Monday, June 10, 2013

WWDC Keynote Notes: Excitement and Optimism about iOS and OS X But Key Questions Remain

Apple's WWDC keynote by Tim Cook and a few of  his executives is over with.  It was a big event.  I would call it a success only in the sense that Apple held serve: it shows it can innovate in some areas and keep updating OS X and iOS where there have been some shortcomings.

We're still waiting to see if the folks there can get more some unique details about today's event because I do have a few questions about them.  For instance, with OS X Mavericks, which current Macs in the wild will be supported.  I've got a late-2010 11" Macbook Air and I'm hoping I'll get some love.  And if so, which features will be availabe?

And while we learn today that iOS 7 will support up to iPhone 4, what features will be available to iPhone 4 and 4S users?  For instance, with iOS 6 last year, iPhone 4 users did not get live navigation or panorama feature in the camera app.  So, what features will be missing from iOS 7 for iPhone 4/4S?  And for that matter what about iPhone 5 users?

Then there is a few notes I like to add based on what I saw.

  • For iOS, no talk about Maps and what improvements there is going to be.  No talk about Passbook features or partners.  No mobile payment.  The optimist in me want to think that Apple will be holding back some features including the above mentioned for the actual iPhone launch event this fall.
  • For OS X Mavericks, where is Siri?  And what of the iOS design changes for OS X?  And again, which Macs will be supported?
  • And where are the Macbook Pro updates?  

Friday, June 7, 2013

WWDC: Naming Next OS X And Pics

Okay, I don't have pics but 9to5Mac has a few of them as Apple start putting up banners for their WWDC event next week.  And while every new iOS and OS X release is very important, this one stands out because of the pressure put upon Apple, Tim Cook in particular, by an out of control media and pundits with agendas (some are as benign as click-baiting).

So, visit the site if you want to try to play armchair detective and discern from the details on the banners what Apple will have in store for us next week.

However, I do want to mention one thing about OS X.  I've seen a few posts and listened to a couple of podcasts about which feline will Apple bestow upon by naming the next OS X version, 10.9, after.

I think "Sabertooth" is rather awesome.  However, I think it's time for Tim Cook to change that and it's a grand opportunity.  It'll take Apple further away from the Steve Jobs era however symbolic it is.  It could also signal a dramatic shift in the iconic OS away from PC and perhaps one day towards more of a PC-tablet hybrid for the Mac, assuming that's where Apple is headed.

After all, iOS already uses the core of OS X and a hybridization isn't out of the question.

This is why I think WWDC 2013 is a grand opportunity for Apple to change the naming scheme for OS X.  Let's not forget that while we have yet to see anything new from Apple in terms of product refresh or totally new products, all future products from Apple will in some way be affected by the coming OS updates.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Social: Facebook App Source of Battery Drain On iPhone, Pose Privacy Risks Too

Source:  TUAW.


Facebook Apps At Root of iPhone Battery Problems – Wonder What Information it’s Gathering

By using Apple’s iOS development tools, a developer in Germany found out the Facebook app is a major source of battery drain.  So chances are that if you’re a Facebook user on your iPhone, if you hold and tap the Home button and then disable the Facebook app from the multi-tasking panel, you should be able to solve this particular battery issue.

The same can be said about Facebook’s dedicated messaging app as well.

However, it goes to the issue of why Facebook apps are behaving radically different from other apps.  According to Apple’s rules, certain apps like Spotify that has audio and voice features are allowed to continue to work in the background.  Makes sense.  However, why does Facebook apps need to be working on the background, particularly the main Facebook app?

It’s unlikely a major of users are using any of its audio or voice features.  In fact, I’m not aware of any such features.  According to the developer, Sebastian Düvel, Facebook apps would stay active for 10 seconds in the background and then go into sleep mode but it would wake for another 10 seconds.  This happens as long as Facebook apps remain sitting in the multi-tasking panel.

Again, the question is why does Facebook apps need to be active at all when they’re not being used.  Obviously, one has to think that its active so it can try to know what the user is doing, where the user’s at, and  gather and use these information to push out ads.  Of course, I can’t say with any great certainty this is happening.  I’m willing to entertain other theories but this is one that fits given Facebook’s past of playing fast and loose with user privacies.

I have a Facebook account with only a couple of friends that I use to keep myself in the loop about what Facebook is doing.  For the most part, I don’t use it unless there is a major new feature – which is far and in between.  Most Facebook announcements are actually ways in which the company can get users to share more information, which is really disguise for the company to gather more information to sell to advertisers.

