The apps you need for your divorce

I am a happily divorced father of three children of which I have sole custody.  By Greek standards that is crazy unlikely verging on impossible.  Several years later I am glad I never got too worked up about the whole thing.  I also realize that technology played a major part.  Yeah, I know I am plugging all Google products and yes of course if you want to get technical there are other options, but this is the real world.  I have an army of 7-8 phones (including spares and seconds) to maintain.  Stock Android and similar look and feel all over for us. And preinstalled apps wherever I can get them.

Here are some pointers for those that are in a less relaxed place than me right now:

  1. Google Maps.  This post is continuing on from a presentation I did recently about the Timeline feature in Google Maps which seemed to resonate.  Given permission, Google tracks where you log in from.  You can all share location with each other if you like.  If you connect to a wifi for example it knows where you are.  Or if you have your data connection switched on.  So when you get a law suit claiming that on the 23d of some month and year you can’t remember your daughter fell and hurt her chin, you can easily get reminders.  What is really cool about timeline is that not only does it show you on a map, but it also combines with…
  2. …Google Photos.  Aha, there is that chin on that very same day and it was a minor scratch.  Proof! We also track school reports (just snap), doctor visits (only takes a second.  Snap!) or screen grabs of SMS.  (No need to snap, just make sure it is backing up the ‘screenshots’ folder – you will have to select it.)  Who needs more paper and files around the house?  Snap and throw.  Google Photos offers a mind boggling infinite amount of space for free and has amazing AI tools for searching them instantly.
  3. Google Calendar.  Kids in divorces have everybody shoving agendas down their throats.  Personally I am a soft touch kind of parent.  So it is a widgets on their front screen, with our shared calendar in purple for our shared activities.    I might spend five minutes getting all his basketball games in there for us all to find easily but it is worth it.  If and when he wants to know, it is there waiting for him, right next to the appointment with the orthodontist.
  4. Google Hangouts.  Yes, they use Instagram for their friends, or Messenger or Snapchat or whatever is fashionable.  Which leaves Hangouts, the conveniently preinstalled on every Android phone app, for family.  Unless they look around Settings, it will ping on top of the game they are playing on the phone without destroying their attempt at a record.  If your ex is funny about letting them speak on the phone, use this backdoor.
  5. Google Docs.  It isn’t just about homework.  You also have a million multi page legal documents to work on.  Sometimes you want to share them with your lawyer, sometimes your kids demand to read them.  Again, depending on your parenting style and their maturity you might want the kids to be involved in these documents, to comment, to collaborate, to be able to view if they feel like it sometime at any time in the future, much like….
  6. …Google Drive which is your shared master memory.  Forget saving to physical drives and USB sticks which will get you into trouble sooner or later.  Send those important documents to Drive for future reference.  If you’re lucky, you will archive them and forget them.  If not you might want to dig up those Call Recorder app files which backed up to Drive, or the SMS and call lists in there.
  7. Google Contacts.  I easily export other parents phones from my account to theirs.  No excuses!  YOU call your friend’s mum to arrange that play date!  This also works in reverse as they start saving their friend’s numbers and I can – in emergencies – track down someone in their posse with the damn thing actually switched on.

I can go on and on with such real world examples of how Google is the backbone of our family.  My kids got Gmail accounts the day they were born.  If it was absolutely necessary I guess I could easily dial in to their Chrome browser history.  Haven’t needed to yet and they will be locking me out of their Gmail accounts soon I hope as they approach puberty and don’t need me helping them with it anymore.  When a phone is confiscated by your ex, lost or broken (as happens with kids, OK, actually I destroy more phones than they do!) we just log in with their Gmail and all apps, games and contacts reappear magically.  For a long time I had all our accounts signed in on my phone for them to play their favorite game when they had to collect chests, feed chickens, collect apples or whatever the current crisis was at the time.  Google assistant is a great way to learn English and a fantastic tool for kids in general.  We share pictures in Photos which is even more important in divorces for making shared happy memories and coming to terms with the past.

