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How do launch numbers for iPhones and Samsung Galaxy S phones compare?

Posted on September 16th, 2014 at 11:42 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google

[Quote]:

Some rivalries will never die — chocolate vs peanut butter, Yankees vs Red Sox, and iPhone vs Android, just to name a few. With the announcement of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, many Android users took to the Internet to loudly exclaim how underwhelmed they were by the devices. Its new features were things they’d already had for years, except for all the ones that weren’t, of course. Rivalries are fun, but the musings of voices on the Internet aren’t nearly as important as the voices of the buying public. And when you compare the launch numbers of various Samsung Galaxy S phones to the iPhone 6 and earlier iPhones, there’s absolutely no competition.

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And still the overall market share of Android is higher. I think it’s because people who get an iPhone make a conscious choice to do so, and (most) people who get an android do so because they walk into a store and tell the sales rep they want “a phone”. They will make calls, use facebook, make a selfie, and that’s it. They never download an app unless recommended by a friend (“get snapchat!”), and just use the phone as a phone and are very happy with it.


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Comments:

  1. I don’t think that android users are attached to a brand. In my case, I have chosen between several brands before buying the phone, (Samsung, Sony, LG…). In addition, I’ve chosen and “old” model that runs smoothly the latest Android version, I’ve been waiting and studying several models. I would say that buying an iPhone the first day is not a conscious choice but an impulsive one. In addition, just released products have flaws, so buying it the first day is more like being a tester.

    I use several app, all free, among them you can find the “Rain Alert”, Maps (also offline), email, google drive (spreadsheets, documents), games…

    In Android, there are plenty of choices of high-end and other market segments phones. There are a lot app, but I think that Android users usually go for the free ones.

  2. Purchasing of iPhones may be social signalling of wealth and taste for some. Other people are excited by technology and like to try out new stuff. These are conditioned reactions to marketing not actually impulses. All these users are wealthy enough to make that choice and regularly buy new devices. These are nice products for nice people.

    What’s the marketing opposite of the “long tail”?

    Disclaimer: I bought my Android phone from a yard sale. I forgot the brand.

  3. One very simple factor: in the iOS ecosystem, there are 3 viable models right now. How many high-end-ish phones does Samsung have? S4 and S5 in several editions (regular, mini, active); Edge; Note; Duos… AT&T wireless has 10 listed as currently available. Sales in the Android domain are split over more models.

Minecraft

Posted on September 15th, 2014 at 21:46 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

H4vqsCs


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Apple Pay Details: Apple Gets 0.15% Cut of Purchases, Higher Rates for Bluetooth Payments

Posted on September 13th, 2014 at 10:34 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote]:

According to a new report from The Financial Times, Apple stands to make quite a bit of money from its payments service. Banks and payment networks will be forking over 0.15 percent of each purchase to Apple, which equates to 15 cents out of a $100 purchase.
They are also paying hard cash for the privilege of being involved: 15 cents of a $100 purchase will go to the iPhone maker, according to two people familiar with the terms of the agreement, which are not public. That is an unprecedented deal, giving Apple a share of the payments’ economics that rivals such as Google do not get for their services

According to bank executives, Apple was able to negotiate with so many partners and receive choice deals because the industry didn’t see anything threatening in Apple Pay. One executive suggested that Apple’s payment model continued to put banks “at the centre of payments.” Apple may also have been able to negotiate better deals due to the tight security it has in place for Apple Pay. Payments will be made via NFC with a one-time token, and also secured with a Touch ID fingerprint.


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Comments:

  1. Whatever threats they saw were probably overcome when they were offered an apparently magical solution to a problem that is considered perpetual, boring and difficult in banking.

  2. Yeah. And let’s see just how fast a man-in-the-middle attack will be successfully made. I would guess less than a month from when the phone is released to the public. 1. Intercept token. 2. Re-vector it to credit the malefactors instead of the real store. Oops – where did my $$ go? Why does the store want their $$? I paid, didn’t I?

  3. It’s cool that they managed to negotiate that, but it’s going to be noise on Apple’s income statements for a looooong time.