So, I don’t have Facebook apps installed on any of my iOS or Android devices.  I’ve recently picked up a Windows Phone device and I did install Facebook on it to see how it works compared to others.  I’ll be looking at the battery life in light of this development.  Eventually, I’ll uninstall it as well.

For Android users, battery life is an issue and I get the feeling that Facebook on Android could be an even worse drain and privacy risk than on Apple’s more closed ecosystem.  Also, recently, Facebook suggested to Facebook users to switch off Home when they think they’re being overloaded with updates.

I think that’s a good suggestion.  Plus, you can probably get a few more hours of battery life out of your Android devices as well.  And not being stalked by Facebook too.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Teens Wary of Facebook: Giant Social Network That Prides Itself Shredding User Privacy On Growing More Dangerous

USA Today's post on teens all over becoming more wary of using and trusting Facebook is a recommended read.  After it was unveiled that a man lured a teen to her death (Clouding Around), the teens USA Today spoke to have said they've eithered deleted their accounts or have stopped using Facebook altogether.

The real issue here is Facebook and most social networks do nothing to make sure information they gather are safe-guarded or educate their users just who has access to their information.  Especially in Facebook's case, it constantly push the envelope to break down privacy walls, change its policies, or revamp privacy settings to obfuscate and confuse users about how their information is being displayed.

So, yes, teens should be wary about predators online because as far as they're concerned, Facebook is a new vast playground for them.  It is sad that it has taken a tragedy for kids to be aware of the dangers social sharing without safeguards.  And it isn't just for teens.  Facebook is a danger to people of all ages.

Criminal opportunists are just lurking about for the right opportunity to pounce.  Legally, Facebook probably did not do anything wrong by allowing people to create fake profiles but ethically, it has a lot to answer for.

Social: Google Maps and Other Maps Soon To Be Social In Ways Facebook Cannot Compete With - More Engagement

Here's an interesting Forbes take on how Google Maps is also a social network but not on the traditional sense that Facebook, Twitter, or even Google+ is.  I see this taking place in a manner that should be very interesting in how companies, not just Google, interacts with its users.

See, with more and more users on the move and the increasing in mobile consumption and computing, the traditional sense and take on maps has changed as is evident in how Google is positioning its maps app at Google I/O.

Google and others like Facebook (maybe it'll come out with its own maps) will overlay more and more information based on the user preferences - places they've checked in, places where their friends/families have been to, recommendations based on user information, and, of course, ads.

Of course, in the Forbes post, it made references to how Google has been forcing Google+ on users which its execs deny.  Of course, Google has been integrating Google+ with its services in an attempt to drum up numbers and compete publicly with Facebook and Twitter in terms of raw numbers.

However, with Maps, because it has the best mapping service as perceived  by most users, Google has never had to force anyone to use it.  And by overlaying social features, ads, and other services on top of it, it has creating a social interaction in ways that no other social networks can with its linear timelines and gimmicks to keep users engaged.

With maps, we want to stay engaged when we open up the app on our iPhones, Android devices, or tablets.

And here may be where the central strategy in devices like Google Glass fits in.  And to a larger extent, other wearable devices that will soon come on the market.

For Android users, because Google has control over the platform, you can always expect Android to receive the best and latest quickly.  However, that is not to say that iOS users won't.  Google has realized just how important iPhone users are given their likelihood to be monetized.

I'm sure Apple has also noticed - it many not have its own social network but with its own Maps app, it many not have to once it adds social features to it.  Right now, Yelp is featured prominently but look for other social data to appear in the future.

This leaves Facebook and Twitter without maps services of its own.  Facebook was rumored to try to buy Waze, a socially engaging maps with data contributed by users, but that likely isn't going to work out.  It's like Facebook will be forced to work with Microsoft's own mapping services going forward.


Killer Bees: Death By Thousands of Stings

The Chinese has their death by a thousand cut thing but killer bees in the US, hybridized bees from Western and African bees that have been spreading through the Americas in the last couple of decades, have their own version:  death by forty thousand stings.

A Texas man was killed by these bees after his tractor hit a pile of woods that was home to these bees.  His wife remains in critical condition while two women who tried to helped them each received hundreds of stings.

As a kid, when I learned about these bees moving up from central America, then to Mexico, and eventually the US scared the crap out of me.  I’ve seen bees here.  Wasps as well.  I’m sure you have too and I just run.  As far as I know, I’ve never been stung before.  I’ve seen someone get stung right in front of my eyes. 


Just imagine thousands of these coming at you.  And who knows what the effects of global warming is going to have on these.  

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Source:  NBC.