No not that one. Although…
I’ve been looking for a new smartphone and I can’t deny the Nexus One looks sweet. Now Google says that they’ve got a new model that will run on AT&T’s 3G network (before it was just 2G).
I’m really more interested in the most recent Android build and would prefer it in a keyboard slider phone but a Nexus would be cool too. However as of now I’m still waiting until the Dell Mini 5 “Streak” comes out so I can see what it’s like in hand. If I can stand the size I might prefer that for my new Android phone.
Also I may stay with Windows Mobile, the new info coming from MIX about the WinMo 7 looks cool but I still like the open-ness of 6.5. So the HD2 and possibly TouchPro 3 may be my new phone.
Cool that the Nexus is in play but I’m still on the fence.
Ok, he’s not a moron but I really hate it when people get so wrapped up in their new smartphone that they get tunnel vision. His quote was a small part of a big “pat on the back” session extolling Google’s virtues:
“In three years time, desktops will be irrelevant. In Japan, most research is done today on smart phones, not PCs,”
In Japan more people do use phones rather than computers. But it’s a cultural difference; they’re not ahead of us by way of tech innovation in this regard. In fact surf the web through a Japanese phone and you’ll see just how far behind it is compared to the richness of US mobile service consumption. The web pages render fast because they are the equivalent of 1996 html only lists of text.
Second is the fact that this guy obviously doesn’t see the huge market of gamers out there, or the professionals who need actual applications and not just a email browser.
Like I said, I believe John Herlihy is smarter that he sounds, he’s just got a bit of tunnel vision right now. I think if he were to step back for a bit he’d say something more like, “I believe in three years time smartphones will be purchased before desktops by most consumers.” Which I think could be very likely.
I remember when Windows 7 came out one of the new features they were touting was the ability to connect “sensors” to make the computer more self aware of its surroundings. It’s basically an attempt to give the computer the same abilities that are common in smartphones now like GPS or cell tower location awareness, accelerometer movement awareness, or ambient light sensing abilities.
This all sounds well and good; it would be cool if you could sit in a coffee shop, search google for nearby dining or shopping venues and get a location aware result rather than responses that may be located hundreds of miles away.
But who has a Laptop with GPS built in right now?
I know that come Dells and other computer are making it an option but lets face it, 99% of the world doesn’t have any use for Windows 7 sensors.
Well today How-To-Geek has a great writeup on how to put geosense on your laptop to get geolocation abilities without GPS. It’s funny that I was reading this article in a coffee shop, downloaded, installed, and had location aware abilities, all within about 5 minutes.
The install is fast and simple, the accuracy isn’t GPS level but it’s certainly good enough for weather results and nearby shopping opportunities.
As all this tech is new for laptops there isn’t a lot of abilities yet:
- Geosense made a location-enabled Google Maps client.
- Windows Sidebar “Weather” gadget: Detects location and give local weather.
- MahTweets: Geotags tweets and Flickr photos
But now that the ability to be location aware is free and simple anybody can get it, and as the number of people with it grow the apps to do more will follow. Since most of us smartphone users are getting used to these abilities from the phone it’s nice to have the laptop catchup so all of our devices are equally useful.
Bing just integrated a tool to their maps that polls flickr for geotagged images and overlays them against the streetview images in the same way photosynths overlay each other.
It’s not the most amazing thing but it’s nice to see a massive database like flickr be mined for locally applicable data like this.
In response Google just opened Google Maps Labs with some new features.
Is it just me or does Google Maps Labs have nothing worthwhile by comparison to what Bing released?
Drag a box and zoom is cool but I thought it already had that. I must be thinking of the millions of other map programs that do this normally. It reminds me of when Apple made a big deal adding Cut+Paste to the iPhone. It’s not a new feature, it’s just fixing an omission.
Aerial Imagery is nice when available but Bing has had that all along. Google is playing catch-up here.
Rotatable Maps only make sense on the GPS in my car, and even then it’s a bit disorientating. Besides rotating an image isn’t really “innovative”.
Where in the World game?! I’m going to stop here because this is absurd, when I’m looking for directions the last thing I want to do is get distracted playing a boring game. The only time I play virtual voyeur on Google maps or Google earth I know where i want to go.
