The Little App Factory ★
My thanks to The Little App Factory for once again sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. They’ve got a great holiday deal for DF readers: use coupon code “DARINGHOLIDAY2012” and save 20 percent off every app on their website, including the award winning RipIt, iRip, and Tagalicious. A great deal on some of my very favorite Mac apps.
The Dearth of Android Software Updates ★
Matthew Panzarino, writing at The Next Web:
The problem isn’t Samsung, it’s systemic to Android as a whole.
The makers of Android hardware see little benefit in updating
even devices that are less than a year old. And, though I think
it’s a punk move, I don’t blame them. There is little to no
return to be had.
It’s almost certain that this is what the executives at these Android device makers think, too. Why bother with software updates? We’ve got their money. Let them buy a new device if they want the latest software.
But I strongly disagree that there is no return to be had. The one company that provides a different approach — Apple — is the one company with the most profits, the most loyal customers, and its own chain of insanely crowded retail stores. Can you prove that Apple is thriving because it takes much better care of its existing customers than do any of its competitors? I guess not. But it’s the difference between a company that simply wants to sell you a device, and a company that wants to sell you a device and make you happy that you bought it. Making a sale versus fostering a relationship between customer and the company.
One company clearly has more respect for its customers; that company is also clearly more successful. If you don’t see the connection, go ahead and keep your head in the sand.
Advertising on Facebook ★
It now costs over a billion dollars a year to run Facebook, and delivering ads is how Facebook pays for this.
Translation: Get your boots on and your shovel ready.
H.R. Fluffypuff ★
This week’s episode of America’s favorite Peter Jackson podcast, The Talk Show. Topics include a bunch of nonsense about Android updates and tablets, RIM’s problems, my driving record, and a million-dollar idea for a new iOS text editor. Brought to you by the fine folks at TinyLetter and Uncle Slam.
Should Have Quit While He Was Ahead ★
John C. Dvorak:
I’m often asked at what point should someone short
high-flying Apple shares? My response is simple: When the
company starts closing stores and pulling back from retail,
then the tide has turned.
Not a bad metric. I too would consider a retail pull-back to be a dead canary in the Apple coal mine.
I see no reason why Apple cannot have 1,000 stores that would all
be successful. Staples Inc., the office-supply chain, has
2,000-plus stores. Apple seems so adept at retail that there is no
reason to doubt that it could go out and buy a company like
Staples to expand in the sector. Why not?
Yeah, sometimes I go into a store and get confused as to whether I’m in a Staples or Apple Store.
Looks like Ridley Scott still has it.
Samsung: Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab to Get Shit Sandwich Upgrade ★
Samsung has just distributed the worst news of this Ice Cream
Sandwich upgrade cycle: the popular Galaxy S smartphone that sold
10 million units last year and the 7-inch Galaxy Tab tablet won’t
be upgraded to Android 4.0. The company’s argument is that they
lack sufficient RAM and ROM to run the new OS alongside TouchWiz
and other “experience-enhancing” software.
Android is not a single platform. It’s a common foundation upon which platforms can be built.
Update: I like this reformulation from “Relative Sanity” on Twitter: “It’s a development platform, not a computing platform. That’s why tech commentators can’t see the difference.”
Engadget Reviews the Galaxy Nexus ★
And then there’s the battery life. It’s well known that LTE can
put a real hurting on phone longevity and that appears to be the
case here as well, our Nexus struggling to hold on to a charge in
day-to-day use with all antennas firing. We’ve as of yet had very
limited time with the thing, but in our 24 hours of intensive
testing we had to reach for the charger multiple times. Using
Google Navigation with LTE enabled? The battery drained so fast
our in-car charger couldn’t keep up, leaving us unsure of which
exit to take off the 101.
I wonder why there’s no LTE iPhone yet?
Search Results You Can Trust ★
Search Amazon for “iPad” and the top result is this “Compare iPad 2 vs. Kindle Fire” promotional page.
John Martellaro: Apple Is Now Forced to Build a 7-Inch Tablet ★
Noted for future claim chowder.
(Apple’s business has never been about capturing the entirety — or even a unit-share majority — of any market. They just make cool things and sell them for a profit. That’s it.)
Getting Fed Up With Google ★
Another difference between Apple and Google: as Apple grows more successful, they make their users happier, with better-designed products; as Google grows more successful, they annoy their users with ever more intrusive advertising.
Kindle Fire and the Open Web ★
Any request for Google’s Android Market — even in the web browser — is redirected to the Amazon Appstore on the Kindle Fire. More proof that Android is open and Apple is too controlling.
Could RIM’s Survival Mean Abandoning the BlackBerry? ★
Alastair Sharp and Pav Jordan, reporting for Reuters:
Just before those numbers were released, activist shareholder
Jaguar Financial called on the company to sell its handset
business and monetize its patent portfolio while retaining the
high-margin services business. “Jaguar believes that the road map
to value restoration lies in a sale of RIM whether as a whole or
in separate parts,” it said.
This is a terrible idea. RIM’s “high-margin services business” is entirely predicated on its handset business. But this is what happens when profits decline — you’re forced to entertain even worse advice from jackass investors. Cf. calls for Apple to abandon its hardware business and license Mac OS for PCs, or, for Apple to abandon Mac OS and make Windows PCs, circa 1995–96.
Free Galaxy Nexus Phones for Google Employees ★
What a tasteful design.
‘Next Year’ ★
Chris Davis, Slashgear:
“In the next six months we plan to market a tablet of the
highest quality” Schmidt told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera,
while also confirming that Google plans to leverage its voice
recognition technology to better challenge Apple’s Siri.
In the PC era, “next year” was going to be the year of desktop Linux. In the post-PC era, “next year” is the year that Android isn’t crappy.
Circling the Toilet ★
Ian Austen, reporting for the NYT:
Research in Motion said on Thursday that a new line of BlackBerry smartphones that it hoped would turn around its flagging fortunes will not come to market until late next year.
It was the latest, and perhaps most significant, setback in a string of product delays and missteps from the company.
In the meantime, profits are down 70 percent. I love to say “I told you so”, so: I told you so.
Remember Google’s Android Update Alliance? ★
“Over the next few weeks, we’ll figure it out.”
Dear Congress, It’s No Longer OK to Not Know How the Internet Works ★
When the security issue was brought up, Rep. Mel Watt of North Carolina seemed particularly comfortable about his own lack of understanding. Grinningly admitting “I’m not a nerd” before the committee, he nevertheless went on to dismiss without facts or justification the very evidence he didn’t understand and then downplay the need for a panel of experts. Rep. Maxine Waters of California followed up by saying that any discussion of security concerns is “wasting time” and that the bill should move forward without question, busted internets be damned.
Bipartisan willful ignorance.
There Is a Flip Side ★
Dave Winer, on trying to convince Joe Hewitt to switch to Android:
Anyway, he thinks the iPhone is great. He doesn’t want to use Android. But I want him to use it, for the same reason I use it. Which is the title of this piece.
Right now it’s the only open source mobile OS that has a chance against iOS. If there is no alternative to iOS then Apple will have exclusive control over what makes it to market. That is a future none of us should want to live in.
The better iOS is relative to Android, the more you have to worry about.
I enjoyed this piece a lot. To me, this is an honest and reasonable perspective.
But, to quote Neil McCauley, there is a flip side to that coin. Winer’s perspective is that Apple is the bigger threat. A different perspective would be that Google is the bigger threat, and that using Apple products is a way to better protect our privacy and personal information.
Fear of Apple is about losing control over the software on our computers. Fear of Google is about losing control over our privacy.
Me, I use an iPhone simply because I think it’s the best. But it fits with which company I’m more worried about, too.
The Old-Fashioned ★
Troy Patterson, writing for Slate, on the cocktail:
The old-fashioned is at once “the manliest cocktail order” and
“something your grandmother drank,” and between those poles we
discover countless simple delights, evolutionary wonders, and
captivating abominations. Because of its core simplicity and its
elasticity — because it is primordial booze — ideas about the
old-fashioned exist in a realm where gastronomical notions shade
into ideological tenets. It is a platform for a bar to make a
statement, a surface on which every bartender leaves a thumbprint,
and a solution that many a picky drinker dips his litmus paper in.
You are a free man. Drink your drink as you please. But know that
your interpretation of the recipe says something serious about
your philosophy of fun.
Don’t miss his link to this gem of a letter to the editor in the NYT in 1936.
Font Swap in iBooks ★
Glenn Fleishman, in a well-illustrated piece for Boing Boing:
The release of iBooks 1.5 offers an interesting swap out. My three
least favorite fonts for reading on screen were removed:
Baskerville, Cochin, and Verdana have been erased from the list.
Only the dread Times New Roman remains alongside Georgia and
Palatino. Added into the mix are four other faces: Athelas,
Charter, Iowan, and Seravek.
MG Siegler’s Take on the Galaxy Nexus ★
Unfortunately, the system still lacks much of the fine polish that
iOS users enjoy. The majority of Android users will probably think
such criticism is bullshit, but that has always been the case. I
imagine it’s probably hard for a Mercedes owner to describe to a
Honda owner how attention to detail makes their driving experience
better when both machines get them from point A to point B. As a
Honda owner myself, I’m not sure I would buy it — I’d have to
experience it to understand it, I imagine. And most Android lovers
are not going to spend enough time with iOS to fully appreciate
You either see it or you don’t. If you don’t, that’s cool, enjoy your Nexus. But I think the reason Apple Stores are so crowded, and getting so big, is that there are an awful lot of people who do see it.
Gitbox: Year One Status Report ★
In June on WWDC10 my boss told me once more that “real artists
ship” and I shipped Gitbox with version 0.9 for free. It looked
clumsy and I really worried that nobody would like it.
But it was a success. A lot of people got interested by a concept
of “one-button” Git client. Never before version control app,
especially for Git, was expected to be “simple” or “minimalistic”
yet useful. A lot of people dismissed it for a lack of features.
But still many fell in love with it from day one and continued
using it daily. For many it became the only way to work with Git
repos without exploding their brains.
It’s a pretty clever app — deceptively simple, in a good way. Currently on sale for just $10 — regular price, $40. (Via Gus Mueller.)
