The Unsinkable brian cork™

Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life
Browsing Google

Don’t get caught in Google’s Inbox

October26

This is the beginning of a cautionary tale.

I am an Apple evangelist that loves Android. I really like my iPhone 6, and keen to test Android 5.0 aka Lollipop. I put Chromebooks into the hands of hundreds of students every year. I’m a Google Shareholder. While I prefer Apple’s OS X and iOS “Mail” email client, I feel that, ironically, Google’s Gmail for iOS App looks better on my iPhone than Apple Mail.

Email was created decades ago as a “dumb pipe” where a carrier exists to simply transfer information to-and-from between users without the ability to add services and applications or serve as a “smart” gatekeeper between what the user sees and doesn’t see. Thats called “mediation”, and its a key word. The idea behind email is that it’s an unmediated communications medium. Sending and receiving information. Simple for users. Not profitable for service providers.

This was the issue for AOL, Earthlink (Mindspring), and a host of others, and certainly, Google, with its (current) Gmail. Carriers want to resist becoming dumb pipes because there’s no money in it. A pipe is a faceless commodity, valued only by reliability and speed. In such a market, margins sink to zero or below zero, and it becomes a horrible business to be in.

inbox-appGoogle’s new Inbox App is a product by a company that holds a monopoly on Internet advertising (recall all the “evil empire” talk – that Google has squashed because it owns you and how you derive information from the internet). Inbox is an alternative interface to your Gmail account, rather than something that requires starting over with a new account. This is another attempt by the company to mediate your dumb email pipe which drives absolutely no value for Google. Google exists to mediate the unmediated. That’s what it does.They’re not in the business of improving the experience of email with a free product such as Gmail. They’re ultimately in the business of finding more subtle and effective ways to deliver ads.

Repeat: “recall all the ‘evil empire talk’ – that Google has squashed because it owns you and how you derive information from the internet”.

I can appreciate the brilliance of the “invitation” strategy introducing Inbox. It feels exclusionary; but it’s not. It is manipulative. They tried the same shenanigans with Google Wave (see below). I received six invites, and declined all of them, for now. Inbox strikes me as very similar to the new email test AOL (Boy… does that take me back. How many people actually still use AOL?) deployed almost two years ago.

That said, pinning-down the name “Inbox”, was insidiously crafty and well done on Google’s part. The name defines the product.

eMail presents us with a love-hate dilemma. We need it, but the process is time-consuming, and rarely fruitful. eMail “battles” are the worst. Almost as bad as the, “Starbucks Death Dance”, when it comes to networking (by the way… I’m boycotting SBUX because they won’t let me use Apple Pay). I noticed about three years ago that I text and chat (in various forms) with the people that I am most productive with.

The bottom line is that it’s a more radical mediation between the communication you have with other people and with the companies that provide goods, services and content to you.

The positive spin on Inbox is that it brings way more power and intelligence to your email in-box.

The negative spin is that it takes something user-controlled, predictable, clear and linear and takes control away from the user, making email unpredictable, unclear and nonlinear.

I’m sticking with Apple Mail and my Apple eco-system friendly array of iPhones, iPads, Powerbook Pro’s and iMacs, for now (but will use [current] Gmail in a back-up pinch). Gmail will eventually disappear like Google Wave, Google Reader – and, probably Google+. Apple Mail does what I want it to do. I don’t want to use an App that only lets me do what the company behind it will allow me to see and do.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

“Hey Google”, This Falls Under Best Practices

October15

Dear Google:

At this point my last remaining gripe over Android is your method for rolling-out updates. Its frustrating.

I’m an Apple evangelist that loves Android. I swap back-and-forth between iPhones and Android devices out of curiosity (LG G3, iPhone 6, now a Moto X – probably an iPhone 6+ in the next two months after Apple Pay rolls-out).

Apple does a terrific job with updates. I’d like to see Android follow that.

I understand manufacturers want to add their skin. However, if Google could release the update in a more organized fashion the manufacturers (LG, Motorola) and service providers (AT&T, Verizon) could have their flavors ready by roll-out day.

This falls under best practices, and is not the least unreasonable.

By the way… If Android is the dominant mobile operating system on the planet then why do all the major carriers feature the iPhone on their opening pages?

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters

brian patrick cork

Is Android good or merely available? Kind of like a cheap Hooker

August3

to be fair, the title for this post could be deceiving. thusly, you are encouraged to read-on. do it!

Nicholas and I continue our discourse over the dominance of Android (or, not). Airdroid is (or, is becoming[?]) very cool.

