New Day, New Toys

Aside

Some new things I learned today. Day’s you learn something new are good days, right?

New Publishing Platform (this is written here)
Storify could do with some tweeks, but by god it’s an easy platform to publish using compared to wordpress 🙂
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August 31, 2011
How Authors & Publishing Professionals Can Use Storify – GalleyCat

By Jason Boog on August 25, 2011 2:23 PM Social networks help writers, readers and publishers share stories instantly, but they don’t help us archive those stories for future reading. The Storify platform will help you quickly preserve everything from Twitter posts to photographs to YouTube videos to news stories on a simple, informative page.
Recently discovered Twitter client for iPhone makes me effusive
@Cacotopos @swoodgate nods, vigorously
franksting
August 31, 2011
Tweetbot 1.5 offers mute filters, direct message emails, more

Tweetbot, the powerful US$2.99 Twitter app from Tapbots, has been updated to version 1.5. The new version has added a number of features that are sure to please current users and entice other Twitter fans to give the app a try.

The perks of working with the guys who do an online Music store. New Tunes:

Thomas Dybdahl. Discuss.
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August 31, 2011
(2011) | iziMusic – Blog
Photo by images.izimusic.net on google
“]
Jeff Bridges album Sounds like it was recorded in his bathroom while on the can with a T Bone Burnett soundtrack over the top
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August 31, 2011
Apple are the best example of iterating features. I never used Spaces and rarely used Exposé. Mission Control is Spaces done right, and easier to use than Exposé.

Now when does it drop onto iOS?
oh look I just discovered what happened to Spaces in OSX Lion. #fuckyeahmissioncontrol
franksting
August 31, 2011
Apple – Mission Control – A bird”s-eye view of everything.

Mission Control brings together Exposé, Dashboard, Spaces, and full-screen apps to give you one place to see and navigate everything running on your Mac. Get a bird’s-eye view of all the open windows and apps on your Mac.
Which leads me to some new kit. Now I just need to convince the financial institution (aka wife)
Convinced. Don’t need an iPad. Want a macbookAir instead.
franksting
August 31, 2011
The New, Faster MacBook Air with OS X Lion – Shop Apple Notebook Computers

Whether this is your first Mac or your fifteenth, knowledgeable Specialists are available to answer all your questions even before you’re ready to buy. They don’t work on commission, so you can rest assured their goal is the same as yours: finding your perfect Mac.

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You’re not a journalist, you just sell Newspapers

Former News of the World editor Paul McMullan admitted to Steve Coogan they published dross in order to fund real invesitgations. Are Fairfax also compromising themselves with their equal reliance on clicks, eyeballs and advertisers driven by linkbait like today’s Steve Jobs “story” by Julian Lee?

I finally caught up with the ABC’s Four Corners Hackgate show “Bad News this week.

Bad News

By Reporter Sarah Ferguson and Producer Michael Doyle For more than five years Rupert Murdoch and his most trusted executives told the world that a rogue reporter and a rogue private detective were responsible for hacking phones for the News of the World.

I found myself offended by Paul McMullan while watching. I couldn’t figure out why (and before you say it, it wasn’t because of that hideous scar he seems to have developed on his face in the past few weeks). So I searched his name and came up with this:

Appreciate the need for a broad church of knowledge #4Corners but Paul Mcmullan? Insider yes? Defender? Absolutely. http://t.co/cn0kPj7
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August 30, 2011

Didn’t you just want to hear it was Steve Coogan, a victim of Murdoch’s Minions and #hackgate, who left that scar on his face?

Anyway, #hackgate has been done over, but Four Corners has a lot to answer for. Keeping me up late last night meant I got to see the Midnight drop of stories on to some of the local “news” sites.
Among them a piece on the hideously misnamed SMH.com.au. When Fairfax decided to use the well regarded Sydney Morning Herald branding as the brand for their online presence, who knew that one day the result would be akin to the New York Times using the entire content of the New York Post for their website.
Even when Mike van Niekerk from Fairfax celebrated their intentions to dumb down their offerings some years ago on Mediawatch, I wasn’t fully aware of how bad it would get:

But I digress, we already know the articles of Journalism at Fairfax have become few and far between in recent years. There’s been plenty written illustrating that in recent years (Google and Crikey are your friend if you want to find them).

