Documents by Readdle

28 02 2014

Documents by Readdle (USA) is a universal app for iOS devices and intended to support file management. The developer is a reliable company updating it’s products regularly since years.

File sharing is an indispensable requirement for collaborating, backing up relevant files and continue working on other devices. For private and business environments the following features should be provided by apps for the iPad and the iPhone.

  • 01 Connection to well-known cloud providers
  • 02 Connection to external storages via WebDAV
  • 03 Connection to storages attached to Windows networks
  • 04 Connection to storages attached to Apple’s routers
  • 05 Connection via SMB, FTP, SFTP
  • 06 E-Mail support for sending and receiving multiple documents from within the app
  • 07 Reading all well-known file formats (Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, etc.)
  • 08 Transfer of files between all connections
  • 09 Organization of files in self-created folders

Some technical information about SMB …

Wikipedia: Server Message Block
In computer networking, Server Message Block (SMB), also known as Common Internet File System (CIFS) operates as an application-layer network protocol mainly used for providing shared access to files, printers, serial ports, and miscellaneous communications between nodes on a network.

Not only does SMB allow computers to share files, but it also enables computers to share printers and even serial ports from other computers within the network. For example, a computer connected to a Windows network could print a document on a printer connected to another computer on the network, as long as both machines support the SMB protocol.

Though SMB was originally developed for Windows, it can also be used by other platforms, including Unix and Mac OS X, using a software implementation called Samba. By using Samba instructions, Mac, Windows, and Unix computers can share the same files, folders, and printers. This is great for those Windows-based office networks where there is a graphic designer who refuses to use anything but a Mac and a tech guy who does everything on his Linux machine.

Features of Documents …

The developers description …

  • READ
    – View Office Documents
    – Read and Annotate PDF files
    – Search Inside Documents
    – Edit Text Files
    – Read Books and Articles
  • MANAGE
    – Manage your files
    – Copy Documents from Mac or PC – Sync with iCIoud, Dropbox, Google Drive and other cloud storages
    – Share Files with Your Friends
    – Protect Everything with a Password
  • SAVE
    – Store Email Attachments
    – Download Documents from the Web
    – Save Web Pages to Read them Later
  • ENJOY
    – View Photos from your Trip
    – Watch Movies while on a plane
    – Listen to Your Favorite Music

20131126-140533.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

Documents and iWork …

Of you use Apple’s iWork Suite and activated iCloud to sync your documents across all of your devices it might be useful to add an additional security layer for important documents. Why? Well, if you accidentally delete an iWork document on one of your devices it will we deleted from all of your devices.

Apple’s document management in iCloud doesn’t support the recovery of deleted documents.

So it’s worth saving documents at an additional place. You can do it by using the ‘Send a copy’ command within iWork and send a copy to an additional cloud storage which is accessible via WebDAV e.g. Box net, iDriveSync, etc. In many cases users prefer a Dropbox account (because the majority of apps support Dropbox) but there is still no chance to access Dropbox via WebDAV.

20131126-140746.jpg

The alternative is the usage of the ‘Open in another app’ command within the iWork Suite and choose ‘Documents’ as the destination application. If doing so Apple’s operating system moves a copy of your document to the app specific folder of Documents. An unwanted deletion of an iWork document then doesn’t affect the copy which has been saved in the documents folder of Documents. For the reverse way, from Documents to iWork, you also can use the ‘Open in’ command from within Documents.

Additionally you can activate syncing within Documents so that the copies of your iWork documents are synced with your preferred cloud storage.

Keep in mind that all documents saved in the app specific folder of Documents are only accessible on the device which contains the copy. You have to activate iCloud for Documents to automatically sync data of Documents with the app related part of your iCloud account.

Highlights …

Some impressions of the UI and my personal highlights …

  • Drag + Drop
    Drag + Drop to move files between folders
  • iOS Data Protection
    iOS encrypts all files when Passcode Lock in device settings is enabled and device os locked.
  • Office Documents Search
    Full text indexing of MS Office, iWork, HTML files
  • Zip
    Zip selectable files
  • E-Mail
    E-Mail selectable files (in contrast to iOS no limitation of the number of files)
  • Websites
    With the integrated browser websites can be saved in PDFs or HTML format
  • SMB support
    Easily connect to Windows PCs

Summary …

Documents by Readdle is an app with a perfect UI following Apple’s iOS Human Interface Guidelines. The developer is continuously improving it’s apps.
Another noteworthy app of the company is Scanner Pro also operating on a high quality level with a perfect UI. Apple’s iWork Suite, Documents, and Scanner Pro together build a powerful extension of features on an iPad and an iPhone.

Related links …

Every app is an i(s)Land

Scanning documents

Apple’s iOS Human Interface Guidelines

WebDAV Basics

Thanks for stopping by.





About yourself

24 02 2014

Orca is a mobile healthcare company that improves patients’ experience.
The multisensory apps provide a more effective learning experience. Learning is about doing. Health care specialists can use touch, sound, sight, and real interactivity, to instruct and teach their patients more quickly, efficiently and effectively. Medical students are supported when learning the anatomy, conditions, and even basics of treatments. For patients and interested people in general the apps are a comprehensive knowledge base about the human body.

The company was founded by physicians, designers and engineers who want to make the clinical experience better for patients. Orca develops apps that improve doctors’ interactions with their patients. These apps deliver relevant and interactive medical content, which is easily shared with the patient via app or the web.

The company cooperates with Harvard Medical School to provide the best content.

Actual offers …

As of November 2013 the company offers the following apps

20131122-120618.jpg

Orca Tools are developed for a better patient communication. Using Orca Tools you can: capture photos & video of MRIs, x-rays, or pathologies annotate, draw & highlight on the anatomy content quickly, and securely send digital handouts to your patients.

Orca data can be exported in a number of different formats and added to several different EMRs. Orca content can be accessed online, on iPads, and on TV systems.

See this video which describes how to use the features

Create Handout

Favorites

An example …

To describe some basic features of Orca apps I used the app HeartDecide.

HeartDecide includes interactive 3D animations that permit you to explore and explain anatomy. Hospitals and healthcare systems who leverage 3D animation see higher levels of patient engagement and an increased perception of quality care.
More than just grabbing attention, studies show that 3D animations are more potent than text, physical models and 2D illustrations, in communicating health information.
HeartDecide also contains visual imagery of conditions (photographs, x-rays, and animation), with an option to toggle between normal and abnormal views, which helps patients grasp problems that seem obvious (because of their training and experience) to healthcare specialists.