Dan Frommer on His New Gig at ReadWriteWeb, and What It Means for SplatF ★
I will continue to write SplatF, now, then, and probably for the
rest of my life, with the same mission as always: To write the
site I want to read.
Good to hear.
Accounts of a Massacre in Iraq Found in Junkyard ★
Michael S. Schmidt, reporting for the NYT:
The 400 pages of interrogations, once closely guarded as secrets
of war, were supposed to have been destroyed as the last American
troops prepare to leave Iraq. Instead, they were discovered along
with reams of other classified documents, including military maps
showing helicopter routes and radar capabilities, by a reporter
for The New York Times at a junkyard outside Baghdad. An attendant
was burning them as fuel to cook a dinner of smoked carp. […]
The stress of combat left some soldiers paralyzed, the testimony
shows. Troops, traumatized by the rising violence and feeling
constantly under siege, grew increasingly twitchy, killing more
and more civilians in accidental encounters. Others became so
desensitized and inured to the killing that they fired on Iraqi
civilians deliberately while their fellow soldiers snapped
pictures, and were court-martialed. The bodies piled up at a time
when the war had gone horribly wrong.
Galaxy Nexus Launches Tomorrow on Verizon for $299 ★
Has Google ever released sales figures for the Nexus phones? Doesn’t seem to me like they’re particularly big sellers, even though year-after-year they’re widely reviewed as the best Android phones on the market. I spent a few minutes playing with Topolsky’s Galaxy Nexus in the On The Verge green room; some of the text editing improvements in Android 4.0 alone make it quite obviously the best Android phone in the world. But will people line up for this? Is there any Android phone that people will line up for? I point this out not to mock or make fun, but simply as an observation of how profoundly different the Android and iOS markets are. This is the Android equivalent of the iPhone 4S — the newest OS, the most features, the leading-est-edge hardware.
Also interesting to observe how Android phones have evolved in a decidedly-iPhone-like direction. The 2008 G1 had a hardware keyboard; a hardware up/down/left/right controller for moving the insertion point in text and navigating menus; dedicated hardware buttons for Menu, Home, Search, and Back; and SD card storage expansion. All of these things were held up by some critics as advantages against the iPhone. Today’s Galaxy Nexus has none of these things. (It still has a removable battery, though — does anyone want to take a bet that next year’s Nexus Whatever does not?) The biggest anti-iPhone difference in Android evolution is the ever-increasing size of the displays — the Galaxy Nexus’s measures 4.65 inches diagonally — and the corresponding increase in the overall size of the hardware.
But: the iPhone copied Android’s pull-from-the-top notification list. So it’s all even.
ReadWriteWeb Acquired by Say Media; Hires Dan Frommer as ‘Editor-at-Large’ ★
Say Media is the new incarnation of Six Apart. Frommer says this is not the end of SplatF — his new gig at ReadWriteWeb is in addition to SplatF, not a replacement or acquisition. Erick Schonfeld at TechCrunch reports the deal was for about $5 million.
I’ll tell you what sets off my spidey sense, though: the way Say Media wants you to spell the “say” in all caps.
Process Now Universal ★
Speaking of native apps, remember last week’s DF sponsor, Process — a photo filtering/adjustment app for the iPad? As of yesterday, it’s now a universal app for the iPhone, too. It’s apps like Process that make today’s camera market so fascinating. The sensors and lenses of dedicated point-and-shoot cameras remain superior to those in smartphones, but, smartphones can run real photo editing apps right on the device itself. Use a “camera” and you still need a computer to tweak or share your photos. Use a smartphone and you can do it all right there.
Instagram is more fun for me than anything else in photography today. Process is a good way to tweak photos for Instagram — or any other way you might want to share directly from your phone — without the schtick of faux-retro toy camera effects. Here’s the neat living-in-the-future thing: when you save a set of adjustments as a new custom process, it gets synced across your devices via iCloud. Save a new process on your iPhone, and that process is available on your iPad. Just like that. $3 on the App Store.
Dave Winer on Apps and the Web ★
I’m talking about the newspaper or magazine that, when you click
on a link to go to one of their articles, puts up an
interstitial telling you that you could read the article in
their app instead. Initially, I installed one or two of these. The
other day I installed a big comprehensive one from Google.
Flipboard is the original one of these reading environments that
is not the web. The NY Times has a slow buggy huge app for reading
I think Winer’s piece yesterday was almost completely misunderstood. There are people taking extreme positions on this: those who believe native apps will replace the web, and on the other side, those who think we’ll eventually use nothing but browser-based web apps. Winer isn’t arguing that.
Some things work best on the web. Some things work best in native apps. And as Brent Simmons writes, they’re getting intermingled in interesting ways. I love native apps, but almost everything I read other than books, I read on the web. I make my living writing for the web. But a lot of what I read on the web I read in web views inside native apps like Tweetbot.
Maybe someday there will be a Daring Fireball app, but I still haven’t thought of a reason to make one that would be better than just reading DF on the web.
Samsung Exec Says Apple Made Galaxy Tab a ‘Household Name’ ★
Asher Moses, interviewing Samsung’s Australian chief for The Sydney Morning Herald:
But when asked whether the court action — which Apple launched
after claiming Samsung “slavishly copied” its iPad — was the best
marketing Samsung could hope for, McGee was under no illusions
about the boost Apple’s case, and the subsequent media coverage,
“At the end of the day the media awareness certainly made the
Galaxy Tab 10.1 a household name compared to probably what it
would’ve been based on the investment that we would’ve put into it
from a marketing perspective,” he said.
I think he’s right. The overwhelming majority of the media coverage I’ve seen for the Galaxy Tab is related to Apple’s various lawsuits. I’ve still never seen a single person using one in the wild, so I don’t think it’s helping Samsung sell tablets, but I don’t think there can be any argument that it’s raised overall awareness that the Galaxy Tabs even exist.
John Lasseter on Steve Jobs ★
John Lasseter, in Time magazine:
A few months later, Apple bought NeXT, and Steve sat me down at
Pixar and asked my permission to go back to Apple. He didn’t want
to do it without our blessing. He said he wanted to go back
because the world would be a better place with Apple in it. That
was incredibly touching to me, and it showed that Steve cared
about people. He knew that his products and technology could
improve people’s lives.
Today in Dishonest Fox News Charts ★
I’m sure this was an honest mistake.
Barry Schwartz on the Paradox of Choice ★
Worth a re-link: Barry Schwartz at TED on the paradox of choice.
ReadWriteWeb: ‘6 Mobile Malware Trends for 2012’ ★
Would this not be more accurate if headlined “6 Android Malware Trends for 2012”? These damn malware facts have an anti-Android bias.
Daniel Craig on ‘Quantum of Solace’ ★
Daniel Craig, in an interview with Time Out London:
Q: It seems that the script is sometimes an after-thought on huge
A: ‘Yes and you swear that you’ll never get involved with shit
like that, and it happens. On “Quantum”, we were fucked. We had
the bare bones of a script and then there was a writers’ strike
and there was nothing we could do. We couldn’t employ a writer
to finish it. I say to myself, “Never again”, but who knows?
There was me trying to rewrite scenes — and a writer I am
That explains a lot.
Too Many Choices ★
Interesting interview with Sheena Iyengar:
About 60% of the people stopped when we had 24 jams on display,
and then at the times when we had 6 different flavors of jam out
on display only 40% of the people actually stopped, so more people
were clearly attracted to the larger varieties of options, but
then when it came down to buying, so the second thing we looked at
is in what case were people more likely to buy a jar of jam.
What we found was that of the people who stopped when there were
24 different flavors of jam out on display only 3% of them
actually bought a jar of jam, whereas of the people who stopped
when there were 6 different flavors of jam 30% of them actually
bought a jar of jam. So, if you do the math, people were actually
6 times more likely to buy a jar of jam if they had encountered 6
than if they encountered 24, so what we learned from this study
was that while people were more attracted to having more options,
that’s what sort of got them in the door or got them to think
about jam, when it came to choosing time they were actually less
likely to make a choice if they had more to choose from than if
they had fewer to choose from.
Think about this in the context of, say, Apple Stores.
(Would it have killed them to add a few paragraph breaks to the transcript, though?)
Louis C.K. Answering Questions on Reddit ★
Fascinating, wide-ranging group interview with Louis C.K. Here’s a bit regarding piracy and bootlegging:
To steal from someone and not feel bad, you either have to be a
sociopath or view the act differently. One way is to remove
“Someone” from the equation. You’re not stealing from a person.
Big companies do a lot to help people view them as less than
human. I heard a speech by Noam Chomsky who said that corporations
are like super humans. They cannot be hurt like a human can and
they never die. They are not susceptible to scrutiny or
accountability. This makes them more profitable. If companies want
to enjoy these benefits to some degree they have to live with what
else comes with being not human. You miss out on compassion,
forgiveness, camaraderie, empathy, trust all kinds of shit.
Sales Figures From Louis C.K. ★
The show went on sale at noon on Saturday, December 10th. 12 hours
later, we had over 50,000 purchases and had earned $250,000,
breaking even on the cost of production and website. As of Today,
we’ve sold over 110,000 copies for a total of over $500,000. Minus
some money for PayPal charges etc, I have a profit around $200,000
(after taxes $75.58). This is less than I would have been paid by
a large company to simply perform the show and let them sell it to
you, but they would have charged you about $20 for the video. They
would have given you an encrypted and regionally restricted video
of limited value, and they would have owned your private
information for their own use. They would have withheld
international availability indefinitely. This way, you only paid
$5, you can use the video any way you want, and you can watch it
in Dublin, whatever the city is in Belgium, or Dubai. I got paid
nice, and I still own the video (as do you). You never have to
join anything, and you never have to hear from us again.
Sounds like a success. I watched it the other night and it was great. I hope it continues to sell like hotcakes.
Jesse Hollington on Deleting Photos From iCloud Photo Stream ★
Photo Stream as it existed in iOS 5.0 and related iCloud
components was a very simple “push” technology that required
absolutely no tracking or syncing; new photos simply got pushed to
every device after which iOS, iCloud and iPhoto/Aperture could
basically forget about them.
