Apple’s Ecosystem

30 11 2013

Apple is a unique company driven by some principles which can be summarized by just looking on some famous quotes of former CEO Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, the actual CEO of Apple Inc.

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Apple has some of the most innovative and sought after consumer products in the market right now. Of all main competitors (Microsoft, Google, Samsung) Apple is actually the only company that has an entry in the computer market with the iMac, Mac Mini, and the MacBook Pro and Air, each coming with OSX Lion, made by Apple. The company makes its own phone, the iPhone, with its own operating system iOS and the search engine Siri. The iPod is the most prolific music storage device. The iPad created a new category of computing devices, and is being copied by all other companies. Apple makes its own router and backup storage drive called Time Capsule. Apple TV is used to stream media through your TV. iTunes is used across all devices as the most popular available music service. And there is iCloud, Apples online storage including synchronization across all devices. Apple also developed Thunderbolt, a new data transfer port and, together with HP, AirPrint for seamless printing within a WiFi network. Apple also offers the productivity suite iWork with Pages, Keynote, and Numbers the counterparts to Word, Powerpoint, and Excel for their computers and mobile devices. 417 Apple Stores in in 14 countries (as of June 2013) offer products as well as services for customers.

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Note

The octopus refers to critics who are of the opinion that Apple locks its customers.

In economics, vendor lock-in, also known as proprietary lock-in or customer lock-in, makes a customer dependent on a vendor for products and services, unable to use another vendor without substantial switching costs.

If it would be true all other companies also make their customers dependent of their products as long as the operating system of their electronic devices are not compatible to each other, that means software running on one system cannot be used on another system. That’s the case with Microsoft software and Google’s Android operating system as well. There some functionalities of iOS which do not allow to use it in connection with other platforms (e.g. iMessage) but nobody is forced to use this service. There are enough alternatives.
Proprietary file formats of Microsoft, rims of cars with snow tires, chargers, etc. should also be seen as the attempt to customer lock-in?
I don’t blame companies producing non-standardized hardware, software, or services. It’s always a customer decision to choose the products which meet the requirements best.

Unfortunately they lack in offering professional database packages ranging from simple and fast developer tools to server-based management of large data volumes. A further relevant disadvantage is that most of the sector-specific software isn’t available on a Mac except it’s running Windows. This might be the reason why Apple offers Bootcamp, the environment for installing a version of Windows.

Apple cares about more than just creating a consistent and unique experience for each of their devices. In my opinion, the Cupertino brand has created a more complete and user-friendly ecosystem that encompasses much more than the features or abilities of a single phone. If your total investment in Apple is just a single iPhone, then switching between iOS and Android with each upgrade opportunity is not just possible; it is likely very probable. But if your electronic environment is based on Apple products it’s hard to move over to another company.

Summary …

Seamless usage and a perfect customer experience can only be achieved by building an ecosystem where everything fits together. A perfect user experience is dependent of seamless usage and well-functioning connections between all devices. Microsoft started the development of Windows 8 with the target of One Operating System for all devices. It must be said that this basic idea is a great step forward and Apple is working on a further unification of OS X for it’s computers and iOS for it’s mobile devices. This is simply a logical consequence of seamless usage and effective development. There is still much work but the first step was done by introducing the 64-Bit processor for mobiles.

The details …

See this mind map which contains all components of Apple’s ecosystem.

20131007-061044.jpg

This is a statement of S. Jackson on Google+. I found it in the comment section of a post where a member asked whether he should move over from an Android to an Apple device (Sep 2013, Apple community (Stevan Svartling)).

iCloud is pretty awesome. Although l have a Gmail account, I have a separate email account to take advantage of the iCloud service, so I have an iCloud email account too.
iCIoud is pretty solid solution that gets better and better. Find My iPhone will be a service that you will use right away. Apple has made Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iMovie, iPhoto free to download for new iPhone 5c or iPhone 5s users. The iOS apps Pages, Numbers and Keynote sync back to http://www.icloud.com where you can pickup where you left off on you desktop using Chrome, Safari or Internet Explorer. It is a nice alternative to Google Docs. Apple just needs to add collaborative sharing on Pages and I would say they are right there on the same level of Google.

Also you have iCIoud backup of your iPhone, which is extremely kick ass. When you get a new phone and you don’t lose your text messages or voicemails and of course all of your settings and apps are restored as before.

iTunes radio, new to iOS 7. Service is free with Ads or you can kill those ads for $25 a year, which is way cheaper than any other streaming service out there. Also as an added bonus, Apple will match all of your music with their music. Even if you didn’t buy the music from Apple, it doesn’t matter. They don’t upload the music, they simply match it.
However if you lose your music, you can download Apple’s copy which will probably be better encoded than your copies, especially if you are using MP3, which is extremely dated.

Social Media, the Genius of iOS is that Apple partners up with services that people are using, such as Facebook, Yelp, Twitter and has integrated those solutions pretty effectively throughout the OS. On Android starting out, it is all about Google and their services. Totally different approach.

Apple Maps, I’ve said it here before and now I am changing my opinion. Google used to have the better mapping system, for I have a Nexus and Android phone too, but Apple just surpassed Google Maps. Because Apple crowd sources their data with other iOS Maps users, the ETA is second to none. Google Maps did a horrible job of this, thus why they bought WAZE a few months back. Maps is awesome now, it was a little rough at first, but Apple hands down have done exceptional work get the maps up to speed.

If you get the 5s, you’ll have the first 64-bit processor iPhone and already it is showing to be the most powerful of all smartphones on the market. 32-bit having a narrow limited pipeline is now pretty much unlimited to allow Apps to really unlock the power of the hardware and OS. Games or tasks that take up a lot of resources are going to shine on this platform. I can’t wait!