Why the iPhone 6 Plus is the must-have phone for Manchester United fans!

Posted on September 12th, 2014 at 12:35 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

r0hG9l4


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Cyanide & Happiness #3678

Posted on September 10th, 2014 at 9:36 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote]:

910


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Comments:

  1. I bought Apple stock a couple of weeks later. It had fallen to $15 per share in post-9/11 trading.

Images of apple wearables confirmed

Posted on September 9th, 2014 at 9:17 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

There’s not much time now before the announcement, and some pictures of the apple wearables have leaked. These are confirmed as having come from Apple.
1. http://i.imgur.com/DOwUPh.jpg
2. http://i.imgur.com/5aAu9h.jpg (apple logo clearly visible)
3. http://i.imgur.com/XrFzih.jpg (showing range of colors)
4. http://i.imgur.com/PpLv1h.jpg (hinting at a future google glass competitor?)


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Comments:

  1. oh god i hope these leaks are true; I’ll buy that white one immediately!

  2. *cough* :-)

  3. @des – clearly you don’t realize that the new Apple wearables allow you travel back to the ’80’s.

  4. S’OK, I owned enough apple schwag in the 80s, don’t need to live that again. I’ll take the watch instead. :)

    I thought Tim Cook was going to pay U2 for the album by giving them each a watch, but no.

The Joy of Tech comic… Apple Event Survival Kit!

Posted on September 8th, 2014 at 9:17 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Cartoon

[Quote]:

2043


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Apple courts fashionistas as smartwatch expectations mount

Posted on September 6th, 2014 at 21:41 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote]:

Apple Inc has invited top fashion editors and bloggers in unprecedented numbers to its Tuesday launch gala, further evidence that the iPhone maker is preparing to take the wraps off a smartwatch.


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Wearables

Posted on September 4th, 2014 at 10:49 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote]:

According to a designer who works at Apple, Jonathan Ive, Apple’s design chief, in bragging about how cool he thought the iWatch was shaping up to be, gleefully said Switzerland is in trouble — though he chose a much bolder term for “trouble” to express how he thought the watchmaking nation might be in a tough predicament when Apple’s watch comes out.


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Comments:

  1. They are going to release a $50,000 watch?

The Police Tool That Pervs Use to Steal Nude Pics From Apple’s iCloud

Posted on September 3rd, 2014 at 10:18 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Do you feel safer yet?, Privacy, Security

[Quote]:

As nude celebrity photos spilled onto the web over the weekend, blame for the scandal has rotated from the scumbag hackers who stole the images to a researcher who released a tool used to crack victims’ iCloud passwords to Apple, whose security flaws may have made that cracking exploit possible in the first place. But one step in the hackers’ sext-stealing playbook has been ignored—a piece of software designed to let cops and spies siphon data from iPhones, but is instead being used by pervy criminals themselves.

On the web forum Anon-IB, one of the most popular anonymous image boards for posting stolen nude selfies, hackers openly discuss using a piece of software called EPPB or Elcomsoft Phone Password Breaker to download their victims’ data from iCloud backups. That software is sold by Moscow-based forensics firm Elcomsoft and intended for government agency customers. In combination with iCloud credentials obtained with iBrute, the password-cracking software for iCloud released on Github over the weekend, EPPB lets anyone impersonate a victim’s iPhone and download its full backup rather than the more limited data accessible on iCloud.com. And as of Tuesday, it was still being used to steal revealing photos and post them on Anon-IB’s forum.

[..]

The fact that Apple isn’t complicit in law enforcement’s use of Elcomsoft’s for surveillance doesn’t make the tool any less dangerous, argues Matt Blaze, a computer science professor at the University of Pennsylvania and frequent critic of government spying methods. “What this demonstrates is that even without explicit backdoors, law enforcement has powerful tools that might not always stay inside law enforcement,” he says. “You have to ask if you trust law enforcement. But even if you do trust law enforcement, you have to ask whether other people will get access to these tools, and how they’ll use them.”