You couldn’t really do all this with any other app ecosystem.  Apple’s is restrictive, lacks many key features, makes you pay for others and has way too many hoops for you to jump through.   Microsoft is no longer in phones and generally tries to sell these sort of solutions to business customers.  So give your kids Gmail accounts, pick up a 150 dollar Chinese Android phone and your family is in business.  All you need to do is remember the passwords.   Well, actually, you don’t even need to that.  Because…

8. …Google Chrome remembers all passwords.  ; )

True gamification: What Google Maps has to learn from Supercell

I am in San Francisco battling jet lag, trying to sleep at the local time. But not so far away from me a group of kids is blaring out music.  It is an international bunch of kids in their twenties and they are playing from their phones what they think the others will like.  You could call it “party classics” in a way.  But Spotify will never know these songs.  These are the ones someone chose because he thought a bunch of strangers will like them.  The good ones you know because they all sing out of tune and slightly drunk.  Either the boys are heard more or the girls, depending on the appeal.  Sometimes both together, boy, they must be too shy to get on to sex so they keep listening I suppose.  The failed songs are changed after the first chorus when they see lack of traction with the audience.

It is vitally important to really listen to what is going on in the world and your target market.  “We are gamifying the platform” they say in software with conviction.  They mean you now have a goal, some medals or some levels to complete.  Whether it is Google Maps, a school or some old fashioned application with a face lift, the story is the same.  Way too little, way too late.

It is called “gamification” for a reason.  It is meant to be like games.  Modern games though.  Stop looking ten years behind and look at the games that do well today.  How do they motivate users? I have my kids to thank for Clash Royale.  So I know the difference.  It is hard to explain when you don’t play and when you don’t see kids reacting to the opportunities and changes in the game.  But I will try.

 

First of all with the onboarding.  It doesn’t just run an intro to get you going.  Clash Royale maintains a learning culture in players but constantly introducing new challenges and incentives to learn tools.  They know that if complexity increases and players don’t follow, they will be disappointed and leave.  For example these days they made a new “touchdown” way of playing.  So there is a simple version for you to get into it gradually in a consequence free environment.  Nothing to lose.  In fact you can’t go to the “proper” game until you have taken off the training wheels here.  Now think how many GUIs “upgrade”, “update” or generally get more difficult and lose customers.

The most common mistake of so called “gamification” plans is in fact the opposite of this.  They make the changes complicated but the rewards too simple.  Clash Royale allows you to feel you are the best on many different levels.  Maybe you have the most donations to clan members this week.  Or you are the only one with the new cool weapon, the highest level troop or some other unique category you can brag about.  You might be really good at a particular challenge.  Everything you do gains you something, but it is never simple.  Gold is useful, diamonds even better, experience points help you gain levels and it is all connected.  (Won’t go into how exactly, too nerdy, you have to play it.)  The rules of these rewards can be as complex as you want, in fact the more complicated the better.  Just stay on top of it.  We are online after all, you can adjust them dynamically depending on how people are reacting or not reacting to them.

Supercell, the creator of Clash Royale, is fast to fix things like that.  They take each new character as it’s own franchise.  With pre promotion, videos on youtube, it’s own introductory events to get everyone to know and use it and then new challenges to help it get back into vogue if we are not using it much.  Maybe it costs less elixir this week or it does double damage the next.  This is an economy which is centrally controlled after all.  Just make sure it is fun.

It can all be done with any platform.  It could be done with Google Maps.  After all the single biggest problem is how to get people involved and contributing.  You can’t map the world on your own.  I am a level 8 Local Guide.  At 15.000 points, all I get is the information that my next milestone is 50.000.  It is like looking at a very tall mountain from the bottom and not wanting to walk.  It would be like going through fifth and sixth grade together without any school report along the way, just a “well done!  You made it!” at the end of two years.   If you want me to tell you about wheelchair access, tell me that I am the hottest contributor this week or in my area this week.  Or that I did the fastest first ten contribution this week.  Anything.  In Clash Royale everything is always moving you ahead …somewhere.

