you see on these walls.”

Talk about a “Wizard of Oz” moment. Last week I traveled to Mr. Blaine’s home here to talk about his prolific career as the Buddy Rich of rock and pop recordings. I also wanted to know more about his role as the ringleader of the Wrecking Crew—an ad hoc group of about 30 highly skilled Hollywood studio musicians who played the instruments on thousands of hit records released between 1961 and 1976.

Many baby boomers still remember the outrage that followed a magazine’s revelation in 1967 that the Monkees didn’t play on all of their recordings. It turns out that neither did the Beach Boys, the Mamas & the Papas, the Byrds, the Association, Jan & Dean and dozens of other rock groups of the era. That honor belongs to Mr. Blaine and the Wrecking Crew, whose members included Glen Campbell and Leon Russell.

If rock is about a beat, and a beat is about the drums, then the 82-year-old Mr. Blaine is arguably one of America’s greatest living rock musicians. Wednesday marks 50 years since he recorded his first No. 1 hit—Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Mr. Blaine went on to appear on 38 additional chart-toppers, including the Byrds’ “Mr. Tambourine Man,” the Mamas & the Papas’ “Monday, Monday,” Simon & Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and the Carpenters’ “(They Long to Be) Close to You.”

Those represent just a fraction of his output. Mr. Blaine’s beats set hips twisting on upward of 5,000 songs—many of them also hits. He even was the drummer on the Grammys’ “Song of the Year” for six years in a row from 1966 to 1971. In this regard, Mr. Blaine has no living peer. On Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, Mr. Blaine’s nearest rival is the Beatles with a measly 20 No. 1 hits.

(click here to continue reading Hal Blaine, the Wrecking Crew | Who Else Made More Hit Songs? | Cultural Conversation with Marc Myers –

From WIkipedia a list of #1 hits that Hal Blaine played on:

#1 hits

plus a list of songs that he played on (damn, he was busy!)

Arts Chicago-esque

Chicago Graffiti Among World’s Best

Speaking to U.S.

I have a certain fondness for graffiti, because if it is done well, if it is more than just someone’s scribbled moniker, it becomes Art. In fact, there is quite a lot of graffiti in Chicago that is just simply Art. I call it Street Art to distinguish graffiti I like from what is just juvenilia.1 The lack of permanence is part of the energy of the work, but apparently, Richard Daley contributed to Chicago’s cultural life in this instance without realizing it. I’ve visited a lot of cities, and Chicago has some of the best guerilla artists anywhere.

Remember When Art Asked More than buy me?

For nearly 20 years, Chicago and Cook County have waged war on graffiti.

The city estimates it will spend $5.5 million to remove graffiti this year, and despite a $487 million budget deficit, the Cook County board renewed its commitment to the cleanup by rejecting Sheriff Thomas J. Dart’s proposal to scrap a suburban graffiti-removal unit costing $600,000 a year.

But the anti-graffiti strategy — deploying crews called graffiti blasters to quickly erase or blot out painted surfaces — has imposed a kind of natural-selection process in the graffiti subculture. By discouraging all but the shrewdest and most determined practitioners, the city and county have inadvertently contributed to making Chicago a vibrant hub of graffiti activity, according to experts.

“It made Chicago graffiti an aggressive and competitive sport,” said Sebastian Napoli, 32, who began writing graffiti around the city in the 1990s when writers called Chicago “the chocolate city” after the brown paint used to cover their work. The enforcement efforts “weeded out guys that get up once or twice and tried to call themselves writers,” Mr. Napoli said.

Roger Gastman, co-author of “The History of American Graffiti” (HarperCollins), said Chicago was “the biggest scene in the U.S. that is the most undocumented.” The book, to be published next month, explores graffiti in several cities and devotes two chapters to Chicago. It will be the first look into the city’s elusive subculture since William Upski Wimsatt’s self-published “Bomb the Suburbs” in 1994.

According to Mr. Gastman and his co-author, Caleb Neelon, the rise of Chicago’s new breed of graffiti writers dates to Mayor Richard M. Daley’s campaign to eradicate graffiti as part of preparations for the 1994 World Cup games at Soldier Field and the 1996 Democratic National Convention.

(click here to continue reading Crackdown Feeds a Flourishing World of Graffiti / Chicago News Cooperative.)

