Category Archives: Apple

Cor, what a whopper!!

Can you spot the similarity between Apple the company and Donald Trump? Well this most recent post from Techcrunch suggests that they are both pretty good at telling porky-pies!!

I mean the Trumpster is ahead on the total number but that hasn’t deterred Tim Cook et al from playing catch-up!!

Trump is a phenomenon. An asshole too. I mean just read what the Washington Post has to say on the matter – scary or what?

But that aside as this post is about lying tech giants as opposed to assholes pretending to be statesmen let’s focus on Apple!

TechCrunch lists 7, yes 7, whoppers in Apple’s latest product launch. That’s going some.

Is that what it takes now to get punters to part with their hard earned cash? Lies? Wow, how the mighty gave fallen..yet at the same time how big have we mugs grown? £1,400 for a phone??? That’s what I’ve heard, are we mad?

Well not me personally, I’ll make sure I buy my non-Apple devices from some company in the far east that delivers the same product with a better spec for a significantly lower price!!

I know that marketing is about being economical with the truth but Apple’s having a laugh. Or are Fanboys that dumb? Possibly!

But either way people, and particularly that means you people in tech companies that pretend to be holier than thou..stop the bullshit, stop the lies and FFS stop ripping us consumers off!

Fighting for life? Or fit to drop?

Sometimes you know progress sucks.  I mean it’s been several years since wearable technology became a “buzzword” yet there’s still nothing really cool/useful out there.  Look at it now…it’s fighting for life, it’s fit to drop!

I mean ok, Apple Fanboys have their watch, but it really doesn’t deliver all that much.  At the same time you’ve seen crooks like Yassir Belhaj, the guy behind the Indiegogo and subsequently Kickstarter promoted Sowatch debacle that fleeced nearly 3,000 people out of a total of over $350k, screwing things up royally!  At the same time you’ve had major brands such as Samsung, Fitbit, Polar, Huawei, TomTom plus a host of others, including Apple, try and fail to deliver a killer piece of kit – and they’ve even had multiple goes at it!!
Frankly it irritates me that this market opportunity hasn’t been grabbed by somebody with an ounce of common sense and a bit of vision – just look at the “best fitness trackers in 2018” – I mean, c’mon, this is amateur hour stuff!!

[Takes a step forward at this point….]

Back in December 2014 I wrote a piece called “Convergence is the way forward” on my Wearable Tech Review blog….

Some companies seem to think that by maintaining an incredibly narrow focus they’ll succeed – well I’m afraid if you’re aiming at the end consumer – the likes of us – then they’ve just failed!

I also referred readers to what I saw as a device with massive potential – the Samsung “Simband” which helpfully they described as…

It’s our concept of what a smart health device should be.

The video promotes it as having several sensors that continuously measure and monitor a user’s biometric data. It uses optical, electrical, and physical methods of collecting heart rate, blood flow and pressure, skin temperature, CO2 and oxygen levels, EKG levels, and even simulated blood pressure, all to display real-time electrocardiograph information of it all – and it tracks movement and tells the time too!!

Way too cool!! Take my money now…

Sadly it wasn’t to be. Not even Samsung managed to deliver the concept.  Their Gear 3 is a “premium watch”…I don’t want a premium watch I’ve got one and it’s got far more cache that a Gear 3. The Gear Fit 2 wasn’t much better..a big lump of a band with a colour screen that drained the battery faster than a swarm of hungry mosquitos feasting on your arm!!

In the past 4 years there’s been a lot of activity, a lot of hype followed by a lot of half-arsed products hitting the market (I mean not even waterproof – WTF!) and a number of companies going to the wall!

I did put together what I was looking for in my perfect device – back in January 2015 – and guess what?  Nobody’s got close….

  • If you were to take the best bits from this lot, starting with my existing Rolex as the starting point and encapsulating the concept that the Simband most effectively sets out you’d end up with a replacement strap which delivers it all!

    Naturally I’ll want it to learn about my normal “biometric” behaviour as it monitors me so it can identify anything “abnormal” and then warn me about it!

