Archive for Mike Stone

Phil Schiller Displays Apple’s Desperation

Desperate AppleReading the comments made by Phil Schiller in a recent Wall Street Journal interview, you could smell the stink of desperation wafting off the pages.

“When you take an Android device out of the box, you have to sign up to nine accounts with different vendors to get the experience iOS comes with. They don’t work seamlessly together.”

It’s pretty obvious that Schiller has either no idea about the Android experience, or isn’t interested in telling the truth. Of course, he went on to talk about Android fragmentation (which really has no impact on the end user at all).

This follows up a rare tweet he made regarding Android security.

To me, as an Android user, all Schiller has managed to do is display a complete and utter lack of knowledge or understanding of the Android experience and environment. He suggested that Android phones are cheap giveaways by carriers, ignoring the fact that iPhones are also given away (you can get an iPhone 4 for 99 cents on AT&T if you’re a new customer or upgrading an existing plan). This is typical of Apple, where facts have never mattered. Now as they watch the mobile market slip through their fingers, the desperation becomes more and more obvious.

Ice Cream Sandwich for the HTC Thunderbolt

htc-thunderbolt-officialFor those of you that aren’t paying attention to ancient history, news broke today that Verizon has finally given the go to ICS for the HTC Thunderbolt.

All I’ve got to say about that right now is this: It takes a whole lotta gall to start your press release out with the line “When you rely on Verizon Wireless, you know you are getting the cutting-edge devices and technology needed to keep your business running at full speed” when you’re announcing the upgrade of a phone that shipped in March of 2011 to an OS that came out in October of 2011, and it’s currently 2013. I don’t know if HTC is to blame for this debacle, or if it’s Verizon’s fault, or if it’s somewhere in the middle, but claiming that Verizon is giving you “cutting-edge devices and technology” is almost a slap in the face.

I Don’t Hate the iPhone

iphone_trash_verizon-300x299I feel like, after reading a recent article that I’m not going to bother linking, that I need to clarify my position on the iPhone. This will probably come as a surprise to some of you, but I don’t hate the iPhone. I think that the iPhone an adequate smart phone, but nothing specially. It’s less functional than it’s competition, so I don’t see any reason to buy one, but I don’t hate it. Here’s what I do hate.

Apple

That’s right, I don’t hate the iPhone, but I absolutely hate Apple. Apple as a company has always been more of a follower than a leader, but they love to puff themselves up and pretend that they’re the greatest innovators known to man. That’s bull. They’re no more innovators than any other company in the computer industry. Much less than some. Especially these days where they’re more likely to try to sue someone for something they didn’t invent than actually invent something. For some reason every time some executive at Apple passes gas, it “changes the industry”. Please, save it for someone who doesn’t know any better.

Speaking of…..

Apple Fanatics

True, I don’t hate the iPhone, but I absolutely hate Apple fanatics. I especially hate Apple fanatics that say things like, “I am NOT an Apple fanboy. I’m a techie and it just so happens that Apple is amazing. I give credit where credit is due.” All that saying something like that proves to me is that you’re an Apple fanatic and a complete imbecile. There are some people who are fans of Apple that actually have some semblance of a clue, and I don’t want to group those people in with the Apple Fanatic (at least so far as I group them). Apple Fanatics are clueless blowhards that think Steve Jobs shit rainbows and gold bars. More often than not, they’re under the impression that Apple invented pretty much everything.

The Apple Logo

cool-iphone-4-casesThis may have been covered by just Apple in general, but while I don’t hate the iPhone, I despise that stupid logo. Apple puts it in the middle of all their products as big as they can make it. I’m fairly certain that Apple could have made some of it’s devices smaller if they’d have not put such a huge logo on it. Further, I hate cases that go out of their way to not cover up the logo. These are the type of cases that Apple Fanatics buy, and I can’t think of a single other company that even has something like this available. There’s no reason to have a case like this unless the logo is somehow important to you, and if the logo is important to you, then you’re buying your device as a status symbol and not because it’s a good device. Unless you bought it on clearance for $.99, if you have a case like this you’re probably an Apple fanatic, and all that brings with it.

Finishing It Off

I just felt that my opinion of the iPhone warranted clarification. I don’t hate the iPhone. I hate Apple, I hate their stinking logo, and I hate the fanatical fan boys that follow them around. The device itself is fine. I’d never buy one in a hundred years, but it’s fine. It’s over-hyped and less functional than other devices in the same market, but it’s fine.

