Face ID vs/and Touch ID

14 08 2018

It’s always good to have a choice.

I’m not a big fan of the iPhone X’s Face ID (or Face recognition on my Surface Pro4) because it requires you to hold the phone (more or less) directly in front of your face. I prefer the iPhone’s fingerprint scanner on the front or the Nokia’s on the back of the phone. But this is a personal preference thing so I may be in the minority.

I’m not sure about the real reason why Apple didn’t offer two biometric authentication systems. There are lots of circumstances where you can’t use Face ID.

In hospitals or in Asia where I live people often wear a face protection when they got a cold or a viral infection, muslims wear facial veils, bikers wear a helmet and to just look at a message coming in they have to pull it off, outdoor activities may require safety glasses, and, and, and.

And there are also lots of situations in which Touch ID is unusable. What remains then is the old-fashioned way to enter a more or less complex unlock code. A big step backwards in usability.

From a technical point of view smartphones can’t be made a lot better but from a usability aspect there can still be done a lot. Just two examples:

• The FP Scanner of my Nokia 6.1 should be placed nearer to the top of the device.

• Apple should offer both, Touch ID and Face ID.

Companies like Apple, Samsung and Huawei have focused on providing phones with edge-to-edge displays. So in-display fingerprint sensors would allow phones to have full-screen displays with an invisible fingerprint scanning feature.

A device with Touch ID and Face ID could also allow an advanced biometric authentication in that the fingerprint scanning is combined with face recognition giving some kind of 2-Step Authentication for device unlocking and payment release.

Face recognition can only be used to build up more secure multimodal biometric systems which use multiple sensors or biometrics to overcome the limitations of unimodal biometric systems. It can’t entirely replace other techniques.

Hardware does the first step, software the more important second step to identify a person in that it provides algorithms to interpret the data and compare it with a reference image. This can be done accurately or more superficially (like face recognition via “Trusted Face” in Android’s Smart Lock).

I’m waiting for options
in the 2018 iPhone models.

Thanks for dropping by.

The Calculator

7 08 2018

The built-in iOS calculator on the iPhone is well-designed but you should know some hidden features which make the experience smoother.

Swipe to delete digits

Just swipe left or right to backspace and delete the most recent entry instead of clearing the entire value.

Copy / paste

You can quickly copy and paste results or any number by using long press.

Scientific calculator

If you rotate your iPhone to landscape mode you’ll get a basic scientific calculator.

Only the scientific calculator offers the memory features mc (memory clear), m+/m- (add to/subtract from temporary storage) and mr (memory recall). This is what I sorely miss in portrait mode.

Several of Apple’s stock iOS apps that are available on iPhone don’t have their iPad counterparts. These include Weather, Stocks, Voice Memo, Compass, and the Calculator App. A calculator would also be a nice feature on the Apple Watch. I know that there are 3rd-party apps (and I nearly used them all) but if I pay a lot of bucks for an Apple device I’d like to see some useful apps included without downloading payed apps, apps showing more ad than results, or free apps which most often aren’t updated with a new version of iOS.

The worst and most featureless calculator app is the one pre-installed on devices running pure Android like my Nokia 6.1. The best calculator is still running on my Windows 10 powered low-cost Lumia 550. With it you get a clean, perfect UI and you’re also able to convert into lots of different units like Celsius to Fahrenheit. Sadly it isn’t updated any longer because Joe Belfiore made it official: Windows 10 Mobile is dead.Really? Well, statements are still cloudy.

More about Apple vs Microsoft calculator

Two calculators

Thanks for reading.

Discount Spreadsheet

3 08 2018

You find lots of sophisticated and powerful apps in Apple’s App Store. Some of them are shining examples for simplicity and plain design and follow the KISS principle (Keep it simple, stupid).

One of them is

Discount Spreadsheet by Luminant Software, Inc.

It got an updated UI
and a long awaited new keyboard in July 2018.

The app is simple to use, restricted to the basic needs of a spreadsheet application and lets users focus on relevant tasks. No bells and whistles.

These kind of apps can be effectively used to teach and discuss simple things with young people. It’s a first step to improve knowledge and knowledge is the basis of creativity. Transferring knowledge and initiate further discrete thinking seems to be easier than ever because mobile devices initiated a shift in paradigm of teaching and learning. It’s because a touchscreen is much nearer to human activities than any other device or textbook could ever be. What we do is mostly what we do with our hands. It’s our first approach to new things.

Lots of developers implement more and more features into their apps but only apps like Discount Spreadsheet are perfect for explaining and learning the basics of creating spreadsheets.

Learning targets could be …

learn the common actions cut, copy, paste, undo and redo which are provided by all operating systems

build a sum with cells in a column or row

enter a simple expression where the arguments are cells

insert or delete rows/columns and see that a spreadsheet app automatically adjusts the cell coordinates in a formula to new appropriate rows/columns

create a graph

access the iOS app specific folder via a browser by using a http address


Try it out and you’ll think twice before you use the turbocharged apps Apple Numbers or Microsoft Excel.

Thanks for reading.