Google’s Pie-in-the-Sky Dream Products vs. Apple’s Products That People Actually Use

Google and Apple spend untold billions each year on what is termed research and development. R&D What does each company and their users and customers get for such vast sums?

Apple’s Steve Jobs was the master of focus and argued with Google’s Larry Page that his company was unfocused and doing too much. Page responded.

It’s unsatisfying to have all these people. If we just do the same things we did before and not do something new, it seems like a crime to me.

That makes sense.

In other words, according to Google’s CEO and co-founder, the company has all these riches from search engine advertising, why not put them to use to find the next great thing to impact people’s lives. It would be criminal not to invest those riches in a way that benefits humanity. After all, Microsoft’s Bill Gates has devoted tens of billions to help people.

Fair enough.

What has Apple done with the company’s tens of billions of riches? Do Apple products let the blind see? Does the iPad help people to learn? Does the iPhone help us to communicate better, and keep informed? One can make that argument with ease, and the end result is that Apple’s products and hundreds of millions of customer help to push humanity forward. How so? Products in the marketplace that are actually used by people to enrich or improve their lives.

What of Page’s lofty goals for Google?

Android, like iOS and iPhone, has improved how people use their smartphones, and to a lesser extent, improved inexpensive tablet devices. Search engines and advertising remain Google’s bread and butter but are less impressive uses of technology to help the great unwashed masses of humanity.

What Jobs and Page were talking about, though, were futuristic product concepts, of which Google has many, and where Apple seldom speaks. There’s Google Glass. The self-driving car. Contact lenses to monitor diabetes. A spoon which stays steady in shaky hands. Loon, the balloon powered internet. And many, many more conceptual products, technology ideas which take up R&D research money but which are not translated into products that masses of people can actually use. Google+ doesn’t count. Google may be more massive than ever, but how do those products qualify as something new that impacts mankind in a positive way?

In other words, Page’s lofty goals to try something new are commendable, but the end result has been much the same old Google. As Google’s search engine and Chrome browser are on the desktop, Android, likewise, is an advertising machine. YouTube is an advertising machine. Most public facing Google products have users, not customers. And those users have their personal information culled, extracted, and processed for Google’s real customers– advertisers.

For all the public relations fluff and lofty goals for products that someday one day could impact mankind for the better, Google remains what it has always been. A technology driven advertising machine that turns people’s information into cash that enriches the lives of Google’s employees and little else.

How does that compare and contrast to Apple’s Jobs inspired laser focus on products that can actually be used by customers? Therein lies a notable difference and distinction. Apple turns ideas into products that can be used by people. Google turns ideas into conceptual products that fill the pages of PR releases but, thanks to the short memory of readers and mass media, never see the light of day and are seldom heard of again.

$4,000? Tonino Lamborghini 88 Tauri

A Lamborghini for $4,000? Yes, but it’s not a car. From Phone Arena:

Meet the Tonino Lamborghini 88 Tauri, a device that will reportedly hit the shelves soon. Well, frankly said, its design won’t appeal to just anyone, but just like super cars, the “hardware” under the hood matters the most. The Tonino Lamborghini 88 Tauri is rumored to come a quad-core Snapdragon 801, running at 2.3GHz, the respectable amount of 3GB of RAM, a 5-inch 1080p display with an oleophobic coating and an accurate 10-point touch panel. A 3,400mAh battery at the back promises to keep the lights on for up to 1,000 hours in standby mode. A 20MP rear camera and an 8MP front-facing selfie snapper have also been thrown in the mix. Android 4.4.4 KitKat will be the OS of choice for the device.

No pricing yet, but the Tonino Lamborghini Antaras sold for $4,000. Makes the iPhone 6 Plus seem like a bargain.

