6 reasons to get excited about OS X El Capitan

Jason Snell wrote on MacWorld about 6 reasons to get excited about OS X El Capitan.

These improvements are on the top of my list of things to look forward to as well.

Spotlight – Cmd + Space is probably the key stroke combination that I use most often daily. I use Spotlight for tasks such as launching applications, finding folders and files, searching for snippets of text and code, making dictionary searches, and doing calculations and unit conversions. Really looking forward to natural language input. One feature I would like to see is the ability to add calendar events and reminders from Spotlight, like how Fantastical 2.

Notes – Great improvements to the app. Evernote has unfortunately stagnated and while I still use it as my primary note-taking app, I would gladly switch to Notes if it improves on how I can organise my notes and allow me to type in plain text so that I can easily use Markdown.

Safari – Pinned sites and muting sounds from tabs easily. Enough said.

Mail – The new swipe features brings me one step closer to finally stop missing Sparrow, which Google bought and killed. I tried Airmail and Mailbox. I like both but they don’t fit my workflow, and I have used Mail as my sole email app since OS X Yosemite.

Photos – I still swear by Lightroom. El Capitan might just push me to moving my massive catalogues to Photos. Or maybe not.

IMAX’s absurd attempt to censor Ars Technica

Are Technica reported on IMAX’s absurd attempt to censor it.

On June 16, Ars Technica was contacted by IMAX Corporation. The company said our story required a retraction because it included a brief reference to IMAX—included without IMAX’s permission. “Any unauthorized use of our trademark is expressly forbidden,” IMAX’s Deputy General Counsel G. Mary Ruby wrote in a letter (PDF).

The letter is surprising in several ways. First of all, the article isn’t about IMAX. The single reference to IMAX in the story is a quote from Alex Schwartz, a game designer interviewed by Machkovech. Schwartz predicted that SteamVR could take off with consumers despite the fact that the room-sized system takes up a lot of space. “It’s like saying, ‘I have an IMAX theater in my house,’” he told Machkovech. “It’s so much better that we can get away with a cumbersome setup.”


IMAX’s letter is part of a disturbing trend in which some companies believe that owning a trademark actually allows them to control any speech about their product. Too many examples abound already of trademark owners that believe they’re entitled to control how movies and TV shows portray their brand. IMAX has taken that to the next level here, believing it is entitled to literally silence someone speaking to a journalist because the name of a corporation happened to slip out of his mouth.

IMAX issued an apology but it should never have had to in the first place.

Trevor Bauer tweets from his iPhone in a Samsung PR move

Dave Mark wrote on The Loop about Trevor Bauer in a Samsung prank.

Enter Samsung fan (maybe) Trevor Bauer, pitcher for those same Cleveland Indians. He got hold of another milestone ball, the first hit for rookie Francisco Lindor. Bauer squirreled away the ball and sent out this ransom tweet:


So much for originality.

How the iPhone crippled BlackBerry

WSJ reported on how the iPhone crippled BlackBerry.

If the iPhone gained traction, RIM’s senior executives believed, it would be with consumers who cared more about YouTube and other Internet escapes than efficiency and security. RIM’s core business customers valued BlackBerry’s secure and efficient communication systems. Offering mobile access to broader Internet content, says Mr. Conlee, “was not a space where we parked our business.”

The iPhone’s popularity with consumers was illogical to rivals such as RIM, Nokia Corp. and Motorola Inc. The phone’s battery lasted less than eight hours, it operated on an older, slower second-generation network, and, as Mr. Lazaridis predicted, music, video and other downloads strained AT&T’s network. RIM now faced an adversary it didn’t understand.

“By all rights the product should have failed, but it did not,” said David Yach, RIM’s chief technology officer. To Mr. Yach and other senior RIM executives, Apple changed the competitive landscape by shifting the raison d’être of smartphones from something that was functional to a product that was beautiful.

“I learned that beauty matters….RIM was caught incredulous that people wanted to buy this thing,” Mr. Yach says.

Many companies do not realise that consumers care about the aesthetics of a product. If you show that you care about what you make for your consumers, your customers will care about what you make.

How NSA and allies exploit Google and Samsung app stores

Ars Technica reported on how the NSA and allies exploited Google and Samsung’s app stores.

In 2011 and 2012, the NSA and the communications intelligence agencies of its “Five Eyes” allies developed and tested a set of add-ons to their shared Internet surveillance capability that could identify and target communications between mobile devices and popular mobile app stores—including those of Google and Samsung. According to an NSA document published by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the targeting capability could have been used to launch “man-in-the-middle” attacks on mobile app downloads, allowing the NSA and other agencies to install code on targeted devices and gather intelligence on their users.

