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Posts Tagged ‘android’

Truth and Lies About Apple

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Brian S. Hall, writing for Techpinions:

That Google continues to develop and support services optimized for iPhone is all you need to know about those who scream that IPHONE IS DOOMED. They are either ignorant or they are lying to you. Why do you continue to reward them with your attention?

Very smart piece about fact vs. fiction as it relates to the current Apple zeitgeist. Recommended.

Casual Friday: Is Android Better?

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Paul Stamatiou’s Android Is Better post is generating a ton of attention (it made it to the front page of Techmeme, although it’s not there anymore), and I want to riff on it.

Most readers know I am an “Apple Defender”. “Defender” is an accurate word to use because I find myself in conversations defending iOS and Apple devices from inaccurate accusations and barbs, as well as defending some decisions that have (or have not, as the case may be) come out of Cupertino lately. But defense is not what I’m going to do here, you see.

Because I am not a slappy. I have used and written positively about Android and Android devices. And here, in reading Stamatiou’s post, I find myself agreeing with almost everything he writes – with one giant caveat. We’ll get to that later.

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Casual Friday: I Have Too Many Tabs Open, So Pardon Me While I Dump Some Here

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The original plan was to tell you one of two stories:

  1. One about a cat who suffered a fairly giant digestive meltdown in the middle of the night about a year ago that concluded in him spinning wildy under our bed while, um, emitting, um, stuff, like the foulest balloon from hell you can imagine. Or…
  2. How we managed to mess up a Jeep at Drummond Island, MI when said Jeep was basically bulletproof, with bulletproof being defined as ‘the vehicle you’d want when the zombie apocalypse starts.’

But both of those ideas will have to wait (this is either good or bad, depending), because I literally have 49 tabs open in Google Chrome and my machine is lumbering under the load. That means I have to share some stuff I find interesting with you, or I will never close the tabs. It’s the way I work. Sorry to use you as my internet meta notebook.

(I’m not really sorry.)

Here we go. Save keep these tabs open on your machine so you can use them for 4th of July fodder next weekend.

First, Barnes & Noble is giving up on making Nook hardware. Apparently, people on the internet are surprised by this. I saw this happening a few years ago, mainly because hardware margins are so slim, losses have been steadily mounting, and B&N is facing a relentless Amazon while trying to make sense of still having brick and mortar stores. Smart move on B&N’s part, but I have serious, serious concerns about the Nook’s future. That’s why when you buy a device like an e-reader, you’re not buying a device – you’re buying an ecosystem. Choose wisely.

Instagram introduced video, which effectively ruined Instagram. All I can say is thank goodness you can turn off autoplay, or I might seriously bail from Instagram. This should be a cautionary tale to companies who think they need to offer a feature because a competitor does (in this case, Twitter’s Vine video offering). When the new feature undermines the very idea of what your product is in the first place, you can do more harm than good. Unfortunately, this lesson is most clear retroactively, which means you have to screw up in order to realize you screwed up. Messy.

Android accounts for 92% of mobile malware, and malicious apps on Android have increased 614% – that’s right, 614%, no decimal in there. Open always wins, right? Who needs curation?

Maybe this will make tic-tac-toe less boring.

Want to be part of a social experiment? Try Call In The Night, a service that calls you sometime after 2 AM eastern time, connects you to another random person who also was just awakened, and records the call for a podcast. Heck, it might even be good for your sleep, because there are some who argue that human sleep is naturally polyphasic.

This xkcd comic, entitled The Pace of Modern Life, is amazing. You should check it out. Read it. Really read it.

Chuck Skoda’s A Week with iOS 7 is one of the best iOS 7 impression pieces I’ve read, especially the ending. (Self-plug: if you missed our own iOS 7 writeup, check it out here.)

Finally, 27 volunteers teamed up at the Seattle Public Library to make the world’s longest book domino chain. The 2,131 book trail is a world record. Here’s what it looks like.

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Apple’s iOS7: Thoughts and Impressions

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Last week at its annual WWDC conference, Apple gave us a preview of iOS7, the next-generation operating system coming for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch this fall. As any regular reader knows, I am an entrenched Apple slappy, but I consider myself realistic. Here are my thoughts on what Apple showed us.

ios7

Design

The big change is the banishment of the skeumorphism we had under Scott Forstall and an introduction a new design language led by Jony Ive. The new look is mininal, with bright, colorful, flat icons, more generous whitespace use, and a revamped system typeface. From what I can see so far, it’s nice looking, but I suspect between now and GA iOS7’s look will mature beyond what we were shown last week. Right now, it’s a bit too bright, and the color palette seems…off. But I’m not worried, because it will mature. More on this later.

