May 1, 2015

How hard is it to find a dark wrist anyway

Quartz is treading on thin ice with this piece, claiming that the Apple Watch might not work as well on dark skin, as well as on tattoos.

While those with tattooed wrists may experience some issues, there’s also the possibility that the watch will not work as intended for a much larger group of potential watch buyers: those with darker skin. LeBoeuf says that green light is more likely to be absorbed by the skin of people with higher melanin content. Even if the sensors work when a person is sitting down, the darker their skin is, the less likely the sensors are to capture data when the person is moving. “The signal to noise ratio will be much lower for people having higher melanin content,” LeBoeuf says.

This is nothing but poor reporting on Quartz behalf. They claim that a person with tattoos tried the Apple Watch’s heart rate feature but it only worked one time out of five. Fine, the information about the test and the utter lack of detail aside, it’s at least something grounded in reality. The big problem is that the publication fail to do the same test on a person of dark skin, instead reporting the issue as truth. How hard is it to find a person with dark skin, really? Also, how likely is it that no one with access to the Apple Watch at Apple has dark skin? Unlikely, I’d wager, but I don’t know, nor does Quartz according to the story.

The whole piece is rubbish, built on someone saying something, rather than actual tests and reporting. Frankly, I’m surprised to see that this hasn’t been pulled altogether. Criticize all you want, point out flaws, but back it up with tests.

April 29, 2015

Continuum gives Windows 10 a shot on all screens

Gizmodo reporting on Microsoft’s Windows 10 feature Continuum:

You can use Bluetooth to run your apps on your phone, but view and use them on a nearby screen and keyboard. […] In this vision of the future your phone is, perhaps, your only device. You can pair it with a Bluetooth keyboard, mouse, or screen whenever you need to—but the apps and the functionality of the software will always look the same.

The Windows 10 interface adapts to the kind of screen you’re displaying on, so small touchscreens get bigger tap areas, and so on. It’s a good idea in theory, but the risk is that everything will end up being half-baked.

April 27, 2015

Anil Dash’s Twitter followers

Anil Dash has a lot of followers on Twitter, unmerited he thinks. I’m not sure what to make of his piece on Medium’s The Message, but this was interesting, about sharing links:

Worst of all: Nobody clicks. Well, not nobody, but out of about 550,000 followers on Twitter, it’s very common for fewer than 400 of them to click on a link I share. (That’s .07%!) And yet dudes (yes, it’s always dudes) feel like they’re doing me a favor by asking. I cofounded a company that helps people understand their behavior on social networks, and looking at some of my most popular content that I’ve shared shows about 1700 people clicking on a link, in total.

Twitter rules

Twitter is great in many ways, but it’s also a place where things can get out of hand, often unnecessarily so. It’s frustrating because an overall positive experience can be dampened by people who’re just not thinking before they tweet. Then there’s the asshats, trolls, and idiots as well, obviously, but those are easy enough to manage by blocking and reporting.

Here are the Twitter rules.

  1. Be nice.
  2. Don’t put a dot in front of a reply, this making it public to all who follows you rather than just to the ones who follow both you and the person you’re talking to. Only do this if it’s a reply that’s interesting to all.
  3. Remember that 140 characters aren’t a lot of room for nuances.
  4. Don’t assume people have read all your tweets, nor that the tweets they’ve read were in chronological order. Apps and user interfaces mess with that.
  5. Give people the benefit of a doubt. Twitter is short and harsh by default.
  6. Remember that there are people behind the accounts. Act accordingly.
  7. Don’t talk to the bots. Block them.
  8. Don’t talk to trolls and people harassing you or others. Block and report them.
  9. Remember to log off, especially when things get out of hand. Hug someone you love, and forget about the soapbox for a while.

What would you like to add? Tell @tdh on Twitter, why don’t you?

April 23, 2015

WordPress 4.2 is available now

WordPress 4.2 was released tonight, and it’s another solid release from the team. It includes a new PressThis bookmarklet, better (but not automatic) plugin updates, support for more character sets, and some other minor additions. I’ve been using the 4.2 branch for some time, and it’s stable enough for me. Also, rest assured that the security patch from 4.1.2 is in 4.2 as well, so there’s no reason to hold out on this update.

April 20, 2015

Now anyone can DM you (if you let them)

Twitter opens up DMs for everyone, eliminating the need for mutual following.

Previously, if you wanted to send a Direct Message to the ice cream shop down the street about how much you love their salted caramel flavor, you’d have to ask them to follow you first. With today’s changes, the ice cream shop can opt to receive Direct Messages from anyone; so you can privately send your appreciation for the salted caramel without any barriers.

Don’t worry, it’s opt-in. If you don’t enable this, you won’t get spammed by anyone that you’re not already following.

April 18, 2015

First matters little

Tim Cook nails it, in an interview with Fast Company:

We weren’t first on the MP3 player; we weren’t first on the tablet; we weren’t first on the smartphone. But we were arguably the first modern smartphone, and we will be the first modern smartwatch—the first one that matters.

First only matters if that’s your dominant feature.

April 14, 2015

What’s wrong with journalists

Travis Loose, writing on Medium, under the Society For Professional Journalists banner:

Citizen journalists are springing up everywhere, and in some cases they’re skewing the definition of what actually makes a journalist, which is no good for a number of obvious reasons.

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t spent the past four years of my life accruing $40,000 in student loan debt just so I could compete against some blogger with zero journalistic training who Snapchats stories and calls it photojournalism, or posts grammatically atrocious, subjective columns on Medium and calls it reporting.

Hang on now, your point is that because you spent time and money you didn’t have, you shouldn’t be competing with people who didn’t? That’s not just whiny, that’s downright stupid. There is absolutely nothing to gain by bashing citizen journalism, bloggers, or whatever you want to call people who add to the debate, the reporting, and to journalism. If you spent all that time and money wisely, you’d surely realize that you’re not only well equipped to meet reality as it is (as opposed to what you might think it should be), as well as understand that you don’t know everything.

The linked piece ends by declaring it is, in fact, what journalism is now. I’m sure you all are capable of coming up with a snarky comeback to that on your own.

April 13, 2015

Apple Watch and Macbook status report

Since so many of you are asking… I haven’t ordered an Apple Watch because it’s not out in Sweden yet, nor have I ordered the new Macbook, which officially launched on Friday last week (but never was in stock as far as I can tell). I intend to pick up both (black Sport, space gray 512 GB Macbook) when they’re available, but I’m in no real hurry. Gone are the days when new technology defines me. A lot of people would do well to dwell on that, I think.

April 12, 2015

The PC market is shrinking

The PC market, as in typical computers mostly running Windows, is shrinking, and it’s the big companies’s fault. Engadget channels IDC and Gartner:

Both Gartner and IDC estimate that the computer market shrank between 5.2 to 6.7 percent in the first quarter of 2015, in part because many companies stopped upgrading from Windows XP. Simply put, many of the businesses that wanted to modernize already have – they’re not propping up the market like they were for a good chunk of 2014.

No surprises there. Most traditional computers today are more than capable for most tasks, so why would the vast Office-running majority upgrade anyway? Add the tablets to that equation, and it’s hard to be surprised.