Sam Harrelson



Sam Harrelson

The Apps You Should Really Be Concerned About with Your Privacy

After examining maps showing the locations extracted by their apps, Ms. Lee, the nurse, and Ms. Magrin, the teacher, immediately limited what data those apps could get. Ms. Lee said she told the other operating-room nurses to do the same.“I went through all their phones and just told them: ‘You have to turn this off. You have to delete this,’” Ms. Lee said. “Nobody knew.”

Source: Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, and They’re Not Keeping It Secret – The New York Times

Everyone is afraid of what Google and Facebook “know” about them and how much information they’re sharing with these services because of poor media coverage.

While those two services need to be investigated and questioned, it’s the “bottom half” of the advertising industry connected to seemingly innocent apps that you install on your mobile device to give you the weather or locations of gas or local sports scores that are really the most alarming in how they treat your personal location data.

Good report here by the NY Times (we need more of this type of journalism in the tech-sphere).




The future of computers

In-ear devices will be the way we interface with our “computers” (AI assistants) within the next decade…

Kuo reportedly says that AirPods are Apple’s most popular accessory ever, and predicts that the company will go from selling 16 million in 2017 to more than 100 million by 2021.

— Read on www.theverge.com/2018/12/2/18122232/apple-airpods-upgrade-first-quarter-2019-ming-chi-kuo-rumors




Why doesn’t turning off Bluetooth on iOS actually turn off Bluetooth?

Another reason I tend to prefer Android is the ability to control things on a granular level. Does every user of a mobile device need that? Certainly not. Is Apple “wrong” for this “feature” design? That’s debatable.

But it’s interesting to see how Android and iOS continue to develop along their own trajectories when it comes to designing software for the Lowest Common Denominator of users…

Users can still completely turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi by digging into the devices menu settings, but essentially the button does not do what a user can reasonably assume Apple says it does, and that’s because Apple doesn’t trust you. This decision is the next logical step for what has always been Apple’s design ethos: It thinks it knows what you want more than you do.

via Apple Doesn’t Trust You – Motherboard




The $999 iPhone

iphone_8_glyph.jpg

I don’t think the price of the new iPhone 8 / Pro / X / Edition / whatever-its-called is going to put a damper on the demand:

Chief among the changes for the new iPhones: refreshed versions, including a premium model priced at around $999, according to people briefed on the product, who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak publicly. Apple made room for a bigger screen on that model by reducing the size of the bezel — or the forehead and the chin — on the face of the device. Other new features include facial recognition for unlocking the device, along with the ability to charge it with magnetic induction, the people said.

via Dear iPhone: Here’s Why We’re Still Together After 10 Years – The New York Times




Thoughts on Evernote’s price hike

Evernote

Evernote has been one of the leading note-taking services for some time, with clients for the Web and every major OS. The company recently announced sweeping changes to its “freemium” pricing strategy, which puts a big limit on the “free” tier and raises prices across the board for new and existing users.

Source: Evernote limits free tier to two devices, raises prices 40%

I’ve been an Evernote user since March 28, 2008 (got in before it launched in beta in June 2008) and immediately signed up for their Premium option when it opened up.

I was eager to support the app / service early on, because I saw the utility of being able to access my notes and create new ones from whatever device I happened to be on. That was already possible with the early iterations of services like Google Docs that had previously been Writely, but Evernote felt “new” in the sense that it was post-iPhone and looked ahead to a world where apps became the driving force of interaction, especially on mobile (after Steve Jobs relented on allowing apps to be installed and an app store for the iPhone).

Over the years, Evernote became more things to more people than just a note taking app. There were checklists, and document syncing, and PDF OCR, and business card storage. As a result, there were more and more calls for Evernote to get back to its roots and avoid bloat. I know I suffered through some of the “bloat” in 2011 and 2012 when Evernote seemed to really take off and started acquiring smaller and focused apps such as Penultimate, Skitch (still one of my favorites), Readable etc to round out their offerings. Then, there were the partnerships with the “offline” world such as Moleskine and Post-It Notes. We even saw an Evernote branded line of coffee mugs, backpacks, and lifestyle gear.

It was all too much.

I welcome this new period in Evernote’s story. I’m hoping they do “slim down” to some extent and even focus more on things like the current web version’s Google Drive integration (rather than being a document storage platform themselves). I’ve always thought of Evernote as more of an “Operations HQ” that ties into other apps I use like Trello or 1Writer on the iPad than a place to store all of my documents, pictures, and files.

I use Evernote everyday, and more so now that I’m trying to use iPad Pro as my main computer. It serves as my note repository, the place where I put PDF’s that I need for OCR, and a quasi-database of ideas for clients and research. It’s indespinsible to me, and I’m not sure how something “free” like OneNote or Google Keep could replicate that. I’m hopeful they continue to push forward on the excellent web version as well (and that doesn’t affect free members, which is a nice incentive for people to give it a try).

It’s painful when anything “goes up” in price. But the economic reality is that costs go up as we demand more from services and companies compete for skilled developers. Evernote did see the loss of a number of devs over the last few years, but I’m hopeful they’ll get their mojo back.

So, sign me up for another year of Premium.