20131123-112609.jpg

Lastly, augmented reality provides a unique way to enhance comprehension in-context, by enhancing the patient’s worldview with relevant visual and auditory information.

20131123-112801.jpg

Satisfaction levels among people who are well-informed are much higher than those who don’t understand their condition or treatment. Patients who interact with information via multiple sensory inputs feel more satisfied with the course of action they choose and the care they receive. Numerous studies have proven the efficacy of this type of education, it significantly elevates both comprehension and recall.

20131123-112905.jpg

Comprehensive textual information about the anatomy as well as conditions are available.

Privacy and relevance …

Orca about privacy …

We know privacy is important to you and your patients, as a result, all of this content is available to your patients via a HIPAA-secure web portal, which will be linked to your search-optimized Orca Health Specialist Profile.

Relevance and applications are documented in these statements of healthcare professionals.

20131122-191759.jpg

Summary …

The apps improve doctors’ interactions with their patients and support each others understanding. For non-professionals (using the free versions of Orca apps) it’s an interesting insight in how the human body works.

Related links …

How Health Care Pros are using Twitter

Thanks for stopping by.
Hope to see you again in the best of health.





An invoice created with Numbers

20 02 2014

Apple made the iWork suite for free when buying a new iOS device to improve the user experience by providing all the basic features users expect. The iWork Suite for iOS consists of

  • Keynote
    the presentation tool for creating slides and present them to an audience
  • Pages
    the text editor to write letters and more
  • Numbers
    the spreadsheet application for calculations, stats, and other stuff for which a table is the appropriate approach

This post is about an application using Numbers for creating an invoice.

Two versions …

There is a simple approach with a template showing all products in a table. The invoice then is created by deleting unwanted rows and adjusting the quantities.

Another version is more complex and allows to refer to an additional sheet where products are listed with their prices. It uses the embedded function ‘Lookup’ to retrieve the unit price from a sheet where all products are listed.

Both versions work with a control called Stepper to adjust the desired quantity for each item (see image below). I used Apple’s template ‘Invoice’ which is available after the installation of Numbers.

The simple version …

The kernel of this version is a table where all products are listed. A calculation for the total net value, the tax, and the gross amount has already been added by Apple. If you use the template just tap on the cells to see how the calculation is done.

20131122-130320.jpg

Steps to create the invoice:

  • 1 Tap on the tab ‘Invoice’ and select ‘Duplicate’ from the context menu.
    This step is necessary to not loose the template for further invoices.
  • 2 Delete unwanted rows by tapping on the table (to select the table object).
    Bars appear above the columns and to the left of the rows.

  • 3 Tap on the row in the left bar to delete it.
    The whole invoice is immediately recalculated.
  • 4 Repeat this step for all unwanted items.

Note

If product properties have to be updated select the template ‘Invoice’ and make the necessary changes for product description or unit price.

The more complex version …

An alternate version uses a separate sheet where all products are listed, the price list. Another sheet contains the template for the invoice with some rows where the desired products must be inserted by referring to the sheet ‘Products’.
This version uses two embedded features:

  • 1 the function Lookup
    to search for a product in the sheet ‘Products’ and to insert its unit price in the column ‘Unit Price’. Calculations are done by the same formulas as in version 1.
  • 2 a control called Pop-Up Menu which contains all product descriptions.
    The values for choosing a product must be added manually when creating the control. All values have to match the original product description. Otherwise the ‘Lookup’ function doesn’t return a valid unit price.
    The ‘Pop-Up Menu’ is bound to each line of the column ‘Description’.

Here are the steps to create the Stepper Control to access the unit price from the sheet Products.

  • 1 Tap on the first cell in the column ‘Description’.
  • 2 Tap on the ‘Edit’ symbol in the task bar of Numbers (top left).
  • 3 Select the tab ‘Format’ and then ‘Pop-Up Menu’.
  • 4 Create the proper values by entering the product description.
    You have to enter the exact description used in the sheet ‘Products’. Otherwise the item cannot be found.

20131122-130439.jpg

  • 5 Use the function Lookup within the cell Unit Price to refer to the unit price in the table Products.
  • 5.1 This is done by double-tapping on the cell Unit Price. The input bar of Numbers comes up.
  • 5.2 Tap on ‘Functions’ and then on ‘Reference’.
  • 5.3 Select Lookup.
    The LOOKUP function finds a match for a given search value in one collection, and then returns the value in the cell with the same relative position in a second collection.

    LOOKUP(search for, search where, resultvalues)

    •search tor:
    The value to find. Search value can contain any value.

    Select the first parameter by tapping on it.
    Select the cell Description.
    The coordinate is overtaken as the first parameter.

    •search where:
    The collection containing the values to be searched, search where can contain any values.

    Select the second parameter by tapping on it.
    Select the sheet ‘Products’.
    Select the whole column Description by tapping on the upper bar (which comes comes up when selecting the table). The coordinates of this column are overtaken as the second parameter.

    •resultvalues:
    An optional collection containing the value to be returned based on the search, result values can contain any values.

    Select the third parameter by tapping on it.
    Select the whole column Unit Price.
    The coordinates of this column are overtaken as the third parameter.

  • 5.4 Tap on ‘Finish’ (white check mark with green background).
  • 20131122-131010.jpg

    The usage …

    If you now want to create a new invoice, copy the template, enter the customer data, and compose the product list to be calculated. The latter is done by using the Stepper Controls for Description (Step 1) and Quantity (Step 2).

    20131122-131245.jpg

    The pros and cons …

    Version 1 is simple whereas version 2 is more suitable when it comes to a large number of products. The sheet ‘Products’ can also be used as a price list. Just style it with some added images of products and add the terms and conditions.

    Another benefit of the 2nd version is that the maintenance of products is centralized. With added templates for offers, delivery notes, and sales confirmation there is just one data basis, the sheet ‘Products’. If you change details of a product it will immediately be changed in all the other templates.

    Send and archive …

    Invoices can be mailed to customers as PDFs. For archiving documents it’s recommended to save a PDF on a cloud storage for which encryption is offered, in transit as well as at rest. iDriveSync for example offers client-side encryption and can be accessed via WebDAV protocol from within iWork for iOS.

    For further information about cloud storages and WebDAV access please refer to ‘Related links’ below.

    Summary …

    For small businesses Apple’s Numbers might be useful. Legislation in nearly all countries require to save invoices for a longer period e.g. in Germany it’s 10 years. Additionally it’s required to use a strictly ascending invoice number. To fulfill all the advices mentioned in the legislation can be a hard job when using Numbers for iOS.

    But as always it’s a question of accurate work and an appropriate workflow.

