Friday, August 30, 2013

Problems With 2013 Nexus 7: Yes, Me Too But I'm Waiting For The Next Major Update, Android 5

Apparently, those little issues I've been experiencing with my Nexus 7 are not just my own.  I've actually known that for a while now but CNET seems to think it could be a wider range of users and issues.

What issues are these?  Weak or weird GPS signals.  Random restarts.  And phantom multi-touches.

I've only experience the touch issues.  However, I've experience other issues that seems innate to Android as far as I know.  Random freezes with touch, swiping, or typing.  A couple of times, I've had to restart, on purpose, to get back the responsiveness.  And I'm not running many apps.  Even with a couple of apps, this could happen. Feedly, Groupme, Twitch, and Flipboard are the most commonly used apps for me.

And I also take care to kill them whenever I know I won't be access a particular app for a while.

Like the article mentioned, there was an update from Google last week.  I saw no effects from it.  In fact, I'm not going to worry or think about this further unless it gets progressively worse.  I hope Android 5 will fix all if not most of the issues.  I think that's where Google is concentrating on and that is where I want its attention now.

Why Can Apple's new iPhone With Colors Look Like This? Look, Apple!

Source:  Appleinsider, Cult of Mac.

Mophie, a top Apple iOS accessory maker, is known for its battery case.  I'm sure they do great business because, let's face it, we all can use more power regardless of how long the iPhone 5 or the iPhone 6 battery life are going to be.

However, they also know their colors as is evident from these new Mophie battery cases for the iPhone 5. Meet these colorful Mophie Juice Pack Helium.

Screen Shot 2013-08-30 at 8.30.06 AM

These are awesomely deep rich colors - unlike the sickly yellow, green, or pink ones that we are seeing from various overseas websites.  Frankly, I think (hope) those colors aren't real (On Apple).

When CNet asked whether users what they want most from Apple for the next iPhone, 60% wanted longer battery life.  So, I reckon Mophie will sell tons of these good looking battery cases.  If Steve Jobs was around, he might even say they're so pretty you wanna lick them.

They retail for $80 - it's a good investment that will make your mobile experience longer and better.  It's got a 1500mAh battery that provides up to 80% of additional battery life.  Well worth it.  There may be cheaper options like external batteries but they don't provide the convenience or look this Helium case does.

May Not Be The Best Deal But Apple Provides Convenience of iPhone Trade-In

Source:  Appleinsider.

Today, Apple started a long-rumored iPhone trade-in program that allows the customer to use the credit towards another iPhone purchase.  I'm gamed.  I've got an iPhone 4 that I love for them to take off my hand.  It's a Verizon one so I reckon there is limited use for anyone of my family members (and plus, they don't deserve it).

Here's the thing, customers can get up to $280 for the trade-in. So you know that you're not going to be getting the best deal in town.  For that, I would still look else where.  However, the convenience of this is just too much to pass up for me.

And there's one further restriction.  You can only use your particular trade-in gift card to buy the iPhone of your choice for the same carrier.  A big "doh" if you ask me.  It totally makes no sense to me.  I have since begun migrating away from Verizon towards T-Mobile and I want an unlocked version.

However, for most users, this probably isn't an issue.

Recommendation?  Shopping around if you know your way around trade-in programs.  For convenience, it doesn't get any better than this.

For Apple, this offers a very valuable customer experience.  It allows the customer seamless exchange of iPhone.  At the same time, it allows Apple to control and monitor the flow of iPhones.  It's likely Apple will reintroduce these devices in emerging markets where it has almost to negligible exposure that will do nothing to hurt its high-end iPhone sales.

For users, you get convenience and for Apple, they sell two iPhones - the one to you and the one you sold back to Apple that they then sell to someone who buys it and doesn't buy an Android phone.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Apple TV And iTunes Glitch - Ordinarily A Bad Thing But I Can't Help But Speculate About New TV services

I wasn't at home when Apple's TV shows disappeared for many users on Apple TV and iTunes.  That's a bad thing.  No doubt about it.  It's probably a pre-iOS 7 and OS X Mavericks, next version of OS for the Macs, thing - beta and someone did something, caused folks inconvenience, and now it's back up and fixed.

However, like Mac Daily News, I wonder...

Well, the thing is that recently, the Apple TV gain a few apps - Disney, ESPN, Weather Channel, etc.  It's all great.  However, you do need a participating cable or SATTV services for those apps to be of any use.  But it has lead many of us to speculate that Apple is steadily gaining some ground in trying to get studios and content owners to loosen up a bit.  It's an uphill battle but Apple could be near the apex where it's about to reach a deal with cable or content providers.

From there now, it's all downhill.

And could this glitch be a part of any of this?  Some kind of a content announcement that should see the light of day, probably not on September 10th when Apple unveils the next iPhone but later in October when Apple is expected to announce new iPads and iPods?

October would make more sense.

I'll be honest with you.  We are in the last week of August and, after that, an excruciating long 10 days until Apple executives unveil their latest and greatest iPhones.  So, if this Apple TV glitch had happened at any other time during the year, I would not be indulging this at all.

It's hot, we're bored, and we're eagerly waiting for Apple's onslaught of products.  This includes not only the iOS devices but also the Mac Pro and Haswell based Macbook Pro.

However, in October, and some kind of new content service does get announced by Apple (I'm not saying we could see a new Apple TV or even the unicorn Apple HD panel), I like for us to look back on this post and just smile.

Social: Californication of Western States (Even Texas)

Here's a good piece (Southern California Public Radio) on the political influence of California, a solidly blue state.  While I'm redder than most of my fellow Californians, I can't help but feel a tinge of pride in how my home state has not only an influence on national policies but national politics and politics of neighboring states.

The thing is conservatives in California are a different breed than the traditional Republican base that has such a big influence on GOP primaries and serves as the power base of the Tea Party.  We do like fiscal discipline and less government but we also aren't all that socially or religiously conservative.

So, when a large number of Californians leave for other states, reasons could be being fed up with California's higher taxes or jobs, some of these conservatives continue to bring a bit of California with them, and some of them are blue ideas.  And of course, Democrats who leave the state and move into states like Colorado and Nevada has made those states competitive on a national scale for the Democratic Party.

In 2012, I even sat through some discussions my blue friends were having as they spoke with glee regarding the potential of a purple Texas.

Bottom line is this.  California and the West get screwed because we don't get Western presidents but we sure have a big say on who sits in the White House.

And like in the last couple of election cycles where social media like Facebook and Twitter had a big influence for passing information and recruitment to the polls, you can get these Californian transplants will remain informed, whether they're not conservative enough or just out blue, they'll have an even great say in 2016.

Samsung's Galaxy Watch or Apple's Non-Existent iWatch: Think Past Dick Tracey's Watch and Maybe More of Star Trek NTG's Comm Badge

Consider this.  A watch that doesn't immediately tell you the time but if you ask it or install an app on it, it'll tell you.  That may well be what Apple, Google, Samsung, or any of the consumer tech giants are working towards.  A watch that isn't a watch.  That may be key to the wearable device buzz going on right now - convince consumers and a new generation of mobile warriors who don't wear watches to wear a device on their wrist or body that has other helpful benefits other than telling time or getting notifications from their smartphones which is likely on their persons anyway in their pockets or bags.

A watch that is not a watch.  In fact, any thinking of a wearable computer has to be very much removed from the idea of a watch.  Consider what Dick Tracy has to do to access his watch.  Or remember Michael Knight in Knight Rider?

Our heroes always have to move their watches close to their mouth to do anything.  I think that's so dorky.

Rather, any wearable devices that is going to change or augment how we work or play will need to work more like the comm badges in Star Trek The Next Generation.  They wore the badges on their chests and tap it when they need to access the computer or speak with another crew member.