The other important aspect of effort is community of course.  But here again, Supercell show the way ahead.  Because you can’t force community down anybody’s throat, much like you can’t force modern people to be sociable in the same way.  Some like to play with friends, to collaborate.  Others prefer to play with strangers or against strangers.  Sometimes we like to spar against friends.  At times we want the buzz of risking but then we like to just slog away in mindless torpor to relax.  It can’t all be at the same level all the time.  Clash Royale offers all these different ways of playing almost all the time.  Because as central dictator of their universe, they make sure that things are never permanent or too stable and boring.  Clan challenges appeared for a while, then disappeared while they decided on the initial data, then reappeared with gusto.  Now they come mainly on the weekends when all my sons’ friends (and me!) can play together and try and win clan chests which we all share.  Some of us like playing like that.

So by all means gamify your platform.  Gamify work, gamify learning.  But do it like Supercell or call it something else.

Apple will never produce the best technology: here’s why

I have been branded an Apple hater a long time ago, so I don’t bother to worry about that.  Since 1981 I have lived and breathed technology and Apple insults the very essence of the world as I understand it with its behavior.  I don’t use the word “like”, it is not aesthetic and it is not subjective.  Apple can never be a positive force in the world of technology.  Admirable marketing maybe.  Amazing reality distortion for sure.  Machiavellian trickery when it can.

Technologically speaking, the world is not an unknown, magical place.  There are only so many electrons that can whiz around in silicon at a specific speed.  Apple can’t change that.  They can’t magically make any major breakthrough.  Not only because they hardly spend any money in Research and Development.  Because nobody makes such amazing leaps on their own.  The world of scientific innovation is one of collaboration and open platforms.

That is of course the exact opposite of everything Apple stands for.  It is no surprise that a Unix derivative in the form of Android now powers 90% of the planets smartphones.  Here’s what Apple can never do:

  1. Be open about its plans.  Absolutely vital for innovation to happen.  You can’t build on something if nobody tells you how it works.
  2. Experiment more freely.  Apple produces an absolutely terrible product such as the first iWatch but insists on selling it as the next big thing.  They don’t seem to be able to give away something in order to learn like Google does so often.  (With mixed results, but the principle is correct, tried and tested in innovation)
  3. Make more.  Why only three iPhones?  I can get an Android with a battery that lasts 3 days, a rugged Android, an Android for 100 dollars, etc, etc.  If you don’t try market niches, if you don’t allow others to explore them, you will never discover something really exciting.
  4. Stick to global standards.   Apple costs the world economy billions in lost productivity.  Why on earth can’t they just stick to standards?  How hard is it to have a “normal” USB for power, or to avoid tweaking Bluetooth?  Standards in technology are the bedrock of innovation, the firm ground from which we fly to the skies.
  5. Collaborate.  It seems silly to even write that it is so obvious to everyone in business these days.  You collaborate even with your direct competitors when it makes strategic sense.  Apple never seems to be able to last long in any sort of collaboration, a slave to its Steve Jobs’ inspired image of the lone genius.

There is no such thing as a lone genius in technology.  Some amazing people have made great leaps and provided us with inspiring moments and ideas.  But the actual products?  They are always the result of extensive team work spanning the globe, companies, universities and every kind of kid playing with something to finally achieve greatness.

When Cook took over I hoped he would change some of this.  It seems he can’t.  Apple is a prisoner to its old “rules” and too afraid to go for the real innovation of changing its corporate selfishness.

The best monopoly the world has ever seen

The amount of complete gibberish I am reading about the HTC-Google deal is phenomenal.  You don’t need particular insight to see what is happening.  Nor do conspiracy theories help or those “grand scheme” type wackos that explain how it is “just the first step” of something enormous we all don’t understand.

Google is keeping the Android ecosystem healthy.  Google is doing what no government is fast enough or decisive enough to do.  Bailing out a company with something good to offer the world.  Much like Motorola before that.  No, the plan is not to “kill Apple” with some super phone.  Quite the opposite.  Pixel phones will continue to be in short supply.  They are not meant to be iPhone killers.  They are simply tools to show the way ahead.  Not light years ahead, just the next year.

Being a monopoly, much like being a dictator, is not an easy job.  You have to make everyone look good and take a back seat even when minor things don’t go your way.  Wait for everyone to get onboard instead of issuing marching orders and killing them off.  AndroidOne is an excellent example of the “try, try again” approach.  Sure, they could force everyone in a number of ways.  When you own most of the searches on the planet, YouTube, Google Maps and other prime everyday tools, it would be easy to force people.  But Google isn’t Facebook and it isn’t Apple.  “Do no evil” means “wait until they all think they want what you want them to do.”