Blago Jogging on May Street

I Love You Set One - Goose Island Train

I have a bunch of photos of Chicago street art, if you want to see some examples I’ve encountered. Click here, or here for instance. Or use the Lightbox slideshow (click the triangle to start the show)

She Wandered Alone

  1. What is Street Art? By my loosy-goosey definition, simply art I’ve discovered that isn’t in a gallery. Most of it is graffiti art, and semi-permanent as well, but that isn’t a requirement. []

links for 2011-03-18

  • Yes. Print subscribers to The New York Times can get free, unlimited access to on any device, plus the full range of NYTimes apps for your smartphone, tablet and your computer. Free, unlimited access to is provided to all print subscribers, no matter what type of subscription you have (daily, weekday, Weekender, etc.). You’ll also get free digital access if your home delivery is provided by a third party (rather than by The New York Times directly).
    (tags: media)
government politics

Scalia and Thomas Should Be Impeached


At the least because of their refusal to behave in an ethical manner.

Even the editorial page of the NYT is concerned

The court is still not addressing the issue despite months of questions about possible cozy friendships, suspected political biases and family ties. Last week, Justice Antonin Scalia was asked to recuse himself from an upcoming case about alleged gender bias at Wal-Mart Stores because his son is co-chairman of the labor and employment practice at the law firm representing the company.

A bipartisan group of 107 law professors from 76 law schools have made their own proposal for how the court should solve its recusal problem. They argue that justices should follow the ethical code that applies to other federal judges. (Under the rule about avoiding the appearance of impropriety and not letting others “convey the impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge,” Justice Antonin Scalia would not have been able to go duck hunting with Vice President Dick Cheney in 2003 after the court agreed to hear a case involving Mr. Cheney.)

If a justice denies a motion to recuse, he or she should have to issue an opinion explaining why and that could be reviewed by some as yet unspecified group.

The professors’ proposal is a good start. Representatives Chris Murphy and Anthony Weiner are working on a bill based on it. It would be better for the justices to come up with their own similar proposal and adopt it — including a review process by a committee of justices to ensure accountability. That would not interfere with the court’s independence and would strengthen its credibility.


(click here to continue reading The Court’s Recusal Problem –

It's About Judge Ment

and re: Justice Thomas

Supreme Court spouse Ginni Thomas recently opened a lobbying firm which promises to give “voice to…the tea party movement in the halls of Congress.” The job will likely lead her to lobby in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act. Meanwhile, conservatives are mounting a nationwide litigation strategy to convince Ginni’s husband to give voice to the tea party movement in the halls of the Supreme Court.

In response to Ginni Thomas’ involvement with groups trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, 74 Members of Congress signed a letter to Ginni’s husband — Justice Clarence Thomas — pointing out that his wife’s new job could have ethical consequences for him:

As an Associate Justice, you are entrusted with the responsibility to exercise the highest degree of discretion and impartiality when deciding a case. As Members of Congress, we were surprised by recent revelations of your financial ties to leading organizations dedicated to lobbying against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. We write today to respectfully ask that you maintain the integrity of this court and recuse yourself from any deliberations on the constitutionality of this act. […]

Given these facts, there is a strong conflict between the Thomas household’s financial gain through your spouse’s activities and your role as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. We urge you to recuse yourself from this case. If the US Supreme Court’s decision is to be viewed as legitimate by the American people, this is the only correct path.

(click here to continue reading ThinkProgress » 74 Members of Congress Seek Justice Thomas’ Recusal From Affordable Care Act Lawsuits.)

the full letter available here


Just a Dream I Keep Having

Grant Park. More archive diving – this from Thanksgiving weekend, 2006. The two sailors in closeup in this photo ((albeit only from the back))

Just A Dream I Keep Having


Toned in Photoshop

15% better when viewed in Lightbox


12 Marker Y-DNA Matches

Looking back at my DNA data from the National Geographic Genographic Study, there was a third-party organization called FamilyTree DNA that looked at my recent ancestry. This was the free report result

Exact Matches
Country Your Matches Comment Match Total Country Total Percentage
England 2 2 22,253 < 0.1%
Germany 1 1 11,239 < 0.1%
Ireland 1 1 12,955 < 0.1%
Scotland 6 6 10,438 0.1%
Spain 1 1 3,183 < 0.1%
One Step Mutations
Country Your Matches Comment Match Total Country Total Percentage
Canada 1 1 257 0.4%
Denmark 1 1 775 0.1%
England 30 30 22,253 0.1%
Finland 2 2 1,642 0.1%
Germany 16 16 11,239 0.1%
Hungary 2 2 1,099 0.2%
Iraq 1 1 123 0.8%
Ireland 43 43 12,955 0.3%
Israel 1 1 125 0.8%
Netherlands 2 2 1,582 0.1%
Northern Ireland 1 1 701 0.1%
Norway 3 3 1,230 0.2%
Poland 1 Prussia 1 3,385 < 0.1%
Portugal 1 2 740 0.3%
1 Azores
Scotland 72 72 10,438 0.7%
Spain 3 3 3,183 0.1%
Sweden 3 3 1,510 0.2%
Switzerland 5 5 1,686 0.3%
United Kingdom 20 20 9,836 0.2%


