Ofertă unică pentru cereri de tipuri diferite

E adevărat că unele device-uri costă mai mult decât merită din punct de vedere al tehnologiei oferite. Nu ar fi așa însă dacă le-am cumpăra numai pt. tehnologia însăși – piața ar reglementa automat totul. În schimb, le cumpărăm pe alea pentru că:

  • fie sunt singurele care oferă minimum-ul calitativ ori unele funcționalități specifice neapărat dorite – aceasta dacă ne referim în continuare la tehnologie,
  • fie avem nevoie de ele pentru imaginea noastră în societate, prețul crescând însă pentru toată lumea, inclusiv pentru cei care sunt doar în prima categorie…

Asta-i viața, nu te forțează nimeni să cumperi ceva.

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Incredible! And measures to take

A few days ago I saw a YouTube video showing how an attacker can view photos from your iOS 11-based iPhone without unlocking it (!), requiring just that Siri is enabled in locked mode too and – of course – that he or she finds your phone unattended.

I thought it cannot be true, so I tested it on my own phone. But unfortunately, I found the method working! And that the attack takes a very short time to be accomplished!

(Sure, developers at Apple are still people and can make mistakes like we all do, but it is really annoying to find out that there still are such glitches like this in a modern OS!)

Although this doesn’t change my general opinion on Apple products which I think are very good, especially due to software-hardware integration and developers focusing so much on user interface and experience, I will consider by default that there might be a possible lack of security when I’ll enable any new feature on my device in the future.

While for now, I decided to ensure I do these (and suggest you to do the same):

  1. Disable Siri, since she seems to have been a requirement on many similar attacks in the past as well (just perform a Google search on the topic to see), and hey, you haven’t been using the assistant that much anyway, have you?
    • Or at least do not enable her when the phone is locked; there is a setting there, I’m sure you’ll find it.
  2. Do NOT let the phone unattended whenever you are away from home.
    • Put the phone into a safe pocket even when you are at the office and just need go to the toilet. 🙂
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Windows 10 Fall Creators update

Fall Creators update is now available for everybody. I just installed it myself today, checked the new things for a short while (actually less than an hour) and here is what I found:

  • The Spotlight background issue occurring on log on screen after some previous update (and that appeared also with Anniversary update but being solved – for some time – back then) has finally been fixed. Hopefully for good, this time.
  • My People hub showing on task bar is finally available (after I waited for it since… the previous fall… and almost forgot it was going to arrive!)
    • But I already found issues when trying to map certain Skype contacts with it: for those specific contacts, the Skype window area remains white and empty inside the window shown above the task bar upon clicking that person, instead of allowing conversations as expected. So I think it’s still buggy (or, to be more accurate, probably Skype integration with the new subsystem is).
  • I could connect Windows to my iPhone, then started reading a Web page in Safari on the phone and by sharing it with the new Continue on PC app I could transfer reading it to Edge in Windows. Nice, it might help me – or not – in the future (I find myself using the PC less and less nowadays – working on Mac to do hands-on Swift and iOS development learning, or… on the phone only for reading and analyses.)

I spotted no other very interesting things in my short test session. So, I tend to already agree with the conclusion of this review:

Get the update as soon as you would have about an hour to let it download and install: mostly to stay as secure as possible. But do not expect breathtaking features afterwards, especially if you’re using the PC for “plain old” standard work, not for holographic or other type of extravaganza.

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Device pairing

The table below that may help you select a computer and phone pair, if you need both type of devices, assuming you want contemporary hardware and ability to run selected categories of software. (I included: a few popular Web browsers*, two Web search engines, three cloud drive providers, Microsoft Office 365 for productivity apps, and three development studio tools, plus hardware-software and OS integration features.)

Table

* Actually, each mobile OS will only run the HTML engine provided by its core, but other features of Web browsers – such as favorite and reading list syncing – are considered too.

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Over the Edge?