    Related links …

    Numbers for iOS Devices

    Numbers for the Mac

    Risky free clouds

    WebDAV basics

    Thanks for stopping by.





    Two running systems

    16 02 2014

    There are some similarities between an iOS device and a human being. Here is a simplified explanation of a computer-like device by using some well-known facts about human beings. Which of them is more complicated cannot be assessed. But it’s obvious that humans learn during their whole life whereas the basic skills of a device are fixed when the production process ends. Adding further skills means installing apps but even features of apps are already clearly defined by the developers.

    There is a one way connection between the owner and his device because the owner has access to uncountable information saved on internet servers, can improve his skills and personality, and can be creative when using his brain and e.g. a mind mapping tool or an iWork app.

    The comparison …

    Basics of the two systems are summarized in this mind map.

    20131120-144435.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
    Apple iWork/Microsoft Office DOCX
    iThoughts ITMZ
    MindManager MMAP
    XMind XMIND

    The differences …

    Comparing the two systems might be useful for those who are not deeply involved in computer technology. So first of all let’s see where the differences are to avoid misconceptions (Source, modified). Keep in mind that these differences are not valid for supercomputers with hundreds of processors or implemented artificial intelligence. We are just talking about an iOS device with a single processor.

    • 01 Brains are analogue; computers are digital
    • 02 Brains uses content-addressable memory
    • 03 Brains are massively parallel machines; computers are modular and serial
    • 04 Processing speed is not fixed in the brain; there is no system clock
    • 05 Short-term memory is not like RAM
    • 06 Brains cannot be divided in hardware/software
    • 07 Synapses are far more complex than electrical logic gates
    • 08 Processing and memory are performed by the same components in the brain
    • 09 The brain is a self-organizing system
    • 10 Processors only can handle commands predefined by the operating system
    • 11 Brains can learn
      As far as I know there are two areas where even iOS devices improve their capabilities over time. When writing words iOS saves frequently written words in an individual dictionary. Power management adapts to usage over time.
    • Bonus Difference
      The brain is much, much bigger than any [current] computer.
      Accurate biological models of the brain would have to include some 225,000,000,000,000,000 (225 million billion) interactions between cell types, neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, axonal branches and dendritic spines, and that doesn’t include the influences of dendritic geometry, or the approximately 1 trillion glial cells which may or may not be important for neural information processing. Because the brain is nonlinear, and because it is so much larger than all current computers, it seems likely that it functions in a completely different fashion. The brain-computer metaphor obscures this important, though perhaps obvious, difference in raw computational power.

    Source

    Processor and apps …

    The mind map shows that the kernel of an iOS device has to be divided into processor, operating system, and memory.

    The Memory

    During installation of a new app, the installer code creates a home directory for the app, places the app in that directory ( /AppName .app) and creates several other key directories. These directories constitute the app’s primary view of the file system located in the memory of your device and represents the universe for that app. It contains everything the app can access directly.

    20131120-150432.jpg

    If you create a document (e.g. with Apple’s Keynote) or receive one via E-Mail you possibly want to further work with it in another app. In Apple’s filesystem this is not possible by default.Interactions of an iOS app are limited mostly to the folders associated with it. This limitation is labeled Sandbox-Mode and was designed to increase the security of the filesystem. Unfortunately it also decreases the usability in many cases.

    Note …
    One exception to this rule occurs when an app uses public system interfaces to access things such as the user’s contacts or music. In those cases, the system frameworks handle any file-related operations needed to read from or modify the appropriate data stores.

    The Operating System

    If you tap on a control within an app (or you generally touch the screen), the app (the touchscreen) sends a specific command to the processor which communicates with the operating system to retrieve the necessary further tasks. The processor only can handle commands which have been defined by Apple (implemented in the operating system), the developer of the operating system. Programmers (companies where you het your app from) use these commands to let you interact with their app.

    The Processor

    A central processing unit (CPU), also referred to as a central processor unit, is the hardware within a computer that carries out the commands of an app by performing the basic

    • arithmetical
      counting the number of mails
    • logical
      setting WiFi on or off
    • input/output
      playing music, or asking Siri via microphone

    operations of the system.

    The fundamental task of a CPU is to execute a sequence of stored instructions (a program). The instructions are kept in the memory. Usually CPUs work in 4 steps:

    • FETCH
      Fetch involves retrieving an instruction (a sequence of numbers) from the program memory. The location in program memory is determined by a program counter (PC), which stores a number that identifies the current position in the program.
      The instruction that the CPU fetches from memory is used to determine what the CPU has to do.
    • DECODE
      In the decode step, the instruction is broken up into parts that have significance to other portions of the CPU. The way in which the numerical instruction value is interpreted is defined by the CPU’s instruction set architecture (ISA). Often, one group of numbers in the instruction, called the opcode, indicates which operation to perform. The remaining parts of the number usually provide information required for that instruction, such as operands for an addition operation. Such operands may be given as a constant value (called an immediate value), or as a place to locate a value: a register or a memory address, as determined by some addressing mode.
    • EXECUTE
      During execution, various portions of the CPU are connected so they can perform the desired operation. If, for instance, an addition operation was requested, the arithmetic logic unit will be connected to a set of inputs and a set of outputs. The inputs provide the numbers to be added, and the outputs will contain the final sum.
    • WRITEBACK
      The final step, writeback, simply “writes back” the results of the execution to the memory. Some types of instructions manipulate the program counter rather than directly produce result data. These are generally called “jumps” and facilitate behavior like loops, conditional program execution (through the use of a conditional jump), and functions in programs. Many instructions will also change the state of digits in a “flags” register. These flags can be used to influence how a program behaves, since they often indicate the outcome of various operations. For example, one type of “compare” instruction considers two values and sets a number in the flags register according to which one is greater. This flag could then be used by a later jump instruction to determine program flow.

    After the execution of the instruction and writeback of the resulting data, the entire process repeats, with the next instruction.
    Scientists found out that a brain can also be divided into areas with special functionalities. But don’t ask me how this all works together within a human being and whether parallel execution of tasks is possible or not. Fact is that the processor cannot work on two different tasks as long as their is no companion processor which is designed to offload work from the main processor. The introduction of the M7 Motion processor in Apple’s iPhone 5S in October 2013 allows to aggregate all the data from different sensors of the device and deliver necessary data to the CPU if needed. So the device gets faster because work is partially done by two ‘brains’.

    20131120-143425.jpg

    The Sensors

    In the skin, there are at least five different types of nerve endings:

    • heat sensitive
    • cold sensitive
    • pain sensitive
    • itch sensitive
    • pressure sensitive

    All these senses submit reactions controlled by the brain, the many experiences stored there, and patterns which initiate reactions.

