Turbotodd

Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Archive for the ‘smartphone’ Category

President-elect Trump’s New “Secure, Encrypted” Device

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Well, we’re only a couple of hours away from President-elect Trump’s inauguration as the 45th president of the United States of America.

Like President Obama before him, Mr. Trump is alleged to be “trading in” the Android phone (one that has helped make his Tweets so famous) for a Secret Service-approved smartphone.

President Obama, of course, was forced to give up his beloved Blackberry upon ascending to the presidency. Anybody remember Blackberry??

No real details seem to have emerged about President-elect Trump’s new device. It is, of course, Secret-Service issued, so the details remain secret. That’s the way that whole thing works.

I just sure hope somebody load the Twitter app before handing it over to the new president. Otherwise, we could see our first scandal of the new administration, and our first “You’re fired!”

 

Written by turbotodd

January 20, 2017 at 9:09 am

A Manual Start To The New Year

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Once again, I don’t think I’m going to make any New Year’s resolutions.

I find bargaining with myself like that to be somewhat whimsical, if not purposeless.

That’s not to say I’m not optimistic about the future. I just find that being practical…being realistic, if you would…has served me better over the longitude of time.

Another thing that has served me well is the very act I’m currently engaged in: Writing.

This blog is now well into its 8th consecutive year, and trust me, if I didn’t like to write, it wouldn’t have lasted this long.

So rather than come up with a list of grand technological projections and prognostications, this year, I’ve decided to go a little more Luddite on you.

Fear not, that doesn’t mean I’m abandoning all social media and going out to live in a cabin in the woods with nothing but a copy of Thoreau’s Walden, or, Life in the Woods and some granola bars.

God, live without Facebook or Twitter for a year, are you *&^@#$# kidding me?! How in the world would I know what was going on in the world, or whose friend’s cat just took its first bath?!

No, I’d never do anything that extreme.

But I did do this: I ordered a new ribbon for my old Royal manual typewriter.

For you kids in the audience who have never seen a typewriter, it’s a small portable machine we used to use to put down our thoughts.

It’s a contraption that…I know, get this…requires NO batteries or electricity (unless you bought an electric typewriter, in which case you were bound to the grid).

Now, again, I want to be straight with you: The typewriter didn’t have a “Like” button, so for many of you, I know, that’s a dealbreaker.

In fact, it had no share function whatsoever, other than taking the piece of paper you were writing on and mailing it to another person. So yes, it was essentially useless for any kind of crowdsourcing.

But, what it WAS good for was sitting down, thinking through an idea, focusing, and actually starting to tell a story or pull together a thesis with no interruptions (instant messages, Facebook messages, direct Tweets, SMS messages, smoke signals…) other than those created by your own imagination

I know, it’s a hard notion to comprehend, focusing, especially when you’ve never had to focus.

And the idea of doing one thing at a time…well, yes, it’s almost heretical in our multitasking times.

But that is one of the things I wish for in 2013.

Because I’ve seen what happens when people become possessed by the multitasking smartphone demons. They remind me of Linda Blair’s head turning round and round in “The Exorcist.”

It’s not pretty to watch, and yet there’s no priest you can call for smartphone demons. You just have to watch the poor person suffer until their multitasking becomes so overwhelming they just have to let their iPhone run out of juice.

Yes, that’s what I wish for in 2013: For people to have the opportunity to focus.

Instead of trying to do everything, and doing it mediocre, I wish to see more people do just a few things, or even just one thing, really, really well.

Come to think of it, at minimum, I’d like to see more people doing just one thing at a time (especially while they’re on the freeway).

Multitasking is highly overrated. There are very few humans who can do it and do it well, and the odds are pretty high you’re not one of them. And studies suggest that people who smoke marijuana do better at cognitive functions than people who multitask.

Put that in your iPhone and smoke it!

So my recommendation: Consider revitalizing American productivity by using a manual typewriter.

No, you won’t be able to directly enter that blog post into WordPress (although perhaps that’s a new widget Matt Mullenweig and his team can consider for future versions), but writing that first draft without electricity and with minimal interruptions will be good for the environment and your psychological wellness.

The other thing you might consider is to keep a journal. When I was traveling across America in 1987 in my Volkswagen bus, I used a manual typewriter AND kept a journal, and that period is one of the few times in my life I can actually go back and account for because there’s an actual record.

If you use a Mac, DayOne is a great journaling app that makes it very easy to journal and allows you to even synch up your entries into the cloud (if that gives you even a small sense of permanence).