As posted in Linkedin…

Brian Patrick Cork – I’m using an #Android handset for testing purposes. Evidently #Apple punishes people for such indiscretions by holding text messages hostage. It has something to do with prior usage of #iMessage. Stand by for updates. But, in a-typical fashion, I am very unhappy with Apple right now. #badideas”

lg g3I recently took notice of the LG G3: http://www.lg.com/us/mobile-phones/g3,and thusly picked one up for vital utilization. It’s brilliant. For the moment I’m not missing my trusted iPhone, in the least.

Nicholas recently reminded me of our lengthy and animated debates over this topic only a few years back. He remains very passionate and quite the champion for Android. I believe his opinions are well-founded.

“Do you remember the conversations from the old days about whether or not Android could ever overtake iOS in popularity? http://thenextweb.com/google/2014/07/31/android-reached-record-85-smartphone-market-share-q2-2014-report/ - NJ”

Below is a recent dissertation I offered-up:

Going back I have always believed that Android was inevitable (goodness… I blogged about it enough).

That said, I’m firm in my convictions that we should swap the word, “popular” for “affordable” and/ or “available”. Thats been part of the epic Google strategy for Android – make sure a version was available for everyone. That makes sense to me. You can get a Metro PCS Android handset, for example. There are many points of distribution, just like whores. The devices may not be state-of-the-art, and the version of Android may be limited, but its a terrific way to ensure your Operating System proliferates and dominates.

Meanwhile, the article does have some inaccuracies. For example, Apple is not “losing” market-share, in this case. Its simply not getting market share in some regions (or, choosing to ignore it). Apple is selling more iPhones than ever, with record profits. BUT (big but), that’s not the point of the article. The author would actually do Android more justice by not offering such misleading and contrasting information about other companies. The best point of the article (although not elegantly described) is that Android is dominate (by users not necessarily quality) through a saturation distribution model.

NOTE: I need to investigate why LINUX did not benefit from this same thinking. It would be interesting to see what the numbers looked like if Apple had an entry-level iPhone (even the 4S is expensive compared to most Android devices). But, the stigma amongst Apple users for the older devices or perceived lower-end (i.e. 5C) indicates its a simple matter of status. Some high-end Android devices like the Galaxy S5 and LG G3 are more expensive than an iPhone today. So, I am also curious about what the acquisition numbers for those compared directly to the iPhone are. If you ask most teenagers (in the US and Great Britain, for example), they want an iPhone. For further example, at Cambridge and Milton High Schools in Alpharetta, 96% of the kids have smartphones, and 94% of those are iPhones (this is based on an actual poll through Instagram, Twitter and parking lot). On the other hand, about 60% of the engineers at DSI (Bob Twitchell) use Android Devices (I THINK they prefer the Nexus line).

Here is a poll question I’d like to see: If you have an Android device but could have an late model iPhone with the same data plan, would you switch?

Random thought: I need to investigate what is happening with used handsets and the residual value comparisons between the high-end Android devices and iPhones.

I’m not challenging. I am genuinely keen for the facts. I don’t have a bias or preference any longer. I do have a healthy fascination with it all.

A few days later…

…Also…

I share your position that Android now possesses an overwhelming share of the mobile market – this includes smartphones and tablets (tablets often being overlooked).

However, what many people don’t understand when touting these numbers is that Android devices are not used that much for internet web browsing and related activity. This is meaningful, and critical to understanding how the trend will shift and evolve. I’m confident more mobile Web users ran iOS (45.6%) than Android (43.7%). The actual margin appears small, but its significant considering the number of Android devices. This probably means many low-end Android phones are used more like traditional feature phones – for simple phone calls.

So, the majority of Android users today are fairly unsophisticated. This tracks to the belief that Android appeals to the masses, mostly because of cost and the availability of cheap starter handsets. But, I believe this will change as the software continues to improve, and the cost of the handsets increases. Ironically, snob appeal will kick-in (that is part of the iPhones appeal, along with ease-of-use). More decision-makers and corporate-users will adopt the Android platform.

For me an interesting question is who is going to ultimately dominate the tablet market in terms of both numbers and productivity. That has me looking at Microsoft, again.

NOTE: I’ve been working with a group of super-wealthy and influential Spanish businessmen. Today, they swear by Blackberry. Go figure. It only bares observing for now.

peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

brian patrick cork

touching base with Apple and Google and why they may think different but are the same

July29
Apple and Google may appear to think different. however, soon enough, they will be the same.

Colossians 4:6 says, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt …”

lets have you privy to a recent exchange with the unrepentant Nicholas…

Going back to 1998 Apple retooled its core operating system and adopted UNIX. https://www.apple.com/opensource/ That is what made OS X so profoundly exciting at the time. What most will never know is that OS X was almost a flavor of Ubuntu. Steve Job’s NeXT (Jobs was fired by Apple. He created NeXT. He was rehired by Apple. They used the Next OS as the foundation for what is now OS X), had several versions under test that were LINUX.