Unsold, Unwanted, Unloved

That describes Samsung’s moribund Galaxy S5. Ewan Spence:

Forty percent of the manufactured Samsung Galaxy S5s are reportedly still in warehouses around the world (reports The Wall Street Journal). While Samsung was confident that it had a hit phone and increased production by twenty percent, the S5 has sold 12 million units; four million units less than a year-on-year comparison with the Galaxy S4

Meanwhile, two months after the iPhone 6’s release, lines form at every Apple Store every day, and online sales are back ordered.

America’s Unhealthiest Fast Foods

That Americans eat too much fast food and too little healthy food is not exactly a secret. The Daily Meal lists these meals as the worst of the worst.

When you’re perusing the menu board at your favorite fast food joint, it’s generally fairly easy to tell which items are unhealthier than others. If something’s loaded with cheese and bacon, it’s unhealthy. If something contains several burger patties (or one “monster” one), it’s unhealthy. If it’s got fried chicken in it, it’s unhealthy. Unless you’re looking to add some more plaque to your arteries, we suggest going with something a little healthier.

The Top 5:

  • Hardee’s-Carl Jr’s 2/3-pound Monster Thickburger
  • Burger King Triple Whopper
  • Subway Footlong Big Hot Pastrami Melt
  • Wendy’s 3/4-pound Triple with Cheese
  • Jack in the Box Sirloin Cheeseburger with Bacon

What? Nothing from McDonald’s or KFC?

Why Didn’t Anybody See This Coming?

For two to three years the technorati elite, media pundits, and market prognosticators had predicted Apple’s downfall at the hands of industry leader Samsung, an awakened Microsoft, a savvier-than-thou Amazon, a resurgent BlackBerry, or any of the Chinese Knock-off Kings including Lenovo and Xiaomi. Well, here we are a few years later, Samsung is suffering, Microsoft has yet to achieve liftoff, Amazon’s Fire Phone is in the middle of a fire sale, BlackBerry’s latest is a laughing stock, and all the Chinese knock-off makers have succeeded in doing is knocking the profits out of the only truly profitable Android device maker, Samsung.

The latest news says a shakeup is underway at Samsung as the Korean conglomerate’s family honchoes do not like failure, public embarrassment, falling profits, falling stock price, or anything that brings shame to the company (lying, cheating, and stealing are OK) Apple’s iPhone outselling Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 4 in South Korea was the last straw. Now it’s time for heads to roll.

What about all those who predicted Apple’s failure while Samsung conquered the smartphone and tablet industry? When do their heads roll?

Is it possible that none of the technorati elite, media pundits, and market prognosticators could not see on the horizon Samsung’s imminent failure? If not, why not?

Here’s how it played out. Samsung stuck with Android OS and decided to play both ends against the middle, with Samsung being in the middle, trying to be like Apple on the premium end of the scale. That resulted in a big fail. Why? Differentiation. Samsung is a purveyor of plastic gadgets which, despite attempts to put lipstick on the pig, still run the copy-cat mobile operating system, Android.

At the other end of the scale Xiaomi and a host of Chinese knock-off makers produced Galaxy and iPhone lookalikes running Android and Google Play– working just like Samsung but for much less money. Samsung was squeezed in the middle; not gaining premium margins competing against Apple and iOS at the high end, and losing sales and margins to cheaper-made Chinese phones at the low end.

BusinessInsider, a charter member of the Apple Hurt Parade, the same digital rag which predicted Apple’s imminent failure, has seen the light and now spends time pouring flames over the open wounds of Samsung’s failed strategy to topple Apple.

Why didn’t anybody see this coming?

Meanwhile, Apple, the company every technorati elite, media pundit, and market prognosticator loved to hate just a year ago, suddenly have figured out Apple’s strategy of building a premium and highly differentiated product actually makes sense. Hey, the Mac is the most profitable PC line on planet earth, yet the average model costs two to three times the average PC running Windows OS, and Macs are selling at record levels.

My question is this. “Why should anyone believe the likes of BusinessInsider and others who now say Samsung is doomed?” Other than Apple, name another smartphone and tablet maker with more profits.

