Review: Ballistic HC case for the iPhone 4

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I was excited when offered the chance to take a look at AGF’s Ballistic HC case for the iPhone 4. As the website suggests, the Ballistic HC is “Designed to Survive Life,” a great slogan considering I had dumped my phone onto a brick patio just a few nights prior to receiving the review unit. The Ballistic HC is a great case, and though it may not be for everyone, it’s perfect for people who can be rough on their phones.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the Ballistic HC is big. It’s a pretty thick case by itself, and if you want it to get even bigger there’s a bouncy silicon wrap you can put around the case for extra protection. The size is a good thing, though. It allows for all of the padding and space necessary to keep your phone safe in the even that you would drop it or accidentally smash it against something. A rubber inner layer separates your phone from the hard outer, protecting the phone from the case and adding some shock absorption. The hard outer shell also has fixed rubber bumpers for an extra layer of protection. The aforementioned rubber sleeve really takes the phone to indestructible new heights.

The front of the Ballistic HC case has a screen protector that allows your touchscreen to still function perfectly. I was really impressed, because I’ve seen a lot of cases for which the screen protector ruins the browsing experience on the phone. With the Ballistic, you almost don’t notice that the protector is there (unless you drop your phone, of course, in which case you’ll just notice that the screen is in tact).

I only had one issue with the Ballistic case, a problem AGF is both aware of and working actively to fix. As you can see in the picture below, the screen protector can get suctioned onto the screen, creating an oil-spill pattern across the screen. It’s not very noticeable when the screen is lit up, but it kinda sucks when the screen is black.

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As I said, though, Ballistic is working on a fix. The company posted a YouTube video with a simple, temporary fix for the problem while they continue to work on a permanent solution. Really, though, if you need this case, you are probably more interested in the fact that it will keep your phone safe, and less interested in the way your phone will look while tucked safely away inside this beast of a case.

100 million Facebook pages leaked to torrent sites

Facebook Confidential.This isn’t quite as bad as it seems, but it does give you a sense of what’s possible with all of the data on Facebook. A hacker named Ron Bowes from Skull Security wrote a crawler to compile data from all the publicly available pages on Facebook. Publicly available – that’s important.

It’s also important, though, that such a crawler could be written to grab that kind of data. Though you could just as easily search for these people and get their info, I’m not entirely comfortable with the idea that a bot could be written to compile the same. Facebook security remains a shifting target – for most people, there’s not a lot on Facebook they don’t want people to see. As Facebook continues to grow and expand its profitable operations, there could potentially be more and more truly personal data involved. In fact, that’s how Zuckerberg would prefer things. That’s why this is important.

I’ve been thinking about kicking Facebook for a while, and every time I get a story like this, even as unalarming and completely benign as this story is, it points to the ongoing lack of attention and concern it seems Facebook gives to user data.

Apple free cases start shipping

I’m on the road today, headed up to NYC to visit some friends, but I thought this was worth sharing. I got an email this morning confirming that my free Apple bumper case has shipped, despite the estimated 3-5 week ship time Apple initially doled out.

Even though I’m not among those cursed with a failing phone, it’s nice to see some quick turnaround on Apple’s part. Hopefully people can start to see a working phone some time early next week.

Why does the world want me to go to yard sales

Ansel AdamsI swear a story like this comes out every eight to twelve months just to trick unsuspecting (though I’m starting to suspect a few things) people like myself into spending money on garbage in the hopes that it will be worth millions of dollars someday.

Today’s tale: a man saw a box of glass negatives at a yard sale ten years ago and, though he wanted it, was unwilling to pay the $70. He haggled down to $45. It turns out those negatives were some of Ansel Adams’ early work, and the collection (what was once a box is now known as a collection) is worth around $200 million dollars.

So, how many people will be running out to yard sales this weekend?

Apple launches a trackpad for desktops

Magic TrackpadAmong Apple’s various hardware updates today, the company launched a trackpad for desktops, officially dubbed the Magic Trackpad. I’m not real sure where the magic is.

Now granted, I tend to prefer the trackpad to the mouse for general browsing, but this is something that seems aimed at power users, not the casual internet browser. Desktops come with a mouse, so people are comfortable using the mouse. Will they really want to drop $69 for a couple gestures, most of which are mimicked by the controls on your everyday mouse today?

My guess is no, but I’m not naive enough about Apple products to think this thing won’t sell. It would definitely be much cooler if it worked like a tablet (yes, there is some third-party software that can help a bit), but as a simple trackpad, I’m just not that impressed.