Apple sued over fatal ‘FaceTime crash’

BBC News reported on Apple being sued over fatal ‘FaceTime crash’.

The lawsuit alleges that the firm should have introduced a feature that disabled use of the video-chat application while driving.

Does that mean drink-driving offenders should blame the alcohol breweries?

The difference between Google Assistant and Siri

BirchTree reported on the difference between Google Assistant and Siri.

The tech narrative is that Siri sucks and Google Assistant is the second coming. I have been using Siri for years, and have been going 100% in on Android over the last few weeks and have given Google Assistant a solid effort. My experience has been a little different than the popular narrative.

I haven’t tried Google Assistant but Siri is so far good enough for my daily usage.

Apple pulled the New York Times app in China

ReCode reported on Apple pulling the New York Times app in China.

“For some time now the New York Times app has not been permitted to display content to most users in China and we have been informed that the app is in violation of local regulations,” Apple said in a statement. “As a result, the app must be taken down off the China App Store. When this situation changes, the App Store will once again offer the New York Times app for download in China.”

The New York Times already has its website blocked by Chinese sensors, but a redesigned iOS app allowed customers to bypass the firewall. The New York Times said in its article on the issue that the app will continue to work for those that have it, but that new users will have to find a way to get the app from another country’s App Store (which typically requires having a foreign credit card).

You can’t blame Apple for abiding by local laws. Locals who want access to such information would know how to bypass the firewall. NYT didn’t have to stick it’s head in.

What I learned about my iPhone after switching to the Google Pixel

Khoi Vinh wrote about what he learned about my iPhone after switching to the Google Pixel.

I also discovered something interesting about Google’s much vaunted strength in services: sometimes it’s no better than Apple’s. As an iTunes Match user, I’ve long bemoaned Apple’s inability to make automatic syncing of my music library between devices truly seamless and glitch free. It’s gotten better over the years, but it’s still prone to oddball errors and quirks which, in the past, always made me wish that Google was powering the service instead.

When I got the Pixel I figured I could use Google Play Music syncing for the same purpose—to get the contents of my music library to the Pixel. To my surprise, Google does an even poorer job than Apple. Among the problems I encountered: albums show up in multiple parts; tracks are missing; corrected meta information doesn’t get synced etc. To be fair, Google Play Music syncing is still mostly usable; it just failed to live up to my expectations for Google’s services prowess.

The grass is greener on the other side for some, that is, until they’ve crossed over.

What Super Mario Run would look like as a free to play game

Pocket Gamer on what Super Mario Run would look like as a free to play game.

“Why can’t it be free?” you ask a random passerby on the street. “Pokemon GO was free, so why isn’t Mario?” you scream, while angrily jabbing your finger at a Starbucks employee.

Many don’t realise free games aren’t exactly free.

Benefits of iCloud in China

Manton Reece wrote about the Dropbox, iCloud, and GitHub on the iPad.

The trend to new iCloud-first apps like Ulysses and Bear is fine. It doesn’t appeal to me, though. I use Ulysses on the Mac because I can sync with Dropbox. There are so many Dropbox-capable iOS text editors that I feel confident using my current favorite and switching whenever I want.

Although I was an avid user of Dropbox, moving to China has forced me to change how I use my apps, especially cloud services. Dropbox is blocked in China so I need a VPN to sync Dropbox.

Apple has an advantage in China because iCloud, well, just works. Until there is widespread support among apps for Aliyun, Baidu Pan or Weiyun, the big names in Chinese cloud storage, people in China will likely stick with iCloud. Even then, I don’t use hardly use these services so there is no push for me to move away from iCloud despite its shortcomings.

Why Samsung’s Harman purchase is not an Apple blunder

Larry Dignan reported on ZDNet about Why Samsung’s Harman purchase will be seen as Apple blunder decades from now.

Samsung’s purchase of Harman is strategically sound, worth the $8 billion, and positions Samsung well in the connected car market. Meanwhile, Samsung diversifies from a saturated smartphone market.

How is diversification good if Samsung’s whole operations as a conglomerate is all about diversifying into all industries that make money?

If you’re not familiar with Samsung’s operations, check this Wikipedia page.

Samsung is in many markets making low margin for the purpose of making money. Apple is in the smartphone market making high margin because their purpose is to make the best smartphone. Likewise for the desktop and laptop markets.

First look at the Nintendo Switch

Nintendo has given us a first look at the Nintendo Switch, and it’s a pretty daring departure from the current form of consoles we’re used to.

Not too surprising though, as Nintendo isn’t afraid to try new things, as evidenced with the Wii. I’m looking forward to checking this out, though I don’t think it’ll give a proper challenge to the Playstation or Xbox anytime soon.

The Google Pixel phone is looking good

If you’re an Android fan, willing to buy a premium phone, the Pixel is your answer. To repeat: it’s simply the best Android phone I’ve tested. If you’re an iPhone user thinking of switching, the Pixel will seem physically familiar, but you’ll have to overcome the sticky links you’ve developed with fellow iPhone users, things like iMessage (which Google can’t match yet) and iCloud Photo Sharing (which Google is trying to copy). You’ll also have to do without the comfort of your neighborhood Genius Bar.

via The Verge

While I’m not bothered about any digital assistants, including Siri or Google Assistant, I am really intrigued how Google plans to manage and enforce the unlimited full resolution photo storage for pictures taken with the Pixel. It’s a great selling point of the phone, and hits Apple where it hurts – the shameful 5GB of free iCloud storage that we’re still being offered.

Is iMessage the key to iOS lock in?

Over time, iMessage has become indispensable in my everyday life. If the gadgets I have to carry with me on a daily basis are the bones of my tech existence, iMessage is the connective tissue. It’s quick work chats; it’s sharing location on the way to a meeting or dinner; it’s sending a GIF of a hug to a friend who is having a bad day; it’s keeping in touch with mom; it’s getting a series of poop emojis from my niece on her iPod Touch.

via The Verge.

This might be the case in the West, but in Asia, the alternatives such as Whatsapp, WeChat, and LINE still reign supreme. In Malaysia where I live, Whatsapp is the de facto messaging system everybody uses.

One thing that always has me scratching my head is that why Google can’t seem to roll out a proper competitor to this. Sure, now we have Google Allo, but while I hope it works out, I don’t have much confidence that it’ll be a success anytime soon.