Rich Mogull on the pervasive idea that Mac users at large are cavalier and dismissive about security problems. He hits the nail on the head with this one.
I also detest the claims that Apple isn’t serious about security when the enormous amount work it has done over the last couple of years with Sandboxing, as many issues as it has raised with independent developers, has been done almost entirely in the interests of making OS X as secure as iOS.
That being said, Apple has a bit of a mess on its hands with these Flashback variants, and it needs to revise its attitude towards incremental patching of security holes. Two months is too long for a Java flaw to be able to compromise existing systems, regardless of whether new machines ship with it installed or not.
Google posted a concept video today showing off its Google Glass project.
Basically a set of glasses that project a heads-up display into your eye holes, the whole thing is very…Google. The video is cleanly shot and edited and on-message and what nerd hasn’t dreamed of having access to a HUD overlaying the world with information.
But there are two main issues that I see with Glass. First, it’s yet another concept from Google that seems to exist purely for PR purposes, perhaps to distract you from the fact that it was paid for with text ads for Cialis. Real artists ship, concept artists, apparently, work for Google.
The second is the fact that it’s solving the wrong problem. Helping human beings access information based on location and context is admirable. But shoving that information to the forefront of a person’s consciousness is probably not the bet way to go about it.
Yes, performing the actions you see in the video without the use of your hands is cool, but in the process it’s burning up copious amounts of the very finite store of cognitive power that most of us possess. People can barely use their smartphones without smashing into one another on the sidewalk or in traffic. The logistics of a bunch of people wearing AR goggles is depressing.
Just from my anecdotal experiences with ‘regular’ people and technology, there is likely only a handful of people in ten thousand that will ever have the aptitude to wear and use a system like this. Even if it does make it to market in its current form, which I doubt, the market will be miniscule.
The idea of the glasses has me excited. But the fact that Google is behind it gives me little faith that the project will ever deliver something as clean and focused as its concept video, that is usable by mortals.
Also, who didn’t think the guy was going to jump when he went up to the roof? Don’t jump Johnny, just take the glasses off.
I got a chance to handle the Nokia Lumia 900 at CES and I was impressed. If you’d like to know what my review of it would look like, just check out my writeup of the Lumia 800, my feelings about it are identical.
Basically, I think it’s good enough to make me switch from the iPhone, but only if it gets developer support. This passage sums it up:
I would love to see the philosophy and artistry at evidence in the Lumia 800 continue to guide Nokia’s partnership with Microsoft. Hopefully long enough to see a surge in developer support of Windows Phone 7, which is really the best OS alternative to iOS at the moment.
If, and it’s a very big if, the Marketplace begins to come alive with the same sense of joy and kind of innovation that iOS users are used to seeing, I could easily see my “would” become a “will”.
For another great perspective, check out TNW Microsoft editor Alex Wilhelm’s review of the 900 here.
Today I wrote a post because it had appeared that Mike Daisey — the monologuist most famous for his show The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs — had removed his personal blog and Twitter account. It turned out to have been a momentary glitch, and both remain up here and here.
Well, it turns out that Daisey had seen my post, and my hurried update when his sites came back up. He found it amusing and posted an image of the post’s re-jiggered title. I had a good laugh about that, and shared it on Twitter. I joked that I was closing my windows, just in case he was watching me.
My friend Steve Streza then chimed in, posting a Tweet that poked fun at Daisey being less than accurate about exactly what he saw in China.
“I saw malnourished cats inside Panzarino’s house. I SAW them.”, Mike Daisey said, reporting from the street outside the house.“
That would have been that, if not for a message from Steve a few minutes later. Daisey had not only seen his Tweet, he had retweeted it.
I think that there’s something to be said for someone who owns the public opinion about them, good or bad, and faces up to it. Yes, it could just be that Daisey is happy with anything that keeps his name out there, but I don’t think so. I think that there is an important lesson in this about acknowledging that there is a person behind any scandal or news story.
Sometimes people make a mistake, willful or not. In Daisey’s case, probably both. An initial desperate desire to make a point about the way that western consumer culture affects Chinese workers led him to lie. That lie then took on a life of its own and he perpetuated it.
But that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t a life lived outside and around that lie that didn’t have a positive influence. Both people who have known Daisey personally and who have merely heard him speak have said that he is a supremely gifted orator.
I still believe that what he did in speaking untruths about what he found in China did harm to the issue at large. That sucks, frankly, because it is an important one. But Daisey knew that it was important and lied to try to bring attention to it. And, even though it was very wrong, It is also very human.
