Tag Archives: Ranting

Android: What are Google going to do with PIM?

From the early days of palm-top devices, through early smartphones like the Nokia Communicator, and up to all the iPhones, Androids and BlackBerrys of today, what the serious users have been looking for has always been PIM: Personal Information Management. They are looking to have their email, calendar, contacts and notes available at all times, on a small portable device. Indeed, as am I. I have been using my Nokia N95 for a couple of years now, and there really is something to be said for having my calendar with me at all times, just by the virtue of carrying my phone.

So what have Google done with Android? They’ve put Google Mail, Google Calendar and a Contacts synchronization to Google Mail in their fine mobile operating system, which goes some of the way. They have also, I am told, put in a regular IMAP client, for those people who don’t use Google Mail, for instance for corporate email. But, it seems, the fun ends there.

There’s no direct support for SyncML, and nothing, it seems, for Exchange. Sure, you can go through Google Calendar for your calendar syncs, and I presume you can forward your mail to Gmail – if your corporate policy permits that. But when it comes to direct sync for third party providers, no luck.

It’s starting to look a bit like what some of us have criticized Apple’s software for doing: If you don’t use it like Steve Jobs does, you’re out of luck. In this case though, even more so: If you don’t buy into Google’s services, no luck with Android’s default apps.

So someone could just develop a sync adapter for the built-in calendar. The source is available under the Apache license, so why not? Here’s why: Google have stated that the API for the built-in Calendar is not public and not going to be for 1.6 or 2.0, which leaves a worrying question: Are Google only going support their own services from the base OS?

It’s certainly not completely unthinkable, as Android has been hailed as an open platform, so anyone can just code a Calendar app, right. Right? Well, maybe. But selling smartphones with no proper PIM solution for anything else than a single provider doesn’t seem like a viable business to me, and I really do hope Google make up their mind to do things differently, and support direct over-the-air synchronization with SyncML, CalDav or even Exchange systems.

Memopal: Avoid!

The recent post I made about Mozy received a few comments, concerned with a piece of software called Memopal. Akismet identified one of them as spam, but the other one got through. Looked pretty much like a regular comment:

I’ve read on Wikipedia about remote backup and I tried some services, but the only one I bought is Memopal.

Memopal offers a search engine online that helps me find archived documents in few seconds. Some Competitors have a search engine too but it’s very slow and usually it is not online.
Memopal is online storage, online backup and file sharing services into one product.

Memopal saves all versions of my documents. Moreover I have two computers, desktop ad laptop, and I can install Memopal on both buying only one license. It’s great!

But googling it, it’s completely identical to something posted elsewhere, namely here, at the end of last week.

The other comment was more of the same, and had been posted in a bunch of different places by a character name of “michelle79″.

Memopal: Don’t post spam comments. It’s really bad publicity, and makes you seem like scammers and cheats. I certainly wouldn’t want to buy any license from you, if that’s the sort of marketing strategies you employ.

Mozy: Privacy an illusion?

One of my friends, Søren, posted a post yesterday about the backup-system Mozy, that he had been using for his mac. Apparently, the software is just great, but this isn’t what concerns him.

Looking at the Mozy privacy statement, they have the regular reassuring bit:

We will not sell or market the email addresses or other collected personal information of registered Users to third parties.

We will not view the files that you backup using the Service.

We may view your file system information (file extensions, sizes etc. but not your file contents) to provide technical support.

That’s all fine. The part that worries Søren is this:

Mozy, Inc. may disclose Personal Data, including the data you back up with the Service, with or without notice (a) if required by a subpoena or other judicial or administrative order, (b) where required by law, or (c) at our sole discretion, where we deem it necessary to protect the safety of any individual or the general public or to prevent violation of our User Agreement or the rights of Mozy, Inc. or any third party.

Points (a) and (b) are obvious. Mozy’s privacy statement would of course have no effect over the requirements of the law – while it may still worry people outside the US, it’s not really something that can be a surprise to anyone. The strange bit comes at (c). Mozy may disregard the privacy closes at their sole discretion. Basically, they’ve written up these nice privacy statements, but may choose to ignore them if they so wish.

