Thursday, March 25, 2021

Twitter Should Charge Users If They Don't Want To Be Targeted, But Not Through Super Follower Feature

 Source:  ZDNet.

Twitters offers an indispensable service, much more so than Facebook.  Sure, Twitter has its issues with hate, sexism, fake news, and a source for foreign interference into US elections.  Facebook does as well only much worse.  And during its worst days, it maximizes these dark elements in order to maximize profit.  I use Twitter on a daily basis as a source for information and following tweets more reputable sources and none of them are political in nature.

Now, Twitter is looking allow users to be charged for following certain tweets or other users. The "Super Follower" tool is what will allow that to happen.  

We'll have to see how it goes once it is implemented and how it will be utilized after Twitter modifies it over time.  

I will still be daily Twitter users but I do not see myself follow someone and paying for tweets.  

I think it is better for Twitter to monetize users by offering added features and promising privacy.  I certain can see myself paying for that instead of paying for tweets from certain accounts.

Friday, March 12, 2021

What Are The Killer Features for 2021?

 2020 is about two and a half months past now.  But time is time and no amount of artificial partitions we put on our time here on earth matters much in the grand galactic scheme.  Still, we are little transient creatures with incredibly limited time as individuals and as a species.  Having said all that, what is in the offering for 2021 as far as killer features for 2021? Because I did not get any killer feature in 2020.  My guess is we probably will not get much in the way of killer features for almost anything.

It has been a while since anyone has used the term "killer feature".  And it has been a while since I read or heard "iPhone killer" or "Tesla killer".  Maybe that is because both the iPhone and Telsa are doing quite well and previous killers of these products amounted to nothing.  

Personally, I do not see anything on the horizon that would be considered killer features for the tech market in general.  Most of the products slated to be released this year are likely incremental improvements on existing products or features.  

iPhone 12 will go to iPhone 13.  Tesla's killer feature may be lower prices for the Model 3 and Y as it battles new electric vehicles coming to the market.  Facebook will be Facebook - it will continue to suck the soul out of society and copy features that someone else comes up with.  If there is a killer here, it's Facebook stealing and trying to kill off the competition.  

There are a couple that could be considered killer features but I went ahead and googled the words "killer feature" and I found some.  Some might be close to being killer features but I think the rest are mostly an attempt at click baiting. 

In no particular order,

  • Spotify getting lossless audio.  Meh.  I listen to most of my music on my Apple earbuds, AirPods Pro, and on the phone speaker.  I don't know how others do it but I imagine a vast major of music lovers are more like me than not - higher audio quality will not matter too much.  Have you tried to listen to music through Alexa?  Right.
  • Quick sharing in Windows - In the Apple world, it's called AirDrop.  The new feature will allow Windows and Android to share files and links with each other.  Unfortunately, that's likely limited to Windows 10 and people who use Samsung's Galaxy devices.  No go for others.  I'm surprised Google or even Microsoft, you know, the people who brought us Windows, has not developed an AirDrop like feature yet.
  • Google Pixel phones will offer some biometric features - reading heart rates and breathing.  This is being done not through new hardware but what is already on the devices - the camera.  I've used this before on the iPhone a few years ago.  I don't know how accurate it is but I was amazed at how well it worked as I timed my heart beats the old fashion way. It was close enough.  
  • Google Maps will allow users to pay for parking through the maps app.  I hardly call this a killer anything and more of a convenience feature.  The maps app itself is a killer app, back in 2007.
  • Windows Edge will get vertical tabs.  I think this is close to being a "killer" anything but not a deal break.  Essentially, instead of having the tabs accord horizontally like all browsers now, Edge will display them horizontally on the left.  Maybe you can move them to the right if that is your preference.  As it is now I've got two columns of white spaces on both sides, wasted space.  More information will be displayed as a result.  
  • Android Auto to get shortcuts.  I know what shortcuts are.  Control-C.  Control-V.  But the shortcuts for iOS and Android are more complicated and helpful if you know how to use them.  I barely do as I think most people are.  So, it's good for folks who are well versed with shortcuts and creating them.  Nice to have but not a killer feature.  In general, mobile warriors should use shortcuts more often or start to learn how to use and create them.
  • Samsung Internet to gain new privacy features.  People do not give Samsung enough credit but it is a large developer of apps.  And this shows that Samsung continues to invest a lot of time and effort in making the Android experience better, Samsung style.  Privacy will be front and center for Internet 14.  I am sure Google and Samsung takes privacy seriously and not allow Apple to hog all the attention when it comes to privacy and tracking.  But between Apple, Google, Microsoft, Samung, or another company, I put my trust with my privacy with Apple until someone else proves to me that they will take privacy as seriously as Apple or more. 
Any of those look like killer features to you?