YOur a Troll

Linux Rants is a Troll!

<RandomInternetGuy> YOur a Troll.
<LinuxRants> Uh, it’s “you’re” actually.
<RandomInternetGuy> What?
<LinuxRants> It’s “You’re a Troll”, not “Your a Troll”. “Your” is the possessive.
<RandomInternetGuy2> STOP FEEDING THE TROLL!1!!

I get called a Troll quite a lot. And not just Troll either. I’ve been called “useless”, “a puke”, “dead weight”, and many other even less polite names. I’ve had my posts intentionally edited (and not even subtly) by site Admins because they didn’t like what I had to say. I’ve been Ignored, Banned, and had my accounts deleted and/or submitted to an Administrator to be disabled. There are a more than a few people that don’t like me very much.

Wrong on the Internet

xkcd.com

The above conversation would be uncommon for me, since I don’t tend to correct people’s spelling or grammar. If I did, I could be at it all day. To be honest, my spelling and grammar isn’t that great either, so attempting to correct others would be a touch hypocritical. As long as I can understand what you’re (See? “You’re” not “your”.) saying, I’ll let it ride. I don’t go out of my way to troll other people’s conversations, but sometimes when I feel that something has been said that is egregiously wrong, I’ll say something. I’m also very passionate about my opinions, and if someone says that I’m wrong, they better damn well be able to prove it.

Not Agreeing is Not Trolling

I don’t believe that the fact that I may reply to a comment that I don’t agree with automatically makes my response trolling. Quite the opposite in fact. I think half the reason that people call me a troll is because they don’t like what I have to say, but don’t have the facts to back up their own position. But what is a troll anyway? Well, on the Internet, the way a troll is defined is like this:

In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion. The noun troll may also refer to the provocative message itself, as in: “That was an excellent troll you posted.”

Looking for Agreement

Disagreeing with someone’s opinion is not being a troll. Sticking to your guns despite lame counters is not trolling. When someone says, “OSX is based on Linux”, correcting them is not trolling. To me, what you’re (See? “You’re” not “your”.) saying is this: “I don’t have an argument, so how can I walk away from this looking like the winner?” The Internet has become a place where people go when they’re looking for reinforcement. They want to throw their opinions out on to the net and have “The World” tell them “You’re so right”, and “What a brilliant mind you have!” What they don’t want is a challenge. They’re looking for agreement, so they get sensitive very quickly when they don’t get it.

Quit Whining

I just want to close with this message to these people. Quit your (See? “Your” not “you’re”.) damn whining. Not everybody is going to agree with you. You’re not the smartest person on the planet, and all of your opinions aren’t right just because you have them. I realize that I’m not always right, and I actually appreciate it when someone legitimately points out a failing in my logic. It makes me reevaluate my position with this new information, and that makes me better. Hiding behind your name calling and ban button makes you less. I also become a better person every time someone blocks me. No longer being subjected to your idiocy and cowardice is better in the long run.

Microsoft Surface Review

Today I finally managed to get my hands on Microsoft’s newest device, the Microsoft Surface. My wife and I were wandering around our local Best Buy with no intention of buying anything, and there they were, sitting on display next to the Samsung tablets. Given the environment, there were obviously problems, but I won’t hold those against the Surface (despite the fact that the other tablets were all working fine). Here are my impressions of Microsoft’s device.

The Device Itself

Holding the device, I didn’t notice much difference in weight compared to other tablets it’s size. This isn’t a scientific measurement, I just held it. I’m sure there’s a difference, but it wasn’t really noticeable in the few minutes I played around with it. The texture of the device was nice. The design? Not so much. Microsoft decided to go the in the opposite direction from every other tablet maker on the market, and make the device kind of, well, sharp. There are unrounded edges on the device which are apparent as soon as you pick up the device. Personally, I didn’t like it as much as the rounded corners of pretty much every other tablet. I didn’t experience any physical discomfort in holding the Surface, but I only held it for 10 minutes or so. The screen was nice, and the resolution was good.