It’s January 1st, and I promise I’m going to get started on all this just as soon as that new replacement ink typewriter ribbon I had to order off the Internet arrives via the mail.

Those things are harder to find than an iPhone 4 case these days!

Written by turbotodd

January 1, 2013 at 3:47 pm

iPhone 5 Highway Robbery

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So I followed some of the liveblogging for the Apple announcements earlier today, with the Apple iPhone 5 being the headline announcement.

I hope to later go back and watch the video webcast, as much interested in the theater of it as the details.

Overall, I walked away with the impression that it was a relatively impressive update from the iPhone 4, but I wasn’t convinced it was enough to compel people to upgrade.

I mentioned in a post a while back I’ve gone native, now using a “dumb phone” (an LG), because I had left AT&T, toyed with an Android on Virgin Mobile, before deciding on the LG dumb phone primarily for phone usage.

I still have my iPhone 4, which I use sometime for checking email and calendar, and reading or watching a movie on plane rides, but because I’m not as mobile as I used to be (not traveling as much), I didn’t feel compelled to need a smartphone.

Back to the 5. I didn’t see a compelling reason to upgrade with the new features — the bigger 4″ screen, the thinner form factor, LTE support, the new camera (including the admittedly cool panorama mode).

But just for grins, I clicked on the Apple application that let me checked what it would cost to go ahead and upgrade ahead of my current pre-rebate date (the date for which I could upgrade with the device actually being subsidized by Verizon).

Here’s what I found in the graphic you see here…hold on for the sticker shock:

I couldn’t get into a 5 for less than $649 until December 9, 2013…by that time, I suspect there will be an iPhone 6.

Even jumping back to the 4 would cost me $375!!!

And therein lies my distaste with the current mobile phone economics in these United States.

Hey, if I was traveling all the time and depending on those services the iPhone could offer remotely, I would consider it.

But recognizing I have other devices (the iPhone 4 using wi-fi, an Android tablet AND an iPad), no way, no how.

I suspect many Apple fan boys and girls will pay the pre-rebate price, and more power to them.

But my money would be better invested in a new mini iPad (apparently coming in October) or even the new iPod Touches also announced today.

But if you get an iPhone 5, be sure to give me a demo the next time you see me.

Written by turbotodd

September 12, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Waiting For The New iPhone 5?

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So tomorrow’s the day.

We find out what the Apple iPhone 5 is all about.

Before we discover what the details behind the new Apple smartphone are, I thought it might be interesting to provide a quick glimpse at the state of the mobile marketplace here in the U.S.

I unearthed a blog post from TechCrunch from September 4th, citing the “latest data” from comScore that suggests Apple’s smartphone market share has grown to just over 33 percent, up 2 percent since April of this year.

That study surveyed over 30,000 U.S. mobile phone subscribers, which revealed that Google’s Android continues to keep the pace, holding 52 percent share, a 1.4 percent increase since April.

RIM, the maker of the BlackBerry, decline some 2.1 percent, down from 11.6 percent to 9.5 percent.

Microsoft’s Windows Mobile platform also saw a 0.4 percent decline in the same data, dropping from 4.0 percent to 3.6 percent.

And Symbian brings up the rear, down 0.5 percent, from 1.3 percent to 0.8 percent.

Despite the recent patent verdict, device maker Samsung is holding steady for smartphone device share at 25.6 percent in the latest period while Apple stood at 16.3 percent.

So what does Apple’s introduction of the iPhone 5 portend for the device market?

AppleInsider’s Neil Hughes wrote earlier today that the new iPhone will have “major implications throughout the personal electronics markets,” suggesting that existing LTE smartphones will come to be seen as “bulky and subpar” while stealing share not only from other smartphone makers, but also from PC makers like Dell and HP.

Hughes also cites J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskovitz in suggesting that the iPhone 5 “will offer better battery performance in a smaller form factor.”

In finding its way to new customers, Apple is also moving away from existing GPS service providers, and will instead transition to the new Maps application for iOS 6.

But will extended battery life and an Apple-owned GPS service be enough to lure loyal iPhone users to the new device, never mind Android loyalists happy with their current devices?

The answer to that question probably lies more in the emergence of new cloud and application offerings than the device characteristics themselves.

More interesting to me this past week, for example, was the report from The Wall Street Journal that Apple was looking to build its own streaming radio service, a move that seems to have helped drive Pandora’s share price down from a recent $12 high to just under $10.

Or consider the expectation Apple will introduce further synchronization between its iCloud offerings into the iOS mobile sphere, apps like Reminders, Notes, Mail, Calendar, and a new “Lost Mode,” which helps itinerant iPhone users find their lost phones.