Look, coming up with real killer features or apps is not easy.  I just think the phrase as been over used to the point that any new upgrade is being advertised as a killer feature.  As sad as this is, the ability to maintain a customer's privacy is a killer feature.  The rampant and reckless tracking all over the Internet and apps has created disaster after disaster with user data being misused or leaked.  Apple clamping down on that with the upcoming iOS 14.5 has had seismic effort across social media and the advertising industry with Facebook crying foul.  

Half way through March already, we are getting into the new releases season for many tech companies.  If there are killer features or apps, we should see them soon.  All the low hanging fruits on the killer feature trees have been plucked.  Where are the killer features going to come from?

To my mind, Apple has not released a killer anything since the Apple Watch which itself is doing a number on the traditional watch market.  Speaking of the Apple Watch, health technology may be where we see a lot of killer features in the months and years ahead.  

Privacy and health.  If what I think the trend is going, wellness and peace of mind is going to be important for users and tech companies should do well to consider this when they develop new products.  I would not mind a plethora of killer features, devices, and apps to keep me and my family healthier and feel safer.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Looking For the Mac to Follow the iPhone and iPad - Trickle-Down Effect - Powerful and Cheaper

  Source:  Apple.

In November, Apple released new Macs based on its own chip, a move way from Intel forever, that has long-term disruption to the Mac market for years to come.  Essentially, the M1 is based on the design that has been powering the iPhone and iPad for years now.  The difference is that the M1 was designed for the Mac.  The late 2020 MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and the Mac mini is just a taste of what is to come.  And judging by media coverage, reviews, and general excitement, people are loving what they see. 

 Overlooked is what it means for the Mac market in the long term.   These new Macs were barely on sale before fans are talking about the M1X, presumably the next M1 upgrade that may power MacBooks with bigger screens and the iMac.  Oh, and you have to throw M2 into the mix of what Mac fans are excited about.  

M1, M2, or M5.  Consider this.  Whenever new iPhone comes out, Apple has kept around some of the previous year's models around to take up lower price points while the newest models take up the current price points (or higher).  That is the same with the iPad.  The iPhone has a price range from $399 to $1299. And when the iPad came out, it was priced at $499.  Today, the cheapest iPad is $329 and the iPad Pro topping off at $1499.  

The cheapest M1 Mac is the MacBook Air at $999.  The most expensive Mac with a M1 chip is almost $2000 while the Intel MacBook Pro is even higher.  What will happen when the newer M-series chip come out to power the Mac?  Will Apple stop making M1 Macs and only sell the M1X or M2 ones instead?

It could. The PC market is different from smartphone or tablet markets.  However, Apple may be interested in capture a larger share of the PC market if it can lower the prices of the Mac, to say around $600.  In a few years, Apple may be able to sell a $599 MacBook with a 10" screen that can complete more effective with PCs in that range.  Right now, Apple is giving up a lot of sales to underpowered and cheap Windows and Chrome laptops.  By spending just a little more, users can buy MacBooks that are powerful running the latest OS X.  

This would represent a seismic shift in the PC market - tens of millions of users will suddenly be able to afford Macs that were previously priced out of the range they were willing to spend.  And as years pass, features and speed of the Mac that was previously available to only to the higher end Mac would begin to trickle down these more consumer and school friendly Macs.  

If Apple takes up this strategy, do not be surprised if it sucks an even larger share of the dollar spent in the PC hardware market but also increase sizably in the number of units sold as well.  