Obviously, I’m a mongrel, with Scottish, Irish and England being the top three in my chart.

Welcome to the RECENT ANCESTRAL ORIGINS (RAO) database. This section displays the countries of origin reported by the people whom you match or nearly match from both our research and customer databases. Your list of matches represents the range of places in which relatives of your ancestors lived. Exact matches show people who are the closest to you genetically. Some matches, especially the more distant mismatches, are related to you before the time of surnames.

The chart displays:

  • Each country from which you have matches
  • The number of people you match for each country and comment combination
  • Any additional information your matches provided about their origins
  • The total number of people you match from that country
  • The total number of people who have reported this as their country of origin
  • The percent of the people we have tested from this country who match you.

Walker the Wanker

This land is your land, this land is my land

According to Madison City Attorney, Mike May, Wednesday night’s quick vote to strip collective bargaining from public employees in Wisconsin is probably illegal.

Madison Mayor David Cieslewicz blogs:

To quote Mike’s email to alders and I this morning:

“The Office of the City Attorney (in compliance with State law) insists on 24 hours notice for any meeting, or adding any matter to an agenda, unless there is no way that 24 hours notice could have been given. Mere convenience or inadvertence is insufficient to meet the less than 24-hour notice. This is necessary to be in compliance with the Open Meetings Law. It is an essential element of government in Wisconsin.

“Today’s action does not meet that test. It does not comply with Wisconsin Law.

“The action taken today will be struck down if challenged in court.

“Sec. 19.84(3), Stats.:

“‘Public notice of every meeting of a governmental body shall be given at least 24 hours prior to the commencement of such meeting, unless for good cause such notice is impossible or impractical, in which case shorter notice may be given, but in no case may the notice be provided less than 2 hours in advance of the meeting.’

“Sec. 19.97(3), Stats.:

“‘Any action taken at a meeting of a governmental body in violation of this subchapter is voidable …’

“This aggression will not stand. If challenged in court, the action today would likely be voided as illegal.”

(click here to continue reading Mayor Dave’s Blog – Mayor’s Office – City of Madison, Wisconsin.)


Chicago-esque government

Illinois Ends Death Penalty

End Torture in Illinois

Good news from a blue state: the death penalty is officially ended.

Gov. Pat Quinn today signed into law a historic ban on the death penalty in Illinois and commuted the sentences of 15 death row inmates to life without parole.

The governor said he followed his conscience. He said he believed in signing the bill he also should “abolish the death penalty for everyone,” including those already on death row.

“Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history,” Quinn told reporters afterward. “I think it’s the right, just thing to abolish the death penalty.”

Quinn signed the legislation during a private ceremony in his Capitol office surrounded by longtime opponents of capital punishment in a state where flaws in the process led to the exoneration of numerous people sentenced to death.

“For me, this was a difficult decision, quite literally the choice between life and death,” Quinn wrote in his signing statement. “This was not a decision to be made lightly, or a decision that I came to without deep personal reflection.”

“Since our experience has shown that there is no way to design a perfect death penalty system, free from the numerous flaws that can lead to wrongful convictions or discriminatory treatment, I have concluded that the proper course of action is to abolish it,” Quinn wrote. “With our broken system, we cannot ensure justice is achieved in every case.” “For the same reason, I have also decided to commute the sentences of those currently on death row to natural life imprisonment, without the possibility of parole or release,” the governor wrote.

A small group of lawmakers also was on hand, including lead sponsors Rep. Karen Yarbrough, D-Maywood, and Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago. Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, and House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, D-Chicago also attended. Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon, who lobbied Quinn to sign the ban, was there.

