Apple and iOS 9 ad blocking

Apple is about to release iOS 9 which features an API for blocking ads and other third-party content in Safari. I have many issues with that:

  1. Ad blocking is unethical. Example: most news sites deliver their content for free, and ad revenue is their only income
  2. Apple is positioning itself as the Messiah when it comes to privacy. They also need to process the data of its users to sustain their future business
  3. Apple is beginning a fight against Google, Facebook, Twitter, and every other company that needs ads to provide their services. Apple can only lose this fight.

Self-driving cars within 5 years

“Google cofounder Sergey Brin said Google will have autonomous cars available for the general public within five years. “You can count on one hand the number of years it will take before ordinary people can experience this,” he said at the signing of SB 1298, which establishes safety and performance standards for cars operated by computers on California roads and highways.”CNET

German car makers should really get their shit together and identify Google as the winning company here. Germany doesn’t understand that data will be existential. They are still amateurs in that sector. Utterly disappointing.

“What Apple’s Tim Cook Overlooked in His Defense of Privacy”

Farhad Manjoo, writing for the New York Times:

“Mr. Cook is fond of arguing that “when an online service is free, you’re not the customer; you’re the product.” That view is simplistic because it overlooks the economic logic of these services, especially the idea that many of them would never work without a business model like advertising. Services like social networks and search engines get substantially better as more people use them — which means that the more they cost to users, the worse they are. They work best when they’re free, and the best way to make them free is to pay for them with another business that depends on scale — and advertising is among the best such businesses.”

Good article. I also recommend “Privacy vs. User Experience” by Dustin Curtis.

A few weeks with the Apple Watch

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch is a nice little gadget with useful features. In the last four weeks I wore the watch every day, the sport band is comfortable and the device itself isn’t too heavy. The build quality is very good. The battery lasts nearly 2 days.

My two most used features were: telling the time and notifications. I barely used any apps, not even the pre installed Apple apps. I liked the glances, especially heart rate, weather and maps. I fear third party apps will have a hard time. Tapping on the watch doesn’t feel very natural and I’m thankful for the digital crown.

All in all, I still use and love my iPhone the same, but receiving notifications on a device you are wearing is really quite neat. My iPhone is now muted all day long, with my Watch informing me whether I should put it out of my pocket or not.

“Depression is the feeling you get the first time you face the weight of existence”

Clive Parkinson, writing for Aeon Ideas:

“And so I don’t tend to think of depression in terms of pathology; I rather think that depression is a very legitimate emotional response to the realising, for the first time, the weight of existence. Life is short, totally different capacities for contribution (no-one has sufficient information to authoritatively tell you how you should spend your life), and the opportunity cost of every decision is crushing– especially the decisions we are currently making, and especially those decisions that we’re making by default of not making a decision. Why wouldn’t we be crushed by the fear of not living up to our potential?”

This is spot on.

Why you shouldn’t abandon Gmail

I’ve spend the weekend changing my main e-mail address, away from Gmail, where I’ve been since it started as a closed beta in June 2004, to the new Hosted Exchange solution by Host Europe and after that to a self-hosted IMAP e-mail. It turned out to be a waste of time. Let me explain why:

Gmail just works
Much like Apple products, Gmail works flawlessly. You can concentrate on reading and writing e-mails rather than fiddling with settings.

Spam protection
Gmail has by far the best spam filter.

Security
Google’s 2-Step Verification along with the Google Authenticator app lets you sleep well. You can also create app-specific passwords. My Google account is the one I feel best with when it comes to security and safety.

Web frontend
I’ve tried a lot of e-mail web frontends over the years, but again, Gmail wins.

There are some downsides, of course. Google will automatically, but robotically scan your e-mails to show targeted ads. I don’t really have a problem with that. You cannot use your own domain unless you sign up for Google for Work. I used Google Apps back then, but I hated having two Google Accounts, so I switched back solely to my @gmail.com address. It feels sane.

You Can’t Copyright Facts

“Some of the more hated aspects of online publishing (headline bait, idiotic correlations out of context, pagination, slideshows, popups, fly in ad units, auto play videos, full page, … etc.) are not done because online publishers want to be jackasses, but because it is hard to make the numbers work in a competitive environment.”Aaron Wall

The New Yorker: The Shape of Things to Come

“Team members work twelve hours a day and can’t discuss work with friends. Each project has a lead designer, but almost everyone contributes to every project, and shares the credit. (Who had this or that idea? “The team.”) Ive describes his role as lying between two extremes of design leadership: he is not the source of all creativity, nor does he merely assess the proposals of colleagues. The big ideas are often his, and he has an opinion about every detail.”Ian Parker, The New Yorker