Monday, March 1, 2021

A Year of Pandemic - Social network, Mobile Warriors, and What Will Be (New) Normal

 It has been a almost year since the start of the pandemic for Americans.  There really is no anniversary.  For California, the stay-at-home order came on March 19.  For New York, its first case was March 1, 2020.  And for Washington state, its first case was in January and the a statewide lockdownissued on March 23rd.  However, you looked at it, the first official COVID-19 case was recorded on January 19th (Source: History), so maybe that is the start of the pandemic.  No matter how you look at it, it has been a year like nothing we have seen in the past.  We lived it, witnessed it, and there will be a large amount of tweets, photos, videos, and books about it.  

Having said all that, the question is that we are still in a pandemic but we are wonder just how long before we return to life as we knew it.  Or will we ever?  Or will be there be a new normal from now one - masks for a number of us who want to play it safe (

Here are some questions I have:

  1. We lived online during much of the pandemic - will more people spend less time on the timeline and begin to spend time with each other in person (provided we get the virus under control).
  2. We learned that Facebook was instrumental in spreading fake news - about COVID-19, potential cures, and other social issues associated with the pandemic.  Setting politics aside, will the government finally address it?  
  3. When will we no longer be required to wear masks when we go to the market or a business?
  4. When will companies begin to require or allow their employees to return to their offices?
  5. Will we need booster shots annual like we do now for the flu?  
  6. Will COVID testing continue?  
  7. Will there be ever be more stay-at-home orders?  We had another one during the winter months in California.  I can tell you that it was not as much people were following it as we did with the March order.  Governments can require restaurants to ban indoor and outdoor dining but even now, people are flocking to malls, beaches, and parks as if things are fine.  It's unlikely future stay-at-home orders will having any effect like the first unless things become worse.
  8. When will indoor dining be allowed again?  Will outdoor dining go away.  
  9. Will social distancing go away?  During the first lockdown, I often go for walks and we would cross from the sidewalks into the streets whenever we pass someone else coming in the other direction.  We are still doing that but it appear more people are fine walking by or past each other at less than six feet.
  10. Are we ready for the next pandemic?  SARS was in 2002.  The Swine Flu was in 2009.  COVID-19 in 2020.  We could be looking at another pandemic within the next decade. 
In 18 to 24 months, we may conceivable return to pre-COVID norms.  That is what we al hope.  Or we could continue to be living with masks on as cases rise and fall as new COVID strains gain footholds.  A lot can and will happen that chart which path we take.  

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Is There Nothing We Can Do To Protect Our Data?

 Source:  NPR.

Your data, mine included, are all over the Internet and in databases at data centers all over the world.  And now, our genetic makeup are up for grabs. Countries, who are competitors at best and enemies at worst, are angling to get more.  

Case in point here:  a genetics company with backing from the Chinese government and military have been collecting the DNA of tens of Americans.  And this same company has made inroads into other countries like Australia.

Perhaps it's for profit but with the Chinese Communist Party involved and their desire to create their own hegemony, you 

The bottomline here is money and greed.  And moreover, it is the failure of the government to cultivate homegrown industries that can do the same thing these foreign companies at a competitive price.  

Of course, this is an on-going subject of concern to all of us. It's obvious that the federal government is not doing enough and companies are constantly pushing the limits of what they can get away with. And when caught, companies such as this either have a government mouthpiece in Beijing protesting them as lies by Western media.  And in situations like Facebook, they pay an in consequential fine and hope their other transgressions never see the light of day.  

What can we do about it?  Is there anything we can do?  Or is there nothing we can do at this point?  I don't think we are at the point where we collectively throw up our hands and say "it's too late.  They know everything about me already".  Apple is a company that has pushing privacy as a right and a feature but it is a company that is trying to maximize profit.  You still cannot trust that Apple truly has its customers' best interests at heart.

We are looking to buy a scale for ourselves.  It would be nice to have something that connected to an app on our phone.  I did some rudimentary research on this.  I knew that some companies would be collecting the heath data that are generated by connected scales.  And it was pretty bleak.  At the end of the day, I will likely end up with a good old fashion scale and record my readings on a spreadsheet.