(click here to continue reading Clout St: Quinn signs death penalty ban, commutes 15 death row sentences to life.)

and one reason this is a good thing: the process is deeply flawed

The Tribune examination found at least 46 inmates sent to death row in cases where prosecutors used jailhouse informants to convict or condemn the defendants. The investigation also found at least 33 death row inmates had been represented at trial by an attorney who had been disbarred or suspended; at least 35 African-American inmates on death row who had been convicted or condemned by an all-white jury; and about half of the nearly 300 capital cases had been reversed for a new trial or sentencing hearing.

(click here to continue reading Quinn signs death penalty ban, clears Death Row –

Good decision by Governor Quinn: the death penalty is not an effective deterrent for future crime, and sends the wrong message to the citizens – namely that the state can kill you, sometimes, with or without proper due process.

Business Narcipost

Frack You Google

Alternative Google

For quite a while, I’ve been using Google’s Picasa image hosting service. Mostly, I uploaded images of vintage advertisements, funny old photos, as well as photographs I’ve taken myself, photos from my iPhone, of paintings, and so on. There were over 1,000 images last time I looked (a week or so ago).

Today when I wanted to upload an image to use in a blog post, I discovered all of the images were deleted, with the cryptic notice saying:Fuck Google

This content has been removed because it violates our Terms of Service

So, everything was gone. No way to contact Google to complain, they didn’t give me a heads-up, explaining: image so-and-so violates our Terms of Service because…

No, just zapped it all, every single item. Photos of my cat, photos of jazz albums from another era, everything, gone.

Fuck you, Google, for being evil, tone deaf, and profoundly customer unfriendly. Would it really have been so difficult to send an email explaining, and giving me a chance to rectify whatever problems you thought you found?


hottentot Venus.jpg

update 3-11-11

Sometimes bitching on Twitter has positive consequences. This morning, a representative from Picasa looked into my case, mostly because I complained I didn’t get the email I was supposed to get. Apparently, someone clicked the “Report Abuse” button, and this lead to my account being zapped. Since I didn’t get notified, my account has been made active again. I’m grateful for that, but still seems like a flaw in the process if getting someone’s account suspended is so simple. Probably a paid representative of the Tea Baggers objected to something factual, and decided to irritate me.



Roundys in West Loop

Crowne Plaza at Night

This deal has been discussed in various forms for a while now

Roundy’s Supermarkets Inc., which has been pushing to break into the Chicago market for more than four years, has inked deals for two Mariano’s Fresh Market stores in the city that are to open next year along with a third suburban location in Palatine. The Milwaukee-based chain has signed leases for two city locations: a store at the northwest corner of Monroe and Halsted streets in the West Loop — where talks had faltered a year ago — and in the Uptown neighborhood, where Mariano’s is to anchor a big retail-residential development planned at Clarendon and Montrose avenues.


In the West Loop, the Mariano’s will be kitty-corner from a Dominick’s just west of the Kennedy Expressway. Developer Seymour “Sy” Taxman says the deal was resurrected several months ago as Mr. Taxman brought in a couple new equity partners and dropped plans to build a tower atop the grocery store.

“I took a very big risk on this property because I believe in this neighborhood,” says Mr. Taxman, CEO of Skokie-based Taxman Corp. “I’ve been at this project for a long time. I wanted to make sure, when we made a commitment to go forward, that this project was deliverable.”

Mr. Taxman, who wouldn’t identify his new partners, says a lender has agreed to a term sheet to finance the project. He expects to start construction in late summer or early fall so that Roundy’s could open by late 2012.

The store will be about 70,000 square feet, Mr. Taxman says, on the second level of a new building atop a 25,000-square-foot retail strip along Halsted. There will be a surface parking lot plus rooftop parking above Mariano’s.


(click here to continue reading Roundy’s signs deals for more local upscale grocery stores | News | Crain’s Chicago Business.)

Madison Street Bridge

Advertising Links

links for 2011-03-10

  • Mr. Draft: “Why are you blaming the agencies? I would blame the clients. … Everybody talks about procurement, but fuck procurement. … I don’t think the clients are structured in such a way today to work with the agencies. … Just like we built siloed agencies … they have all these different departments that work with different agencies that don’t communicate with each other. The agencies are willing to change, but are clients going to change fast enough to do what’s right for them?”
    (tags: agency)
  • To assist with the investigation, the police department released the video to the Associated Press for broadcast. The news service, in turn, sold the film to CNN, Fox News, ABC and Clip Syndicate—a violation of Petretti’s copyright, according to the complaint. He alleges that the wire service sold the footage again on each anniversary of the bombing.

