« | Home | Recent Comments | Categories | »

Google Knew About Heartbleed and Didn’t Tell the Government

Posted on April 15th, 2014 at 12:28 by John Sinteur in category: Google, Security

[Quote]:

“I suspect that over the past eight months, many companies have taken a real hard look at their existing policies about tipping off the U.S. government,” he said. “That’s the price you pay when you’re acting like an out-of-control offensive adversary.”


Write a comment

Yahoo, Google and Apple also claim right to read user emails

Posted on March 22nd, 2014 at 16:48 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Privacy, Security

[Quote]:

Microsoft is not unique in claiming the right to read users’ emails – Apple, Yahoo and Google all reserve that right as well, the Guardian has determined.

The broad rights email providers claim for themselves has come to light following Microsoft’s admission that it read a journalist’s Hotmail account in an attempt to track down the source of an internal leak. But most webmail services claim the right to read users’ email if they believe that such access is necessary to protect their property.


Write a comment

IT Threat Evolution: Q1 2013

Posted on February 27th, 2014 at 23:12 by John Sinteur in category: Google

[Quote]:

A total of 99.9% of new mobile threat detections target the Android platform.


Write a comment

Snowden document reveals key role of companies in NSA data collection

Posted on November 3rd, 2013 at 1:57 by John Sinteur in category: Google, Microsoft

[Quote]:

The key role private companies play in National Security Agency surveillance programs is detailed in a top-secret document provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden and published for the first time on Friday.

One slide in the undated PowerPoint presentation, published as part of the Guardian’s NSA Files: Decoded project, illustrates the number of intelligence reports being generated from data collected from the companies.

In the five weeks from June 5 2010, the period covered by the document, data from Yahoo generated by far the most reports, followed by Microsoft and then Google.

Between them, the three companies accounted for more than 2,000 reports in that period – all but a tiny fraction of the total produced under one of the NSA’s main foreign intelligence authorities, the Fisa Amendents Act (FAA).

It is unclear how the information in the NSA slide relates to the companies’ own transparency reports, which document the number of requests for information received from authorities around the world.

Yahoo, Microsoft and Google deny they co-operate voluntarily with the intelligence agencies, and say they hand over data only after being forced to do so when served with warrants. The NSA told the Guardian that the companies’ co-operation was “legally compelled”.


Write a comment

Comments:

  1. Heb jij laatst in mijn email ingebroken?

  2. If I was a conspiracy enthusiast, I might start thinking this whole dustup with the NSA is intentional theater.

Patent war goes nuclear: Microsoft, Apple-owned “Rockstar” sues Google

Posted on November 1st, 2013 at 16:01 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google, Intellectual Property, Microsoft

[Quote]:

Canada-based telecom Nortel went bankrupt in 2009 and sold its biggest asset—a portfolio of more than 6,000 patents covering 4G wireless innovations and a range of technologies—at an auction in 2011.

Google bid for the patents, but it didn’t get them. Instead, the patents went to a group of competitors—Microsoft, Apple, RIM, Ericsson, and Sony—operating under the name “Rockstar Bidco.” The companies together bid the shocking sum of $4.5 billion.

Patent insiders knew that the Nortel portfolio was the patent equivalent of a nuclear stockpile: dangerous in the wrong hands, and a bit scary even if held by a “responsible” party.

This afternoon, that stockpile was finally used for what pretty much everyone suspected it would be used for—launching an all-out patent attack on Google and Android. The smartphone patent wars have been underway for a few years now, and the eight lawsuits filed in federal court today by Rockstar Consortium mean that the conflict just hit DEFCON 1.

Google probably knew this was coming. When it lost out in the Nortel auction, the company’s top lawyer, David Drummond, complained that the Microsoft-Apple patent alliance was part of a “hostile, organized campaign against Android.” Google’s failure to get patents in the Nortel auction was seen as one of the driving factors in its $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola in 2011.

Rockstar, meanwhile, was pretty unapologetic about embracing the “patent troll” business model. Most trolls, of course, aren’t holding thousands of patents from a seminal technology company. When the company was profiled by Wired last year, about 25 of its 32 employees were former Nortel employees.

The suits filed today are against Google and seven companies that make Android smartphones: Asustek, HTC, Huawei, LG Electronics, Pantech, Samsung, and ZTE. The case was filed in the Eastern District of Texas, long considered a district friendly to patent plaintiffs.


