Boot up: Google's cloud ban, HTC One Max gets fingered, iPhone 5s v 5c, and more
(Guardian Web Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) A burst of 9 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team
Are operations like Flipboard scams against publishers? >> Talking Points Memo
Josh Marshall, TPM's editor and publisher:
I do think these services [such as Flipboard and Google Currents], as they currently exist are bad for publishers. We give them the entirety of our product - news stories, updates, posts, what-have-you - in exchange for a notional thing called exposure, brand awareness, blah blah blah and in theory or at some point in the future a cut of the ad revenues these services bring in for selling ads on their platforms. The problem is there are no ad revenues that go to the publishers. Where they exist they are literally trivial. The real payoff is supposed to be reach, letting new potential readers know we're out there. In theory, that's particularly important for small publishers like TPM who don't have big budgets for promotional campaigns. You're not going to see a big TPM ad on a bus you see drive by.
But say you find TPM on Flipboard, decide it's great and add it to your viewing routine on Flipboard. Probably you just keep reading us on Flipboard. Clearly you like Flipboard or you wouldn't be using it. So why would you start visiting TPM? You likely won't. That may be great for you. It's definitely great for Flipboard. But is it great for us? Not really.
Never understood why you'd be on a service which holds the users and doesn't pay you.
PDA/mobile device comparison / chooser >> Steve Litchfield
The idea here is to score most current PDA/smartphone solutions and see which one comes out on top. The scores for each criteria are my own personal evaluations. You can apply your own weightings, though, and the page will multiply everything up and work out your most suitable smartphone solution. Models and scores: (10=excellent, 1=terrible). Weightings: 'Not'/'Quite'/'Very' multiplies scores by 0, 1 or 2 respectively.
Quite fun, though it would be better - as in more honest - if you couldn't see the matrix of offerings while you're choosing. Needs lots of browser width, so maybe not one for the phone.
HTC One max review: a lot more of the same >> The Verge
Using the One max in the recommended way — as a very generously proportioned phone — is an exercise in frustration, and nothing exemplifies that better than its major new feature, the fingerprint scanner. Firstly, it's placed in exactly the wrong place. Sitting immediately below the camera lens and requiring a swipe, it pretty much compels you to smudge the lens every time you want to identify yourself. The need for a vertical swipe is also problematic, since your hand's natural position is at an angle to the sensor, demanding an unnatural and uncomfortable motion to activate it. Inevitably, that leads to regular failures to recognise your epidermic signature.
Equally enervating is the fact that you have to wake the One max from sleep before swiping to unlock it. The whole point of these fingerprint sensors is to speed up security processes, not make them more finicky, and that's exactly where the HTC One max fails.
And though you can enrol three different fingers to launch three different apps, that only works from the lockscreen - not anywhere else. Savov says the scanner is "clumsy, awkward, and comfortably in line with the long history of failed attempts at making this technology work."
Fake traffic is causing a crisis for advertisers >> Adweek
A few weeks ago, Lindsay Buescher, senior manager, analytics at Carat, read an article on Adweek.com about a company called FreeStreams.com that was pumping up its traffic by enticing Web users into accidentally visiting via hidden links on sites that house pirated content. As it happened, one of her agency's clients, Red Bull, was a FreeStreams advertiser. Buescher was determined to find out what was going on. Her team discovered Red Bull video ads were running on FreeStreams through two different networks, including ValueClick, a publicly traded company. (ValueClick says it has since stopped working with FreeStreams.)
That wasn't something Buescher had run into much. She kept digging. After about three weeks, Carat was blacklisting 77 more sites for Red Bull beyond FreeStreams. Many of the sites didn't actually sell pre-roll ads, which was what the client was supposedly paying for. Some were merely gaming sites with interstitials. Some were sites that didn't even exist or were blocked by her company. Others ran video inventory continuously. Many were simply a case of "fraud," she found.
Maybe what we need is less fake advertising content.
iPhone 5s outselling iPhone 5c two-to-one >> AllThingsD
According to CIRP's survey of U.S. consumers who purchased Apple's latest iPhones during the last days of September, the 5s accounted for 64% of total iPhone sales following its launch that month. Meanwhile, the the 5c accounted for 27%, with the legacy iPhone 4S making up the remaining 9%.
So not only is the 5s outselling the 5c, it's outselling it more than two to one.
Welcome news for Apple, since cannibalization of the 5s by the 5c was a potential commercial risk for this iPhone cycle. CIRP's data suggests that the company has so far avoided it — though that's hardly surprising at this early stage. After all, the iPhone 5c was intended as a mainstream smartphone, the iPhone 5s as an enthusiast one — a "forward-thinking" device for forward-thinking folks. And enthusiasts are often early adopters.
In fact, the sales split seems to have been almost exactly the same as the 5/4S split a year ago - except the 5c is doing slightly better (though probably within the margin of sampling error).
Learning from Blackberry's Decline >> Tech-Thoughts
There is a tendency among industry watchers to gauge the future of a company based on feedback from the company's best customers. Unfortunately, the highest or most demanding tiers of a customer base are often the worst judges of an established company's prospects. While Blackberry's business was being disrupted by the iPhone and Android smartphones, their core "enterprise" and "prosumer" markets remained fiercely loyal. Many analysts remained steadfast in their opinion that Blackberry's core customer base would ensure the company's relevance in the years to come.
The problem with the "best" customers is that they provide no information about the dominant basis of competition in the industry, i.e. the mainstream market. Blackberry's core user base always held the opinion that their email/messaging services and hardware keyboard gave the company a sustainable competitive advantage over competitors. Unfortunately, while industry watchers were preoccupied with those features, the basis of competition in the mainstream market shifted to ease of use, availability of apps, full featured browsing, etc.
Google CIO Ben Fried on how Google works >> AllThingsD
Google employees themselves live in a bit of a cocoon of Google products, using mostly Android phones and tablets, with near-perfect Wi-Fi and cellular service, and with limited flexibility to try other companies' productivity applications. It's a privileged existence, and perhaps one that gives them less of an ability to relate to their customers and be exposed to new and exciting things.
There are very good reasons for the cocoon: Google is a huge company, with a ton of highly sensitive and confidential information about its own strategy and operations, and that of its five-million-plus Google Apps enterprise productivity suite customers. Google can't be cavalier about security, and it can't let its employees take too many risks. It takes time and effort to make nifty new apps appropriate for the enterprise, and someone has to oversee that.
Dropbox: banned. Fantastical (a calendaring app): banned. Windows PC: requires permission from a manager. Microsoft Office: requires permission. Own laptops: banned (except Chromebooks). The picture that emerges of the Google internal monoculture is fascinating.
No bids in 700 MHz auction, Paulwell disappointed >> JamaicaObserver.com
Despite a robust showing of interest from a number of entities, including the 24 persons from 10 countries, including India, China, Ghana, Japan, Canada, Taiwan, the Russian Federation and the United States who attended a public forum for interested parties via the internet, the auction ended with no bids submitted before the 2:00 pm deadline.
"We view this as a minor setback," [said Phillip Paulwell, Jamaica's minister for science, technology, energy and mining].
Broadband penetration in Jamaica is 8%. Paulwell says he's set his sights on 100%.
Terms of Service; Didn't Read >> TOSDR
"I have read and agree to the Terms" is the biggest lie on the web. We aim to fix that.
Very intriguing service, via a browser add-on, which tells you about the quality of the ToS of various companies, from A (great) to E (bad). Google is a C; quite a few others are still awaiting classification. So far only DuckDuckGo and SeenThis qualify as A.
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