    Your iOS device also needs the help of many sensors to work properly. For example, if you turn your device from portrait to landscape mode the operating system will also turn the screen of an app (if the developer implemented this feature). In contrast to human sensors, the device’s sensors always initiate the same actions if the input data are the same whereas a human being is able to react in different ways up to the actual needs, e.g. hearing a voice (the sound waves) but not processing the content.

    Summary …

    There are similarities but only in a figurative meaning. Human beings learn many additional skills and can change their reactions even if causes remain the same. An iOS device gets its skill when manufacturing is finished and can only expand them with the installation of an update of the operating system. Advantage human being. So keep control over yourself and do not delegate essential task to your device. Just use it for what it is intended for, show you the way with the app Maps, connect you to the giant sources of knowledge, and help you being creative by using a mind mapping tool.

    Related links …

    Science Blog

    Every App is an i(s)Land

    Sensitiveness

    Thanks for stopping by.





    Flight Tracking

    12 02 2014

    Moving into the air doesn’t prevent from being tracked. Admittedly I’m not absolutely sure but Apple’s ‘Find My Friends’ won’t work. So who else than Google or Apple is tracking you? It’s not the NSA (No Security Any longer) but the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) or other companies like Flightradar24, and in this case you should be happy that someone takes care of your position.

    20131118-083950.jpg

    An estimated 800k people are airborne worldwide (source The World Bank, 2013). That is a phenomenally large number and it pretty much illustrates the gigantic magnitude of the global aviation industry. In such a crisscross maze of simultaneously flying aircrafts, it’s absolutely crucial for each airline to keep track of all its aircrafts, their locations, trajectories and safety.

    Some facts …

    Each airline has a special team, that is exclusively designated the task of tracking its aircrafts. Airline carriers and specialized companies around the world offer real-time flight tracking services. Here are some of the techniques on which most of the flight tracking systems are based.

    Radar-based Flight Tracking

    Of all techniques, the radar based flight tracking system is the most common as well as the most conventional method used worldwide. The system is also known as ground based tracking or radio frequency tracking. This method utilizes the age-old and time tested fundamental of radar waves for tracking and communication.

    For this, ground based stations, better known as Air Traffic Control or ATC towers, signal radio emit waves at a predetermined radio frequency. These emitted waves return after tapping the airplane. Even airplanes are equipped with systems to emit a code, which is then used to identify flight details like location and altitude. The landing and take-off time of each airplane is also determined by both pilots and ground-based stations using this system. The distance of the plane from the ground is calculated based on the time duration between the release and reception of the frequency from the base. This technique is perfect in almost every respect, except for hurdles like expansive mountains, forests, and oceans that make the journey of radio waves a bit difficult.

    Satellite-based Flight Tracking

    As is the case with traditional flight tracking systems, satellite-based tracking also involves the measuring of time-space-position data, related to the aircraft. However, what is unique in its case is the fact that all these activities are performed by satellites and not by ground-based locations. Consequently, satellite flight tracking eliminates quite a few shortcomings which otherwise, are prevalent in other tracking techniques. It involves the use of satellite transmitters, receivers, decoders, two-way communication antennas and microprocessors, all of which work in synchronization with the satellite stations. It also involves the use of detailed graphic images, contour analysis, etc. which results in accurate tracking of the flights.

    Flight Tracking using Google Earth

    Google Earth is a revolutionary concept. Numerous software applications have been designed, one of which happens to be a real-time flight tracking system. This application makes use of the 3D visuals of the Earth, which are generated by Google Earth, in conjunction with other position-mapping algorithms to ultimately present a visual representation of the flight location, flight path, etc. It also provides additional flight data such as flight origin, destination, departure time, estimated arrival time, altitude, speed, etc.

    Internet-based Flight Tracking

    Google Earth has been an inspiration to several other websites, which now offer real-time flight tracking services over the Internet. All that one has to do is simply enter the relevant flight details on the user interface of the website, and within a few seconds, the website displays a virtual path of the aircraft along with all the relevant tracking and monitoring data. One can sit back and enjoy the virtual experience of following the aircraft’s flight path, as it heads towards its destination.

    ADS-B

    The primary technology that we use to receive flight information is called Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B). The ADS-B technology itself is best explained by the image below.

    20131118-084104.jpg

    How it works …

    • An Aircraft gets its location from a GPS navigation source (satellite).
    • The ADS-B transponder on aircraft transmits signal containing the location.
    • ADS-B signal is picked up by a receiver.
    • Receiver feeds data to different databases.
    • Data is shown on the website o Flightradar24 and in Flightradar24 apps

    Flightradar24 has a network of about 2000 ADS-B receivers around the world that receives plane and flight information from aircraft with ADS-B transponders and sends this information to our servers. Due to the high frequency used (1090 MHz) the coverage from each receiver is limited to about 250-400 km (150-250 miles) in all directions depending on location. The farther away from the receiver an aircraft is flying, the higher it must fly to be covered by the receiver. The distance limit makes it very hard to get ADS-B coverage over oceans.

    MLAT
    In some regions with coverage from several FR24-receivers we also calculate positions of aircraft with the help of Multilateration (MLAT), by using a method known as Time Difference of Arrival (TDOA). By measuring the difference in time to receive the signal from aircraft with an older ModeS-transponder, it’s possible to calculate the position of these aircraft. Four FR24-receivers or more, receiving signals from the same aircraft, are needed to make MLAT work. That means that MLAT coverage can only be achieved above about 10000-20000 feet as the probability that signal can be received by four or more receivers increases with increased altitude.

    Summary

    Aviation industry analysts are of the opinion that satellite-based tracking in collaboration with global positioning system (GPS) will become one of the most advanced, accurate and reliable flight tracking techniques in the days to come. Frequently changing atmospheric conditions, turbulence and diverse flying conditions, make real-time flight tracking an absolutely crucial aspect of aviation.

    I summarized some relevant topics of flight tracking in a mind map.

    20131118-133708.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
    Apple iWork/Microsoft Office DOCX
    iThoughts ITMZ
    MindManager MMAP
    XMind XMIND

    All of the above mentioned methods are used to track airplanes, maintain coordination between them, and thus control air traffic. It is because of these air traffic tracking systems that airplanes are known as the safest option for traveling. Moreover, the rising unpredictability of nature due to global warming and threats due to increased terrorism also demand sound air traffic control systems for the utmost safety of airplanes and passengers.

    Apps …

    There are two kinds of apps available at Apple’s App Store, one for people just needing the important information for planning their flights and one for tracking flights all over the world with comprehensive information about airports, carriers, and flight data.