It’s like MS and Google have switched places. Bing is testing some features that are new and could lead to alot of cool things. Google is giving us stuff that we’ve always had and expecting us to applause.
Buzz. It’s like twitter, only by Google so you know that the information will be used to create a bunch of shitty targeted ads to cover your screen.
“Shitty cover information? Checkout Bob’s Shitters and Outhouses Emporium.”
-Ads by Google
I won’t go into it too much, it’s shocking that Apple would integrate a Microsoft product into their market dominator bla bla. I just wanted to point out that I’ve seen alot of positive feedback on Bing recently in addition to my own. They’re quickly catching up to Google in terms of product, then it’s just a matter of drawing customers away. It’s hard, firefox still has less market share than IE when it’s an arguable better product.
Still, even if Apple and Microsoft are able to strike a Bing-on-iPhone deal, Apple may have its own search solution up its sleeve. A source for BusinessWeek said that Apple has a “skunk works” to build its own search, and that a deal for Bing is merely “buying itself time.”
The point is that bing isn’t just a failed attempt, it’s a legitimate product worth checking out, enough that Apple will let it sit on the iPhone until they have another alternative to google.
I’ve been avoiding posting about the “Google” phone the tech world is raving about because I think its bad form to suppose too much about things that technically don’t exist yet. However more info is coming out about the supposed sales of the phone and guess what? It’s just another android phone.
When Google gave away free “Super Phones” to many of their staff the rumor mill went into high gear*. In usually fashion for new Google or Apple rumors or leaks some blogs began posting how we were on the brink of a revolution where the world of phone sales as we knew it was about to be turned on it’s head!!
You see the Google phone was rumored by these blogs and user coments (based on nothing other than their own speculation) that it would be sold at cost to the public without a carrier plan. Thus one phone would run on all networks, you could choose your own carrier and not worry about being locked into a 2 year contract. The price of the unlocked phone would still be competitive with subsidized phones and Google would lose money but would make up for it by having more people online at their sites getting ad revenue and traffic to the Google domain. It was supposed to be the beginning of many people’s dream of full access and integration into the cloud with the new Google phone as the access point.
However like most of these revolutionary rumors it bypasses a lot of basic realities of how non-techies see the world and big business do business among themselves. First off a phone needs a lot of extra crap on it to run on all phone networks crap that costs money and increases the price of the phone. Google would effectively be competing with the networks that were expected to provide service for the phone alienating the very people they’ll be relying on for the phone. And Google was competing with it own android phones already out there but not on a network.
Gizmodo today released a leaked sales page that outlines the reality of how the phone is going to be sold. Simply put, it’s being sold like any other phone by HTC; you can either pay a huge upfront price for the phone unlocked and unsubsidized then choose your carrier and plan. Or buy it on contract for a much reduced, subsidized price; but without the 2 year contract.
The good news is that it’s still a great phone and not just an experimental phone for Google employees. The market could use more good phones and more good ideas.
It’s just not going to be telecommunications revolution most people were misguidedly dreaming of.
* Case in point: Now that the revolutionize the business of smart-phones has been overturned TechCrunch is now rumoring that the phone has automatic backup software based off the sentence, “Charge your phone while streaming music and backing up your data”
Notice that that one line says nothing about automatic anything and that any phone that backs itself up can do so while in a dock to the computer.
This is a prime case of letting speculation get ahead of itself. The phone may automatically back itself up or it may not even come with integrated backup software, but because of a major tech blog’s speculation much of the tech community will assume that it now has automatic backup.
They’re also trying to keep the revolution line open with another article saying that the unlocked Nexus will work on any network. Again this is speculation based of an already sketchy leaked document. The document mentions working with T-mobile, so the hardware will only work with T-Mobile and AT&T but likely not AT&T’s high speed HSDPA network which runs on a different technology from T-Mobiles 3G network. That would relegate the google phone which relies highly on internet access for cloud based services to dial up speeds.
Like I’ve said again and again, don’t let rumors outpace common sense. Right now all we likely have is a nice new HTC Android phone for T-Mobile.
MG Siegler is blowing more into the fact that Microsoft’s Bing search includes Apple Apps.
