Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Twitter Is Missing Out On Being the Go-To Network Without Being Controversial and Disliked Like Facebook

As a daily user, Twitter can count me in as one of its daily users that it use as a metric for advertising.  Despite the MAGA crowd hating Twitter along with Facebook for banning all those who spread false news and dangerous conspiracy theories, it still offers a wide range of political opinions. Politic aside, it is a very relevant and open social network that is not as manipulative as Facebook (Twitter still relies on ads for its revenue but it is looking at other sources of income).  Twitter is far from a saint but it does not carry the stink of Facebook and that is a good thing.  However, Twitter is missing out on become even more relevant and the go to source for news and information.  If Twitter can turn that around, it will find a huge gold mine just waiting for it to take.

Like cable news, Twitter had an increase in engagement during the Trump years in office.  Compared to Trump, no tweet from the Biden administration or the president has yet to generate much headlines, controversies, or retweets. I'm sure it's bad for business from Twitter's perspective.  However, relying on elections and wannabe dictators is no way to build your business model upon.  

Currently, Twitter is upping its game and trying to make Twitter more appealing to current users.  While that is good that Twitter is trying to add features to its app (Twitter is as much a social network as it is an app), it does not hold much appear outside.  It does not seem to have ever experienced the meteoric rise that other social networks have had.  Aside from competitions from other social networks and apps that are fighting for user engagement and attention, it really has no competition.  

So, either Twitter has a limited appear among the seven billion humans on earth or that it needs to do more to make it more appealing and engaging while not being as controversial and disliked as Facebook. Perhaps, the main limitation of Twitter's growth and appeal has to do with its beginning.  Short messages of 140 characters allows users to say a lot but it is only 140 characters, basically a text message.  That might have been fine in the beginning but even Twitter realized that it had to increase the number of characters users are allowed to send per tweet to 280 characters.  It's like that Twitter will increase that again in the future for no reason other than to generate headlines.

Twitter has seen as a microblogging apps that blasts out short ideas but it does not do much after that.  If there is a link, users are taken out of the app entirely and probably will not come back right away.  Twitter has become a gateway to some.  Twitter does not have to become an enclosed Internet.  No need for walls to keep users in.  What it does need is for users to stay longer.

Perhaps, Twitter also needs to do a campaign that explains what Twitter is all about and how it can be an important part of people's lives - for sources of good information and entertainment.  Everyone once in a while, blast something out on television, Youtube, or ads on websites to reminder users that Twitter is the place to go if they to stay informed or engaged on matters or subjects they find appealing. "Local news. Sure! Follow your local news channels and get updates on weather, news, and local issues while making your voice heard."  "Into vampire romance materials.  Twitter is the place go to!"

One of the things that appear to users is live blogging.  Twitter has not done enough to tap into that - live bloggers follow Apple and Google events and are popular among tech enthusiasts and fans.  Twitter may consider sponsoring or promoting certain events with social media hosts tweeting out updates - sporting events, the next SpaceX or Virgin Galactic launches, community events, concerts, and host watch parties during new shows and post show chats with users. Spaces, a live audio feature for users to chat about whatever they want to to engage users, is a good start that Twitter needs to promote and help grow. It cannot be only the users pushing it.  This is a very exciting new feature.

The possibilities are there for Twitter to rival and outshine the likes of Facebook without being despised.  Twitter is not doing bad right now but it is not doing great either.  There is a lot of room for improvement and growth.  Twitter needs to evolve beyond tweets and move into areas that truly makes it social platform.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Apple Rumors Are Heating Up As 2021 Product Releases Near So Know The Sources

Rumors are a double or even triple edge sword. I do not traffic in rumors about Apple unless I am very sure a product, service, or announcement is very certain.  While, I enjoy reading about them on a near daily basis, they are mostly just that, rumors.  A lot of rumors and supposed leaks, well, they are wishful thinkings by fans, misinterpretations of the facts on the grounds, and misrepresentations of Apple’s and its competitors’ intentions.  