links for 2011-03-09

  • .1. Further development of the sugar bush,2. Manufacturing maple sugar and maple products such as candy and jam,3. Development of a market garden to grow field crops (such as artichokes, chicory, etc.) and/or building a greenhouse or mushroom cellar using natural soil or hydroponics,4. Manufacturing furniture or wooden toys from locally available wood,5. Selling Christmas trees, wholesale and/or retail,6. Manufacturing leather goods for wholesale and the local tourist trade,7. A seasonal sandal manufacturing/retail operation…three months of the year each Spring,8. School bus driving,9. Contracting or sub-contracting construction or building maintenance,10. Speculative construction of cottages or housing in the South River area,11. Rebuilding and sale of small tractors or similar equipment that is in short supply in the South River area, such as wood heaters and stoves,12. Operating a retail establishment in South River or on Eagle Lake Road selling health food and/or leather goods.

Racketeer Rabbit Republicans

Back Door?

Why does the GOP have so much vitriol on hand for its policy, ready to direct at the topic du jour? Especially when these policies benefit corporate profit over average citizens, where does the support come from? Well, it might be fake; manufactured by cynical political consultants working for Fox News, and its minions.

When the country has rejected, one-by-one, the antiquated principles of the Republican party; when two cops at the ballgame in Clearwater today come up to me and say “we’re Conservatives but this crap with our unions here and in Wisconsin has gotta stop”; when enough Republicans have already rejected Scott Walker that if another election were held today he’d be voted out of office two months after he assumed it – how does the Right Wing/Media/Industrial Complex continue to throw around so much weight?

They do what Bugs did to Rocky. Every five or six rabid Conservatives we hear on talk radio, or see at protests, or read online, may not actually exist. They are just Bugs Bunnies, wearing different hats.

The latest evidence to support a brilliant but heinous effort to forcibly swing public opinion via the use of phony advocates? A remarkable piece by a website on Jewish faith called The Tablet nonchalantly reveals that the same company that syndicates the shows of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity has also employed actors to call in to those shows and pretend to be real people with real opinions and real problems.

To be fair, there isn’t a word of documentation in the post that confirms that Premiere Radio Networks’ “Premiere On Call” actually has stooges supplying the outrage and umbrage that seemingly instantly inspires the flights of outrage and certitude which propagandists like Beck and Limbaugh take. The one documented breaking of the confidentiality agreement all the phony callers evidently signed, reveals how one of the actors permitted the host of a personal help call-in show resolve a bizarre and unlikely scenario about a groom inviting his bride to the bachelor party.


Extrapolated by desperate and uncaring men, the logical conclusion is simple: If you can’t beat ‘em, simply create imaginary support. An old cynical view of mob mentality is to populate an undecided crowd of almost any size listening to a guy trying to sell them rat poison as the elixir of life, with as few as a half a dozen supporters. Have each of the six scream his or her support at different intervals and as loudly as possible (“Howard Johnson is right!”) and soon you’ll be getting harrumphs of support from people who don’t even know they are agreeing with plants and shills – and that they’re about to willingly hand over their money to Bugs, wearing six different hats.



(click here to continue reading Racketeer Rabbit Republicans | FOK News Channel.)

Parenthetical note: I never once watched Keith Olbermann’s MSNBC show (I don’t have time for any of the televised chattering face shows, besides Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert’s hour of news-esque satire),  except for a few YouTube bits linked from elsewhere, but his new blog, FOK News Channel, is pretty good. Check it out if you can.


Wisconsin GOP senators Recall Likely

Phil Looks Cold - Blue

Wisconsin democracy in action! Politicians are elected to serve the interests of their constituents, if politicians instead brazenly serve the interest of their corporate masters, then they should suffer the consequences.

So how’s the drive to recall Wisconsin GOP state senators going? If these new numbers the Wisconsin Democratic Party shares with me are accurate, it’s already exceeding expectations in a big way.

Graeme Zielinski, a spokesman for the party, tells me that activists working on the recall push already collected over the weekend 15 percent of the total necessary signatures needed to force recalls in all eight of the GOP districts Dems are targeting. He says that the party — which is helping to coordinate and keeping track of outside efforts to gather signatures — set itself a goal of 10,000 signatures for the weekend, and has already exceeded it by 35 percent.

Zielinski also claims that recall forces over the weekend put more than 2,000 volunteers on the street to collect signatures. He also says volunteers have collected 26 percent of the signatures required in one district, and 20 percent in another, though he wouldn’t say which ones, because Dems want GOP senators to fret that they are the ones in question.