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Apple Issues Media Advisory Related to Celebrity Photo Theft

Posted on September 3rd, 2014 at 0:11 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Privacy, Security

[Quote]:

Apple issued a media advisory related to recent celebrity photo theft, saying the accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on users names, password and security questions and was not related to any breach of Apple’s systems, including iCloud.

Over the weekend a number of nude celebrity photos appeared online. Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Lea Michele, Victoria Justice and Kirsten Dunst all had their photos comprised, among others.

We wanted to provide an update to our investigation into the theft of photos of certain celebrities. When we learned of the theft, we were outraged and immediately mobilized Apple’s engineers to discover the source. Our customers’ privacy and security are of utmost importance to us. After more than 40 hours of investigation, we have discovered that certain celebrity accounts were compromised by a very targeted attack on user names, passwords and security questions, a practice that has become all too common on the Internet. None of the cases we have investigated has resulted from any breach in any of Apple’s systems including iCloud® or Find my iPhone. We are continuing to work with law enforcement to help identify the criminals involved.

To protect against this type of attack, we advise all users to always use a strong password and enable two-step verification. Both of these are addressed on our website athttp://support.apple.com/kb/ht4232.

If you are a celebrity, it’s more likely that people know the name of your first pet, or your mothers maiden name…


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Comments:

  1. Right John, it is why I advise people to make up random letters and numbers for those all too frequently used security questions. Also, never use the same answer twice.

9 September, Apple Media Event

Posted on September 2nd, 2014 at 13:03 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

Rumors are pretty solid about the iPhone 6, but it’s unclear if there’s going to be any wearables, iWatches, or similar.

And the rumors about them are as varied as the rumors were about the original iPhone. So, how accurate are those rumors? Take a look at what people predicted the iPhone will look like, and take that as a reference…

tumblr_inline_nb6qejwByO1qmx7gv


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Comments:

  1. Tim Cook at D11 2013 on the subject

  2. I’ll correct a couple of letters in one word:

    “And the rumors about them are as vapid as the rumors were about the original iPhone.”

  3. An interesting observation is the pace of the iOS 8 beta releases. Usually it’s every 2 weeks right up to GM at the day of the media event. This time they’ve not done a beta for a few weeks, and it’s unlikely they will do one between now and next week.

    So, looks like they are hiding some major new feature.

Javascript: the weird parts

Posted on August 29th, 2014 at 22:29 by John Sinteur in category: Software

[Quote]:

I’ve heard of that boolean arithmetic. Let’s give it a try.js> true+true===2
true
js> true-true===0
true
Ah. It looks like true is equal to one. I’ll just check.js>true===1
false
Doh!


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Comments:

  1. This is what happens when someone who creates a computer language has never taken a class in formal logic… :-(

  2. If you like that, I recommend this talk (18 mins):

    Brian Leroux, WTFjs.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=et8xNAc2ic8&list=PLMW8Xq7bXrG77SV1VAAiAciRyq3VSC2Gq&index=7

    and his site/blog:
    http://wtfjs.com/

Apple Building Massive Structure at Flint Center for iPhone 6 Event

Posted on August 29th, 2014 at 21:38 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote]:

For the occasion, it appears that Apple has been building a massive structure on the campus, which has been kept under tight wraps with a white barricade. A MacRumors reader has sent in images of a mysterious structure at the Flint Center, which appears to span three stories and is protected by “scads” of security people. Administrators had previously declined to comment on what the structure is for, stating only “We are not at liberty to discuss that due to client wishes.”

flintcenter

Apple has not held an event at the Flint Center in many years, so the company’s return to the site of the original Mac unveiling suggests its upcoming announcement will be a major one. The Flint Center has a much higher seating capacity than other venues where Apple has unveiled products in the past, including the Yerba Buena Center and its own Cupertino campus.

Could be just a “here’s a new iPhone model, and it has NFC” but somehow it feels different. I’m going to keep a spare set of pants on standby.