I know I’ve found that Web-based services like Evernote and Remember the Milk, which synch across multiple devices and/or computers, provide much more utility than those dependent upon a single platform or device.

Whatever the details of the iPhone 5, the world will be watching closely, but my recommendation as one who’s used smartphones across the range of top competitors, including Apple, Android, and RIM, is to look beyond the device and underneath that larger intersection of IP-based services which transcend platform and help unearth the riches of true and unbound universal computing.

Scanning For Deals

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A sample IBM self-checkout system. In partnership with Honeywell, a new smartphone application will let shoppers scan items as they move through the store, then check out themselves using a similar IBM self-checkout system.

One of my first jobs in school was bagging groceries at a local grocery store.  The irony was, it was one of those grocery stories where you were supposed to sack your own groceries, and, presumably, save some money doing so.

But the store was so popular when it first opened that it had its store assistants sack groceries to help move the lines along.

Those were the days when they didn’t have the fancy scanners — everything was still checked by hand.

So when I saw this announcement this morning IBM made that allows consumers to scan items as they move through the store, all I could think about was the Jetsons.

This new retail technology not only allows consumers to scan items with their mobile phones as they move about the store, it then lets them check themselves out at an IBM self-checkout station (yes, those exist today, but not with technology that allows consumers to scan the items as they’re shopping!)

Designed to help retailers provide a more customized in-store shopping experience for smart phone shoppers, the IBM Mobile Shopper application incorporates Honeywell mobile scanning technology capable of scanning virtually any bar code, no matter what background it is printed on, the direction it faces, or the packaging covering it.

The solution currently runs on the Google Android and Apple iOS operating systems.

According to a recent IBM Institute of Business Value study, self checkout is the preferred way to shop for most consumers today, and they are very specific about the way they want to use mobile technology while shopping.

More than 50 percent say they want to use a mobile device to scan while shopping, and to do final checkout at a self-checkout station.  More than 40 percent want to scan samples and retrieve shopping items for pickup, or have the items delivered directly to their homes.

“Retailers can now deliver a more personalized shopping experience that is less of a chore and more of a convenience for consumers,” says John Gaydac, vice president, IBM Retail Store Solutions.  “By enabling consumers to scan and check-out a wide variety of products at their own pace, retailers can not only create a more customized shopping environment, but also increase in-store traffic.”

The new mobile phone application is powered by IBM ACE Store Integrator software and the newest release of IBM Self-Checkout software, which provides shoppers the same access to digital coupons, loyalty programs and special promotions at self-checkout stations that is traditionally available at fully-staffed point-of-sale checkout lanes.

The IBM Mobile Shopper, or “digital shopping assistant,” incorporates Honeywell’s high-performance SwiftDecoder Mobile bar code decoding software, one of many patented technologies that have helped secure the company’s  leadership in camera-based bar code decoding.  Among them is the practice of decoding bar code-related information from a real-time video image, such as the display of a smart phone or other mobile device (U.S. patent 6,015,088).

The IBM Mobile Shopper solution with Honeywell mobile scanning is available immediately.

What’s Your Mobile Use Case?

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We’re only a week away from the start of the IBM Smarter Commerce Global Summit in Madrid.

So I found it interesting that Nielsen would release these “hard numbers”

A recent Nielsen survey of U.S. smartphone owners who report using their mobile phones while shopping in a store, indicates that consumers use their phones differently depending on the type of store.

about how consumers like to use their smartphones, particularly when it comes to shopping.

Here’s what I see in the data: Couponing is mainly for groceries and clothes, and its geeks who use QR codes (*I* am something of a geek, and even *I* haven’t used QR codes…at least, not yet).

If you’re looking for electronics, you’re likely to read reviews via your smartphone, because you don’t want to be the only idiot who bought the thing who didn’t check out what Joe the Plumber (err, the Coder) had to say about the item before they bought it.

I have a plane to catch, but I’ll be pondering this Nielsen data as I check in to find the status of my flight…on my LG dumb phone.

Written by turbotodd

May 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm

IBM SmartCamp Finalist Profile: Localytics — Everything You Needed To Know About Your Mobile App, But Were Afraid To Ask

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One of our San Jose State University interns for the day asked the most basic of questions, but it elicited the most elaborate of responses: What do you like most about being an entrepreneur?

Raj Aggarwal, CEO of Localytics, one of the nine IBM SmartCamp Global Finalists, learned a few lessons from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, whom Aggarwal once consulted with on the iPhone strategy. Aggarwal's firm provides what the company describes as the "most powerful mobile application analytics platform."

