You should use DuckDuckGo

Casey Liss wrote about why you should use DuckDuckGo.

Like Casey, I switched to DuckDuckGo when I upgraded to iOS 8. DuckDuckGo promises not to track you and that is a huge deciding factor for me. So when Apple added it as one of the built-in search options, it became my default search engine.

Of course, there are some situations where it loses out to Google. It uses a different algorithm and gives you the best results, whereas Google gives you the most popular one. And if you are signs into Google, it actually takes your browsing history into consideration and ranks sites that you frequent higher.

Google Images is still superior, and I find myself going back to it when I need to find images.

With DuckDuckGo’s !bang operators, you can easily fallback on Google search with !g and Google Images with !i.

Apple Retina MacBook draws laughs from PC makers

BGR reported on PC makers mocking Apple’s Retina MacBook.

The Asus is 6.1% thinner and the Lenovo is 2.3% thinner. Of course, it is hard for Asus or Lenovo to impress us with the minute difference in thinnest, so they need to shamelessly resort to misleading graphics.

And as John Gruber pointed out, none of the PC makers mentioned anything about the trackpad. PC track pads have never reached the precision of Apple’s old trackpad. And now Apple has raised the bar further with the Force Touch trackpad.

The truth behind The Guardian’s negative Apple Watch story

Jim Dalrymple wrote on The Loop about The Guardian’s negative article on Apple Watch.

I saw an article today on The Guardian written by Martin McNulty, who they say at the bottom of the article, “is chief executive of Forward3D and Locaria,” which are basically marketing agencies. Seems innocuous, right?

It is until you take a look at some of McNulty’s clients, which include Kering, the owner of Boucheron; Dodo; Girard-Perregaux; Gucci; Jean Richard; and Ulysse Nardin. All of these companies offer high-end luxury watches.

They only added the disclosure after they were called out for not doing so. Shameful.

Oracle extends its adware bundling to include Java for Macs

ZDNet reported on Oracle bundling adware in Java for Mac.

For several years, Oracle has been bundling the Ask toolbar with its Java software for Windows PCs, often using deceptive methods to convince customers to install the unwanted add-on.

With the latest release of Java for the Mac, Oracle has begun bundling the Ask adware with default installations as well, changing homepages in the process.

I have stopped using Java on my Mac for the past few years and haven’t missed it at all.

The approach to designing the Apple Watch

Financial Times interview Jony Ive.

“One of the things that struck me,” says Ive, “was how often I’d look at my watch and have to look again quite soon afterwards, because I hadn’t actually comprehended what the time was. If I had looked at something on my phone, because of the investment involved in taking it out of my pocket or my bag, I would certainly pay attention. I quite like this sense of almost being careless and just glancing. I think for certain things the wrist is the perfect place for this technology.”

However, it was not without some trepidation that he embarked on the watch. “It was different with the phone – all of us working on the first iPhone were driven by an absolute disdain for the cellphones we were using at the time. That’s not the case here. We’re a group of people who love our watches. So we’re working on something, yet have a high regard for what currently exists.”

The Apple Watch is time, saved

Matthew Panzarino wrote on TechCrunch about how the Apple Watch saves time.

People that have worn the Watch say that they take their phones out of their pockets far, far less than they used to. A simple tap to reply or glance on the wrist or dictation is a massively different interaction model than pulling out an iPhone, unlocking it and being pulled into its merciless vortex of attention suck.

One user told me that they nearly “stopped” using their phone during the day; they used to have it out and now they don’t, period. That’s insane when you think about how much the blue glow of smartphone screens has dominated our social interactions over the past decade.

Google wants to own .app, .blog, .cloud, .dev and .search domains

Drew Crawford on Google’s attempt to own the .dev top-level domain.

Let’s talk about a domain that’s near and dear to my heart, .dev. Wouldn’t it be great to have a domain for content targeted at software developers? So that you could actually get a domain name for www.[your-side-project].dev? Instead abusing the .io domain which is officially for the British Indian Ocean Territory.

Alas, Google does not think much of that plan. Under their shell company “Charleston Road Registry Inc.” (whose “CEO” is merely Google’s in-house counsel), they have applied for control of the .dev domain, which they intend to be:

completely closed for the sole use of Google.

In case you thought that was a typo, they elaborate:

Second-level domain names within the proposed gTLD are intended for registration and use by Google only, and domain names under the new gTLD will not be available to the general public for purchase, sale, or registration. As such, Charleston Road Registry intends to apply for an exemption to the ICANN Registry Operator Code of Conduct as Google is intended to be the sole registrar and registrant.

