Samsung Galaxy Note 4 delivers poor graphics performance

Apple Insider reported on the Samsung Galaxy note 4 being outperformed by the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus despite haveing more cores and RAM.

Samsung’s own even-higher resolution Note 4 (or equally high resolution Galaxy S5 flagship) both turn in benchmarks far lower than Apple’s new 6 Plus—and less than half that of last year’s iPhone 5s. In terms of fps, the latest benchmarks show that Samsung’s new Exynos-powered Note 4 drops down to 10.5 fps—almost half that of iPhone 6 Plus— in the same test.

Looking at the fairly decent, low level theoretical scores of the GPUs Samsung uses (combined with much higher clock rates and more RAM), it appears that the company’s devotion to extremely high resolution numbers is a spec list checkmark (rather than a real feature that benefits users) and is a primary contributing reason for poor real life scores in rendering 3D OpenGL scenes.

In other words, the chips Samsung is choosing to use could theoretically match Apple’s latest iPhones if they were not also driving tons of additional pixels that contribute little to no benefit to users. Think of it as a reasonably powerful engine installed into a monster truck with massive wheels it can barely turn.

Unfortunately, there will always be people who blindly chase specs.

Apple Pay: an in-depth look

TUAW wrote about Apple Pay.

Remember that merchants in an Apple Pay transaction never have access to user credit card information and, as a result, users never have to worry about their information being compromised in a security breach. Further, security at the device level is effectively impenetrable as tokens, along with the encrypted keys responsible for the cryptogram, are all securely stored in the Secure Element.

And as an extra security precaution, iPhone owners will have the ability to unlink or temporarily suspend a token connected to a stolen device, thereby rendering Apple Pay inoperable until the device is retrieved.

So while the Apple Pay user experience has been set up to be impressively simple, there are a myriad of complex safety measures at work behind the scenes to help ensure that sensitive user data remains free from prying eyes. The use of token-based payments is something the banks have been pushing for and something the credit card networks are similarly excited for.

I have come across ill-informed people trying to scare others about how insecure Apple Pay is, and some have no idea how Apple Pay works and simply claim it isn’t safe because they think it isn’t. It pays to find out more before passing judgement.

Microsoft sues Samsung for $6.9 million

Recode reported on Microsoft’s lawsuit against Samsung’s breach of contract.

Microsoft’s lawsuit against Samsung was unsealed on Friday, revealing that the software maker believes it is owed $6.9 million in unpaid interest from last year.

Of course, Samsung would not intentionally avoid paying.

A lot is at stake in the case, as is made clear by the details unsealed Friday. Microsoft notes in the suit that Samsung paid it $1 billion last year under the patent agreement.

We already know that Microsoft earns a lot from Android patents.

FBI says iPhone encryption will help kidnappers

Trevor Timm wrote for The Guardian about the misleading information FBI is disseminating regarding phone encryption.

FBI director James Comey:

I am a huge believer in the rule of law, but I also believe that no one in this country is beyond the law. … What concerns me about this is companies marketing something expressly to allow people to place themselves beyond the law.

Encrypting your files doesn’t put you beyond the law. Are you beyond the law if you locked your houses to keep out intruders and police?

Comey:

I get that the post-Snowden world has started an understandable pendulum swing. … What I’m worried about is, this is an indication to us as a country and as a people that, boy, maybe that pendulum swung too far.

Timm makes a very good point:

This might be a good time to point out that Congress has not changed surveillance law at all in the the nearly 16 months since Edward Snowden’s disclosures began, mostly because of the vociferous opposition from intelligence agencies and cops. The pendulum is still permanently lodged squarely on law enforcement’s side.

Eric Schmidt: Apple got it wrong, Google is the safest place on the web

CNN reported on Erich Schmidt defending Google’s privacy policies

Tim Cook:

But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.

Eric Schmidt:

“We have always been the leader in security and encryption,” Eric Schmidt told CNNMoney. “Our systems are far more secure and encrypted than anyone else, including Apple. They’re catching up, which is great.”

“Someone didn’t brief him correctly on Google’s policies,” Schmidt said. “It’s unfortunate for him.”

Unfortunately, someone didn’t brief Schmidt correctly. My customer experience with Google could have been better if Google respected my privacy. Just look at the ads that tries to look like emails in my Gmail inbox.

Samsung says Note 4 screen gap is a feature, not a manufacturing flaw

9to5 Google reported on Samsung saying that the screen Gap on the Galaxy Note 4 is a feature.

Android Central reported that Samsung acknowledged the issue in the Note 4 manual:

A small gap appears around the outside of the device case

  • This gap is a necessary manufacturing feature and some minor rocking or vibration of parts may occur.
  • Over time, friction between parts may cause this gap to expand slightly.

It is appalling to see Samsung trying to wriggle its way out of a manufacturing issue and actually claim that it is a feature. And while the media blew Bendgate out of proportions, they seem to be turning a blind eye to an actual defect in the Note 4. This also highlights the engineering feat that Apple accomplished in making the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus screens blend so seamlessly into the aluminium back.

New Pebble campaign

Pebble launched a new branding campaign but shoots themselves in the foot by taking a swipe at Jony Ive.

I have to agree with John Gruber:

What gives me pause, though, is the “Breathe, Jony” headline. That seems a little petty. Personal, not playful.

Literary lions unite in protest over Amazon’s e-book tactics

The New York Times reported on literary lions uniting in protest over Amazon’s e-book tactics.

“Sons of Wichita” by Daniel Schulman, a writer for Mother Jones magazine, came out in May. Amazon initially discounted the book, a well-received biography of the conservative Koch brothers, by 10 percent, according to a price-tracking service. Now it does not discount it at all. It takes as long as three weeks to ship.

“The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea” by Representative Paul Ryan has no such constraints, an unusual position these days for a new Hachette book.

Amazon refused to take advance orders for “The Way Forward,” as it does with all new Hachette titles. But once the book was on sale, it was consistently discounted by about 25 percent. There is no shipping delay. Not surprisingly, it has a much higher sales ranking on Amazon than “Sons of Wichita.”

Should we be surprised that Amazon is manipulating sales of books? No, not when we are experiencing the same on Facebook where you are shown what Facebook thinks you want to see. But should we accept such manipulation by big corporations?

BlackBerry: The Endgame

Jean-Louis Gassé wrote about the decline of BlackBerry.

In reality, RIM was much more than three years behind iOS (and, later, Android). Depending on whom we listen to, the 2007 iPhone didn’t just didn’t stand on a modern (if incomplete) OS, it stood on 3 to 5 years of development, of trial and error.

BlackBerry had lost the software battle before it could even be fought.

Another reminder that first doesn’t matter, but the first that matters does. Instead of releasing a phone with an incomplete OS, Apple waited until it was ready and blew away its competition.

Android L will have built-in encryption, just like iOS

Digital Trends reported on built-in encryption for Andriod L.

The next major version of Android is going to come with one feature that will please the security-conscious: built-in encryption. It means anyone who grabs hold of your mobile device—from petty thief to law enforcement officer—will find it much more difficult to extract data from it. The same level of advanced encryption is also available in iOS 8.

Android users have had the option to encrypt their phones and tablets since 2011, but the setup process for Android L will switch it on by default. iOS has always encrypted data on devices automatically — there’s no option to enable it as there is on current versions of Android — but the protection has been reworked and improved in iOS 8.

Let’s not talk about why it’s always on for iOS while Android makes it turned off by default. Given how Android updates are rolled out, it will be years before this is widely adopted.