The AppStore, no question the best App ecosystem. The App richness is just off the charts. Android, I download a lot of junk ware that just bloats my phone and often I gotta reset the phone because I have no idea if the phone is infected with Malware.
Not to say there are no crappy apps on iOS, but they do get filtered out pretty quickly. I love the strong AppStore.

If you buy anything on the AppStore your content is always available for access. If you buy a Movie, you can download it and then delete it and then download it again. Rather nice locker system.
Also all of Google’s solutions are on iOS too. So you can use whatever you want.

FaceTime is a great way to connect.
The beauty of FaceTime is that it isn’t tied to a Social Network where people must join in order to use the service. FaceTime is like SMS. Setup your unified profile and sign in once. Done.

AirDrop is Apple’s local WI-FI peer-to-peer sharing. This works awesome.
Third party is picking this up quickly and it looks like in a few months it will eclipse NFC.

Apple’s iBooks store, this is where you can store your PDFs, attached documents or simply download any book you want. Apple has made all the classics FREE of charge for download. Apple includes for free detailed tech books on iOS, iPhone and so on. Unlike on Amazon’s store, if you want a copy of David Copperfield, it will cost you.

Related links …

Apple, a unique company

Apple’s Strategy and Ad

Apple’s Intangible Assets

The Apple ID

Thanks for dropping by.





Air Display by Avatron

28 11 2013

AirDisplay by Avatron Software Inc., USA, transfers the screen content of a Mac or a Windows PC to the iPad or the iPhone if computer and iOS device are within the same WiFi network. Either it’s used as an extension to the computer’s screen showing windows which are dragged into an invisible area on the computer or just control the computer via the touchscreen of the iOS device.

Installation …

There is an iOS app (paid version) and a desktop companion app (free) which have to be installed the devices. Once the app is launched on both devices the screen content of your computer is transferred to your iOS device.

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Controlling the computer can be easily done by just tapping on controls. The menu of Air Display on the computer allows to select the iOS device on which the computer’s screen is shown.

Applications …

AirDisplay can be effectively used for

  • GTD
    Filling your iPad screen with your utility apps, like iChat, Mail, iCal, and Calculator
    Initiating or controlling tasks on your computer while sitting in another room
  • Business
    Moving your iWork and Office tool palettes and inspector windows onto the iPad, and let your document fill the screen.
  • Office
    Carrying an extra monitor down the hall to a meeting.
    Helping a colleague without leaving the room by looking on his screen.

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  • Presentation
    Retrieving some information from a computer while sitting in a conference room.
    Note
    If you want the information to be shared with an audience this can be done by connecting the iPad to a beamer with Apple’s Digital AV Adapter.

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  • Administration
    Copying a locally saved document to a network storage to make it available for colleagues.
  • Writing a short note on the local workstation.

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  • Medicine
    Let a patient or family member watch a procedure on a wireless video monitor.
  • Real estate or Sales
    Hand a client a mirrored display while you work at the laptop.
  • Programming
    Use the extra display area for such auxiliary development tools as Console, Terminal, and the Debugger.
  • Music
    Use your iPad as the ultimate control surface for Logic or Pro Tools.

AirDisplay 2 …

In November 2013 Avatron released AirDisplay 2 (which is quite expensive but worth buying) with these added features:

  • AirDisplay 2 now connects up to 4 iPads simultaneously to create unique presentations you drive from your Mac to start training sessions or presentations.
    This multi-client support will also be available for Windows in the near future.
  • New streamlined and iOS 7-ready interface
  • Improved performance

Summary …

AirDisplay is a useful tool for establishing ad-hoc connections to computers within the same WiFi network. The mobility within an office is no longer restricted when using AirDisplay on an iPad.

Your desktop is always with you.

Other products of this reliable company continuously updating it’s products are Air Login, Air Sharing, and Print Sharing. See my review of Air Sharing below.

Related links …

Presentation, Presenting with iPad (1)

Air Sharing, iWebDAV Connection

Remote Control, TeamViewer

Remote Control, AirLogin

Thanks for taking my blog into your viewing screen.





Apple’s Strategy and Ad

26 11 2013

There are significant differences in strategy and advertisement of Apple Inc. and it’s competitors.

Let the CEO Tim Cook talk to understand some basic strategies and attitudes with an overall impact on the development of products and their advertisment.

Innovation
Some people see innovation as change, but we have never really seen it like that. It’s making things better. iOS 7 is a great example of that. It’s significantly better than 6 or any of those that came before it, and obviously significantly better than the other OS out there.

Mobile market
For smartphones, I think it’s even more a two-operating-system world today than it was before. Maybe that changes. Maybe it doesn’t, but that is the state of things today. I think that Android is more fragmented than ever and, as a result, when you look at things like customer satisfaction and usage, you see the gap between Android and iOS being huge.

There is a huge difference between market share of units and usage share. And it shouldn’t surprise anybody that it’s like that. Anybody that’s used both should not be surprised that that is the natural result. And that’s really important to us because we have never been about selling the most. We’re about selling the best and having the best experience and having the happiest customers.

Android’s market share
I don’t think of Android as one thing. Most people do. I mean, from a consumer point of view, if you look at what Amazon does with Android, forget the name Android for a minute. If you’re coming down from a different planet and you were going to name it, you wouldn’t name it the same thing as what another company does. If you compared that to what Samsung does, I’m not sure you would name that the same thing either.

The fragmentation
It’s a growing problem. It’s a compounding problem. And think about all these people that they’re leaving behind from a customer point of view. People do hold on. Most people hold on to their phones a couple of years. They enter a contract and honor that contract and then upgrade after that two-year period. So in essence, by the time they buy the phone, many of these operating systems are old. They’re not the latest ones by the time people buy. And so by the time they exit, they’re using an operating system that’s three or four years old. That would be like me right now having in my pocket iOS 3. I can’t imagine it.