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Boneh Publications: Gyrophone: Recognizing Speech From Gyroscope Signals

Posted on August 23rd, 2014 at 23:42 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google

[Quote]:

We show that the MEMS gyroscopes found on modern smart phones are sufficiently sensitive to measure acoustic signals in the vicinity of the phone. The resulting signals contain only very low-frequency information (<200Hz). Nevertheless we show, using signal processing and machine learning, that this information is sufficient to identify speaker information and even parse speech. Since iOS and Android require no special permissions to access the gyro, our results show that apps and active web content that cannot access the microphone can nevertheless eavesdrop on speech in the vicinity of the phone.


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Comments:

  1. Angela Merkel’s phone just got dropped down an elevator shaft, again.

  2. Bit iOS apps don’t get to do much in the background, so is this feasible on iOS?

  3. Correct. That’s why all those fitness apps use the gps+accelerometer instead.

RTFM 0day in iOS apps: G+, Gmail, FB Messenger, etc.

Posted on August 22nd, 2014 at 15:35 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote]:

Apple’s documentation on the tel scheme is really short and easy to read. While reading the first paragraph something caught my attention:

When a user taps a telephone link in a webpage, iOS displays an alert asking if the user really wants to dial the phone number and initiates dialing if the user accepts. When a user opens a URL with the tel scheme in a native app, iOS does not display an alert and initiates dialing without further prompting the user.

So if I click the link in Safari I get the prompt asking me to confirm my action, if I click the link in a native app’s webView it doesn’t ask and performs the action right away (makes the call).

Do people read documentation?

No. And it’s bad.

I instantly assumed people do read documentation so there was no way a big player like Facebook, Twitter, Google, LinkedIn, etc. would do such a silly mistake… but I was wrong.


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Comments:

  1. Nice!

What’s the hardest bug you’ve debugged?

Posted on August 13th, 2014 at 20:36 by John Sinteur in category: Software

[Quote]:

This is the only time in my entire programming life that I’ve debugged a problem caused by quantum mechanics.


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Comments:

  1. I’ve had to debug stuff like this. QM not withstanding, sometimes hardware has behaviors that are not easily predictable, causing this sort of problem. I won’t go into my experiences with robotic controllers… :-) In any case, the resolution was “don’t do it that way”.

Rant of the day: Sophos is breaking the internet

Posted on August 13th, 2014 at 20:26 by John Sinteur in category: Software

[Quote]:

So, spending hours trying to debug their software we figured out their Antivirus was blocking JavaScript CORS requests.
The guys at Sophos know they’re breaking standard web-functionality and have a fix ready but will not release it to its free customers.

Oh, and you know what else they said? They said I should just tell our customers to disable Sophos Antivirus to fix the issue. Being the compliant guy I always am that’s exactly what I’ll do:
Stop using Sophos Antivirus, now.


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Amazon Gets Increasingly Nervous

Posted on August 11th, 2014 at 10:52 by John Sinteur in category: Amazon

[Quote]:

In sum and once again: Amazon is not your friend. Neither is any other corporation. It and they do what they do for their own interest and are more than willing to try to make you try believe that what they do for their own benefit is in fact for yours. It’s not. In this particular case, this is not about readers or authors or anyone else but Amazon wanting eBooks capped at $9.99 for its own purposes. It should stop pretending that this is about anything other than that. Readers, authors, and everyone else should stop pretending it’s about anything other than that, too.


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Comments:

  1. I can’t wait for the movie. That deep booming promo voice:

    “In a world where dark forces are constantly trying to enslave us all; one man, leading a tiny band of heroes, is struggling against all odds to overcome a many-headed monster of the deep…”

    Apple did that one price per track thing. Is this different?

  2. Well, yes and no. I agree with Gruber on this: I think Apple cares about music in a way that Amazon does not care about books. Maybe only because Steve Jobs personally cared about music in a serious way, but now it’s ingrained in Apple’s culture.

    (And if we want to be cynical, let’s admit that it’s possible for Apple to care about music for music’s sake because they sell tens of millions of expensive gadgets on which we listen to music every quarter.)

