Opinion: Flipping heck! Adobe Flash and HTML5 [Guest Post]

When we tried to kill our usage of Flipping Book document previews, I realised with horror that it’s more than four years since I declared in a podcast that Flash would be dead within eighteen months. Not only is it still here, but there’s no end in sight to the long tail of Flash.

And that long tail is causing us problems; as an independent publisher on the web, my current client is struggling not only with a reliable preview technology, but also wants to sell read-only resources via it’s website. Welcome to the digital realm… Continue reading

Opinion: Android Hacks and the Stagefright from Hell

Stagefright, Creative Commons, Gresham College via Vimeo

You may have read about the multiple-hack affecting Stagefright, the code in Android that plays back media in MMS (multimedia messages). An enterprising hacker (allegedly) needs only send an MMS containing the exploit to the phone number of an Android 2.2 or later device and Stagefright will write code to any part of that device for which it has permissions – with the potential to affect 950 million, yes million, Android phones.

Whilst it is in theory quite easy to upgrade your phone to the latest Android (off-brand Chinese phones excepted), the question is how many users of those 950 million (that are still in use) are actually capable of doing so? Even if you go to the right website to get the latest phone software, there are many obstacles to making those phones secure again.

Find the right site, identify your phone, download the software, read, study, backup your data (yes, you!) then cross your fingers as you flash the firmware and wait for the rising smoke from your handset. But don’t even attempt it until you’re absolutely certain you understand the instructions and follow them to the letter.

Easy. Continue reading

Opinion: Goodbye Google Plus

Google Plus: image Creative Commons by West McGowanIt’s true: Google is breaking it’s heavily embedded but failed social networking product Google Plus into separate products – Streams and Photos, new head of Social Bradley Horowitz announced on Google+ earlier this month.

It was telling that Horowitz didn’t specifically mention Google Plus, which pretty well signals the end of Google’s foray. Google Plus was supposed to be a one-stop shop for interactiing across all products and all users. Clearly the vision has changed. Continue reading

Windows 8 Divides – Part One

Windows 8.1 start screenMicrosoft has turned its face away from the enterprise and the stalwart ‘home’ user in an all-out bid for the hearts and minds of a new generation. And it’s not working. Did someone say ‘convergence?’

The battle lines are firmly drawn over Windows 8. On one side is the (dying) breed of PC professional who manages and maintains PCs. For them, the operating system is only a tool for getting the job done and the Not-Metro-Modern-UI interface gets in their way.

On the other side, casual user who uses their commodity PC to surf the Internet, send email, self-obsess on social media and play a few games. These folks don’t give a hoot about operating systems as long as the interface serves up some colourful, fat icons to click to get to an app. Everything these days is an ‘app.’

These folks don’t know the difference between Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer; to them Internet Explorer IS the Internet. Microsoft Office IS Microsoft Windows and file management is a pain. Continue reading

Opinion: Windows XP – Not Dead By a Long Way [Guest Post]

Windows XP desktopPost originally appeared at The Catling MindswipeOpinion: Windows XP – Not Dead By a Long Way by Robin Catling.

Updates for Windows XP will end in April 2014. Yet the venerable operating system that first appeared in 2001 still has a user base counted in the millions, thanks to Microsoft’s own ineptitude and miscalculation. After Vista’s spectacular failure cost credibility with enterprise customers and retail consumers alike, even Windows 7 couldn’t overcome the resistance to upgrade.

With the legacy of all those stable and mission-critical enterprise applications demanding compatibility, stability, and low cost maintenance, corporate customers refused to budge. Meanwhile in economic hard times, home users took one look at Windows 7 (and 8), found no compelling reason to shell out for another expensive software license and said ‘meh.’

So what happens next? Continue reading

How-to: Text-speak

Texting By Alton (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-3.0, via Wikimedia CommonsThe pollution of the English language continues apace (‘OMG, I sound like a member of the Academie Francais!’).

Text-speak and the Internet are driving the latest short-hand in verbal and written communication. Literal short-hand, I mean thumb-typing. You don’t get shorter hands than that.

You may think this is the End of th World as We Know It. Or you may marvel at the ingenuity with which we pack meaningful information, courtesy and etiquette into our messages.

Here follows a few examples. Feel free to use them in front of your kids for maximum embarassment. AJS Continue reading