Ebola response from present Obama

US president Obama gave an update on Ebola. I like this part of the update:

… Experience shows that it could also cause people in the affected region to change their travel, to evade screening, and make the disease even harder to track.

An ignorant leader or one who wish to gain cheap popularity would easily cut off all transports between the country and west Africa. They could then say that national security and public interests are of their utmost concern, though the implementation would never solve the problem. Instead, president Obama maintain the links with west Africa and double down on help and care given to this region. He not only helps the US, but he also helps the world.

Read the full transcript here.

Apple iPad Event 16 Oct

Apple’s theme for the October iPad event “It’s been way too long” teases many Apple followers. What is been too long?

Some bloggers interpreted it as Apple going back to use its old multi-colour Apple logo. I do not think this is possible as it signals Apple is going back to it’s old self. My personal guess are listed below:

  • Multi-coloured iPads. This is similar to last year iPhone 5S and 5C. There would be a premium iPad model with metallic casing, silver, space-gray and possibly a gold model, together with lower plastic colour models. The premium model would get A8 processor, TouchID sensor and 8MP camera. The colour models would retain the A7 processor and using the same specs as the 2013 models.

  • Some sources point to a 12 inch Macbook. It is hard to comprehend a return to the 4:3 aspect screen ratio in a Macbook, unless it is an iPad. If this 12-inch model is going to launch, it would be a touch screen iOS notebook with a physical keyboard attached. Only then would the teaser “It’s been way too long” be justified.

Let’s wait for the event to see what is been way too long.

Golden key for the good guys

The Washington Post's article Compromise needed on smartphone encryption recommended a secure golden key where only the good guys can enter if they secured the golden key. The bad guys with no golden keys will not be able to retrieve any data from mobile devices. 

Apparently, the golden key will be kept at the company's headquarter. If it is kept in a server, the bad guys will be able to hack into the system to retrieve the golden key. If the key is written on a piece of paper and kept in a safe at a headquarter, the bad guys would be able to burgle into the office to retrieve the key.

Then how will the golden key be able to distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys? What if the good guys turned bad? If there is a door, anyone can enter. If there is no door, no one can enter. Perhaps, the latter is the approach took by the technology companies.

iTunes U Updated with Discussion

Apple updated its iTunes U app with Discussion feature.

iTunes U Update


Smart Device vs Smart Cloud

An article by Benedict Evans on the fundamental differences in approach between Apple and Google. Apple is pushing for a smart device/dumb cloud while Google is pushing for a smart cloud/dumb device strategy.

Hence, WWDC was all about cloud as an enabler of rich native apps, while the most interesting parts of IO were about eroding the difference between apps and websites.

These two fundamental approaches lead to very different app capability. As how I see today, Apple’s applications are easier to use for individuals but harder for collaboration. Meanwhile, Google apps are harder to use but easier to collaborate. Think about this: I want to make a nice word processing document and I use Pages. It is smoother and feels easier to use. If I want to make a lesson plan that is also accessible by the management, I use Google Docs.

I do not agree with Evan’s view on Apple. We can see that Apple is upping its cloud approach, as can be seen from its recent implementations:

  • iWork: adding online capabilities accessible by browser, with recent reset of native apps to same feature set as online version,
  • Siri,
  • Map,
  • iTunes U: adding of discussions.

Google however, is still very much sticking to its cloud approach. Apple may one day polish up its cloud facilities to similar standards as Google’s while Google will still not have much beachhead on native apps. When that happens, Google will face a major strategic loss.

The future would most probably be a mixture of both native apps and cloud apps working together in sync. HTML and CSS in its current incarnation would not be able to challenge native binary apps. Hardware device will always produce easier and more elegant applications than HTML/CSS, while online cloud servers have the Big Picture of data and can do data analysis. Only when both native apps and cloud servers are working together will we see a new computing era.

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