Google isn’t “challenging its partners” as some ignoramous wrote in the Verge.  Selling off Motorola wasn’t an admission of failure.  The Android ecosystem looks much healthier with Lenovo and Motorola and Nokia in it.  In essence they are all Google, all marketing and selling machines that make money for Google.  Google learnt from Microsoft’s mistakes: Never make it too obvious that you control the whole technology platform.  Microsoft and Apple are welcome diversions in this respect, making Google look like less of a monopoly than it really is.  They kick up a big fuss about whatever silly little project they are launching all the time, keep press and people busy thinking about something else.

Google is an awe inspiring monopoly.  It controls most of the answers to the planet’s questions.  Never in history has one institution had such power.  I ask it if it will rain tomorrow, how to get to my next appointment and why Hitler didn’t attack in Dunkirk.  Google knows how many iPhone Apple will sell in Indonesia better than Apple does.  They have probably correlated it to search queries on peanut butter or something.

So if some idiot journalist wants to wax lyrical about it’s “failure to make a feature phone and grab market share” just do what Google does:  smile and ignore.

Apple: We burn Pentiums to the ground

If you don’t remember that slogan, let me remind everyone.  Because in a rather strange way, it has been wiped from Google!  Seriously, Google it.  “We burn Pentiums to the ground” and toasting Pentiums was a major Apple promotional campaign, aimed at convincing us all that their proprietary Motorola (IBM) processors were “better” or “faster” than the Intel alternatives.  It is an extremely educational story to take to hearth as Apple goes down the same rabbit hole with the iPhone today.   Back then it took users a couple of years to figure it out.  Graphic artists were trying to ignore that benchmarks of actual task performance was showing a huge disadvantage.  Back then, Apple was the tool of choice for creative professionals in the visual design.  So it was a matter of pride.  You applied a Photoshop filter and it took twice as long to render it as that guy you made fun of with the cheap PC.  In video it was ridiculous.  Apple did its best to make sure that there weren’t many applications running on both PC and Mac, but Adobe After Effects slipped through the net.  Benchmarks there were off the chart, with the ultra expensive Apple machines trailing by whole minutes in everyday tasks.

So what did Apple do?

They lied in your face!  The “we burn Pentiums to the ground” campaign, much like a lot of Steve Jobs’ presentations, were 100% lies.   He used vague graphics and charts showing an X percent advantage, or stating the new processors were 22% faster than…something.  And then they got personal claiming they “toasted” the Pentium processor.   But you won’t find it easily.  Here’s a video:

 

Where are the ads now?  I am a long time Apple hater so I know very well how I used to find them with an image search…..gone.  Zilch.  Almost no digital footprint of them left!  Either Apple or Intel, or both of them, got Google to make them disappear.  And this is where it gets interesting.  Because Apple is heading the same way today.  I wrote a short article highlighting the many things about the iPhoneX.  Quad DAC, GigabitLTE, MQA, Log and lookup tables for video…it is a long list of useful high end features other smartphones have already.   I post it on Facebook and an Apple fan friend (I still talk to them) starts going on about the “all mighty A11 Apple chip”.  Obviously he had no better response.  But allmighty Apple chip?  Really?

The company is in its classic rabbit hole.  It needs to “think different” but instead it is focusing on “being different”.  Not the same thing.  When the whole world has Bluetooth, the whole world needs Apple working on a safer, faster, better standard.  Not to just tweak it a bit and call it iBluetooth, making its AirBuds “proprietary”, “more expensive” and “not compatible”.  (What their tag lines should have been in the first place.)  When the world agrees to use USB type C we don’t want to carry around custom Apple dongles and dangles.    Siri is a joke and new Apple “features” are usually just copied from Android.  If they are not, they are a bad idea.  Like getting rid of the home button.

