The tablet and the bowling ball

Asus TransformerI was impressed with the Ipad when it came out, the speed, the responsiveness and the battery life. I really wanted one, but my use case for a portable device included a keyboard, standalone usability and easy transfer of data. A netbook would have achieved most of the goals, only it did not provide the form factor I wanted for reading - the portrait work mode.

After reading the AnandTech review of the Asus Eee Pad Transformer, I thought I finally saw a device that met all my requirements. I would highly recommend you read the review of the device. I do believe Asus brings true value and innovation to the tablet space. Asus not only has experience from the Netbook, it also lacks (in a good way) the links and the bondage of a cellular maker. I would only hope that Asus will join up with a Linux distribution to create a Linux ARM tablet.

I have made one mistake in the purchasing this device. I did not buy it for my self, but rather for my wife. It felt like the American husband buying a bowling ball for his wife's birthday. The joke, however is on me. She likes it, and she is by no mean a geek.

While the device is not without it's fault (I mainly find the Wireless connection wanting), it is a well rounded standalone device, which I can see as a replacement for most tablets and net-book devices. It remains to be seen how Asus handles software upgrades over time, and how the battery lasts in day to day use, but so far we are happy with it. Well, she is...

Dropping the box

 I used to like dropbox, and even recommend it. It is fast [fn]allowing local area sync so computers on the same network are synced almost instantaneously[/fn], easy [fn]Very easy integration into the Linux, Windows and Mac file systems[/fn] and was supported on many smartphones and tablet systems.

I began to feel troubled by the compplainet to the FTC claiming Dropbox lied about the security and privacy of the content people put on it's systems:

The keys used to encrypt and decrypt files also are in the hands of Dropbox, not stored on each user’s machines.

What this means, in a nutshell, is that Dropbox can have full access to the files stored on it's system.

As someone who worked in corporate IT, I know the dilemma. Do you want IT to have full access to all the data in the system? This might make technical support and maintenance for IT, but from a business and legal point of view, this raises some thorny issues. IT professionals and service do not have, to the best of my knowledge, the same defenses lawyers, clerics and members of the medical profession have when dealing with user privacy.

The second shoe dropped when, apparently due to a bug,  Dropbox allowed access to it's system with no authentication.

Is Google document sharing broken?

From a Google FAQ:

If I share a collection with a mailing list, or set it to public (on the Web or in a domain for Enterprise users) will the collection automatically appear in other people's Documents List?

No, people in the group and those within your domain need to click the URL in the invitation you send for the shared collection to appear in their Documents List. When you set a collection to Public, everyone gets permission to access the collection. However, the collection appears in people's Documents List only after they've opened it by clicking a link sent via invite, email, or chat.

This, as it turn out, is a bad idea. As users join an organization or a group, or if they fail to click on the link sent to them, their document lists are not updated. The main feedback I get from users is that they feel that either they have done some thing wrong, or that there is something misconfiguration on the domain. I fail to see why Google have decided to do things this way, or why they do not provide a way to change this behavior.

Are cellular networks really overloaded?

When I read Joe Weinmans prediction for 2011, I felt troubled. I seems to take too much of the cellular companies claims at face value. Om Malik, one the other hand, take a more critical view at the same claims.

While on the whole, a more frugal approach to cellular connected devices operating systems, applications and content delivery is a good idea, the same holds true for the wired connection. I would seem that as the Google and Verizon so called net neutrality initiative failed, the carrier in the US have failed back to capacity limitations argument.

Does Nokia matter to us?

Nokia Logo

So, Nokia will not use Windows 7, nor will it use Android. This has been a source of debate between Tomi T Ahonen and Robert Scoble Which basically tries to undestand what, if any, is Nokias software development policy. While MeeGo seems be the future, Symbian is not dead yet, and it seems QT is the stopgap between the two.

Internet, friends, trust and continuity

When Dave Winer asks "Can we use S3 and EC2 to host free speech?", following Amazon decision to remove the wikileaks site from its server, he is following up on a discussion started in the Rebooting the News podcast on Friends of the internet. In this he more or less said that the internet has no friends in the corporate world. While originally viewing this as the realpolitik of the corporate world, leaving his own servers on Amazon, he now seems to be more troubled. He is correct in both cases, but I also think he is also overly pessimistic.

There are services which are inherently more Internet friendly, such as WordPress or Acquia. By simply providing their platform as open source they allow their client to chose between the comfort of hosted service, installation and support on other services (such as Amazon) or private hosting. This means that of your platform is important enough for you you can move more rapidly if your current provider has gone to the dark side.

This, however, is not the same for one of the more basic and fundamental services of the Internet, the DNS system. This is the system which makes it possible to use domain names. Blocking, manipulating or overtaking this can fragment the Internet. This is much harder to fix or migrate from, and poses a more serious question then trusting a hosting provider.

Is collaboration social?

A blog post and a tweet by Ido Amin caught my attention.

Merging ancestry tree websites like Geni with Facebook would be considered normal in most world cultures

From a pure IT perspective, this would be true. Merging two, or more, data sources for better consistency and accuracy seems to make sense. That is, until the human factor and terminology kicks in. Does a Facebook family mean the same thing as Geni family? Do you store and use the same types of information on both services? Do you want to share that information across sites? Will Facebooks track record with privacy be consistent with that of Geni?

Genealogy is complex and sensitive. Geni does a good job, at least in my view, to manage this, primarily by providing the final say on data to the person who is represented by this data. This is not to say that there aren't issues with data management, but the Geni approach of "better safe then sorry" is very different from the "better ask forgiveness then permission" approach of facebook. 

Three Internets

Wikileaks is being chased off the internet, and the US government is commandeering the DNS records of web sites. This is done both via the infrastructure services (DNS), pressuring network service providers and other service providers.

Regadless of your feeling about Wikileaks, it is obvious those encountering such measures will look for alternatives for their activities. This might seem fine for the policy makers, as it will move such troublemakers of the radar for the general public and themselves. But this "out of site" mentality may have larger consequences. Looking at the development of the Internet (or rather, the web, the presentation function of the Internet), I can see how the Internet will split into three networks:

The crual world of smartphones

It's a harsh world in the smartphone land. Nam Yong of LG followed in the footsteps of Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo of Nokia. Both lost their positions due to low profits of their companies high end smartphone. Low, that is, when compered those of Apple and Android in general (for Nokia) and Samsung (for LG).

The US tech journalists seems to be happy to bash Nokia with anything from calling them the McDonald's of phones to putting the blame on putting too much emphasis on hardware design, and, of course, believing only a gringo can save the poor Finns. One has to cross the pond to get some more balanced views, even from non Nokia fanboys.

Charging into the landmines

As was only to be expected, Jon Stewart quickly points out the absurdity of the Google and Verizon proposal for the schminternet1:

  • 1. Jeff Jarvis is actually less offensive in his critique then others.
Syndicate content