The ability to actually delete photos from a Photo Stream
requires synchronization of existing photo content…. Suddenly
Apple’s iCloud servers and related client components have to keep
track of every photo in the Photo Stream individually so that they
can push delete operations across all devices. Of course it’s not
rocket science, but it does add an extra layer of complexity to
I’m not saying it’s easy. (I try never to make any assumptions about how hard or easy it would be to add any given feature.) What I’m saying is, no matter how hard it was to allow deletion of individual pictures from Photo Stream, it shouldn’t have been released until the delete feature was ready.
On the other hand, that’s the advantage of software over hardware. You can omit an essential feature and then hustle to get it into your first major update. Good luck adding volume buttons to your Kindle Fire.
A Man, a Ball, a Hoop, a Bench (and an Alleged Thread) ★
Wonderful profile of Teller (of Penn and Teller fame), and his The Red Ball trick, by Richard Abowitz for Las Vegas Weekly, back in 2008:
Penn amended Teller’s suggested explanation, offering “Now, here’s
a trick that’s done with a piece of thread” in its place. Suddenly
Penn was happy and excited. There was an idea. “That’s all,”
Teller remembers Penn saying, “Just give them that much. That
gives them so much and puts them on our side. Nobody else in the
world would do that.”
Craftmanship, respect for the audience, and the pursuit of perfection. Years of practice before putting the trick in the act. Then, they introduce the trick by telling you how it’s done. I’ve seen their show twice, including this trick both times. It’s amazing.
Steve Jobs in 1980 ★
Same vision. Same goals. What he was talking about then applies almost completely to what Apple is doing today. (Via Michael B. Johnson.)
I believe that much of the confusion swirls around their efforts
to simplify features that were poorly conceived to begin with.
Moving stuff around on these various screens and giving them
different names isn’t going to solve any real problems for Twitter
or its users.
Couldn’t agree more.
Microsoft Releases Kinectimals for iOS ★
Released last month for the Windows Phone 7, Kinectimals for iOS
devices retains all the functionality of that version, right down
to the ability to transfer your pets back and forth between your
Xbox 360 and your iPhone or iPad.
They also released a Skydrive client app for iOS. I think this is smart.
Paul Graham, back in 2008:
The third cause of trolling is incompetence. If you disagree with
something, it’s easier to say “you suck” than to figure out and
explain exactly what you disagree with. You’re also safe that way
from refutation. In this respect trolling is a lot like graffiti.
Graffiti happens at the intersection of ambition and incompetence:
people want to make their mark on the world, but have no other way
to do it than literally making a mark on the world.
Nielsen: ‘U.S. Kids Looking Forward to “iHoliday” 2011’ ★
Consistent with U.S. kids’ 2010 wish lists, the Apple iPad is the
most desired consumer electronic among kids ages 6-12 for holiday
2011. In fact, the iPad increases its stronghold, with nearly half
(44%) of kids expressing interest in the product, up from 31
percent in 2010. Two other popular Apple devices — iPod Touch
(30%) and iPhone (27%) — round out kids’ top three, with
computers and other tablet brands each appealing to a quarter of
Seems to me Apple is doing pretty well in the youth market.
How to Properly Use Apple’s Guidance to Accurately Forecast Earnings ★
Andy Zaky explains in painstaking detail how to do what almost no professional Wall Street analysts actually do: accurately predict Apple’s finances. This is what you call “showing your work”. Bottom line:
Over the past several years, and especially after undergoing a
major accounting change in fiscal Q1 2010, Apple has consistently
reported a quarterly revenue number that was precisely 12-18%
above its revenue guidance. Regardless of how rosy or conservative
the Wall Street consensus happens to be, regardless of what
Business Insider has to say about the Android destroying iPhone
sales, regardless of all of the channel checks, Gartner & IDC
research data, Comscore, NPD data, and the supply chain.
Regardless of rumors of Apple cutting manufacturing orders by 90%
as falsely reported every quarter by the Chinese equivalent of the
National Enquirer, Digitimes. Regardless of all of these reports
that Apple has cut iPhone production by 75%, regardless of
reports, and rumors of reports of Apple’s untimely death.
Regardless of everything you hear from analysts, fund managers
CNBC or anyone else for that matter. The fact remains that Apple
consistently beats its own revenue guidance by the same exact
12-18% every single quarter. The rest is all noise intended to do
nothing else but to distract you.
Tremendously detailed article. Zaky continues to impress.
Thanks to a price cut to $0.99 and the new Twitter launch on
Thursday, Tweetbot has been shooting up the iPhone App Store
charts, according to App Annie. It’s currently the no. 34
paid iPhone app, down from no. 16 on Saturday.
Tweetbot has been my iPhone Twitter client of choice for a few months now, but there are others worth looking at if you’re looking for something better than the new official client from Twitter. Off the top of my head: Echofon, Tweetlogix, Osfoora, Twitterrific, and Twittelator Neue are all worthy of attention. Each of those apps strikes me as better-designed than the new Twitter app, and each one of them is better designed than any single Twitter client I’ve ever tried for Android or Windows Phone. The iPhone Twitter client market is an embarrassment of riches.
Nokia, iPhone, Android and Wishful Thinking ★
I co-incidentally happen to be in Helsinki, a few miles away from
Nokia’s global headquarters in Espoo, Finland. Walking around the
downtown (where I am staying), I have seen many more iPhones than
Nokia phones. And most of the startup people I met have some
variation of the iPhone. One of them who is still in college told
me that Nokia gave him one of their new phones, and he decided to
use it as a way to support his nation’s largest employer. A month
later, he switched back to the iPhone. Ouch! When you can’t give
away your phones to your own “youth,” it is time to stop hating on
other platforms and look for ways to get people to use your
Damn these facts and their pro-Apple bias.
Amazon’s Jungle Logic ★
Like just about everybody I’ve talked to about it, I first
attributed Amazon’s price-comparison app to arrogance and
malevolence, but there’s also something bizarrely clumsy and
wrong-footed about it. Critics may appear weak today, but they may
not be tomorrow, and if the wind shifts, Amazon’s ham-fisted
strategy has the potential to morph into a genuine Occupy Amazon
App Developers Betting on iOS Over Android ★
Data from Flurry Analytics:
Anecdotally, developers consistently tell us that they make more
money on iOS, about three to four times as much. To be sure, we
pulled a sample of in-app purchase data from a set of top apps
with versions on both iOS and Android, comprising several
million daily active users (DAUs). Running the numbers, we find
that, on average, for every $1.00 generated on iOS, the same app
will generate $0.24 on Android.
The facts have a pro-Apple bias.
Elevation Dock ★
Kickstarter campaign by Casey Hopkins for an exquisitely well-crafted, beautiful, useful iPhone dock. I’m in.
Jonathan Chait on Paul Krugman ★
The most remarkable attribute Krugman has brought to the Times is
rudeness. The social niceties that accompany his exalted position
are utterly lost on him. He does not seek out the company of
famous politicians and cannot be courted with flattery or access.
He understands that you can’t arrive at truth without explaining
why mistaken beliefs are wrong.
Nokia Exec: ‘Youth Are Pretty Much Fed Up With iPhones’ ★
In an exclusive interview with Pocket-lint, Niels Munksgaard,
director of Portfolio, Product Marketing & Sales at Nokia
Entertainment Global explained all:
“What we see is that youth are pretty much fed up with iPhones.
Everyone has the iPhone,” he said. “Also, many are not happy with
the complexity of Android and the lack of security. So we do
increasing see that the youth that wants to be on the cutting edge
and try something new are turning to the Windows phone platform.”
I’m reminded of HTC Americas president Martin Fichter, who claimed in September that his daughter’s friends at Reed College carry HTC and Samsung devices, and “none of them has an iPhone” because they’re not cool anymore.
I’m also reminded of this quip from Yankee legend Yogi Berra: “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
Don’t Be a Free User ★
Maciej Ceglowski on the pattern of free-of-charge web services getting popular and then cashing out and shutting down:
What if a little site you love doesn’t have a business model? Yell
at the developers! Explain that you are tired of good projects
folding and are willing to pay cash American dollar to prevent
that from happening. It doesn’t take prohibitive per-user revenue
to put a project in the black. It just requires a number greater
Smallworks Brickcase ★
Speaking of indie hardware products designed and made in the U.S.A., here’s another one I’ve linked to before but which is worthy of a re-link as we reach the homestretch of the holiday shopping season. The Brickcase is a Lego-compatible case for the iPhone 4/4S, and, now, for the iPod Touch too. A very fun idea, and really well-made.
Studio Neat ★
I’ve linked to the Glif a few times before — it’s my favorite iPhone 4 propper-upper/tripod thingamajig. The guys behind it have a few new products now: a deluxe “Glif+” package and the Cosmonaut, a wide-grip stylus for the iPad and other touchscreens. Great stocking stuffers, designed and manufactured right here in the U.S.A.
360° Gyroscope-Enabled Panoramic Photo of Grand Central Apple Store ★
Visit Apple’s web page for the new Grand Central Terminal store using an iOS device, tap “View More Photos”, and the last photo in the gallery is a stunning panoramic photo that you navigate using the gyroscope of the device. Amazing. (Via The Next Web.)
Mac App Store Download Numbers ★
Apple yesterday announced that the Mac App Store has crossed the 100 million download mark. Jim Dalrymple reports:
Apple confirmed for me today that those 100 million downloads do
not include downloads for its newest operating system OS X Lion.
The figure also doesn’t include updates to apps delivered to users
from the Mac App Store.
Finally, the figure doesn’t include apps that users downloaded to
other authorized Macs. Can you imagine what that figure would be
if all of those numbers were included?
iOS 5.1 Beta 2 Enables Photo Stream Photo Deletion ★
Real artists ship, yada yada yada, but I think the way that Photo Stream shipped without the ability to delete photos from it is one of the oddest omissions in recent Apple history. Accidentally post something to Photo Stream that you don’t want there, and the only solution in iOS 5.0 is to delete your entire Photo Stream.
On the Tab Labels in the New Twitter ★
Connect and Discover are the ones I like least, since they
sound as if they weren’t decided upon by designers but by a murder
of marketing executives perched around a big table. Both are
too-abstract Latin words with the blood sucked out of them.
