Amplify the Obvious

Amplifying the obvious about tech and tech commentary
~ Saturday, February 15 ~
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Apple Fan Shortsightedness

Techcrunch reviews a gadget that lets an iPhone use a Qi wireless charger. It doesn’t work very well. So what does the author conclude? That the Qi standard doesn’t work, and so its good that Apple doesn’t do wireless charging, and besides, wireless charging is not big deal.

Of course the Comments section is full of Android users who charge their phones using Qi chargers without any problems. As do I. There is no problem with the Qi standard that I am aware of - it makes my phone and tablet that much more convenient. It is a real advantage that most Android devices have over IOS devices.

You have to pretty much have your mind already made up that if Apple does’t have it, it isn’t worth having to write an article like that. This is the kind of thing that gets Apple outsiders so worked up about Apple fans.

And another thing - Techcrunch requires a Facebook login to comment? How lame is that?

Tags: techcrunch qi wireless charging
1 note
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Apple Logo

One of the smartest decisions Apple ever made was to design a graphic logo, and put it the back of their laptops and monitors and phones. The distinctive logo appears all over TV and movies, even though Apple famously refuses to pay for product placement.

This came to mind while watching the Olympics - an interview with Evgeni Plushenko, followed by him walking away and using his phone, with the Apple logo clearly visible.

Even many cases for the iPhone include cutouts so the logo shows through. Partly this is snob appeal - look how cool my phone is - but it is also good marketing. My Nexus phone has the word NEXUS on the back, but it is nowhere as distinctive as that cute little Apple logo.

Tags: apple iphone
~ Friday, February 14 ~
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Lock In

Farhad Manjoo’s new column at the NYT talks about a subject close to my heart - don’t lock yourself into somebody’s platform. Because you never know what the future may bring.

I don’t agree with some of his specifics, but his overall point is correct - each vendor is trying in its own way to lock you in as a customer. Apple is the worst offender - their software typically only works on their hardware - but Google and MS would like to lock you up, too.

So don’t use iBooks when you can use multi-platform Kindle. Only use Google software when it runs everywhere - Gmail, or Google Docs run on IOS and Android and Windows and OS X. Don’t come to rely on Apple software in case you ever want to move to another platform.

And I shouldn’t be using Google Keep, since it doesn’t run on OS X or IOS or Windows, just Android and the web. I should be using something like Evernote, despite its problems on Android, because it is truly cross platform.. hmm.. maybe I should be practicing what I preach..

Tags: ios android
~ Wednesday, February 12 ~
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Is Keep a Keeper?

According to The Verge, the reason that Google contacts seems like an afterthought to Gmail is because, well, it is. It was the last thing to be developed, and they were trying to meet a deadline, so it didn’t turn out so hot.

But why haven’t they improved it much in the years since? That isn’t clear, and it worries me. Some Google software seems to get lots of attention - Gmail, or now Google+. Some of their software languishes for years - Google Tasks, which seems to be pretty widely used, but never gets updated, and has many obvious gaps.

And my current worry is Google Keep. Only a couple of major updates since it was first released - are they serious about it? Is it another Gmail, or is it another Google Tasks?

Tags: Google Keep gmail google
~ Wednesday, February 5 ~
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iPhone Fashion

Sometimes it hard for Android users to understand why so many people buy iPhones - phones they consider to be overpriced, over-hyped, and over-restrictive.

Jean-Louis Gassee may shed some light on this in his most recent post. He is talking really about 5S vs 5C sales, but also talks about how people buy phones to make a statement - its kind of a fashion thing. Just as people buy expensive cars, or Nike tennis shoes, with little or no advantage over cheaper, but less “cool” products from competitors.. 

This is also why so many friends I know buy iPhones, yet don’t buy any apps, and use few capabilities of the phone - they could probably use an inexpensive flip phone for what they do, but that wouldn’t be as cool..

Tags: iphone android
~ Saturday, February 1 ~
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Bad Android Apps

I understand - to a degree - why developers make apps for IOS before Android. But I don’t understand why some apps that work on both platforms are WORSE on Android than on IOS. Once you’ve made the commitment, you should do your best.

I bring this up in the context of Evernote. Anyone who uses it on both IOS and Android would agree that the Android version just isn’t as good as the IOS version. And that has been the case for a long time.

But some other apps - Zite, Feedly - have useable versions, but obviously not as well crafted as the IOS versions. Blastr, the news page for the SyFy channel, is so bad I don’t understand why they even released it.

You can make an app to match the IOS version - look at Flipboard, or Simplenote - not to mention all the Google apps. So it isn’t impossible. 

Tags: evernote android zite feedly blastr
~ Thursday, January 30 ~
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Does Evernote hate Android?

Another UI upgrade for Evernote on IOS. Plus release of an interesting app, SwiftKey Note, for IOS, which interfaces with Evernote.

Meanwhile, Evernote on Android continues to look dated, with a truly primitive, barely usable note editor. It also got a new release this week, with no noticeable changes. The announcement said there were “bug fixes”, but they weren’t identified.

Seems to me that Evernote on Android is basically an afterthought - really Evernote is a IOS/OS X app. 

Tags: evernote android
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How much did Google really lose on Motorola?

The conventional wisdom on tech blogs is that Google lost many billions of dollars on Motorola. Many, of course, celebrate this.

But maybe not. See here and here for contrary views.

Tags: google motorola android
~ Saturday, January 25 ~
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Stylus

Good article on the “mistakes” made in mobile over the last decade, from Pocketnow.

I especially am sympathetic to the demise of the stylus. I used a series of Palm OS devices over the years, and was quite content to use a stylus. Then Steve Jobs declared the stylus dead, and the tech press obediently followed his lead, treating his declaration as a pearl of wisdom, when of course it was just marketing speak. To this day much of the tech press treats Apple marketing as gospel - if Apple says IOS 7 is “beautiful”, then you can bet many tech blogs will declare it is beautiful.

I probably wouldn’t want a stylus as my only method of input, but there are occasions where it is a better tool for the job - there is a lot more precision with a stylus than with a finger tip.

Tags: stylus steve jobs pocketnow
~ Friday, January 24 ~
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Apple Nostalgia

Today the tech press is getting all mushy over the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh, which was announced in a super bowl ad. Why people get all teary eyed over a multi-national conglomerate, I will never understand.

Kevin Drum takes a contrarian view of Apple’s infamous 1984 commercial.

Tags: apple macintosh