In fact, such a wearable device, say from Google, may have an always-on feature where the device's microphone is ready to pick up a command.  (Privacy issues aside of course.)  Thereby, bypassing the need for the user to activate or tap the device to access it.

And there are two main factors that is going to be very important if they want people to wear these in one fashion or another.

The first one is battery life.  No need to go into this too much because the reasons why such a device to sip power is obvious. It needs to have an insanely long battery life.

The other is weight.  I use a Jawbone Up.  I also use a Nike Fuelband which is bulkier and heavier than the Up band. I don't use both simultaneously if you're wondering about that. Both are sufficiently light enough that I I don't mind wearing them on my wrist or clipping them to my belt all day.

It wasn't like that with a phone.  Since I started carrying around a phone, a flip phone all the way to the smartphones today, I don't like that I have to carry one because they're still kinda heavy.  They've gotten lighter and lighter but you can still feel it.  And at times, I felt compelled to take it out and leave it at home, in a bag, or just not on me.

A wearable device cannot be so heavy that weight is a consideration or bother.  As light as the iPod nano is, I still consider it to be too thick, bulky, and heavy.

So, a small, thin, and light Star Trek comm badge-like wearable device would be ideal.  And one last thing, it needs to be operable with just one hand.  But you're probably asking one very important question.

How well can your comm badge idea instead of a watch work?  Well, three 24th Century-based Star Trek series, seven years each,  and 524 episodes later, the comm badge was just as important in each story plot as the warp drive, probably more so.

And it worked flawlessly.

Samsung Releases Android Tablet For Children - Great First Step

Source:  TimeSamsung Tomorrow.

Looks like Samsung will not cede the education and child tablet market to Apple it released a 7" tablet, albeit with yesterday's specs, for children.

No mention of price yet but this colorful looking device will go on sale first on Korea, then worldwide.

Samsung GALAXY Tab 3 Kids Product Specifications

What's great about this is that Apple's iPad seems to dominate the education market.  Who knows how many iPads Apple is selling this summer to schools and students.

Essentially, it's a Tab wrapped in a plastic (maybe rubber) enclosure because we know how kids are going to be with their toys.  It'll run a later version of Android and be packed with features to help parents control the device.

samsung galaxy tab 3 kids

And there will be other colors than the orange/yellow one shown here.  This and and iPad?  What will the parents pick?  Plus, while no price has been announced, it's likely going to be priced competitively against the iPad and other Android tablets.

However, the only knock against it is that it looks cheap and some more savvy kids might see it that way even if their parents or schools don't.  We'll just have to see how the market receives this.

Samsung has a promising product here but it has to be sure the customized software and UI doesn't dumb it down so much that kids will think this is a toy rather than a true tablet.  Otherwise, this device could be limited to toddlers and pre-K segment of the mobile market.

Privacy Violation: Facebook, By Court Order, Told To Clarify How It Sells Its Product, You the Users, to Advertisers

Source:  CNET.

Folks, nothing is free.  All those services we use online that we're not paying for, even some that we do pay for, are free because we the users are the products.   The information that we provide to Facebook, Twitter, and Google are all collected, analyzed, and sold to advertisers.

So, in this case, Facebook was used because users were fed up with sponsored stories that appear using information that users were not aware of.  Frankly, as abhorrent as Facebook practices are, folks, they provide a free service that hundreds of millions of users use.  Someone has to pay for the electricity. 

As it turns out, it's the advertisers.  And they need information you provide Facebook to better target you with ads that are relevant to you.

In this latest spat, Facebook only added language that specifically says that as long as you're using its services, for free, they have toe rights to use you and sell you to advertisers without compensation to you.  And if you happen to be younger than 18 years old and continue to use Facebook, it meant that a parent or guardian has approved of your actions.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mobile Gaming: How Desperate Is Nintendo To Compete Against Android, iPhone, iPod Touch, And the iPad? 2DSesperate!

Source:  Game Squad.

I ask again how desperate Nintendo is right now to find an answer against the onslaught of Android and Apple's iOS devices, iPhone, iPod touch, and the iPad, against the traditional mobile gaming market?

This desperate.

I'm not kidding.  I wish I was.  Meet the Nintendo 2DS.  It's a 3DS without the 3D and without the hinge to fold it. The good thing is that this is only $130.  The bad thing is that it's a $130 mobile gaming device from Nintendo that no one will buy.

Comments from Nintendo-centric sites seem generally supportive - finding the positive.  But then again, we're generally a family-friendly bunch.

In other news, Nintendo also dropped $50 off the Wii U.

Tebow Still A Patriot (Part of NE Patriots That Is)

Source:  BR.

Tim Tebow is still on the team after the NFL scheduled roster cut went down to 75.  So far, it doesn't look good but he has support from the big guy.  No, not him.  Not God.  The other one: Patriots owner, Robert Kraft.

But the larger issue is what Tebow represents.  Do I think he's being persecuted for being so open about his Christian and personal views?  A bit.  By some more than others.  Do I think he deserves to be an NFL player?  No.  Am I support him?  Yes, because I like underdogs and given his views, I'm probably going to hell (I'm not Christian though I believe in a higher power).

It'll be interesting to see where he goes if he makes the team and what happens if it doesn't.  Maybe at one time, he was pretty good and only needed the right system to play under.  We'll just have to see.

For get his background a bit.  Here's a guy trying to swim against the tide that is the media, both sports and mainstream.  Many think he's no longer the player he was in college and does not have the stuff for the NFL.  He's gonna try to look deep down and muster all his strength to prove everyone wrong.  How can you not root for that?

And he's got two big guys in his corner.

Maybe, Maybe Not: Chinese Boy With His Eyes Gouged Out For Possible Organ Trafficking

Source:  CNN.

People are ruthless.  Not any particular nationality or race - we all are.  However, the scary thing is that in China, the value of human life is relative a times.  In the past, prisoners are executed by a corrupt and elitist justice system to harvest organs.

And with crackdowns and less executions, it's possible a boy, found drugged with his corneas missing is a victim of those involved in organ trafficking.

Police have denied it.  Of course they would.  This is China after all.  Police have arrested a woman who was involved.  Guess who just volunteered to donate her organs?

Hack Still Has New York Times Down; Alternative Site Works

Still down.  New York Times's regular URL isn't working.
According to the USA Today, it's been nearly a day after an attack by the Syrian Electronic Army, friend of, you guessed it, Syria who we will likely launch a military attack in about 24 hours because government forces allegedly used chemical weapons on its own people.

Particularly worrying is this is a first-rate company and being so vulnerable to this attack for this long does not speak well about our own cyber defense - corporate or otherwise.

My Nephews Are Gonna Go Nuts: Angry Birds Go Kart

Source:  Droid-Life.

Should have known this was coming.  I'm excited to see Rovio's take on this with the birds and piggies.  
Yeah, my nephews will go nuts when they find out.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Chinese Baby Monitors, More Than Forty Thousand Of Them, Vulnerable to Hacking

Source: Forbes.

Parents' worst night - a predator near their child.  In their room.  Not physically but this particular violation could be just as bad.  Through security opening in a Foscam baby monitor, complete with video and sound, a creep called a baby all sort of names.

Foscam FI8910W (White) Wireless B/G/N IP Camera

And the flaw was only covered up after media reports and even then, through an Internet scan, most owners of these Foscam monitors are still vulnerable to hacks - more than 40,000 of them.

I've heard good things about Foscam from friends but I don't think we were expecting this kind of security hole.

Honestly, I think these devices are going to be a part of future homes - the smart homes that I think will be one of the next battle ground between tech rivals like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Samsung.

So, if you own one of Foscam's devices, best to go their website and look for a patch.

Recently bought cam for a friend.  Gotta warn them tonight!