And Daisey hasn’t crawled into a hole. He didn’t shut down his blog or his Twitter. And he’s owning what people are saying about him.
Reginald Braithwaite files a faux resignation letter due to new policies that force him to ask potential hires for access to their Facebook profiles.
I have been interviewing senior hires for the crucial tech lead position on the Fizz Buzz team, and while several walked out in a huff when I asked them to let me look at their Facebook, one young lady smiled and said I could help myself. She logged into her Facebook as I requested, and as I followed the COO’s instructions to scan her timeline and friends list looking for evidence of moral turpitude, I became aware she was writing something on her iPad.
“Taking notes?” I asked politely.
“No,” she smiled, “Emailing a human rights lawyer I know.” To say that the tension in the room could be cut with a knife would be understatement of the highest order. “Oh?” I asked. I waited, and as I am an expert in out-waiting people, she eventually cracked and explained herself.
The scenario that follows gave me chills, both as someone who has been responsible for managing subordinates and been a part of the hiring process.
I think that we’re nearing a point at which this will become a huge issue. In a couple of years either accessing a potential (or existing) employee’s social networking profile will be an accepted standard or it will be outlawed.
It will probably take a major legal case to get there.
Mike Davidson, whose recently acquired company Newsvine also has a mechanic for paying money to publishers, weighs in on this Readability discussion.
The anger about the financial side of Readability seems to come from the opinion that the company is “keeping publishers’ money” unless they sign up, but I guess I look at it differently: I don’t think it is the publishers’ money. I think it is Readability’s money. Readability invests the time and resources into developing their service and they are the ones who physically get users to pay a subscription fee.
Perhaps I’m reading the situation incorrectly, but I don’t think the fact that Readability was keeping money that was ‘owed’ was an issue for most publishers. I think it’s that it is the fact that they were using that fact as leverage to justify donations in a publisher’s name without prior consent that was the big mistake. Note that Davidson’s service gets up front permission from publishers.
I’ve never seen what Readability was doing as inherently evil or malicious. It’s completely obvious that they’re trying to do something interesting to alleviate publisher complaints about loss in revenue. But the fact is that with the move to a free service, they have undermined the very contribution system that they once touted as their main differentiating characteristic from competitors like Instapaper.
Readability’s new apps look great and they’re built with obvious taste. There are some usability problems, but nothing that can’t be fixed. The problem that Readability set out to tackle is incredibly difficult and worth exploring. But at some point, copying Instapaper feature for feature became more of a focus than making a unique and useful service.
That’s too bad because they’re on to something, they just started going about it in the wrong way, a way that feels less than genuine.
Anil Dash runs down his thoughts on Readability and Instapaper.
The heart of it for me is this paragraph, in which Dash makes a case that there is room for both services:
Because if we succeed in vilifying Readability for trying to figure out a publisher payment model, Instapaper is going to go down with it for charging for its app. If we succeed in attacking Instapaper for providing ad-free views of content within its app, Readability is going to go down with it.
I agree with the fact that there is always room for competition, which generally creates better products all around and good things for the consumer. The problem with this particular idea for me is that no one will ever see an article in Instapaper without having seen it in its regular ‘web’ form. By contrast, Readability does collect a portion of a subscription fee whether a publisher knows that it is doing it or not.
It’s a question of transparency, which is the problem so many people have with what Readability is doing when it gathers payments on behalf of publishers without their permission or knowledge.
There is more to the puzzle though, and the whole article is worth a read if you’re interested in this sort of thing. The paragraph that I quoted above is taken out of context, but I don’t believe that its intent has been altered.
Update: As some folks have pointed out to me, if you’re using Instapaper integration in an app like Tweetbot, you never see the original page.
Charlie Kindel talks about why Google will ditch Android.
I’m not sure if Google will abandon it entirely, but I could absolutely see them forking it and that fork becoming the most popular version. Such a fork would continue to be made available at a delayed rate to OEMs, but it would allow Google to have tighter controls over hardware specifications and to build proprietary features into it.
It would involve a significant amount of lost face, but they have to do something, the current state of Android is ridiculous.
The fragmentation of Android will only get worse and I think that Google realized that it needs its own channel of hardware and software if it’s ever going to fix it. This is why it has been a bad deal for Android OEMs from the start. This was the inevitable outcome.
I doubt it will be called the ‘Google Play’, but an upcoming tablet running an in-house fork of Android and built by Motorola doesn’t seem all that far-fetched.