    The app Flightradar24 …

    The app Flightradar24 by Flightradar24 shows live airplane traffic from different parts around the world. There is a free and a paid PRO version available. The technique to receive flight information from aircraft uses ADS-B. That means the app can only show information about aircraft equipped with ADS-B transponders. Today about 60% of the passenger aircraft and only a small amount of military and private aircraft have an ADS-B transponder. At the time Flightradar24 operates about 2000 receivers all over the world.

    20131118-084629.jpg

    About 98% of Europe is covered with ADS-B receivers. There is also a more or less good ADS-B coverage in USA, Canada, Caribbean, Brazil, Russia, Middle East, India, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia and Australia. Most of the data about air traffic in the USA are retrieved from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration).

    The app FlightTrack …

    With the app FlightTrack by Mobiata, USA you can plan your flights by entering some data like date, flight number, etc. Flights can be synced with all your other iOS devices via iCloud, each record can generate a calendar event, and an alert comes up if you should start to prepare for launching. Additionally the app shows the flight boards of origin and destination airports in real-time.

    20131118-084915.jpg

    FlightTrack optionally works together with TripDeck, the itinerary manager of Mobiata with these features and more:
    •

    • Manage hotel reservations, car rentals, flights, cruises, restaurants, meetings and more
    • Automatic syncing with your Triplt itineraries
    • Get easy access to check-in times, seat number, confirmation numbers, gate info, baggage claim, notes, integrated airline contact info and more
    • Alternate flight finder with integrated airline phone numbers
    • Edit and share your itinerary on the go
    • Interactive trip map gets you to every destination
    • Offline mode for use in the airplane
    • •

    I use the app FlightTrack since 2 years and provided information is perfect for nearly all airlines all over the world.

    Updated version of Flight Track …

    Shortly after writing this post in November 2013 Flight Track was updated. Here is the companies announcement:

    Just in time for our 5-year anniversary, we’re pleased to introduce FlightTrack 5, our brand new FlightTrack app available for both iOS and Android. Rebuilt from the ground up, the team has worked hard over the last year to improve our features and design.

    What’s New?

    • Designed for iOS 7 and Android Holo.
    • Group flights into trips and customize trip names.
    • Easily distinguish who is traveling on specific flights.
    • See which flights have Wi-Fi onboard.
    • View actual flight paths (when available).

    One FlightTrack Experience
    We’re consolidating all the goodness of FlightTrack ($4.99) and FlightTrack Pro ($9.99) into one new product. To celebrate this big update, we’re offering you the new app at a discounted price of $2.99 until December 1, 2013, after which the app will be available for $4.99.

    Summary …

    Both reviewed apps depend on the information published by carriers, airports, and the mentioned external technical equipment. So it might happen that your flight is tracked but without additional information like departure time, gate number, arrival time, or weather conditions at the destination airport.

    Related links …

    FAA, Federal Aviation Administration

    Eurocontrol

    The World Bank, passenger stats

    Thanks for landing at iNotes4You.





    Google+ Moderation

    8 02 2014

    Google offers a hardly comprehensible and understandable variety of services and apps. It seems to me that if somebody has something in his mind Google brings it to the public and does not say NO like Apple does when trying to limit capabilities to the needs of it’s customers.

    There are different opinions about these two completely different strategies. A little bit more ‘what users want, need, and are able to manage‘ would be a step forward for both companies.
    Wrong concepts cannot be healed by an ever increasing number of FAQ pages. So the most important point is a consistent integration of services into a limited number of apps or web pages with equal functionalities and user interfaces.

    Tablets are massively gaining popularity and it’s annoying to see some options in an app developed for tablets and others which are only accessible via a corresponding website. It’s not enough to turn an app into an eye catcher and abandon the consistency between functionalities available on websites and tablet apps.

    This is a noteworthy discrepancy.

    Google is the only big company massively involved in social media and with it’s Android OS in development of mobile devices as well.
    Admittedly we are in the middle of a transitional phase from computers to tablets but who else should be able to bridge the gulf between both eras if not Google?

    Success is not a question of more complexity but of following the KISS principle.

    Note
    The KISS (Keep it simple, stupid or Keep if simple and straightforward) principle states that most systems work best if they are kept simple rather than made complex; therefore simplicity should be a key goal in design and unnecessary complexity should be avoided.

    There is no need for more than 200 options to control access to social media and response from connections. Ever growing capabilities might be useful in sector specific software like SAP enterprise applications or Microsoft Dynamics which are daily used and managed by professionals. But the overwhelming number of people engaged in social media just want an easy-to-use communication platform and clear notifications if their behavior is faulty.

    G+ combines the best features of all social media systems and is not bound to any special content or media type. There are highly interesting communities with sophisticated content.

    The strongest competitors …Twitter is just a notification system. Twitter accounts only contain pointers to content. G+ is far away from the ordinary bubbles on Twitter, which are contentless per design and just a forwarding system like SMSs with an automated distribution list.
    In so far it’s one of the worst system to organize information because it’s completely unstructured.
    Admittedly there are strong benefits when it comes to spread important information all over the world e.g. information about the Arab Spring.
    Facebook allows content management but it does not really allow to structure and summarize content you are interested in.
    Many other well-known SMs are limited in their targets or there is no suitable app for iOS devices available.

    Summarized we can say that Google implemented an outstanding social network concept with communities, rules for communities, circles, and moderators. But this is just the first, although essential step. Since months there are no improvements when it comes to push the daily activity into this concept.

    The role of moderators …

    Moderators play an important role in Google’s concept of a content targeted network. Quality within communities decreases drastically if moderators do not take action and let the posts flow without notifying members if they are

    • Off Topic
    • Post useless content
    • Insult other people in the comment section
    • Trolling
    • Spamming
    • or, the worst case,
      Off generally accepted etiquettes

    Moderators do the job in their leisure time. So they should get a maximum of support by the owner of a social network. But at the time they do not get the necessary support to do their work with an acceptable effort. To assess posts and then to decide about any necessary action against a member it needs some stats to identify repeated misbehavior and to differentiate between new and experienced members. Moderators should not earn their living from driving websites related to a community’s main topic. They will try to avoid post removals are bans because they don’t want to be seen as authoritative people with possible consequences on their business.

    Notifications …

    Moderators should behave as teachers. Registering for a social network is a quite easy procedure. Reading guides about it is what the majority of people won’t do. Retrieving relevant information is mostly limited to quick guides containing feature descriptions. It requires some more to get a great member in a community. So moderators have to advise members if misbehavior is recognized. They can do it by notifying members with text templates.