It’s Not Just iOS 8; It’s Lollipop, Too

This elongated race between Apple and Google to be the first in features with iOS and Android is leaving a string of casualties. Customers. Leo Kelion has some details on Android’s latest, Lollipop, and the problems it causes customers.

Android 5.0 – also known as Lollipop – is described as a “quantum leap forward” by Google and has attracted several positive reviews, fuelling desire for the software.

It revamps the system’s user interface, offers greater control over notifications, and makes changes to the way the OS executes code, which Google said should mean fewer “temporary glitches” than before… Dozens of messages posted to Google’s own forums suggest that owners of the 2012 version of the Nexus 7, in particular, are experiencing headaches… Another user, nicknamed StretchToo said: “Chrome is dead, unusable, Firefox just about works, the keyboard takes over a minute to load, nearly works if you hunt and peck but dies if you try to swipe.

That’s been Wil’s experience on his Nexus, too. This is the race where the primary product seems to be a growing list of bugs, hiccups, and problems.

Another Touch ID Story

If you’ve ever wondered why you have to type in your password after rebooting your iPhone with Touch ID, Jacob Siegal figured it out after checking with Apple.

Touch ID doesn’t store any images of your fingerprint. It stores only a mathematical representation of your fingerprint. It isn’t possible for your actual fingerprint image to be reverse-engineered from this mathematical representation. iPhone 5s also includes a new advanced security architecture called the Secure Enclave within the A7 chip, which was developed to protect passcode and fingerprint data. Fingerprint data is encrypted and protected with a key available only to the Secure Enclave. Fingerprint data is used only by the Secure Enclave to verify that your fingerprint matches the enrolled fingerprint data. The Secure Enclave is walled off from the rest of A7 and the rest of iOS. Therefore, your fingerprint data is never accessed by iOS or other apps, never stored on Apple servers, and never backed up to iCloud or anywhere else. Only Touch ID uses it, and it can’t be used to match against other fingerprint databases.

I love Touch ID and Apple Pay.

Al Sharpton, Tax Cheat

I’m sure there’s a perfectly good reason why MSNBC host Al Sharpton is being labeled a tax cheat, but Sharpton himself has the details.

A lot of people don’t like the fact that President Obama’s the president. A lot of people do not like the fact that Bill de Blasio won for mayor. And they certainly don’t like that I’m still here, and I’m not going anywhere.

Obama gets blamed for everything.

G.O.P. Immigration Plan

Andy Borowitz figured out what the Republicans are up to with immigration.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveiled his party’s long-awaited plan on immigration on Wednesday, telling reporters, “We must make America somewhere no one wants to live.”

Appearing with House Speaker John Boehner, McConnell said that, in contrast to President Obama’s “Band-Aid fixes,” the Republican plan would address “the root cause of immigration, which is that the United States is, for the most part, habitable.”

For years, immigrants have looked to America as a place where their standard of living was bound to improve,” McConnell said. “We’re going to change that.”

They’ve been doing a good job, too.

Apple’s Somewhat Obvious Plan To Maybe Kinda Sorta Possibly Kill The iPhone

It doesn’t take much effort to see how well Apple’s products are viewed by even the most jaded of the technorati elite and market pundits. Up and down Apple’s product line you’ll read reviews that put Apple’s offerings at the top of the list. Best smartphone? iPhone. Best tablet? iPad. Best Windows PC? A MacBook Pro. Running Windows.

Apple’s new iMac with Retina 5K display gets top honors for desktops. The new Mac mini is heralded as the best small-form-factor desktop. The MacBook models always show up on top of their Windows brethren as the best of the best. Why? Apple’s revolution is simple. The company packages all the components together in such a way that the end product is greater than the sum of the parts.

What of Apple Watch? Get ready for another revolution. Apple plans to kill the iPhone with the Watch.

For now, ignore the combative, divisive click-bait headlines that predict gloom and doom. That’s the standard process for everything Apple does, and historically, the same was said about the Mac, iPod, iTunes, iPhone, and iPad.