Spelling Question ★
Take the blog Daring Fireball. It offers some solid analysis. But
in the end it’s a fanboi site, assailing the misinformed or
pointing out how wrong or disliked the Android competition is.
That kind of attitude gets in the way of informed insight.
I have a serious question. Why spell it fanboi? Is that like fanboy but also gay?
Apple Preps iOS Accessory Makers for Bluetooth 4.0 ★
We’re told that Apple wants to see a new wave of app-based
accessories using the new Bluetooth Low Energy profile in
Bluetooth 4.0, with a particular focus on next-generation health
and fitness gadgets like the FitBit Ultra and Jawbone Up. We’re
also told Apple is making it easier to for MFI accessories to
connect to Wi-Fi networks by automatically pulling the appropriate
configuration information from your iOS device over Bluetooth or
the docking cable — all you have to do is approve the request and
your accessory will hop online without any extra effort. That’ll
make configuring AirPlay docks and other Wi-Fi-based iOS
accessories much, much simpler in the future — right now they all
involve a fair bit of effort.
If I were a betting man, I’d wager heavily on this Bluetooth accessory stuff being used heavily for Apple TV, too.
FBI Says Carrier IQ May Be Used in ‘Law Enforcement Proceedings’ ★
After a video surfaced that seemed to show the software logging
keystrokes and monitoring data traffic on the more than 140
million phones on which it’s installed by default, Morisy had asked the
Bureau for any “manuals, documents or other written guidance
used to access or analyze data gathered by programs developed or
deployed by Carrier IQ.”
The FBI responded that the material couldn’t be provided, and
cited an exemption to the Freedom of Information law for
situations in which handing over documents “could reasonably be
expected to interfere with law enforcement proceedings.”
Ugh. Not sure how to see this as anything other than confirmation of our worst fears about this Carrier IQ stuff.
On The Verge, Episode 2 ★
I was a guest on the second episode of On The Verge, the talk show hosted by Josh Topolsky. I had a good time, and I think it was a damn good show. The tour of the new Apple Store in Grand Central Terminal is the best coverage of the store I’ve seen, and Topolsky’s remote piece on campus at Microsoft was hilarious.
Not a Good Sign When a Product Is Compared to the Edsel ★
David Streitfeld, reporting for the NYT on customer reaction to the Kindle Fire:
The Kindle Fire, Amazon’s heavily promoted tablet, is less than a
blazing success with many of its early users. The most disgruntled
are packing the device up and firing it back to the retailer. […]
“In less than two weeks, we’re rolling out an over-the-air update
to Kindle Fire,” said Drew Herdener, a company spokesman.
There will be improvements in performance and multitouch
navigation, and customers will have the option of editing the list
of items that show what they have recently been doing. No more
will wives wonder why their husbands were looking at a dating site
when they said they were playing Angry Birds.
The whole article is pretty damning. Does anyone love the Kindle Fire? I got to play with one over the weekend and was not impressed. The sleep/wake button is horrendously placed, everything felt slow and laggy, and the whole home screen concept seems poorly designed.
Google’s Android Revenue ★
Google announced during their third quarter conference call that they’re generating $2.5 billion in mobile revenue. The Macalope, on this being reported as Android generating $2.5 billion in revenue for Google:
“Mobile” does not equal “Android.” Some Android fan sites also
got this wrong, but “mobile” means ad revenue from all mobile
operating systems. Further, because we know that about two
thirds of Google’s mobile ad revenue comes from the iPhone we
can figure that Android is generating at most $833 million in ad
revenue a year for Mountain View. That is, of course, chump change
compared to what Apple makes on the iPhone. Still, Android’s
How Do People Use Apple TV? ★
Strategy Analytics issued a report on the “connected TV market”, predicting 4 million Apple TV sales for 2012. What caught my eye was this:
This report also found that Apple TV users are spending more money
on movies and TV shows: 30 percent of Apple TV owners rented
movies or TV shows, compared to 20 percent of users of other
devices. “Apple is leading this nascent market, which it still
considers a ‘hobby’.” says Jia Wu, Senior Analyst at the Connected
Home Devices (CHD) service.
Only 30 percent? That seems crazy to me. 70 percent of Apple TV owners don’t rent any movies or TV shows? Update: I’m not disputing it. I’m just surprised. And lots of DF readers on Twitter are telling me they use Apple TV just for AirPlay and Netflix streaming.
Louis CK: Live at the Beacon Theater ★
Louis CK — for my money, the funniest comic working today — produced and is hosting his own concert video. “No DRM, no regional restrictions, no crap.” For $5, you download it and it’s yours. Five bucks! The future is disintermediated.
Twitter is trying to de-emphasize private messaging by moving it
a layer deeper in the user interface. I’m guessing there are a
bunch of reasons for this, not limited to: Simplicity, perhaps
relatively low usage by most users, potentially confusing rules
around DMing, and that more public content is probably better for
Twitter’s product and advertising goals. Some long-time and
hardcore Twitter users are probably going to be upset about this,
but one of Twitter’s strengths has always been its willingness to
design for its mainstream users at the expense of its geek users.
Sounds about right. (Not that I’m happy about it personally, but that I agree with his analysis of why Twitter is de-emphasizing private messaging.)
You can look at the changes on Twitter similarly to the advent of
a graphical user interface that made its debut in early-1980s
computers. The design was called WIMP and stood for “windows,
icons, menus and pointers.” Before WIMP, the only way to use a
computer was by writing code, something most people couldn’t even
After this major change in computing, programmers could still
interact with the computer by writing code, but mere mortal humans
could now interact with the computer through a graphical interface
that wasn’t as intimidating. Twitter’s new design does the same
thing for users who are afraid of the @ and # symbols. They still
exist for people who want access to them, people who don’t
understand these tools can completely ignore them.
Simplification may well be the publicly-stated goal of today’s new Twitter UI. But I don’t buy a word of Bilton’s analysis. The new Twitter UI doesn’t hide @username mentions or #hashtags. They’re all still there. Two of the big icons on the four tabs at the bottom of the screen are “@” and “#”. I totally agree that the way many people — most people? — use Twitter comes across as gibberish. The way people whom I follow use it, though, is what’s actually simple: just write short ideas concisely and clearly.
Maybe today’s new Twitter UI is better for new Twitter users. But even if that’s true, it’s not because it hides @ and # symbols the way that the Mac did away with the code-driven command line. And frankly, I don’t buy that’s simpler at all. In the old Twitter, you saw only what you asked to be shown (by following people). Now, they’re showing you all sorts of things you never asked for and can’t control.
Episode 70 of America’s favorite numismatics podcast, The Talk Show. Topics include Carrier IQ, getting rid of the U.S. penny, Starbucks, Apple’s Grand Central Terminal store, The Verge, Johnny Carson and David Letterman, the Apple TV rumors, and more.
Brought to you by the fine folks at Squarespace and Smile Software.
Nintendo’s Miyamoto Stepping Down as Game Design Chief to Work on Smaller Games ★
Chris Kohler, Wired:
“Inside our office, I’ve been recently declaring, ‘I’m going to
retire, I’m going to retire,’” Shigeru Miyamoto said through his
interpreter. “I’m not saying that I’m going to retire from game
development altogether. What I mean by retiring is, retiring from
my current position.”
“What I really want to do is be in the forefront of game
development once again myself,” Miyamoto said. “Probably working
on a smaller project with even younger developers. Or I might be
interested in making something that I can make myself, by myself.
Something really small.”
Is there any other artist who is more universally agreed-upon to be the best who ever worked in their field? We could argue all day about the best-ever filmmaker, novelist, painter, or musical act. I don’t think you can argue with Miyamoto being the best-ever video game designer.
What Eric Schmidt Actually Said About Developing for Android First ★
Speaking of Eric Schmidt, it ends up CNet’s Stephen Shankland misquoted him yesterday. Schmidt did not say:
Whether you like Android or not, you will support that platform,
and maybe you’ll even deliver it first.
His actual words were:
Whether you like ICS or not, and again I like it a great deal, you
will want to develop for that platform, and perhaps even first.
I’m disappointed that Shankland got the quote slightly wrong, but, I think what Schmidt actually said fits even better with my analysis of what he meant — that sheer unit sale numbers alone will make developers want to support Android first. Numbers alone don’t explain iOS’s developer support. As Anil Dash pointed out last night, Symbian remains the world’s most-used smartphone OS. Unit numbers haven’t helped them.
‘It’s a Key-Logger’ ★
Reuters, reporting on Eric Schmidt’s comments on Carrier IQ:
Schmidt said: “Android is an open platform, so it’s possible for
people to build software that’s actually not very good for you,
and this appears to be one.”
“It’s a key-logger, and it actually does keep your keystrokes, and
we certainly don’t work with them and we certainly don’t support
it,” he told an Internet freedom conference in the Dutch city of
I think “It’s a key-logger” is at best a gross over-simplification of what Carrier IQ is, but that sure is a hell of a thing for the chairman of Google to say about it.
Google Currents ★
New from Google: their long-rumored Flipboard ______. Feel free to fill in the blank with your choice of competitor or rip-off.
Update: It’s US-only, at least for now. I guess that’s what happens when you work with big corporate media “partners”, but it sure leaves a bad taste in the mouth. The future of media is not about geographical restrictions.
Carrier IQ Interview ★
Speaking of good work from The Verge, Sean Hollister and Dieter Bohn conducted a lengthy interview with Carrier IQ vice president Andrew Coward.
My takeaway is that they’re taking a sort of “Guns don’t kill people; people with guns kill people” defense — that Carrier IQ doesn’t log or transmit keystrokes, messages, and visited URLs; carriers and phone makers misusing Carrier IQ tools do those things.
Republican-Backed Bill Would Allow Telemarketers to Call Cell Phones ★
Although telemarketers have to have “express consent” before they
can call your cell phone, this bill would mean that if you ever
give your phone number when buying anything, you will have given
businesses the ability to call you endlessly — and use up minutes
you paid for.
Android: A Visual History ★
Almost unbelievably comprehensive look at the history of the Android platform, by Chris Ziegler at The Verge. Not only is it good work, but it’s presented in a perfectly readable single-page view.