In case you believe Google is drunk and they meant to apply for some other, more Google-specific string, instead of claiming some kind of monopoly over software development in its entitreity, they helpfully clarify that no, they know exactly what they are doing:

The proposed gTLD will provide Google with direct association to the term ʺdev,ʺ which is an abbreviation of the word, ʺdevelopment.ʺ The mission of this gTLD, .dev, is to provide a dedicated domain space in which Google can enact second-level domains specific to its projects in development. Specifically, the new gTLD will provide Google with greater ability to create a custom portal for employees to manage products and services in development.

The internet protests but Google doesn’t back down.

Google opens with a “how-is-this-not-a-parody” argument that owning a TLD and not allowing anyone else to use it “lead[s] to diversified consumer choice”:

Today, most Internet users have only one practical choice when it comes to how their TLDs are managed: a completely unrestricted model environment in which any registrant can register any name for any purpose and use it as they see fit.

It’s sort of like how North Korea promotes choice because* what if some people want to choose a totalitarian regime*.

They then argue that DNS configuration is too hard and so we should just force all .blog domains to use Google Blogger:

By contrast, our application for the .blog TLD describes a new way of automatically linking new second level domains to blogs on our Blogger platform – this approach eliminates the need for any technical configuration on the part of the user and thus makes the domain name more user friendly

That Google should be allowed to close TLDs because nobody will notice anyway:

Because of the strong user bias toward domains within .com, today a generic .com domain name (e.g., or is likely to produce more traffic and to be more valuable for a business than a generic TLD.

That Google has spent a lot of time and money trying to buy these domains and if you don’t let them bad things will happen

Applicants have read the guidebook and relied on the policies contained within to guide their applications. They spent considerable time and money on their applications in the hopes they would be granted the applied­ for string. At best, retroactively deciding to allow a more restrictive interpretation of the guidebook and at worst going back and “adding in” policy runs the risk of appearing capricious and eroding trust in the process.

Do you know what the consequences of not giving Google what they want will be? Do you? DO YOU? DO YOU ICANN??

we must remember that changing the process mid­stream will have real and practical consequences for businesses and end users alike.

“Closed generic TLD”. Who even knows what those words mean anyway? I mean, you’d have to get a dictionary, or maybe (gasp) google it. Words don’t real:

In reality, neither of the two words have a contextually appropriate objective definition, and the combined term has no meaning other than what has been invented in recent discussions about the gTLD program.

Tell you what though. You know those 101 domains we applied for? We’ll throw you a bone and open 4 of them. That should resolve the “particular sensitivity within the Internet community” about Google closing the Internet.

Google has identified four of our current single registrant applications that we will revise: .app, .blog, .cloud and .search.

Samsung stopped using Apple patents

Reuters reported on Apple seeking an injunction against Samsung for patent infringement.

Samsung lawyer Kathleen Sullivan of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP said the South Korean company had all but stopped using the patents, so no injunction was needed.

So Samsung was using the patents.

Samsung’s weak brand loyalty

Business insider reported on Samsung’s epic global defeat by Apple.

This rapid collapse points to one thing: Samsung has weak brand loyalty.

Consumers just want a high-end, large-screened smartphone, and for years Samsung was the only one sufficiently pushing the limits of screen size. Apple’s devices remained — until the launch of the 6 and 6 Plus — around the 4-inch mark. But now Apple is producing a larger-screened device, and consumers have decided there’s no longer any reason to buy a large Samsung smartphone.

Those who, sadly, are unable to grasp the reason behind Apple’s brand loyalty simply label loyal users as Apple fanboys and iSheep.

Google backtracks from Android Lollipop encryption

Ars Technica reported on Google backtracking from compulsory encryption for Android Lollipop devices.

Last year, Google made headlines when it revealed that its next version of Android would require full-disk encryption on all new phones. Older versions of Android had supported optional disk encryption, but Android 5.0 Lollipop would make it a standard feature.

But we’re starting to see new Lollipop phones from Google’s partners, and they aren’t encrypted by default, contradicting Google’s previous statements. At some point between the original announcement in September of 2014 and the publication of the Android 5.0 hardware requirements in January of 2015, Google apparently decided to relax the requirement, pushing it off to some future version of Android. Here’s the timeline of events.

So why the change of heart after the fanfare in announcing the feature?

Here’s what we think is most likely. Lollipop’s encryption requirement made headlines again in November, this time because it had a huge impact on the new Nexus 6’s performance. Our review of the Nexus 6 showed that the new phone could be slower than the old Nexus 5 in certain tasks, and AnandTech supplied additional numbers that showed just how severe the performance impact was.

Meanwhile, iOS users continue enjoy encryption with no impact on their phone performance.