    When using an iOS device there is a suitable way to notify members by using shortcuts. Shortcuts can be defined in Settings – General – Keyboard – Shortcuts by entering a phrase (the text) and a shortcut (a combination of some characters). Entering a shortcut in a text field and pressing the Space Bar lets the shortcut expand to the complete phrase. All my shortcuts for moderating start with a G followed by some mnemonic characters.

    20131116-095623.jpg

    Examples …

    Shortcut
    gtr
    Phrase (if it occurs repeatedly)
    You are a *TROLL*. You are obviously missing the point that this is an Apple related community. Move over to other communities to place your comments.

    In case you don’t know what TROLL means:
    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.
    Please *STOP* this behavior or you will be BANNED. Neither Google nor this community needs people like you.

    or

    Shortcut
    gca
    Phrase
    Please pay attention to our categories and use the right one when posting. We have more than 60k members and they should see just related topics when choosing a category. If you want a discussion it can be done in the comment section of every category. Thanks.

    or

    Shortcut
    gin
    Phrase
    According to the community rules you have to add an intro to your post. This intro can be a comprehensive overview about what users can expect when they open the link, your opinion, or a question. Just posting a link is seen as link/post littering. Thanks

    Shortcuts defined on one iOS device are synced across all other iOS devices with the same Apple ID.

    Support for moderators …

    Moderating a community dedicated to the brand Apple with more than 60k members is a hard job because emotions of members come up with the same frequency as the frequency of their device’s processors. I do this job since some months and here are my suggestions to increase support for the scapegoats (aka moderators) of a community.

    20131116-101438.jpg

    Feel free to DOWNLOAD this concept map in PDF file format.

    Some annotations …

    As long as Google doesn’t provide useful stats about actions taken on posts, moderators will still have much work by always looking at the member’s profile and trying to get more information. This is what moderators cannot do in their leisure time. So their decisions are mostly ad-hoc decisions usually not based on the individuality of the member.

    Although moderators are under no obligation to explain their decisions, stats for

    • investigating spam
    • investigating link-littering
    • identifying repeated violations of rules

    would help to treat members in a fair way by using individualized notifications.

    • Clearly defined community rules and stats for moderators about activities of members as well as moderators are indispensable to let moderators decide about posts in a fair manner. For new members notifications should be friendly with an added link to a comprehensive member guide like that of Andrew Harasewych, Community Member Guide.
      Andrew is the owner of the G+ community ‘Social Media Strategy’ with a great reputation.
      If stats show that the member repeatedly failed a ban maybe considered if he cannot bring forward any arguments after being notified.
    • Many moderators do their job on mobile devices. So features which are available on websites should also available within the mobile app.
      Example
      Re-categorization of posts can only be done on a desktop. The feature is neither available in the G+ app nor can it be done with mobile browsers like Safari or Chrome. Moderators have to remove the post, notify the member and he has to post again.
    • Google should provide a frame for community rules so that members are not faced with completely different looking About sections. Regarding general rules Google should automatically add a useful link to every About section of every community.
    • Moderators always should be engaged contributors and commenters. By writing comprehensive comments and contentful posts they should be a shining example for members.
    • Google has implemented an automated spam detection system to identify unusual posting patterns, duplicate, low value and thin content. This spam detection system works quite well. Any posts or shares to communities which possibly include links to sites with malware or maybe non-trusted merchants are flagged immediately, invisible to any community members but moderators.
      Another reason something would be marked as spam is because moderators previously marked it as spam. Persistent messages from the same user, identical text, stuff like that. Moderators should always report bad content in communities as spam!
      The more they report, the better the automatic spam detection will get! Google+ also works to analyze patterns and predict what types of messages are fraudulent or potentially harmful. This includes the typical spam language that we see daily, (adult, get rich quick, mail-order brides) or perhaps messages from accounts or IP addresses that previously sent reported spam messages.
      (Andrew Harasewych, Community Owner Guide)

    About spam detection …

    Many people ask why their posts to Google+ communities are flagged as spam by the Google+ spam filters. Google doesn’t share details about how the spam filters work (because that would make it easy for spammer to stay just on the legal side of what the filters would block and annoy us all), but we know – or at least believe we know – a few things based on observation:

    • 1 Identical or substantially similar posts shared or reshared with multiple communities are more likely to be flagged as spam, especially if they are shared/reshared within a relatively short period of time. To avoid this, I recommend never sharing similar material to more than three communities within about a two-hour period.
    • 2 Posts which contain only links or links with only a minimal amount of additional information (also known as “link litter”) appear to have a higher probability of being flagged as spam. Such posts violate the rules in many communities. As an aside, there are also strong indications that posts like that also have an extremely low click-through rate.
    • 3 Posts which are identical or similar to posts that have been removed from multiple communities for violating the communities’ rules appear to have a higher probability of being flagged as spam.

      It is extremely important to become familiar with the community rules before posting because the rules vary significantly between communities, and a pattern of violating the rules in some communities might affect your posts to other communities.

    • 4 Posts which are reshares of non-community public or private posts which were reported as spam appear to have a higher probability of being flagged as spam. Note that selecting the option for email notification when sharing non-community posts can lead people to report the posts as spam because many recipients do not appreciate the unwanted emails. You should virtually never use that option unless people have asked to be notified by email.
    • 5 Posts by individuals who have previously been identified as spammers by the spam filters have a higher probability of being flagged as spam. If you get indications that your posts are being flagged as spam, it is best to review and change your posting habits promptly. The longer you persist in the same behavior, the longer the spam filters appear to treat you as a spammer. In serious cases, it can even lead to your account being suspended or revoked.

    (Source John Skeats)

    Summary …

    Google has to improve the support for moderators to let them keep the quality on a high level and to prevent that this great network moves into the wrong direction.
    Moderators play the essential role in a concept based on communities. They cannot do their work effectively without further support by Google.

    Additionally Google has to improve its mechanism to identify spam. There are still many cases where posts are not flagged but obviously spam.

    Related links …

    Google+

    Google+ on iOS Devices

    Google+ Activity Guide

    Moderator Guide

    Google+ Content Policy

    Thanks for dropping by wherever you came from.





    Apple’s Supplier Responsibility

    4 02 2014

    Infringements of human rights are seen all over the world, not only in Third-World countries. The history shows us that they are mainly economically based.
    Children are the weak parts of our society and adults often share the common (borrowed) opinion that they are under no obligation to explain their decisions to young people (although they should do it). Another reason causing children to work hard is the fight for survival of their family.

