Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sabotage The Reason Why Nokia, Soon To Be A Division of Microsoft, Is Releasing An Android Phone

There are any number of rational reasons why Nokia would want to release their own Android device.  You'll probably find them on the Web in any number of blogs so I won't rehash them now.

However, that boat has sailed as far as I'm concerned and Nokia is all about Windows Phone especially now that Microsoft has bought the handset business from Nokia.  So, why Android now?

Again, many reasons why but that was in the past.  The Lumia line is all about Windows Phone.  Why would Microsoft get in on Android?  "If you can't beat them, join them" thinking?

Nah.  Nokia's Android is a forked version.  Without Google apps and services.  It'll be stacked with Microsoft's own apps and cloud offerings.

With its own flavor of Android, Microsoft has the ability to take ownership of Google's mobile crown jewel and used it for its own benefit while hoping to put a hurt on Google in any number of ways.

One, Microsoft would be forking Android further.  It's not necessarily a bad thing for the platform but it could be bad from a monetization standpoint for Google.  Should Microsoft gain a sizable share of the Android market, those mobile warriors would be using Microsoft's apps and services - allowing Microsoft to monetize those users instead of Google.  And all those user information that Microsoft collects from its own Android  users?  Yup, Google will get none of that.

Furthermore, it could potentially drive some users towards Windows Phone, some but not a lot.

It's actually a very clever plan and will really cost Microsoft nothing.  Look at how Amazon is doing with Kindle.  Albeit no one knows how well Amazon is doing all but by some accounts, it has a nice chunk of the Android tablet market.

And to make matters worse for Google and Android device makers using its Android, Microsoft could release Office just for its own Android devices - maybe tablets as well.

Microsoft and Nokia's Android play can be summed up in one word:  sabotage.  Only time will tell how it works out.  Will it drive Android users towards Windows Phone because of the similar UI on the Nokia Android device to the Windows version or will Microsoft successfully drive a big wedge in the Android platform and grab control from Google.

Of course, all of this could be nothing at all as well. All of this could have just been a ploy by Microsoft to extort more money, eventually a takeover, and once Microsoft is done digesting the handset division from the Finnish company, it'll put an end to this Android experiment.

However, I hope that isn't the case.  We always like more players in the mobile market.  That means more competition.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

We're Not Getting the Global Peace We Expected After the Cold War

After the fall of the Soviet Union, it was expected that there would be a person of adjustment.  And we do go through that in the 90s.  And with the new millennium, it was sort of expected that we will enjoy a period of global peace.

Well, heck, it has not worked out that way.  We had 9/11 and you know the rest of that history.  And the war on terror is still going on and Al Qaeda and other groups are still trying to hurt us.  But there is also something else happening that is sort of like the Cold War.

Whatever you want to call it, there are flare-ups all over the world.  Maybe it started with the Arab Spring.  And political adjustments are still happening on those countries.  Egypt isn't the shining example of Middle Eastern democracy people expected.  And of course, there is the Syrian civil war.

And that's not all.  You've got Thailand and its growing violent protest that has been going on for months.

In our hemisphere, Venezuelans have taken to the streets and there is fear that a Syrian style uprise and a protracted struggle between the government and opposition could destabilize the region and possibly affect neighboring countries.

Oh yeah, let's not forget the Ukraine where political forces are right for the soul of the country, whether it'll rejoin the Russian sphere of influence that would allow Putin to recreate his dream of a Soviet-era like influence or join the West where dreams of prosperity are and no one knows if they'll ever be realized.

It has gotten more complicated.  There are real problems that has to be resolved.  With the Cold War, ethnic and religious conflicts were held in check by political ones but no longer.  It's a scary and uncertain period in our history.

I'm sure we'll get through that but in what kind of shape remains to be seen.  Oh, there's the issue of global warming which could exacerbate things before it gets better.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Social: Facebook's $16 Billion Bill for Whatsapp Made the $3 Billion It Offered Snapchat Look Low-Balled

As you may well know by now, Facebook bought Whatsapp for $16 billion in cash, stock, and retention.  A few months ago, some quarters of the Internet was abuzz with Snapchat's rejection of the $3 billion overture from Facebook.

I'd would have sold.  Take my billion and move onto something else.  Given the Whatsapp deal, Snapchat was right in not dealing.  It could have asked for two to five times more from Facebook.