Not technically a web page, it would seem that Bing is injecting this data right into its results to make sure the user gets what they’re looking for. And that’s great, especially considering that Microsoft, of course, has a rival app store with Windows Marketplace. And their store contains many of the same apps that yield App Store results on Bing, such as Facebook and AIM .
First off I agree with him that it’s smart for Bing to put an emphasis on iPhone apps because the iPhone is so popular that when many people who are searching for “facebook app” are searching for the iPhone facebook app. In fact most people that search for “*blank* app” are looking for iPhone apps. There are a few more smartphone options out there but most people searching for those are smart enough to know that app means apple and will search for “Facebook windows mobile” or “Facebook android”.
However this isn’t some concession where MS is giving in to Apple. If you want a search to be the best you try to give people what they want first. Pushing your sponsored crap over what a person is actually looking for makes for a negative search experience.
Siegler tries to play this off as if Bing is advertising it’s competitor as if this were some fanboy face off. He is completely wrong that the Apple iTunes App store is a competitor with windows Market Place. Apple iPhone apps don’t work on non-apple phones and Windows Mobile apps don’t work on iPhone. The Phones themselves may be in competition with each other but once you got one or the other you don’t have the option of choosing between the two app stores. The stores are not competitors, if somebody already has an iPhone they’re not going to be shopping your store. But you can still cash in by getting some search revenue off them. And imagine if the iTunes App store had an affiliate option like amazon where somebody could get money for referring a sale to them (I know stop laughing. We know that Apple would never thing of letting others in on their action!)
Making a big deal about this is trying to pit MS against Apple where no competition exists making it a non-issue. Although it does make for an interesting social commentary on how people feel the need to create an “Us vs. Them” situation.
On a related note I’ve set my firefox search box to Bing instead of Google to try it out. There was a blog post somewhere where somebody mentioned how Bing was a decent search engine that is automatically looked over since Google is just assumed to be the defacto best. I figured it was worth giving Bing a try to see that if once I’m past the “This is odd and not what I’m comfortable to” phase if it will be a decent search engine.
Additional, Additional: Don’t search for “Bing” with google’s image safe search set to “off”.
About time the US got on this bandwagon. QR codes are 2 dimensional barcodes that can hold information, usually a URL but it can be just text. Check my last.fm profile for a customer made code I posted.
Japan has been all over these for most of the last decade. So lets say you grab a free magazine or flyer from a music shop. Inside are articles and the inevitable ads featuring artists with new releases. You see an ad of a band you like that says they just released a new CD and will be touring to support it soon. In the corner is a QR code so you take a picture with your smartphone and it opens your browser to a custom site formatted for the phone with additional information and links to buy the CD and/or tickets to the concerts. Plus you can add in special coupons and benefits if you come into a site from a certain QR cord. i.e. you see a code that says, “Go here to receive an additional 10% off!”
Google is using this mostly to integrate their searches into use in the everyday world but anybody can jump on the bandwagon. And you know that if google backs it it’s likely to start picking up momentum.
Today Google announced more details on the new Chrome OS, it’s not an OS release (which will be sometime next year), not even a beta release but the source code is open to the public for people to tinker with. So give it a day and people should have working copies on their machines to review.
I was reading the post of the live notes from the conference on Tech Crunch and the part that really caught my eye was this:
You cannot download and install Chrome on any machine. You will have to buy a new one.
End of next year. Before the holiday season.
I don’t like that at all.
I was looking forward to being able to throw Chrome OS onto my netbook as a quickboot alternative when I just want a quick web lookup or some thing similar. This makes it sound like you can only get it if it comes preconfigured on the device as it comes from the store.
Think about that, even Windows can be installed afterwards onto an existing OS and be given the option to dual boot into one or the other. In fact my netbook works exactly like that now. When I boot I have the choice between the initial install of Windows XP (I keep for legacy networking programs) or Windows 7 with Win7 being the 5 second default.
In fact I also have Backtrack 4 beta on the SD card where I can hit “esc” during boot and boot over to that instead of the two OS’s on the hard drive. During the POST and 5 second timer I have the choice between 3 different OS’s to go into. I was hoping Chrome OS would be similar for a quick lightweight alternative OS when I don’t want a full Windows OS.
Things may change, this is just a quick comment from a live blog. The other bad news in the quote, the fact that its due at the end of NEXT year means a lot can happen in the meantime.