Write a comment

Comments:

  1. I am still amazed that the *scoundrels* who ran Nortel into the ground managed to get away it.

Google: Our Robot Cars Are Better Drivers Than Puny Humans

Posted on October 27th, 2013 at 1:30 by John Sinteur in category: Google

[Quote]:

One of those analyses showed that when a human was behind the wheel, Google’s cars accelerated and braked significantly more sharply than they did when piloting themselves. Another showed that the cars’ software was much better at maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle ahead than the human drivers were.

“We’re spending less time in near-collision states,” said Urmson. “Our car is driving more smoothly and more safely than our trained professional drivers.”


Write a comment

Comments:

  1. My 1998 car is smarter than I am. I’m surprised it lets me drive.

Google’s Datacenters on Punch Cards

Posted on October 1st, 2013 at 17:50 by John Sinteur in category: Google

[Quote]:

Who watches the watchers?

Apparently, Domino’s.


Write a comment

Browsers!

Posted on September 26th, 2013 at 17:31 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google, Microsoft

556585_10202021677089195_1131533175_n


Write a comment

What Google Glass aspires to be

Posted on September 2nd, 2013 at 20:31 by John Sinteur in category: Google

[Quote]:

Google has a plan. Eventually it wants to get into your brain. “When you think about something and don’t really know much about it, you will automatically get information,” Google CEO Larry Page said in Steven Levy’s book, “In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes Our Lives.” “Eventually you’ll have an implant, where if you think about a fact, it will just tell you the answer.”

Don’t worry, we’re only scanning your brains to check for pedophiles. Protect the children.


Write a comment

NSA paid millions to cover Prism compliance costs for tech companies

Posted on August 24th, 2013 at 15:08 by John Sinteur in category: Google, Microsoft, Privacy

[Quote]:

The National Security Agency paid millions of dollars to cover the costs of major internet companies involved in the Prism surveillance program after a court ruled that some of the agency’s activities were unconstitutional, according to top-secret material passed to the Guardian.

The technology companies, which the NSA says includes Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Facebook, incurred the costs to meet new certification demands in the wake of the ruling from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (Fisa) court.

And in the article, you can find Google basically admitting as much:

Google did not answer any of the specific questions put to it, and provided only a general statement denying it had joined Prism or any other surveillance program. It added: “We await the US government’s response to our petition to publish more national security request data, which will show that our compliance with American national security laws falls far short of the wild claims still being made in the press today.”

Falling short of “wild claims” is very easy…


Write a comment

The Verge: Google patents ‘pay-per-gaze’ eye-tracking

Posted on August 19th, 2013 at 18:52 by John Sinteur in category: Google, If you're in marketing, kill yourself

[Quote]:

Google patents ‘pay-per-gaze’ eye-tracking that could measure emotional response to real-world ads

Advertisers spend heaps of cash on branding, bannering, and product-placing. But does anyone really look at those ads? Google could be betting that advertisers will pay to know whether consumers are actually looking at their billboards, magazine spreads, and online ads. The company was just granted a patent for “pay-per-gaze” advertising, which would employ a Google Glass-like eye sensor in order to identify when consumers are looking at advertisements in the real world and online. 


Write a comment

Comments:

  1. I’ll let Google have a camera in my living room when water in hell transforms to its solid state.

Cross a border, lose your ebooks

Posted on August 18th, 2013 at 9:19 by John Sinteur in category: Google

[Quote]:

Jim O’Donnell was at a library conference in Singapore when his Ipad’s Google Play app asked him to update it. This was the app through which he had bought 30 to 40 ebooks, and after the app had updated, it started to re-download them. However, Singapore is not one of the countries where the Google Play bookstore is active, so it stopped downloading and told him he was no longer entitled to his books.

It’s an odd confluence of travel, updates, and location-checking, but it points out just how totally, irretrievably broken the idea of DRM and region-controls for ebooks is.


Write a comment

Comments:

  1. I don’t purchase ANYTHING that is DRM-encumbered, other than DVD’s, which are trivial to circumvent…

Google goes dark for 2 minutes, kills 40% of world’s net traffic

Posted on August 17th, 2013 at 8:32 by John Sinteur in category: Google

[Quote]:

You can all relax now. The near-unprecedented outage that seemingly affected all of Google’s services for a brief time on Friday is over.

The event began at approximately 4:37pm Pacific Time and lasted between one and five minutes, according to the Google Apps Dashboard. All of the Google Apps services reported being back online by 4:48pm.

The incident apparently blacked out every service Mountain View has to offer simultaneously, from Google Search to Gmail, YouTube, Google Drive, and beyond.

Big deal, right? Everyone has technical difficulties every once in a while. It goes with the territory.