Edge for iOS and Android

Microsoft has just announced Edge for iOS and Android. The new apps are going to allow end users to share specific Edge data from Windows – like favorites and the reading list, which were indeed highly needed – between PC and the mobile OS of user’s choice.

However, as Venture Beat reports, the new Edge apps will internally use the HTML renderers of the mobile OSes’ cores – Blink/Chromium on Android, and WebKit/WKWebView on iOS – as I assume Microsoft‘s EdgeHTML is not allowed and/or not technically feasible on non-Windows devices.

Microsoft says it’s better this way due to the better integration with the underlying OSes, but to me, this clearly means that now they consider Windows and its components less important for their overall future business, and instead they focus more on services, i.e. allowing other OSes (previously known as competition) to become the “homes” of their customers and just providing high level software there too, while PCs and Windows can remain available for just as much time the users would want them, while in the meantime they will continue to serve as ramp up for the “real” Microsoft‘s services too.

In other words, I think that now Microsoft lets end users to choose both their hardware and – unthinkable a few years ago – the OSes of their devices, just to get them using Microsoft‘s apps and services, like it’s the case of Edge favorites now, but – more importantly, and for some time already – the paid Office 365 subscriptions too.

(Even for developers, now Microsoft has tools that allow building on and for all other major platforms out there, including macOS on client side and Linux on server side, besides the mobile targets! Xamarin and .NET Core advancements prove it 100%.)

Microsoft Launcher for Android

Back to the original announcement, let’s go one step further: Microsoft will also offer an improved Android launcher, which tries to integrate their high level software and services a little deeper into the Android host, but at the lowest possible level without breaking compatibility, considering that they target the very large number of Android devices that already exist worldwide.

Apple doesn’t allow anything like that on iOS; this is why they target only Android devices with this deeper integration, but rules are rules and developers – including Microsoft here – go how and where they can. Android is more open, thus the direction.

“Windroid”-ization?

These above being said and acknowledged, i.e. learning that Microsoft loves – to be read “was forced by market to love” – open source, Linux and Android, I’d say that they can go even further and in few steps get back relevant in the mobile business (!), where they could really use some market share nowadays as holographic devices are not yet good enough for the public and present high adoption risks anyway. Here we go:

Disregarding the recent articles that indicate a possible dismiss of the Microsoft hardware team due to not selling enough Surface devices – or better said, the plausibility of this option – they could still develop a nice Surface Phone that would run a special – “Windroid“? – OS that could run Android apps and would allow the end users to connect to Google Play store – and/or a modified Microsoft Store (previously known as Windows Store – is this rename a sign?) – to download and purchase Android apps that they need, just like it’s possible with Amazon‘s Android Appstore on Kindle Fire devices.

Such “Windroid” OS could be developed – although probably it’s going to be a highly complex task – I guess:

  • Merge/refactor the closed Windows OS core source code (and open it) with/as a supportable Linux kernel, and then
  • use Android open source project, modified to have Windows-like UI and optionally also to support the Microsoft Android Store, on top of the core, being therefore able to run all the Android apps that users will need, possibly obtained from Microsoft if developers publish their work there too!

Of course, I haven’t done deep analysis on this, so I need a disclaimer here: it’s just an idea, nothing else. It’s highly possible that Microsoft already checked it or even tried it and maybe there are technical or legal impediments going on this route. But I couldn’t help sharing, once I thought of it. (Who knows, maybe when you’ll say Android in a few years, you won’t necessarily think about Google.)

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Ai/n-ai nevoie de un telefon de 1000$?

Oamenii nu vor folosi niciodată device-urile achiziționate la adevărata lor valoare. Fie ele ieftine, fie scumpe, punct. Cele ieftine pentru că au deseori diverse mici probleme și te enervezi lăsându-le deoparte cu totul, cele scumpe pentru că nu ai nevoie de toate funcțiile lor, rămânând mereu câteva pe care nu le atingi vreodată din necesitate, deși știi că există (nu vorbesc aici de neștiutori și nici de snobii care-și iau iPhone X – sau Pixel 2? – din motive de imagine, ci de adevărații techies.)