Facebook Could Ruin Your Credit Worthiness: Companies Use Social Networks To Assess Credit and Loan Approvals

It sucks that Facebook could ruin your future by making sure you don't get that dream job when your potential employer goes onto your Facebook and sees all those naughty things you've said and done.  Now, it gets worse.  It could make sure you don't get a loan.

It does this by going through all your online social communications and who your friends are.  If your friends are slackers, prone to late payments, the companies assume that by keeping bad company, you are by extension a slacker as well.

Lenddo, the company profiled in this CNN Money report, goes a step further to assess whether you're an upstanding guy or gal as far as paying back a loan by seeing if any of your friends have ever failed or been late in a payment.  On top of that, it also looks at how often you interact with this individual.

All of this is done by computers on the cloud.  Yes, math.  Very fast and smart math.

There are other factors at play as well:

  • Applicants are asked to provide information from their eBay, Amazon, Paypal accounts.  Even Facebook accounts.  Businessses that apply for loans and give the loan companies access are deemed 20% less likely to be delinquent on their loans
  • How much time you spent reading loan applications and agreement statements
  • How you type in your information - all caps or not.  Not sure what the reason is that affects applicants negatively.  
  • Your locations
  • Your friends and social networks online
So, folks, time to friend churches, senators, and anything that looks good on your friend list and start yapping with them.  

But that's not all.  This could expand beyond just banks and loan sharks.  Insurance companies, country clubs, colleges, etc.  Even secret societies will all need your social credentials to deem your social worthiness.  

US Likely To Hit Syria This Week

NBC News reports the US will hit Syria in about 48 hours, Thursday.  It'll be interesting to see where this goes after that.  Knowing the president, Obama may well pick a more measured response without trying to turn the tide of the Syrian civil war in the rebel's favor.

Why?  Because we don't entirely trust the rebels either - many extremists and anti-US elements fighting against Syrian mass murderer, Bashar al-Assad.

At the same time, Russia, a Syrian ally, recently gave the US a black eye by granting NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, a one-year asylum.  It would be a kind of payback to get rid of Assad and further isolate Iran.

So, we will attack Syria.  The question is what next?

Google Needs To Fix Security Issues For Android, Anti-Virus App Cannot Be Only Answer

Sources:  Multiple (Just about everyone is on this one)

Here it is.  I'm surprise it took this long for the government to warn about Android use in government due to the plethora of security issues and due to forking, older Android problems likely will not be fixed by Google or its partners.

There really is no excuse about from Mountainview, CA, Google HQ.  If Google find this report to be unfair, it needs to address it or address how it will deal with the issue.  I understand that Google is a commercial company but as the caretaker of the most popular mobile platform in terms of numbers of devices deployed, it has a responsibility to users who gave it so much trust.

In many cases, and more often, that trust is misplaced.  I totally think Google is not evil but their mantra of "don't be evil" certainly does not apply.  However, it should adopt a new one in these cases called "don't sit on your hands..."

The problem is that 44% of users still use told much older Gingerbread and devices based on it are still being sold.  While many of the security issues were addressed on newer Android versions, the sheer number of potential exploits are very great.

It's likely places on the US and outer Western nations should have sufficiently lower number of these devices.  Even South Korea, home of Samsung, Taiwan, home of HTC, and Japan, home to many giant consumer companies that all deal with Android devices should be better protected.  That is not to say that security problems for Android, even the latest version, should be brushed aside until Google releases Android 5.0.

A patch is needed.

The three main issues are listed above.  The bulk of these are easily addressable if you're a savvy Android or tech user.  However, I can tell you most folks are not.  There were reports of a previous threat that even was able to get around installed anti-virus and malware protection apps.

The problem here is rooted in Google's Android view.  At times, it can be frustrating knowing that Google may have the answer but is holding back for some reason. Often, Google and its partners point fingers at each other in an attempt to absolve themselves of the responsibilities to the users once the devices are sold. It's possible that Google and its partners, device makers and carriers, figure users will upgrade to new devices that are safer with less security problems.

However, it also begs that this question be asked.  If there are all these issues with Android, why would the government even allow its use?  I think if someone were to ask this in a very public and meaningful way, it would get the attention of Google and its partners real fast.

As an Android user with no connection to government or use my device for work, I'm not as concerned.  I put minimal information about myself on there as possible.  However, I'm unable to recommend Android devices to people I know who cannot take care of themselves.

Here's the link to the report (PDF).

Monday, August 26, 2013

iPad mini: Who's Idea Was It? Steve Jobs or Tim Cook?

The iPad mini will be a year old soon and be replaced with an upgrade by Apple this fall.  What I want to explore here is whether the decision to rlease mini, obviously having been in the works of years even when Steve Jobs was alive and at Apple, planned all along or Tim Cook's after he become CEO.

More at On Apple.

Saving Microsoft: Adopting An Apple-Google Hybrid Strategy

No one is in position to save Microsoft.  Me, you, or even the guy or gal they select eventually to be the next CEO of Microsoft.  Needless to say, that ain't gonna stop anyone from offering suggestions to the next CEO or Microsoft on how to go forward and if he or she doesn't follow those suggestions, suggest things at Microsoft will only become worse.

That's the state of where things are.  Still, there are obvious moves that Microsoft should make. For instance, find out who the folks are that have been playing politics and prevent the really smart folks from shining and get rid of them.

Also, get rid of the protectionist attitudes there.  Get rid of those who thought new Microsoft products would cannibalize existing ones like Windows or Office.  Courier could have been Microsoft's answer to the iPad but it was killed off as many suspected for the likelihood of getting people off the PC.  This includes webapps and services that could have rivaled Google.  Instead, we got Bing (which isn't bad but doesn't do anything better than Google search).

Look at what's happened.  It's an iPad world in the beginning and with an increase shipment of Android tablets, both Apple and Google's tablets have cannibalized PC sales.  Apple was right about iPad cannibalization of Mac sale.  It's better to have one company's own product cannibalize another of its own product than to get a competitor do that.

Also, bring back the innovative and entrepreneurial energy of yesteryear.  And I mean really unleash it.  I like Microsoft to do a 20% thing like Google did for its employees.  Microsoft has just as deep a bench as anyone else when it comes to talented scientists and engineers.  Let them go nuts.

Simply put, don't fear your own creations and innovations as Microsoft been doing.

Monday Is Dump On Steve Balmer Day

Okay, as you know by now (or you should if you're a mobile warrior and junky) is that Steve Balmer, the second CEO in Microsoft's history, will be stepping down as soon as they find a CEO to replace him and try to put Microsoft on the right mobile path and establish a clear viable strategy for the future.

Right now, Microsoft is treading water.  Has been for tenure of Steve Balmer's reign.

Having said that, I'm still waiting to hear more about his "resignation" which I had suspected wasn't because of the way things have been going at Microsoft in the last few years, the reception of its products to compete with Apple's iPhone and iPad and Google's Android and search.

Meanwhile, I'll doing a running update on today and maybe this week's headlines on Microsoft's future, Steve Balmer's resignation, and anything else that might be interesting.

First, headlines dumping on Balmer:
Those above are the nice ones.  You don't even wanna hear what the Android and Apple bloggers are saying.  Not surprisingly, most are pulling for a resurgence of Microsoft.  Why?  Because competition is good for us regular mobile warriors.  

NASA - Future Is Uncertain, Keep It Civilian or Allow Greater Military Involvement

I respect the idea of a civilian space program.  However, given the disdain some have for anything civilian except it's under the guidance of the Department of Defense, I wonder if it might not be a bad idea to fold NASA under the control of Pentagon general or admiral and allow a greater military role in the future of US space exploration.

There is a current crop of astronauts at NASA who's future are muddier than at any other time.  Congress is playing politics with the US economy.  If future space missions are given greater military involvement and label them as being in the interest of national or even global security, maybe NASA might have less of a hard time finding the resources from Washington to support its role in space.