Between hostile governments, our own inept government, and companies that are sucking up as much data as they can in order to monetize us, we really have our work cut out for us to keep as much of our data private.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

After Covid and Getting Back to the Starting Point - Tech, Routine, and Willingness Follow Through

As you know, I got the corona virus just after Thanksgiving (I till don't know how exactly I got it.  I didn't go anywhere prior to that except Home Depot looking for Christmas decoration and picking up Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving at the Grove in Los Angeles).  And it's been heck trying to get back into shape.  I have made progress and I gave myself a generous timeline to do that.  And while I had hoped to "under promise and over deliver", it may look like I need that amount of time to get back to where I was - assuming there is no lingering issues that some recovered Covid patients reportedly experienced.

I jokingly gauged where I was post-Covid based on age - I felt like I was over a hundred by how I was walking in the house.  I would have to rest after getting up from the couch to the kitchen.  Washing dishes required that I pause to ease the pressure off my back.  I had issues breathing through the masks for a few days (I panicked when I though I suddenly was no longer taking on air).  Seven days after showing no symptoms, I felt I was closer to 80-90 range. I was walking better but still had to rest and take naps.  And two weeks later, I was closer to about an average 75 year old.  I was able to take a couple flights of steps but I felt like I was walking on mud.


During this time, I kept my progress with my Apple Watch and my iPhone and a spreadsheet.  How many steps I took, my heart rate, temperature (not through the watch), and distance I walked, and my blood oxygen level.  I am still doing that now.  It's become a routine for me and I've added other tasks to it as well.  As a matter of act, I've set a goal to create a routine app based on my experience by the end of the year.

Right now, I am starting to run.  I likely lost 10-15 pounds during that time and have gained it back rather quickly.  So, I'm now trying to force myself to get back to where I was pre-COVID-19.  During the month of November, I had ran at least 1 mile per day.  I am trying to get back into that.  

The Tech

Since this is a tech blog, I have to really note how helpful wearable technology is today.  The Apple Watch with its health sensors, especially with the oxygen sensor, was critical to my time while I was sick and the recovery period.  It's not perfect.  Health features in wearables, regardless of weather it is the Apple Watch or Fitbit devices, are in the early stages.  And I'm happy to note that there are other companies in this realm and that our choices will not just be Apple and Google.

The Follow Through

Beyond tech and building a routine, what is required to make it all work is the will to make it all happen. I am proud of how I have decided to make sure I recovered completely and get back to my pre-Covid level and surpass it.  A few friends and I do an annual guy trip that involved participating in an official 5K or 10K run before the pandemic and we will do it again after it is all over and I want to make sure I hold my own.  

It is not simply that I have said to myself "I need to get my health back" or "I want to get back to my physical level" but that I carrying it out and making it happen.  Just have to do it.  

If you're like me or just have a desire to get somewhere, physically or mentally, I suggest you do this next.  Whatever it is that you need or want to do to make it happen, go do it now.  Starting doing burpees, clean your room, or just get out of the house.  That'll be your day one.  And let's see you follow through with day 2.  Sounds simple but it is not.  It is going to be different for everyone.  Get an app or use a calendar and start logging your progress.

Just start on something.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Hybrid iOS and Mac Device - It Would Need To Be Done Right

Source:  Google Search.

It is common knowledge that Apple's own chips used in the iOS devices for years and now on the just updated MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are very fast.  There is almost nothing on the market that comes close to the processing power and the amount of power it needs.  It's the main reason why Apple is moving away from Intel chips. Apple's chips are simply faster and runs cooler.  It is why Apple's iPhone blow competing Android devices out of the water.  It is why Apple can arm its devices with only a few GB of RAM and the Galaxy devices need 16 GB.  Given how fast Apple's new M1 chip is and the potential for even better upgrades in the future, it is time to revisit a subject hat has divided the Apple community:  a tablet that runs both the iOS and Mac OS.  

First let me say this, with iOS and Mac OS the way they are not, it would not work.  It would be a nightmare.  Mac OS would not work with the current touch interface that works so well on the iPhone or iPad.  I would not buy such a device even if it was available now.  And I'm sure there are other problems that goes along with this.  

