A taste of life with Google

Spending most of your life outside of Google’s reach tends to lessen ones perception of the horror that is being a product, rather than a consumer. The “Apple way” attracts me not only because they sell high quality products but also because they are crystal clear that they’re selling me a product, and I am the consumer.

Google intrigues me for many reasons, chief among them is their ability to convince millions of people that they should enjoy free services while blindly ignoring what happens with their information or why they would be allowed to use all of these products for free. Deep in my soul is a nostalgic longing for “Alta Vista” or maybe even “Dog Pile” on a crazy day.

Back in 2005-2006 personal email was quite the challenge for many. Google’s search engine had already become the defacto synonym for the phrase “internet search” but email remained a challenge. Friends would change their email address on a regular basis as they switched ISP’s and existing solutions like Yahoo and Hotmail were subpar at best. Storage became a problem as was the ability to scale and provide these services at levels of exponential growth. Queue Google….all hail Gmail. Gmail came with the promise of large amounts of storage and free email. As a 1990’s part-time PC user who rode the Netscape train all the way to H-E double hockey sticks and refused to use IE I knew what was going to happen next.

Speeding up the story…I couldn’t sign up for MobileMe fast enough and even tolerated it’s failures (my personal email still ends in @me.com). iCloud has grown to do a wonderful job for me but internet search is the wildcard, pun intended, with Duck Duck Go as my default for several years. It’s not Google, but it does the job.

A recent curioristy-induced purchase of a cheap Chromebook brought me to terms with he current reality of consuming Google’s services. I dove head first into the Chromebook and all associated services. The Dell hardware was underpowered but not horrible, especially considering the price point.

Rather than bore you with an in-depth analysis of Google’s services and what it’s like to use them I found it more humorous to share three screenshots of my first attempted creation of a new email message, my first attempt to watch a youtube video, and the resulting first seconds of viewing a youtube video. How do people deal with this?

WWDC - still reeling in the years

We used to complain that WWDC keynotes had become victims of a successful formula - Tim’s opening with a stock market inspiring message about innovation and retail sales, some new products, vast majority of time to iOS along with a light mention of OS X (I’m still challenged by calling it MacOS). Thankfully 2019 was vastly different than recent experience.

As an Apple fan from the midwest these keynotes were something of an event for us. We would gather together 10 or more of us at a local restaurant with wi-fi for lunch, order our food, and get ready for the 12 PM CT broadcast. We would have multiple tables full of people watching a live blog of the event, this was pre-live video stream by Apple. Some would read twitter feeds while others did both. Throughout it all was deep passion and excitement for what was shared.

When Steve’s journey ended I admit that these events felt different. I vividly remember the Fall 2011 event and Steve’s absence where we later found out that the team was well aware of Steve’s health status. Having visited Apple’s campus and heard of the depth of Steve’s impact on Apple’s spirit I believe there was a years-long impact that continues to ripple out on these events.

This past June 3, 2019 event felt different, more alive, more proud than any event in recent memory. I saw a team running at full speed, executing at a high level, and revealing a masive amount of transformational technology that I’m still trying to wrap my head around. Will hold off on commenting on the individual reveals and only say that I was very, very proud to watch the hard work of so many awesome people be received so positively and know that I’ll have lots of awesomeness coming my way.

More soon!

MacWorld did a great job of summarizing everything from the keynote as it was released.

Stops and Starts

Attempting to maintain a web presence with a family, church responsibilities and a stressful full-time job is intersting. Nevertheless I’ve excited about the possibilities to learn from others and grow both as a writer and fellow human on this brief journey from cradle to grave.

For those that come across the site and stay for a while, thank you! I hope to earn a return visit from time to time.

Cue Apple - please come home

Like Rene I continue to hope that Apple will step back in to the home wi-fi market to augment the strength of the HomeKit platform. I was a proud AirPort user for many users. While I’ve enjoyed my Eero it’s led to a crisis of sorts that I’m now using an Amazon product to connect and type this.

Check out Rene’s take on this, great as always!

Teaching Twitter to play nice

Nice read. I’ve long pondered the aging nature of Twitter and it’s continual lack of new feature innovation. The challenges with threads are one example. I opened my first twitter account in May 2008 with such joy and excitement for the platform. Looking back I can see the damage it has done.

While it’s good to see them consider options I wonder how close they’ll come to addressing the true “incentives” of the platform which encourage much of the bad behavior.

Buzzfeed article

Speaking of Apple...Disney announces Disney+

The most mysterious release at Apple’s March 25 event was Apple TV+. While the endless parade of celebrities was moderately interesting, the complete lack of details regarding this service was certainly NOT interesting. This is in stark contrast to Disney’s announcement this week of their $7 a month service.

I think there’s a virtual line around the world already queued up for this, me included.

9to5 Mac has a good summary.

Magazines in Apple News+ - how/what/where?

News+ was the first product/service announcement from the Apple March 25 event and the only one that you can try out right now. I was and am excited about this as it helps meet some of my personal goals of lowering overall monthly expenses and being a better steward of our limited resources in this world.

Apple has some work to do on the UI and overall workflow. I can only guess that trying to shoehorn the offerings from the former Texture acquisition was hairy than they expected. Let’s hope they get this ironed out over time. It’s already a great value.

Good read from Mac Rumors on how to use the Magazine capability.

How Apple Card works

After Apple’s March 25 event there has been a lot of discussion regaring every moment of the presentation. I’ll save my overall thoughts for another day. As someone who grew up in financial services and used to have a day job associated with card processing I was intrigued by the Apple Card (especially daily cash).

Here’s a good read from Tech Crunch on specifics…

How Apple Card works

Facebook's Wonderful Week of Fun - March 22

Continuing the saga of all that is Facebook. All kidding aside, I read this stuff and think “surely this can’t keep happening”, “surely it won't get any worse”. Hard to believe I’m still this naive.

In this week’s issue - it was revealed that Facebook stored user’s passwords in plain text for many years. Spoiler alert, this isn’t a good thing. Essentially this means that Facebook employees could know and use your own login credentials to login to your account.

In typical Facebook fashion they have admitted the issue but are stating it’s a limited set of users. This will inevitably be revised to some higher number on page 6 of a small town newspaper later this year when nobody is looking.

Krebs on Security

Facebook's Wonderful Week of Fun - March 15

Each week when I make decisions about where to spend my time and what to post I become increasingly aware of the state of all things “facebook”. Maybe a weekly summary is good enough for now!

Here’s the highlights:

Facebook survived issues like this a decade ago when it was run by a group of fast moving people early in their career. We accepted those mistakes with an “awwww shucks” type of attitude. Those days are over. Facebook is a global technology powerhouse with the influence to change the course of human history.

Two words for you - wake up

These apps are stealing your data and it should be a crime

This is a recurring rant that those close to me are expected to endure on a regular basis. As an early social media evangelist I could not have imagined the depths to which companies like FaceBook and Google (among others) would sink.

Gruber and Rene discuss this in depth on the latest episode of The Talk Show - The Talk Show Episode 245

I joined Twitter in May 2008, early enough that I could’ve had my four character nickname as a user ID. I joined Instagram in October 2010. I’ve walked away from it all now, no FaceBook, no Twitter, and no Instagram. My belief in privacy and need to talk from a position of integrity motivated this decision.

There is no “free” product! Unless you’re a paying customer then you are the product and pay with your personal data, family details, pictures of your children, and more.

A recent post by Rene shares some common practices that simply make me cringe…

Read Rene’s article here