noted in passing

Where Kirby Ferguson gets it wrong

I had hoped this would be more about remix culture but it turned out to be one more “Apple is doing it wrong” screed. The difference as I see it is that in the folk song examples, he clearly shows the before and after, where Dylan took his idea from and what he did with it. He doesn’t show any provenance for the iOS Slide to Unlock gesture, while ridiculing the patent, nor does he mention the obvious – that no alternative has yet emerged. Here are some ideas:
One could

  • press and hold a specific section of the screen for a few seconds or
  • press/tap in a user-defined pattern or
  • use key press combinations with the volume or part switch.

Those may not be any good but I’m not a trained industrial designer nor did I spend a lot of time on them. But instead we fixate on Slide to Unlock. There is no one right answer.

The Picasso quote about artists stealing is misused here: by stealing, he means to make it your own, to transform it into something that looks like you did it yourself.

You steal the idea of a self-propelled wagon – an automobile – but not the implementation. Henry Ford didn’t make the first car, after all, but who remembers who did?

You steal the idea of a windows/icons/mouse pointer interface but you make it look original. No one would confuse the Xerox Star with a Macintosh though they would see obvious similarities. A Model T and whatever Ford makes now have similarities but would a buyer confuse them?

That’s what’s missing in the Android vs iOS distraction. Steve Jobs wasn’t angry at Android as a smartphone that offered the same basic functionality: it was the similarity in the implementation that he resented. I don’t think anyone cared when the first Android phones looked like Blackberries.

Think about it: the Samsung products look a lot like the iOS products – Google warned Samsung about that – but that’s secondary. What should be worrisome is how that suggests there are no alternative ideas, that the shiny glass slab is the Platonic deal. Does Android really want to concede that?

noted in passing

The two step

After the recent news of a reporter having his digital life ransacked as a result of someone applying some social engineering-fu to amazon and apple, I re-enabled Google’s two-step authentication. The pitfall for me last time I tried it was discovering that there was no way to accommodate relaying email through gmail with two-step authentication. It didn’t occur to me or I objected to it on principle but all I needed was an additional gmail account just for that. The username is an md5 hash of…something, as is the password.

Interesting to see how many third parties I have allowed to use my Google ID as a credential. The dilemma there is, do I continue that with any attendant risks of linking them or do I set up accounts with every website that requires authentication? Of course, once Google buys them all it will be moot. But in the meantime…

noted in passing observations

What people talk about when they talk about their Android phone

What I hear when someone goes on about their Android phone:

I need you to buy what I bought so I can feel like it was a good idea because I’m not sure and I hate those smug Apple people because they don’t bug me to buy an iPhone because they don’t want me to have one because they don’t like me/think I’m cool enough/give a rat’s ass and that makes me want to get anything that isn’t an iPhone so I can show them I don’t care and you should totally get one look it’s got 4G that you can’t use without killing your battery but you can carry an extra one that you can’t do with the iPhone because they don’t have 4G or you could add this extra battery pack that makes your phone really big and it has HDMI so you can play movies on your tv since android doesn’t have AirPlay but whatevs cables are cool everyone has hdmi and it has a microSD card which is cool cuz it’s not like your phone is a networked device you could transfer files with and you should totally get one before the next OS release drops and you hafta wait for your carrier to make it available.

All this angst is about a phone. I don’t think cars or even guns, back when survival was dependent on them, elicited so much noise. There’s probably a word for the inverse relationship between fetishism and utility.

noted in passing

Yet another tedious iOS vs Android pissing contest

Google+ would be less tedious if the Android fanboyism wasn’t so prevalent. Imagine if Apple built a social media site to promote its brands. Oh, wait, it has the whole world…because it understands branding.

Repurposed from a comment there:

The iPhone is a brand, where Android is…not. The handsets say Samsung or whatever on them. “Companies that are serious about software should make their own hardware,” as someone much smarter than me said. What is Motorola doing if Samsung and ASUS are making the Nexus products?

Ask an Android user what kind of phone they have and I suspect they’ll name the maker or the carrier before they say Android. And you know what? That’s how it works. Do people say they drive a V8 when they drive a Ford or GM car? Do Subaru owners dig the flat four design of their car’s powerplant? I bet a lot of people wouldn’t know if their car is air-cooled or water-cooled.

Dunno why it took so long to think of this.