If these numbers are close to accurate, they are a surprising sign of the power of the grassroots energy uncorked by Scott Walker’s union-busting proposals. Under Wisconsin law, a recall requires a number of signatures totaling 25 percent of the number that voted in the last gubernatorial election.

…Also: As Ben Smith pointed out yesterday, the mechanics of recall drives favor unions, because of their organizing ability, and because many Republicans in Wisconsin occupy swing districts. Fourteen out of 19 GOP state senators preside over districts carried in 2008 by Obama.

(click here to continue reading The Plum Line – Drive to recall Wisconsin GOP senators gaining steam, Dems say.)

Freedom Feed Mill

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, some details of the process:

Wisconsin requires petitioners to gather enough signatures to equal 25% of the votes cast in the most recent race for governor in the district of the targeted legislator, a daunting number. That barrier is even higher in some states – it’s 40% in Kansas – and lower in others – 12% in California for governor, 20% for state legislators.

Wisconsin law also dictates that a year must pass after the election of the targeted official before he or she can be recalled. In some states, that period is only 90 days.

That means that in the Wisconsin Senate, only the 16 members elected in 2008 are eligible to be recalled this year.

Recall drives have now been officially launched against every one, some by more than one committee, Kevin Kennedy, the state’s top election official, said Sunday. The other 17, elected in 2010, could be targeted for recall next year, as could the governor. It would take more than 540,000 valid signatures to force a recall election against Walker in 2011.

The other hurdle in Wisconsin for recall organizers is that they have only 60 days once they formally organize to gather the needed signatures – in some states that period is much longer. The signatures needed for the recall drives now under way range from 11,817 in Milwaukee Democrat Spencer Coggs’ district to 20,973 in the district of New Berlin Republican Mary Lazich.

In interviews last week, some experts said Wisconsin’s short window for petitions and the large number of signatures required means that recall efforts will need significant funding and paid canvassers.

On the other hand, social media offers today’s activists a tool that didn’t exist 10 or 20 years ago to rapidly mobilize and coordinate grass-roots political activity.

“I think this may actually become more common because of social media,” Moncrief said.

Under the timetables in state law, the 60-day petition period that’s under way in 16 Senate districts is followed by a 31-day period where signatures are challenged, defended and reviewed. That period can be extended by a court.

If enough signatures are declared valid, an election is scheduled for six weeks later. If more than one challenger in the same party files papers, then that election serves as the party primary, followed four weeks later by a general election.

(click here to continue reading Recall drives could make history – JSOnline.)

Apple Business

Google Lackadaisical Over App Security

Do Not Overreach

Google needs to do a lot more to protect its users. The internet is a wild and wooly place, and Google knows better1 than to trust every developer is honest.

A major software attack on mobile phones has put pressure on Google Inc. to do more to secure its online store for smartphone applications.

The company behind the now ubiquitous Android operating system came under fire after computer-security experts last week uncovered more than 50 malicious applications that were uploaded to and distributed from Google’s Android Market.

Some security experts said the incident shows Google, which doesn’t inspect Android apps before they are published, needs to do more to try to ensure the apps are safe before they are offered to smartphone users.

Google largely relies on users to rate apps and raise the alarm about any problems with them. It also requires consumers to give their consent for an app to access their personal data. But that approach isn’t enough, according to Chris Wysopal, chief technology officer of computer-security firm Veracode. “App stores need to get serious about vetting code before it is available for customer download,” Mr. Wysopal wrote on his blog.

Google has said 58 malicious apps were uploaded to Android Market and then downloaded to around 260,000 devices before Google removed the affected apps last Tuesday evening. It isn’t clear how many users activated the applications, a Google spokesman said.

(click here to continue reading Google Takes Heat Over App Security –

Google doesn’t like to invest money in these sorts of human dimensions, preferring to let people self-help. Remember the Nexus phone debacle? No live tech support was even planned. Customers of Google are supposed to use web forums for all issues, including I guess spreading the word about malicious apps in the Android Market.

Cell phone-iphile

There are problems with the Apple App Store model2, but fearing that malicious apps will compromise users’ data is not one of them. I have zero fear that an iPhone app will give root access to my phone, for example.

  1. or should know better []
  2. mostly based on how successful the Apple App Store is – takes a long time to get an app approved, or updated, because there are just so many damn apps! From my admittedly non-developer perspective, seems like Apple needs to hire more staff, but maybe they’ve gotten better []