But then, not everyone is Google. According to web analytics firm GoSquared, worldwide internet traffic dipped by a stunning 40 per cent during the brief minutes that the Chocolate Factory’s services were offline.


Write a comment

Comments:

  1. Seems to me that this indicates that the traffic that GoSquared tracks is likely not representative of traffic overall.

  2. That was how long it took the NSA to switch over all of Google’s fiber links to their data collectors…

  3. Careful. Do the words “too big to fail” mean anything? :)

  4. They found the cause:

Google is Reading Your Gmail

Posted on August 16th, 2013 at 20:12 by John Sinteur in category: Google

[Quote]:

When was the last time you emailed yourself something from work? Or had a private moment over chat, the kind you’d like to keep just to yourself? If you’re like most of us the answer is “relatively recently.” According to Google, however, that’s just too bad. All of that information, from your confidential memos to your love letters, is now fair game.

You see, in a recent filing in federal court, the Internet giant announced that no one should expect privacy when sending messages to or from a Gmail account.

“Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient’s assistant opens the letter,” Google wrote in a brief to the court, “people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their communications are processed by the recipient’s ECS provider in the course of delivery. Indeed, ‘a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.’”


Write a comment

Comments:

  1. What a desperately poor analogy. Google is not the recipient’s assistant. Google is the postal service. OK they bring junk mail but that’s a price we accept. But if you found a postman had opened your mail and was reading it, you’d know what to do. For a start, have him arrested.

  2. I doubt the company actually approves of reading their clients’ email. I think they’re just protecting themselves in the event one of their employees does and makes it public.

    The only thing that continues to surprise me about Google’s revelation is that it surprises anyone. I had a BBS in the 90s. I didn’t read anything that passed through my system that wasn’t public or for me … but I could have.

  3. I guess we’ll all just have go back to using the old microdot-under-the-postage-stamp trick in future.

  4. @Rob – How on earth can you make the claim “I doubt the company actually approves of reading their clients’ email…” when that is the entire basis their revenue engine to deliver ads based on content? With all due respect sir, you need do some more research on this issue.

  5. Not true, Mykolas. They glean their information from their spiders and your cookies, your click-throughs, and your search history, not your email. You can test this, yourself, any time you want if you have a gmail account. Do a Google search on a cordless drill and click through any result that appears and you’ll start seeing lots of banner ads for cordless drills 5 minutes later … if that long. Send email to anyone saying you’re interested in purchasing a toaster and see if you start seeing any toaster ads.

  6. @Rob — Sorry I was not aware you worked for Google. Do they have in office in Bush?. Silly of me. Perhaps you and your “employer” should read http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2013-02-08/news/36993262_1_google-s-gmail-outlook-com-personal-email
    or the complaint available here http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/gmailcomplaint051613.pdf
    Even your “employer” says they https://support.google.com/mail/answer/6603?hl=en .

  7. Your first link is suspect. It was commissioned by Google’s sworn enemy, Microsoft. Take it with a grain of salt … unless you believe everything else Microsoft claims. Any article that claims 90% of Americans agree is a load of cr@p. You can’t get 90% of Americans to agree the sky is blue.

    The second link is merely a complaint. Here nor there but I wonder

    The third link proves you technically correct but not really in the context of a “postman” opening your mail and reading it. That’s where I was. Sorry I didn’t make myself clearer.

    Nice snark BTW.

  8. Why was so much of that court document redacted? It’s here nor there as I was trying to say but I would think any good conspiracy enthusiast would jump at the chance to trash it rather than use it.

  9. I must agree with Mykolas on this. I sent an email to a friend describing the kinds of antics that boaters get up to when anchoring (hilarious, but off topic). I used the words “anchor windlass” a few times.

    Very shortly thereafter, ads appeared at the top of the mail viewer about anchor windlasses. Not my kind that are hand-operated for a small boat, but the frigging massive kind that are steam-driven for those Huge Ships (That One Must Avoid).

    OK, so perhaps that isn’t a person looking into each of my emails, but I see what they did there. Your email is just as much food for the mill as your searches, probably more.

  10. He is right. It’s automated.

    Was your email sent before or after Google’s revelation, Sue, and will you continue to use gmail or send to gmail addresses?

  11. Suggest no gmail and limit what is sent to gmail accounts “sorry, due to privacy concerns, I can no longer send info to gmail accounts”. Maybe this will start a trend.