Still, it's hard to fathom if all of this will pay off or are we in the midst of a social network bubble not unlike when Internet companies in the late 90s and early 2000s were throwing money away left and right.

The question now is what's next for Facebook, what it'll do with Whatsapp (supposedly, nothing will change...right), and how will other social networks or competitors like Google arm themselves.  There are plenty of other messaging "giants" out there that could be for sale given the right price.

Like Snapchat or Line.

Science: Man Nearly Mugged By Giant Octopus

You think the ocean is big enough where humans and sea creatures, both large and small, mammal or otherwise, can co-exist.  Maybe never even bump into one another.  Maybe even safer than say walking on the streets of NY at night with your iPhone hanging out for all to steal.

Not so as this diver soon realized.  An giant octopus lashed out and tried to grab his camera away.  Who would have though that you'd get mugged by a sea creature just for going for a swim.

And as you'll see, the dude would not none of that and made sure the octopus didn't make off with his gear.  Me?  I'd drop the thing and swim back up to surface.  I'd be like "giant octopus! Screw that!  You can have my camera!"

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Social Privacy: What Isn't the NSA Spying On? If the Answer Is Everything, So What?

Another day, another Snowden leak (CNET).  Pirate Bay and WikiLeaks join the list of folks, sites, and whatever (rolling my eyes) that the NSA and quickly possibly other clandestine agencies are "keeping an eye" on.

What's interesting is that in the post, the newly released docs state that both the NSA and Britain's GCHQ, their version of the NSA, record all the IP addresses of anyone who visits these sites like WikiLeaks.

Alright then, never been to WikiLeaks?  Well, CNET's post includes a link to a WikiLeaks url on to the official statement from Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder, expressing his outrage.  Yeah, go ahead and click through and have your IP address be recorded and wait for no one to show up at your door because of it.

But if you're a hacker or whatever, you would be able to proudly proclaim to your fellows that you're being watch by Big Brother and, any minute now, no one at Fort Meade or wherever GCHQ is located in the UK.

And my guess is that you probably got yourself noted by the Russians, Chinese, French, Israeli...I don't know...aliens?

I know that this is a serious matter and that something must be done to make sure privacy is respected and that governments are never allowed to overreach.  Have we reached this point?  The worry is that we are inching closer to closer to a Big Brother era.  And while we are keeping an eye on what the governments are doing, commercial breaches of trust and privacy is happening with greater frequency.

I think we need to agree on one thing about clandestine surveillance.  We're never going to see a clear thin line about it.  Instead, it's going to be a field of fuzzy white, black, and every shades of gray in between and all sides will keep pushing the bounds.

Reinvent Before It's Too Late And I've Got Sony In Mind

I like that Sony has bowed out of certain markets and continues down that trend.  More recently, they're shedding the TV and PC businesses.  Bravo!  But it was done because they finally saw the writings on the wall.  See, in reading this Bloomberg post about former Apple excutives.  It really has nothing to do with the subject matter of this post except that I came across a section in it that we already know from Apple's history and its brush with dead before Steve Jobs 2.0 came in and reignited the innovative flame at Apple, enriched our lives with great new technologies, and positively disrupted market after market.

Apple had to shed a lot of dead weight before that happened. That was going on before Jobs' return and continued further when he got rid of the Newton, simplified the Mac line, and dropped other less or money losing ventures.

Once that was one, all the clutter and noise was gone, Apple got back to work and on track.

I believe Sony should use this moment in its history to do the same. And with the right visionary leader, I think the iconic brand, which Jobs once admired, could become relevant again.  But more than that, it would need to also shed some old ideas and notions that that the company once held.

Obviously, as markets chance, companies that repond quicker tends to reap the benefits.  Or as in Apple's case, come into the market later with a disruptive product or service.  I believe in Sony and I think it can do that.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Security: Target Knew Its System Was Vulnerable But Did Nothing

Apparently, Target knew about possible security issues with its payment system and was warned about it by a security analyst who wanted to do an audit but his request was brushed aside.  This bit of interesting news came from WSJ and a banker site (USA Today) so we do want to take it with a little grain of salt until we can learn more about it.

Still, given the way Target has been dealing with this and how unwilling they are with releasing new information, I'd tend to believe this information.