This morning was all about their ex-Marketing editor, the fact Steve Jobs still attracts headlines and it’s cheap to drive hits to your site if you recycle old stories about Apple.
It was expected journalism failures would look for any Steve Jobs angle to drive clicks. The SMH connects his resignation to…
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August 30, 2011
…Apple’s “toxic” products. If coal miners who strip the land & pollute water got this type of negative coverage, there’d be uproar.
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August 30, 2011

Its pretty clear after all Jobs only abandoned Apple because they and they alone are responsible for our addiction to shiny things. Not to mention the pain and suffering Apple alone cause at Chinese Manufacturing and in the Jungles of the Congo where they mine rare earth metals for Mobile circuitry.

But the objective of the piece wasn’t to do any research or any journalism, it was clearly just

As Steve Coogan said about Paul McMullan: “You aren’t a journalist, you just sell newspapers”: http://t.co/cn0kPj7
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August 30, 2011

So my advice to Fairfax is, rather than publishing such navel gazing idiocy, better:

If @brandstand and his ilk like to soul search their “addiction” to “shiny things”, can’t they take it to their own blog or turn Luddite?
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August 30, 2011

and

If Fairfax are serious about investigating the impact our addiction to “shiny things” has on the world, they’d be spending $ on a one.
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August 30, 2011

One where they would send journalists to the manufacturing hubs, the mining centres and the supply chains. I’m sure Greenpeace or other NGO’s in the space would be happy to partner with them.

But that costs money and while it’s been investigated, won’t drive them clicks. And more importantly it’ll probably scare off some of their advertisers.

Banners asking Michael Dell to clean up toxics

The hull of the new Rainbow Warrior III on dry ground at the Fassmer Shipyard in Berne. The ship is being prepared to be lifted into the water. The Rainbow Warrior is Greenpeace’s first purpose-built vessel, and will be officially launched in… Read more > The Greenpeace airship A.E.
Which as even Paul McMullan knows, modern media can’t do without
Advertisers Begin Abandoning ‘News of the World’ Over Allegations the Paper Had Hacked Milly Dowler’s Cell Phone | Adweek

Two businesses are reportedly reviewing their advertising relationships with the British tabloid News of the World in response to revelations that newspaper had hacked the cell phone of a missing 13-year-old girl who would later be found murdered.  The energy firm Npower became the first business to comment on the new round of allegations, a

With Steve Jobs gone, every dog has a bone for Apple’s new CEO

There’s a lot been written about Steve Jobs this week, so no doubt when he dies we’ll see about seven million times more. Which means, instead of the about 3 decent pieces out of 10 squillion published in some form or other so far as he left Apple this week, we’ll have about 10 out of 42 quentagajillion posts. Insert real numbers as required.

Today I got to think some more about a post on the Steve. I hope one day it will be post 10 squillion and one on his resignation. Assuming I ever get it written and commit it to bits and bytes on this here blog.

I got time to think today because I was using a belt sander on my deck. It’s that time of the year – make sure the deck is in good nick for Summer. I am middle class dad and all. As you know there is nothing like a bit of noisy work to help you contemplate and construct ideas which have been bouncing around in your head for a while. After all I can’t hear the stereo over the belt sander without also sharing it with the Suburb. The NEXT Suburb. So discarding stupid thoughts seems like as good a thing to do while the 230 dB or so from my birthday present deafens the neighbours.

I don’t know who Bob Sutton is, but I think he could do with an afternoon with the good old belt sander. (Bob, if you’ve got time, half my deck still needs doing. Seeing as your Twitter account is called “Work Matters”, I assume you’d be well up to come and do some sanding with my trusty Makita sometime.) You see if Bob did do some sanding – or any noisy work, he might’ve taken the time to discard about two thirds of his 2,500 word blogpost on “Apple” after Steve today.