Software and Hardware
We’re not looking for external validation of our strategy, but I think it does suggest that there’s a lot of copying, kind of, on the strategy, and that people have recognized that importance.

Now, we’re well beyond just the surface level of design of hardware and software. We’re deep in the guts. This week you saw the A7. You saw our new M chip. Well, these are only possible because many years ago we elected to start building our own silicon team, and now we have many, many people designing silicon.

And you saw us go to 64-bit. Well, why are we able to do that first? It’s because we’re at that level of being vertical. Does anybody—do these other three companies have silicon expertise? You can answer that. Maybe they have something that I’m not aware of, but in terms of the depth of it ….

You look at innovation like the iPhone’s camera and the detail that went into the camera. Most people hear the word camera, and they think of hardware. And hardware is really important to it, you know? With the stuff we did with the flash on this. But it’s software, and it’s the silicon—I mean, it’s everything.

So the way I think about Apple is that the magic of this place really comes up at its best when hardware, software, and services come together.

And it’s sort of the intersection of those things is where things get incredibly magical. So facilitating that to happen and getting the collaboration level for that to happen is the magic here.

And one of my proudest moments is when other people see that. They don’t know that they’re seeing that, and that’s also the beauty. They don’t have to do it. But look at these (gesturing to iPhones). These are perfect examples where the hardware and the software and the service begin to blend.

Excerpts (Businessweek, 2013-08-20)

Innovation …

The Boston Consulting Group (BGC) reported ‘Apple is still the most innovative company in the world’.

The report singles out five factors that lead to strength in innovation:
• Senior-management commitment
• The ability to leverage intellectual property
• Customer focus
• Innovation portfolio management
• Well-defined and governed processes

“Companies that continually create value over the long term—meaning decades or more—learn how to ingrain the ability into their corporate makeup; it becomes part of their culture and DNA,” said Andrew Taylor, BCG partner and a coauthor of the report. “They create value, jobs, and growth because of their ability to institutionalize innovation.”

Summary …

  • Innovation
    We are making things better.
  • Market
    And that’s really important to us because we have never been about selling the most. We’re about selling the best and having the best experience and having the happiest customers.
  • Fragmentation
    So in essence, by the time they buy the phone, many of these operating systems are old. They’re not the latest ones by the time people buy.
  • Software, hardware, services
    It’s because we’re at that level of being vertical. Does anybody—do these other three companies have silicon expertise?
    So the way I think about Apple is that the magic of this place really comes up at its best when hardware, software, and services come together.

Apple cares about more than just creating a consistent and unique experience for each of their devices individually. In my opinion, Apple has created a more complete and user-friendly ecosystem that encompasses much more than the features or abilities of a single phone. If your total investment in Apple is just a single iPhone, then switching between iOS and Android with each upgrade opportunity is not just possible; it is likely very probable.

However, if you have taken full advantage of everything Apple has to offer users of iOS devices, then switching platforms may be harder than you think. For many iPhone owners, the question is more than just upgrading a phone to the next great thing. It is also about how much one has totally invested in Apple as a whole.
Or just in one sentence:

Apple keeps hardware, software, services, and entertainment in one place.

SWOT analysis …

Considering the strategy, the philosophy, and the actual market a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities,Threads) is an appropriate visualized summarization. I added some points not mentioned by Tim Cook.

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Note
Created with the app Inspiration for the iPad
For further information about a concept map and the app Inspiration see
Mind Maps vs Concept Maps

Equity ratio …

Equity Ratio (Total shareholders equity / Total Assets; for Apple in 2012 = 67%) is an indicator of the level of leverage used by a company. The Equity ratio measures the proportion of the total assets that are financed by stockholders and not creditors. A low equity ratio will produce good results for stockholders as long as the company earns a rate of return on assets that is greater than the interest rate paid to creditors. With 67% Apple is an Alpha Male amongst others.

The company doesn’t want to serve the low-budget market. Focussing on customers with a certain dispensable income opens the door to pull them into the ecosystem. That is the reason why the new iPhone 5C is still an iPhone built with high quality materials and completely integrated in Apple’s ecosystem.

Advertisement …

In September 2013 Apple won the Coolest Brand award in the UK with Aston Martin and Rolex in 2nd and 3rd place.

Please refer to TheTechStorm

That’s because of their very special advertisement, reflecting strategy and philosophy of the company. It inspires people much more than ad of other brands. Here is a brief summarization of the most famous slogans of the company.

Apple ad never takes care of competitors in contrast to Samsung as well as Microsoft.

Apparently, Apple phones just doesn’t work. Even putting an Apple to your ear and hoping that you will hear more than the echoes from the mountain doesn’t seem to help. They make you suffer terribly. Once you got a Samsung, you perform a mating dance toward a mountain ram. In any case the clear implication is that iPhones don’t work in the Icelandic mountains, while Samsung’s Galaxy S4 turns you into a ninja.

At least that’s what the ad from Iceland says.

Apple’s ad always focusses on it’s own products often emphasizing features other products do not offer. Apple never mocks devotees of other brands. Remember Tim Cook saying ‘We’re about selling the best.’ so there is no need to take care of other products. This can be seen as conceited but in either way as considered opinion.

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Feel free to download this mind map.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

Strategy and success …

The success of years of continuous development is documented in an article of Amit kumar Singh.

The Friendliest Smartphone OS

He talks about

  • Cognitive Load
    the sum of all elements one needs to be familiar with in order to be able to use a device
  • Efficiency and Integration
    the access to key features of a smartphone
  • Customization
    the sum of features to customize the device
  • User Experience Friction
    the sum of experiences annoying users

and shows us a comparison between BlackBerry, Windows Phone 8, Android, and iOS 6 and 7.