  12. You can try that, I suppose, Mykolas, but a cursory glance at my contact list shows about a third of them using Gmail. You could also encrypt your email if you like but a substantial number of recipients will just trash it rather than read it because they don’t think it’s worth the trouble. Fast, easy, and cheap/free will trump any trend you suggest. There are a handful of people who CAN read your email if they’re so inclined. This doesn’t necessarily mean they ARE but they can. Proceed accordingly is the advice I’m giving but if you’d rather disconnect from a substantial portion of the world, have at it.

  13. Anything information you put online is available to some system administrator. About the only thing you can expect to have complete, paranoia-satisfying privacy over is your password, and only for reputable sites (the admins can see a salted, hashed version, but nothing more). Anything transmitted over the internet does not even have a reasonable expectation of privacy unless the transmission is encrypted. The problem here is that you can’t control over whose routers the connection will pass, so someone who is not contractually liable to you can intercept your email.

    Most mail administrators will get fired for reading your mail without a good reason, but if you suddenly start sending a higher volume of mail than usual, they’ll take a look to make sure a spammer hasn’t compromised your account. I know this because I’ve done it. It is considered a good reason. Almost all mail administrators scan your email coming and going to filter out spam messages.

    Frankly, Google is merely pointing out that what they are doing is not far outside of the normal boundaries. The ad scraping does not mean someone is reading your email, and the data is almost certainly as out of bounds to inspect as the contents of your messages. In other words, the admin doing it must be able to point to a good reason for their inspection.

    Also, if you think you can delete your email so the admin can’t see it, then you’ve obviously never heard of what’s known as “legal hold.” You won’t know when it gets turned on. It will look like the email went away. But in reality it just went to a folder you can’t access.

    The internet is a communication mechanism. It is not designed to keep your secrets. Keep them offline.

  14. @Rob –all that says is 33% of either ignorant of privacy issues, don’t care, or both.
    @Anon — Ah the world of absolutes – “The internet is a communication mechanism. It is not designed to keep your secrets.” — no argument on the communication system, but the applications are another thing. And email is an application that one should expect privacy. That said, anyone that uses google for anything at this juncture should not expect anything except that they are fodder for their ad business.

  15. @Rob; the email was sent several months ago. It’s pathetic that someone selling something so bloody huge was using these ads. As Google is my witness, I just don’t have that kind of money! (However, next time I buy a container ship I might consider whatever-their-name-was.)

    Private information held by governments will end up being misused, sold, or bought. Almost guaranteed. Just like information from tax departments or driver/vehicle registrations. Mistakes will be made, corrupt officials may seek bribes. Businesses probably have the most to lose; most individuals are less interesting sources of revenue (except perhaps for blackmail purposes).

  16. @Sue — Give up the main, genoa, and spinnaker. Stop fretting about chain-plate failure, sell your boatswain chair. Here is what you need http://www.ships-for-sale.com/container_ship_for_sale.htm . With this purchase, all your google ads will makes sense. :-)

  17. @Mykolas: lol…but what about my jib, not to mention my yankee? Arrr! Avast behind!

Samsung Electronics infringes Apple patents

Posted on August 10th, 2013 at 9:46 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google

[Quote]:

A U.S. trade panel on Friday ruled that South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co Ltd infringes on portions of two Apple Inc patents on digital mobile devices, a decision likely to inflame passions in the long-running dispute.

The U.S. International Trade Commission issued a limited exclusion order and a cease-and-desist order prohibiting Samsung from importing, selling and distributing devices in the United States that infringe certain claims on the patents.

And now we wait for Obama to veto this one as well…


Write a comment

Comments:

  1. Yeah (Obama veto) – when pigs can fly! Personally, I’d like to see Samsung refuse to sell anything more to Apple until this is resolved. The disruption to Apple’s production pipeline might make them think twice about their behavior.

    Disclaimer – I wrote a lot of the software that Samsung uses to run their semiconductor, display, and disc drive factories, and that gives them a serious competitive advantage over other manufacturers that don’t use that software – higher production, lower costs, less scrap, more profits. Most of Samsung’s competitors are using more recently issued software which doesn’t have the adaptive code that theirs does, which allows them to more quickly change their manufacturing processes without extensive engineering and programming…

Email service used by Snowden shuts itself down, warns against using US-based companies

Posted on August 9th, 2013 at 18:03 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google, Microsoft, News, Privacy

[Quote]:

Snowden, who told me today that he found Lavabit’s stand “inspiring”, added:

“Ladar Levison and his team suspended the operations of their 10 year old business rather than violate the Constitutional rights of their roughly 400,000 users. The President, Congress, and the Courts have forgotten that the costs of bad policy are always borne by ordinary citizens, and it is our job to remind them that there are limits to what we will pay.