No technology company has done a better job transferring and offloading functionality from one device to another to another, and yet another is on the way. Just a few years ago, all our computing was done on our Macs or PCs. The iPod came along and moved thousands of songs to our pockets and purses. A few years later the iPhone came along and the ‘phone’ part of the product is the least impressive. It’s a Mac-like device you can carry in your pocket, and the world’s most popular camera. The iPad is merely an extension of the Mac’s screen in a far more mobile device. Apple extends functions from one product to another and we customers gleefully buy and comply.

Apple Watch will continue the extension revolution with a stylish design with just the right blend of extended functionality to keep our phones stuffed inside pocket and purse, yet give us notifications, alerts, alarms and the ability to respond and communicate without using the device Apple Watch uses to do all the heavy lifting.

Just a few years ago everything we did that had computing or computer attached to it was Mac or PC. Apple has managed to get a large swath of the great unwashed masses to buy additional products that work well together but do much the same thing (except for the telephone and camera).

Apple Watch is merely an extended revolution that does what a traditional watch does– look pretty and tell time– but more. Don’t mistake this revolution for anything else other than what it is– the beginning of the end of the iPhone as a phone. At some point in the not-so-distant future we’ll see dramatically improved battery life, and that means an Apple Watch that stands alone, untethered from the iPhone.

Will a standalone Apple Watch kill the iPhone?

For many, yes. For most, no. At least, not yet.

The first iteration of Apple Watch tells us something important about Apple. First, the company is pragmatic. Apple Watch is tethered to the iPhone. Why? It has to be. For now, it’s just not possible to build into a watch size all the functionality inherent in today’s smartphones.

Second, the company is ambitious. Functions which used to be on individual devices are now spread across multiple devices, and that includes Apple Watch. Personalized notifications, iPhone-like communication responses, combined with health sensors and tactile alerts will make Apple Watch very useful.

Finally, Apple isn’t afraid of the future. The iPhone as we know it will not undergo a certain death. After all, did Windows or the smartphone or tablet kill the Mac? No. The Mac is selling better than ever because it does more than ever. So does the iPhone, so even though we may use future iPhones less, thanks to Handoff, Continuity and Apple Watch, it won’t go away; usage will be changed to fit a changing lifestyle.

The real smartwatch revolution will begin with improved battery life. Think of how your watch can awaken you with a pulse to the wrist. You feel it. But your sleeping partner does not. No more ‘one alarm’ for everyone in the bedroom. The alarm is personalized for the wearer. But how can that alarm work if the Apple Watch needs to be recharged overnight, every night?

Apple Watch is another revolution in the making, and one which will change how we use our iPhones much as the iPhone changed how we use a phone, but future success will be tied up in battery life.

What Do You Get From A $199 Windows PC Notebook?

Ed Bott thinks HP’s new Stream won’t replace a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 or a MacBook Air. But it might stop someone from buying a Chromebook, and that’s the point.

After spending a couple days with this budget PC I came away impressed at what you get for two C-notes. No, it will not replace my Surface Pro 3, nor are you likely to exchange your MacBook Air for a Stream 11. But I would certainly recommend it over a Chromebook for anyone who does most day-to-day activity in the cloud but still needs the ability to run Windows desktop programs, especially Microsoft Office.

Because we all just love using Office.

This is not an enterprise-class machine. It’s aimed squarely at cost-conscious consumers who might be tempted by a Chromebook but would probably end up disappointed by its limitations. There’s no reason this machine can’t connect to your corporate network or let you work with Office files.

The primary role appears to be saving money.

That price tag is an even bigger bargain than it appears at first glance. Among the bundled extras are a $25 gift card, good for apps from the Windows Store or digital media from Xbox Music or Movies. There’s also a one-year Office 365 Personal subscription (a $70 value), which allows you to install the full Office desktop suite and includes unlimited storage on Microsoft’s OneDrive service.