It's an absolute disgrace that only Russia, and to some extent, China are the ones with the vehicles to take humans into space at this time.

NBC has a report on a group of astronaut candidates whose roles will be working on the International Space Station and as support roles.  The US won't have its own vehicle ready for another five years (optimistically), that is all they can do.

So far, grand space programs from presidents Bush and Obama are just words spoken at State of the Union addresses because they play will to polls but no one seems to remember the pride and prestige of US presence on the moon and the launches of space shuttles.  If you do a Jay Leno style interview of people on the street, you probably won't get people to recall whether we've even been to the moon, had shuttles, starships, or can travel to other star systems.  Folks are just not excited about space.

But we are still very proud of our military and given a greater role to, say, the navy or air force could get Congress to pay more attention to US role in space.

However, that isn't to say that there isn't a role for civilians.  SpaceX (wiki page) is a successful private space company that has not only launched missions to the ISS but is also working on new rockets that NASA and its old-tired partners, typically also late and over-budget on programs, could never do on its own.

Space is going to be huge (for humans) and American presence is needed no matter the political situation on Earth.  Fostering private companies like SpaceX is great but a greater role of American public is needed as well.  And NASA, prey to politics, should think about a takeover by the Pentagon.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Local Businesses Need Mobile Gateway and Passbook/Wallet

If I own a business, and it would not matter any kind, that caters to services or interaction with customers on a daily basis, I would make it my mission to see to it that I cater the mobile warriors. It'll serve to make my life (and employees's lives), customers'' lives, and the services better over all.

I started thinking about this as I sat here at a local car wash. Free WiFi is great. However, I think they can take the next step and over other mobile incentives.

  • Being able to use Google Wallet would go a long way to help mobile payments and cut down on the need for a full service cashier. Use a service like Square also makes sense.
  • Cut down on paperwork and offer receipts to be emailed or sent to a dedicated app for the business.
  • Offer added services or incentives through something like iPhone's Passbook.

All of these mobile options, and there are plenty over ways to use mobile to expand a business and outreach, could be a good differentiator in the current economic environment we are in. It does matter if you're a national chain, a mom-and-pop cafe, or a stand at a local shopping center, offering a mobile abilities to conduct services and transactions mean that the business is offered a place on mobile users' smartphones.


On top of that, a a business owner, I want more of my costumers who are savvy with the fast changing and trending mobile market. It means they're young, smart and educated, and have more money to spend.



Friday, August 23, 2013

I'll Say It Because Others Are Too Afraid: Them iPhone Colors Are Ugly

Those sickly colors of the iPhone 5C or whatever Apple's gonna call them are just downright ugly.  And this post stem from an online discussion with a friends in Asia.  And I think we need to have this discussion on a wider scale.

Here and now.  The white is okay.  But the red, green, and blue (I've seen a  yellow one) just are doing it for me. They just make me wanna puke.

And seriously, they are just not the colors that we are accustomed to seeing from Apple.  And if they are indeed the colors Apple has picked for the 5C, boy, Apple missed Steve Jobs more than I expected.

Now, there's a part of me that hopes those colors are just fake leaks from pranksters looking for attention or even Apple themselves trying to show off its competitors and the media.  Imagine Tim Cook and company trying to get Samsung to follow them.

And we have seem some of these colors from Nokia and I can tell you after seeing those in person, they are just not doing it for the consumers.

So, I wonder why would Apple pick colors that felt like the iPhone 5C are encased on cheap Taiwanese cases that you can find for like a couple of bucks at the famed night markets.

Why wouldn't Apple stick with colors we see on the iPod touch or the iPod nano from before.  Or even better, the older iMac colors.

There is something I like to offer, not as evidence, but rather a slim hope that all these iPhone 5C cases we're seeing are mere fake colors. We have yet to see what one of these unicorn iPhone 5C look like fully assembled and what the front would look like.  So maybe those shots we're seeing all over the Web truly are fake or mocked up.  Or also, that they were early colors used in the development of the iPhone 5C and nothing more came of them because Apple went with better colors.

Furthermore, consider iOS 6 change to iOS 7 in terms of designs.  We saw a lot of changes but the colors in iOS 7 are still every bit as enticing and eye-catching as anything Apple has come out with.

My guess is that they'll look like the iPod touch.  Which is fine.  And hopefully, Apple will use colors for the iPhone 5C that are more vibrant and brighter and delicious that you'll want to lick them.  Failing that, would you want Apple to just go with the iMac colors?

Otherwise, the colors I'm seeing on the Web for the iPhone 5C just makes the devices look cheap.

More Thoughts On Steve Balmer Leaving Microsoft

This is only a preliminary thought on the news that Steve Balmer will be stepping down as CEO of Microsoft.

  • He screwed up Surface bad and the board wants him gone.  He had number opportunities to compete against the iPhone and Android and he failed to deliver.  With Windows and the PC market in a critical condition and at an inflection point, Windows 8 was worse than Vista ever was.  And Windows Phone is gaining shares but only because Nokia is selling devices at a loss or break-even.
  • I'm excited that Microsoft might bring in someone who will rejuvenate the company and put Apple and Google on notice.  A product guy who gets it.  Not another sales guy like Balmer.  
However, I also wonder if it's too late for Microsoft.  Think Palm.  Dell.  HP.  And now more recently, think Blackberry.  Turning a company around isn't easy.  Having said that, Steve Jobs did.  When he took over at Apple, it was weeks from going bankrupt.  

Microsoft is in an infinitely better shape with billions in the bank and continues to make more money than most governments and companies.  But the new CEO has to play offense, get rid of death weight, and, more importantly, care less about making friends or Wall Street happy and willing to piss people off.

Microsoft And Batman: Every Had A Morning When You're Not Sure If You're Gonna Have A Good Day or Not

Have you had a game where you woke up in the morning, and you're not sure if it's going to be a good day or not? I have one of those mornings today. I woke up at 5 AM. As my custom, I reach for my Nexus, and I opened up my RSS feed reader.

It's a Friday. Nothing happens on Friday. Are so I thought. Still only 5 AM.

I was greeted with two headlines that I thought was a joke.

The first one was that Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, will be resigning within 12 months. I mumbled to myself, "Nah, this is wrong. He's never going to go. Microsoft is life".

However, it's got to be true. That's because I checked another source. Like Steve Ballmer or not, him leaving Microsoft is a good thing for us mobile warriors.

The second headline, that's the one that had me thinking my Friday might be not a good one.

The next Batman is none other than the man who ruined Daredevil and Tom Clancy's iconic American spymaster, Jack Ryan. Jack Ryan, who was played masterfully by Harrison Ford, will never rise again.

To all my favorite characters, one by one man, and now he's going to ruin the third. And Batman is my favorite of all of them.

This man is none other than Ben Affleck.

So you can see, it's a good Friday because Steve Ballmer is leaving and Microsoft if only be rid of someone who has been choking it to death. This is good for mobile warriors because whoever Microsoft brings as the next CEO has the opportunity to provide an iconic American company and rejuvenate consumer and business technology.

Again, it's a good Friday. I think. Again, it depends on who is the next CEO of Microsoft.

Again, it's a bad Friday. I'm sure. Because Batman is about to be ruined.

- Posted using Mobile

Thursday, August 22, 2013

NASDAQ Outage: DOS Was My First Thought

Perhaps, you've heard that, today, NASDAQ suffered an outage, stoppage, or whatever it is you wanna to call it.  No one has an answer right now and could be something harmless (depends on your definition and point of view - maybe not in lost of time and financially) but my first thought was this was an attack or hack.

Here's the scary part.  Even now, we don't know.  USA Today's post on this matter is a good read.