Bob seems to be one of these business coaches. Probably a gun, gets paid 2,500 US Pesos a day to tell you what you already know, flies around the world, publishes books. All the “getting things done” stuff the rest of us forget about. You know the one the CEO says we need to get in to help us move forward and such. Unlike me, Bob probably publishes about 5,000 words a day inspired by whichever story is in the news related to his blog. Being able to quickly colour a template which ordinarily promotes him, his colleagues or most likely one of his books can garner hugh amounts of clicks if you include whatever today’s keyword or talking point is in the headline or leading paragraph.

To save you from reading Bob’s post I have compiled a short summary.

It is essentially Template #754: tips for the Senior Manager. Which could alternately be published as: “Five mistakes your business might make when it is at the top.”

The changes from the Template are in this order:

  • Insert Apple for “Business”
  • Insert Steve Jobs for “Founder who has left at some point”
  • Insert random snippets picked up related to Apple and Steve Jobs in your 25 Management career
  • Change context of Headline to make it look like this is already happening
  • Edit the default “five mistakes” so they appear to be ones Apple might make (Ignore of course recent history telling Bob they are unlikely ever to be made at Cupertino)
  • Speculate
  • Keep Speculating

It was warm and cosy for your brain if you don’t read much about business, I guess. As an application to consult for Apple’s board and new CEO, it’s about 2,200 words too long.

If you really want to read a witty and insightful piece on Steve Jobs and Apple, start with this Playboy article. It’s quite a lengthy piece, so if you want a quick take, Mark Pesce’s short history at the ABC is a good primer. If you want to read about Apple’s economics and how they appear to be going as a business, you’d want to start at Asymco of course

Soon I hope you come back to read what I think about Steve. Maybe once I’ve finished the sanding.

Bob, can you lend me a hand?

Link

Motorola’s overall mobile phone market share declined 3 percentage points, from 12 percent in Q2 2010 to 9 percent in Q2 2011. The company’s share of the smartphone market also declined from 15 percent to 12 percent. Motorola’s year-over-year unit share of Android OS sales halved from 44 percent in Q2 of last year to 22 percent in Q2 of 2011, as Samsung and LG both experienced substantial gains.

via The NPD Group: As Android Solidifies Lead, Google Acquisition Has Potential to Revitalize Flagging Motorola.

The piece uses an Andy Rubin quote to claim Motorola has great opportunity in Prepaid Smartphone Market. As do Samsung and LG, I assume – both of whom have had huge YoY growth in the space.

Link

The Next Web are reporting that when HP tested webOS on an iPad. It ran over twice as fast as on the Touchpad:

before the HP’s TouchPad tablet and Pre smartphones were even released, everyone within the webOS team “wanted them gone”…when webOS was loaded on to Apple’s iPad device and found to run significantly faster than the device for which it was originally developed.

If the WebOS people knew this was going to be a dog, why wasn’t the product delayed until they had hardware they felt was worthy of their efforts? I can only imagines the Product Owners were cornered into meeting the rest of the businesses demands and these issues were sidelined in order to meet the forecast marketing and supplier plans.

I’ve written before about deciding fast and understanding sooner, but this is ridiculous.

If they made the decision one quarter sooner, HP could’ve dropped a couple of million in penalties from pulling out of Marketing and other agreements and saved themselves a whole lot of embarrasment.

And perhaps still had to opportunity to create a third platform in the iPad segment of the Mobile Computing market.

Interesting Infographic on Mobile Security Threats

Aside

– You are now two and a half times more likely to download an Malware ridden App than last year

– In July Lookout detected more Malware than in the Entire Calendar year of 2010

The Official Lookout Blog | A Mobile Menace: Trends in Mobile Threats Infographic.