Raj Aggarwal, CEO of Localytics, a real-time analytics platform for mobile application developers answered this way: “Because you can have an impact you couldn’t have otherwise have had.”

He went on to explain: “Different people have different paths.  Some get out of college and do a startup.  For others, being in the industry and in an environment gives real exposure to what the problems were, real insight we wouldn’t have otherwise have had.”

Not unlike the current Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, Aggarwal had worked at Bain Consulting and had, in fact, spent some time counseling Steve Jobs and Apple on their iPhone strategy back in 2005, well before the iPhone launched.

Aggarwal said he learned a lot from his interactions with Jobs, namely, how important it was to be hands on and involved in the critical details, and also his willingness to take risks.  “What I learned [from Steve Jobs] is how important it was to actually be there and driving the process, how much impact one individual could make in an organization.”

Aggarwal has brought those lessons forward into Localytics, a tool that offers most powerful application analytics platform for mobile app publishers. Localytics works across the iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 platforms, making it platform agnostic and creating an instant broad market opportunity for the startup.

In fact, Localytics prides itself on being the only real-time service, providing the session-level detail and data access demanded by the top mobile app publishers in the industry.

Aggarwal’s not opposed to even spreading a little FUD to get folks hooked on his product.  He explains from looking at his own service’s data that “26% of users on mobile devices use those apps only once!”

The more you know about your mobile apps, he seems to suggest, the more you have the opportunity of NOT being among that 26%!

Black Friday: U.S. Online Retail Up 20% Year-Over-Year!

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I had absolutely nothing to do with shopping today, online or off.  But I seemed to have been a minority, and for those retailers looking to the holiday season to help bolster an otherwise anemic year, they will be excited by the news delivered today by the IBM Coremetrics e-retailing Black Friday Benchmark Report.

No flies on those guys! Apparently they were too busy counting everyone else’s clicks to pursue any of their own.

Click image to enlarge. Black Friday e-retail sales in U.S. were up 20% over the same period last year, with consumers turning to mobile devices like smartphones and tablets for their e-shopping efforts more than they ever have.

E-retail sales at major online retailers were up 20 percent as of 3 P.M. EST this afternoon, compared to the same time on the Friday after Thanksgiving last year.

The survey monitors some 500 major U.S. Online retailers, and the 20 percent is in line with the 20 percent year-over-year increase IBM was reporting mid-day yesterday.  However, apparently lots of folks are holding out until they’ve allowed the turkey trytophan to kick in and the evening football games to start, because full-day online Thanksgiving sales ended 39 percent up over the holiday last year and they soared Thursday evening.

Mobile devices also played a much bigger role in online shopping this year, according to the benchmark.  Shoppers are making 9.73 percent of their purchases from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, about the same as Thanksgiving day. And, as much as 17.37 percent of traffic to e-retail sites is coming from mobile devices, higher than even the 15.2 recorded yesterday.

Following are some other key highlights from this afternoon’s report (again, as of 3 P.M. EST):

  • Consumer spending increased: Online sales were up a healthy 15.9 percent, with consumers pushing the average order value up from $170.19 to $190.80 for an increase of 12.1 percent.
  • Luxury goods are making a comeback. Jewelry retailers reported a 17.6 percent increase in sales.
  • Social shopping. Consumers appear increasingly savvy about their favorite brands’ social presence, and are turning to their social networking friends for information about deals and inventory levels. 
    • Though the percentage of visitors arriving from social sites is fairly small relative to all online visitors — nearly 1 percent — it’s gaining momentum, with Facebook dominating the space.
  • Surgical shopping. Consumers know what they want and where to get it. People are viewing 18.0 percent fewer products on sites than they did last year, suggesting they are shopping with a specific item in mind and quickly moving up. (My kind of shopping! Surgical strike, indeed!)
  • Mobile shopping. Consumers are embracing mobile as a shopping tool, with 5.6 percent of people logged onto a retailer’s site using a mobile device on Black Friday (a jump of 26.7 percent compared to last Friday!)

The report also provided some color commentary on the types of retail categories and products that are especially sought this year:

  • Department stores.  They’ve become the research engine of choice for consumers looking for Black Friday deals and product promotions. As a consequence, shoppers are spending 17.7 percent more time year over year on department store sites.
  • Health and Beauty. A reported rise of 73.1 percent in the number of new consumers completing their first purchase on their sites and a 53.4 percent jump in the number of visits in which consumers completed an order.
  • In-Store Sales for Consumer Electronics and Appliances. These are expected to increase 3.5 percent this year compared to last, with consumers spending a larger-than-usual share in November, according to an analytics-based forecast from IBM’s Global Business Services division.