Go To Google's Page Today (Even If You Don't Use It): Claude Debussy Tribute Is Neat!

Source:  Google, Guardian.

Google has these things called Google Doodle that celebrates or pays tribute to events, persons, or anything they can think of.  And today's animated Doodle tribute to composer Claude Debussy is one of the neatest I've seen in that it's animated.

I love that Google gets creative like this.  

If you don't know Claude Debussy is, please do yourself a favor and head over to iTunes, Google Play, or Bittorrent and download any of his music.  You won't be sorry.  I remember still and love the music since my Academic Decathlon days in high school.

Champagne (Gold) Color iPhone 5S or 6 - Could Apple Charge More for It?

I wonder if Apple could get away with charging more for the new gold hue, champagne, that will be joining the white and black for the new iPhone, iPhone 5S or 6 depending on who you talk to.

I'm guess specs and storage for specs and storage, Apple probably would get chastised for trying to cater and gouge users just because it can by pricing the gold iPhone higher.

However, there is one way Apple can avoid charging more for the gold version.  What it can do is offer the gold version at 32 and 64 GB - forcing the affluent or those who might want to appear rich to pay $100 or $200 more.  They would still get something out of it - bigger storage whether they need it or not.

And here's the thing, an extra 16 GB isn't going to cost Apple much and most of the $100 extra are just pure profit anyway.

And trust me, the rich will have no problem paying for it.  My guess is that most of them already shell out for the 32GB or more already anyway.

So, Apple might only offer the new color for the 64 GB iPhone version.

Chinese Are Rich - Will To Shell Out Nearly $500 For Next iPhone

Source: Business Insider Via Dave the Mobile Sage.

I'll be honest with you.  I'll willing to shell out the full retail price for an iPhone only because I refuse to give carriers the satisfaction of overcharging me and then I take the phone and use the cheapest plan I can find.  And luckily, I save all year or two for one.

Now, living in Southern California, I see a lot of rich folks.  But the new Chinese immigrants are especially affluent.  So, when I read how they're willing to shell out nearly $500 for a new iPhone Color, I was not at all surprised.

In fact, there are many who speculated that a new color, champagne, for the iPhone 5S or iPhone 5 could be aimed squarely at the rich in Shanghai and other major cities that affluent lives.

While the new iPhone Color could be a boom for Apple, I still don't think it'll be enough to allow Apple to gain significant sales there only because the gap between those who can afford to pay $500 for a phone is so wide and much of China are still poor.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Android: Swimming In The Deep End Of Google Play

I'm a mobile fan.  I like that I can take my devices, Android or iPhone, Nexus or iPad, anywhere I want and do whatever it is that I wanted to do when I get there.  Watching movies or other videos, play games, or write in general.  There is one difference between the Android and iOS experience beyond fanboys on both sides thumping their chests and saying this or that is better than the other guys'.

It's the security factor.  I'll be honest here.  I'm more comfortable with apps that I get from iOS than apps from Android.  I generally buy and download apps from companies that either I've had a history with in terms of using their apps in the past or have heard good things about them.  I'm also more willing go give small developers a chance on iOS because I do generally feel safer because of Apple's insane review system.

Last week, I posted about how researchers managed slip into Apple's walled garden a potential malware.  So, it's not like Apple's review is 100% malware or steal-ware proof.  I get that.  The incident goes to show that nothing is 100% safe.

Still, even if Apple manages to stop only 99% of the malware, that's still damn good.  So far, there are zero incidents of malware for iOS while Android has the bulk of the malware.  I don't know if that's from just the Play store or more of the Wild Wild West environment of side-loading and in China.  Or maybe a combination of all Android app stores.

Still, as I played and experiment with my Nexus more, I'm finding myself trying more and more apps.  I do conduct an amount of research of any app before I download it.  Even them, I'm wary that somehow, something'll get by Google (and me) and compromise my tablet.

Yes, I get the "openness" of Android is something many folks like.  I also get that there is a strong need to make sure the mobile system is secured enough so that I don't have to worry too much.  Even if my Evernote, Facebook, Twitter, or other apps that I trust are fine, who's to say that one bad app that I download won't find a way to compromise my social mobile experiences or worse.

I'm hoping that Google will do more on the security front, move quicker to address the security and malware issues, and institute a more proactive plan to keep bad apps from getting to Google Play.  It's important not only to me and you but to the future of the platform.

So, yes, I'm swimming away from the safe area of the Play pool and closer to the deeper end but I'm only willing to go so far.  And it's sad to say, I'm not willing to go all in and I figure many folks aren't either.  Not unless we know Google is doing more and we feel safer about it.  Otherwise, there are tons of good apps with good mobile experiences that users are just missing out.

"Steve Jobs" Schools - Dutch Innovation or What? Worth Keeping Close Eyes On

Apparently, Steve Jobs' attitude towards schools and the rigidity of the educational systems has not only be captured in history but now also in practice. O4NT, or Onderwijs voor een nieuwe tijd (Education for a new era), is looking to put an iPad into the hands of a young student and provide them with a virtual school that allows them the flexibility to new skills - communication, collaboration, problem solving and creativity, and, of course, school subjects as well.

This is their Website - I'll let you click through to see more of what they offer.  Recommended.

Just recently, the Los Angeles Unified School District, signed a deal, the biggest of its kind, to provide its students with iPads.  And I just hope that someone at LAUSD is watching this as well.  The concept that I love about O4NT is that with the iPad, it's possible to have school all year round as they'll likely be carried around by the students.

Even during summer months when students go off and do summery stuff, they also tend to forget things they learned the previous school months.  And the iPad offers an opportunity for the child to embrace learning that's fun and keeps them engaged.

The idea is ingenious.  It makes learning less of a chore and more like projects and that isn't teachers lecturing at the students and putting them to sleep.

This is one of those Think Different ideas that Steve Jobs and Apple has inspired that could well change the world of education as well know it.  For too long, our educational system has been a drag on the students despite the great amount of resources that have been poured into failing schools.

I look forward to see how O4NT works out and whether iPad-based learning at the LAUSD makes any difference or not.

Candy Colored iPhones To Be Apple's Mobile Drug Into Its Ecosystem - It Worked with the iMac

Steve Jobs once said that Apple made the icons in OS X look so good that you want to lick them.  He wasn't joking.  Okay, he was but you totally get what he means if you've been in Apple's sphere of influence for any number of years.  The thing is, Apple paid great amount of attention to designs of its hardware and software that is unmatched by anyone else in the industry.

I'm sure there are a few who wanted to lick their colorful iMacs and iPods.  Now, it looks like Apple wants you to lick the next iPhone as well.  There is a model that Apple will introduce on September 10th that will sport a variety of colors, maybe around five, no one know for sure how many and which colors.

The point is, these colorful iPhones will be Apple's gateway drug into its ecosystem.  That's not all.  Apple will price them low enough to entice some mid-market users but not so low that it dilutes the iPhone brand.  And that's in 2013.

In 2014, Apple will likely to continue this trend with additional color changes as it tweaks the colors by adding or getting rid of some to give what the market wants.  And furthermore, even possibility of lowering the prices as well while also adding new features held over from 2013's top of the line iPhone also to be introduced on September 10th.

Apple has always maintained that the market-share isn't what it wants to go after.  It wants to make the best damn product it can and let the market settle things.  Well, it looks like Apple does want a bigger piece of the piece.  Have a mid-range iPhone with different colors would further differentiate itself from its competitors while taking customers away and locking them within the fine walls of the app store system.

It'll be interesting to see how Apple will try to position these iPhones, market them to the users, and what type of mobile users they'll attract.

Average American Schools No Longer Functional

The title of this post is pretty bold I think.  And I'm willing to make that statement because of how bad things are now.  Even in above average schools, ones that I've gone to, I've noticed that much of former classmates are doing okay but not well.  Not good enough to the point that I consider to be middle-class.