However, make no mistake - such a device is something Apple either has thought about or is a bit further along. Think an engineer at Apple has not managed to get MacOS running on and iPad Pro?  Perhaps an iPad Pro with the yet to be released M2 chip running MacOS like hot knife on butter?  

It will require Apple to rethink how the touch interface would work.  It would require an intelligent interface that knows when touch interface works better and when traditional PC interface works better.  But there is another way that Apple will make this happen.

How exactly would Apple do this?   I'm going to come back with a couple of thoughts on this later.  For now, I think it is worth bring up this discussion again.  

Friday, January 8, 2021

Do Articles How around Get Fit Work?

 Source: Men’s Health

I need to lose weight and I’ve done what everyone else have done: diet, exercise, fasted.  Joined gyms, sign up for 5K runs with friends, ran with friends, ran by myself, and everything else I’m sure you’ve done. However, I would have some early success before I start gaining my way back. So, there is Internet articles about how to gain muscles six packs lose weight or how to become the next Iron Man really work? That’s what I want to find out after finding this article about a guy doing 100 Burpee’s per day. Does it really work? We’ll see.

However, I would have some early success before I start gaining my way back. So, there is Internet articles about how to gain muscles six packs lose weight or how to become the next Iron Man really work? That’s what I want to find out after finding this article about a guy doing 100 burpees per day. Does it really work? We’ll see.

 Today is my second day doing it yesterday.  I had a busy day I only did 40. Today, I had an even busier day but I managed to sneak in 60 burppees throughout the day. Now, I don’t think it’s meant for me to just spread out 10 burpees at a time throughout the day. But given my physical condition I could not do more than 10 at a time before I felt like I was going to faint.

Still, it was very promising. I think I can eventually get up to 20 to 25 burpees at a time.  I want to stick this out for more than just a week. Perhaps I’ll stick it out for 2 to 4 weeks. But I’ll be reporting back every few days on my progress. Doing temper piece at a time and spread it out throughout the day to get up to around 50 to 70 it’s better than doing nothing at all.

2 to 4 weeks. But I’ll be reporting back every few days on my progress. Doing temper piece at a time and spread it out throughout the day to get up to around 50 to 70 it’s better than doing nothing at all.

Anyway, it’s experiment. But ultimately, I think with anything whether it’s trying to lose weight learn new skills or trying to develop a new habit, it’s all about staying committed. I do think that these Internet articles, not just for working out, but about how to personal growth or developing a new skill or habit, works if you are willing to stick with it.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Why Is iMessage and Facetime Trending On Twitter

 Apple's iMessage and Facetime was trending for a while today on my Twitter feed on the Explore tab.  So far, I have yet to figure why.  So I kept at it.  Going through the feed.

Then I found this:  WhatsApp is integrating with Facebook Messenger (Arstechnica).  It means that Facebook will be combing through messages for ways to monetize user messages.  So, people are recommending iMessage, Signal, and other highly encrypted messaging apps.

At first, I had thought that perhaps Apple was finally bring iMessage and Facetime over to Android and possibly Windows.  Nah, didn't happen.  

As for Facetime trending on Twitter, it could be that if people are going to abandon WhatsApp, they might as well consider Facetime as an option.

Facebook Bans Trump - Maybe Forever

Source:  The Verge, Buzzfeed.

Trump has many, many friends in the Congress.  Most if not all of them are Republicans.  So, news today that Facebook has banned Donald Trump, president of the United States for eleven more days, is not going to sit well with some of his devotees, especially those who are looking to become the heir apparent of the MAGA movement.  However, the move by Facebook has impressed me even though I am not a fan of Facebook or its CEO (I am no longer a Facebook user).  Twitter only banned Trump for 12 hours.

A few things are going to be predictable in the short-term.  Many Trump fans, First Amendment advocates, and right wing groups will denounce the move by Facebook.  They will threaten (which will get a few of them banned as well), they will vent, and they will consider other options.  But really, what other options are there at this time for conspiracy traffickers and MAGA supporters?