  3. Speaking as someone who self-publishes ebooks (and who sets his own prices), I would like to point out that it was Apple that forced Amazon to pay higher royalties on ebook sales. Apple drove the royalties up from 35% to 70% and Amazon has already had to scramble to remain competitive. There are other, smaller sites like Smashwords or Lulu that pay even higher royalties.

  4. Fits on the cynical bit – Apple makes more money from the devices they sell with the iBooks app on it than from e-book sales, so it is in their interest to make the authors pick them over Amazon. They probably ran the numbers on the best (for them) royalty percentage to give to authors, and 70% for the authors makes them the most money.

  5. @Mudak: What does Apple pay 70% royalties on? And to whom, publishers or authors?

Inside Apple’s Internal Training Program

Posted on August 11th, 2014 at 10:11 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote]:

Apple may well be the only tech company on the planet that would dare compare itself to Picasso.

In a class at the company’s internal training program, the so-called Apple University, the instructor likened the 11 lithographs that make up Picasso’s “The Bull” to the way Apple builds its smartphones and other devices. The idea: Apple designers strive for simplicity just as Picasso eliminated details to create a great work of art.

Steven P. Jobs established Apple University as a way to inculcate employees into Apple’s business culture and educate them about its history, particularly as the company grew and the tech business changed. Courses are not required, only recommended, but getting new employees to enroll is rarely a problem.

Although many companies have such internal programs, sometimes referred to as indoctrination, Apple’s version is a topic of speculation and fascination in the tech world.

It is highly secretive and rarely written about, referred to briefly in the biography of Mr. Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Apple employees are discouraged from talking about the company in general, and the classes are no exception. No pictures of the classrooms have surfaced publicly. And a spokeswoman for Apple declined to make instructors available for interviews for this article.


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YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS

Posted on August 9th, 2014 at 10:39 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote]:

There’s a nice little feuilleton in the New York Times looking at why everyone whines about their iPhone slowing down when Apple releases a new variant.

Starting from a personal complaint by a professor, one of his students looks at the incidence for “iPhone slow” in Google Trends and notes that there’s a leap every time a new model is released.


That is released – not announced – so it must come from actual use, rather than just thinking that it isn’t quite up to date.

It’s also noted that releases of new Samsung models do not coincide so strongly with leaps in similar search terms. Obviously there’s something specific to Apple here, and that’s that major upgrades to the iPhone coincide with upgrades to iOS, something which 90 per cent of iPhone users will implement.

Famously, Android users do not tend to upgrade their OS over time. So, we might think that this observed slow-down is a result of trying to run the new OS on old hardware which isn’t quite up to supporting it. And we’d probably be right there.

However, we can now go off on our own and go a little further than this. For what’s really remarkable about these OS upgrades is how good Apple has been at keeping new versions of iOS compatible with old versions of hardware. No one at all would suggest running today’s Samsung bloatware (that bit that floats around on top of Android) on hardware three years old. But it seems perfectly acceptable to be running this year’s iOS on old kit. It’s also at this point that we can wander off into a couple of bits of economics for illumination.


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Microsoft Scraps Windows 8 Major Updates. Bets The Farm On Windows 9

Posted on August 8th, 2014 at 23:24 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

It’s official, Windows 8 is a write-off . Sales for the operating system have been poor and now it is even starting to lose market share to Windows 7. To Microsoft MSFT credit it has bravely persisted addressing issue after issue. Most notable was the major Windows 8.1 Update 1 patch released in April which makes the OS a genuinely credible platform. Still it remains far from perfect and now Microsoft is prematurely pulling the plug.

In a blog post by Microsoft Senior Marketing Communications Manager Brandon LeBlanc, he explains that there will be no more major update releases for Windows 8: “despite rumours and speculation, we are not planning to deliver a Windows 8.1 ‘Update 2’.”


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If you thought you were fucked for buying Windows 8, you don’t know half of it…

Posted on August 2nd, 2014 at 23:21 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

Word has it that Windows XP, Vista, and 7 might be allowed to upgrade free of charge to Windows 9 in order to boost adoption of the new operating system and thus convince more users to upgrade. This would clearly help not only Microsoft, but also the PC industry, which is still struggling to boost sales despite the release of the Windows 8 modern operating system.