The reasons they're okay is only because of the help they've received from parents or may have moved back home, unmarried and without a family.

I do have a core group of friends who are doing well.  Doctors, lawyers, and folks who drive the Internet at one company or another (like Google).  For the most part, they're the exception.

Even back then, I don't think schools were doing enough to make sure high school graduates were ready for a four-year university experience, much less, a junior college.

To back up this assertion, there is a report out (NBC News) that only 1 in 4 students are ready for college.  The people who administers the ACT tests, American College Testing, found that the students who took the tests were just unprepared for life after high school.

Only 69% of those who took it were proficient in just one of the four areas tested by ACT - English, reading, math, and science.  Seriously, if you grow up on America and you can't do at least two of the four well enough, there is something wrong with the education you're receiving.

When President Obama was elected, I had high hopes that he would usher in a massive reform of the educational system in the United States much like what he had done with the health care system.

Look, I get that schools don't tell the whole story about where someone will end up.  But after twelve years of school, and our students can't read at a Harry Potter book level, dude, we want our money back.

Privacy: Forget Your Password and ID. Gov-Issued ID Will Take Care of All That (Good and Maybe Bad Too)

Source:  Forbes (thanks to Dave the Mobile Sage for the Link)

Yeah, 1984, by George Orwell, is probably going to happen.  The issue is whether we remain a happy society somehow or one that falls into darkness like in the book or lives behind the Iron Curtain during the dark days of the Cold War.  Either way, we are controlled - every aspect of our lives, self-censorship, probably under constant threat to give powerful gov groups more and more power, etc.

Well, we're not quite there yet but given the lack of privacy these days because of government data collection, such as PRISM operated by the NSA, it's no surprise that the government, not the US as I'm sure other powers are moving closer towards this, is trying to make it easier to collect more information about us and maintain massive databases from which powerful computers can mine information and connections about us that we might not even know.

The United States Postal Services has a contract with a Toronto-based company, SecureKey, to provide a cloud-based authentication system for individuals to access personal information maintained by various government agencies.

Sounds good?  Sure, very convenient.  In fact, I'm for convenience.  Just like my Apple ID or Google account, they've made my life easier.  Canadians already do it.  And with National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace and Identity, Credential and Access Management, Americans like myself will soon get this convenience.

 And it's important. Right now, our social and medical benefits or information scattered across a wide range of database.  It's hard to keep track and downright confusing.  So, this could arguably help Americans get a better handle on their personal information relating to government programs.

Having said that, what if the US government eventually mandates that we tie in all our banking, online trading, and credit card accounts to it as well - all in the name of convenience.  Maybe even say that it'll help secure our borders.

Then also our e-mails and phone accounts.  One account, the one that the government issued, to rule them all.  Tie it into your Google account or whatever you use.  Convenience.  And reduce viruses, spams, malware, etc.

Our water, gas, and electric bills.  To increase conservation.  Convenience and save money.

The idea behind Securekey, who proclaims to follow federal privacy guidelines what for what's worth, allows information to be transmitted without knowing who the third-parties or their identities.  Also, when using this new ID for government services, it makes sure that one agency doesn't track what the individual is doing on another.  On one hand, that beats the purpose of convenience and relevant exchange of information but it's unlikely that at some point, these artificial walls won't be broken down later.

How does this impact us from a privacy/surveillance standpoint?  As an idea, this is good on many levels.  However, the spirit of such a program or any other government or even private ones are not always observed and respected in practice.  Furthermore, once the new ID becomes indispensable, changes to how the ID is used and what can be done with the information collected will be made.

And whatever the public outcry may be at that time, the government will back down a bit, we'll think we've won.  Then some dumbass congressman, who just had his coffers replenished by lobbyists, will try again and we'll repeat this whole dance again.

Massive government databases or ID programs are not the problem. The real problem is society and our tolerance or willingness to trade certain freedoms and privacy for security and convenience and the price we are willing to pay for it.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mobile: Some Coffee Shops No Longer Welcome Mobile Warriors

When independent coffee shops were fighting a losing battle against Starbucks and other coffee chains, they did what they could to drive in business and foot traffic.  Wi-Fi was a powerful lure - free Wi-Fi that is.  It hooked me into some coffee shops that I would otherwise not frequent too frequently.  However, some now are beginning to change their attitudes towards mobile warriors and their laptop carrying ways.

The reason is simply.  The experience that Starbucks created to get people to use their stores as a hangout place or mobile office has now permeated through society and has permanently been etched our social psyche.

As a patron, I'm a bit ticked off about this but I also understand the business aspect of this.  And this is the subject of this NBC post.  One thing mentioned in the post is the wasted space where one guy has a laptop on a small table while the other seat is open but no one will sit there because who wants to sit with a stranger?

Well, I would and I have.  I can understand if I go into a cafe with a friend and there are only a bunch of single seats left.  Perhaps, a new social norm could be created.  

If I go into a Starbucks or a coffee shop to do work and I see open tables, I should not immediately thank my lucky stars but instead go with with someone else who has a laptop occupying a table.  But the best answer is probably a time-limited access to the Wi-Fi.  Order something, it gets you an hour of use.  The post mentioned three hours but I think that might be pushing it.

Okay, maybe two hours.  Or maybe the more you spend, the more Wi-Fi time you're allotted.  

The bottom-line is let's be courteous of others and business operators, right?  

Star Trek Into Darkness Out on iTunes - Before DVD/Blu-Ray

Didn't realize this when I downloaded my copy last night but apparently, my copy of the latest Star Trek movie, Into Darkness, was released on iTunes even before it went on sales as a DVD copy. Blu-Ray even. Weeks before release on physical media.

This was both a surprise and a sign of things to come. And it makes sense the more I've had time to think about it.

Digital distribution is the future whether retailers and consumers like it or not. In fact, I have not bought any movies on DVDs for years now.

More than that, we may also see a realignment of the whole movie making and viewing experience as companies, especially Apple, continue to push the bounds of the whole viewing experience.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

(My Idea For A Star Trek TV Show) What Mobile, And Worf Have In Common With Outer Limits

Here's a good post regarding Star Trek and what the likelihood of Star Trek returning to the small screen is (what post about Star Trek isn't good?). Via Huffington Post and Blastr, Michael Dorn, aka Worf, talked about his Captain Worf idea and how it'll fit into the Star Trek reboot from J.J. Abrams.

Dorn had been working and pitching his Star Trek idea to anyone who will listen. And apparently, because of the star power of Abrams, folks are afraid any Trek show could step on his toes.  Now with the second movie out of the way, perhaps, there is an opening for Dorn.

However, as interesting as a series about Worf captaining a Bird of Prey or Starfleet vessel, I don't know how much Klingon honor and traditions viewers are willing to take.  Throughout Worf's development on The Next Generation and DS-9, I have seen him grow as an individual who walked a delicate line between the blood lust of his people, trying to stay true to honor, and uphold Federation ideals.  At times, they come into conflict.  I would think Captain Worf would have conquered that but I don't know which direction Dorn would take it.

My thinking is that instead of just one particular series, do an Outer Limits series where each week would have different stories or arcs.  Not focusing on a set of characters but revolving number of actors examining the various aspects of the Trek world and issues of our day.  And if there are characters viewers like, bring them back for an arc.

And what would this have anything to do with mobile? Duh.  Tricorders, badges, and PADDs.  More importantly, an Outer Limits-like series would be able to allow writers to focus on a wider range of scientific fields.  All this will benefit tech and inspire more folks into science.

More than that, such a Trek series can also explore other eras of the Federation as well as other alien races as well.  I would love to see the development of the Klingon empire or how the Romulans play their galactic chess game against the Federation.  Or even how the Borg came to be.