Rumors are not just for fans.  The effects of rumors and leaks are wide and impact buying decisions, development decisions, and, of course, financial matters as well.  If you are the CEO of a competing company and you just read that Apple is about the change up its iPhone lineup with a new feature, it would impact your own development to a certain extent.  And with Apple moving slowly into additional markets, anything about Apple on fan sites or Twitter is going to make waves in the media, boardrooms, and R&D labs.

When Apple’s own TV streaming plans started to become more concrete, its pricing had a great impact on a lot of its competitors who also happen to be partners in the iTunes Store.  At $5 a month, it was impactful even if Apple has yet to enter the market.  It likely had an effect on pricing of competing services, development budgets for content, and deals studios throughout Hollywood were making given Apple's very, very deep pocket.

Then there are the hardware developments that form the backbone of Apple - iPhones, iPads, and computers.  Apple’s M1 chip and shift away from Intel had been rumors for years and it finally happened in 2020 with M1 MacBooks and Mac mini.  For years, competitors both in the smartphone market and chip markets know what Apple is capable of and likely have had time to come up with their own answers. And yet, when Apple finally made the move, it seemed that much of the industries were caught off guard. Since the witnessing the speed and efficiency of the M1 in real world operations and rumors of the next generation M chips from Apple has now spurred a new urgent at Qualcomm, Samsung, AMD, and Intel. The urgency has increased given rumored upgrades that apple has planned.  

Now, there are different types of Apple rumors.  If you're new to this, please bare with me.  It's worth the read.  There are rumors and then there are "rumors":

  • Leaks.  Leaks happen because someone at Apple who is mostly very excited about what Apple is working on and can't help themselves and want to share it with the work.  These types of leaks go out to journalists, highly regarded Twitter users or bloggers.  

Then there are leaks from the floor.  By floor, I mean from the factories themselves, specifically, factories where Apple products are being produced.  I don't know how much these workers make but I figure it's very labor that is intensive and repetitive.  In other words, mind numbing.  So, maybe one of these workers will sneak out plans or even a mold of an unreleased iPhone and sell them to journalists or factories that might need to use these molds to make cases and it gets leaked onto Weibo (this is China's heavily monitored social network) or Twitter.  As far as reliability, surprisingly, it is very high in recent memories.  In the past, it was very spotty.

  • Sources inside Apple.  Apple plays the rumors game as well.  From time to time, a newspaper like the Wall Street Journal will have a private chat with someone at Apple.  The messages are very well crafted. Apple has a message to get across and it is almost never about an unreleased product.  Apple might wish to convey where the company is headed or wish to test the water and gauge the public's reaction.  As far as reliability, the source is Apple itself.  It shows what Apple's thinking for what it is worth.
  • Journalists with connections.  Journalists in Asia with sources at various companies that either produce and manufacture components for Apple could get a peak at the latest component that Apple is likely to use.  Again, these are Asian sources providing information to Asian publications.  So, you would think they're very accurate.  Personally, I would not put any money on them.  For whatever reason, they may have certain facts about what these companies are doing but their interpretations of the facts are questionable. 
  • Wishful thinking.  That's me here.  Fans who want to see Apple make something or add a feature to the iPhone or iPad.  And to this day, you know that it's what I want from Apple.  I have never dressed this up as something other than that.  Others have turned these wishful thinking into "rumors".  So, it is very unreliable.  Why do that?  I have no idea.  Maybe it's clickbait.  Maybe it's "if I call it a rumor, it might actually happen".  There are not as many of this type of rumor as before.  You still see it pop up once in a while.  I think the reason is that Apple news sites or blogs are a lot more mature than it was like ten years ago.  Furthermore, Apple products on the market are very mature and there is really little room left for "wishful thinking" features.  