“America cannot succeed as a country where individuals like Mr. Levison have to relocate their businesses abroad to be successful. Employees and leaders at Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Apple, and the rest of our internet titans must ask themselves why they aren’t fighting for our interests the same way small businesses are. The defense they have offered to this point is that they were compelled by laws they do not agree with, but one day of downtime for the coalition of their services could achieve what a hundred Lavabits could not.

“When Congress returns to session in September, let us take note of whether the internet industry’s statements and lobbyists – which were invisible in the lead-up to the Conyers-Amash vote – emerge on the side of the Free Internet or the NSA and its Intelligence Committees in Congress.”

[Quote]:

U.S. President Barack Obama met with the CEOs of Apple Inc, AT&T Inc as well as other technology and privacy representatives on Thursday to discuss government surveillance in the wake of revelations about the programs, the White House confirmed on Friday.

Google Inc computer scientist Vint Cerf and civil liberties leaders also participated in the meeting, along with Apple’s Tim Cook and AT&T’s Randall Stephenson, the White House said in confirming a report by Politico, which broke the news of the meeting.

“The meeting was part of the ongoing dialogue the president has called for on how to respect privacy while protecting national security in a digital era,” a White House official said.

The session was not included on Obama’s daily public schedule for Thursday.


Write a comment

FBI Taps Hacker Tactics to Spy on Suspects

Posted on August 3rd, 2013 at 13:15 by John Sinteur in category: Google

[Quote]:

The FBI develops some hacking tools internally and purchases others from the private sector. With such technology, the bureau can remotely activate the microphones in phones running Google Inc.’s Android software to record conversations, one former U.S. official said. It can do the same to microphones in laptops without the user knowing, the person said. Google declined to comment.


Write a comment

Now That It’s in the Broadband Game, Google Flip-Flops on Network Neutrality

Posted on July 31st, 2013 at 7:49 by John Sinteur in category: Google

[Quote]:

In a dramatic about-face on a key internet issue yesterday, Google told the FCC that the network neutrality rules Google once championed don’t give citizens the right to run servers on their home broadband connections, and that the Google Fiber network is perfectly within its rights to prohibit customers from attaching the legal devices of their choice to its network.

At issue is Google Fiber’s Terms of Service, which contains a broad prohibition against customers attaching “servers” to its ultrafast 1 Gbps network in Kansas City.

Google wants to ban the use of servers because it plans to offer a business class offering in the future. A potential customer, Douglas McClendon, filed a complaint against the policy in 2012 with the FCC, which eventually ordered Google to explain its reasoning by July 29.

In its response, Google defended its sweeping ban by citing the very ISPs it opposed through the years-long fight for rules that require broadband providers to treat all packets equally.

“Google Fiber’s server policy is consistent with policies of many major providers in the industry,” Google Fiber lawyer Darah Smith Franklin wrote, going on to quote AT&T, Comcast and Verizon’s anti-server policies.


Write a comment

Google hosts fundraiser for climate change denying US senator

Posted on July 24th, 2013 at 12:00 by John Sinteur in category: Google

[Quote]:

Google, which prides itself on building a “better web that is better for the environment”, is hosting a fundraiser for the most notorious climate change denier in Congress, it has emerged.

The lunch, at the company’s Washington office, will benefit the Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe, who has made a career of dismissing climate change as a “hoax” on the Senate floor.

Proceeds of the 11 July lunch, priced at $250 to $2,500, will also go to the national Republican Senatorial Committee.

It’s the second show of support from Google for the anti-climate cause in recent weeks.


Write a comment

Google Caught Red-Handed Ripping Off an Apple Patent Graphic

Posted on July 20th, 2013 at 12:15 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google

[Quote]:

Copycats just can’t help themselves. It’s an addiction to want to be so much like their competitor that they’ll do anything to blur the lines between their competing products. They’ll resort to ripping off their competitors whenever possible and/or just repeat the lie loud enough that they’re the inventor of something – just to give the public the distinct impression that it’s actually theirs. Recently Google has tried to mimic the MacBook Pro with Retina to blur the lines and now they’re thinking of adding presence technology to their Chromebook Pixel. The problem is that they just ripped off one of Apple’s granted patent figures to an embarrassing point that you have to see for yourself. I appreciate Google for their efforts on Google Glass and other projects – but let’s get real here. Sometimes copying is like getting a pie in your face. You just look stupid. Even Google could do better than that.


Write a comment

Android vs. iPhone: Why Apple still has the edge over Google’s operating system.