Apple’s App Store is conspicuously missing.

Millions of Android phones don’t completely wipe data

Allie Coyne reported for iTnews about Android’s factory reset flaw.

Twenty-six second-hand Android phones running versions 2.3 to 4.3 of the operating system, sold by five handset makers, were tested.

The researchers found that all retained at least partial amounts of data from contacts information, images and video, SMS, email, and data from third-party apps like Facebook.

They were able to recover Google authentication tokens in all devices with flawed factory reset, and were able to access master tokens in 80 percent of cases.

To test their findings, they used one of the recovered master tokens from a reset to restore the credential file.

“After the reboot, the phone successfully re-synchronised contacts, emails, and so on,” they wrote.

“We recovered Google tokens in all devices with flawed Factory Reset, and the master token 80 percent of the time. Tokens for other apps such as Facebook can be recovered similarly. We stress that we have never attempted to use those tokens to access anyone’s account.”

Good luck, Android users.

Forget being an iPhone 6 killer, Galaxy S6 sales are a total disaster for Samsung

Cult of Android reported on the disastrous Samsung Galaxy S6 sales.

According to a new report, however, the next-gen Samsung Galaxy device is faring even worse than its predecessor — boasting sales of just 10 million units so far, which is about what the iPhone 6 managed in its first weekend.

The reasons are simple. You can copy the appearances but it is harder to craft a delightful user experience.

According to a follow-up research note newly issued by investment bank Oppenheimer the result is down to Samsung failing to provide any convincing reason for customers to go with its latest offering — even with its bolder-designed S6 Edge:

“When we look at Samsung’s flagship in 2015, the Galaxy S6 Edge, almost all of its differentiators fall back to hardware: a cutting-edge CPU, curved display, iPhone-like metal casing, front area fingerprint sensor, and camera with OIS. At the same time, we see little improvement in Samsung’s software user experience, and no value-added to existing Samsung users who are on prior generations of devices.”

It might just be 1 million units less than the S5 sold in the same period last year, but when you realise that we are comparing sales of S5 to the combined sales of S6 and the S6 Edge, it shows how dire the situation is for Samsung.

Gordon Kelly wrote a brief analysis on Forbes.

Perhaps more concerning, however, is where this places the S6 ranges’ sales historically. Notably the Galaxy S4 shipped 10M units in 27 days while the much criticised Galaxy S5 took 25 days to ship 10M units. In fact it was the lack of growth from the Galaxy S5 that inspired the radical reboot of the line seen in the S6es.

Consequently for combined sales of the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge to only pass 10M in a similar timeframe to the S5 and S4 represents a disastrous return. This is particularly true for the cheaper Galaxy S6 given Samsung has already confirmed demand for the Edge variant has been unexpectedly high.

All of which poses the obvious question: if Galaxy S6 Edge sales are performing above expectations, just how bad are Galaxy S6 sales?

I wonder.

Samsung Clear View case ruins Galaxy S6 Edge

BGR reported on Samsung Clear View case damaging the Galaxy S6 Edge.

Can you imagine the backlash and media uproar we would see if Apple ever sold an accessory that ruined iPhone displays? “Casegate” would be sung far and wide, and even your local news anchor would demand on air that Apple take action. Well, you won’t see quite that amount of attention in this case, but it looks like Samsung is selling shoddy protective cases that leave customers with badly damaged smartphones.

The importance of paying attention to the details when designing a product.

SwiftKey Emoji Analysis

We’ve analyzed more than 1bn pieces of data to create the definitive assessment of how you use emoji.

Some of the stuff that they’ve discovered:

Canadians score highest for the poop emoji compared to other countries

Judging by their use of emoji, Americans are the most LGBT, using these emojis more than others

via SwiftKey

If you’re using third party iOS keyboards like SwiftKey, you might just want to be sure that you’re okay with them analysing your typing habits.

For privacy and also performance reasons, I prefer to stick to Apple’s official iOS keyboard.

The evolution of mobile screen sizes

MG Siegler posted an interseting graphic on the evolution of mobile phone screen sizes.

Those early mobile screens are about the size of the Apple Watch screen, I imagine.

via ParisLemon

I remember not too long ago, the smaller the phone was, the more premium it was deemed. Nowadays, it’s the total opposite. “Mini” versions of devices are considered lower-powered or budget versions of the top end model.

How times change.