Come on now – you can’t be serious? Apparently, according to someone who seems to be an employee, they are. The post doesn’t mention the last of the three clauses, though, but merely the cases of administrative order – which neither Søren nor I are trying to contest. Since when have Mozy become the protectors of the public, though?

Søren wrote a reply post, which I think you should read. I will be keeping an eye on this case, as I think it’s quite interesting to see if Mozy can come up with any explanation for wanting to give themselves the power to start protecting the public from their users.

Update: Søren also posted a comparison of various privacy policies. Good read as well.

Danish Embassy bombing

I weren’t going to write about this, and I apologize in advance for being a bit ranty. We probably all know what’s happened, and even though I have the deepest sympathies for the people hurt or killed, it could’ve been a lot worse.

But then a quote popped up in a Danish newspaper article, from The Post in Pakistan. I found the exact quote on their webpage:

While the radical elements in the Muslims world should use the language of logic instead of resorting to terrorism, the West must also understand that the freedom of expression is not a licence to hurt the sentiments of millions of people.

And just for the benefit of the people at The Post: Yes it is. Freedom of speech and expression is exactly that – a freedom. Posting something that’s forbidden by someone else’s religion surely cannot be reason enough to restrict this freedom, and while I understand and support the ideas of boycotts, protests and flag-burning, please stop trying to pressure our government into apologizing for something the country’s citizens do which is completely legal. They have no legal way to do that. If you want an apology, ask the people who’ve offended you. And don’t expect to get it.

Khaleej Times also posted an editorial, that takes a slightly differing view – they still put all the blame on “Denmark”, instead of where it rightly belongs, with Jyllands-Posten – but they also have the following bit:

Most unfortunate and unacceptable as this attack is, we can’t help notice the fact that none of those killed was a Denmark national or European. [...] This doesn’t mean if the victims included Danish or European citizens, the attack would be somehow justified. The point is such attacks always end up targeting innocent people — the people who have nothing to do with those the terrorists seek to punish and target.

Quite a clever observation, though not one I think the terrorists care much about. No matter what they write, though, their tone still seems to indicate that had only Danish people been killed, their outlook would have been a lot more positive. Scary.

To round it all off, sorry for the above post. I hadn’t planned on making it, but those few quotes got me going for a while. I’m not surprised at the attack, and I don’t think it’s the last one we’ll see. It’s expected, possibly even deserved, looking at what the Danish media have done to Islam. But that’s the price of freedom.

Climate care gone mad!

A Danish newspaper published a piece (in Danish) on their webpage today, detailing how the local council in the Danish capital city, Copenhagen, want to limit the amount of “green time” at intersections leading into the city, on days when there’s a lot of smog. The stated intent is to reduce particle and CO2 pollution, simply by measuring their air pollution and turning the lights red for longer when it reaches a certain limit.

Of course, the person in political charge of the project put a lot of emphasis on the supposed CO2 benefit, making it completely apparent that he hasn’t grasped thing one about CO2 emissions. Driving 10 miles with no traffic jam lets out far less CO2 than driving 10 miles with half an hour of queuing in the middle. People could turn off their engines, sure, but they’re not going to – the queue is likely to be moving ever so slightly once a minute, so turning off the engine would be a waste.

Sure, the particle situation in the inner city might improve. A little. But it’d get a lot worse for the people who’ve chosen to live out of town to get better air, and unless people’s habits change, and they start using public transport – yeah right – it’ll worsen the effect of the cars on the environment, not make anything better.

If you really want to make people use public transportation, improve that, and make it more reliable, instead of just trying to make the potential users’ lives miserable. If public transportation isn’t worth switching to from your car – then that’s because it simply isn’t good enough!

NVIDIA and their crappy drivers

I upgraded to the latest drivers for my otherwise lovely NVIDIA 8800GTS graphics card. And of course, it had to break something, didn’t it? This time, it made video playback do a lot of tearing, due to the (sudden) lack of vertical sync support for regular DirectX playback. I think I’ve managed some settings for my player that sort of minimizes it, but it’s bloody annoying that NVIDIAs idea of quality control seems to be closing their eyes and ears to avoid listening to their users, and just releasing more crappy “updates” that break more than they fix.

I shan’t be buying any more of their hardware.