I’m thinking that Office 365 isn’t doing as well as Microsoft wants, otherwise, why give away free Office for iPad and iPhone.

Bad Bike. Bad.

If you missed U2 and Bono on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, blame it on a bike spill. Liz Raferty has details on who filled in for U2.

U2 was scheduled to perform on The Tonight Show every night this week, but were forced to postpone their residency after Bono was injured while riding his bicycle in Central Park over the weekend. The frontman underwent surgery after the spill.

The Roots and Fallon filled in for U2 and Bono. Their response?

The band also offered high praise for Fallon and The Roots’ performance. “How rock’n’roll is Jimmy Fallon? How talented are The Roots? How sensational is this performance?

Sounds more like questions than praise.

The Business Side Of Apple v. Google

Google needs Apple much more than Apple needs Google. In fact, what would Apple lose if Google dropped out of the business of making smartphone apps for iOS? A few good apps on the App Store. What would Google lose if the company had no presence and no apps on iPhones or iPads? Money.

It’s been said that Google makes more revenue and profits from iPhone and iPad usage than it does on Android smartphones and tablets, and Apple doesn’t make it easy, either. Apple’s Pages, Numbers, and Keynote apps are better than similar offerings on iOS from Google. Apple Maps may have suffered the first year or so after Apple dumped Google for maps, but there seems to be more parity these days, and Apple’s maps app is used far more than Google’s on iOS devices. Apple’s iAds compete with Google for advertising on iPhone and iPad (a good way for Apple to provide a revenue stream for app developers).

There’s another more glaring disparity between Apple and Google from a revenue and profit perspective, one of the key ingredients in the reason why both are in business, and why they compete. More than half of Apple’s enormous revenue and profits come from iPhone and iPad, while a small percentage of Google’s advertising revenue, and somewhat more minuscule profits, come from the great masses of Android devices owners.

In other words, Apple makes tremendous profits from iPhone and iPad while Google makes most of its revenue and profits from traditional advertising; desktop and notebook search engine results, a process which doesn’t translate as well on mobile platforms.

This is a scenario which won’t take place, of course, but think of what would happen if Google abandoned Android? That’s right. No more Google apps on Android, no more Google Play Store, no more official Android OS, no more Google Nexus Whatever models. Cellphone and tablet OEMs would be able to use Android however they wish, which would result in more OS fragmentation in the market. Without the financial losses from Android, that scenario would leave Google free to develop a stronger and more profitable suite of apps and an improved and more effective mobile advertising business on the one platform which is profitable. Apple’s iOS.

For all the talk of Google being a technology powerhouse, the company has yet to translate tens of billions spent of R&D, Android, Chrome, Google Glass, self-driving cars, or any other project into a profitable revenue stream of substance, either for itself or any manufacturer beyond Samsung. Compare that effort of anemic results to Apple’s line of profitable products– Mac, iPhone, iPad, iTunes Music Store, iTunes App Store, Mac App Store, Apple retail stores, Apple online stores, even Apple TV puts competitors to shame.

Technology companies are in business to make money; profits, or shareholder value; preferably both. Apple does both better than any other company on planet earth. Google’s successful business ventures are limited to advertising, making the company little more than a 21st century digital newspaper– dispensing pieces of information while making money on advertising space, and that’s despite desperate attempts in recent years to diversify to other platforms and other products.

High Tech Cruises

Here’s a look at the cruise ship for people who hate cruises. Justin Bachman on RCI’s new Quantum class. It’s wired.

The subdued design is just one element the cruise line has deployed on the new ship, which carries 4,180 passengers and 1,500 crew members. Quantum of the Seas is, in many respects, the first cruise ship designed for people who hate cruising.


The Quantum employs some technologies that are relatively new to the industry, such as bag tagging that lets passengers use smartphones to track the location of luggage from drop-off at the pier until it reaches their cabins. Reservations for dinner and further activities are made on tablets around the ship, and waiters are expected to record a diner’s preferences via that technology so that other dining venues will know how you take your coffee or whether you prefer red or white wine, Fain says. The satellite-based Wi-Fi onboard is fairly speedy for sea-based system

As if the Quantum class ships were not begin enough with over 4,000 passengers, there’s a new class coming in a few years.