I still remember holding the very first iPhone and asking “where is the copy-paste” function?  They laughed.  Like they laughed when I asked where the right click was on their mice.  Guess what?  The iPhone got copy and paste eventually.  And the Mighty Mouse had a right click.  Even now, Apple products are not as good as others in these two respects.   In Android we have built in advanced clipboard features and multiple windows to play with.   They copied too little, too late.  And made a mess of the reality distortion necessary to cover up their tracks.

Much like the old days, someone is going to have bail Apple out.  Not talking about cash this time.  It will be Google that will run to the rescue and they won’t even tell us about it.  Suddenly Siri will magically get better, Apple Maps will work around the world instead of the rather limited version they have now and other Google power features will trickle through in various ways.  Just enough for Apple to pretend it is the innovator.  Which it is.  Just not in technology.  In technology it takes R&D, persistence and number crunching to get to the top.   Apple is better at getting money off people.  Some call it marketing, some of us like to call it as it is.  Especially since most of us aren’t making any money from this mass dellusion.

Don’t let me spoil the party though, enjoy looking at your shiny iPhoneX until it unlocks.

 

In praise of fake profiles

If you are in sales or marketing and above 25 years of age, you are probably wrong.  The assumptions you base your decisions on are severely limited.  We often thank our kids for ideas, for keeping us “in touch”, but it is much much more complicated a matter.  And extremely important.   I have hundreds of fake profiles.   Not sure if “fake” is the correct term.  I pretend to be someone I am not as a form of market research.  In fact it is often the first thing I do when presented with a new project.

It starts with a fake Google account.  This is vital.  Search results are personalized.  You will never get it all perfect, but if you at least persuade it that you live wherever you are researching and then make sure you do Google searches logged in from this fake Google profile, the world you are seeing will be a little more like your target.  Sign up for whatever products and services you are looking for from this signed in Chrome browser.    You have to try and live the part.

With Facebook things are even more dangerous.  That person in marketing you think is “up to speed with all this new stuff”, well, just isn’t.   If I have a really successful Instagram account, or a very active personal Facebook profile I only see what that particular profile’s take on the world is.   Some days I might whiz through multiple profiles to check up on them, just housekeeping.  Hard to describe just how different it feels to be in each newsfeed.  Some are simply based in different locations, with friends from a particular island or city.  Age differences are even more stunning.  The same political event which fills your friends’ timelines when you are 50, doesn’t even appear when you are 16.

It isn’t fashionable anymore, but I always make sure my fake people have a website, blog or other public trove of information on whatever topic I am researching.   This gives me unique insights into what people are looking for.   It is the “honeypot” approach.  In content marketing it is easier to just start testing ideas like this.  And when the first organic google searches land my way, it is like Christmas day!  Somebody wrote what they wanted to know in Google and came to me, fake me, this particular person.  Why?  How?  What cyberspace hole did I fill with what I just did?

If anything, building a fake profile is a humbling experience.  Because you realize just how complex a web social beings like humans create.  We earn trust.  Slowly.   A “follow” by a 13 year old is a very, very, very different action to a “follow” by a 60 year old.  He then posts what he just had for breakfast without thinking about it, while the senior citizen is carefully crafting a comment as if he is writing to the Economist.

Marketing people are often fooled by their own brand.  In the case of social media they are also sidetracked by their personal profiles and habits.  These are extremely dynamic, immature new mediums, still jostling for position, changing architecture and interfaces.   There is no agreed way to assess them, no specific assigned meaning to what we all do with them.  So get off your high horse and mingle with the natives.

The fallacy of collective brainpower

I was 12 or 13 years old when I came across “The crowd”.  It was in Greek and must have belonged to one of my many intellectual cousins.  The subtitle reads “a study of the popular mind” and I couldn’t put it down.  We were guests at my aunt’s house and I read it all before we left.   No matter it was written in the late 19th century; this was fresh and relevant!   While other kids listened to Simon LeBon of Duran Duran, I thought of Gustave LeBon’s amazingly relevant book.  Had never seen it again until recently when I got a copy in English.   And I juxtaposed it with “the Wisdom of Crowds” by James Surowiecki written more than a hundred years later and full of examples about Wikipedia and crowdsourcing and how 100 bricklayers can make a better decision than a consultant that gets paid 20,000 per hour.