Which comes to the final point. There are many great OS’s out there now that do everything I want in a quick light-weight OS. There are some really good Linux builds made especially for netbooks that take most of the hassle out of dealing with driver installs and the initial setup I ranted about in the last post. Another TechCrunch post mentioned JoliCloud which sounds very similar to what I’d like in Chrome OS, with great optimization, device sync and the ability to choose your own apps (as opposed to using all google), and it’s available for beta testing NOW.
Chrome OS still look great but the biggest news of the announcement seems to be potentially bad news IMHO.
I almost always disagree with John Herman’s Apple Butt-kissing posts over at Gizmodo. But I could not agree with him more in his post about what Chrome OS needs to “be a contender”
I’d add to it but I’ve got nothing other than a big +1 to that.
99% of what people mention as “Cloud Computing” is nothing more than Web 2.0, which is not anything more than crunching normal data and putting it online in a simple website.
Just about anything people claim is “cloud” based already existed on the web long before this buzzword came up. Spotify “Puts music in the cloud”, never mind that they do the same thing that last.fm has done for 6 years, never mind that all last.fm does is stream music to you which RealPlayer has done since the late 90’s, never mind that Realplayer is just using the UDP portion of the TCP protocol that has been around since the 70’s.
So what we have is files stored on remote servers that are sent to a user?
What a novel idea! What do you think webpages are?
Even Web 2.0 was a better buzzword because at least then companies were taking massive user input, crunching the data on their servers and feeding it back to the users, it was a process of making better use of the web, but even then it wasn’t a magic new technology.
The other use of “Cloud Computing” as a term is really just describing “Server Virtualization” at a datacenter, something that has been done for quite a while now. Instead of buying your own server, and renting out rack space at a datacenter, the data center is renting virtual server out to you with virtual storage and virtual processing for you to put your code on. The code and the service you provide to your customers is the same as it’s always been. The only difference is that you don’t own the equipment the code sits on anymore.
It’s like switching from 5×8 workdays to 4×10 workdays. Your company may get some efficiency benefit but it doesn’t change the fact that people working are still working the same job they did before.
Reading through the comments on TechCrunch I realized that most people still don’t know what “Cloud Computing” is. Simply put it’s just crunching some data and putting it online for users to look at (or what people were calling Web2.0 a few years ago).
Now that many people are surfing the net through iPhones and other smartphones they want to do things that are beyond the scope of the tiny piece of handheld software and that heavy lifting is being done on the backend. But it’s nothing new, it’s how Google Maps works, it’s the way search engines work, it’s the way anything that stream audio or video works. It may be more prevalent now but it’s not new.
And it’s not 100% online like most people think, it still relies on your browser and the java and flash (siverlight, air) plugins to do the front end computing for you. The only functions handled on the backend are the simplest database functions and data storage.
Take something like Mint. Financial reports are just basic excel style spreadsheets made pretty for you with some graphs. You can make your own by importing bank data to excel, uploading it to a public access FTP and getting a copy from any remote site you access from. It’s all existing, not to mention old, technology and ideas. It just took Mint to make a business plan to organize it all for you so all you had to do was look at a pretty website. No new “cloud” technology was invented or used in the process, just re-appropriating old technology in a new way.
Hence “Cloud Computing” isn’t a new technology on the internet, just an improved business model serving you the same data that’s always been there.
As of this moment Gmail is down. Considering how massive google is it’s hard to think that such a major part of their web presence could be smashed like this again (or maybe not, the more use, the more stress on servers).
A lot of talk is made about the future of computing “in the cloud” where businesses move all their email, apps, and file storage to giant remote server farms where they are overseen by a third party rather than supported in house by your own techs.
Being without gmail we can all get a small sense of how disruptive this can be when the company holding the basket with all of your crashes unexpectedly. Personally I only use my gmail account for non-business critical uses but if I were a fortune 500 company that had moved all company email assets into gmail I’d be losing money hand over fist right now with my employees unable to contact customers and vice-versa.
Of course anything can happen, even with in-house systems. But if you crash your own computer you have nobody to blame but yourself for not having good backups or alternatives. Plus you can still use third party systems as an extra level of backup; unless they just happen to have a massive outage that coincides with yours, ala gmail right now. But if a third party fails then it’s somebody else’s fault and no matter how well prepared you yourself were, you’re crippled by their lack of oversight, or their accident, or their being a massive malware target being a keystone company on the net.