Royal Caribbean has two more Quantum-class ships on order for its fleet, with Anthem of the Seas arriving next fall, and a third, dubbed Ovation, in late 2016. All three are much smaller than the line’s two Oasis-class behemoths, which each carry more than 6,000 people per sailing.

I like cruises but how is cruising on a shopping mall and hotel with 4,000 other people really a cruise?

U.S. Government Warning On iPhone And iPad

This is why the world is in trouble. The headline is sensationalist and over the top and it came from Reuters. “U.S. government warns on bug in Apple’s iOS software,”

The reality? A little different.

The network security company, FireEye Inc, disclosed the vulnerability behind the “Masque Attack” earlier this week, saying it had been exploited to launch a campaign dubbed “WireLurker” and that more attacks could follow.

Old news from China for iPhone and iPad users who jailbreak their phones and install non-App Store apps.

There was the potential for hacks using a newly identified technique known as the “Masque Attack,” the government said in an online bulletin from the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center and the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Teams.

So it wasn’t really a government warning at all. A government agency merely repeated FireEye’s disclosure.

Apple’s response?

We designed OS X and iOS with built-in security safeguards to help protect customers and warn them before installing potentially malicious software. We’re not aware of any customers that have actually been affected by this attack

So, much ado over not much, but lots of fear mongering.

Lost And Alone In The Mobile Revolution, Microsoft Is Ready To Abandon Windows

What’s become of poor Microsoft? Alright, ‘poor’ is a relative term. Microsoft basks in riches far beyond the scope of most modern technology companies. Except maybe when compared to longtime nemesis Apple, which is richer than many countries and deities. Combined.

No, Microsoft is poor in the figurative sense, as in blind, lost, and alone as the mobile device revolution sweeps by leaving the Windows and Office maker to lick wounds and dust. Based on the company’s recent actions it is not far fetched to see that Windows is no longer the last, great hope, but as part of a coherent strategy to make it to the future– Microsoft’s once dominant operating system seems abandoned.

What happened?

As many tech companies do when they run into riches, Microsoft ran out of ideas. Stealing from others is not a long term or viable strategy, so Microsoft did the next best thing. It gave tens of billions to investors. It wasted tens of billions more trying to diversify beyond Windows and Offices, the two first great cash cows of the 21st century. To the former, giving away billions, Microsoft and co-founder Bill Gates were crazy successful. To the latter, few companies have wasted more money to create more new revenue and profit streams and reached failure more often than Microsoft.

Once mighty Windows hit 95-percent marketshare among operating systems Apple’s Mac appeared demolished, demoralized, and left it in obscurity. Or, so Microsoft’s executives, not to mention technorati elite and market naysayers, thought about the situation. Not only did Apple’s Mac live, it thrived, and grew, even as traditional PC sales wavered in the revolution that missed Microsoft completely. The Mac is beyond back. It rocks.

Today, the world absorbs more smartphones and tablets than PC desktops and notebooks, Microsoft’s total share of the combined technology OS market is about to hit 20-percent, and the company has only a negligible presence in the area that grows the fastest– mobile devices. Microsoft is so desperate that you can hear the gear shifting a continent away, here in Brooklyn.

The future for Microsoft is in the cloud, and I have no doubt company executives have waded through a thousand Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, and PowerPoint presentations which highlight the new direction the company must go. It must.

It’s not like those executives learned much by reading similar spreadsheets, reports, and presentations on dozens of failed acquisitions over the past 20 years, none of which have added Diddley Squat™ to the company’s bottom line, but which expanded costs, structure, and inertia beyond Microsoft’s ability to function against more nimble competitors.