Mobile: It's about Time To Call It - Windows Phone Is Microsoft's Alone

I love the world that Nokia has done to prop up Windows Phone.  And it certainly has given Android a run for its money on the low-end but that's about it.  And now, with Microsoft buying out Nokia's mobile biz, which pretty much consisted of Lumia devices running WP and only because Microsoft paid them to, even HTC is looking to move away from investing any more time and money on it (PC World).

Without the sheer will of the money generated by profits from Windows and Office, it's doubtful anyone, including Samsung, would want to make Windows Phone devices at this point.  And without special deals, it's also doubtful anyone is interested in making Windows RT devices or tablets running the full Windows versions.

Most PC guys are interested in doing convertibles because, let's face it, people still will buy Windows laptops that double as tablets but not tablets that double as laptops.

As for Windows Phone's future, Microsoft seems content in being a distant third to Android and the iPhone for the moment.

The question is what is next from Microsoft and its new CEO?  It's unlikely that Microsoft will abandon the consumer market and try to live off the PC market until it can find a course that does not include fighting a losing battle.

It's not to say that Microsoft can't still win the mobile war.  We need Microsoft to be in the game, if anything, to continue to put innovative and competitive pressure on everyone else.

But right now, things do not look good.  And the possibility that Windows Phone could turn out to be a Zune is not out of the realm of possibility.

I have a Windows Phone. It's a Lumia (of course, right?).   Microsoft's unique UI definitely sets itself apart from competing devices on the market.  However, I'm not sure I want to invest much more time into the device beyond what apps I've bought given the uncertainty of the future for the platform.  Maybe after Microsoft has finished digesting Nokia, I might change my mind.  

Regardless, third party hardware running Windows Phone has ran its course.  It's over.  Now, it's only Microsoft's Lumia left.  

Social: Crowdsourcing Weddings Is Stupidest Idea Heard In A Long Time

It's been a while since I've read or heard anything that has made me go "OMGF...".  But here's one.  Apparently, you can crowd-source loans so that the responsible party can pay for their wedding.

Sorry, Mijgona of Tajikistan.  If your brother can't pay for his own wedding, I doubt he should be getting married, let alone raising a family.

Crowd Fund Insider has more than more than a dozen set of brides and grooms who cannot afford to get married trying to stiff someone else with the bill.  And oh yes, there are folks out there giving them money.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Apple's Wearable Devices To Disrupt (In A Good Way) Life And Health

There's been a lot of talk in the last year about Apple's unicorn iWatch.  First, we don't know that it's a watch.  If anything, based on what's swirling around the Web, it's more of an iLife device.  Not iLife like the suite of Mac and iOS apps but about your life and health in general.

Regardless of whatever you want to call it, when Apple does release it, it will attempt to disrupt a whole new market and quite possibly change the way we live with respect to this device.

And it's not going to the market we think - not the watch industry.  Not directly.  Devices like the Nike Fuelband or Fitbit's arsenal of pedometers will be impacted but only an ancillary impact or afterthought of this new Apple device.

It may well be the whole healthcare system that Apple is going after.  Tackling a whole host of issues and problems all at once.

Hypertension, diabetes, and obesity to name a few.  In essence, this iLife device could be a condition-based system to monitor existing conditions like heart disease.

Imagine if the device detects an onset of a life-threatening condition when it detects a change on your heart rate - a heart attack or something.  It can call 911 directly or send out an alert to your doctor or someone else.  Or if you've fallen and you can't get up, this iLife device could allow you to send an alert regarding your precarious condition.

On another level, it may be a device everyone wears as a part of any preventive care plan to keep diseases and conditions from developing. This is where it would act more like a Fuelband.

Sure, there will be some mobile features like alerts.  Even games.  Apple will make sure this iLife device is neatly integrated into the whole iOS, app store, and iTunes ecosystem.

Just how much Apple can fit into the iLife device really depends on how ambition it is and what is technically possible at the time of its release.  To be sure, it isn't going to be like the so-call smartwatches we now see on the market.  Don't expect an app store like what Pebble has.  Don't expect it to just offer simplified notes and alerts from your iPhone or iPad like the Galaxy Gear.

In fact, it's best for Apple fans to focus on what Apple's wearable devices are not going to be.  From there, the possibilities become endless.