While cloud computing has its uses I believe for business critical applications it should only be used as a backup for your own in house deployments. That way the only time you even need to care about gmail’s uptime is the 1 day of the year your in house systems are down. The chances of both being out at the same time are minuscule. But if you rely on others as your only source of email you’re always at their mercy.
Google made a blog posting in response to recent security concerns since Twitter’s data in the Google cloud was illegally hacked.
Google basically states that they provide info on how to make better passwords, and different ways to make password recovery a bit more secure. Interestingly for Google Apps they also support advanced login methods that use “certificates, smartcards, biometrics, one time password devices, and other stronger tokens”.
All cool stuff but I’d like to point out that all of this only addresses login issues. In the medieval castle analogy I made yesterday I pointed out that security is layered like an onion. The inherent problem with cloud computing is that you eliminate almost all physical security options available to you; and believe me there are a lot of amazing, very secure, network level security options available. All you’re left with is having a strong password.
A lot of people including Twitter are saying that there was no flaw in Google Apps, and in a way there wasn’t. It worked as strong as it possibly can and it was the password that was hacked. But that’s my point! Your security is only as strong as your password, and with that as your only line of defense there are no additional security checks between your data and every hacker and script kiddie on the internet.
From a business standpoint I’d never advise moving all data over to the cloud, it literally goes against all the lessons in computer security we’ve learned in the last few decades. And even as cloud technologies mature I can only foresee a hybrid-cloud business model where private confidential company data is stored onsite in a traditional manner, and public or publicly safe documents are stored in the cloud (similar to our traditional “DMZ” zone in network security).]]>
Techcrunch is running some stories on Twitter based off of some information given to them by a hacker. Reading how much data was gathered is shocking, some documentation I didn’t even know people would save on a hard drive; which in itself is a pretty interesting insight into how everything we do is digital now. It makes sense, it just doesn’t usually hit home so hard.
But the main thing that I noticed is how easy it is for all this information to be stolen in the first place. This is not at all shocking to me since I was on a networking security team at Cisco I’m well versed on what it takes to secure digital content. And one thing that was constantly driven home is that no matter how many firewalls, network detectors, and anti-virus/malware programs you use to plug holes and backdoor access if you leave the front door open it’s all worthless.
It’s not our fault that Google has a ridiculously easy way to get access to accounts via their password recovery question. It’s not our fault that Twitter stored all of these documents and sensitive information in the cloud and had easy-to-guess passwords and recovery questions.
This is why I’m wary about a hypothetical future where all our info is stored and processed in the cloud. The majority of security holes develop internally within a company when an employee leaks sensitive info, luckily becoming an employee serves as an initial layer of security. Think of it as a castle with a wall around it, to see what’s within you need a password to get through the gate and then you have to physically enter that castle. The real live situation is using a login on a computer on the internal company network to access the servers; you have physical security on the computer and servers in addition to logical security via authenticated login.
In the cloud our medieval castle analogy is distributed through the surrounding peasant community, you still need the password to gain access but you can gain access from anywhere. In the real world there are a few tricks that you HOPE your cloud provider is taking to mitigate this problem but the reality is you don’t have physical security over the devices storing your data anymore. All you have is a simple login standing between you and every malicious user on the internet.
In the security world your security should be layered like an onion, only having one pathetically weak layer protecting your business is what we on the internet call an “Epic Fail”.]]>
Great post on CrunchGear about the announcement of ChromeOS. In a nutshell:
“ChromeOS, like Android, is a bargaining chip. OEMs can wave ChromeOS in Microsoft’s face and reduce they price they have to pay per PC for installing Windows. It won’t work, but they’ll try. Die-hard Linux users will stick with Linux and the average consumer, when presented with Chrome, will ask where the Start menu went.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Plus Ars weighs in on the troubles of cloud computing:
Cloud computing promise still stormy with reliability issues
I think cloud computing is a great new technology but we’re years from it replacing our current computing architecture. For now the best thing is to stick to traditional architecture and implement cloud technologies as backups, redundancies and non-mission critical usage until it’s fully matured.