Tag Archive for 'Apple'

San Fran > San Jose: Working life in the Bay

So, just a quick post to say hey! Am here in the bay attempting to get some work done with the US contingent of my company. And you know what? I went in with an open mind (as usual – pretty much with everything I do) and it’s working out really well. We are solving problems that would be impossible to do at a distance, and I think I need that separation from Berlin, as well as the need to meet with our customers such as PayPal, Apple, and Facebook to get true insight to their needs/requirements. It’s so difficult to get the full picture from a distance!

So yeah, enjoying the sun, yes, it is still winter, but let’s be honest, it’s the equivalent of a Sydney winter – which I know all you guys in Sydney bitch about – but trust me – 10 degrees c ain’t cold! Harden the fuck up!!

Went up to Mission Peak this morning with a colleague (Mohamed) this morning and checked out the wonderful view of the bay area. Was really nice. I hope Mohamed’s not feeling too exhausted, I have a bad habit of dragging people along when I’m walking anywhere. I mean, I don’t consider myself fit by any means, but I guess in I kind of am. It’s really a habit I think I picked up from Ina – trust me, she still drags me along, so imagine 🙂

Anyway, really enjoying the sun, and the blue sky. Reminds me of what I used to call home, all those years ago. Living for the better part of 6 months in darkness is a joke. But you know how it goes…..if you don’t look out and all, it might just be you next.

A couple of photos for you below, nothing major, but a sneak into the Bay for ya.

Net neutrality – glad I’m not in the US

What is it I might hear you say? A very important endangered species that governs internet suppliers and how they supply bandwidth, is the answer. Why is this a particular problem in the US? Well, internet providers over there are essentially running monopolies already, and if net neutrality is destroyed, then this will get a whole lot worse.

It basically boils down to something like this, normal users pay a normal fee and receive the standard download/upload speeds (up to), whereas companies relying on the internet for delivery of e-commerce (such as Apple), or basically anyone who can afford to pay a premium to their provider, will receive faster guaranteed speeds.

Where is the problem you say? Ok, imagine you’re a startup video streaming company going against the likes of YouTube et. al., but of course YouTube have paid a premium for their service that you as a startup just can’t afford. What happens to you? Well, obviously a company like YouTube that pays the premium for faster downloads kills your business plan. You cannot compete. People will go elsewhere, probably regardless of the experience you can provide them with when they get there. It is essentially something that could put companies on a hierarchy, and end-users will definitely be worse off. Since when did a kingdom spoil its people?

Firstly, do you trust any company that controls your communication pipes if you have little to no choice (remembering it is usually only one or two companies that own the “pipes”)? I mean, they say they won’t slow down the standard user’s speeds or hike their prices, but do you really believe that? Secondly; why should these greedy bastards be able to create another tier just to fill their greedy pockets? Internet speed should be the same speed for everyone for price category, and there should be no unaffordable “premiums”. You can imagine, your “up to” speed would be just that “up to” and no more if this started happening. Finally; managing to create a heir achy on the internet is just plain wrong. If anything, that is the beauty of the internet, everyone is equal, and everyone is free. This would be a virtual backwards step in in human rights, as money would define the freedom.

So things are way weird over in the US, and it looks like they are about to get weirder. I can only hope and pray that this type of malarkey doesn’t come our way (oh yes, I am a poet – albeit a bad one). Anyway, check this short video out from John Oliver, he explains it very well.

Yahoo! e-mail is dead, long live Gmail!

Well, I have finally been pushed into a corner whereby I cannot reap any value or benefits whatsoever in using Yahoo! as a free e-mail account any longer. I have been a user of Yahoo! since 2002, so not too long after they first introduced their ‘classic’ e-mail web interface (ok, 5 years). At the time when I signed up I used the web interface exclusively, solely due to the simple fact that no one was walking around with laptops, smartphones or tablets at that point in time. The connected future was not yet upon us. But guess what, things change, and if service driven software companies don’t change with the times, sadly they too are relegated into the past. Working for a software company myself, I know this only too well. We have to constantly keep our eye on the market and predict where it is going to move, how the demographic is going to change, what we might need to build into the product to address market demands etc. Evolution, not revolution is a staple of the game. Revolution is a distant cousin always more than welcome to the party, but rarely turning up.

So I wonder, whilst Yahoo! went on to become one of the top 3 e-mail providers in the world in 2011 according to comScore, did Yahoo! take into account or understand the importance of this service to its end-users? Did they see their e-mail service as a valuable part of their product offerings? Did they understand that having over 200 million users worldwide is quite a valuable thing to have. Well, simply put, I doubt it. I think the company lost all vision at some point in time, or at least had no clear vision steering them to a specific goal. Instead they rested up on their laurels and went into cruise control.

They changed their classic web interface in 2005, which many complained about, but I lived with just fine. Sure it lost a few features the classic interface had, but overall it was still a very solid web-based e-mail client. They did not alter anything to do with the client again until 2010. 2010 I hear you say, wow, that’s a long time to sleep on existing technology considering the iPhone, admittedly a market changer, was released in the year 2007. Didn’t Yahoo! want to address this new demographic of always online users. Again, I don’t think so.