Oh, one more thing.  Though it's not a watch, I'm pretty sure it will be able to tell time.

Shade of News: Apple TV - Bloomberg Is Likely Wrong About The Timeline And Other TV Stories That Aren't Stories

Yesterday, there was a lot of TV news for our favorite fruity-themed tech upstart, Apple.  Some are relevant but others are and folks will try to blow this out of proportion or twist it in ways that are beyond the scope of the original story.

First, Bloomberg came out with a post that Apple will be unveiling a new Apple TV in a couple of months but the release will be later in 2014.

Second comes news that Comcast has bought Time Warner Cable.  Okay, this is actually news but spinning it towards Cupertino (Apple's HQ) has already begun.

Third, there is news that Apple's chief content negotiator, Eddy Cue, has been busy and that Apple's scale for the Apple TV has been reduced because of resistance from content providers who feared losing their tried-and-true revenue from cable operators.

Let's address those starting with the second one.  There has been rumors that Apple could be working with Time Warner Cable to get content onto the Apple TV.  Essentially, TWC subscribers would be able to watch their shows via the Apple TV.  That has always been a rumor.  Very delicious one at that I'll admit.  Still, a rumor.  I'm sure Apple has been talking to just about everyone who it thinks can help move its living room agenda forward.  This includes video game makers as well as potential accessory partners for the Apple TV.

It's not really Apple TV news but it will be made that way through the day and rest of the week because it was given a new coat of what I like to call "shade of news".  It really is just a rumor that Apple and TMC are close to a deal.

Then there is the third note about Apple VP Eddy Cue, anti-trust, and negotiating with Hollywood.  That isn't something new at all.  Apple is always working on acquiring new content for its ecosystem.  It's just an opportune time for Fortune to come out with this article right now.  Any video content Apple want now is related to Apple TV only in presentation and how viewers can gain access to them.

Again, no news, just a coat of paint that smells like news.

As for Apple TV being introduced in the first half of 2014, it's definitely going to happen.  There is just too much chatter out there in cyberspace (does show how old I am, doesn it?) that this is building up to be launch in the near future.

As for Apple introducing hardware and shipping it six months or more later, the last night this happened was in 2007 when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone.  Since then, that has not happened.

I'm not sure what to make of this.  There is no precedent to fall back on regarding the Apple TV, which is still a hobby.  However, Apple has given it a front-and-center space on its online store.  There is something that has made Bloomberg believe that Apple won't release it until later in 2014 but I still believe new Apple TV hardware is coming our way sooner rather than later.

Just a belief on my part.

Personally, I'm more interested in an app store for the Apple TV than full-blown cable TV services.

Let's sum it up here.  It's coming, a new Apple TV.  What it may or may not include as a part of new video services, only a few folks at Apple know for sure.  Hollywood does work different and leaks are common.  But they are often leaked with a specific agenda.  And the media will try to give it a shade of news to confuse us.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Olympics - I Am Totally Missing Out (Skier Attacked By You'll-Never-Guess-What))

I have not seen a lick of the Olympics Winter Games.  I've been waiting for the hockey games to start.

But I suppose I should given this is what I'm TOTALLY missing.

Green: Red State Looking To Double Wind Power. National GOP Guys Need To Pay Attention

Drill, baby, drill.  That's the game national Republicans are still into.  So are many states.  Red states.  But even so, red states are also looking at renewable energy sources as well.  Consider South Dakota, where Romney beat President Obama by 18 points, which is already a wind farm mecca, it is now looking to double the amount of power it produces from wind.

Eighty landowners will allocate 20K acres of land for the new wind farm that could produce up to one gigawatts of power.  The electricity generated would likely head east towards power hungry states.  In all, it could have a net positive impact of $200 million for the state.

It's important to note that locally, Midwesterners are beginning to realize that green and renewable is not just for liberals in coastal states.  In fact, with plenty of potential and vast land, there is a lot of money to be made by supplying renewable powers to the rest of the country.

Here is an USGS map of wind turbines in the US (Tree Hugger).

For anyone, forget about global warming for a second and consider the concept of self-sustaining energy sources like wind and solar.  Being able to not depend on others (both foreign and domestic) for your power needs is an idea that every American can get behind.  It has both domestic and national security implications.