Related links …

Designed by Apple

iPad Mini ad

Tim Cook Interview (Busiessweek)

Thanks for reading.





Brand communities

23 11 2013

Is Google+ on the way to become a contentless network? Does it come closer to networks like Facebook or Twitter where nearly everything is allowed?

No.

But owners and moderators of communities have to strengthen their efforts.

And admittedly they do it already in some well-moderated communities.

I’m not talking about communities of any kind but of those related to brands where the companies behind are strong competitors.

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Some weeks ago I was promoted as a moderator of the largest community dedicated to Apple. And believe me that’s a hard job because there are many members just expressing their feelings by posting photos or single sentences without adding value for other members. It’s the same situation in other communities related to the Android operating system of Google running on devices of many vendors like Samsung.

According to the intention of Google G+ is said to be a content network not comparable with e.g. Twitter or Facebook. Many members in communities still do not accept this concept and litter useless content, photos without any intro, just one sentence or some words and usually take the first available category which is most often ‘Discussion’.

If the post is online it takes just some minutes and a discussion, which is no real discussion, starts. People start talking about everything but not refer to the posted content.

Please read this great comment written by Dave Trautmann on Google+ on 2013-09-13.

Comment Litter happens as much in real life as it does online.

I can’t tell you how many times I have been to a large public meeting to discuss important (and suitably real) issues only to have someone get up and question the integrity of the people presenting the information. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to have someone get up and complain about something which happened 30 years ago and they just can’t let it go.
I can’t tell you how I feel for public officials who are required to attend these meetings only to be harangued by a hostile crowd with some other agenda in mind. I have even been to a couple of perfectly normal public consultations only to have them hijacked by people bringing their own issue (entirely off topic) into the meeting and disrupt anyone who wants to bring things back to what the meeting was originally all about.

I’ve been reading comments since Usenet and I am not surprised by the childish compulsions of some people to only champion their own “brand” loyalty. The demographic of these posts is quite specific. I have had to build up a strong tolerance for offtopic, cranky, in-your-face, sophomoric remarks in order to be able to find those other wellconsidered, clearly written, referenced, reliable, and insightful remarks which appear about as frequently as the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights).

I cannot begin to list all of the valuable things I have learned from reading some people’s gems after sifting through a beach full of rocks•. A lot of what I have synthesized in my own understanding of the world has been shaped by exchanges I have enjoyed online, in blog posts, comments, and from e-mail with previous colleagues• I sometimes discover things myself and try to bring them into the public sphere.

But I find it is as true in real life, as it is online, not a lot of people are interested in new ideas. Not many have a tolerance for questioning their own belief systems, myths, and personal scripts. Sometimes events force whole populations to reexamine their values (like a war) but in most cases people prefer the comfort of their own views and seek out others who seem to have the same views (whether or not it can be verified those views are the same).

So what can moderators do if posts or comments are not well considered or the comments spiral gets out of control or strays off into unrelated topics?

Well, they can notify the member and delete the post. Acting on members regularly leads to obsessive comments. Arguments are not brought forward. Thanks Google that moderators can ban those members, report insults, mute or even block them.

But that’s no workable solution and it’s not durable.
It’s not in the responsibility of Google to enforce quality and avoid uselessness and control behavior. Everyone in the internet is entitled to publish his opinion. It’s the reality that this right in many cases is misused.
And it’s the task of active moderators to prohibit this behavior.

Support for moderators, please …

Unfortunately Google’s app Google+ for iOS supports moderators just to a certain extent, not enough to do their work effectively. We should not forget that moderating is a job done in leisure time and no one can expect that all their actions are fairly done.

The flaws of the Google+ app …

  • 1 Moderators cannot look into a log showing them which members have already been notified because of misbehavior.
    With this information repeated violations could be monitored and would give solid arguments for banning a member. It’s a question of fairness.
  • 2 Some additional options for notifying members are missing.
    Off Topic
    Useless Comment
    Obsessive Comment
    At the time moderators always have to write a comment or insert a text template.
  • 3 Stats showing from which communities a member was already banned.
  • 4 Report to Google at the time offers just ‘Spam’ as an option.
    The following options should be added:
    Trolling
    Insulting Comment
  • 5 A moderator should be able to see whether his colleagues are online and active or not.
    This could be done by some kind of ‘Moderators Log-In’.

Trolls …

In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

This behavior is always seen if Apple fans comment in Android communities or vice versa. It’s childish, unworthy for adults, points to a close-minded attitude, and ignores the irrelevance of these kinds of opinions for human life.

Identifying post litterers …

If somebody posted off topic or made any other failure I saw these kinds of reactions:

  • Sorry
  • … German Wehrmacht
    (This is quite interesting because these people first look up my profile, see I’m a German, and then post an abusive comment not knowing who I am.)
  • I can post here what I want you …
  • or simply no reaction

The latter one is a strong indicator for a post litterer. He comes, shares, and quits without engaging in any upcoming discussion, a case for the ban hammer.

Even moderators are human beings and so they are faulty. If a member starts a fruitful discussion about his removed post and put forward understandable arguments, the moderator can simply reply ‘Sorry, please share again’ or remove the ban.

All members should not forget that the work of moderators especially in great communities (which are always attractive for litterers) is mostly an uncoordinated leisure job on the fly. Most often articles and comments are quickly skimmed for a more or less fair impression of the content.

Google’s spam detection …

The Google+ Community ‘Community Moderatos’ is a high-quality content community where many problems are discussed with just one target: The quality of G+ and what moderators can do.

