The Internet Of Very Pointless Things

IOT Joy Of Tech

A report in 2014 by Nielson revealed that 1% surveyed (from a base of 2000 respondents) felt strongly that the smart products they’ve seen or heard about have just been gimmicky, and companies need to work harder to make these products relevant to their lives, and that 58% felt strongly that they won’t upgrade to smart products unless they offer real value and not just novelty.

Brilliant piece from Forbes, where Theo Priestly explains how the popular Internet of Things is, at the moment, mostly a gimmick.

Different standards, no interoperability, and above all, no real value for consumers seem to be tough obstacles. Not to mention security risks.

I, for one, this future world of connected devices seems promising, but these devices have to prove one thing first: that they are not pointless, useless little machines.

Source: Consumers Prepare For An Internet Of Very Pointless Things – Forbes

If you want an iPad Mini 4, just buy an iPad Air (2).

Extra RAM and a better color gamut help make up for year-old guts.

There’s nothing new from Apple on the iPad mini 4. It is a last year device at this year’s prices. They did the exact same thing with the iPhone 5C. It’s still better than the shameful iPad mini 3, but either way, I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone.

But as nice as the upgrade is, there’s nothing here that wasn’t available for use a year ago. TouchID was already available. The A8 was already available. Apple obviously already knew that it was planning better multitasking for iOS 9, and it could have preemptively increased the amount of memory in the Mini to compensate.

If you want an iOS tablet, just get the iPad Air 2 (or for $100 less, the original iPad Air).

Source: iPad Mini 4 review: A lighter, faster tablet with a better screen | Ars Technica

You will no longer buy a phone. You will lease it.

Samsung is planning to launch a program for leasing its Galaxy phone hardware in the U.S. market, similar to the one Apple announced in early September.

It was not difficult to see others were going to follow the new smartphone leasing trend. I see it coming for other makers as well. That will have a collateral effect: the annoyances that caused people to stay with their carriers will be now similar to the ones caused with smartphone makers.

Makers will make it unappealing to change to other phone brand. The dawn of a new price war arises. Smaller brands will try to convince with more attractive leasing plans, or with cheaper and cheaper devices.

Good for the consumer. Not that good for small brands.

Source: Following Apple’s Lead, Samsung Plans Its Own Phone Leasing Program, Cutting Out Carriers

A bright future for the web and content on the internet

This is a good summary of some of the problems big media assets are fighting against. Google, Apple and Facebook are trying to control the news and our way to get informed. They are trying to control content, because content is the gateway to ads. Quoting Patel:

Unfortunately, the ads pay for all that content, an uneasy compromise between the real cost of media production and the prices consumers are willing to pay that has existed since the first human scratched the first antelope on a wall somewhere. Media has always compromised user experience for advertising.

But the editor from The Verge doesn’t give much alternatives. He doesn’t mention the clear analogy of TV -you’ve got FTA channels, and you’ve got pay-per-view-, and he even doesn’t talk about paywalls, subscriptions, or micropayments.

There are certainly options to the current situation. I see four:

  1. Free content supported by ads: anyone can do this now, and will be able to do it in the future, but ad revenue will decrease, and users will for sure fight against that with adblockers.
  2. Paywalls: sorry, only huge media here.
  3. Micropayments: an option for smaller media sites. Combine that with a subscription model, and you’ve got a viable alternative for niche sites with loyal readers (Patreon is a good example of that kind of service to support those ‘creative’ sites)
  4. Flat rate: you pay a monthly fee ($5?) and get access to the free-ad web. Earnings are divided amongst all content providers depending on traffic (uniques, time spent there, a combination…) and any publisher can join that effort. There has to be someone managing that, maybe a consortium of tech companies providing the tools (browsers, payment gateways, etc). I see Mozilla as a clear example, and in fact the tried their own vision of this with the Subscribe2Web project. Google Contributor is a nice try too.