Posted on July 18th, 2013 at 8:53 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google

[Quote]:

When you buy an iPhone, it works exactly as Apple intended; it’s never adulterated by “features” that the company didn’t approve. But when you buy an Android phone, even a really great one, you’re not getting the device that Google’s designers had in mind when they created the OS. You’re not even getting the device that the phone manufacturer—Samsung and HTC, in this case—had in mind. Instead you’re getting a bastardized version, a phone replete with software that has been altered by many players along the way, usually in a clumsy, money-grubbing fashion.

I noticed this immediately when I first turned on the Sprint-powered HTC One and Galaxy S4. When you run an iPhone for the first time, you’ve go through just a handful of steps to get up and running: choose a language, add a Wi-Fi network, and log in to your Apple account. The same is true of the Google editions of the One and S4—just a few prompts and you’re good to go. But not the carrier versions. I had to sit through more than half a dozen screens. I was pushed to sign in to several social-networking accounts. I had to create accounts with HTC or Samsung’s own services. Then, when I thought I was at last ready to start using my phone, another prompt came on the screen to let me know that Sprint was installing some software of its own. After another five minutes, my phone was finally ready to use—but when I browsed through the menus, there was a whole bunch of software that I didn’t need, including apps for Yahoo, Amazon, the NBA, a Sprint app for watching TV, and a White Pages app. Why these apps specifically? Not because Sprint believes that you’ll find them really helpful, but instead because it received a promotional fee. Congratulations on your new phone—now look at all the ads.

You might not consider these preloaded apps such a big deal. We’re all used to getting crapware on new PCs; this is the same story, just on phones, and it’s not such a big hassle to delete everything you don’t need. But you shouldn’t have to delete stuff just to get your phone looking like you want it. Plus, I suspect that many users probably don’t even know how to delete these apps, so they just sit there, clogging up the home screen.

The worst thing about Android phones isn’t the crapware, though. It’s the “skins”—the modifications that phone companies make to Android’s most basic features, including the dialing app, contacts, email, the calendar, the notification system, and the layout of the home screen. If you get the Play edition of these phones, you’ll see Google’s version of each of these apps, and you’ll come away impressed by Google’s tasteful, restrained, utilitarian design sense. But if, like most people, you get your phone for $199 from a carrier, you’ll find everything in it is a frightful mess.


Write a comment

Comments:

  1. But they’re cheap!

    The line “I suspect that many users probably don’t know how to …” may be strictly true but it’s pompous and patronizing – everyone knows someone who’s figured it out and can help them with it. In their day, PCs were the same.

    (Disclaimer: I just got my first, used, Android phone for $15 from a garage sale. These things are cute!)

  2. The conclusion is wrong: “You can pay full price for a Play edition Android device (I’d choose the HTC One over the Galaxy S4, because it’s much more attractive, physically). Or you can buy an iPhone.”

    Or you can simply Root it (the Android) and put on a cleaner OS ver.

  3. The problem is the average mom-and-pop user. They don’t know there exists something like rooting, clean install, etc, and they don’t know about crap-ware. They are left wondering why everybody is so enthusiastic about smart phones when all they have seen sucks donkey balls through a garden hose.

  4. Agreed, (except the balls are probably still attached to the donkey) but I know individuals who find Apple gear confusing. I try to find appropriate tech for people like my mom and configure it for them. One major factor is price, so a 3+ year old device (practically free) is perfect.

  5. The catch is in the first sentence: Apple will not allow you to use features they don’t approve of. And that may be fine to people like the average mom-and-pop user, because they have no clue what to expect of the device and what it should or could be able to do, so they’ll deal with what they get. They will not be bothered by the fact that the standard mail app on an iPhone or iPad will not allow you to put attachments in the mail, you have to depend on other apps to do that, and thus you cannot use reply with an attachment. This is where Apple is not just keeping the device and software simple, but also it’s customers.
    To me, it looks and feels like being treated like a toddler, telling me ‘it can be done, but you cannot have that’. The only good reason for acting this way by Apple must be it’s very profitable to do so, and for the customers to be in the comfort zone of ‘Daddy knows best’. This is so totally unlike the Apple II we used to play with as a kid, we controlled the machine and told it what to do. It’s the very reason I dislike the iPad my employer gave me – it can but won’t do what I want it to, without good reason.

Analyzing Yahoo’s PRISM non-denial

Posted on June 9th, 2013 at 14:58 by John Sinteur in category: Google, Privacy, Security

[Quote]:

Today, Yahoo’s General Counsel posted a carefully worded denial regarding the company’s alleged participation in the NSA PRISM program. To the casual observer, it might seem like a categorical denial. I do not believe that Yahoo’s denial is as straightforward as it seems.