    It will also be required , via the back end of the service, to provide me with those actionable alerts – not to mention the reason why I need to act upon them – and of course praise when it’s deserved – sorry when I deserve it 🙂

And look how many of them are still going…Pebble, Nymi, Kairos, GoBe, Amiigo, Micorsoft Band?  Where did they go? If only they’d listened 🙂


Weather it’s enough to keep you connected

Yes I did mean to type that that headline title! It’s a play on words people… I’ve just read an article in the Guardian (well online actually) where Alex Hern writes that he has “finally taken off the Apple Watch for the last time”.

It took me nine months to realise it, but the only useful thing about Apple’s £479 smartwatch was the weather notifications

Ouch!! But it’s a sentiment that I share…I stopped wearing my Microsoft Band2 a couple of weeks ago – my Mi Band Puls is still on my right wrist, my proper watch on my left!

The author completely nails the issue in a single (but quite long) sentence:

“….a few fundamental flaws of the watch suffice to explain 95% of the issues: the watch is too slow to act as a speedy alternative to your phone; the user interface is too fiddly to use on the move; the notification model is too limited to do anything other than encourage you to pull out your phone repeatedly; and Siri sucks.

A similar catalogue or errors can be applied to the MS Band2. It’s too clumpy, it requires too much manual intervention to track activity, the battery sucks and it isn’t waterproof.

So, here we have 2 of the largest bands in the world taking £billions of our money and still not getting the point.

The technology is supposed to improve our lives, makers things easier to do, make things better and do things we wouldn’t previously been able to do. So instead of ramming tech into a small space with a tiny screen and a crappy battery why not think what the customer actually wants….

  1. Something comfortable and stylish to wear 24/7.
  2. Excellent battery life
  3. A touchscreen I can read outdoors
  4. Notifications that mean something
  5. health/activity tracking – the standard package
  6. Waterproof

I’d suggest using an e-ink screen with a horizontal display as a starting point…..Fitbit Alpha sort of size for the whole shebang and sure I’d be happy to pay £200 for that because as long as the software/firmware keeps getting updated the device should last me for years, not just a few months which appears to be the current lifetime for some of the devices on the market- alright almost all of them!!!

Perhaps the industry’s desire to keep making us buy the next iteration (to keep their profits rolling in) is why they keep dumping these half-arsed products on the market. Nobody, as I mean NOBODY has got it right yet.

So if there’s someone out there with a couple of £million to spare I reckon I could come up with the goods in a few months – all I need is a few techies to integrate the stuff that’s already out there in the public domain – and yes, I am being serious here!!

Apple store acolytes – blind faith or ignorance?

My son’s iPhone 4 has developed an issue – the WIFI connection is not working – the button has been greyed out and resetting it to factory settings doesn’t work.  So, off we went to the Apple store in MK, waited in line for an audience and listened while a young man tried to tell us because we’d updated the software it was obviously “a latent hardware issue” and that Apple were not aware of any Wifi issues….!

Resisting the temptation to reprise John Cleese in the Dead Parrot sketch and not being prepared to pay them, far too much, for the opportunity to let them have a look at it we left.

Anyway it seems that the network operators are aware of the problem – according to helpful chap in the Vodafone shop “everyone knows it’s a software problem” and so apparently does the internet….let’s see what Google comes up with shall we?

Oh look, “About 22,100,000 results (0.70 seconds)”

Search Results

iOS: Troubleshooting Wi-Fi networks and connections › Support
Learn how to troubleshoot Wi-Fi1 issues you may encounter while using your iPhone, … Follow these steps to troubleshoot the above issues:.