There are lots of possible answers to the current everything-is-free-or-seems-to-be model. Let’s see what happens, but Apple and its content blocking feature in iOS 9 has changed something here.

Let’s hope it is for the better.

PS: In case you can read in Spanish, I’ve developed this at Incognitosis.

Steve Jobs movie: I don’t mind the ‘whatever’

I felt dissapointed after watching Jobs (2013) and more recently Steve Jobs : The Man in the Machine (2015).

Steve Jobs (2015) seems really promising. The just released second trailer is a little more revealing that I’d want to, but whatever.

Jobs’ daughter, Lisa, seems to have a prominent role, which as far as I know wasn’t that prominent in real life (not at least in his job), but whatever.

It’s based on the official Walter Isaacson, which I really didn’t like that much, but whatever.

Michael Fassbender seems to be in better shape that Steve Jobs was in his entire life, but whatever.

It has Jeff Daniels, which I loved in the Newsroom. And Kate Winslet, a sure bet. And Aaron Sorkin, who seems to be the perfect match for this film.

Whatever. I can’t wait to see this movie.

Beware of the fake review

We spent less than $100 to give a completely fake business a great online reputation.

Fantastic history. One you can easily learn something from. You can’t be certain anymore about that business or that product based on online reviews. Creating fake alternatives and getting certain reputation for them is nowadays quite easy.

As with many other things, one must have common sense. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Real trust is really expensive to build.

Source: I created a fake business and bought it an amazing online reputation

Begun, the mobile adblocker war has

The new content blocking feature in the new iOS 9 seems to have started a renewed interest for privacy. Marco Arment just released his own tool based on the Ghostery (a well known extension for desktop browsers) database.

I wonder how many others will take advantage in iOS, Android or Windows 10 Mobile.

The name of the app, Peace, is a little bit too much for me, though. Misleading and exaggerated.

Source: Introducing Peace, my privacy-focused iOS 9 ad blocker | Marco.org

iOS 9 seems like a worthy upgrade, especially on the iPads

Apple gives the iPad a lot of love as iOS goes back into spit-and-polish mode.

Today users will be able to upgrade to the final version of iOS 9. There are no big announcements here, but it doesn’t matter because there are  several little enhancements overall.

I’ve not tested it, but if you want to get a good review of the system, you should read Ars Technica review -reminds me of those legendary OS X reviews by John Siracusa- .

Better visual keyboard, better battery life, less space consumption, proactive siri, searchable settings and of course, the new multitasking features that allow the dual window modes shine on the (newer) iPads. Oh, and that content blocking thing.

If you want to know what’s in there in detail, head to the review and grab a couple (or 3,4…) of cups of coffee. There’s a IReallyDontHaveTheTimeForThat version of that review in the WSJ which isn’t bad at all.

Or you can just install it and enjoy it.

Source: iOS 9, thoroughly reviewed | Ars Technica

Apple TV shows again that control gluttony problem

One developer has found out that Apple TV games all must work with the remote, they can’t require an MFi controller at all. This is according to Apple guidelines in the App Programming Guide for tvOS, which states that “Your game must support the Apple TV remote. Your game may not require

I really don’t understand Apple’s stance on this. The remote is for sure a good way to control some games, but even the Nintendo Wii was smart enough to mix a traditional a joypad with buttons on its Wiimote.

The gluttony for control can be not only counterintuitive. In this case it’s also wrong. Apple, you’re closing the door to games that can’t be enjoyed properly with your remote. Let’s hope you step back.

Source: Apple TV Games Must be Playable with the Remote | TouchArcade

Windows RT users can now get Windows 10 Start Menu

Windows RT users get some love from Microsoft, which is nice. I don’t think there will be much more updates on that OS now that Windows 10 is a unified system that works across different platforms and architectures.

No universal apps for Windows RT, no Continuum, no unified Store, but at least they can enjoy the Windows 10 Start Menu. Good job.

Source: Microsoft brings the Windows 10 Start Menu to Surface RT