Law enforcement and military officials are increasingly using secret devices sometimes called “stingrays” to locate people via their cellphones, even when the phones aren’t in use, the Wall Street Journal reported recently. But finding people isn’t all that this type of gear can do.
These types of machines mimic a cell tower and cause your phone to connect to the machine instead of a real cellular site. Once that happens, there’s a lot that can be done to your phone.
This really is good news. Now, do those people know just what the settings mean? Not the power users, but the majority of those who are changing their privacy settings. Do they just change things away from public yet keep all the advertising features on (instant personalization, etc)?
It’s a myth that most Facebook users never change their default privacy settings, said Facebook CTO Bret Taylor today. “The majority of people on Facebook have modified their privacy settings,” he said.
In reality, this assumption is probably less of a myth and more of an outdated statistic. Back in December 2009, when Facebook started more overtly mucking with its privacy defaults and options, the company stated that only 15 to 20 percent of Facebook’s 350 million users had ever modified their settings, as I reported at the time.
But today, Taylor said, Facebook’s 800 million users — especially the more active ones — are extremely savvy about their privacy settings.
Now this is an idea that should (in theory) work now, fast, and focused. I applaud this idea. Corporations should know that if things don’t pick up, retail and spending will decrease. A small effort now in support of this will pay huge dividends later - rather than the large costs of inaction.
I just hope that this isn’t a path back to oligarchies, but in megacorp form.
Well worth a read. A look into daily life these days and how often the devices we use and our entire environment is set up to disclose and expose our private information. To summarize, often and everywhere.
As soon as I woke up this morning my privacy was compromised. My Android phone has GPS enabled so that the phone, and any widget on it, can determine my geolocation. I am pretty careful about checking the permissions on the widgets I install, but not everyone is, and even I am capable of making errors. My daughter was once checking permissions on a screen saver and found that the “coarse location” was one of the permissions requested. Can you imagine a single valid reason that a screen saver would need your location?
So this whole iPad thing. I wrote about it back when it was first announced and was writing from a perspective that had never seen or really used one. I was optimistic, both from an Apple watcher’s perspective (in terms of how Apple will make money with it) and also from an everyday user’s perspective (automatic transmission analogies, and Nintendo’s Blue Ocean strategy).
It’s interesting looking back just what people were focusing on back then. No flash, no multi-tasking, and how it actually would hold up to actual usage. Oh and don’t forget the name. Well, flash is still on it’s way out (I still use plug-in blockers so I rarely even see flash these days) with Adobe supporting even more HTML5 tools, so that seems like it was entirely a non-issue. As for all those flash games that ‘people’ were bemoaning not getting to play anymore, take a look at all those free, freemium, and paid games in the App Store. Multi-tasking has been improved upon with subsequent OS updates, and developers have found innovative work-arounds to keep up with user needs. As for usage, that seems to have taken care of itself. People use it quite happily, and revisions to the hardware will continually improve usability. I’m not even going to mention the name issue, other than the fact that some analysts really seem to dislike using “iPad” in their reports and so substitute in “Tablet market” instead.
The iPad has really taken off. No one can really doubt that now. When people mocked it for being a glorified iPod Touch they were both right and very, very wrong. They’re right in that it is a larger iOS device, sometimes without a cellular data connection, but they were also wrong because the screen size really does bring about a revolutionary change in usage patterns and screen space utilization. Basically the iPad is hired to do a different job than that of both the iPhone and the iPod Touch. It can simply do different things than either of its siblings. Just bringing the iOS metaphors to a 10” screen makes a distinct difference.
Why I Want One
All of which is nice and dandy, but why do I want one? I had my iPod Touch, one that I even upgraded to the iPhone 4 equivalent. I recently picked up an iPhone 4. I’m writing this on my 15” Macbook Pro. What reasons exist that allow picking up yet another device to make sense? 