The OS

2012-12-27 14.31.34Wow, this is opening up a can of worms, but the OS is pretty much everything I expected it to be. Horrible. I’ve only had the chance to try it on a phone before, and I thought it was functional but ugly. On a tablet, it’s even less functional, but still ugly. I opened up several different applications, but the one that jarred me the most was the Office 13 Preview. Opening that app kicked me into Desktop mode immediately. To me, it was akin to reading something and having it ripped out of your hand mid-sentence and having to change your point of view to something different. I didn’t like it at all. One of the other things I noticed when I was trying it out was the picture at left. This is a minor thing, but it popped out at me. When I tried out the login, I realized that I didn’t have the password to get back in. I thought that maybe they left it blank for demonstration purposes, so I tried that. I was wrong in my guess, but when it came back to let me know that, the text didn’t even line up correctly in the box.

Dead Horse

I’m not going to keep going. I didn’t get a lot of time with the device, but in the time I did have with it, I wasn’t impressed. Not everything about the Surface was bad, and if there were no other tablets on the market anywhere (say in some alternate reality where iOS and Android didn’t exist), I’d consider it mostly functional. What I did see was that there was absolutely nothing about this device that would ever make me consider it over more well established players in the market. I mean seriously, I’d even choose an iPad over this thing and that’s saying something.

Samsung Should Withhold Technology from Apple

Samsung Should Withhold Technology from AppleIn recent days, Samsung has been showing off some pretty cool new stuff. One of these new technologies is the flexible display that they actually showed us last year (at right), but which this year will be new and improved. Of course the question came up, given the current situation between Apple and Samsung, will Samsung withhold these new technologies from Apple? My personal opinion? Samsung should withhold technology from Apple.

To Big for their Britches

Apple has spent the last couple years strutting around like they’re the cool kid on campus, suing anybody and everybody from the most minimal slight, justified or not. They’ve gone after Samsung more than any other company. The biggest irony in that is that Samsung has manufactured a great number of the components that make the iPhone/iPad work. Processors, displays, memory. Recently, Apple has attempted to get those parts from other companies, with mixed success. As it stands currently, Apple needs Samsung. Apple can’t even make their devices without Samsung.

Apple has Withheld from Samsung

It’s impossible to not note that the cases we’re currently seeing in the courts are a result of Apple pulling fairly ridiculous patents out of their bag of tricks, refusing to license those patents to 3rd parties, and then suing if there’s even a hint that those patents might be violated. Those patents include multi-touch and their rubber band patent.

Samsung has got the Goods

Samsung Should Withhold Technology from AppleThe thing about Apple suing Samsung is that it provides Samsung with very little motivation to continue to provide their technology to Apple. And why should they? I don’t think they should. I think that Samsung should withhold their technology from Apple, because quite frankly, despite the fact that Apple has somehow managed to get a reputation for being innovators, they’re not. Samsung is on the other hand. Let Apple continue to use what they’ve got, but anything that Samsung comes up with in the future is strictly off limits. Before long, the iPhone will look like this little gem to the right.

A Taste of their own Medicine

I’m anxious to see Samsung give Apple a taste of their own medicine. Some of these new technologies that Samsung is coming up with are extremely cool, and like nothing Apple has ever dreamed of. If Apple is happy to withhold technology like a rubber banding effect, then I’m all for Samsung keeping flexible displays from Apple. Give them a taste of their own medicine and watch them fade into obscurity just as relevant as Betamax.

Why I’m Grateful for Android Malware

Hardly a couple days can go by without some horror story about the latest Android malware. The one I think I saw most recently was a story about how Android faces more malware attacks than PCs in the United States. Now, besides sounding like click bate and total fiction, I find that I don’t really care about Android malware. Quite the contrary, I’m grateful for it.

Grateful for malware?!? Yep, and here’s why.

The Trojan Horse

Pretty much all malware on the Android platform is a Trojan Horse. For those unfamiliar with the Trojan Horse, it’s really just software that fools the person using the device into installing it. It doesn’t use any kind of software or security vulnerabilities. It attacks the person. All this boils down to is that any platform that has someone using it is vulnerable to a Trojan Horse.

Those Other Platforms

Are there platforms out there that have less malware than Android does?

Yep.

Would I use those platforms over Android?

Nope.

Why? Isn’t less malware good?

That depends on what you’re giving up to rid yourself of this malware. See, Android is very secure. Google goes to great lengths to protect their users from malware, and in cases where infection does occur through the Play Store, they can remotely repair your device. They’ve even implemented checks for apps that are sideloaded onto your device, which is where most malware infections come from.

Don’t other devices do this too?

Well, not really. Microsoft and Apple have more stringent restrictions on the apps that make it into their store, it’s true. There’s no real protection from side loaded applications because to even get an app sideloaded on to the device, it has to be jailbroken. The user doesn’t have permissions to install applications that aren’t approved by Microsoft or Apple respectively.