Having Wi-Fi problems with iOS 8? Here’s how to fix it

30 Sep 2014 – Is Wi-Fi sluggish, not working or disconnecting after upgrading youriPhone or iPad to iOS 8? Here are some tips to fix the issue.

iOS 8 Wi-Fi Connection Problems? They Are Probably

22 Sep 2014 – If you updated to iOS 8 and started experiencing some peculiar wi-fi issues, typically manifesting as an inability to join wireless networks, …

No need for iOS 8 hate. Here are fixes for Wi-Fi and battery

http://www.techradar.comNews by technology

 24 Sep 2014 – Like clockwork, iOS 8 bugs are making Apple’s flat-looking operating system feel a little more uneven partially due to Wi-Fi connection glitches …

How To Fix iOS 8 Wi-Fi Issues On iPhone And iPad

25 Sep 2014 – Experiencing slow or Wi-Fi related issues on iOS 8 running on iPhone, iPad? Try this simple fix to get things up and running in no time.
How to Fix iPhone 4S Wi-Fi Grayed Out – iFixit…/22167

A common problem in the iPhone 4S, sometimes the Wi-Fi button will be grayed out and unclickable. This problem seems to be related to thermal shock—the …

How to fix iPhone WiFi connectivity issues? | CopyTrans Blog

28 Aug 2013 – Do you experience one or more of the iPhone WiFi connection problems … This is by far the most common iPhone WiFi connectivity problem.

iOS 8 Users Seeing Issues With Battery Drain, Slow Wi-Fi

22 Sep 2014 – As outlined by PCMag, iOS 8 users on the Apple support forums have been complaining about Wi-Fi problems in a thread that now spans …

iOS 8 Hit By WiFi And Battery Life Complaints – Forbes…/2014/09/…/ios-8-wifi-and-battery-life-problems

22 Sep 2014 – Reports are spreading of WiFi and battery life problems for iPhone 5S, iPad Air and iPad mini owners. Apple is yet to respond.

Solving Wifi issue on iPhone 4S – YouTube

5 Jan 2014 – Uploaded by Kapil B

After upgrading my iPhone 4S to iOS 7.0.4, i noticed that the Wifibutton had greyed out. This meant i could …

Hmmm there seems to be some sort of pattern here…

  1. Design some fantastic products that everybody loves.
  2. Make these devices and introduce business practices that stop the people who’ve bought them from doing anything with them that you don’t sanction (i.e. make money from)
  3. Become sufficiently arrogant that you believe that you can do no wrong.
  4. Deny that you’re wrong even when you are wrong
  5. Refuse to apologise when the world has proved that you were wrong
  6. Become a tarnished brand making products that people no longer love
  7. Lose!!

Well I think Apple may have reached its peak and now the emperor’s new clothes have been seen for what they are.

Back to the specifics of the greyed out wifi issue, which even Apple seem to be aware of,  and I’m now having to control myself as I’m beginning to chortle having read the way that some people recommend you deal with this “KNOWN”  problem – that’s KNOWN” young Mr Apple acolyte – remember that “KNOWN”.  What’s that you ask well :

“A common problem in the iPhone 4S, sometimes the Wi-Fi button will be grayed out and unclickable. This problem seems to be related to thermal shock—the problem may be temporarily fixed by simply putting the phone in the refrigerator for 15 minutes, or under a lamp for 30 minutes.

If this is the case, then the necessary permanent solution is to reflow the Murata SW SS1830010 Wi-Fi chip on the logic board.”

And “WTF is “reflowing” when that’s at home” I hear you ask – well it basically means giving the chip a blast of hot air…you’ll need one of these:

..and then you need to do this:

  • Set the temperature of the air gun on 280-300°C
  • Set a low air flow; 1 or 2 (on a 1 to 7 scale).
  • Now, doing circular movement, you have to reflow for 4-5 minutes.
  • Be careful to reflow only the wifi chip and not any of the surrounding ICs or circuits.
  • After 5 minutes, set the temperature to 250-260 °C for other 5 minutes.

Alternatively you could probably collect all the acolytes wearing their red t-shirts in the MK Apple store together and get them to stand around your phone spouting the messages they’ve learned by rote – I’m sure it would have the same effect!!

If the thermal shock doesn’t work it might be time for the man in the MK outdoor market to have a go and see what he can do.  I certainly won’t be asking Apple for any more help, I won’t be trading it in for a new one either.  If this is a dead (Wifi) phone then the slug is probably a good swap – either way I’m not paying for any more Apple products – and I absolutely loved the first iPhone I had.

So, “Blind Faith” or “Ignorance”?  I’ll leave that up to you dear reader!