Rupert Wood (on Community Moderators)
Community Spammers – why doesn’t google take action?
Firstly I must admit that Google has gotten better at spotting spam and putting it into moderation in communities, but even when multiple communities confirm that it’s spam, why does the culprit go ‘unpunished’ and is allowed to join and spam further communities?
Surely a user who has the activity similar to that shown on the link below should incur some restrictions on their ability to post, and/or join communities.long can such a spammer survive until Google takes action? Indefinitely it appears.
How many Google communities can a spammer join and post to before action is taken? There seems to be no upper limit surely new users should be limited to maximum number of communities they can join!
How many reports from community moderators does it take to alert google to a ‘spammer’? Looking at this example there are dozens of examples of posts being removed from communities, even if only 1 in 10 removals were accompanied by a ‘report’ action this account should have been investigated by now, if not suspended until investigated.

So we need an update of spam detection to keep the quality on a high level.

Concept map …

For a visualized summarization see this concept map.

20130918-144524.jpg

Newbies …

Profiles cannot be validated, neither by Google nor by moderators. Neither profile photos nor a note like ‘Attended University of …’ or working at ‘…’ let us know with whom we communicate. There are many bad guys on their way to compromise people or just sabotage well-organized communication. The experience of life and a look on the profile usually tells us quickly who is behind this attack.

In case of newbies (young or old) we all know that they make their faults because nobody can expect that they all read articles like

Google+ Activity Guide

before engaging in a social network.
So, what can moderators do to keep the fairness?

Well, members can be notified with a link to the above mentioned article.

In case of repeated misbehavior it’s up to banned members to share their thoughts privately with the moderator and discuss the issue. He then possibly can remove the ban if arguments and understanding are put forwards.

Summary …

Content networks like Google+ need active moderators who are prepared to forward their experiences and to act with clear notifications if necessary. Google+ offers many opportunities to improve knowledge, personality, and social intercourse. Moderators are responsible and in some way their job is quite similar to that of teachers.

Related links …

Google+ Activity Guide

Google+ Community Owner Guide

Google+ Etiquette

Ronnie Bincer, New to G+?

Google+ on iOS devices

I appreciate your visit on iNotes4You.





Apple’s Keynote Sep 2013

19 11 2013

On September 10, 2013 Apple staged it’s Keynote with two new models of the iPhone and the new operating system iOS 7.

These events always let the heartbeat of Apple fans increase near to the frequency of their devices’ processor. Gamblers at the stock exchange look at this event as well and the company immediately gets it’s comeuppance. Let’s have a brief look on the event in Cupertino.

The presentation …

The company is mainly represented by its CEO Tim Cook. Others like Phil Schiller or Jonathan Ive just have to work out the details.

Fred Erick on G+
Nobody can match Steve Jobs. He made tech fun, exciting, and he had such a great sense of humor. Even after you realize he rehearsed his presentations like crazy to get it all right, he still delivered every time.

With Cook, it’s a tightrope because he almost has to let the products speak for themselves since his personality is like that of an old librarian. He’s a nice guy, but his mannerisms and voice could lull a zombie into a coma.
One misstep and he’s got so many negatives against him.

In this mind map I tried to compare both leaders by just using photos. One can write long essays which compare the different characters. My knowledge of the English language is far away from being suitable to point it out with that extra and subtle something. If you take your time and look at the photos you might see what the differences in the two characters are.

20130914-204900.jpg

Feel free to download this map in one of the following file formats.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

I don’t know Tim Cook personally so I have to be careful with any assessment of his personality. But if I compare the photos of Tim and Steve I can see some differences in gesture and expression which transfer some hidden messages like enthusiasm, analytic thinking, inventiveness, and focussing whereas Tim looks more like a banker managing all the tasks well. The development of the iPhone 5C was an economically driven decision and I’m in doubt whether Steve would have gone the same way.

Admittedly Steve was a charismatic person, impervious to any criticism. He was able to cast a spell on the entire audience. The biography of Tim shows us a typical ambitious businessman who doesn’t feel well when entering the stage of cult.

Diversity comes up …

Apple now offers two iPhone models, the 5C (a cheaper version) and the 5S (the premium version).
While the 5C became the brand for choice whereas the 5S is still the brand for innovation, high quality and perfect design. Apple failed in developing markets and so diversity became a necessity for further increasing revenues although the company makes 75% of the global profit in the mobile market while the market share is just 25%.

Storm Williams, TheTechStorm
“Apple: It’s All About the Brand,” is the headline of a Wired report in 2002. This remains true to this day. And more importantly, the company is well aware of this. The company had built up its reputation through selling premium products. As a result, Apple needs to price its products accordingly to support this image in the eyes of consumers around the world. Asking the company to move away from this path is like asking Mercedes or Audi to build affordable cars for consumers in India and China. The iPhone is basically a status symbol.

So the new model iPhone 5C is not cheap and Apple is not interested in replacing feature phones by low-quality devices.

See the full article here

iPhone 5C Costs

Secrecy has gone …

This year secrecy has completely gone and the Apple event on September 10 this year was as exciting as viewing James Bond’s Goldfinger.
All the leaks in the global process of development and manufacturing makes it hard to keep the things in a safe. Maybe Apple wants this PR they get without paying for it but it’s followed by disappointment. That’s why our parents kept all the toys under wraps.

Rumors say that the company is working on a TV and a watch. We already see rumors about these devices. So it’s again the same procedure as last year and the same procedure as every year.

It needs just one or two months that rumors about the iPhone 6 will start. If we look on G+ communities it seems to be what many people want.

Innovation …

I’m in doubt about further innovation in the smartphone market if it’s seen as development of completely new features or devices. It’s getting harder and harder to stand out among the mobile crowd. With each iteration of every product from every manufacturer, these phones and tablets look more and more alike.