There are two major unreleased Apple products where rumors that we read about border on wishing thinking.  One is the rumored Apple Car.  It does seem like Apple is closer than ever to producing a car with an established auto company but Apple can still pull back and release something on a much smaller scale.  Until Apple rolls out a car during an event, everything is highly speculative.

The other is augmented reality glasses.  There is something to this rumor since Tim Cook himself has mentioned how Apple believe this is the next big thing and the iPhone cameras already play a big role.  Rumors about Apple Glasses are mostly speculations from what Apple actually want to do with it to whether the glasses are really goggles.

  • Analysts.  There is no shortage of analysts from financial companies that cover Apple.  There are cheerleader types.  To them, Apple can do no wrong. These analysts are paid a lot of money but I am unwilling to gauge my Apple product buying timeline on what they say.  A lot of time, they try to provide support Apple's stock prices by suggesting where Apple can continue to expand and make money.  They like talking about Apple's car plan (I am willing to bet they know squat about it) and iPhone upgrade super cycles.

There are a couple of analysts who have good track records with "check" in Asia about Apple's dealing.  You can corroborate their rumors with those from bloggers. If they both agree, then the rumors generally are accurate. 

  • Time-based rumors. Articles that dealt in rumors about Apple events start to get posted at around the same time every year.  Apple's spring event (Apple sometimes skip it), the World Wide Developer Conference in June, and Apple's iPhone and/or Mac event in September.  These articles will speculate when Apple will hold the event.  This is sometimes confirmed for debunked by bloggers.  Accurate?  Sure. Sometimes, Apple has more than one event in the fall for products they want to refresh for the Holidays.  If Apple releases only the iPhone along with say the Mac but not the iPad, then rumors will start to fly that Apple will plan another late October or early November event to introduce the iPad.  Other than the iPhone that is released like clockwork, other products like the Apple TV, Macs, or iPads are released when Apple is ready.  
Apple fans can look to all the sources above for their fill of Apple news.  And by news, I mean rumors or speculations.  There is a little of everything for everyone - Wall Street guys, mobile warriors, and dedicated Apple fans.  The thing is that these rumors are fun to read about but I would not based my purchases based on a rumor I read.  Other than that I can get my hands on a shiny new iPhone late September every year, if I need a new MacBook or iPad now, I need to go into the Apple store or Apple's website to make my purchase even if there is a rumor suggest something new will are out in two months.  I simply cannot wait two months when I need to use it now.

Apple tidbits, news, and rumors is an industry all its own.  It's fun, informative, and a time killer.  I visit Apple blog sites on a daily basis.  Older now, I do not consume as much rumors as I used to.  But when I do, it's very exciting.  So, I hope this breakdown of Apple rumors help new readers.  

Note:  I've avoided mentioning specific bloggers, publications, or sources where I read Apple rumors. Like I said above, I enjoy reading them but I do want to help spread them.  

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Apple: M1 On the iPad Pro and Mac Not Ideal For Cryto Mining. Yet

 Source: CryptoAge.

Ever thought about using your brand now MacBook or Mac mini to earn a few extra bucks by using them to mine some cryptocurrencies?  For now, you can forget about it.  Leave that to crypto farms or others who have the know-how.  In fact, it's very likely that mining crypto is not on Apple's mind when it designs  future chips for the Mac or iPads.  The reason is that it has been tried and the M1 was only able to earn fourteen cents a day - that roughly comes out to $51.10 a year.  That will get you a medium latte a month for a year.

To be fair, the M1 was not created for any intensive mining in mind.  It was created to run MacOS and iPadOS efficiently and with as little power as possible.  In terms of efficiency, Apple first laptop chip has ran rings around offerings from AMD and Intel.  For crypto mining, it takes a different type of computing on all its own. Graphic processing units specializes in mathematical computing that does rendering faster than regular computer chips.  And it is why miners buy GPU, specifically mining ones, for just this reason.  Right now, Apple's M1 while very competent in the rendering department, it cannot hold a candle to these speciality chips.  (More from CryptoCoinSociety).