Basically, there really is a gap that I’m not served best by any of my current devices. My iPhone/iPod Touch does very well at what it does, but the screen size does eventually come into play (not that I’m arguing in favor of a large iPhone screen size, quite the contrary). My laptop just isn’t convenient to read some things on (see Instapaper and Reeder). The experience of iOS and what feels natural there really does some amazing things on a larger screen, and now I’ve come to a point where I think that matters.
I’m in Grad School now, and so paper reading keeps coming up as a thing that I need to be doing. While I could print them out, or even go back to the paper source material (when still available at the university library) reading digitally makes way more sense. I can keep them with me at the same time, they’re technically searchable, when not a static PDF image and not PDF text, and I won’t lose them (once renamed from the long static string that the journal keeps it under). But still, my laptop isn’t the finest way to read them either. Scrolling through an article does work, but the written word, at least for me, isn’t really consumed best unless it’s held in my hand. A computer screen, even on a laptop lacks the unifying feel that paper does. An iPad restores that familiar relationship.
Also there are a few apps that I use all the time that would be improved upon with a larger screen. Instapaper, Reeder, and mobile Safari all would improve if just offered more screen space. I read, a lot. Online and offline reading is still the basis of my entertainment and information seeking habits. Even the Kindle and iBooks apps would improve immensely on a larger screen. Reading is better like that. I’ve tried it out in limited fashions via grad students at Stanford, my Dad, and various Apple stores I’ve visited and messed around in. It works for people in ways that regular computing fails to deliver on and enhances the set of tools that have been developed via the iPhone. Which makes sense that the iPad feels like a more natural fit when you remember that the iPhone was born from a tablet effort at Apple anyway.
I even plan on being productive with it once I get it. I’ve done quite well at not installing games onto my iPod Touches and subsequently on my iPhone. This keeps my iOS devices free-ish of one distraction source at least. In preparation I’ve also picked up a couple text-editors for writing some stuff. I would even be writing this post on the iPad if I had it in time to write this (which makes no sense as this is meant as a look at my thoughts before I get it, but yeah…). People claim that an iPad is only for consumption not creation. I plan on challenging that at least in limited fashions. I doubt I’ll be making a podcast on it, I’m not even sure I could but I am interested in doing so (even if not on an iPad). However, for a couple things I am interested in working on, namely some text entry and a couple other things, I think I can manage to do them on an iPad.
Things I’ll Also Be Getting At The Same Time
So yeah, I’ll have this iPad. People tend to keep buying them and then realizing that you need to spend more to get them to do just what you want them to. Maybe not quite to the same degree as the Kindle Fire seems to be a digital vending machine, but close. So yeah. I’ve already gotten a small head start in terms of apps for an iPad. Most of the apps I depend on are Universal at this point so they’ll just load up happily. iCloud and Dropbox makes this also very easy to keep things working together. 1Password and Instapaper will be working happily. iMessage will keep working as well. iBooks and Kindle are already nicely universalized too. I’ve picked up a couple text editors on sale too: Nebulous Notes and Plain Text are ready to go. The only thing I use constantly that I don’t already own is Reeder for iPad. That and most likely GoodReader are the couple of apps that I would need to buy to get running full tilt.
Which of course brings me to the next question. To cover or not to cover the screen? I’d bought a case for my iPod Touch. Then I shed that, and am keeping my iPhone 4 causeless (“naked” in the words of Dan Benjamin of 5by5). So should I get a cover at least for the screen? If I do, should I get a full-body case on top of that? And if so, what about cases with bluetooth keyboards? I’m still not sold on the keyboard idea, but the screen cover might sway me at last. If so, then most likely an Apple smart cover is the way I’ll go. I just don’t think that it’ll get scratched up in the way that I plan to use/carry it around.
So yeah. I’m getting one. I think it’s a good idea for me. iPads have proven themselves in the market, and I don’t doubt that it’ll work its way into a permanent part of my life/workflow. Maybe I’ll find that I just stop using my Macbook Pro. I currently doubt that, but I’ll find out. I’m going to have fun with it, and at least plan on getting some stuff done with it as well.