I think the current iOS (v6) is getting tremendously stale in light of what Android and even Windows Phone are offering today. A new design aesthetic is welcome. But is it a total rethinking? At a visual level, not quite. There’s still the familiar rows of rounded-corner icons, still the folders with limitations. The new look is a blend of a revamped veneer coupled with a GUI structure well-known to iOS users everywhere. And perhaps that’s the point: Apple isn’t going to ape Android or create some brand new UX when its devices – arguably the most successful mobile devices in the world in terms of actual usage – are so well understood by a legion of users across multiple demographics. New for the sake of new when the tradeoff is usability is not something Apple is keen to do.

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The Power of Google Now

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Here’s Jamie of 37signals telling a story about Google Now, Google’s digital assistant found on Android phones running Android 4.1.x or higher:

I hate being late for appointments. I got that from my father. He’s been drilling that punctuality sermon into me since I was young.

My wife, on the other hand, seems to have no problem leaving for a 10am appointment at 9:59am. I love her, but it drives me nuts.

My wife hates being early. I hate being late.

Last night we had a reservation at a restaurant—Geja’s Cafe. Geja’s is located in a congested part of the city. Traffic can be unpredictable. Throw “rush hour” into the mix—I’m thinking of leaving 1 hour before our reserved time.

Read the whole thing for the kicker.

Google Now is truly astonishing. When you first use it, it seems almost pedestrian, but the more you use your phone, the more it learns about you and starts offering predictive ‘cards’. In my experience, Google Now beats Siri and just about every task you throw at it. Here’s Google Now’s main product page. Check it out.

The Laggard Dilemma: Understanding Why Incremental Upgrades Are Less Painful

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Let me start this post with an adjunct: I am NOT an iPhone user – yet.  I’ve been hanging on to my Blackberry 8130 since, oh, I don’t know – all the way back to 2009?  It’s the phone that my customers and prospects reach me on every day.  Now, just to make you all comfortable, since I am in the technology space, I also have an HTC Droid for personal use which is only 18 months old and by tech standards is aging quickly. So don’t judge me on my ancient Blackberry is what I’m saying.

So.

Why do I bring this up?  I find I’m asking myself the same question most of my customers ask me when a new release of PeopleSoft comes: why should I upgrade to the latest release?  I’ve heard all sorts of business reasons why customers chose to stay on their current release – some are still going strong on 8.4 and 8.8 Financials, a few are still on 7.5!  Yet, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that many of my clients are in line to get the new iPhone or Droid when it is released. This creates a bit of cognitive dissonance with me.

I’ve heard – ‘if it isn’t broken, why fix it?’, ‘we don’t see any new functionality that we need’ (love that one!), ‘our environment is stable, an upgrade is very disrupting’.  I’ve also heard from clients who have upgraded from 7.5 or 8.3/8.4 to 9.0 or 9.1 and are concerned because the user adoption is low.

Don’t get me wrong, an ERP upgrade can be a challenge and it does take commitment from the executives to the end user, but I really think it is very similar to moving to new personal-type technology such as the iPhone.  My colleague, David Scott, blogged about his own personal experience of trying to get his new phone to act like his old phone.  (That post is here, in case you missed it.)

Here’s why upgrading is important:  the end user pain is less with incremental steps.  It really is THAT simple.  Is there a price or value you can put on that?  Probably not.  But PeopleSoft HCM 9.0 was GA in December 2006, 9.1 was GA in September 2009.  Sort of like my Blackberry.   The jump for me to either the new iPhone or Droid will be — ahem — interesting and my colleagues know to stay clear of me while I adjust because most days, it just ain’t pretty.  My life and frustration level would be lessened had I made the incremental moves in technology.

Regular upgrading is valuable because the incremental pain and end user resistance are far less than larger, wholesale changes. This is a huge part of the stigma of large ERP upgrades.

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Casual Friday: Google Nexus 7 Review

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Buckle up, you guys. This is a long one.

Right up front, let me be clear about bias, because that’s a word that can get tossed around after posts like this: I am an unabashed iOS/OSX user. My technology sprawl includes two 27 inch iMacs, a Thunderbolt Cinema Display, a MacBook Air, an iPad ‘3’ and my constantly-conjoined second brain, an iPhone 4S. My experience with Android before the Nexus 7 was precisely this: bad. As in: really bad. Android was clunky, ugly, lag-soaked and had such substandard third-party apps so as to make apps in general a complete afterthought outside of Google’s own. I tried to give Android a fair shake twice, only to run back to iOS’s polished embrace each time.

So. That said, what compelled me to even think about a Nexus 7? In a word, the buzz. A ton of Android tablets have been released, and none so much as stirred the slightest wave of interest outside of hardcore Android devotees. The Nexus 7, however, was immediately different. As evidenced by stellar sales and strong reviews, its shine is unmistakeable, even for diehard iOS fans like me. It became clear to me that it was time to take the plunge – again – this time without committing my phone to the platform. And for $199, you’re on the cusp of technology impulse purchase territory – especially seeing how you could turn around and sell it in a red second if you didn’t like it. And something must be clicking, somewhere: as I write this, the 16GB Nexus 7 is sold out on the Google Play store. Even Google wasn’t expecting this much fanfare surrounding its new tablet.