No, the future of Microsoft is the cloud, and guess what’s not in the cloud? Windows. Microsoft apologist Mary Jo Foley sees the light, too, and thinks Microsoft is going platform agnostic in the future and that means Windows is the relic OS that gets left behind; profitable on PCs, but less so, a familiar name in technology for technology that users are increasingly abandoning in favor of cloud services and mobile devices.

Windows on mobile devices is a non-starter in the marketplace, aging far before its time, and Microsofties can only hope there’s enough fuel in Windows among traditional PCs to make the lumbering and long slumbering giant make it to a new future where profits roam but buffalo don’t. Windows won’t go away on PCs any time soon, but you won’t see it or hear much about Windows in Microsoft’s new future.

Woz: iPhone 6 Too Late

It’s hard to argue with the premise that Apple could have and should have launched larger iPhones two or three years ago (while Samsung was growing the market), but how would you know since Apple’s sales have only increased year over year, the brand is the most popular and most profitable, and the larger iPhone 6 models are the hottest sellers on the planet. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak:

Apple could have had a much bigger share of the smartphone market if it had a larger-screen iPhone for the past three years. It could have competed better with Samsung.

Duh. But it’s not like Apple ‘lost’ to Samsung. Some analysts say Apple will sell 10-times the number of iPhones than Samsung will Galaxy Note models. The most popular large smartphone in South Korea is the iPhone 6.

Glenn Beck’s Brain

Jason Hughes on Glenn Beck’s struggle with a mysterious neurological illness which may help to explain, well, Glenn Beck:

He described phantom pains in his limbs, as if bones were broken or he were stepping on broken glass, and the slow degradation of his memory. At first, he would lose the ability to recall when things happened, but it escalated to the point he struggled with whole conversations and people’s faces.

Now we know the origins of Beck’s crazy conspiracy theories. He didn’t talk about it in the video but I think he was abducted.

12 British Sayings That Americans Don’t Understand

I travel to England on business three to five times a year and this list of odd sayings by Megan Willett spot on:

Everyone knows that for the Brits, an elevator is a “lift,” an apartment is a “flat,” and those chips you’re snacking on are actually called “crisps.” But British people also say some other really weird, confusing things.

Spoiler Alert!

  • They lost the plot (lost their cool)
  • I haven’t seen that in donkey’s years (a long time)
  • Quit your whinging (whining)
  • He’s such a chav (white trash)
  • Let’s have a chin-wag (brief chat)
  • I’m chuffed to bits (thrilled about something)
  • That’s manky (dirty, disgusting)
  • You’re taking the piss (being unreasonable or taking liberties)
  • I’ve dropped a clanger (embarrassing gaffe)

350-Year-Old High Heels

Who knew high heels were available way back when. Laura Geggel on an archeological find in in a castle in Ireland:

The pit at Rathfarnham Castle contained artifacts dating from 1650 to 1700, including pointy high-heeled women’s shoes, porcelain plates and teacups imported from China… The archeologists also found shoes — pointy high-heeled ones for women and square-tipped shoes for men decorated with buckles and ribbons.

But no right shoe or left shoe. Both shoes were the same shape, men or women.

Apple’s iPhone, iPad, And Mac: Tools Of The 1-percent, For The 99-percent

The past few years of social turmoil have brought to the fore once again just how unequal society is these days, and not just in the United States. For example, the disparity between Corporate CEOs and their employees is greater than ever, giving rise to the phrases “the 99-percent” and “the one percenters” to describe the gulf between rich and poor.

In an interesting but somewhat accurate way we can describe Apple and the company’s products as the tools of the 1-percent, for the 99-percent. Alright, the percentages are wrong, but the exact amount is less important than the actual differences between the privileged and less privileged. 1-percenters may own 40-percent of the country’s wealth, half the country’s stocks, bonds, and funds, and 25-percent of national income, but, the 99-percent buy enough goods and products to make the 1-percenters what they are. Similarly, Apple owns a disproportionate percentage of the profits for PCs, smartphones, and tablets.