But Gustave was right.  I grew up checking his conclusions against my reality.  I could see it at my school.  When enough kids get together, they turn into animals.   I could see it across the street in the early 80’s, as Andreas Papandreou, that master of deception, spoke with simple slogans while stealing billions.  When you get enough people together, they lose their capacity for critical thinking, they “go down several rungs in terms of civilization” as he says.  There is no sense of personal responsibility.  Simple slogans, repeated again and again.  Music, images, emotion.  There is no wisdom in this sort of crowd.

I love what companies like Google are doing with our collective data.     I gladly give them access to almost everything I think and do in exchange for their amazing tools.  They make my life much much better.  Yet it is clear that this is not the product of evolution in our civilisation, nor the inevitable course in technology developing.  It is a fortunate respite from a kind dictator.   All these great ideas about the collective wisdom we could develop with technology depend on a kind central hub allowing them to work.  Or, as Surowiecki puts it, we need independence of opinion, decentralization and diversity before we even get to the matter of aggregation.

Our current tech boom is to a large extent an acceptance of failure.   Companies that establish massive followings define the terms, give away stuff and up the ante in terms of infrastructure.    You reward them by buying their stock.  Or by making small companies whose sole aim is to be bought out by the giants.  In the words of LeBon ” every civilisation is the outcome of a small number of fundamental ideas that are very rarely renewed. (…) At the present day the great fundamental ideas which were the mainstay of our fathers are tottering more and more. They have lost all solidity, and at the same time the institutions resting upon them are severely shaken.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

English uber alles: the language digital divide

Google assistant is fantastic.  Unless you don’t speak English.  In which case it is almost useless.  The whole “Artificial Intelligence” vogue is rather misleading.  Because when I speak to Google Allo I am still using all my experience in computing.  It works great for me because I think like a computer.  I break down my questions into chunks the way I think the computer wants to hear it.  I add qualifiers, words to help the machine understand with more accuracy.  I use terms that are more likely to work.  When we say “natural language” hey, there are classifications.  I use “natural language more likely to be understood by Google”.  It drives others crazy.  They blame my perfect accent.  “But I said the same thing!  Why doesn’t it work for me?”  

 

Here’s the problem.  Google and pretty much everyone else in Silicon Valley, they are all only thinking in English.  Your Amazon Echo is designed for native English speakers.  (Pun intended.)  All your gadgets are.  Worse still, the intelligence is designed around people thinking  in English.  All the structure, the concepts, the way it is set up.  It is rather entertaining how some people get caught up with the fact that slang and tech words are conquering the world.  That is the tip of the iceberg.

 

Silicon Valley is moving ahead of the rest of the planet with leaps and bounds.  Light years ahead.  We don’t have local information.  We can’t use amazon like you do.   We can’t pay for stuff or call a self driving car.  Amazon will not be able to deliver to the trunk of my car either.  The United States are a test bed for new tech and the gap with everyone else will grow exponentially.  And only in 2030, when computers are smarter than humans, maybe, just maybe, those computers may decide to develop all these wonderful tools for the rest of the earthlings.    And even then it will take a lot of work.  Because English is the language that provides the structure and concepts.  More likely that you will have all learnt to think like Google by then. 

 

2030 is still material for science fiction.  Today, now, it is clear that we all have to move to the Valley or fall behind.  We have neither the data with which to develop such advanced tools, nor the number crunching power.   The entire planet sends their thoughts to Google every day  Out position, habits and preferences.  It is no conspiracy theory, it is simple mathematics.  Not impossible to catch up, just really really hard.

Apple’s (real) product recalls and Brad Pitt’s (alleged) whores

If you Google “apple product recall” you get less than a page of results.  That is peculiar, isn’t it?  Try searching for “recall history” or anything like that and you more or less get the Google equivalent of “what you are looking for does not exist in this galaxy”.  So then being Greek, I use the terms  “ανάκληση προϊόντων Apple” and get 32 thousand results.  Obviously the propaganda masters at Apple don’t bother with Greece.  Much like Apple support doesn’t bother with Greece and other “minor” markets.  They just rely on the well documented pro Apple journalist bias.  If I want a more serious and organised list of Apple product recalls, I can go for the United States to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  That gives me many many more Apple product recalls.  And that is when you realise it is not just that Apple users are fanatics.  The company puts a lot of PR effort in making information disappear.    As it lobbies Washington to fight Samsung with legal fines and other restrictions.