The Verge is simply one of the best publications in the world. Period. Nobody is doing stuff like this better than they are.
New from Rogue Amoeba: Piezo, a gorgeous, super-simple $10 audio recording app from Rogue Amoeba. Available from their website, and, in a first for them, from the Mac App Store.
RIM Changes Name of New Operating System ★
Ian Austen, reporting for the NYT:
Less than two months after Research In Motion announced that its
new operating system to revive the BlackBerry brand would be
called BBX, the company has changed its mind. Now, it will be
called BlackBerry 10.
The late change followed the granting of a restraining order on
Tuesday by a federal court in New Mexico to a small
Albuquerque-based software maker, Basis International, that has
long used the name BBx.
Has anything at all — anything — gone right for RIM in the last two years?
It’s the Smiley At the End That Makes It Work ★
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev caused shock and jeers on
Wednesday after an obscene insult directed at political opponents
appeared on his official Twitter feed. […] The offensive post
appeared to have been retweeted on the MedvedevRussia feed at 33
minutes past midnight, according to cached copies of the feed and
a notification of the post received by a Reuters reporter.
“It has become clear that if a person writes the expression ‘party
of swindlers and thieves’ in their blog then they are a stupid
sheep getting fucked in the mouth :)” the post read.
Don’t Get Too Specific, There ★
Reuters, “Verizon Wireless Blames Technical Issue for Outage”:
Verizon Wireless blamed technical problems for an outage on its
recently launched high-speed, 4G network, which prevented some
U.S. customers from accessing the Internet for about 24 hours.
What else could it have been? A prank? A magic spell?
Eric Schmidt: Google TV on ‘Majority’ of New TVs by Summer 2012 ★
Jeff Blagdon, writing for The Verge:
Eric Schmidt thinks his company is doing great — much better than
we had even realized. Onstage at LeWeb in Paris this afternoon,
Google’s Executive Chairman told the audience that, “By the summer
of 2012, the majority of the televisions you see in stores will
have Google TV embedded.” The claim would seem to run counter to
mixed reviews, disappointing sales numbers to date, and the
growth of competing connected TV platforms. Perhaps Schmidt
knows something we don’t?
Maybe he’s high? Are there any TVs for sale today with Google TV embedded?
Update: Sony has them, with that great remote control.
‘Whether You Like Android or Not’ ★
Marco Arment, on Eric Schmidt’s “Whether you like Android or not, you will support that platform” comment:
Is that a prediction or a threat?
If it’s a threat, I don’t think he meant it as a threat from Google, but rather a threat from Schmidt’s assumed laws of economics: that to avoid Android will be to assure irrelevance.
Is he implying that Android is widely disliked, and it doesn’t
matter to him?
I can’t see any way to read his remarks other than as an acknowledgement that Android is widely disliked by developers, and that he doesn’t mind this because he doesn’t think it matters. Numbers are all that matter. If Android is shipping on the most handsets then Android is winning, period.
Why does Google let Eric Schmidt speak publicly? Has it ever
turned out well?
I think he was just trying to be honest, and that he honestly believes that numbers alone will win the day for Android. It’s easy to refute this, though. Developers aren’t focusing on iOS first only at the expense of Android. Many developers are focusing on iOS first at the expense of all other platforms — including two platforms which have far greater numbers than iOS or Android: Windows and the web. Of course that’s not true for all developers, but it’s true for many of the hottest ones. The big news today was Flipboard expanding its platform support — from the iPad to the iPhone. We used to think of social networks as websites, but that’s just because all the early ones were web-first. Now, social networks are launching iPhone-first: Instagram, Path, and Stamped, for example.
Windows didn’t win developer support two decades ago because it had the numbers. It got the numbers because it had the developer support. I think Schmidt has the cause and effect backwards.
Ice Cream Sandwich: From Source Code Release to Software Upgrade ★
Sony Ericsson company weblog post explaining the exact same thing as the aforelinked one from Motorola: why it will be months from now, at the earliest, before any of their phones get Android 4.0.
Motorola Update on Ice Cream Sandwich ★
Motorola company weblog post explaining why it will be months from now, at the earliest, before any of their phones get an upgrade to Android 4.0.
LG Nitro HD ★
From David Pierce’s review of the LG Nitro HD Android phone:
There’s one big, huge, giant tradeoff to using an LTE handset, and
that’s battery life — if you’re using LTE with any kind of
regularity, the battery meter can barely go down fast enough. I’ve
never gotten a full day’s battery life out of the Nitro HD, even
when not using it regularly; the phone seems to lose its battery
even while in standby, which means leaving it unplugged overnight
is going to make for a rude awakening (or a missed one, if your
phone dies) in the morning. Using Wi-Fi whenever possible largely
solves this problem, but it also defeats the point of LTE. When
you do use it regularly, beware: streaming a 20-minute episode of
Arrested Development lopped 12 percent off my phone’s battery.
There’s no way to toggle LTE on the device itself, but third-party
developers have made apps that do so for other phones, so keep
your fingers crossed that one comes for the Nitro too.
It sucks your battery continuously, even while idle, and you can’t turn it off. But it’s fast. I can’t think of a single paragraph that better encapsulates the difference in mindsets between Android phone makers and Apple.
As usual for The Verge, the video review is excellent. Gives you a good idea of what the hardware (chintzy to my eyes, other than the display) and software (god-awful) actually look like.
Eric Schmidt: ‘Android Is Ahead of the iPhone Now’ ★
Speaking of people upset by developers favoring iOS over Android, here’s Eric Schmidt, speaking at the LeWeb conference in Paris:
“Ultimately, application vendors are driven by volume, and volume
is favored by the open approach Google is taking. There are so
many manufacturers working to deliver Android phones globally,”
Schmidt said. “Whether you like Android or not, you will support
that platform, and maybe you’ll even deliver it first.”
[Update: Schmidt was slightly misquoted above. What he actually said was, “Whether you like ICS or not, and again I like it a great deal, you will want to develop for that platform, and perhaps even first.”]
“Whether you like Android or not, you will support that platform” sounds a little arrogant, but maybe that’s just me. But it got me thinking. Maybe “whether you like Android or not” is exactly wrong. I think maybe the biggest reason iOS has such strong developer support is that developers like iOS. They use and prefer iPhones and iPads personally, they like Cocoa, and they like the App Store.
The sheer number of Android phones being sold does matter, but I don’t think it’s enough. Developers were clamoring to write iPhone apps before Apple even announced that they were going to allow it.
One Android-toting audience member said he was frustrated to see
iOS apps beating Android versions to market. But in part because
of Ice Cream Sandwich, “my prediction is that six months from now
you’ll say the opposite,” Schmidt said.
Microsoft Releases Xbox Live App for iOS ★
What I find interesting is that on the iPhone and iPad, it doesn’t feel wrong to see an app using the Metro UI. Whereas a Mac app that looked and felt as Windows-y as this app feels Metro-y would feel like nails on a chalkboard. I think it has something to do with every app being full-screen and immersive on iOS. Also: the fact that Metro is nice.
(Funny to read the comments on this post from Android users. E.g. “iOS before larger market share Android? LAME.”)
5 Minutes on The Verge: Paul Thurrott ★
Interesting interview by Thomas Houston:
Q: Is Ballmer still the man for the job?
A: No, and Ballmer was never the right man for the job, which
pains me to say because I really like the guy. Microsoft is an
engineering driven company, and it needs a voice at the top who
understands this world, and not a salesman. My vote is for
I agree. And I agree about this too:
To use Steve Jobs’ terms, Windows on ARM is a car and Windows on
Intel is a truck. If Microsoft is successful in this transition,
ARM becomes the volume version of Windows and the company splits
the market for “mainstream computing devices” somewhat evenly with
iOS and Android. If not, Microsoft is relegated to the truck
market. Or what we might call the business PC market.
Silk (Slightly) Faster With Cloud Acceleration Turned Off? ★
Interesting tablet browser benchmarks from Steve Souders. Ends up Silk is slightly faster with Amazon’s touted cloud acceleration turned off:
The test results show that some of the obvious optimizations, such
as concatenating scripts, aren’t happening when acceleration is
on. I expect we’ll see more optimizations rolled out during the
Silk release cycle, just as we do for other browsers.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Souders is right, that the cloud acceleration just isn’t doing enough yet.
Flipboard for iPhone ★
Windows Store Revenue Split ★
The revenue share base is 70%, but when an app achieves $25K USD
in revenue — aggregated across all sales in every market — that
app moves to 80% revenue share for the lifetime of that app.
So, once an app establishes a bit of success, we increase the
revenue share to 80% to reflect and reward that success.
So they are undercutting Apple on the revenue split here.
We have full platform support for free apps, trials (both
time-based and feature-based trials) and paid apps, including
in-app purchase. […]
I sure hope Apple is working on a way to enable free trials. The way it works on Windows Phone is great.
That said, developers can also choose to manage their customer
transactions directly, for example, with newspaper subscriptions,
or to adopt a business model with offline fulfillment, such as for
auctions. We don’t mandate a specific transaction engine and
developers can use their own.
Another big difference from Apple. I wonder though, with the various antitrust agreements Microsoft has made around the world, whether they could even consider an Apple-style “if you use our store, all transactions must go through us” policy.
Microsoft Previews Windows Store ★
Ina Fried, live-blogging from yesterday’s announcement event:
Microsoft has shipped 500 million Windows PCs since Windows 7
shipped, compared with 247 million Android devices, 152 million
iOS devices and 30 million Macs. “The reach of Windows is just so
much bigger,” he says, noting that all of those rivals combined
don’t add up to the number of Windows machines sold. “That’s what
you get to participate in by developing Metro-style Windows apps.”
Kind of stunning that iOS is even that close. Think of it this way: iOS is five times bigger than the Mac, and only slightly under a third the size of Windows.
Leblond said the goal was to return the most money to developers.
Pricing can be from $1.49 to $999.99. “A thousand bucks is just
too much for an app,” he says.
Curious that they start at $1.49 rather than 99 cents. (Apple doesn’t hold a patent on that, do they?)