Be careful with Emoji on different platforms 😁

emoji

Just seeing the difference in emoji presentations is revelatory in itself. But then it gets even more interesting. GroupLens researchers asked subjects to rate 22 anthropomorphic emoji from five platforms by sentiment, using a scale that ranged from strongly negative (-5) to strongly positive (5). And here’s where you start to see where “grinning face with smiling eyes” goes so very wrong. Apple’s average sentiment ranking was almost -1, while Microsoft, Samsung, LG, and Google all were 3 or above.

Source: That Emoji Does Not Mean What You Think It Means

My wife (and almost all of my close friends that I’d use emoji with) is an iOS user and I’m an Android user… that’s led to a few miscommunications before we realized that the emoji we were sending “cross-platform” didn’t carry the same intended meaning.

Perhaps that’s one of the beautiful aspects of emoji and symbolic language additions… the meanings are left to the receiver to first decrypt and then to import meaning into based on their own background, experiences, culture (and operating system).




Apple’s iOS Home Screen Problem

I flip back-and-forth between iOS and Android, mostly iPhone 6s Plus and a Nexus device, all the time and enjoy both operating systems (though I do enjoy Android more to be honest… much to the chagrin of my family and friends who all use iMessage on iOS and therefore I’m a “green bubble” when on my Nexus device).

However, I’m always curious as to why iOS users who transition or experiment with Android feel the compulsion to stack their home screens full of app icons.

Not that it’s a cumbersome way to navigate your mobile device (I think it is), but it’s a curious hold-over from the vision Steve Jobs and his devs had for the original iPhone in ’07. I’d wager that even he would think it’s time to move past that convention in 2016 (something which you can easily do on Android, but not so much on the aging iOS interface). Maybe Apple in the Cook Era is too deep in the institutional molasses.

Whenever someone wants to play with one of my Android devices who has previously been an iPhone and iPad only user for the last several years, they almost always respond positively and immediately to the widgets on my home screen.

“I like widgets a lot, and wish iOS had something similar.”

Source: A Week With Android — Medium

I do wonder how the masses will respond when / if Apple ever adopts widgets… the “rows and rows of apps” conventions has been successfully turned into a standard way of interacting with mobile devices here in the US.

However, that’s not the case in the Asian markets where Apple really wants to expand in the coming years as it has reached a relative saturation point in North America with devices. Apple is slowly sneaking widgets in via the Notifications shade, but I’m not sure how many users actually know / use / understand that interface.

Of course, I was totally wrong in 2007 about widgets and the iPhone, so what do I know?

Maybe the fear of being a “green bubble” will be enough to keep users on iOS, at least here in the US.

And don’t get me started on how / why the iPad Pro still uses the same “rows of app icons” convention…




Android is Pretty

For all of my pals who say, “How can you use Android? It’s just so ugly compared to iOS!”…

A collection of screenshots encompassing some of the most beautiful looking Android apps.

via Android Niceties.

Thanks to Devin T for the link.




Why Are Most Apps Free?

Interesting…

The History of App Pricing, And Why Most Apps Are Free: “Each time we download an app, we reveal a little bit about ourselves. A glance at the apps on your phone can indicate whether you are a fan of sports, gaming, or public radio, and whether you love to hike or cook or travel. But our choices of apps also reveal our individual tolerance for advertising, and how we feel about the trade-off between paying for content directly, or paying indirectly by (implicitly) agreeing to view ads.”




GMail 2.0 and The Decision to Leave iOS?

We’re big fans of Google Apps for Enterprise and use the service for our email, docs, calendaring, telephony (via Google Voice’s integration with Sprint), analytics, feed reading and even backups with Google Drive.

So, we were excited to hear about the new GMail app for our main computing devices these days, the iPhone:

The Gmail app for iPhone and iPad: version 2.0 | Official Gmail Blog: “Six months ago, our team set out to completely rebuild the Gmail app for iPhone and iPad to give you you a faster, sleeker, and easier experience on iOS. The result? Version 2.0. With version 2.0 of the app, you’ll get a totally new look and feel, plus a bunch of improvements like profile pictures in messages, numerous new animations from swivels to transitions and infinite scrolling in the message lists.”

Between the new GMail app and the revised Google search app with its nifty and better-than-Siri response time and quality, we’ve had many internal conversations about whether it’s time to think about Android as a platform.

The iPhone and iPad make for great “Google” computers when paired with the stream of quality apps coming out of Mountain View. Mission critical apps such as Google Analytics are available to us via third party iOS apps like Analytics Pro. Our enduring reliance on RSS for alerts, status messages and a news stream is satiated with Google Reader’s plug into the Reeder app.

However, are we missing anything as a company by not being on the newest flavor of Android? While it’s getting mixed reviews, the Nexus 4 and its installation of 4.2 Jelly Bean looks pretty interesting.

While we go back and forth with this almost-religious decision, we’re constantly developing new apps for both iOS and Android (as well as the open web with HTML 5) and noticing new things popping up in both that point to exciting futures for developers and users on both platforms.

At the moment, in comparison to Android (and I hate to admit it), iOS (especially critical apps like Mail) seems… stale and even clunky.

So… what to do?