    20131110-122707.jpg

    Child labour
    refers to the employment of children in any work that deprives children of their childhood, interferes with their ability to attend regular school, and that is mentally, physically, socially or morally dangerous and harmful. This practice is considered exploitative by many international organisations. Legislations across the world prohibit child labour.
    Child labour was employed to varying extents through most of history. Before 1940, numerous children aged 5–14 worked in Europe, the United States and various colonies of European powers. These children worked in agriculture, home-based assembly operations, factories, mining and in services such as newsies. With the rise of household income, availability of schools and passage of child labour laws, the incidence rates of child labour fell.
    In developing countries, with high poverty and poor schooling opportunities, child labour is still prevalent. In 2010, sub-saharan Africa had the highest incidence rates of child labour, with several African nations witnessing over 50 percent of children aged 5–14 working. Worldwide agriculture is the largest employer of child labour. Vast majority of child labour is found in rural settings and informal urban economy; children are predominantly employed by their parents, rather than factories. The incidence of child labour in the world decreased from 25% to 10% between 1960 and 2003 (World Bank).

    The companies …

    Although children are primarily employed by their parents many companies in the Ready Made Garment (RMG) provoked child labor especially in Bangladesh.

    Regarding child labor in the non-industrial sector problems have to be solved by Administrations. It needs International Organizations, engaged journalists to bring those cases to the public.

    In the 90s US senator Tom Harkin proposed the Child Labor Deterrence Act. It prohibits the importation of products that have been produced by child labor, and includes civil and criminal penalties for violators.

    Other acts on other countries, the massive critique on companies (like H+M with it’s production of RMG in Bangladesh) by engaged journalists led to a rethink.

    Products which are manufactured or mined in whole or in part by children would have resulted in the loss of lucrative American contracts. Its impact on Bangladesh’s economy would have been significant as the export-oriented RMG industry represents most of the country’s exports.

    Sad to say that the main motivation to solve the problem again is/was not humanity but economics. In the majority of cases companies only react to avoid severe impacts on their sales.

    One of the reasons for writing this article was the following headline

    Apple iPhone factory workers imprisoned in virtual slavery
    Source by Rik Myslewski, 7th November 2013

    What a misleading, dishonest headline, meant for attracting clicks. Not only is this not an Apple factory (it’s a Flextronics factory, who has Apple as well as dozens of others as clients, and which produces a single internal component for the iPhone), Apple already dropped this factory from their supply chain last year, precisely because they found out about these violations. Sensational stories that distort the facts and avoid addressing the root of the problem.

    For assessing the problems I think you can comply with these theses:

    • 1 Nearly all globally acting companies make use of cheap labor.
    • 2 The manufacturers themselves are primarily responsible for enforcement of human rights.
      Countries, their legislation and their authorities, ate under obligation to avoid infringements of generally accepted human rights.
    • 3 There is not enough good-paying work in a world where everything gets automated and demand languishes.
      This leads to a situation that even children already have to support their parents for fighting against poverty.
    • 4 If prices would be adjusted to fair wages of labor we would have a world-wide crisis and crowds of people in third-world countries would loose their jobs.
    • 5 Economic exploitation happens primarily in authoritative countries where people have no chance to claim their rights.

    Apple …

    Let’s have a look on Apple and the relation to it’s foreign suppliers.
    Like in all other sectors of the industry Apple also is bound to foreign suppliers by contract. The company undertook many steps and is taking towards all issues regarding infringements of human rights (unlike other tech companies).

    20140203-140107.jpg

    Magnified parts of the map …

    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

    Apple’s report of 2013 lists 200 suppliers with 398 companies located in 30 countries. The numbers do not include further locations of a company in one country.

    Ending excessive work hours
    Ending the industrywide practice of excessive overtime is a top priority for Apple. Our Supplier Code of Conduct limits work weeks to 60 hours except in unusual circumstances, and all overtime must be voluntary. Unfortunately, work weeks in excess of 60 hours have historically been standard rather than exceptional, and little has changed for many years in our industry. In the past, we tried different ways to fix the problem, but we weren’t seeing results. So in 2011, we took a more basic approach: We tracked work hours weekly at a handful of suppliers, and when we found excessive hours, we were able to address the problems quickly with the supplier.

    In 2012, we expanded that program and tracked work hours weekly for over 1 million employees, publishing the data every month. As a result of this effort, our suppliers have achieved an average of 92 percent compliance across all work weeks, and the average hours worked per week was under 50.

    Addressing underage labor
    Our approach to underage labor is clear: We don’t tolerate it, and we’re working to eradicate it from our industry. When we discover suppliers with underage workers or find out about historical cases – where workers had either left or reached legal working age by the time of the audit – we demand immediate corrective action as part of our Underage Labor Remediation Program. Suppliers must return underage workers to school and finance their education at a school chosen by the family. In addition, the children must continue to receive income matching what they received when they were employed. We also follow up regularly to ensure that the children remain in school and that the suppliers continue to uphold their financial commitment.

    In 2012, we found no cases of underage labor at any of our final assembly suppliers. While we are encouraged by these results, we will continue regular audits and go deeper into our supply chain to ensure that there are no underage workers at any Apple supplier. Many suppliers tell us that we are the only company performing these audits, so when we do find and correct problems, the impact goes far beyond our own suppliers.

    Tools for responsible hiring
    Last year marked the third year of our Prevention of Underage Labor training program, an initiative to help suppliers identify and prevent underage labor. We conducted training for 84 suppliers that were chosen because their facilities are located in provinces at high risk for underage labor. The training outlines methods and provides tools for implementing and sustaining effective age verification processes. It also specifies the steps suppliers must follow if underage labor is found during an audit.

    An independent auditor checks identification and other documents to verify the age and status of workers at a facility in Shanghai. Suppliers are required to maintain all relevant documentation and to produce it during audits.
    New in 2012, we provided a guidebook to help with identifying legal IDs and assessing recruitment practices of third-party labor agents. We also added a layer of support beyond the classroom. After the training, suppliers now assess their internal and external risks and create action plans to revise policies for preventing underage labor. Then we follow up to review their new systems. For suppliers that need additional help, industry consultants provide onsite support in implementing action plans and improving management practices.

    In addition, we give at-risk suppliers the names of labor agents that have been associated with the recruitment of underage workers. We also offer guidance on working with other agents, including ensuring that the agent has appropriate licenses and permits, conducting regular audits of the agent’s recruitment practices, and reporting violations to Apple and the local government.

