Archives for category: Tech

Happy New Year!!!

I hope everyone has been enjoying the year 2013 thus far. We have survived a fiscal cliff, some teams won some playoff games…mine did not. But you didn’t come here to read about my sport’s team, you came here to read about some tech. So I like to make technology predictions every year. Some years I do better than others. Let’s take a look at my 2012 predictions.

  • T-Mobile FINALLY get the iPhone
  • Well T-mobile and Apple did come to an agreement to sell Apple products. Although the devices won’t be sold until 2013, the deal was signed in 2012…

  • Netflix goes under
  • Yeah…I was WAY off on this one.

  • Android market share begins to decline
  • This also did not happen.

  • Google & Motorola develop Nexus series of devices to put vanilla versions on phones
  • The rumors of Google and Motorola building an X Phone, unfortunatley it’s just a rumor as of right now. But I’m hoping that this becomes true this year.

  • Nintendo begins bringing titles to iOS
  • I don’t know why this isn’t happening. Read my blog, Nintendo!!!

So those were my technology predictions for the year 2012. Here are some of my predictions for 2013:

  • There will be a shakeup in the way that people watch TV, leading to more people cutting cable
  • We will hear something big from a company that we don’t know about yet
  • Microsoft will make a bigger push in the living room
  • Wearable technology will be even a bigger product category, Nike will make a bigger push for this
  • RIM will make its return with BlackBerry 10 (Q1) and be mildly successful in Q3
  • MySpace will make somewhat of a comeback as an alternative to Facebook
  • Google will do something exciting with Google TV and Google Fiber and their hardware arm, Motorola
  • The next iPhone will have NFC, which will cause a huge increase in the amount of NFC enabled tags and NFC payment systems

In the upcoming weeks I will go deeper into my tech predictions. But until then, I am finalizing my #12in12, reading CES news, and getting ready for a trip to California for a wedding and a small vacation. So until time: mahalla.

Do you taking pictures? Do you like to make those pictures special by applying filters to them. Do you enjoy advertisers to skim your data and pictures and push ads to you? If you answered “yes” to the first 2 questions then you probably use Instagram. If you didn’t understand the last question then you may not have heard the big fuss about Instagram changing their privacy policy.

To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.

Does that mean that Instagram is going to sell my likeness and photos? Here’s how the CEO of Instagram responds to that statement:

To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear.
– Kevin Systrom, Instagram CEO & Co-Founder

Be aware that these “free services” need to make money some way. If they are not going to charge you, then they are going to sell something to someone. The cheapest and easiest thing to sell is the data that the user is giving them. In this case it would be your likeness, pictures, meta details, etc. You may ask yourself, “But I thought the CEO stated he wouldn’t sell our pictures”. True he’s not going to sell your picture in the classic sense of the term “sell”. But Instagram is going to sell access to that information, so ads can be marketed to you. Advertisers and Brands will be able to have promoted pictures appear in your timeline, like how Twitter has promoted Tweets and Tumblr has promoted posts. How will Instagram use your data with this brands? Look no further than Instagram’s parent company, Facebook. If you like a company or are fans of company on Facebook, then you likeness and photos (profile pic) is used to show to your friends that, ‘Person A likes this, and they are your friend so you should too.’ Instagram is looking to do the same thing. For more information about how brands can use your Instagram pictures, check out a write up by Nilay Patel at The Verge.

TL;DR
Is Instagram bad for you? About as “bad” as any other company that you share information with. If you are fine sharing information, like pictures, with Facebook, then you’ll be fine sharing pictures with Instagram. They are the same company at the end of the day.

– Post Scripts & End Notes –
+ Instagram, Privacy Policy
+ Steve Kovach, Business Insider, Instagram Responds: ‘It Is Not Our Intention To Sell Your Photos’
+ Nilay Patel, The Verge, No, Instagram can’t sell your photos: what the new terms of service really mean

I questioned Twitter’s decision to block services that allowed users, like myself to create a archive of my tweets. Why would I even want that? I like having the access to the things that I put online. Creating my own archive gives me a sense of control, and having the ability to reference a tweet from months back was kind of nice. However weeks back Twitter became more harsh on developers using their APIs, which saw a lot of twitter services and apps shutting down. The one that affected me was the shutting down of Twitter services for IFTTT. IFTTT is a service that allows you to create rules, so if this happens then thiswill occur. I used it to backup all of my tweets in a Spreadsheet. A quick and painless archive of my random Twitter musings. But once Twitter shut down their APIs, my Twitter history was incomplete. However, for now, a small number of users are able to download their complete Twitter history.


I like the idea of being able to download a history of my tweets. But in my opinion the people who are going to be interested in this functionality of having a Twitter history are going to be power users. Power users who want an active history of their tweets. Not just a downloadable sheet or form, but a document that consistantly stays updated. Its a good start, Twitter, but what’s the next step in Twitter evolution?