I’m not going to go all The Verge on you and give you the uber-detailed breakdown. If you want that, it’s out there. What I am going to give you is my impression of the Nexus 7 from the standpoint of an entrenched Apple user. Off we go.

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A Story of Colossal Implementation Failure – But Not The Kind You Think

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I have spent 25 years in the software implementation business. I have two principles for success that I’ve told each of my clients:

  1. Trial and error is not an implementation strategy, and
  2. Don’t do a terrific job customizing the new software to work the way your old software does.

If you can follow these, you are well on your way to success.

So, here’s a personal anecdote along these lines.

My story starts last week when I finally caved in and upgraded my Blackberry to the new Samsung Galaxy SIII running Android. I loved my Blackberry and the ability to push email was revolutionary (key word is “was”) and the ability to be notified every time an email arrived was revolutionary. On my Blackberry, I had an envelope with a red star to tell me I had new emails, and I could consolidate multiple email accounts into that single notification. I loved that.

After two days of playing with the new Samsung, my son asked how I was doing. “I’m doing okay,“ I said, which he knew meant “not so good.” There was no joy and elation that came with my new toy. “What’s wrong?” he asked. “I’m just struggling to get this to work right.” I said. He asked again, “So, what’s wrong?”

I explained how my Blackberry worked and that I was having problems configuring email and getting notifications. “I cannot even tell when I get a new email,“ I told him. He gave me a puzzled look. “And, I can’t even look at the screen and see anything that tells me I have new messages.” He was somewhere between a smirk and panic. And then, I said it “I just want it to work like my Blackberry!”

At that precise moment, I was struck in the head with a lightning bolt from one of the implementation gods. Worlds collided as I realized that I had just said “I just want it to work like my Blackberry!” I just broke one of my own rules, but I saw the light. With that, I just handed him the phone. “Here, do what you can,“ I surrendered. ”Show me the new way.”

He has been on Android for more than two years. In about 10 minutes, we had straightened out email, completely fixed notifications, worked on the menus so I could easily access the things I use, download a few apps that he loves, identified some shortcuts, and generally “fixed” what I had done in two days to make my new phone work like my old phone. The ‘new’ way not only gave me what I want, but tons more.

So, I like my new phone 100x better now that I hired a qualified configuration consultant (my son) who could put my trial and error to rest and stop me in my tracks from butchering the entire Android platform simply to make it work like my old Blackberry did. Now, maybe I need a change management consultant who can work with me on the “voice recognition” stuff?

In any event, the clouds have cleared, the thunder is gone, and the skies are crystal clear, and if you send me an email to david.scott@miproconsulting.com, my phone will alert me to your email, allow me to read it in two swipes, and I can reply faster than I wrote this blog. Now that is progress!

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Windows Phone Was a Response to Apple’s iPhone

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Josh Ong, reporting for AppleInsider:

Microsoft’s head of software design for Windows Phone has admitted that the company completely redesigned its mobile operating system platform as a response to Apple’s iPhone and the “sea change” it created in the industry.

Joe Belfiore, one of the first engineers brought to the new Windows Phone team when it was formed, made the comments in an interview with The New York Times.

“Apple created a sea change in the industry in terms of the kinds of things they did that were unique and highly appealing to consumers,” he said. “We wanted to respond with something that would be competitive, but not the same.”

According to the report, “once the iPhone exploded into the marketplace, Microsoft executives knew that their software, as designed, could never compete.” In December 2008, Microsoft’s then head of mobile engineering called a meeting to decide the fate of its aging Windows Mobile software. Seven hours later, Myerson and his team decided to scrap the OS and start again from scratch.

One could argue extremely cogently that everything that has happened in the last five years in the mobile market was in response to the iPhone.

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RIM Plans to Keep Supporting Flash for the PlayBook, Despite Adobe Dropping Mobile Flash

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Finally, the shoe we all knew would drop dropped when Adobe announced it will no longer develop Flash for mobile devices. Instead, Adobe says it will focus on HTML5. Smart move, and one in which everyone wins.

A few days later, RIM announced that it will continue to support Flash via its own implementations for its miserably-selling PlayBook tablet despite Adobe’s statement that HTML5 is the future:

RIM, for its part, says it has licensed Adobe’s source code and plans to continue supporting Flash on the PlayBook.

“As an Adobe source code licensee, we will continue to work on and release our own implementations. RIM remains committed to delivering an uncompromised Web browsing experience to our customers, including native support for Adobe Flash Player on our BlackBerry PlayBook tablet (similar to a desktop PC browser), as well as HTML5 support on both our BlackBerry smartphone and PlayBook browsers,” RIM said in a statement toAllThingsD.

Good luck with that. Nothing like forking the code of a technology that’s being demonstrably abandoned by its creator. Note to RIM: now that Adobe isn’t supporting Mobile Flash, it’s hardly the selling point you think it is.

Am I the only one who thinks RIM is completely devoid of sane leadership?

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