PR and lobbying are of course well established form of corporate action.  Will Apple get fined for the whole Irish tax debacle?  Of course they won’t.  Hold up a bit with all the emotionally appealing “think different” adverts of us all flying about in the perfect future, white clothes, white background, white devices and white hoverboards.    Earlier this year Apple recalled  iPhones, iPads, iPods and Mac computers sold from 2003 to 2015.  And you think Samsung is the problem?  They admitted to 12 “incidents” which means that there were probably hundreds.  It is rather entertaining to watch liberal America up in arms against the “irrationality” of Donald Trump.  He lies in your face, changes views, claims the internet as an information source and generally does pretty much whatever he wants with absolutely no attention paid to facts or logic.  Yet “70% of the most active iPhone states vote Democrat“.  So you are accepting irrationality from your phone’s manufacturer, but think it is not OK for a President.

Who is more likely to have had an affair?  Brad Pitt or Stephen Hawking?  A politician or a doctor?  You will make a guesstimate about any of these questions based on your available information.  Do you read gossip magazines often?  Do you work in a hospital and hear rumours of infidelity often?  Apple makes product recall information disappear because it knows you won’t bother to search or think about it as long as I did today.  If I ask you about Brad Pitt again, but this time it is via chat on your cell phone, you will answer even more succinctly if you don’t like typing there.  Especially if you are using the iPhone keyboard which for some ridiculous reason is different from other keyboards on the planet.  As humans we are always looking for shortcuts.

It is the same reason homeopathy has lasted so well despite being complete rubbish with absolutely no results on any level.  (No, not even placebo.)  No matter how much evidence you pile in front of someone they respond “well, one time my son had a terrible rash and it just wouldn’t go…but homeopathy saved him”.   One time, one highly subjective personal experience trumps everything else.  And you can’t outTrump Trump.  Stupidity is unbeatable and we are all terrible judges.  You don’t know if the new iPhone is any good like you don’t know if you are more likely to get hit by lightning, a car or a falling piano this year.  In fact I suggest you are more likely to guess whether Brad Pitt does drugs with Russian prostitutes than to objectively compare an iPhone with a Samsung phone.

It is a bit like a husband-wife argument about who does most around the house.  Each of us focuses on their own contribution.  What it costs each of us in terms of energy.    Apple computer users have put up with the absolutely ludicrous application navigation wheel for years.  When pushed they will claim it is “the best”.  Like iPhone users claimed they didn’t need copy-paste until they got it.  Or two buttons on a mouse until Steve Jobs presented the magic mouse.  They “burned Pentiums to the ground” one month and the next were “using the incredible power of Pentium”.

So leave Brad Pitt alone.   And check those product recall lists before you start talking about Apple.

 

R.I.P. people that get tired of tech

Spent a good hour tidying cables today.  Three boxes full of them.  You can do a fairly good review of what came and went in the past four decades just by explaining the hows, whys and whats of these cables.  How we used to load software from audio cassettes.  Peculiar items needed to get early modems to work.  Dozens of cables from things that had caught on, so the cable was in all sorts of gadgets, and peculiar cables from technologies that failed.  It is easy to understand all those people that simply announce they have had “enough”.

I don’t even try to keep up anymore” announces a friend.  Yet straight after that he wants me to help set up something on his smartphone.  It makes no sense.  Sure, at times, gadget mania gets out of hand.  And we have all failed in predictions or made bad buying decisions.  But tech is life.  Since some ape picked up a branch and whacked another ape, we always look for better ways of doing things.  Faster.  More fun.  Think different and all that.  At worse because we get bored of the old stuff.

Why on earth do you do that to yourself?”  Another friend wondering where I find the patience to try and hack my kids’ latest game, or set up something peculiar on my home network.  Tinkering is a way of life.  Looking for better ways to live.  Tweaking and adapting.  People complain about how technology is distancing us from nature but we are simply adapting.  Charles Darwin would be proud of my cable collection.