On the Impracticality of a Cheeseburger ★
A cheeseburger cannot exist outside of a highly developed,
post-agrarian society. It requires a complex interaction between a
handful of vendors — in all likelihood, a couple of dozen — and
the ability to ship ingredients vast distances while keeping them
fresh. The cheeseburger couldn’t have existed until nearly a
century ago as, indeed, it did not.
Love the Sagan quote at the end.
BP Says Halliburton ‘Intentionally Destroyed Evidence’ After Gulf Oil Spill ★
Not sure how I missed this before:
I made this little program so you can view and link to a whole
conversation from Twitter in context.
Example. Pretty sure I prefer this to the aforelinked Exquisite Tweets in every way — especially in terms of information density in the display.
I’ve been looking for something like this, so I could link from DF to an interesting multi-tweet discussion on Twitter:
Paste in the URL from a single tweet in a conversation to get a
one-page thread you can share or save.
My biggest gripe is the display is so sparse. I’d much prefer a layout that packs more tweets into each screen. (Via Justin Blanton.)
Update: Aaron Swartz’s Twitter Viewer is better.
Latest Version ★
Matt Gemmell, on the question of how far back iOS developers should go in terms of supporting older releases:
But when people ask how many OS versions they should support in
their new app (which they do, often), they’re not looking for a
common-sense and at least reasonably evidence-based answer like
that. Instead, they’re looking for this answer:
It’s OK to support only the newest version of the OS.
That’s what they want to hear. Honestly, I think it might even be
true, but I know that we all want it to be true. So to help you to
convince yourself, here are the relevant arguments conveniently
collected in one place.
It’ll be interesting to see how iOS 5’s long-awaited over-the-air software updates affect the new OS adoption rate.
Why Android’s UI Is Laggy Compared to iOS and Windows Phone ★
Interesting technical look at the design of Android’s graphics and event processing by Andrew Munn, trying to explain why it feels so laggy compared to iOS and Windows Phone:
Android UI will never be completely smooth because of the design
constraints I discussed at the beginning:
- UI rendering occurs on the main thread of an app
- UI rendering has normal priority
[…] This is the same reason why Windows Mobile 6.5, Blackberry OS,
and Symbian have terrible touch screen performance. Like Android,
they were not designed to prioritize UI rendering. Since the
iPhone’s release, RIM, Microsoft, and Nokia have abandoned their
mobile OS’s and started from scratch. Android is the only mobile
OS left that existed pre-iPhone.
I hadn’t really thought about it in those terms before, but I think he’s right. Symbian and the old BlackBerry OS aren’t gone yet, but they’ve been deprecated by Nokia and RIM in favor of OSes designed post-iPhone.
Also funny to see in the comments a few Android fans denying that Android is laggy. “I don’t mind Android’s relative UI lagginess because of X, Y, and Z other things that Android does better than any other mobile OS” is a reasonable stance. “It is a myth that Android has issues with lagginess and UI responsiveness” is not.
Siri Wish List ★
Good list of suggestions from Lex Friedman and Dan Moren. (Via Mat Honan, who suggests turn-by-turn navigation as another.)
Time Ducks Video Game Trailer ★
Terrific homage to Kubrick’s groundbreaking trailer for Dr. Strangelove. (Via J.C. Hutchins.)
Android Phone Name Generator ★
Even this thing couldn’t come up with a name as dumb as “Xyboard”.
CNet Is Bundling Open Source Software With Malware ★
“Fyodor”, on a mailing list for developers of the open source Nmap app:
I’ve just discovered that C|Net’s Download.Com site has started
wrapping their Nmap downloads (as well as other free software like
VLC) in a trojan installer which does things like installing a
sketchy “StartNow” toolbar, changing the user’s default search
engine to Microsoft Bing, and changing their home page to
The way it works is that C|Net’s download page (screenshot
attached) offers what they claim to be Nmap’s Windows installer.
They even provide the correct file size for our official
installer. But users actually get a Cnet-created trojan installer.
That program does the dirty work before downloading and executing
Nmap’s real installer.
Some of the programs the installer puts on your system are identified as malware by McAfee and F-Secure. Isn’t this sort of crap exactly what Download.com was started for? To serve as a place from which Windows users could trust what they download? Shameful.
LG XNote Z330 ★
Reminds me of something I’ve seen before. Can’t quite put my finger on it.
Why Siri Had to Start in Beta ★
I worked on speech recognition with IBM Research for nearly six
years. We participated in DARPA-sponsored research projects,
fields trials, and actual product development for various
applications: dictation, call centers, automotive, even a
classroom assistant for the hearing-impaired. The basic story was
always the same: get us more data! (data being in this case
transcribed speech recordings). There is even a saying in the
speech community: “there is no data like more data”. Some
researchers have argued that most of the recent improvements in
speech recognition accuracy can be credited to having more and
better data, not to better algorithms.
Astronomers Find Biggest Black Holes Yet ★
Dennis Overbye, reporting for the NYT:
Astronomers are reporting that they have taken the measure of the
biggest, baddest black holes yet found in the universe, abyssal
yawns 10 times the size of our solar system into which billions of
Suns have vanished like a guilty thought.
Maybe RIM can shoot those unsold PlayBooks into one of them.
Why Europe’s Trustbusters Targeted Apple’s E-Book ‘Cartel’ ★
The language of the European Commission’s press release Tuesday
announcing the start of a formal antitrust investigation of Apple
and five major book publishers doesn’t address the obvious
question: If Amazon is the 500-lbs. gorilla in the e-book trade,
why has Apple’s much smaller iBookstore been targeted?
Bottom-line: the EU thinks the “agency model” constitutes illegal price-fixing.
Facebook Flaw Allows Access to Private Photos ★
There’s still never been a better time to not have a Facebook account.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words ★
(Google’s specific statement, when I emailed: ”Verizon asked us
not to include this functionality in the product.” Verizon didn’t
immediately get back to me with an explanation, but it’s easy to
speculate that this has something to do with Verizon’s own
projects in mobile payments, namely Isis.)
In a twist of irony, or maybe just a coincidence, that new phone
— the Galaxy Nexus — runs on the very Verizon network that
Google fought to keep open. But now Google is the one helping deny
consumers access to a cool new application.
This is neither irony nor coincidence. This is hypocrisy, pure and simple.
Kodak’s Long Fade to Black ★
Michael Hiltzik, for the LA Times:
Once ranked among the bluest of blue chips, Kodak shares sell
today at close to $1. Kodak’s chairman has been denying that the
company is contemplating a bankruptcy filing with such vehemence
that many believe Chapter 11 must lurk just around the corner.
The Rochester, N.Y., company said it had $862 million in cash on
hand as of Sept. 30, but at the rate it’s losing money from
operations (more than $70 million a month), that hoard would
barely last a year. As for future revenue, it’s banking heavily
on winning patent lawsuits against Apple and the maker of
A sad, ignominious end to a once-great company. (Via Stephen Hackett.)
Motorola Xyboard 8.2 and 10.1 ★
Joanna Stern, The Verge:
Verizon has just officially announced that its version of the Xoom
2 and Xoom 2 Media Edition — the poorly-named Droid Xyboard 8.2
and 10.1 — will be hitting this month. However, like the original
Xoom, you’re looking at a two-year contract and some rather high
pricing. The 16GB model of the 8.2 will go for $430 while the
Xyboard 10.1 will hit for $530. Those prices are not only higher
than the UKs Wi-Fi-only offerings, but you’ve also got to commit
to two years of Verizon service, which is a minimum of $30 a month
for 2GB of data.
Good luck with that.
In better news, Verizon is promising that both tablets will be
upgradeable to Android 4.0, though it isn’t committing to a
timeline on that.
Of course not.
Analyst Shaw Wu: RIM ‘Blindsided’ by Kindle Fire Pricing ★
What exactly has RIM actually been prepared for in the last five years? Remember this one, where they thought the iPhone was impossible after Steve Jobs unveiled it?
TSA Strip Searches ★
Ken Kaye, reporting for the South Florida Sun-Sentinal:
Three South Florida women, all elderly and with medical problems,
say Transportation Security Administration officers made them take
off their clothes during the screening process at New York’s John
F. Kennedy International Airport last week.
All three, one with a defibrillator, one with a colostomy bag and
the other with diabetes, say they were forced to disrobe in a
private room at the same terminal.
Errors in Redaction ★
Dan Levin and Carlyn Kolker, reporting for Reuters:
In her 65-page ruling denying Apple’s request for a preliminary
injunction against Samsung, Koh attempted to redact nearly two
dozen sentences or short fragments. But because of a formatting
characteristic in the prior electronic version, the redacted
material can be viewed by copying text from the PDF and pasting it
into another document. […]
According to the redacted portions, Apple’s own studies show that
existing customers are unlikely to switch from iPhones to Samsung
devices. Instead, the evidence suggests an increase in sales of
Samsung smartphones is likely to come at the expense of other
smartphones with Android operating systems, Koh wrote.
Nothing shocking about that, but it’s interesting.
In arguing against the injunction, Samsung — which is also a huge
components supplier to Apple — said Apple’s supply cannot keep up
with market demand for smartphone products.
The 2011 Eddys ★
The editors of Macworld choose the best products of 2011. Great selections, as usual.
Kindle Fire Usability ★
The most striking observation from testing the Fire is that
everything is much too small on the screen, leading to frequent
tap errors and accidental activation. You haven’t seen the
fat-finger problem in its full glory until you’ve watched users
struggle to touch things on the Fire. One poor guy spent several
minutes trying to log in to Facebook, but was repeatedly foiled by
accidentally touching the wrong field or button — this on a page
with only 2 text fields and 1 button.
Verizon Is Blocking Google Wallet on Galaxy Nexus ★
But they’re blocking it in an open way, not a closed way.
Macworld/iWorld Early Bird Pricing Ends Today ★
The new iFan Pass is a great idea. One low-cost ticket that grants you access to the Tech Talks (formerly known as the Users Conference), the exhibit show floor, and more. The price goes up from $75 to $100 after today. If you’re going to Macworld/iWorld, this is the pass you probably want, so why not save $25?
(Going to take a while to get used to calling it something other than “Macworld Expo”.)