The possibilities are endless.

Only two days about, I discussed how Star Trek works better on TV to explore the world Gene Roddenberry created.  And a series and movies can co-exist.  Let the movies focus on the big explosions and big-budget effects.  And even Captain Kirk agrees.  Trek needs to be on TV.

Note:  One thing about developing series these days is the cost.  With technologies what they are today and computer animations, I think it's very possible for a science fiction show to be created without huge stages like they were in the old days.

Jawbone Up Getting Endorsement From Assad's Wife (Syrian Strongman)

Source:  Huffington Post.

My first wrist pedometer/calories counter/sleep band was the Jawbone Up. The first generation one and it gave folks trouble.  Which is why I switched to the Nike Fuelband as a backup. But even the Fuelband (already with one exchange) is dying (battery).  So I'll soon be in the market for something new.

So, as I was googling and checking out the Fitbit, I came across this.  Apparently, Bashar Assad's wife uses Up.  So, I don't know what Jawbone thinks about this or if they even know.

The thing is, whatever reason the wife of a despot who brutalizes, murders, and rapes his own people and armed terrorists would choose Up, the thing is it is a very good device now that the kinks from the first generation has been worked out.

I'm looking hard a the Fitbit because it means stairs but I also like the ruggedness of the Fuelband.  And unlike the Fitbit, I won't lose the Fuelband or Up because they're constantly on my wrist.  Plus, the Jawbone Up has awesome battery life.

My main issues with Up are two.  One is the cap that I constantly loses and the other is that there is no display to show progress.  I would constantly have to sync it with my iPhone.

Until my Fuelband is completely dead, I'm hoping we'll see updates from these companies in time for Christmas.  And maybe with better features and longer battery life.

Food Safety: Seems Like There More Violations, Should We Be Past That Now?

It doesn't matter if it's meat stuff or not.  Salad, peanut, poultry, or seafood.  I don't really pay all that much attention but I have noticed an uptick on bacterial outbreaks in our food, packed, processed, or otherwise.

I guess the latest is a salmonella outbreak at a hatchery in New Mexico (Huffington Post).  And here, it's just a hatchery, they don't even process the chicken as far as I can tell from the post.

And while the meat issues get a lot of media attention, vegetarians need not be too gleeful.  It can happen to their food as well.

So, what's going on here?  Maybe there isn't anything but the number of food safety issues hasn't really gone up but with the Internet, social media, and the media being bored in general, we're paying more attention to this.

Or maybe there really is an increase in the number of outbreaks with increased severity and sickness and death.  After all, organic or not, bacteria are more adapted to the ways of humans and how we try to keep them out of our food.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Mark Zuckerberg, Privacy-Violator-In-Chief, Had His Facebook Account Hacked

A security analyst, who thought Facebook did not heed his warning about a security flaw seriously, decided a demonstration was needed (CNN).  And he did it by posting a message on Mark Zuckerberg's own Facebook account, you know, the CEO of Facebook, the guy who wants no privacy for anyone else but himself.

Talk about a sweet, sweet hack.  And here's the thing. Khalil Shreateh, an unemployed security analyst, could not have a better addition to his resume. I wager he'll soon get a couple of offers. Maybe, Google should hire him, you know?

And Facebook's lame excuse for not heeding Mr. Shreateh's warning?

His English was bad.

Now comes the age old question of whether Shreateh should have used the security flaw to make his point after Facebook failed to acknowledge his information.  I'm gonna with with no.  But here's the thing, this is going to be the norm now.

Just like Apple's developer website hack a few weeks ago, the reported security flaw and ensuing demonstration brought attention to the "analyst".  And right or wrong, this will bring attention to the act and maybe even be lucrative.

As for the media, well, their also involved in these hacks as well by reporting it on behalf of these hackers and putting a white hat on them.  It's like car chases being shown live on TV.  You probably don't want to do that because it brings attention to the violators but it's also what the public want to see.

However, in this case being Facebook, the biggest advocating for doing away with user privacy altogether and the hack happened to be Zuckerberg's own account, who in the past had asked that people respect "his privacy", I think it's a job well done.

No Surprise as Who's Buying The Telsa: The Rich And The Hip

Source:  MSNBC.

Stating the obvious here, but there is not one shred of surprise here as to who's buy Tesla cars, the Model S.

And that's not all, Tesla is expected to release a SUV model, Model X, which could appeal to an even larger segment of the super rich, those who are young and with a family.

Of course, this won't do for Telsa as other luxury brands have come out with their own electric cars.  Right now, nothing on the market has the same appeal and cool factor as Tesla but that could change quickly.  Innovation is going to be key here as well as releasing newer models that would appeal not those who are not super-duper rich, you know, just the rich.

I've set a goal to save up enough for one five years from now. Actually, as of now, I've got fifty three months left to do that, whether I get it or not.  Sadly, it's not going all that well.  So, I'm hoping in five years, these long range electric cars will drop down in prices so much that they'll be just a tad bit more expensive than comparable gas-only cars.  

One can dream...right?

Researches Slipped Malware Into App Store, Good To See Apple Bruised A Bit

I generally only install apps from big developers or ones that have a level of trust within the community of mobile warriors regardless of whether they're on iOS or Android.  However, I do have to admit that I'm more adventurous on my iPad and iPad than on my Android devices like my Nexus 7.

In general, all those stories of Android's malwares, security holes that Google isn't willing to plug or won't get to, and apps that just wanna steal my contact lists has me a bit wary.  Very wary in fact.

However, this story about how researchers at Georgia Tech found a way to sneak in malware into Apple's walled garden was delicious and eye-opening.  However, it was not totally unexpected because anyone can climb over a wall.  It's just whether you've got a tall enough ladder or the right tools to dig underneath it.

And it's good to see Apple bruised a bit on this.  Because of the walled-garden mentality, good or bad or open or close, it can give users such as myself a false sense of security.  I'm sure this will zero long-term (or even a short-term) effect on Apple's reputation as far as security goes, it goes to show that mobile platforms have to continue to keep an eye out for this kind of things.

The post is a very important read because of how the researchers managed to get their codes past Apple's app store guardians.  And this is one that I've thought of that is possible.  Codes that are not strung together during the review process but could be reacted and put together later.

And as mobile devices get more complicated, smarter forms of attacks, whether it's against Apple, Google, or anyone else, will surface.  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Star Trek Is For TV, Doesn't Work For Movies

Who's with me in believing that the last two Star Trek movies and the whole reboot is awesome and, as a fan, I'll keep going back because it's Star Trek, just isn't right for the theaters?

In fact, I think Star Trek should be about what Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future is about.  The last two movies had nothing to do with science, exploration, or taking today's social issues into account.  In the last movie (spoiler), Kirk violated the Prime Directive to save an indigenous race.  Okay, that was as far as JJ Abrams' vision of Star Trek went.  

The problem with today's science fiction movie has more and more explosions, special effects, and stunts that the studios think will attract people to the theaters.  In a way, it's true but only in the sense that Hollywood has spent decades dumbing down the scripts, leaving out more complicated stories and themes, to appeal to the lowest common denominator.  

Not all Hollywood science fiction successes come from just loud explosions and kick-ass action sequences.  Take the latest Batman interpretations from Batman Begins to The Dark Knight Rises. It dealt with science as well as a superhero and pit him against moral issues.  

Back to Star Trek.  A reboot of the original Star Trek series would have made more sense than a movie from the perspective of keeping it faithful to the original Roddenberry vision.  

It's on the small screens where writers and actors can keep the smart viewers engaged with the larger themes of the Federation and the ideals that humans have grown to represent to the other alien races.  And yeah, one week you can have issues pertaining to the Prime Directive, another about social issues, and then another week where you just have explosions after explosions.  It worked with The Next Generation and Voyager with the Borg and DS-9 with the Dominions.  At the same time, they all pushed the bounds of what's possible and human growth in space.