We already have powerful processors, cameras, displays, operating systems, and now the fingerprint scanner.

If people talk about innovation, they only think about something completely new nobody expected. But the term doesn’t necessarily imply the release of new things. Every development, every step forward is based on former experiences and pioneers is intended to serve people to do things better than before.

What we see in the history if technical products is that sometimes there are big steps but most often small steps leading to a ‘new’ product. Even Albert Einstein wouldn’t have described his Theory of Relativity without all the work done by his colleagues.

Innovation generally refers to renewing, changing or creating more effective processes, products or ways of doing things. And it takes time.

20130917-061713.jpg

Disappointed Apple fans should know that it makes no sense to always release products, new and in a beta phase. This was demonstrated by Samsung when it presents it’s Gear Watch on the IFA in Berlin.

For businesses, this means implementing new ideas, creating dynamic products or improving your existing services. Innovation can be a catalyst for the growth and success of business, and help to adapt and grow in the market.
Being innovative does not mean inventing; innovation can mean changing your business model and adapting to changes in your environment to deliver better products or services.

If we look in todays smartphones we basically have these most frequently used features:

  • Making calls
  • Surf the web
  • Manage contacts
  • Take photos
  • Listen to music
  • Play games

These tasks are settled by every smartphone today. But innovation does not only mean to present new products and functionalities it’s also the improvement of already existing technologies with the target of a more seamless usage.

The fingerprint scanner, named Touch ID, is not new (we already saw that technology in the Motorola Atrix in 2011) but innovative because now it works. It also can be used for authentication when purchasing at Apple’s stores.

Other innovative steps presented on the event are

  • 64-Bit processor working together with the M7 motion processor
  • improved camera and pixel management
  • revamped iOS

Innovation has to serve people. The fingerprint scanner does because it provides seamless and fast access to the device and Apple’s stores. Time will show us if the fingerprint scanner will also increase security or establish another new whole in the ongoing series of compromising personal data.

Apple said

All fingerprint information is encrypted and stored securely in the secure enclave inside the A7 chip on the iPhone 5S. It’s never stored on Apple’s servers.

Saying NO …

Apple again said NO to the near field communication (NFC). The reason is simple: No acceptance, no benefits compared to a credit card, embryonic infrastructure.

It just works …

Here are some basic strategies of Apple which didn’t change independent of stock exchanges, rumors, and criticism of Androids. They emphasize the ‘maverick reputation’ of the world’s most valuable company.

  • The biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone
    a slogan when introducing the iPhone 5 in 2012
    It points at continuous development and progress.
  • Even More to Do
    a slogan in 2008 regarding the Apple TV
    It reflects the future efforts to improve the products instead of replacing them.
  • It just works
    a slogan in 2007 regarding Mac OS X
    It reflects the companies strategy of seamless usage.

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Apple’s Keynote in 2013 followed these principles. People who were disappointed about this event read to many rumors with the consequence that excitement was near to a child getting a Hamburger as it’s Christmas present. But they will still buy the new products and will like them.

Quality, design, durability …

The new iPhone 5S again is a product of high quality and no other company is in the same street as Apple.

Baked Apple
Accompanying a story of an Apple II that worked after a house fire, to illustrate the claim of durability

Durability means also updating older devices with the latest operating system. Users of all the Korean products draw the short straw when it comes to use innovative features Google implemented in it’s Android operating system, a wrong licensing policy and defiance of the principle of ‘Focussing’.

Related links …

Tim Cook Biography

Apple Keynote 2013 with Tim Cook (13 min)

Apple Keynote 2010 with Steve Jobs (10 min)

SWOT Analysis Feb 2013

Tim Cook interview (Busiessweek)

Thanks for stopping by.





BigMind

15 11 2013

BigMind by Blue Tags, USA is in the line of Three-In-One products like MagicalPad or Popplet. It’s designed as a tool for mind mapping, outlining, and note taking.

General information …

If you are not familiar with the mind mapping technique see how Tony Buzan, (often seen as the inventor of mind mapping although there are early beginnings already some hundred years ago) suggests the following ‘guidelines’ for creating mind maps.

NOTE

Others don’t see Tony Buzan as the inventor of mind mapping and verify their opinion by mind maps found hundreds of years ago. See this link
Roots of Visual Mapping

  • 01 Start in the center with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colors.
  • 02 Use images, symbols, codes, and dimensions throughout your mind map.
  • 03 Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters.
  • 04 Each word/image is best alone and sitting on its own line.
  • 05 The lines should be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic and thinner as they radiate out from the centre.
  • 06 Make the lines the same length as the word/image they support.
  • 07 Use multiple colors throughout the mind map, for visual stimulation and also to encode or group.
  • 08 Develop your own personal style of mind mapping.
  • 09 Use emphasis and show associations in your mind map.
  • 10 Keep the mind map clear by using radial hierarchy, numerical order or outlines to embrace your branches.

The app …

BigMind is offered as a free version where the number of maps is limited to three maps and a paid version named BigMind Pro where the creation of new maps is not restricted.

With BigMind you create mind maps by using one of the provided templates or by creating a mind map from scratch. To add a topic to your mind map just tap the screen. Each topic can include text and/or images. Double tap on a topic to open the menu for inserting images from the camera roll. Within Settings you can also change colors and borders of a topic to point out relevant topics and to increase attractiveness. Adding related (child and sibling) topics is just a matter of tapping the up, down, or side arrows next to each of the topics in your mind map.

The features …

Here is a full feature description of BigMind.

20130910-135551.jpg

Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

The cons …

When tapping on the screen the radial control comes up and it’s pretty much confusing to have invisible functionalities below your finger. The better way is to present a context menu which is seen as the standard solution for a well-designed user interface.