Another sneaky Apple trick

I use to have an iPhone – now I’m a confirmed Android fan – just loving that I can do this whenever I choose – or this for that matter – the freedom is fantastic!  Freedom is the issue I’m focussing on right now….the freedom to do what I choose with photographs I take.

Recently I decided to rebuild my personal website and as part of that I thought I’d try and pull into one place a lot of the things I’m interested in.  Part of that was to link some of my current online photo albums from Google’s Picasa site to my latest site – built using WordPress.  As is often the case with WordPress someone has usually already built the app to help you achieve that so thanks to Mikhail Koslov in this instance.

Linking the albums seemed to be a piece of cake….or so I thought!

Most of the albums that I’d created using my Panasonic Lumix camera got linked across seamlessly!  However I noticed that whilst other albums were linked the photographs wouldn’t load to the new site.  On further investigations it appeared that these were photos taken with my iPhone.St Lucia 470

I had to resort to opening the images individually in Fireworks and then saving them as new files and uploading them to Picasa again- guess what?  They synced across without a problem!

I can only infer that one of 2 things has occured:

  1. Our friends in Cupertino have added something to the properties of the file that do not allow them to be transferred to a secondary web site.
  2. Google has added some code which stops this happening.

On the basis that Google allows all my other photos to be transferred it has to be the weasels in Cupertino.

RT Piss off, Apple. Stop trying to control what people do with their own devices.

See it’s not just me who keeps going on about how #Apple is trying to control what you can and cannot do with a device you’ve paid £400+ for! Here’s Joe Goodden’s tweet:

Joe Goodden ‏@joegoodden
Piss off, Apple. Stop trying to control what people do with their own devices.

His tweet was retweeted by Aral Balkan
Aral Balkan ‏@aral
If Apple implements ability to wirelessly disable the camera on my iPhone I will stop using an iPhone.

Aral, I already have – all this stuff about patents for ideas in the public domain, non-ownership of digital content, inability to personalise MY device to MY hearts content

He then went goes further making the obvious (but it still needed to be said) point:

Aral Balkan ‏@aral
It’s pretty clear that if we want a world where we have control over our devices & data, we have to create open products that compete on UX

Or is this what Apple does so it can ensure that it gets its own way in the US law courts?

As to remotely disabling functionality such as the camera that’s just obscene – surely it’s an infringement of one’s civil liberties – doesn’t the Human Rights Act cover off freedoms such as this. I know that in the UK and elsewhere there are laws in existence which prevent people from photographing certain locations – and I understand that there are National Security issues but allowing a frigging patent? What is going on between Apple and US Government?

Interesting also that allegedly Apple is about to launch 10 new products….whilst I’m certain they will look gorgeous, be made brilliantly and work superbly I for one won’t be looking to purchase one – and I urge you all to make the same statement – Piss off, Apple. Stop trying to control what people do with their own devices.

The original article is shown below – a straight copy from the web

Apple granted a patent to wirelessly disable cameras on iphones in certain locations

Recording, communicating during protests, political events could be restricted

Steve Watson
Sept 3, 2012

Apple was granted a patent last week that will enable it to wirelessly disable the camera on iphones in certain locations, sparking fears that such techniques could be used to prevent citizens from communicating with each other or taking video during protests or events such as political conventions and gatherings.

The camera phone has revolutionized the flow of information in the digital age. Any time a major event takes place, news networks and video websites are immediately inundated with footage and photographs from the scene.

That could all change in the future however, with a flick of a switch, according to  U.S. Patent No. 8,254,902, published on Tuesday, titled, “Apparatus and methods for enforcement of policies upon a wireless device.”.

Apple, big brands, media

I’m sorry this Apple v Samsung verdict is just a joke

Has anyone read the interview on the BBC website – you really should…it’s revealing –  and ultimately quite alarming.

The jury foreman seems to be absolutely critical in all this – he read the source code, he knew about the patent system, he spoke to Reuters about what he wanted to do – isn’t this a bone-fide case of one man influencing the rest of the jurors – the whole basis of a jury trial is that they review the evidence put before them – not what one person may or may not know….

Do you think if you hadn’t been on the jury then we might have ended up with a very different verdict?