And that’s the gotcha for me. This is my device. I paid for it, but I need someone else’s permission to install software on it? I call BS on that.

Conclusion

Sure, Apple and Microsoft limiting what the user can install theoretically makes the platform less vulnerable to malware, but it does it by restricting what the user can do. It’s taking away your capabilities on the device. It’s making it more of a toaster oven than a smart phone. I guess that’s why I find myself grateful for Android malware, and every time I see some news article regarding Android malware, I’m more grateful for it. It means that I continue to have rights on my device that users of other platforms can’t claim. To me, that makes malware something to be grateful for.

Microsoft Screwing The Linux Foundation

A while ago, The Linux Foundation announced a plan to allow for Linux to boot on systems with Secure Boot enabled. Lately, it has come to light that Microsoft is screwing with The Linux Foundation, and not granting the key required despite the fact that The Linux Foundation has already paid for it. Oddly enough, certain Microsoft apologists still believe that this is the fault of The Linux Foundation, despite the fact that there is nothing to support that contention. Here is a list of links that disagree with that fantasy.

http://www.zdnet.com/linux-foundation-support-for-booting-linux-on-windows-8-pcs-delayed-7000007673/
http://www.muktware.com/4855/microsoft-holding-keys-linux-foundations-secure-boot-solution
http://mrpogson.com/2012/11/20/m-sabotages-uefi-secure-boot-for-linux-foundation/
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/11/21/linux_foundation_secure_boot_fix_delays/
http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Linux-Foundation-struggles-with-Microsoft-s-Secure-Boot-signing-service-1754209.html
http://news.softpedia.com/news/Microsoft-Delays-UEFI-Workaround-for-Linux-309070.shtml
http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTIzMjE
http://blog.hansenpartnership.com/adventures-in-microsoft-uefi-signing/

Of course, this won’t convince Microsoft fans. Facts seldom do.

BSOD on your PHONE?!?

I have a great deal of pity for Windows phone users.

BSOD on PHONE

Intel and AMD Not Supporting Linux: Why It Just Doesn’t Matter

It’s been an interesting couple days on the processor front, and many think that these past couple days haven’t been all together positive. While I can see where that impression may be gotten pretty easily, I’m here to say one very simple thing. It just doesn’t matter.

First, this is what happened.

Intel’s Clover Trail Won’t Work With Linux

On September 13th, as part of their Intel Developer Forum, Intel claimed that Clover Trail ”is a Windows 8 chip” and that “the chip cannot run Linux”. Clover Trail is a new version of the Atom processor, which is used in tablets for the most part. Claiming the processor is “a Windows 8 chip” seems a bit odd considering Microsoft’s complete lack of a presence in the tablet market. Intel later clarified their position saying, ”Intel has plans for another version of this platform directed at Linux/Android; however we are not commenting on the platform specifics or market segments that at this time. Stay tuned.” It’s unclear if this was the original intent, or a reaction.

AMD’s Hondo Processor Will Only Support Windows 8

Shortly after the announcement from Intel regarding the Clover Trail processor, AMD came out with their own claims regarding their own Hondo processor. Steve Belt (corporate VP of ultra low power products at AMD) said, “This is a Windows 8 product, only. We’re not doing Android on this platform, at least not now.” Again, the Hondo processor is a processor aimed at the tablet market, which Microsoft has zero presence in. He went on to say, “It is a conscious decision not to go after Android. We think the Windows 8 space has a lot of opportunity, there’s plenty of TAM [total addressable market] there for us to go at. So we don’t need to spread ourselves into other markets, we think Windows 8 is a great place to start. Down the road we may look at Android, right now we’re focused on Windows 8.”

Who Cares?

So the big question on everybody’s mind is, what does this mean for Linux and Android? The answer is much more simple than you’d imagine. What does it actually mean for Linux and Android? Answer: “Not a damn thing.”  While Intel claims that here will be an Android specific version of Clover Trail available shortly and AMD is banking on Microsoft, it really doesn’t matter.

Linux, and by extension Android, will run on whatever its developers want it to run on. Intel didn’t help out Linus Torvalds when he originally wrote the operating system in the 90s, and Linux developers don’t need Intel’s help now. I have full confidence that there is a Linux developer out there that could write a version of Linux that can run on my toaster if he or she so chose. Support from the company is not a requirement for Linux or Android.

Think I’m wrong? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.