Cu toate acestea eu sunt de părere că articolele tot mai dese care susțin că n-are nimeni nevoie de un telefon care depășește mia de verzișori, existănd variante aproape la fel dar mai ieftine, greșesc flagrant:

Uneori avem nevoie nu de a utiliza funcționalitățile în sine, ci de existența potențialului lor de utilizare! Valoarea fiind dată de faptul că având device-ul în buzunar știi că dacă va fi necesar (deși știi și că probabil asta nu se va întâmpla niciodată), vei putea utiliza acea funcție corner case ce nu ar fi existat la telefonul aproape bun dar ieftin.

Plătești deci nu doar telefonul și funcțiile sale des utilizate, ci și un fel de asigurare a putinței utilizării lui extreme! Și nu cred că e rău să-ți faci, dacă-ți permiți, asigurări, inclusiv de acest fel!

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Un Pixel, doi

Care e faza cu Google ăștia? Mi se pare că merg, oarecum, în direcția greșită. În legătură cu Pixelii lor. Dar să mă explic:

Cu Android și deschiderea sa au ajuns numărul unu în lume la smartphone-uri. Sigur, nu singuri, ci cu parteneri precum Samsung sau Huawei – dar nu numai – care au avut încredere în sistemul de operare open source și au venit cu hardware de toate felurile pentru acesta – deși și cu “îmbunătățiri” software nedorite – la prețuri pentru toate buzunarele. Cel puțin în comparație cu Apple: deși iPhone-ul rămâne cel mai dorit device, prețul mic al multor telefoane Android bune face diferența pentru mulți cumpărători. Iar concurența (inclusiv între Android-uri) este întotdeauna benefică pentru aceștia din urmă.

Da, fără Pixeli, Google risca poate să nu fie în linia întâi la nivel de imagine; adică dacă nu oferea și hardware premium propriu cu clean and lovely Android OS și update-uri garantate a veni la timp. Dar mișcarea lor de a fi în același timp și open (cu Android generic pentru producătorii terți) și oarecum closed sau mai bine zis self-oriented (cu Pixel – 1, 2 sau N) nu pare prea de succes:

  • Utilizatorii ce doresc premium aleg oricum deja între iPhone și S8 și-și vor păstra favoriții. (De-asta cred eu că n-a reușit nici Microsoft cu Lumia lor Windows Phone să penetreze piața – era prea târziu pentru “turmă”; la fel, nici Pixeli – fie ei “old” 1-es – nu prea văd în jurul meu.)
  • Cu linia Pixelilor, Google concurează cu Samsung și Huawei, binefăcătorii? (Din punct de vedere al Android.) Nu este oare ciudat? Parcă e Microsoft lovind cu SurfaceBook în partenerii săi din domeniul PC-urilor acu’ ceva timp și nu știu dacă le e mai bine acum decât dacă rămâneau doar cu 2-in-1-urile.
  • A încerca să vinzi ceva single party iubitorilor de open e – după mine – împotriva logicii. Cei care apreciază Google pentru open source-ul Android-ului vor alege un orher party pentru hardware, pur și simplu pentru a păstra distanța. (Eu zic că și de-aia nu sunt mulți Pixel 1-iști acum deși sunt atâți Androidiști generaliști, Samsungiști, ori Huaweiști; poate ar mai fi mers, ceva-ceva, de-ar fi existat și-un Pixel de juma’ – sau și mai bine sfert – de preț, gen J3 sau pe-acolo.)

Dar noh, eu nu-s expert în mobile. (Doar am avut Windows Phone atâta timp!) Așa că om vedea de-a fi Pixelul 2 mai activ, ori tot mort ca primul.

PS: Devs, I’d say keep developing both Android and iOS apps, căci Pixelul nu va crește – zic eu – cel puțin nu semnificativ, market share-ul primului dintre sistemele de operare menționate, dar nici nu-l va scădea. Și nici în zona merelor (mușcate) de aur nu cred că va avea vreun efect vizibil.

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