What SD is doing is only the beginning for many red states.  I reckon more will follow once they realize the monetary windfall.  After the initial investment, the rest is like free money.

Okay, not quite but you know what I mean.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Politics: GOP Trying To Win Asian Voters - Not Going Well Me Thinks

“We’re committed to tell you why the Republican party is the Asian party — why that’s where you should be".  Seriously, that is how it started.  I know enough to know that there is no such thing as an Asian.  I know there are Chinese.  Koreans.  Japanese.

Oh, and when you think Southeast Asia, you've got Vietnamese, Cambodians.  But no Southeast Asians.

I think it is important for the Republicans to find out what makes each ethnic group tick.  And each group has enough flavor that subtle differences need to be attention to.  Just calling a group of people who's immigrant parents or ancestry are from a geographical location isn't going to work.

For instance, you've got the Chinese.  But don't tell the Taiwanese that they're Chinese.

If anything, Asians are pretty smart.  Like any other ethnic group. No more, no less. It's likely that political parties are now dumber and out of touch.  And trying to sweet talk them isn't going to work.

Actions speak louder and, so far, nothing.  The Democrats has been unable to capitalize on national sentiments with government shutdowns and displeasure of the Tea Party and, with Obamacare debacles, you do get the feeling that no one is leading.

There is one thing that conservatives can find in many Asian cultures.  However, with each generation, that also change as well.  The offsprings of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, or any other Asian immigrants now have a vastly different set of priorities than their parents.  That is something the GOP has consistently failed to address and the Obama campaign have as the last two presidential elections has shown.

If there is any hope at all for the GOP to earn the trust of Asian-American voters, they need to include them in the conversation and demonstrate, not just state, the Republicans truly have a more inclusive platform.

For instance, what if a conservative Japanese-American voter does want lower taxes but also more gun restrictions?  Or a Korean-American who would be a perfect GOP candidate for office except she and her female partner support same-sex marriage?

Don't tell.  Show.

Screw My Diet, Trying this Mozzarella-Encased Doritas Tonight

Source:  Buzzfeed.

Kevin told Yahoo! that they taste like queso dip and that he thought they'd be crunchier than they were.

Anything else that needs to be said?!  Okay, I've got Doritos at home so I only need cheese and breading or whatever it's called.  I'll show the guys at Whole Foods what I need and I'm sure they'll be able to help me.

I've been very good about my diet and workout.  Time for a little rewards.  I have been holding off until I find something worth it and THIS IS IT!

Social: Technological Advances Play A Big Part In Obesity

Source: CBS News.

I think my title is better than the one that CBS News came up with and my tweet is definitely better as well.  Technology is awesome.  I love it and we as a society thrive on it because it allows us to accomplish tasks better and faster and create.

But it also can be bad for us as well.  Especially if it means that we're sitting on our butts all day long and not exercising or moving about like we once did.  With more and more cars on the road, we drive instead of walking or walking from our homes to the bus or train station and then from there to work.  Or biking over to our friend's houses.  Nowadays, kids drive or they are chauffeured all over the place.

Those of us in the "first world" experience this first hand and for decades.  Now, developing nations and societies are feeling this.  And because of their hunger to catch up, obesity epidemics are ravaging them with a vengeance.

In the study mentioned on the CBS post published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal, cars was mentioned as well as a computer and television.  Well, let's see.  You need to sit in a car.  You also need to sit in from of a TV.  A computer too.

Well, gee...ahem...what's interesting is this fact.  Households that own a car, TV, and computer has a bigger 3.5" waistline than those without it.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Politics: What Right-Wing America Would Look Like

This is what a right-wing America (Talking Point Memo) would look like.

Look, I proudly call myself a conservative but I'm always look at the future where things are not always go to be the way I like.  But still, South Dakota is looking increasingly crazy where its legislature is dominated by right-wing Republicans that even has some of its members worried.

It's time that the GOP really take a look at itself and decide if that is really the America it wants.

Politics: Postal Banking And Term Limits

Here are two political stories that probably won't go anywhere but worth checking out.

GOP in the House are looking at term-limits again.  I can't remember the lame reason why this was rejected in the past but it's an election year and it could work unless it's another ploy to hold and gain seats from the Democrats and then completely drop this again after the election.  Right now, they're proposing a twelve-year limit, which is six election cycles.  (The Hill)

I think senators should have two-term limits.  Each senate term is six years  I'll go for three-term limit if it would just happen.  Consider what three-terms mean.  It is two years more than two full two-term presidencies.