U.S. consumers have been increasing their savings relative to disposable income, from 2 percent in 2007 to nearly 6 percent today, which has led to strong pent-up demand for consumer electronics and appliances, both of which are typically seen as necessities in today’s economy.

Stay tuned here on the Turbo blog for other upcoming reports on the holiday season’s retail tidings.  It’s still Black Friday, we still have the weekend, and Cyber Monday is a full three days away!

Not Waiting In Line For An iPhone

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For the record, I am NOT standing in line at my local Apple store waiting to purchase an iPhone 4S.

I’m an Apple fanboy, but not to that extreme.

Anyhow, what’s with all these people having time to go wait in lines.  I have a job. I’m required to be places…well, in my home office, anyway.  I’m expected to get stuff done.

How am I going to get anything done standing in line to buy a new iPhone that I don’t need in the first place.

I just got through downloading the iOS 5, which took me several hours on Wednesday.  I’m still trying to figure out what that whole thing was all about.

I like the new messages feature. But man, did it mess up sending my applications all over the place.

So if I buy the iPhone 4S, can I make my applications go back to where I had them situated originally?

It’s kind of like your Mac or Windows desktop just deciding to go on the fritz and then put your icons wherever they darn well please.

And speaking of Windows, I signed up to attend Dell World online the other day.  Even though it’s going on right here in Austin, the Web site proudly told me they were sold out, and that if I wanted to attend, I’d have to do so online.

That’s okay, I don’t like leaving the Turbo cave and would rather attend virtually anyhow.  So I sign up, and yesterday morning catch a good chunk of Michael Dell’s keynote, which wasn’t bad.

But then, when I tried to watch any more of the content, including Steve Ballmer’s keynote about Windows this morning, I was locked out.

Great, so tell me I can’t attend the physical event, then invite me to the Webcast, then lock me out of everything but Michael Dell’s keynote.

That’s some brilliant digital marketing, Round Rock.  I hope you had yourselves a wonderful event.  And oh, by the way, I’m writing this post on a Dell Latitude E4300, which has become one of my favorite computers.

And this just in…According to Reuters, U.S. securities regulators have formally asked public companies for the first time to disclose cyber attacks against them, following a tear of high-profile Internet crimes.

Sounds like a great idea in principle, but I wouldn’t expect to see a line of people out in front of the SEC anytime soon.

Nobody wants to admit to their security dirty laundry.

Written by turbotodd

October 14, 2011 at 5:29 pm

SmartPhone Needs A Bat Phone

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So how’s that iOS 5 install going for everybody?

Yeah, it’s definitely slow on the uptake.  I was joking with some friends on Facebook last night that perhaps Apple should buy some new IBM Blade servers to help speed those downloads along.

But hey, at least the download/install eventually worked, slow though it may have been.  That juxtaposed with our friends at Research In Motion, whose BlackBerries have been on the blink since Monday of this week.

RIM is reporting now that everything’s back in working order, but this outage was a black eye that the BlackBerry simply *didn’t* need at this particular moment in time, considering all the other smartphone option available in the market these days.

Once I turned in my BlackBerry Bold for an iPhone 4, I must say, I’ve missed the BlackBerry service, particularly because I’m guilty of being an email junkie.

But I haven’t missed it so much to want it back, and it’s features were certainly not keeping up with the iPhone Joneses.

The BlackBerry for me was mostly a one-trick pony, whereas the iPhone 4 (which I’ll be learning about again for weeks with the iOS 5 upgrade) has been more of a Swiss Army knife.

During my recent trip to Bangalore, I didn’t bother taking my iPad, as I wanted to travel light and figured I could use the iPhone for a number of different things.

And I did.  I used it to watch movies, play games, and read books on the flight.

Once in Bangalore, I used it to take some pictures and shoot some videos of me almost getting run over in the Bangalore traffic. I also used Skype on the iPhone to call back to the States via the hotel wireless network.

I used it to keep track of all the social media activities I needed to follow while I was out.  And I did all this without even bothering with the local phone service or a proprietary network (I did all this via wi-fi).

So, I’ll stick with my iPhone 4 for now, as it gets the job done.

Speaking of jobs, Nielsen is out with a study informing us that 40% of TV viewers use their tablets or smartphones while they’re watching the boob tube. Whoa, this could lead to a major advertiser’s dilemma.  Do you advertise on the boob tube or the tablet and/or smartphone?

I’m gonna go with both.

Written by turbotodd

October 13, 2011 at 5:12 pm

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