People who upgraded to windows 8 have been punished enough. Poor bastards.


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Microsoft ordered by U.S. judge to submit customer’s emails from abroad

Posted on August 1st, 2014 at 10:06 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

Microsoft Corp must turn over a customer’s emails and other account information stored in a data center in Ireland to the U.S. government, a judge ruled on Thursday, in a case that has drawn concern from privacy groups and major technology companies.

Microsoft and other U.S. companies had challenged the warrant, arguing it improperly extended the authority of federal prosecutors to seize customer information held in foreign countries.

Following a two-hour court hearing in New York, U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska said a search warrant approved by a federal magistrate judge required the company to hand over any data it controlled, regardless of where it was stored.

“It is a question of control, not a question of the location of that information,” Preska said.

So Microsoft can break US law by not handing them over, or European privacy laws by handing them over. Seems like this may be the end of off-shore data centers for US companies…


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Comments:

  1. This decision is on hold, pending appeal. In any case, the law of unintended consequences is certainly in action here!

  2. No problem, just do a corporate inversion and move Msft’s controlling incorporation offshore just as everyone is doing for taxes.

Russia wants Apple, SAP to cooperate against foreign spying

Posted on July 30th, 2014 at 21:56 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote]:

Russia has proposed that Apple Inc and SAP hand the government access to their source code to make sure their widely used products are not tools for spying on state institutions.

Riiiight…


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App Rot

Posted on July 29th, 2014 at 18:08 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote]:

Apple’s App Store design is a big part of the problem. The dominance and prominence of “top lists” stratifies the top 0.02% so far above everyone else that the entire ecosystem is encouraged to design for a theoretical top-list placement that, by definition, won’t happen to 99.98% of them. Top lists reward apps that get people to download them, regardless of quality or long-term use, so that’s what most developers optimize for. Profits at the top are so massive that the promise alone attracts vast floods of spam, sleaziness, clones, and ripoffs.

Quality, sustainability, and updates are almost irrelevant to App Store success and usually aren’t rewarded as much as we think they should be, and that’s mostly the fault of Apple’s lazy reliance on top lists instead of more editorial selections and better search.

The best thing Apple could do to increase the quality of apps is remove every top list from the App Store.


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NeXT vs Sun

Posted on July 21st, 2014 at 17:17 by John Sinteur in category: Apple

[Quote]:

In 1991 Steve Jobs’ company commissioned an head-to-head programming competition to show how much faster and easier it was to program a NeXT computer vs a Sun workstation. The NeXT operating system went on to be the foundation for Apple’s Macintosh OS-X about a decade later.


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Comments:

  1. Well, would I rather have learned to use NeXTstep or Devguide? Not sure. For the type of programs shown here, relative simple GUI plus simple key-value storage, sure, but for writing all the other stuff, not sure. But what I don’t get is that the Sun guy can’t display Postscript on a NeWS system using Devguide? That looks fishy. Personally, I would have used neither NeXTstep nor Devguide and saved a lot of money off the bat. My code would have been somewhat portable. ;-P I wonder what would happen nowadays if a free/open source buff would take on this challenge, as a web-app, against a seasoned Visual Studio coder.

  2. Why a web-app? How about a three-way battle between the Microsoft platform (Visual Studio and all the technologies that go along with it), XCode and all the Apple technologies, and Google?

    And have the requirements be something modern as well – with a social/mobile part (perhaps location based, sales people in the field exchanging some information, with push notifications and all that), scalable to millions of users, with user interfaces for at least three device families (phone/tablet/PC)?

    Then web technologies would be just a small part of the task. We’ve come a long way since 1991, let the challenge reflect that.

Microsoft layoff e-mail typifies inhuman corporate insensitivity

Posted on July 18th, 2014 at 18:37 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft

[Quote]:

As a veteran of the aerospace industry, I’m very familiar with layoff notices. During the almost-decade I spent working for Boeing, I survived probably a dozen major reductions in force, and they all had two things in common: a plainly stated promise of an open and transparent process and a hilariously terrible lack of actual transparency.