[Quote]:

Yonatan Zunger:

If it had, even if I couldn’t talk about it, in all likelihood I would no longer be working at Google: the fact that we do stand up for individual users’ privacy and protection, for their right to have a personal life which is not ever shared with other people without their consent, even when governments come knocking at our door with guns, is one of the two most important reasons that I am at this company: the other being a chance to build systems which fundamentally change and improve the lives of billions of people by turning the abstract power of computing into something which amplifies and expands their individual, mental life.

Strong statement. And here’s Google’s chief legal officer, David Drummond:

We cannot say this more clearly — the government does not have access to Google servers—not directly, or via a back door, or a so-called drop box. Nor have we received blanket orders of the kind being discussed in the media.


Write a comment

Comments:

  1. What, Zunger is working at Google because he values people’s privacy and thinks their private lives should not be scrutinized without their consent? WHAT. THE. FUCK. Google is the world’s biggest threat to privacy.

    The upshot of all the denials seems to be that (1) it’s legal for the FISA court to demand whatever info they want, so no reason to break the law, and (2) the NSA isn’t integrated into anyone’s data centers. Mkay. Not sure I feel better.

Google Fiber broadcast television impact analysis

Posted on May 17th, 2013 at 19:18 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google

[Quote]:

The early reviews of Google Fiber are in from Kansas City and one of the most attractive features of the service seems to be how it makes Netflix irresistible. The buffering annoyances that consumers take for granted vanish as Google Fiber feeds movies and shows instantly to eager Silicon Prairie dwellers. What’s more, the recently launched Google Fiber TV app offers video on demand for iPad. This direction is fascinating because of the hottest trend in US consumer behavior: broadcast television audience collapse.

TV show audiences have been falling for a long time, but recently the decline has turned into a plunge. According to Goldman Sachs, ratings in the 18-49 year demo dropped by a hideous 17% last winter, the steepest drop ever. “American Idol” is losing nearly 25% of its audience in a year. Most of the big new shows have been disasters and old staples like “Survivor” and “Dancing with Stars” are in free fall.

Everyone has long known that the broadcast dinosaurs are in trouble but it is only now becoming clear just how rapidly they are losing their grip on consumers in the United States. This coincides with rapid growth of time spent on mobile apps: American iPhone owners now waste two hours per day on apps and annualized growth of daily engagement still tops 30%. But it also opens up completely new vistas for Netflix, Amazon, Google and Apple when it comes to video distribution.


Write a comment

Comments:

  1. Seems a bit overcharged to my ears. There may be some erosion from people spending time on Facebook or playing more games, and thus watching less TV/video-content.

    But the networks do understand content creation, which the tech companies have no experience in. I think Netflix and Amazon are dabbling around… well, good luck with that. Google effectively crowd sources its content using YouTube, and it’ll have a steady stream of meme-hits that way, enough to drive a ton of advertising, but little that will be long-running or as big as “Survivor”.

    So the upshot is that the networks need to re-orient and figure out how to sell their product online. Then fiber stops being a threat. I wouldn’t be surprised if they can get just as much revenue online as they did before with nearly untargeted TV advertising.

  2. You mean…even the stupid people have finally figured out how to download pr0n? I’m impressed.

An Apple meltdown: The great mobile realignment – CBS News

Posted on April 19th, 2013 at 23:43 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google

[Quote]:

The evidence has been clear for a while that Apple (AAPL) is no longer the singular dominant force in mobile. But the alarm bells have grown shriller. Supplier results suggest “lackluster iPhone demand.” Anonymous supply chain sources say that iPad mini unit sales could drop 20 percent to 30 percent this quarter, compared with the same period last year.

Those last words are telling. The Mini was not for sale the same period last year. So 20 to 30 percent less that last year is simply impossible.

What is it about Apple that make reporters insist on creating bad news? Fucking idiots.

Another example:

[Quote]:

Twitter made their new music service official this morning with an announcement and then release on…iOS. As you can tell, and should be no surprise if you look at Vine, Twitter still doesn’t realize that Android is just as, if not more important than iOS in the mobile game these days.

No, actually it isn’t. Let me tell you again what app developers see: on iOS you see about 10 times the sales/download numbers compared to Android. Twitter knows exactly what it is doing. Unit sales are irrelevant.


Write a comment

‘Glassware’ developers prohibited from displaying ads

Posted on April 17th, 2013 at 13:10 by John Sinteur in category: Google

[Quote]:

Google, which relies on advertising for some 95 percent of its revenue, doesn’t want ads on its hotly anticipated Google Glass eyewear.