I'm not the only one who believes this.  Ask Captain Kirk, the original one.  William Shatner also believes that a new Star Trek series for television is very much needed.  Maybe with Abrams' movies having procure a larger audience, now is the perfect time to start up another series.  

The series, more than any other science fiction series or movies, has inspired generations of scientists and entrepreneurs.  And while folks can watch the older series, the current generations of wannabe scientists and engineers also deserve to have their own Star Trek.

Financial Times Post On Blackberry's Fall

Here is a very good FT post on Blackberry and how/why the once mobile king who owned the mobile market fell from grace to a deathly 3% of the market (or less by come accounts).

The reason I recommend it as a must read is because of all the various signs that were missed by Blackberry executives over the years on the threat of the iPhone back in 2007 and the emergence of Android.

Along the way, the post also brought in bits about the reign mobile device makers, Apple and Samsung while it named the other players that at one time or another also controlled their own destiny.  Nokia, Motorola, and, of course, Microsoft who recently took a charge of nearly one billion dollars to clear away its unwanted Surface tablets.

What's interesting is that the post mentioned Google twice, it is important to point that it was only mentioned as the owner of Android and Motorola.  Like Samsung's last keynote on the Galaxy S 4 which hardly mentioned Google and nothing about Android, the post seems to suggest that Samsung is synonymous with the Android market.

Also, the post tried to tell us what options are left for the iconic Canadian company, it left me without a doubt that the future is bleak and that, in fact, Blackberry, without buyers and bandoned by loyalists, really will only be remembered in the history books.

It's also fitting that the post finished with the question "Remember the Palm Pilot?"

Note:  You'll need to register for a free account in order to read it but it's worth the effort.

Yes, GOP Should Present Plans For ObamaCare Alternatives (And Other Common Sense Policies) - A Repeal Ain't Gonna Happen

When President George W Bush was in office, and whatever your views are of the president, I thought the Democrats after they won Congress did nothing constructive to present and communicate to the nation their own vision and plans.

And now, I say the same thing about the GOP in the House and the whole Republican mentality of making sure President Obama doesn't succeed.  It's stupid and only makes things worse themselves in the long run.

And I'm glad someone is pointing this point.  Lanhee Chen, Romney's policy director said exactly what I think most Amercans are thinking and want the GOP to do.  Show us the alternatives.  Policies that are common sense and work to help move America forward.

There is just no way the Affordable Care Act will be repealed.  And in fact, some of what's in the policies used to be ideas that the GOP supported.  It's only when politics come into play did the GOP changed their tune.

Nancy Pelosi annoyed the heck out of me when all she did was to direct the Democratic members of Congress to criticize and object without doing anything to show the country their version of the future.  And now the GOP are doing that in kind.

The cycle has to end.  The two side needs to present their plans for the future, talk only about their plans and not how bad the other guys' plans are, and let the people decide.  Better yet, centrists should buck their party lines and work on common sense policies and the parties should let their members vote accordingly without political repercussions.

Mobile Gaming: Notifications Are A Part Of The Experience

Interesting post here from Touch Arcade about gaming notifications.  In general, the average mobile warrior doesn't play enough games to warrant any kind of annoyance due to the gaming constantly asking you to play or update or help banish a group of bandits or whatever.

In iOS, I do get game challenges from users which is as annoying as I find it and I don't find it all that annoying at all.  In fact, I like that the mobile gaming experience is engaging.  Mobile gaming provides a new dimension to the experience that did not exist on the console or handhelds like the Gamboys or even today's systems.

I play lots of chess and other turn-based games with friends and even strangers.  Chess with Friends?  You  know that game.  And if you don't, you absolutely know Words with Friends.  And before that, Draw Something was very popular until it quickly fizzled out.

All these games brought an online and social experience that was not really there before.  And that experience comes with the system telling you when it's your turn.  And you make your move whenever you want and wherever you want.  I've played online games in the past and it forces you to just sit there.  Not so today.

The post from TA honed in specifically on unwanted types of alerts.  There are those on iOS games and I haven't played enough Android games to experience that.  Developers should be keen on the types of notifications that will help players stay engaged but not to the point that it leaves them when a bad taste and ruin the experience.

Even then, that's also a fine line to that as well.  I think we should let the market decide.   If anything, I like more social engagements than less if it makes games more enjoyable.  And I'm not talking about simple alerts or connecting merely through social networks.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Small Crack: ESPN3 Available For Free Streaming Via College/Military WiFi On the iPad Only

Source:  GIGAOM.

Ever watch ESPN3?  You should as I do.  Sport, baby!  Lots and lots of it.  And it's not even better if you happen to be a student, in the military, or happen to be on a college or military base because Disney has made available free streaming of ESPN3 to students and the military.

iPad Screenshot 1

What's significant about this is ESPN is a very hot property for Disney and ABC.  For them to open up access in this manner shows the growing confidence the studio/network has in the future of live video streaming beyond just the television in your living room or bars.

Here is the caveat.  You need to have an iPad.  I know.  No Touchpad, obviously.  Surface? Forget about it.  But more importantly, troops and students armed with Android tablets are also a no go.

It is a point worth mentioning because the growing number of Android tablet users.  Perhaps, the closer relationship between Apple and Disney a la Steve Jobs' legacy has something to do with this being iPad only.

Still, in the grand scheme of things, this is big.  You see apps on tablets already and even on set-top boxes and consoles like the Apple TV and Xbox. And I see ESPN3's liberation, however small a step, from any kind of bundling is a big step on the march towards wrestling the control of the archaic cable/SATTV system that exists now.

Also, you might point out that this is ESPN3, not THE ESPN channel itself.  But it's still ESPN, folks.

I wager we'll see even more changes in the content and media market on the months to come.  Currently, Apple is trying to gain a foothold in the living room with its "hobby" the Apple TV and Google just released the Chromecast.  Efforts by these giants will continue to weaken the hold that cable companies have and give it back into the hands of the viewers and mobile warriors.

Science: New Species of Mammal that Looks Like A Teddy Bear With Size of A House Cat Discovered (New Best Friend?)

Source:  CNN.

The Smithsonian has announced the discovery of a new species of mammal that isn't a bat.  And in fact, look at the adorable little guy.  More at the Smithsonian.

It's called the olinguito (oh-lin-GHEE-toe) who finds its home in Andes Mountains - way, way up high.  And here's the thing, because it looks like similar animals in the region, the olingos, no one has thought that this was a totally different species.

It was upon examining the olinguito's physiology that lead scientists to believe this different animal. An expedition was organized to see if the olinguitos were still living in the wild.  And yes, they were.  A three week expedition was able to find out a few things about their behaviors.
Olinguito ("Bassaricyon neblina"). A team, led by Smithsonian scientist Kristofer Helgen, spent 10 years examining hundreds of museum specimens and tracking animals in the wild in the cloud forests of Ecuador. The result―the newest species of mammal known to science, the olinguito ("Bassaricyon neblina") (Photo by Mark Gurney)
The thing about this are the sharp claws.  Otherwise, yeah, wouldn't you want one of these little guys?  They eat fruits and small bugs, they raise single baby at a time, keep themselves high up at night, and are a bit smaller than your average cat.

The thing is that the the cloud forests (I love this terms for the reason) in the Andes are under threat more more development.  They're hoping this discovery will provide another reason why we should begin respecting our rain forests and other natural areas.

Of course, we are humans and we're in charge.  So...

Apple Should Prepare to Leave China (There Is Still Time To Execute Such A Plan)

At first glance, you might think that the title of this article is a clickbait considering that China is the second biggest economy in the w...