Archive for August, 2009

iPhone is watching you!

August 18, 2009

I don’t have an iPhone. I have the most simplistic Nokia. All it does is make calls and send messages. It doesn’t even have a camera. It has one single game. [I wont call it an app, cos I’m pretty sure that’s a term from before my phone’s time.] It’s called Puzzle and is kind of like Tetris, but easier. I really like my phone. It’s simple and no fuss. I was however considering an iPhone for one reason – Google Maps. I don’t have a Melways street directory in my car and I think Google Maps would make my life so much easier. I have actually made phone calls from my car, to friends who have iPhones, to get directions.

I read this article today, Dear iPhone Users: Your Apps Are Spying on You, which kind of concerns me in terms of how much information Application developers can potentially have access to about iPhone users.

When it became apparent that Palm was receiving the GPS locations of its users, an inquiry began as to how much data is being collected by handset makers and application developers, including applications approved by Apple for the iPhone.

There are a number of applications available now in the iTunes App Store which track your user data, including things like location, your iPhone’s unique ID, the phone’s model, whether it’s “jailbroken,” and possibly even your gender, birth month and year, if the application is Facebook-enabled.

Pinch Media , a mobile analyst company, is having the finger pointed at them for the most intrusive behaviour, as they encourage developers to create codes that track user interactions with these applications. The purpose, they suggest, is not to spy, but more so to improve usability.

All this makes me think twice about getting an iPhone. Even though I’m sure I wouldn’t use many apps, I know I’d use Google Maps and I’m still not quite ready for Big Brother yet.

Although after a bit of scouting around to see who this Big Brother actually is, I found an interview on youtube with one of the top guys from Pinch Media. Have a look.

He looks harmless and I’m not too worried anymore.


Good Morning Facebook, can I get you a coffee?

August 11, 2009

People say when you are in a relationship it is sometimes easy to be blind to what is actually going on and you need your friends to shed light on the situation. This morning in the New York Times, an article talks about how digital media has entered into our morning routines, such that it has quickly become our first interaction for the day, before coffee, before people and even before washing our faces . It might be hard for some of us to admit, but it’s probably safe to say that the first thing people do in the morning is check their phone and then many go to their computers to see what’s happened online over night. [Yes yes, your phone is your alarm clock, but it’s a convenient coincidence, isn’t it?].

After six to eight hours of network deprivation — also known as sleep — people are increasingly waking up and lunging for cellphones and laptops, sometimes even before swinging their legs to the floor and tending to more biologically urgent activities

It’s kind of like a relationship that connects us to ourselves and the rest of the world. And quite a reliable one. You wake up in the morning and it is there. A flick of the switch and the screen is bright with colour to welcome you to a new day, giving you all the information you need, from what’s in the news, to what your oldest school friend ate for breakfast, to all your tasks for work that day. Your online love is never too tired or busy to communicate. Your online love is instant and intimate.

What is interesting is that this relationship is getting deeper and more serious. It seems our collective online use is starting earlier and earlier as time goes on.

The surge of early risers is reflected in online and wireless traffic patterns. Internet companies that used to watch traffic levels rise only when people booted up at work now see the uptick much earlier.

Arbor Networks, a Boston company that analyzes Internet use, says that Web traffic in the United States gradually declines from midnight to around 6 a.m. on the East Coast and then gets a huge morning caffeine jolt. “It’s a rocket ship that takes off at 7 a.m,” said Craig Labovitz, Arbor’s chief scientist.

Akamai, which helps sites like Facebook and Amazon keep up with visitor demand, says traffic takes off even earlier, at around 6 a.m. on the East Coast. Verizon Wireless reported the number of text messages sent between 7 and 10 a.m. jumped by 50 percent in July, compared with a year earlier.

So we met our online love. We dated, we got to know each other. We had our blissful years of discovering new things and feeling free to explore the endless possibilities of information and interactions that were previously inconceivable. But now reality is hitting, and our friends at the New York Times decided it was time to hold up a mirror to our digital relationships and show us what we are neglecting.

Gabrielle Glaser of Montclair, N.J., bought her 14-year-old daughter, Moriah, an Apple laptop for her birthday. In the weeks after, Moriah missed the school bus three times and went from walking the family Labradoodle for 20 minutes each morning to only briefly letting the dog outside.

And it’s not just kids.


Mr. Steyer said he constantly feels the tug of waiting messages on his BlackBerry, even during morning hours that are reserved for family time.

“You have to resist the impulse. You have to switch from work mode to parenting mode,” Mr. Steyer said. “But meeting my own standard is tough.”

Thanks New York Times. It’s doubtful that much will change as we are now in too deep. As long as we still read the occasional printed paper while sipping a coffee at a café and then take the dog for a walk , that is before we check our emails and mobile phones for the day, then we’ll probably be alright. At least on a Sunday.