More thoughts will come on this topic as they hit me and the iPad. I’ll most likely write a post on how writing goes on one quickly after getting it. And wow this post is much longer than that last one on iPads…
: Do I use too many parenthesis? Maybe (but maybe not).
: Other than just being able to lead a full rainwave.cc page.
“Inviting a school into your personal life—whether voluntarily or involuntarily through admissions counselors’ get-to-know-you efforts—could have disastrous results. Twelve percent of admissions counselors told Kaplan that what they found on social networks hurt an applicant’s admissions prospects—particularly when it involved vulgarity, evidence of alcohol consumption or essay plagiarism, or proof of illegal activity.”—Always, always watch yourself online. But you shouldn’t be doing illegal things in the first place, let alone posting about them online.
College Admissions Officers Are Definitely Checking Your Facebook Page - Education - GOOD (via infoneer-pulse)
This info includes the URLs of websites you visit over Verizon’s network and also your device’s location data. Some of those details may be shared with outside companies as well. Verizon says none of it will personally identify you.
This makes sense. The Bailout tax and the hedge fund taxes he proposes seem like ideas that really should have been put in place already. But really, I can’t see any good reasons against these five proposals. The only one that might have a good reason behind opposing, can be dismissed these days. One could claim that taxing all stock and derivatives would punish the markets at a time of weakness, but they caused this mess and it might refocus the markets on what they should be doing, “…making sober investments in job-creating businesses and watching them grow.”
“If everything is shared automatically, nothing has significance.”—
An assertion that I had not thought of in line with “frictionless sharing”. It’s much the same with all the game-related posts that you see. Doesn’t one just start to tune those out, knowing that no one ever really wanted to share it? If so, then everything Facebook intends with this is to gather whatever (and all) o f the data that we produce, keep all of it, and provide us with tiny, tiny fragments of it regulated by their importance algorithm. That’s becoming a bargain that no longer favors me, and maybe more Facebook users.
“Today’s belief in ineluctable certainty is the true innovation-killer of our age. In this environment, the best an audacious manager can do is to develop small improvements to existing systems—climbing the hill, as it were, toward a local maximum, trimming fat, eking out the occasional tiny innovation—like city planners painting bicycle lanes on the streets as a gesture toward solving our energy problems. Any strategy that involves crossing a valley—accepting short-term losses to reach a higher hill in the distance—will soon be brought to a halt by the demands of a system that celebrates short-term gains and tolerates stagnation, but condemns anything else as failure. In short, a world where big stuff can never get done.”—
A really pressing issue these days. Is this how some of the scifi empires that I read about, the stagnant ones, emerged? Management and individuals were able to access too much information, depressing risks? Or was it the immediacy and publicity of the access that causes “minority shareholder lawsuits” at the smallest drop in earnings/profits? Could it be that too much real-time transparency has led to the development of a shared sense of infallibility directly crushing any risky gambits for success in the future? I just don’t know…
I also like this quote from earlier. I’m not sure, but this ties in to some ideas I have about the need for “translation layers” or people that can help create and transmit these shared narratives. Star Trek (especially TNG) showed voice controlled computers that anyone could use. Now we have google voice search, Apple’s Siri, and Nuance. There’s more too! Scifi directly inspires people to reach, to make these things come true. This is what he’s calling the Hieroglyph Theory.
We need better and more of these, else we risk falling into the same stagnation that afflicted the Imperium of Man (W40k), numerous progenitors, and even Asimov’s Galactic Empire (Foundation).
Researchers and engineers have found themselves concentrating on more and more narrowly focused topics as science and technology have become more complex. A large technology company or lab might employ hundreds or thousands of persons, each of whom can address only a thin slice of the overall problem. Communication among them can become a mare’s nest of email threads and Powerpoints. The fondness that many such people have for SF reflects, in part, the usefulness of an over-arching narrative that supplies them and their colleagues with a shared vision. Coordinating their efforts through a command-and-control management system is a little like trying to run a modern economy out of a Politburo. Letting them work toward an agreed-on goal is something more like a free and largely self-coordinated market of ideas.