Browse vs. Search ★
Interesting piece by Bruce Tognazzini on managing the balance between browsing and searching in UI design. Totally agree with this bit on search in iOS Mail:
The Mail search for iOS is hopeless. You have to specify which
folder the message is in. If I knew that, I probably could have
just pawed through that particular folder and found it. Strangely,
the Spotlight search at the Springboard level in the exact same
iOS has no problem searching across all mail folders. Why should
you have to know to avoid the built in search and, instead, leave
Mail, go to the desktop, then to Spotlight, in order to look for
an email? It makes no sense.
Glitch Allows Android Apps to Bug Phone Calls ★
Handsets sold by HTC, Samsung, Motorola, and Google contain code
that exposes powerful capabilities to untrusted apps, scientists
from North Carolina State University said. These “explicit
capability leaks” bypass key security defenses built into Android
that require users to clearly grant permission before an app gets
access to personal information and functions such as text
messaging. The code making the circumvention possible is contained
in interfaces and services the device manufactures add to enhance
the stock firmware supplied by Google.
This doesn’t seem to be getting much attention.
Microsoft Upgrades Xbox Live With 40 Entertainment Services, Live TV, and Kinect Voice Control ★
Dean Takahashi, VentureBeat:
The update will be live on Tuesday for Xbox Live users, and it
will greatly multiply the entertainment options that people have
in their homes, providing access to on-demand TV, movies and
user-generated videos. You can, for instance, get access to 26 TV
channels from Verizon’s FiOS TV services, or the complete library
of 10,000 On Demand movies from Comcast. You can download the new
update in a matter of minutes.
“A lot of people have said they’re going to reinvent television,”
Honey said. “I’m going to say it as well.”
Looks pretty cool.
I Wouldn’t Bet Against This ★
Christopher Soghoian, on Twitter:
Prediction: within 2 weeks, all US carriers will ditch Carrier IQ.
Within 2 months, Carrier IQ will change its name.
The Fed’s $7 Trillion Secret Loan Program ★
Eliot Spitzer on the aforelinked scandal revealed by Bloomberg:
Imagine you walked into a bank, applied for a personal line of
credit, and filled out all the paperwork claiming to have no debts
and an income of $200,000 per year. The bank, based on these
representations, extended you the line of credit. Then, three
years later, after fighting disclosure all the way, you were
forced by a court to tell the truth: At the time you made the
statements to the bank, you actually were unemployed, you had a $1
million mortgage on your house on which you had failed to make
payments for six months, and you hadn’t paid even the minimum on
your credit-card bills for three months. Do you think the bank
would just say: Never mind, don’t worry about it? Of course not.
Whether or not you had paid back the personal line of credit,
three FBI agents would be at your door within hours.
Yet this is exactly what the major American banks have done to
Or, as Jon Stewart asked, “How the fuck is it that Martha Stewart went to jail?”
Secret Fed Loans Gave Banks $13 Billion Undisclosed to Congress ★
Terrific investigative reporting by Bob Ivry, Bradley Keoun, and Phil Kuntz for Bloomberg:
The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two
years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a
secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing.
The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep
they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their
single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of
billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were
assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated
until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by
taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates, Bloomberg
Markets magazine reports in its January issue.
Effectively, the Fed was selling dollar bills for 97 cents. Not to me, not to you, of course. Only to the big banks.
Linens ’n Things ★
Jake Marsh on the inconsistency of Notification Center using the dark linen texture, even though it’s on top, not underneath. Bottom line: if Notification Center is on top, it shouldn’t use dark linen; if it uses dark linen, it should be at layer zero, underneath.
Siri Is Apple’s Broken Promise ★
I’m sorry. Beta? Beta is for Google. When Apple does a public
beta, it usually keeps it out of the hands of the, you know,
public. It typically makes you go get betas. It doesn’t force them
on you, much less advertise them. Not that it is an effective
disclaimer for the vast buying public. For most people who see
Apple’s ads, and buy iPhones, the word beta means nothing at all.
I like Siri, and use it, at least for text dictation, almost every day. But even for me — for whom Siri’s dictation accuracy is remarkably good — the whole thing still isn’t up to Apple’s usual level of fit and finish, not by a long shot.
But I’m still glad it’s there. I think the iPhone 4S is better off with Siri in its current state than it would be if Apple had waited until Siri was further along to release it. And I think part of why they released it as a beta is that it’ll be easier to improve voice recognition while it’s being widely used. But there’s no denying that it’s damn weird for the flagship new feature in Apple’s flagship new product to be so rough around the edges.
Shouldn’t Linen Be Underneath the Home Screen? ★
Concept video by Max Rudberg illustrating a tweak to the iOS 5 Notification Center that I’ve seen many others suggest: pulling the regular screen down, revealing Notification Center underneath, as opposed to pulling Notification Center down over the regular screen. Just seems more consistent with the other ways that the dark linen texture is used.
(Via Shawn Blanc.)
Dell Streak 7 Is Discontinued ★
Calob Horton, writing at StreakSmart:
Well, darn! Usually Fridays are great for everyone, but it looks
like me and the rest of the StreakSmart crew are going to have a
dreaded weekend, as the Dell Streak 7 was quietly discontinued.
This comes not even four months after the Streak 5 was
discontinued, as well.
I bet the guys at StreakSmart regret both halves of their website name.
Justin Williams: On Magazines and the iPad ★
Scathing review of the GQ, Esquire, and Sports Illustrated iPad apps. And he hasn’t even gotten to the actual reading experience yet — only the dismal, frustrating, slow experience of procuring new issues.
Behind RIM’s $485M Write-Off ★
Jean-Louis Gassée on the oddity of RIM’s $485M write-off for unsold PlayBooks:
Second, even if we accept a write-down to zero, 2.4 million
tablets is a strange number. How could RIM have accumulated such
How the iPad 2 Became Harry McCracken’s Favorite Computer ★
I think it’s possible to use an iPad as one’s primary device for
professional-level content creation. Actually, scratch that. I’m
positive it’s possible — because I’ve been doing it for the past
three months, and I’ve been having a really good time.
My thanks to DaisyDisk for sponsoring this week’s DF RSS feed. DaisyDisk is a terrific utility for the Mac. It presents you with a graphical overview of your hard disks, allowing you to easily see what they’re filled with. When you’re low on disk space, DaisyDisk is a great way to find large files that you no longer need.
DaisyDisk is fast, easy-to-use, and looks fantastic. Right now it’s on sale in the Mac App Store for just $9.99 — 50 percent off its regular price.
Facebook Acquires Gowalla ★
So will Foursquare remain independent, or will someone buy them, too?
Related: How to delete your Gowalla account.
Coming Soon to a Trash Dump Near You ★
One million BlackBerry PlayBooks.
Security Researchers Back Carrier IQ ★
Interesting report by David Sarno, writing for the LA Times:
But security researchers have disagreed with conclusions drawn
from Eckhart’s analysis.
“It’s not true,” said Dan Rosenberg, a senior consultant at
Virtual Security Research, who said the video shows only
diagnostic information and at no point provides evidence the data
is stored or sent back to Carrier IQ. […]
Instead, the readouts on Eckhart’s video that occur when he
presses keys are “debugging messages” — informational feedback
meant to help smartphone programmers verify that their
applications are working correctly. In this case, Carrier IQ’s
developers appear to have set up the program to display a
diagnostic message when a key is pressed or when a text message
My question, after reading this: Do other apps on the device have read access to these debugging logs? Can App A read the keystrokes you typed in App B, because behind the scenes Carrier IQ’s daemon was logging those key presses?
Why Siri Can’t Find Abortion Clinics and How It’s Not an Apple Conspiracy ★
Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Watch:
“I’m standing in front of a Planned Parenthood,” the CNN reporter
says, “And Siri can’t find it when I search for abortion clinic.”
No, it can’t. It’s not because Apple is pro-life. It’s because
Planned Parenthood doesn’t call itself an abortion clinic.
Europe Set to Accuse Google of ‘Abuse of Dominance’ ★
The European Commission opened a formal investigation into
allegations that the search giant abused its position as the
leader of the online search market, by unlawfully favouring its
own services over that of rival companies.
Should Google be found to be flouting European antitrust laws, it
could be fined up to 10 percent of its annual turnover — thought
to be in the region of $3 billion (€2.24 bn).
Thomas Q. Brady on Walter Isaacson’s ‘Steve Jobs’ ★
Thomas Q. Brady’s criticism of Isaacson’s biography is spot-on:
When I say “analysis,” I’m not talking about psychology. There’s
plenty of that. Isaacson seems to enjoy pointing out that Jobs
never really overcame the pain of knowing that his parents gave
him up for adoption. But all Isaacson’s armchair, Psychology Today
thinking rendered from the source materials was a self-absorbed,
immature, emotionally unstable control-freak.
There are two reasons that’s a complete shame.
- We already knew that about Steve Jobs.
- I know lots of people that could be described that way (we seem
to have been breeding them in the US over the last couple
(few?) decades), and none of them started a company in their
garage that became one of the most valued corporations in the
What made Jobs different? This isn’t really answered.
Isaacson got the self-absorbed hypocritical asshole right, but the world is full of self-absorbed hypocritical assholes.
Justice Department Approves Google’s AdMeld Acquisition ★
Jia Lynn Yang, reporting for The Washington Post:
The Justice Department on Friday gave the green light to Google’s
$400 million acquisition of AdMeld, a major display advertising
The agency said the deal can proceed without any conditions,
because a detailed analysis by antitrust lawyers found there are
enough competitors that offer services similar to AdMeld, a
company that helps online publishers sell their ads.
That’s a relief. I was getting nervous that Google was running out of ways to sell advertising.
Tim Bray, on the problem with paging down to the bottom of a web page. I’ve been bothered by this same thing since forever. (Maybe on Safari the solution would be to bounce the web page, showing the linen texture “under” the page — the same thing you see when you scroll past the end of the page using trackpad gestures.)
Update: DF reader Frank Kohlhepp put together a Safari extension that simply adds a screenful of whitespace to the bottom of every page. Not bad for a quick hack, and indeed it solves the problem Bray describes. But there’s a cost: with this extension, the scrollbar thumb is no longer an accurate indicator of content length, particularly with short web pages. Maybe that doesn’t matter, though? Scrollbars aren’t even persistently visible on Lion if you’re using a trackpad. I’m going to try using this.