Does that not make Apple’s products tools of the 1-percenters, and tools for the 99-percenters?

Again, the percentages are not accurate, but the disparity is and it remains. For example, the Mac accounts for about half the entire personal computer industry’s annual profits, on barely 15-percent of total PC sales. Likewise, Apple’s iPhone and iPad collectively account for over 75-percent of the smartphone and tablet industry’s profits, on barely 15-percent of total units sold.

In any given category, Apple’s product lines are usually the most expensive (hence, the most profitable), and are easily distinguished and differentiated from competing brands. What is unique in this situation, though, is that Apple’s products are not used only by the 1-percent of society with the most assets. Apple’s products may be the premium brands in each segment, but they’ve become affordable luxuries for many of those in the 99-percent.

That means Apple itself is a member of the 1-percent segment of industrial society, while Apple’s customers are made up of both the well-to-do 1-percenters, and sprinkled throughout the 99-percent, too, because, the company’s products are affordable luxuries.

When in history has such a similar event occurred where the richest and most powerful company provided goods and services which benefited the masses most? The list may read as a who’s-who of industry titans from oil to banking to automobiles. Apple’s ability to design, manufacture, and sell premium products at premium prices for premium profits to both 1-percenters and enough of the 99-percenters to garner the lion’s share of industry profits is not unique in history, but few technology companies today are in a similar position.

Microsoft’s New Strategy: Free Office

Tom Warren on Microsoft’s new and apparently desperate strategy to gain relevance in the rapidly growing mobile space (where the company has almost no presence).

Microsoft’s Office suite for iPad, iPhone, and Android is now free. In a surprise move, the software giant is shaking up its mobile Office strategy to keep consumers hooked to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents. Starting today, you’ll no longer need an Office 365 subscription to edit documents or store them in the cloud. The move comes just days after Microsoft announced a strategic partnership with Dropbox to integrate the cloud storage service into Office across desktop, mobile, and the web. You can now download Office for iPad and store all your documents on Dropbox without paying Microsoft anything at all. Microsoft is also releasing a brand new iPhone app today, alongside a preview of Office for Android tablets, all with Dropbox integration.

Alright, that just sounds crazy. Microsoft’s Office marketing chief Michael Atalla.

It’s an extension of the strategy that we’ve got. It’s not a total strategic shift, as much of an extension of the existing strategy. We’re taking that same user experience we provide online to the native apps of iOS and Android. We want to make sure that our customers can be productive across all the devices they have.

OK, but how does Microsoft make money if the product is free? I didn’t go to business school but that strategy just sounds messed up.

iPhone Malware Should Terrify You

Are iPhone users at risk from a serious malware attack? The not-so-smart-as-you-might-think geniuses at Boy Genius Report think so.

Researchers at the Palo Alto Networks discovered the program, called WireLurker, which can be used for many purposes including spying silently on users. It seems to already have affected hundreds of thousands of users in Asia.

I’m scared already.

The point of entry seems to be OS X computers, with researchers having found 467 malware OS X applications in the unofficial Maiyadi App Store in China that were downloaded more than 356,000 times in the past six months in the region.

So, download software from a non-Apple app store in China and what do you get? Malware. What a shocker.

Microsoft Surface Pro, Meet Apple iPad Stand

Microsoft just can’t catch a break. The company has a deal with CNN for desktop product placement where the sponsor’s Surface Pro tablets are neatly lined up in front of CNN’s anchors. James Kosur tells what happened.

CNN anchors were using the Microsoft Surface Pro during election night, but their use of the gadget was somewhat silly. Anchors used the tablets and their clever kickstand feature to hold their Apple iPads in place.

You heard that right, CNN anchors used the Surface Pro as a kickstand for their Apple tablets.

There’s a reason people are not using Surface Pro. It’s an expensive tablet and an expensive notebook, and not all that good at being either one. Microsoft has to pay people to use it, and even then they prefer to use something else.