Some good tips on how to find out if your phone is infected as well

On the Patents of Motogoo

…if Motorola’s patent portfolio were really that dangerous, Apple would have settled quickly, not dragged out patent countersuits of its own. Apple settled with Nokia pretty quickly, and Nokia, like Motorola, has patents primarily in network technology, not the kind of usability and OS technologies Apple has the most strength in…

Daniel Eran Dilger rarely holds back at Roughly Drafted. And even if he is being objective (read the even more dismissive commentary in the full article), those who he describes as “deciding Google’s strategy”will go “ha, fanboy” and ignore what he writes.

So lets see what everyone else is saying. Nilay Patel at This is my next makes an interesting point that perhaps the Motorola patents might be more valuable in the Google v Oracle Battelfront of The Great Patent War of 2011:

…Oracle case is probably the most significant to the Android ecosystem right now, and it’s also the one in which Google is doing the most poorly…Motorola owns plenty of patents on networking and video encoding as well. That’s the sort of easy cross-license that makes sense, but it all depends on whether Oracle decides it stands more to gain from collecting license fees from Android or more to lose from a Motorola patent lawsuit.

I haven’t been able to find any evidence of any knowledgeable patent lawyers clarifying the quality of Motorola’s patents yet. I imagine that commentary will come later. If you were a Google shareholder, though, you’d have to be happy that the experts had done their collective jobs and found a few tasty ones in the Motorola portfolio. Which they’d be happy to welcome into the “defence of Android” in this Great Patent War of 2011.

If you were a shareholder, though, you might get a bit nervous when you read this (albeit unvalidated) comment from a former member of staff who claims he worked with their patents:

…having worked with Motorola patents for many years as a Member of the Technical Staff, I can assure you that of the 17,000 Google has gotten their hands on, no more than 5 or 10 are worth anything….

I’m not sure if Standard and Poor’s are allowed to be trusted again, but they sure don’t rate the buy as helping increase the value of the stock:

despite MMI’s extensive and valuable patent portfolio, we are not sure it will protect Android from IP issues. We also believe the purchase of MMI would negatively impact GOOG’s growth, margins and balance sheet

Whatever happens, the next 18-24 months are going to interesting. How long the Great Patent War drags on might just depend on how good a buy this Motorola deal is for Google and their business.

For David Murray and the Future Fund, when does the “Future” arrive?

Having just returned from the UK and Ireland, the ongoing narrative in this country about “debt” and it’s impact on this economy seems as foolish as the US Government’s” stoush over debt ceilings this week.

Lets remind ourselves. While the previous Liberal government was swimming in it thanks to a perfect storm of positive local and global factors what did it do? It correctly paid down national debt yet encouraged the rest of us to gorge ourselves on private debt. So we did. While it sold assets and invested with no apparent strategic logic in mind, we needed no encouragement to lumber ourselves with Assets – though a tax system which encouraged negative gearing and the like in order to “minimise tax” helped those with some regular income and spare cash no end.

That government has been followed by one which lost it’s backbone early on. And which feels the need to align with prevailing sentiment that Government debt is bad. This is no doubt due to the impacts of the GFC & the uncertain times since plus their fear of challenging the demands of the three year election cycle (or weekly if you watched the polls).

You might recall the spare cash which the then Liberal Government got from selling off the rest of one its most valuable assets was put into a piggy bank called the Future Fund. When it was created, the Australian Government was rolling in tax revenues and couldn’t barrel enough pork in their marginal electorates to spend all the goodies which came from the sale. So they gave it to a banker to take care of.

David Murray is the head of the Australian Future Fund. David of course as a former head of Australia’s most loved bank knows plenty about money and how to make it. In the 5 years since he has taken on the job he has been adequately rewarded by the public purse, though the amount he is paid is unclear from the most recent annual report (note 6).

Today on ABC Radio, Mr. Murray as a respected expert on financial markets, gave a wide ranging interview on the current investment environment in light of global events. While the headlines were exaggerated, much of what he said made sense, especially they parts about Government investment decisions being political and us needing to be careful about our own where they may be affected by changes in Government. On the other hand I found his linking of Australian Private and Public Debt together and calling it “too high” without context and comparison with similar countries annoyed me intensely.