“I think so. But let’s not say me specifically.

Let’s say if there had not been an individual who had the technical background, and there had not been an individual who had gone through the process, the verdict might have been different – or it might have been the same.”

…and not forgetting this piece of obtuse logic…

“What was the crucial bit of evidence that convinced you to give a verdict that was so decisive in Apple’s favour rather than Samsung’s?”

“One of the most decisive pieces of evidence was reading the minutes for myself of a meeting that was held at a very high level between Google executives and Samsung executives.

It was for a tablet and Google was concerned that for the sake of their operating system that the look and feel and the methodology that they [Samsung] were using to create their tablet was getting too close to what Apple was doing.”

…”the look and feel

..err doesn’t the article also mention that the jury rejected Apple’s claim that the shape of its iPad had been infringed by Samsung.

I hope for his sake that Velvin (sic) Hogan of his company Multicast Labs are in no way linked to Apple or any of its investors or supporters.  I expect that the tech media will be going through his public (and private if they can) utterances to look for any evidence of bias!



Apple, big brands

How & why can you patent something already in the public domain?

It’s a perfectly simple question – surely if it’s already out there and people know about it how can someone patent the idea 5 years later? Isn’t that theft? That’s the way it works in music – if someone claims that a riff is theirs but later it turns out that someone else wrote it they get pilloried in the media and are forced to pay up in court…

So why has Apple been given $1bn for an idea they ripped off?

I’m not going to go into the legal details because the issue is laid out far better by MAXWELL KENNERLY, ESQ. of the Beasley Firm, LLC. In his excellent and well referenced article he states:-

“On December 14, 2007, Apple laid claim to the supposed novel invention of “list scrolling and document translation, scaling, and rotation on a touch-screen display,” the formal title of United States Patent 7,469,381 B2, with a patent application granted after a year-long review by the patent office that apparently didn’t include watching this scene from 2002’s Minority Report, where Tom Cruise does all of those things and more with a spiffy 3D interface.”


Apple, big brands

Apple to act like Monty Python?

OK stop it now!  This is getting too silly!

I see that Apple has patented something – one of many zillions of things – that is surely already in the public domain – and has been for ages!

Universal interface for retrieval of information in a computer system

“Abstract: The present invention provides convenient access to items of information that are related to various descriptors input by a user, by means of a unitary interface which is capable of accessing information in a variety of locations, through a number of different techniques. Using a plurality of heuristic algorithms to operate upon information descriptors input by the user, the present invention locates and displays candidate items of information for selection and/or retrieval. Thus, the advantages of a search engine can be exploited, while listing only relevant object candidate items of information.”

Last December the US Patent and Trademark Office granted the iPhone maker intellectual property rights to the idea of gathering search results from a variety of sources using different techniques, and then presenting them in “a unitary interface”. The firm uses the innovation to power Siri.

Apart from the fact that the language is soooo vague (that’ll be the lawyers then!) the concept of having a screen displaying a range of your chosen or prefered information when you switched on your computer has been around for yonks – from memory one iteration was called Microsoft Active Desktop . (The introduction of the Active Desktop marked Microsoft’s attempt to capitalize on the short-lived push technology trend led by PointCast. Active Desktop placed a number of “channels” on the user’s computer desktop that provided continually-updated information, such as news headlines and stock quotes, without requiring the user to open a Web browser.) – hey come to think of it I’ve been using igoogle for ages – indeed it’s been around so long that they’re phasing it OUT next year!).

This idea is now back on the radar as Google’s new roll out of Android (Jelly Bean 4.1) is introducing Google Now – according to their information – “Jelly Bean makes everything feel fast, fluid, and smooth. Notifications are expandable and actionable, widgets are magical and the keyboard is smarter and more accurate:

Jelly Bean also features a redesigned search experience, with a new user interface and faster Voice Search. You can type your query or simply ask Google a question. Google can speak back to you, delivering a precise answer if it knows one, in addition to a list of search results.

Google Now is also part of the updated Google app, getting you just the right information at just the right time. Google Now tells you today’s weather before you start your day, how much traffic to expect before you leave for work, or your favorite team’s score as they’re playing. There’s no digging required: cards appear at the moment you need them most.”