Will Apple's chip one day rival discrete GPU?  Speaking for Apple fans, one would hope so or want to see Apple offer something close that can rival offerings from the likes of AMD and Nvidia but that is likely years away.  

One might wonder why regular computer chips do not just ship the superior computational capability that GPU offers?  CPU is redesigned for operating the computer and it makes no sense to have the kind of power a dedicated graphics card needs.  

If one considers getting a Mac mini with a M1 chip, the cheapest Mac Mini out there, it might earn about 14 cents a day while some other CPU can earn up to thirty-seven cents. Dedicated GPU can earn up to $1.37 a day.  Plus, a mining rig can be created with multiple GPU, something that cannot be done with Macs.  

Will Apple release a chip that will one day be as fast as discrete GPU that can also be used for mining? Apple is sure going to try but it will do it for this reason.  Should Apple be able to do that or even surpass its competitors in this department, it might joke about it during its unveiling but it will not be marketing the chips to crypto miners.  They are not Apple's market and never will be. Apple's Macs are regular users to office workers to professionals.  

And if anyone in this market wants to use their Mac for mining while plugged into a solar array that can provide free power and can rig a bunch of inexpensive Mac mini together, hey, who knows, right?

Global Warming or Climate Change - 2021 Summer of Droughts, Heat Domes, and Floods

In Los Angeles, we have something of a monsoon season. The first time I heard about it in the news was about five years ago.  Apparently, it happens during the summer months to early fall. We heard about thunder storms out in the deserts to the east. Also flash flood warnings.   But we don't really experience them here in Los Angeles until recently.  And the reason we hear about it more and more now is that we seem to be getting more moisture in the air.  I can definitely feel the humidity.  With each passing summer in the past five years, I feel it's smothering embrace more and more.  I fear that this may only get worse and that we are looking at more humid and hotter summers in the years and decades to come no matter what we do in the short-term. 

It does not mean that we should not do anything.  I am fortunate to be in a position to be able to install a solar system (I'm looking at options now) and I have to upgrade my car in about a year so I will definitely go electric and begin to drive more green than I have been.  I believe a lot of people are thinking along the same line and that explains why the electric vehicle market has been so hot with many new companies involved.

So fart this summer, we have not been disappointed by a lack of wild fires (I'm being sarcastic here - last summer was months of bad air quality that kept us indoor). On top of that, from the Southwest to the Pacific Northwest, heat domes made their presence felt as heat records fell all across the West.  In Southern California, we are getting our share of heat (including the above mentioned uncomfortable humidity) but we are just par for now.  With August through October still on tap, I'm dreading that we will get our 100+ days.  Rolling blackouts, anyone?

Oh, let's not be so self centered here. Europe and Asia are also feeling the extreme weathers here.  Historic floods in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany displaced thousands as Hollywood like scenes of muddy water washed away cars and homes.  Oh, and then there are the floods in China that the government is denying it ever happened.  I'm not sure what those hundreds of Chinese went through if it was not flooding.

Then let's come back to North America where Greenland supposed lost enough ice to cover Florida in 2 inches of water.  We can sure use those water here in California.  Anyway, no state is getting that water. No country.  Not in any useful ways.  But we will feel the effect of all that water flowing back out into the ocean when the sea level rises, bigger waves, and continued changing ocean temperature that will likely create even more unexpected and extreme weather patterns.

I'm furious that there are selfish politicians out there who are unwilling to tell their constituents that droughts, floods, and weird weathers are our own doing and that we have to do more to prepare for them and to mitigate their efforts and do much more than what we are doing now to combat the devastating rise in global temperature.  They are nothing short of being cowards.  

I don't have extreme positions but I can see with eyes and experience what is going on with why other senses.  All it takes is to apply a bit of common sense to see that we cannot continue to live life as we have in the last 100 years.

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...