Over the long term, expect congressional hearings about the power of Big Tech and Trump advocates to continue to grind their axes against what they perceived as censorship against conservatives.  Most of it will be done as red meat for right wing, primary, and fringe supporters.  Just as he did during the last hearing, expect Matt Gaetz (who I think secretly dream of being Matt Trump) to berate Facebook and Twitter at future hearings without really asking any questions that is relevant to privacy or the impact of social media and regulation of social media.  

For Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, the decision to ban Trump was clear.  Trump was attempting to stage a coup and encourage violence rather than condemn it and tell his supporters to back off.  Furthermore, Trump continues to lie about the fact that he did not win the election because it was stolen from him by frauds (which was largely rejected by the FBI, DOJ, his own attorney general, and state Republican officials).  

Here are statements from Facebook and Twitter regarding the Trump bans:

It's likely Facebook will allow Trump back on the platform.  He is a draw and source of revenue after all.  Twitter has already let Trump back since it's past the 12 hour ban.  It will be interesting to see what kind of impact these bans and pushbacks against Trump by members of his own party will have on his future social media updates.  So far, Trump has not said anything on Twitter.

Note: I just want to note that I'm not a fan of Donald Trump as a person.  But I'm also appalled by his conduct as president of the United States.  Regardless of whether it is a Republican, Democrat, conservative, liberal, or a moderate, I'm going to go write things as I see it if I think the person's conduct is wrong or does not have the public's best interests at heart.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Twitter Gives Trump A Twelve-Hour Time-Out, But Twitter Should Have Done This More Often

 Just Breaking:  Twitter just issued an lockout on President Trump's account for twelve hours after his series of false tweets about the election and lies led to the siege on the Capitol after Trump mobs turned into insurrectionists and attempted to keep Trump in office for another term (The Guardian).  The question is shouldn't have Twitter done this years ago?  Lies are that lies.  Conspiracy theories are just that:  conspiracy theories.  So Twitter should have marked them as such right from the beginning and clamp down this kind of tweets that all built up to what happened today.

I am a daily Twitter user and for the most part, Twitter works great for me.  I don't use Facebook anymore because it's worse than the swamp that Trump has created for himself and his cronies because Facebook has enabled the fringes of Trump supporters to thrive while Facebook monetizes off them to the detriment of the republic.  Twitter has has well but in my book, it's not as bad as Facebook.  But Twitter has a lot to answer for.

I do think that the new Congress should have a bipartisan commission to address social media and how toxic it can get if left unchecked or allowed to police itself.  I respect and support the first amendment but right now, the kind of tweets coming out of Trump and his fringe supporters is keeping facts from reaching people.  Facts and conspiracy theories and lies should not be out there as if allowing users decide on what they believe.  

It will not be easy.  So far, the congressional hearings in the last couple of years yielded nothing other than grandstanding by politicians (mostly Trump minions) that really does not address how social media can be regulated.  

And this is just the issues with toxic tweets for lies and falsehoods.  Privacy is still front and center for many users like myself.

I'm glad Trump has been given a time-out that really should have came earlier.  But Twitter has its share of responsibility for this dark chapter in hour history.  

Thursday, December 24, 2020

COVID Update: I think I Am Getting Better But Not Out of the Woods; Apple Watch Helped Me Find Trend (Downward and then Back Up)

My Apple Watch oximeter has been return values of 91-93% during ongoing battle with COVID-19.  Prior to my infection, I have never seen anything lower than 94%.  So, something definitely is affect my ability to breath properly.  If I breath too deeply, I would get into a coughing spell that affects my upper body and it would ache all over, feeling as though my body is going to fall apart.

I have been getting chills and spikes in temperatures, usually signaling that it was time for another Tylenol.  And last night, I woke up after finding myself in heavy sweat but feeling much better than any other night.   I am still trying to determine if that is a good thing or not.  It happened again this morning as I was working.   I felt cold but it was not the type of chills I was feeling earlier during the week - they felt like the cold embraces of death's fingers.

And then this:

I saw a few in the range of 86-91% for a day before climbing back up.  The 86% was the lowest.  I was about to emailed my doctor but I decided to wait it out and see if my condition continue to improve.  Luckily, it did.