    Excessive recruitment fees and bonded labor
    Third-party labor agencies help many suppliers recruit contract workers from other countries. The agencies often use multiple subagencies, which in turn do business through smaller local agencies in the workers’ home countries. Workers are often required to pay fees to each of these agencies to gain employment. And many find that they have taken on huge debt even before they start the work. As a result, they must hand over a high proportion of their wages to recruiters to pay this debt, and they have to remain at the job until the debt is paid. We consider this a form of bonded labor, and it is strictly prohibited by our Supplier Code of Conduct.

    “Apple’s approach to addressing the enormous vulnerability faced by migrant workers makes it one of the leading companies tackling this issue. Critically, the company has extended its efforts to a root cause of the problem, namely abusive recruitment practices in workers’ home countries. The result is tangible, financial benefit to migrant workers.”
    (Dan Viederman, CEO, Verité)

    When we find violations, suppliers must reimburse excessive recruitment fees – anything higher than the equivalent of one month’s net wages – for any eligible contract worker found working on Apple projects. Knowing that factories in certain countries are more likely to employ foreign contract labor, we target these factories for bonded labor audits, and we help them modify their management systems and practices to comply with our standards. Apple is the only company in the electronics industry to mandate these reimbursements, and our suppliers have reimbursed a total of US$13.1 million to contract workers since 2008, including US$6.4 million in 2012.

    Sourcing conflict-free materials
    Apple is committed to using conflict-free minerals, and we’ve joined the Public-Private Alliance for Responsible Minerals Trade, a joint initiative among governments, companies, and civil society to support supply chain solutions to conflict minerals challenges in the Democratic Republic of Congo. As one of the first electronics companies to map its supply chain for conflict minerals, we actively survey suppliers to confirm their smelter sources. As of December 2012, we have identified 211 smelters and refiners from which our suppliers source tin, tantalum, tungsten, or gold.

    Apple suppliers are using conflict-free sources of tantalum, are certifying their tantalum smelters, or are transitioning their sourcing to already certified tantalum smelters.

    Conclusions …

    What we can see is that Apple built an appropriate infrastructure for keeping generally accepted human rights.
    This is just the first step every company had to initiate, not only if manufacturing is outsourced but also if suppliers are local companies and obviously in the company itself as well.

    We all know that guidelines are only one side of the coin. The other side is called control. If you have ever been in an Asian country (where Apple’s most important suppliers are located) you would know that controlling guidelines is extremely hard. Differences in cultures, language difficulties, and corruption make it nearly impossible to ensure compliance with all these guidelines. I know what I’m talking about because my 2nd residence is Thailand.

    Anyway, here are the highlights of Apple’s Supplier Responsibility 2013 Report

    We conducted 393 audits at all levels of our supply chain – a 72 percent increase over 2011 — covering facilities where more than 1.5 million workers make Apple products. This total includes 55 focused environmental audits and 40 specialized process safety assessments to evaluate suppliers’ operations and business practices. In addition, we conducted 27 targeted bonded labor audits to protect workers from excessive recruitment fees.

    Taking on the industrywide problem of excessive work hours, we achieved an average of 92 percent compliance with a maximum 60-hour work week. We are now tracking more than 1 million workers weekly and publishing the results monthly on our website.

    In 2012, Apple became the first technology company to join the Fair Labor Association (FLA). At our request, the FLA conducted the largest-scale independent audit in its history, covering an estimated 178,000 workers at our largest final assembly supplier, Foxconn. The FLA’s independent findings and progress reports have been published on its website.

    We extended our worker empowerment training programs to more workers and more managers. In 2012, 1.3 million workers and managers received Apple-designed training about local laws, their rights as workers, occupational health and safety, and Apple’s Supplier Code of Conduct. That’s nearly double the number of workers trained by this program since 2008.

    We increased our investment in our Supplier Employee Education and Development program — which offers workers the opportunity to study business, computer skills, languages, and other subjects at no charge — expanding from four facilities to nine. More than 200,000 workers have now participated in the program.

    Continuing our efforts to protect the rights of workers who move from their home country to work in our suppliers’ factories, we required suppliers to reimburse US$6.4 million in excess foreign contract worker fees in 2012. That brings the total repaid to workers to US$13.1 million since 2008.

    The FLA …

    Many large companies are members of the Fair Labor Association (FLA). Activities of the FLA are targeted to audits of the company’s suppliers, mainly located in foreign countries. Reports are published on the FLA website.

    20131110-124326.jpg

    Members of the FLA are e.g. Apple (as the first technology company), adidas, asics, Fruit of the Loom, H+M, Nestle, Nike, Puma, S.Oliver, etc. Apple’s main competitor Samsung is not an affiliate of the FLA. The list shows that most of the members are companies active in the garment industry.

    20131110-124839.jpg

    The FLA regularly reports about audits (announced and unannounced) and everyone can download the reports in Adobe PDF or Microsoft Excel file format.
    Apple’s membership in the FLA shows the companies efforts to take care of the environment in which it’s products are manufactured.

    Wages …

    Up to this point it can be excluded that Apple’s suppliers are not involved in supporting child labor, excessive hiring methods, or unacceptable working conditions although some other reports stated this whereby sources cannot be reliably assessed.

    The international community clearly considers . The following international conventions and declarations recognize the need for workers to receive a living wage

    United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (1948), American Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man (Organization of American States, 1948), European Charter (Council of Europe, 1961), United Nations International Covenant on Economic and Social Cultural Rights (1966) and American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Additional Protocol (Organization of American States, 1988). According to Article 23 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

    Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity.

    An important reason why living wage is not more widely applied is that there is neither a generally accepted definition of what a living wage is, nor is there a generally agreed methodology on how to measure a living wage. Partly because of this, many companies do not attempt to pay their workers a living wage and many governments do not seriously consider worker needs when they set legal minimum wages.

    This might be a challenge for Apple and other companies but it’s not part of their responsibility.

    Summary …

    About 79% (35% in China) of Apple’s suppliers are located in Asia but none in Africa which shows the highest percentage of child labor in the world.
    Chinas administration is seen as authoritative but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the companies located in this country are infringing human rights. I don’t have any objective information about the 135 companies in China regarding fair wages and acceptable working hours. So one only can trust what Apple publishes in it’s reports (see related links). But what we can say is that even in Germany many people cannot earn their living although they are full-time workers.

    Looking at the stats, nearly all Asian countries with Apple suppliers still have child labor in the agricultural sector but there is no evidence for child labor in the industrial sector like it’s still the case e.g. in Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India.

    So Apple does a better job than many other companies.

    Related links …

    Apple Supplier List 2013

    2nd Foxconn Verification Status Report, May 2013

    Fair Labor Association

    Minimum wages by country

    Estimating a Living Wage, A Methodological Review

    Thanks for stopping by.








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