In fact, how's this for an idea.  Let's change the two-term limit on the presidency and add a two-year term at the end of the second term for the president.  Sort of as a way to continue good policies or cycles.  Trust me.  Given the political environment right now, neither Presidents Bush and Obama would be looking forward to that third two-year term.

Anyway, it's a good election year ploy if that.  It'll never fly with those who have already overstayed their welcome and are drunk off their asses with power and greed.

The second story is that Democrats are looking at letting postal offices do banking services.  It's an unique idea.  (The Hill)

I've heard it before but I brushed it aside because at the time, politically, it would not fly.  But if the postal services can provide a safer alternative to the banks and some competition,

Not surprisingly, Wall Street banks ain't gonna like that.  Nor the GOP or independent banks.  Well, then, how about partnerships?

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

24: Jack Is Back!

Watch this video and it'll explain it all.

Who would have thought, right?  Seriously, this is what Fox should have done.  I think by bring 24 back for a limited series (12 episode-run), this could be a model for future drama, be it crime, science fiction, or a comedy show like Arrested Development.

There is precedent for this.  Again, Arrested Development went off the air before it was resurrected by Netflix.  And who can forget Sherlock from BBC?  The long hiatus between series 2 and 3 did not dampen the exciting and ratings for the show.  It just goes to show that if you have good material, fans will keep coming back.

On top of that, have a series go off the air and letting fans have the chance to revisit it is a good thing.  Furthermore, consider how Arrested Development grew its fan base after Netflix subscribers who previously did not watch the show get a chance to see it online.

Syrvian Civil War: A Group Even Al Qaeda Want Nothing To Do With

Source:  Slate.

We all know that Al Qaeda is bad.  Really bad.  But you have to consider how bad you'd have to be if even Osama Bin Laden's group wants nothing to do with that.  That is the case with Islamist rebel group,Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Al Qaeda issued an "official" statement disavowing links with the Syrian group and wants the world to know that it's not the bad guy here.

Not in Syria anyway.  But still pretty bad everywhere else in the world.

What's interesting is just how much recognition and platform a terror group like Al Qaeda has become even as Western forces continue to pound and hunt them.  Even if they don't appear to be as big as a threat as they were after 9/11, at least their PR branch seems to be chugging along and organized enough to have a leadership that is capable of issuing statements to the media.

No doubt, Al Qaeda is still plotting and attempting to do whatever it can to destroy us and we'll return in kind many times over.  Still, there is some dark humor here about the whole Islamist involvement in Syria here.

Social Media Tip: Using Twitter To Get Temperature Updates

I'm a weather nut.  This is especially true right now in Southern California where we are going through one of the worst droughts, if not the worst, in history.  All along, I'm hearing about the white winter that everyone not on the West Coast is experiencing, albeit more than they want.

What go me thinking about getting weather updates is that I was trying to figure out how to get Windows 7 to give me weather updates without me downloading an app.  Then I realized that I've been getting traffic updates via Twitter for socal's clogged freeways.  So, why not weather too?

So, I searched Twitter and typed in "weather Los Angeles".

You can even get weather updates for Sochi, Russia (Twitter) where the Winter Olympics is about to start.  See whether they even have snow to speak of.

Oh, here is another one for Vancouver, Canada (Twitter).

I've checked a few other cities, major cities.  Most metropolises have a Twitter weather account of one sort or another but when you get to get deeper into smaller cities or towns, you're in the hit-and-miss area.

For instance, Taipei, Taiwan doesn't really have one that I could find but you can get close with news Twitter account like this one below.