What David Murray failed to mention when bundling Australian Public and private debt together was how Australian Public debt as a percentage of GDP is one of the lowest in the world.

Australia: A Haven of Green in a Forest of Red Ink

Even the Wall Street Journal advises Australia that we could quite easily increase the Debt to GDP ratio to invest in our Economy! If, as the narrative goes, and which Mr. Murray failed to use a opportunity to correct, we are struggling then someone better tell the Japanese, Spanish, British, Americans and Italians to surrender to their collective fates.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness report,  “Access to Financing” is the number one challenge for executives doing business in Australia. Align that to the Number 4 item of Inadequate supply of Infrastructure and that the quality of our Ports, Electricity Supply and Air Transport are ranked extremely poorly – all privately owned and run assets – seems to point to a pretty obvious set of investment priorities for those $8 Billion in cash or even some of the $25 Bn in Equities currently held.

Thankfully for us, David, as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of an organisation which at last report had $67 Billion in Assets under its management is going to invest that taxpayers money for us so that, you know, we have Infrastructure and an Innovative Economy that will power out of any possible upcoming downturn. But if they do, it’ll be a change. As of June 2010 the future fund had a grand total of 4.5% invested in Infrastructure. Up from 2.2% in 2009 at least. A whopping $1 Billion more. In a year where they reduced Cash on hand by $14 Billion, around $10 Billion went into equities. Of those Infrastructure Investments, just 39% is in Australian assets. No doubt once we see the 2011 report, that mix will change. But by much? There’s nothing to point to that.

David and his fellows might tell you the Building Australia Fund is where the funds for investing in Australian Infrastructure mainly comes from, and they’d be right – if we are talking about Public Investments. However, what’s to stop David Murray, the Board of the Future Fund and it’s investment managers from deciding that in 2011/12, as long as they don’t compromise their Legally Bound Investment Mandate from Investing in Commercial entities who wish to invest in creating and improving Australian commercial Assets?

While Murray gives us advice to be careful in this volatility, I say he should be doing the opposite. I believe now is the Future and its time for the money which was taken from citizens – both directly in the form of taxation and indirectly by selling off assets – to be invested in Australia by David Murray and the Future Fund. Our Future and that of our children might just depend on it.

After the Arab Spring are we seeing the English Summer?

I was in London a couple of weeks ago. I love London, I love how you can get lost in it. I love how easy it is to get around it and how easy it is to get into it, if you live nearby.

I love how it is about 40 cities in one with 500 cultures to match.

I love how, from afar everyone has an opinion on it. And it is always different.

Moody St. Pauls Cathedral

Just like a myriad suburbs of Sydney, there are parts of London which wouldn’t attract me. I’m not saying that’s just Croydon, Clapham or Tottenham, but I’ve never been to them and many others – and have never needed to.

Just like a billion and one people, I’ve looked on the last few days with a mix of awe, sadness, cheer (for the cleaning crews epitomised by #riotwombles) and concern.

Reading the news while I was there, it was clear that many so-called communities live on knife edges. When you live so close to the bone, a tipping point is often never far away. Most often governments and social services help those communities stay on the edge. In times of trouble they allow them to fall off knowing that if the response is as we’ve seen this week in England and recently in Egypt it is easy to point the finger at the troublemakers, hoodies and thugs.

I’ve got little sympathy or those who trash their own communities, but spontaneous bad behaviour by those who grow up without a plan or any responsibilities shouldn’t be unexpected should it? Especially when they’ve seen their fellow Blackberry users in the “City” take no responsibility for gambling away the countries future and their opportunities. Thanks to a government which has no problem repeatedly bailing their mistakes out.

I’m not alone in being concerned this initially isolated incident has, albeit sporadically, spread quickly to other parts of the UK. That’s symptomatic of a larger problem, not quickly resolved. If I were the government and police forces over there, I’d be hoping this isn’t going to turn into another Tunisia. Look how that started after all.