[] Martin Bryant, The Next Web, Twitter has started rolling out the option to download all your tweets
[] Aaron Souppouris, The Verge, ‘Your Twitter Archive’ lets you download every tweet you’ve ever written, currently in small-scale testing (update)

When I heard about the new blogging platform, Medium, I was pretty excited. When I heard it was from the co-founders of Twitter, I signed up immediately. I love to write and I love the idea of writing. The idea of writing? Yes. Medium is more than just another Blogger, Tumblr, or WordPress clone. In Silicon Valley talk its like Pinterest for writing. Not only do people write about particular topics but they are good at their craft so the posts are a joy to read. What appeals to me is that people are there for the writing, unlike a site like Tumblr or Pinterest or Instagram where you just want to see pretty things. Is something like Medium going to sway me away from having a personal blog? No. I believe there is still a space in the market and in people’s news feeds for personal blogs. Manufactured sites like where people plug their information into are nice, and work well for a lot of people. But there will always be the explorers and entrepreneurs who want their own space on the web, where they control what’s on the masthead. > Adrianne Jeffries, The Verge :: Blogging with Medium, The odd new product from Twitters founders

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This past week Amazon announced the refresh to the Kindle line. Amazon introduced the Kindle Purewhite, and 2 Kindle Fire HDs. What was interesting during the announcement was the operating system that was running on the Fires. Last year when Amazon debuted the original Kindle Fire Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, stated that the Fire was running a custom version of the Android OS. Some Android fans have stated that what Amazon, among other manufacturers are doing, is creating one of the main issues with Android: having a fragmented OS that is slow to receive timely updates. Bezos has this to say about the matter:

Android is accomplishing everything that Amazon needs it to and, at the same time, giving the company flexibility to customize things. We treat Android like Linux, and so it’s a base OS layer. We have a large dedicated team that customizes Android and that’s what you see on the Kindle Fire.

I don’t see a problem with what Amazon is doing to the Android OS because they are not attempting to pawn this off as Android. The Fire is going after a different market of consumers. Amazon is marketting the Fire as a consumption device of Amazon content. When the original Kindle Fire came out, Matias Duarte, Chief Android UX Designer, stated that he liked what Amazon did with Android because it was completely different than just a skin. So if you’re going to change Android, do more than just change some icons and adding a few apps: completely change the way we look and interact with it. Otherwise, just leave it alone.

Samsung Galaxy S (Vibrant) & iPod Touch

Patents that have been awarded to various tech companies are not bringing forth innovation, they are stiffing innovation. Manufactures are more concerned with getting ridiculous and vague patents that they use to sue another company instead of really creating something revolutionary. Software patents, like the ones that have been issued to Apple, Motorola, Samsung, and LG are entirely to vague. The patents are issued so late that by the time a patent is awarded to a company various devices are already using similar technology and that’s just the way a smartphone works at that point.

Samsung has a patent for playing an mp3 in the background while conducting other phone operations {1} . This patent was awarded in 2010. In 2010, about every phone that is sold plays mp3s while it can do other things. If this patent was awarded, which it shouldn’t have been because that is how cell phones operated at that time, then it should not be able to be a part in a court case. That patent should be thought of like a Nobel Prize, “good job for inventing this…here’s your award”.

Is the patent system broken or just severely flawed? Because it is one of those two options. Patents shouldn’t be awarded so many years later for a vague idea such as “front speaker slot, uncluttered front face, display borders and the edge-to-edge glass of a smartphone” {2} If by the time the patent is to be awarded the market of smartphones are already practicing said patent as a market standard, then it should be looked at as a market standard and the way business is run. Don’t award a patent at that point only to have the company go back and file lawsuits retroactively for products. It ties up the legal system and wastes people’s time, money, and is detrimental to moving an industry forward.

The Apple v. Samsung case has been a major case in showing the frailties of the patent system. Did Samsung develop products that look eerily similar to the iPhone? Yes. Should Samsung have to pay for riding off of the marketing success of the iPhone? Yes. Should Apple be allowed to have a patent on a black rectangle with rounded corners? No. If a company develops a truly innovative idea they should be allowed to patent that, but a company should not be allowed to patent a market standard.

{post scripts & end notes}

{1} US Patent 7698711, Mult-tasking Apparatus and method in a portable terminal, Samsung Electronics Co., LTD.

{2} US Patent D618677, Electronic Device, Apple Inc.

{*} I am not an expert on patents nor am I claiming to be. I am only a citizen of the United States who has a vested interest in technology using my common sense to generate an opinion on the precedent set by this court case

Follow me on Twitter: [at]fortyoneacres

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Our phones have gotten smarter, why haven’t our watches? A few guys have taken that question and answered it with the Pebble watch. While previous smartwatches have been available before none of them have had the simple beauty of Pebble with its e-paper display (the same that’s found on Kindles). Also the watch faces are only apps so they are easy to change with your mood. As long as you’re using an Android or iOS device then this watch is capable of linking up with your phone. Check out the video below{2} to learn more.

{post scripts & end notes}
{1} – Kickstarter, “Pebble E-Paper Watch for iPhone and Android
{2} – Vimeo Video on Pebble Watch, “Kickstarter Video about Pebble Watch
{3} – Now I just need a Kickstarter project to fund me so I can fund other projects…