I don't know how accurate my Apple Watch 6 oximeter really is.  I have definitely used it as a general guide to see how the trend goes.  Prior to getting Covid, I had been running a lot on November and had seen my oxygen level gone up a couple of percentages to 98-99%.  I was pretty excited by it and the weight loss I was losing.  December was supposed to be a continuation.  But then...

As these last few days, I saw a downward trend when I started developing breathing issues and the trend back up.  

Overall, I'm really glad I got the Apple Watch 6 just for its ability to measure the level of oxygen in the blood.  Again, as far as accuracy, well, Apple may need to work on it.  I really don't know (I have read a few articles regarding the accuracy of the oximeter but not really seen anything support its accuracy) if Apple needs to or not.  

What I find most annoying are the unsuccessful measurements.  I'll have to test the placement of the watch on my wrist to see if I get more successful readings than not. Or else, Apple has do something for users to get better and successful readings or through better hardware upgrade on the Apple Watch 7.

Again, if you're contemplating whether to get the Apple Watch 6, hands down - Yes!  Get it!  

And to my dear readers, stay safe and head all safety protocols and public health guidelines and warnings. Covid sucks.

Monday, December 7, 2020

2020 - News, Social Media, and Your Bubble - Perfect Storm For Echo Chamber and What I Did To Escape It

Wow, 2020.  It's not over yet and if you read my previous post, well, things have gotten worse.  And yeah, it was COVID related.  When we look back at this year, will we be talking about the pandemic, Trump and the election, or something you read on social media - maybe it's a conspiracy theory or two or a group of like minded people reinforcing certain ideas and notions, bouncing back and forth in a social chamber?

The roles played by social media without a doubt will be studied for years to come.  The focus will likely be the deleterious effort it had on open societies such as ours.  And the question will be if this was a temporary effort and for a period of time or will others takes things further.  

Here are some questions that needs to be answered:

  1. Does the effects of social media go away as a new generation of users go online who are also more savvy about its uses?
  2. Will the toxicity level drop after Trump leaves office?  
  3. With Trump almost certain to position himself as the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, he is planning a shadow government on Twitter?
  4. Does Facebook and Twitter have what it takes to clamp down on conspiracy theories?  
  5. How will the Biden presidency use social media?  
With the election behind us, President Trump has not only refused to concede but continue push a dangerous narrative that he lost because millions of Americans are part of a conspiracy to rig the election against him.  His latest tweets in the last 24 hours has been from his Georgia rally yesterday.  He has continued to feed his base, demonized the Democrat senate candidates, and recycled the same rhetorics from the presidential campaign.  Frankly, it's par for the president.

We will not know until after Biden is sworn in and starts living in the White House how Trump will use social media.  It's unlikely we'll see anything different.  We have seen in this term that Trump has not shown a willingness to learn and change.  

As for Biden, we may look at the Obama administration for guidance with one big change:  a more engaged White House speaking to the American people.  One of the first acts Biden plans is to request Americans wear masks for 100 days.  I can expect Biden or Dr. Anthony Fauci to continue to engage the public on a more personal level.  At the same time, Biden's last week was on 11/7, the day after the election stating "America, I’m honored that you have chosen me to lead our great country. The work ahead of us will be hard, but I promise you this: I will be a President for all Americans — whether you voted for me or not. I will keep the faith that you have placed in me."

It is likely the Biden administration will use official government accounts to relay social media messages vs President Trump using his own account.  At the current stage, Trump has almost a 4.5 times advantage in followers over Biden (Trump has almost 89 million followers vs Biden at 20.6 million.  President Obama has almost 127 million.)

As for the rest of us, who will we follow and how will we use social media in 2021?  Personally, I do not updates much as I used to.  And I'm all over the place when I do tweet - tech news, opinions, and, occasionally, a social/personal one.  For me, social media is a tool.  I use to gather information and sharing tweets. I try avoiding becoming a mindless drone among legions of retweets.  I like that Twitter is looking to implement an extra step to keep people from simply hitting the retweet button - basically, you're forced to read the post first before instinctively retweeting it (Techcrunch).  Other features like a warning to users about liking tweets with misleading information.  

Social media will continue to grow and mature over the next year as they fine tune the social graph to avoid much of the more free Wild Wild West of the last four years.  I think that's good and users will respond accordingly.