The blanket prohibition came in the fine print of a policy made public this evening, which says “Glassware” developers may not “serve or include any advertisements” and they “may not charge” users to download apps for the device.

So there’s no money either way for developers. Tell me again why I should bother ever developing for Glass?


Write a comment

Comments:

  1. Headlines contest:
    Is Google Glass going to be a Bridge Too Far?
    Will my Quantified Self tell me I look fat in this?

Internet Jackass Day

Posted on April 2nd, 2013 at 10:28 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google

[Quote]:

April Fool’s Day gags from Google: half a dozen.

April Fool’s Day gags from Apple: zero.

I suspect one’s preference for which company they admire more breaks strongly along the lines of how one feels about the above stats.


Write a comment

Comments:

  1. I suspect one might be a pompous git.

  2. And the other?

  3. Sadly, I suspect that one is pretending.

  4. Pretending.

GMail Blue

Posted on April 1st, 2013 at 11:24 by John Sinteur in category: Google


Write a comment

Comments:

  1. Wrong category, should be WTF. Or better, BFD (d=deal). But I like Blue, because that is what you will be when you realize all your privacy is gone, you are profiled, pegged, tracked forever.

  2. @Mykolas: at least someone is interested in us all. (
    April fool, they’re not really!)

  3. Yep, red-faced on this. That said, my google comments stand on their own.

Google Keep? It’ll probably be with us until March 2017 – on average

Posted on March 23rd, 2013 at 16:29 by John Sinteur in category: Google

Screen_Shot_2013-03-22_at_12.13.00

[Quote]:

So if you want to know when Google Keep, opened for business on 21 March 2013, will probably shut – again, assuming Google decides it’s just not working – then, the mean suggests the answer is: 18 March 2017. That’s about long enough for you to cram lots of information that you might rely on into it; and also long enough for Google to discover that, well, people aren’t using it to the extent that it hoped. Much the same as happened with Knol (lifespan: 1,377 days, from 23 July 2008 to 30 April 2012), or Wave (1,095 days, from May 2009 – 30 April 2012) or of course Reader (2,824 days, from 7 October 2005 to 1 July 2013).


Write a comment

Comments:

  1. This leaves out all of the projects that haven’t been killed, so it’s a kind of worthless metric (unless it’s to say “of projects killed, most are killed at the four year mark”). I’d be more interested in the percentage of projects killed. That would be more of an indicator of how much you can trust Keep.

    As for me, I’ll continue to use SimpleNote, especially because the API makes it easy for me to keep a local copy. If they go away, or the cloud evaporates, I’ll still have my data.

  2. Turning and twisting with numbers until they show what you would like them to show. Populistic and not worth looking at.

Please Stop Fighting About Your Smartphone

Posted on March 23rd, 2013 at 8:05 by John Sinteur in category: Apple, Google, Microsoft

[Quote]:

BlackBerry just shipped a new phone that almost nobody has tried. But lots of people already have an opinion about it! Some people think it is great! Others are already making fun of it! That’s pretty typical behavior. People love to fight and fight about phone platforms; to toss around the term fanboi and other insults and invective. People love to lob polemic after polemic in the most boring argument since Mac vs. Windows ever.

Do you like Android? You should, it’s amazing. iOS? Wow, what a great platform, no wonder it started a revolution. Windows Phone? Seriously, it’s got a remarkable and beautiful interface. BlackBerry? There are plenty of great reasons people love it. And no matter which platform you adore, it’s shockingly possible to both have a preference and respect that other people may prefer an entirely different device. I know. Totally weird. But true.

Or, you can just call anyone who expresses a contrary opinion a jerk, or a fanboi, or butthurt, some other un-clever and deeply unoriginal pejorative that ends with the suffix “tard” and ultimately makes you look dumber than the person you’re trying, vainly, to insult.

The phone wars, the platform wars, should be left to people who work for Apple and Samsung and Google and Microsoft and Nokia and BlackBerry. Do you work for Apple? Do you work for Samsung? No? Then shut up.


Write a comment

Surprise! Google chairman Eric Schmidt uses.. a BlackBerry

Posted on March 22nd, 2013 at 20:04 by John Sinteur in category: Google

[Quote]:

Who’s the person you’d least expect to discover is a BlackBerry user? How about the executive chairman of the company whose software has been crucial in eroding the Canadian company’s position in the consumer market?

That’s right: Eric Schmidt uses a BlackBerry.


Write a comment


« Older Entries