Well, congratulations to Satya Nadella and the Microsoft HR and communications teams, because you’re stealing from the best—or maybe you all took the same course in corporate doubletalk and truthiness as part of your MBA programs. Microsoft this morning announced far and away the largest round of layoffs in its history, and Nadella’s e-mail drips with that familiar mixture of faux sympathy and non-information that is so typical of carefully managed corporate communication.

There’s a name for this kind of uninformative spin-talk: it’s known as “ducking and fucking.”

[..]

This, sadly, is not a Microsoft-specific issue; it’s standard all across not just the tech industry but essentially every large American company.

The first sentence of any story sets the tone—and look at the robo-sentence the Microsoft layoff notification e-mail starts off with:

Last week in my email to you I synthesized our strategic direction as a productivity and platform company.

Leading off with a sentence like this immediately creates distance between the reader and the speaker—the kind of distance necessary to dehumanize both parties so that the big blow to come hurts less. The corporate-speak continues with creaky euphemism after creaky euphemism, including using the phrase “workforce realignment” instead of simply saying “staff reduction” or “layoff.” People and corporations both use euphemisms to cloak unpleasantness; however, it’s much more honest and personal to simply speak the unadorned truth when dealing with people’s livelihoods. “We’re going to realign our work force” might sound a lot better than “we’re firing 18,000 people,” but the latter more properly informs employees that jobs are going to be lost and lives are going to be affected.

“synthesizing a strategic direction”, right? If you were up until that minute the person responsible for corporate strategic direction, that is the very last thing you care about. Because it has instantly become completely irrelevant to you. Forever. So, yeah, great way to start.

and don’t get me started on how you talk about Microsoft’s strategy is focused on productivity and our desire to help people “do more” and then listing XBox as an example.


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  1. [Quote]:

    Think of it this way — since Elop took over as Nokia CEO, the company has cut over 50,000 jobs (if you include today’s announcement.) That is just mind boggling. That bumbling strategy which was the hallmark of Elop’s Nokia tenure still continues — in other words, Microsoft doesn’t really have a Nokia strategy. From Elop’s memo today: “In the near term, we plan to drive Windows Phone volume by targeting the more affordable smartphone segments, which are the fastest growing segments of the market, with Lumia.” That is precisely what Nokia guys used to say — we have the low end and we can grow our share. How did that work out?

  2. The job of so-called Human Resources (motto: “Our people are our most important resource!”) is hiring, firing, keeping angry employees out of the way of management and avoiding lawsuits.

    They usually use large numbers of women. Apparently they have the reputation of being able to fake empathy and sincerity more convincingly.

  3. Nokia was in deep trouble before Elop got there. They had featurephone marketshare and no momentum in smartphones. The Lumias are excellent phones, but the Nokia brand did not help sell them.

X509

Posted on July 14th, 2014 at 13:37 by John Sinteur in category: Do you feel safer yet?, Google

[Quote]:

Shortly after the initial news came out that NSA fakes google and yahoo servers with stolen or faked certificates:

https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2013/09/new_nsa_leak_sh.html

the german computer magazine C’T issued a warning that it is a security risk, when microsoft automatically updates its list of certificates without any noticing of the users, so that dubious certificates could easily get into the windows certificate list, which is thrusted by webbrowsers like internet explorer or google chrome for windows:

http://www.heise.de/ct/artikel/Microsofts-Hintertuer-1921730.html

After reading this, I filed a bug in chromium, which then was dismissed as a “won’t fix”, with the chromium developers saying that the certificate list is “signed by Microsoft” and there would not be any break in the “chain of thrust”.

And now I see this message from google:

http://www.heise.de/security/meldung/Indien-stellte-falsche-Google-Zertifikate-aus-2252544.html

http://googleonlinesecurity.blogspot.de/2014/07/maintaining-digital-certificate-security.html

“On Wednesday, July 2, we became aware of unauthorized digital certificates for several Google domains. The certificates were issued by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) of India, which holds several intermediate CA certificates trusted by the Indian Controller of Certifying Authorities (India CCA).