20130910-145450.jpg

Further cons …

  • Transfer of BigMind maps to other mind mapping tools is not supported.
  • Files cannot be stored on cloud storages.
  • Files cannot be transferred to other iOS devices because sending in the proprietary file format is not supported.

There are some more features missing but the above mentioned already are severe flaws so that the app cannot be recommended for most of the users. Even in schools where collaboration is indispensable it cannot be used with benefits.

Summary …

BigMind is an easy-to-use app for starting mind mapping for younger people because of it’s limited features. So it cannot compete with apps like iThoughts HD by Craig Scott, UK.
Usually your requirements increase fast and so it’s more sensible to start with a more professional approach. iThoughts HD for example is as easy to use as BigMind but offers tons of useful features without the necessity of moving through a complex user interface.

It sounds a bit strange that we see this in the company’s app description in the AppStore:

Using Trash, Prevent accidental deletion
Isn’t this a feature which is implemented in nearly all apps?
or
Password protect your mind map, prevent important information leakage.
I don’t think that anyone will manage sensitive information with this tool which needs to be secured.

Related links …

Review of iThoughts HD

Review of MagicalPad

Review of Popplet

Note taking

Thanks a lot for dropping by.





The Copyright

11 11 2013

Nothing attracts people more than photos or created images except the visible reality itself. Human beings always refer to images when it comes to understand things like the atomic model, to remember important and funny things in their life, or to get a first impression of new technologies.

The internet and social networks are overloaded with photos and images and their are some networks like Flickr totally based on presenting this kind of information.

Even if you start a Google Search there is an option to just show images Google retrieved from websites referring your search term.

20130707-115605.jpg

What about the Intellectual Property Law enacted by most governments and valid in more than 160 countries around the world since 1886?

We all know -at least, most people know- that it’s illegal to put your name on someone else’s work and call it yours or sell it for your own personal profit; this is considered as a copyright infringement.

But the laws of copyright are nuanced, and the line between copyright infringement and so-called ‘Fair Use’ is a blurry one at best.

There are some questions we usually do not think about.

Is it allowed

  • to retrieve images from websites and present it on a search page?
  • to post images found in the internet via Google+, Twitter, Facebook, and other networks?
  • to use images copied from a Google Search on websites, blogs, or in posts?
  • to financially benefit from images created by others by improving the attractiveness of the own website?

The simple answer is: NO, it’s not allowed.

People might think that the internet is a ‘Public Domain’ and everything found there is free to use.
This highlights a common misunderstanding about what is meant by ‘public domain’ when referring to copyright work. A work will fall into the public domain once copyright expires.
While work published on the Internet may be publicly accessible, it is certainly not in the public domain.

For the period of copyright, the copyright owner has the following exclusive rights. None of the actions below can be carried out without permission:

  • The exclusive right to reproduce the work, though some provisions are made under national laws which typically allow limited private and educational use without infringement (Fair Use).
  • The right to authorise arrangements or other types of adaptation to the work.
  • The exclusive right to adapt or alter the work.

The author also has the following Moral Rights:

  • The author has the right to claim authorship.
  • The right to object to any treatment of the work which would be ‘prejudicial to his honour or reputation’.

From the point of view of people who share images there are a lot of questions coming up when going into the details:

  • How can I see that an image is copyrighted?
    The answer:
    In most cases you cannot see it and you simply have to accept that the creator must not set any copyright note to claim rights on his work.
    An essential note on Googles website ‘Images may be subject to copyright’ doesn’t answer the question. It’s a notification not helping anyone to decide about further usage of content.
  • Is it already against the law if an image is shared as a file but the creator is mentioned or do I have to ask the creator when doing so?
    The answer:
    It is against the law (with some exceptions mentioned under ‘Fair Use’) and you have to ask the creator.
    But this is in most cases far away from reality. Nobody would share an image if he first has to find out the creator and then ask for permission. To find out the creator is an unworkable task in most cases.
  • Is the copyright still valid?
    Most copyrights are valid for a limited time but the detailed regulation depends on laws of each country. So do I have to contact an attorney’s office with international experience to find it out?
    The answer:
    Copyright is valid for 50 years AFTER publishing. Commercial Internet service providers (ISPs) began to emerge in the late 1980s and early 1990s and was commercialized in 1995 by removing the last restrictions on the use of the Internet to carry commercial traffic. So add 50 years to 1990 and all what you see is copyrighted until at least 2040.

The general problem was mentioned by Mike Allton on Google+ when he asked:

If you share a picture to social media, is it copyright infringement?

Well, the comments are highly interesting but don’t give rules to normal people like me who did not study law. All search engines make it easy to copy images and share them. Some social networks like Flickr even invite people to share images without controlling any copyright infringements and so they support acting against well-known laws which is, in some countries, an infringement as well.

The Copyright …

The term already gives the explanation: the right to copy.
Sharing an image not using a link but a file (jpeg, png, or any other format) is what everybody would name a process of copying. The Berne Convention says that this is a copyright infringement. Dot.

A large legal limbo comes up when somebody modifies copyrighted images, uses them in a another context or in a collage for commercial or non-commercial purposes even if he bought a license for using it!

If it comes to a lawsuit judges have to assess the case and nobody really knows what the result will be.

It’s out of question that selling of images underlying the general rule of Intellectual Property is against the law. Definitely. But bloggers and members of social networks usually don’t use images for commercial purposes. Anyway, posting an image might be a copyright infringement.