Sounds great – but it don’t sound nuffin too radical – innit!

Someone famous once said if you have a good idea at least 10 other people have had the same idea already – if it’s a great idea the number is 100.

Just because Apple’s got enough money to buyoff most of the western hemisphere it shouldn’t allow them to bully innovation also happening simultaneously at other companies – I means seriously is anyone going to rip off an idea from Apple? No I didn’t think so.

Should a company be allowed to use it’s financial clout to stop other companies from trading – no of course they shouldn’t and if they try to then we should all follow San Francisco’s lead.

..and we all hope that our friends in Cupertino don’t start to behave like a certain UK footballer .

Tootle pip!

Apple, big brands

The “Patent” – useful concept or moneymaker for the lawyers out there?

Oh I’m going to nail my colours to the mast right off and say that overall patents are moneyspinners for the legal eagles chasing the ambulances of new product innovation! And when it’s BT who are getting in on the act I really begin to lose the plot.

Remember that BT are bunch of chunks who din’t bother to patent – hyperlinks! So now they think they can change their spots and have a go at Android -well it’s the flavour of the month isn’t it. Wait till somebody makes something really useful and then claim that you “own” it hoping that the other party will settle so you can get some money for old rope.

Well I don’t like this sort of behaviour. I don’t like people being ripped off either but when you get to this level of corporate monstrosity I couldn’t give a fig! In fact I’d personally like to be part of a class actino againsty soem of the largest corporates out there for simply not delivering on their advertising – for the use of “weasel words” in their terms and conditions and for just being crap – you know who you are!

Innovation and competition is what makes business great – protecting some spurious piece of IPR – i mean c’mon BT – what’s this latest one?

One example of an alleged infringement is Android’s ability to allow a music download if a smartphone is connected to a wi-fi network, but to prevent it when the device only has access to a 3G data link.

Another example is Google Maps ability to make different information available at different levels of zoom.

Here’s the link if you really want to read it all – it’s not the only example though look at Apple and Samsung – ooh your phone/tablet (select whichever you wish) looks like my phone/tablet, that’s not fair I’m going to sue you and try and stop you being able to sell it….well if you’re going to do then then I’m going to stop you selling your phone/tablet – nah nah!

…and whose fault is this? Well clearly it’s the legal eagles of today’s corporate world – you’re feathering your own nests at the expense of the consumer. Lack of choice because your battles mean that products and services are not able to be offered to the customer while the legal battle “rages”and increased prices because the cost of legal battles needs to be added to the final selling price.

Now I know you’ll be bleating about how this freedom, this anarchy would encourage IPR theft which will damage business – well I’ve got an answer for that, I’d like to propose a half-way house.

In the same way that the extremely rich have less “personal tax allowances” let’s have a system where the larger your company the less legal weight you can apply. So the likes of Apple, of BT and of Samsung et al would have almost no recourse to use patents – unless one could argue that “national interest” or “national security”would be served.

The corollary would be that small companies have all the power to protect their IPR and would be encouraged to keep coming up with weird and wonderful and occassionally hugely beneficial ideas- after it’s not the big guys who provide all the innovation is it? Siri was developed by a small team before Apple snaffled it up and two years later let us have what we could have had 2 years earlier, and then only if we are prepared to cough up a few hundred quid for their “latest” design!!

C’mon guys it makes perfect sense – now if you’d just like to argue about at what level of turnover the limits of legal power would decline I’m sure you’d see I’m still protecting your income whilst improving things for the rest of us – I’d call that a win-win situation!

Happy Christmas everybody.

OMG now there’s another one – HTC said the patent in question related to a small user-interface feature often called “data tapping”, which allowed users to grab embedded information, such as a phone number, and do something with it, such as make a call. Doh! That’s what I call copy and paste – is Apple saying that’s their idea now? And the result? HTC can’t sell their phones in the USA – er, isn’t that anti-competitive behaviour?

BTW – Apple is embroiled in numerous patent disputes in Europe, Asia and Australia with other smartphone makers that run Android, most famously its South Korean rival Samsung.