The India CCA certificates are included in the Microsoft Root Store and thus are trusted by the vast majority of programs running on Windows, including Internet Explorer and Chrome. Firefox is not affected because it uses its own root store that doesn’t include these certificates.

We are not aware of any other root stores that include the India CCA certificates, thus Chrome on other operating systems, Chrome OS, Android, iOS and OS X are not affected. Additionally, Chrome on Windows would not have accepted the certificates for Google sites because of public-key pinning, although misissued certificates for other sites may exist.”

Update Jul 9: India CCA informed us of the results of their investigation on July 8. They reported that NIC’s issuance process was compromised and that only four certificates were misissued; the first on June 25. The four certificates provided included three for Google domains (one of which we were previously aware of) and one for Yahoo domains. However, we are also aware of misissued certificates not included in that set of four and can only conclude that the scope of the breach is unknown.”

Now microsoft has removed the certificates in question and it turnes out that the issue affected 45 domains:

http://www.heise.de/security/meldung/Microsoft-entzieht-Indischer-CA-das-Vertrauen-2255992.html

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/security/2982792

google.com
mail.google.com
gmail.com
www.gmail.com
m.gmail.com
smtp.gmail.com
pop.gmail.com
imap.gmail.com
googlemail.com
www.googlemail.com
smtp.googlemail.com
pop.googlemail.com
imap.googlemail.com
gstatic.com
ssl.gstatic.com
www.static.com
encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com
encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com
login.yahoo.com
mail.yahoo.com
mail.yahoo-inc.com
fb.member.yahoo.com
login.korea.yahoo.com
api.reg.yahoo.com
edit.yahoo.com
watchlist.yahoo.com
edit.india.yahoo.com
edit.korea.yahoo.com
edit.europe.yahoo.com
edit.singapore.yahoo.com
edit.tpe.yahoo.com
legalredirect.yahoo.com
me.yahoo.com
open.login.yahooapis.com
subscribe.yahoo.com
edit.secure.yahoo.com
edit.client.yahoo.com
bt.edit.client.yahoo.com
verizon.edit.client.yahoo.com
na.edit.client.yahoo.com
au.api.reg.yahoo.com
au.reg.yahoo.com
profile.yahoo.com
static.profile.yahoo.com
openid.yahoo.com

In view of this list, the advice from google looks especially funny:

“Chrome users do not need to take any action to be protected by the CRLSet updates. We have no indication of widespread abuse and we are not suggesting that people change passwords.”

The microsoft certificate list is used in the browser chrome. Faking of a google server is difficult, since chrome checks its certificate by different means and that was how the attack was revealed. But chrome does not have a similar check for yahoo. If that attack would not be working after all, the hackers would not have used it.

But still, google does explicitely not suggesting anyone that they should change passwords…


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What is a Full Stack developer?

Posted on July 9th, 2014 at 23:35 by John Sinteur in category: Software

[Quote]:

Is it reasonable to expect mere mortals to have mastery over every facet of the development stack? Probably not, but Facebook can ask for it. I was told at OSCON by a Facebook employee that they only hire ‘Full Stack’ developers. Well, what does that mean?


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Comments:

  1. Hang on a sec, I’ll go to GitHub and create an OpenStack distro called FullStack… and backdate some commits so I can show “5+ years experience”…

  2. Boo, github.com/desiato is taken. Though appropriately he mostly seems to be spending time dead…

  3. hmmm… here I thought I’d post something that you can use to measure yourself, and you turn it into something you can use for a job interview…

  4. All wrong – it refers to pancakes topped with raspberries and tons of whipped cream. Farcebook wants developers that can make and eat those constantly so they too huge to leave their chairs. Productivity thing really. Wait, it is an U.S. company, so they should have no shortage finding overdeveloped developers. Now this is something that is measurable John! (Oink Oink)

  5. Ha! Dead for tax purposes, Hotblack?

  6. Perhaps they mean Stack Overflow? (That would be the maple syrup Mykolas.)


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