I don’t know anything about the back door issue and the NSA. That would be so contrary to Apple’s overriding philosophy I suspect they would realize a mass exodus from every aspect of leadership. Standing against that sort of thing is part of their collective DNA. Back when Apple and Google were aligned, part of the pact was to create solutions for people, not against them (I understand Apple is sort of viewed as, “the man”, now). That was the underlying effort to, “do no evil” on Google’s part. Jobs helped them form that philosophy. In fact, I asked ______ ______ [Apple executive] about a pact with NSA directly, and his simple response was, “seriously, Cork?”. So, be at ease over that misinformation.

The LG G3 does have Google Now. And, in-line with your insight around Sergey Brin, the only thing I can’t find is Assist (that might be a Motorola thing). However, some of those features are found buried in Settings, anyway. By the way… You say that, “Brin wants Google to give users the information they need before they realize they need it…”. That vision is what many say Steve Jobs offered us all when he gave us products we did not know we could not live without until we had them in our hands.

I’m not biased towards Apple any longer. Your point: “For everyone who isn’t an Apple investor (read: almost everyone), revenue is pointless”, is a good one. I am a shareholder to be sure. But, the big play there (by my terms) is long over. I’m quite pleased with the dividends. If I have a bias today, it leans towards the latest champion. I’m not sure who that is. But, I am having more fun with Google-centric products, partners, and related services. My daughters and all of their friends only want Apple products. For me that makes them boring (kind of ironic, huh?). So, I guess today I am mostly infatuated with LG. The LG Ultra-wide monitor screen made me investigate larger versions for my homes and offices. I also like Samsung products and appreciate how they are helping Google with its own form of eco-system. That said, I am very suspicious of any Korean company. In any event… Something to ponder is that I’m reasonably certain Apple could have put much of the technology many take for granted with Samsung devices, and those developed by LG (Nexus, right?) into the iPhone 4, 4S, 5 and 5S. They tend to be a bit stubborn and wait until those technologies “fit” best. Their vision is to (mostly) offer a very finished feel to their products and services The screens are perhaps the best example). And, that is why I loved Apple; the finished eco-stem that worked easily for me. Meanwhile, start looking for some pretty interesting things to pop up from them based on fairly long-standing patents. Apple genuinely is an innovation company. But, they know when and how to acquire companionable technology. They play the press like a cheap accordion. And, they have a clock in their collective heads that frustrates people outside of the inner circles. But, I do agree that most people around the world need (even more so than want) cutting-edge technology at a certain price-point. Android will probably be the most used operating system for a broad range of technology for quite some time. That said, there is a company in China that might open some eyes with their own Operating System. And, I don’t really care about perception of market share. Despite that Apple keeps making more money every quarter despite packing their products with better technology and still incrementally reducing the price (iMacs, MacBooks, etc). Also… Today devices like the Lg G3, Galaxy S5, and Nexus 5 are more expensive than an iPhone. There is a Chromebook on the market for over $1600 (its all about the screen [I can relate because I found the LG ultra-wide just so I could make the images pushed by my ASUS Chromebox better]). Some how that tid-bit has managed to stay out of the press, and our reporting consciousness. What I think will be interesting is to see what happens when we have price convergence. Meanwhile, I certainly agree with you that Google delivers. Its just that each market seeks its “happy spot”, and Apple can still scratch an itch that satisfies both users and shareholders (thats their “job”). Today, I don’t really see much difference between an iPhone and my LG. I actually like Sunrise Calendar better than Apple’s iCal. Verizon’s cross-platform messaging is on-par with Apple’s. LG’s keyboard is about as good as Apple’s (for the first time I am comfortable texting on an Android device).

I’ll wave a caution flag for you, here… When the next iOS is released, and people see how it is integrated with OS X Yosemite now, they are going to be stunned. In closing on this part of the exchange, and despite all of our theories and opinions, a clear advantage that Google has over Apple today is the founders still live. I’m once again a Google supporter.

And, Nicholas, I have you to thank for that because I always, always, valued and appreciated your conviction and passion over the company.

– Brian

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What’s All This About?

"What am I looking at?", you might wonder.

Lots of stuff.

Meanwhile, here, I discuss events, people and things in our world - and, my (hardly simplistic, albeit inarticulate) views around them.

You'll also learn things about, well, things, like people you need to know about, and information about companies you can't find anywhere else.

So, while I harangue the public in my not so gentle way, you will discover that I am fascinated by all things arcane, curious about those whom appear religious, love music, dabble in politics, loathe the media, value education, still think I am an athlete, and might offer a recipe.

All the while, striving mightily, and daily, to remain a prudent and optimistic gentleman - and, authentic.

brian cork by John Campbell





photos by John Campbell

 

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