Yahoo! mail integrated into the iPhone ok using the default iPhone mail client, but was very slow and unreliable. Let’s not forget that before this, Yahoo! wanted to charge you for a premium account if you wanted to use their mail as a POP or IMAP account in conjunction with an e-mail client such as Outlook. Sometimes the mail was received, sometimes it was successfully sent, then again, sometimes not. An unreliable mail client is essentially worthless, let’s get this one thing straight. When you send an e-mail, you want to be certain that the targeted recipients are receiving said e-mail. At around this point in time I started using my own domain-based webmail as my default e-mail client since I simply couldn’t rely on Yahoo! any longer to deliver and receive my e-mail with 100% confidence.

And surprise, surprise. If their e-mail service was any indicator, the company was in trouble. And true to that, Yahoo! was going through a hard time. They had lost a LOT of users, and had hacked away at the workforce in an attempt to remain profitable, unfortunately to little or no avail. About the only outcome of these cost saving measures was poorer service, which in turn equalled the loss of more customers. You can see where this is going right?

Well let’s fast forward to today. Yahoo! took onboard Marissa Mayer, a former Google executive in the hope that she would turn around this failing company and lead them to salvation. And to some degree she has. According to comScore, during July 2013 Yahoo! surpassed Google on the number of United States visitors to its Web sites for the first time since May 2011, set at 196 million United States visitors, having increased by 21 percent in a year. But does this really tell us anything about the backbone of services they provide? As I think we all realise by now, large companies such as Yahoo!, Google, Apple, IBM and more recently to the game, Facebook and co., buy up smaller, emerging software companies to stay on top of their game. So did the purchase of Tumblr, Flickr, and other such companies by Yahoo! influence this result? You’re damn right it did! And does it point to the fact that they are improving the backbone of services they have always provided? No, and sadly if it does, then it was a very misguided effort. For example, their latest UI overhaul design introduced to users in October 2013 was met with heavy criticism due to its layout and usability.

Can you imagine if you had so many millions of users all logging on to your home page occasionally to access their webmail? The power of having this audience alone is unfathomable, laughable is not knowing what to do with it, and not realising the value.

A brief history of what has made me move away:

  • Yahoo! passwords hacked: 2014, 2012, 2011, 2010…the list goes on
  • Yahoo! passwords leaked: 2013, 2012
  • My personal e-mail account hacked 2014, 2011
  • Various mail outages whereby mail was not at all accessible, the last being in December 2013
  • Not compatible with the Apple mail client in OSX causing huge e-mail woes
  • Terrible performance, maybe an e-mail will arrive on the same day
  • Terrible UI in the 2013 web-based tool, only 50 e-mails searchable per page
  • Searching fails with errors half the time
  • Legitimate e-mails being classed as spam regardless whether you have put them in a safe sender list

So in short, I am sick of the crap from Yahoo! I want a web-based e-mail client that is always accessible, no matter how I am accessing it. Always reliable, no matter where I am. Always safe no matter where I am accessing it from. It is 2014, surely one of the nets biggest e-mail providers can manage that, can’t they? Well, rather sadly it seems a big, fat, NO! So I am moving to Google, they have a beautifully integrated migration tool that imports all my e-mail from Yahoo! into Google and can collect all e-mail being sent to Yahoo! for 30 days. So it is so long to Yahoo!, it has been a good ride, but you have become the rock and not the water. And in this age of almost unlimited choices, I have to leave sentimentality out of the game and let you go. We shared many good times, and many bad times. You were my knight in shining armour that came to rescue me in 2002 from the harrows of Hotmail (remember the time where if you hadn’t logged into your Hotmail account for more than 7 days your e-mail account was deactivated and you lost all e-mails attached to that account? And this was in a time when not many people had internet connections, let alone online devices).

But those times are long ago.

And your armour has long since been pierced.

May you rest in peace!

A (very) brief photo journal in memory of you:

Ordered: MacBook Pro Retina display

Yes, I pulled the plug as soon as I decided to get rid of the iMac and kiss goodbye to that piece of fruit forever…..an Apple or a Lemon…..I’ll let you be the judge of that. Na, screw it, I’ll be the judge, it is/was a freaking lemon.

So, I ordered a BTO (built to order) MacBook Pro Retina display with all the good bits. 16GB of RAM, 512GB SSD, 2.7GHz Ivy Bridge Core i7 CPU etc. But now I am in constant fear that my delivery will arrive with one of the plagued displays from LG that I will only have to return…as decribed on the Apple forum here: MacBook Pro Retina display burn-in?

That will really piss me off, I mean, it takes freaking 2 weeks for the thing to get built, shipped, and get to me. If I have to send it back then again I won’t have a machine for another 2 weeks. Actually, this week is the first week in a very long time that I don’t have a computer sitting in my room. I mean sure, it’s not like I don’t still have my mac mini in the living room or my iPhone, so I am not completely out of touch, but it is a little weird. I’ve found I’m going to bed somehow a lot later than usually.

So sorry to all who haven’t heard from me for a while via e-mail, the iPhone can only do so much so easily, and work is super chaotic at the moment. Therefore, when I get home I really don’t have much of a chance to tell all of you how much I love you other than picking up the phone, and if you’re on the other side of the world that is somewhat of a problem……3am phone-call anyone?