So here are some facts …

The convention signed by more than 160 countries regulating Intellectual Property Rights is the

Berne Convention
for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works

That’s a really comprehensive convention which is hard to understand without an appropriate knowledge of juristic terms. So I extracted some basic content:

  • Copyrights are valid for a limited time depending on laws of each country but usually for 50 years after the first publishing. Basically every content whether it is an image or a textual work is seen as an Intellectual Property of the creator without any further notes pointing to any copyright laws.
  • An author from any country that is a signatory of the convention is awarded the same rights in all other countries that are signatories to the Convention as they allow their own nationals, as well as any rights granted by the Convention.

In case of images found in the internet people are usually not informed about any copyright. Even the website where the image was retrieved from is not a compelling evidence that the website operator owns a copyright.

Note
It’s an act of honesty to forward a wallet to the police so that the owner has a chance to get it back. But what to do if the wallet doesn’t contain any documents about the identity of the owner? Even the wallet looks like a 08/15 wallet bought in a supermarket produced a million times in a developing country. You should give it to the police anyway but it cannot be stringently proved that the person claiming it back is the real owner.

So on my point of view it’s a general flaw of all laws and conventions not to persist on setting a copyright notice.

The consequence is that we see hundreds of thousands of copyright infringements daily.

Bounden duty …

It’s up to creators to do one’s bit and mark their own work as copyrighted. Otherwise they should know that their work is used by thousands of people not referring to him as the creator.

My personal opinion is that they have to bear part of the blame. There are a lot of easy to use techniques with which the authorship can be set. It helps website visitors and it additionally helps the creators to tell the world that ‘It’s me who did the artwork’.

20130707-115700.jpg

Note
I created this collage by using 4 images (mind map, head in the foreground, brain in the background, black arrow) I found in the Internet to visualize the main message which is about the benefit of a mind map.
Even if all images are copyrighted no court would say that my image is a copyright infringement.

Exceptions …

Under law, it is generally unlawful to distribute (or reproduce, publicly display, publicly perform, etc.) a copyrighted work without authorization from the copyright owner. However, there is a fair use exception ‘for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, . . . scholarship, or research.’

Courts examining whether a use is fair consider a set of four factors:

  • the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  • the nature of the copyrighted work
  • the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  • the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work

A school teacher who hands out a copy of an image to students for discussing a topic is in the line of ‘Fair Use’.

But not all scenarios are so straightforward. When assessing the ‘purpose and character of the use’ for more complex scenarios, courts give significant weight to whether the use is ‘transformative’. If the secondary use adds value to the original this is the very type of activity that the fair use doctrine intends to protect for the enrichment of society. Anyway the creator of the original work should be named if possible.

The more transformative the new work, the less will be the significance of other factors, like commercialism, that may weigh against a finding of fair use.

See all the collages on my blog which I created myself.
They all add value to the original images and so the ‘Fair Use’ principle is complied with.
All the images use other images found in the internet but put in a new context where to possibly copyrighted material is just used to visualize something new in a context to my blogs. There is no focus on any of the possibly copyrighted images and additionally my blog is not for any commercial purposes.

Laying down the rules …

As I mentioned above the line between copyright infringement and so-called ‘Fair Use’ is a blurry one at best. So it’s recommended to carry out these instructions:

  • Don’t share an explicitly copyrighted image without a license.
    If you want to get a license first read the Terms of Conditions.
  • Don’t share an image which looks like artwork.
    Share a link.
  • If you use images for non-commercial purposes integrate them in a collage and add value. Additionally label the website where it was retrieved from.
  • If you are a photographer just share you own images.
  • Resharing of a copyrighted image does not prevent fraudulent use.

It’s always up to YOU to make sure that the image you have shared is within legal requirements for Fair Use. If you share an image you did not create yourself, you are liable. It dosent matter if you shared it from a page that shared it a zillion times, when it ends up on your post or page that responsibility now lies with you.

More questions? See this comprehensive overview about

Copyright Myths

Strange advices …

See this strange advice of Facebook regarding the copyright. It’s simply nonsense.
FB users should place this or a similar note on their account:

In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, crafts, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berne Convention).

Your copyright is already automatically attached to any intellectual property you post to Facebook, as Facebook itself acknowledges in its ‘Help Center and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities’:

You retain the copyright to your content. When you upload your content, you grant us a license to use and display that content.

Indeed, the Berne Convention, which governs copyright in almost every country, mandates that copyright be automatic; i.e., registration, or copied-and-pasted status updates, aren’t required.

Consequences …

The fact is, that if a publisher catches you sharing copies of their images still under copyright protection, they can charge you with that and take you to court. The amount of the fine that the judge orders you to pay may be less if you didn’t charge any money for the copy you distributed but it would be a fine, nonetheless.

Summary …

Create images by yourself following the ‘Fair Use’ principle and become a copyright owner. Set a watermark or a copyright if you want to tell the world that’s you who did it or tell the people that you don’t claim a copyright and give others decision support.

Create images by yourself using e.g. Apple’s app Keynote (part of the iWork suite) and add value to inserted other images. While creating an image referring to a post you again think about your topic. Summarizing a post by creating an image is a funny task. Try it out. For details please refer to my post

Collages with Apple’s Keynote

Be careful when sharing images without any copyright note. Name the source or just use a link. It’s obvious not to share images already marked with a copyright.

If you are not sure of doing an infringement don’t publish.

And by the way …

If you find a great image give the credit to the publisher if he is the creator also. Don’t feel a compulsion to share the copied material with the world again. Place a link to the authors source. Decent behavior in a social network is to give the credit to the creator and not claiming it four yourself. You know that Likes and +1 often are given to reshared content. Some people will recognize your unsocial behavior in the social network.

Related links …

World Intellectual Property Organization
Edudemic: Teachers Guide to Copyright and Fair Use

Thanks for dropping by.

By the way …
There are no copyrights on images I created here on my blog or on Flickr, Pinterest, or Google+. You may use all of them to your convenience. But please, don’t put your name on it.








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