RIM to Take $485 Million Bath on Unsold PlayBooks ★
Research In Motion Limited (RIM), a world leader in the mobile
communications market, today announced that it would record a
pre-tax provision in the third quarter of fiscal 2012 of
approximately $485 million, $360 million after tax, related to its
inventory valuation of BlackBerry PlayBook tablets. […]
As previously disclosed, RIM has a high level of BlackBerry
PlayBook inventory. The Company now believes that an increase in
promotional activity is required to drive sell-through to end
Translation: We made a lot of these things and we can’t sell them.
Microsoft to Drop Traditional Desktop From Windows 8 ARM Tablets? ★
Mary Jo Foley:
Back in September, there was controversy as to whether Microsoft
planned to allow “Desktop” (non-Metro) apps to run on Windows
8 ARM-based tablets. But I was told they would, and, indeed, the
Softies and partners showed off the Desktop app on ARM tablets at
the Build conference.
However, if my Windows Weekly co-host Paul Thurrott is right,
Microsoft has rethought that plan and is leaning toward cutting
the Desktop from Windows 8 ARM tablets. That would mean only
Metro-style apps would be supported on that platform. (Thurrott
just dropped that bomb while we were taping Windows Weekly
on December 1.)
My theory from September is looking pretty good.
If Microsoft does do away with the Desktop App on ARM, it also
would mean — unless Microsoft also changes its strategy for
x86/x64-based Windows 8 tablets — that Windows 8 will be
different on different hardware.
As I wrote back in September, though, that was always going to be the case, because ARM-based Windows 8 machines were never going to be able to run already-compiled x86 binaries. The only question was whether Windows 8 ARM machines would be different because they could only run compiled-for-ARM software (Desktop and Metro), or whether they’d be different because they could only run Metro software. Either way they must be different somehow.
Man Shoots Video of 18-Foot Great White Shark With iPhone 4S ★
Half Wacko ★
This week’s episode of The Talk Show, with topics ranging from game consoles, retina display iPads and future Macs, a wee bit on this Carrier IQ stuff, to the demise of HyperCard. Brought to you by TinyLetter and Reinvigorate.
Carrier IQ Speaks ★
John Paczkowski spoke to executives at Carrier IQ. Even they’re backpedaling, pointing the finger at carriers:
The carriers. They decide what’s to be collected and how long
it’s stored — typically about 30 days. And according to Carrier
IQ, the data is in their control the whole time.
“It’s the operator that determines what data is collected,”
says Carrier IQ CEO Larry Lenhart. “They make that decision
based on their privacy standards and their agreement with their
users, and we implement it.”
On this point, Lenhart is particularly emphatic. “We capture
only the data they specify, and provide it to them,” he
reiterates. “We don’t capture more than that.”
They only capture what the carriers ask for.
The Tell ★
My initial reaction would be that this is being hugely blown out
of proportion — something we’ve seen before in the mobile
space — BUT the fact that every single company in the mobile
space is now trying to distance themselves from Carrier IQ is not
a good sign.
The companies that know best what Carrier IQ does, what data it has collected, are getting as far away from Carrier IQ as possible, as quickly as possible.
Dan Frommer on How to Write a Weblog ★
Great advice. I even agree with his priorities.
Stanley Kubrick’s New York ★
Post-WWII New York, through the camera of Stanley Kubrick. Not bad.
See also: Kubrick’s Chicago, circa 1949.
Mobile Phone Muggings on the Rise, at Least in San Francisco ★
C.W. Nevius, writing for The San Francisco Chronicle:
Official police statistics show that there were more than 40 cell
phone muggings in November. The number may not seem high, but it
is unsettling with just a portion of the crimes reported, and
virtually all of them involve a gun, knife or physical assault.
“You’re focused on your phone, talking, and you get sucker
punched,” said Tenderloin Station Capt. Joe Garrity.
Adam Engst: Let’s Stop With the Siri Baiting ★
Couldn’t have said it better myself.
Today’s Edition of Cognitive Dissonance ★
From a Changewave survey of iPhone 4S owners:
When we looked at what new owners disliked most about their iPhone
4S, two things dwarfed all others — Battery Life and the Lack of
4G. A total of 38% of owners say the iPhone 4S’s Battery Life is
Too Short, while 30% say they dislike the Lack of 4G Capability.
Gee, I wonder what would happen to battery life if it had 4G.
AT&T, Sprint Confirm Use of Carrier IQ Software on Handsets ★
Jaikumar Vijayan, reporting for Computerworld:
AT&T and Sprint, two of the largest U.S. wireless carriers,
confirmed that its mobile handsets use the software but only for
legitimate service and quality-related purposes.
Apple Statement on Carrier IQ ★
We stopped supporting CarrierIQ with iOS 5 in most of our
products and will remove it completely in a future software
update. With any diagnostic data sent to Apple, customers must
actively opt-in to share this information, and if they do, the
data is sent in an anonymous and encrypted form and does not
include any personal information. We never recorded keystrokes,
messages or any other personal information for diagnostic data
and have no plans to ever do so.
RIM, HTC on Carrier IQ: Blame the Carriers ★
HTC went one step further, fingering the carriers outright.
“Carrier IQ is required on devices by a number of U.S carriers
so if consumers or media have any questions about the practices
relating to, or data collected by, Carrier IQ we’d advise them
to contact their carrier,” the company said, stressing that it
is not a customer or partner of Carrier IQ. “HTC is
investigating the option to allow consumers to opt-out of data
collection by the Carrier IQ application,” it added.
Sen. Al Franken Sends a Letter to Carrier IQ CEO Larry Lenhart ★
Sen. Al Franken:
But right now, Carrier IQ has a lot of questions to answer.
Verizon Disavows Use of Carrier IQ ★
Kevin Fitchard, reporting for GigaOm:
“Any report that Verizon Wireless uses Carrier IQ is patently
false,” Verizon Wireless spokesperson Jeffrey Nelson said in an
email. In an email follow-up, spokeswoman Debra Lewis elaborated.
“We did recently notify customers about new privacy programs; we
were transparent about how customer information will be used and
gave clear choices to customers about whether they want to
here). “Carrier IQ is not involved in these programs.”
No weasel words there.
Update: A few readers seem confused about whether I’m being sarcastic here. I’m not. This reads to me like a clear statement that Verizon is not using Carrier IQ. If the above is true, Verizon is not involved.
Read Between the Lines ★
RIM, in a statement to Reuters:
RIM does not pre-install the Carrier IQ app on BlackBerry
smartphones or authorize its carrier partners to install the
Carrier IQ app before sales or distribution. RIM also did not
develop or commission the development of the Carrier IQ
application, and has no involvement in the testing, promotion, or
distribution of the app.
So RIM doesn’t install it, and RIM doesn’t “authorize” carriers to install it, but note that they do not say that the carriers do not install it. So I think this headline by Nilay Patel at The Verge goes too far: “Carrier IQ not installed on BlackBerry phones, says RIM”. Sounds to me like it is installed on at least some BlackBerry phones, and RIM is distancing itself from it.
More on Google and Carrier IQ ★
Nilay Patel, writing for The Verge:
The Carrier IQ smartphone tracking scandal continues to grow,
but we’ve just learned some interesting news from an extremely
reliable source: the Google Nexus One, Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, and
the original Xoom tablet do not contain Carrier IQ software. Each
of those devices was launched in direct partnership with Google as
the flagship for a new version of Android, so it seems that the
addition of Carrier IQ comes from OEMs and carriers after Google
open-sources Android’s code.
Assuming that The Verge’s source is from Google — which could well be a wrong assumption, but that’s what it sounds like to me — it looks like Google is moving to distance itself and Android from Carrier IQ. If this turns into a scandal it’s going to get pinned — correctly, it seems at this point — on the carriers.
Carrier IQ, Android, and the Carriers ★
Carrier IQ is something that Carriers put on phones as part of
their OEM software. This is out of the hands of both Google and
And here’s Kyle Sluder, on Twitter:
This CarrierIQ story has been wrongly turned into an Apple vs.
Android battle. It’s all about the carriers.
Chris Rawson on Siri’s Purported ‘Pro-Life’ Bias ★
Chris Rawson, writing for TUAW:
Siri’s unhelpful and sometimes misleading answers to pressing
health questions stand in stark contrast to her prompt and
accurate responses to inquiries about nearby escort services,”
says Think Progress, while Slate goes even farther off the deep
end and says, “many around the Web [are] wondering if Siri is
pro-life and whether Apple is attempting to impose its morals upon
the rest of us.”
This is a textbook example of sensationalistic media making
something from absolutely nothing.
Plus, Apple is a pretty progressive company, especially by Fortune 500 standards. If anything, the company’s politics on this issue would skew the other way.
A Siri search for “Planned Parenthood” almost always returns
results no matter where you search in the States — because that
search is powered by Yelp rather than whatever comparatively
limited database Siri is using for more specific searches like
“abortion clinic” or “birth control.” If Siri is really supposed
to be “pro-life” and “imposing morals” on its users, then searches
for the politically charged Planned Parenthood clinics would also
turn up no results, wouldn’t they?
Apple Says Siri’s Abortion Answers Are a Glitch ★
Jenna Wortham, reporting for the NYT, gets a statement from Apple on the “Siri won’t help you find an abortion clinic” meme:
“Our customers want to use Siri to find out all types of
information, and while it can find a lot, it doesn’t always
find what you want,” said Natalie Kerris, a spokeswoman for
Apple, in a phone interview late Wednesday. “These are not
intentional omissions meant to offend anyone. It simply means that
as we bring Siri from beta to a final product, we find places
where we can do better, and we will in the coming weeks.”
Carrier IQ on iOS ★
Good investigative work by Grant “chpwn” Paul. iOS includes a Carrier IQ daemon, but it doesn’t seem to log any particularly sensitive information. Nothing like a keylogger or reading SMS messages. He’s documenting his research on Twitter as he goes.
Update: Worth noting that it appears that nothing gets submitted to Carrier IQ if you opt-out with the “Send Automatically” switch in Settings → General → About → Diagnostics & Usage. That’s deep inside Settings, but Apple prompts you for that setting during iOS 5 device setup, too.