Here is a list of other major cities that I can think of that I could also quickly find Twitter accounts on weather.  
  • Cupertino, California
  • Manhattan, NY (Twitter Search Results)
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Beijing, China
  • London, England (Twitter Search Results) - doesn't seem to have one dedicated Twitter account.
  • Paris, France
  • New Delhi, India (Twitter Search Results) - even without a specific account, you can still create a Twitter search that give you a general idea of how things are based on tweets from various sources.
  • Cairo, Egypt (Twitter Search Results) - again, no specific account but I do know that it snowed there for the first time in 100 years!
  • Mexico City, Mexico (Twitter Search Results) - Tropical Storm Sonia is plowing through!  Stay safe, my friends!
  • Hong Kong, China - HK actually has a lot of Twitter accounts dedicated to weather but only this one seems to be keeping the information updated.  You might want to make sure whatever city you're looking to add into your Twitter feed for weather or any other specific information does keep things up-to-date. 
  • Stockholm, Sweden - boy, it's cold!
On the next post, I'll see if I can find information for air quality or other environmental information.  I reckon that'll be a bit harder to find.  In fact, I'm considering creating a list of information that we can find useful on Twitter at any given time.  

Note: Keep in mind that the information on Twitter are not always updated and we are at the mercy of those who own and update the accounts.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Politics: Taking Charge Could Be Christie's Hope of Salvaging Political Image and His Job

New Jersey governor Chris Christie declares a state of emergency for the state due to severe weather.  I'm sure he's doing it because he had to but given the recent political troubles his administration has been experiencing and likely dashed his 2016 presidential hopes, showing that he is in charge could mitigate his troubling image.

As for his bully image, seriously, folks, name one politician who isn't one or has on his or her staff or administration an attack dog?

Social: Facebook Flexes Its Bully Muscles by Infringing On Smaller App Company's Trademark

I knew this was coming the instant I read that Facebook was going to name its new copycat reader app "Paper".  So I wasn't not all that surprise to read this from NYT.  Other blogs have begun to propagate this story.

It's so wrong on two fronts.  One, it's basically copying Flipboard.  It figures it can go out and spend billions to acquire app makers or copy them.  With $1 billion for Instagram, it succeeded.  With Snap Chat, the founders turned it down at $3 billion.

I'm sure it decided it probably won't be able to buy out Flipboard and decided to copy it. 

Now, there's the issue of the name of the app, Paper.  There is already a very well regarded app called "Paper" from FiftyThree.

The two apps are not similar but the trademark name belonged to FiftyThree.  FiftyThree's Paper is an elegant app that turns your iPad into a sketchbook that has continued to be updated with new features and services.  Useful features and services. 

Facebook's app as I've said is a Flipboard copycat to drain more ad dollars and further weakend privacy walls.

And Facebook figured with its billions could withstand any challenges and drag this thing out as long as it wanted to. 

What's worse is the double-standard that the Zucker and Company use.  It has gone after companies that used the word "book" in their name or logo. 

This move isn't unlike the recent "candy" trademark employed by the Candy Crush Saga maker. 

Pretty soon, people will be left with no choice but to make up their own words, or worse, their own languages.

On a personal note, I think companies being able to trademark commonly used words is idiotic but it doesn't innovation or creation.  I have a bit different notion on patents.  However, even with patents, some stuff just shouldn't be patented if they are natural and makes sense.  I'll let you decide for yourself where you draw your own line on this.

Letting Mac Run iOS Apps - Not Ever Going To Happen But Widgets Should Be Given Another look

Here is an idea that I had long thought would be a great but Apple would never go for. That is iOS apps running on the Mac. Apple has made it clear that iOS and OS X will never be merged. Microsoft tried it with Windows 8 and we know how that is going.

This idea about iOS apps being a part of Mac was rehashed again on this blog post from The Mac Observer.

But maybe widgets on OS X should be given another look. It has been years since Apple has upgraded Dashboard in any significant manner and I am not sure anyone is aware that it is still around.

TMO did come up with a list of reasons why iOS apps should be allowed to runs in its own environment. The outlined reasons each have their own problems - least of which is that there are other ways native Mac apps or the Web won't take care of. Plus, there are iOS apps that have companion apps on the Mac.

The only advantage I think widgets will have over native apps is the ability to be able to exist within a separate environment that potentially can be sandboxed.

What I like to see is maybe cloud and iCloud integration for future Dashboard upgrade. Even better iOS integration beyond what we see now.

As I understand it, many widgets are based on Web standards which are robust enough that native-like apps can be created. And as much as we are used to the App Store and separate apps, webapps won't go away and will become more full featured and robust over time.

Perhaps, this is why Apple has not done anything with Dashboard. My hope is that they have been working on this in the background and will release an update for it and not see it die of a slow death.


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...