Owened

Perpetually in search of what’s next. Marketing + Code at Hoist Apps and Writing @ The Next Web

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New Zealand government attempting to quickly allow spy agency to intercept communications of the public

I usually exclusively write about technology and my personal life on this blog but today I’m delving into a little bit of politics. A topic which I know nothing about but am growing gravely concerned with. Despite the fact that a very public uproar is that’s going on in the world about the NSA’s illegal spying activities, something strange is brewing in New Zealand. We’re cosying up with the US and punishing our public for it and are about to enact the same kind of draconian law that the US has been using to spy on their people.

We’re trying to copy a nation that fears its own population. and treats them like terrorists where instead the government should fear the people.

NZ is adopting US laws and attitudes towards people and behaviors within our country when it’s clear that our situation is completely different from that of theirs. There are...

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Leaving Facebook was the best thing I’ve ever done

Almost two weeks ago after much back and forth in my head, I deleted my Facebook. It was a hard decision, despite it being easy enough to press the delete button. A handful of things I use rely on it – like Spotify – which had held me back from deleting it for a long time.

I’ve almost constantly been asked why I’m leaving Facebook so I figured I’d write a post about it. Over time, it seems that the social network has evolved from having a network of friends who all created content, statuses and shared photos to a network of friends who passively use the social network. A better word for this would be “stalking.”

While stalking doesn’t bother me in the slightest (if it didn’t I wouldn’t have a very public Twitter profile), it bothered me that I was becoming one of these passive users. My Facebook activity seemed to be along...

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iOS 7 isn’t bad, change is just difficult

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Over the last two weeks the internet has been an endless stream of shit throwing and increasingly negative blogs about iOS 7 and how the OS could have been designed better.

Everyone who is a designer or wanted to be a designer has been putting up either their own “fixed” iOS 7 concepts online or a blog pointing out their mistakes and gushing about how Apple has done wrong. For an example of what I’m talking about here, Gigaom collected a range of reactions from around the internet from people who were clearly upset Apple never consulted them about it.

Before WWDC, there was endless complaining that iOS had become boring and stale, that Apple had to change the entire OS to save themselves. Now, within minutes of seeing/installing the early iOS beta, many are declaring it “too confusing” and “too far in the other direction.” Both of these...

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Why can’t Microsoft get their products right on the first try?

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If you follow the news closely enough, you might notice that Microsoft tends to follow a product cycle along the lines of:

  1. Announce product
  2. Realize product isn’t catching on (or there are lots of complaints), make changes and improve product to state it should have been on day one
  3. Release fixed product after large amount of time has elapsed

When we take a look at various products across the company this seems to be quite true. For example, Windows Phone 7:

  1. Announce Windows Phone 7. No multitasking despite all competitors having it, no application fast resume. No major applications that competitors have. No turn by turn directions. No front-facing camera.
  2. Realize that customers are holding out is because many of these features are on competitors' hardware. Announce massive update for Windows Phone that ‘solves’ the problem.
  3. Take a long time to release fixes,...

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Post-Touchscreen

I knew about the Leap Motion before today, but I hadn’t seen this advertisement. If Microsoft’s vision of the future is touch-screen based computing, then this technology has just one-upped the company.

It’s like Minority Report, without the gloves and complicated accessories. An even better direct comparison is a intensely sensitive Kinect that takes only a tenth of the space.

The Leap Motion doesn’t replace the mouse or keyboard on your computer outright, but it certainly adds a new dimension to computing that touch doesn’t. Not only does it allow real world objects to become input devices (pencils, for example), you can quickly manipulate pages or data without touching anything at all. I could see this becoming the primary way we interact with computers in the future, with the fallback for long word processing and other tasks that can’t be done...

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Google Now shows up for iOS, highlights sad state of Android

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This morning, an update for the Google Search application on iOS was released by Google and along with it came Google Now. The predictive search feature has been available on Android for just under a year, but in that time, it’s only been able to reach a peak of 25% of all Android devices.

Unfortunately for Google they’ve had a fragmentation problem since the beginning of time with Android, making it hard to reach users when a new service is only available for Jellybean (4.1+). By releasing on iOS, they’ve effectively made the service available for up to 500 Million devices on day one.

Comparing that to Android shows a sad state of affairs. Eric Schmidt said late last year that there were around 480 Million Android devices out there at the time, meaning that if we assumed those numbers were current and Jellybean made up 25% of that install base, Google Now only had...

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Too busy consuming to create

I tweeted earlier today that I’ve been finding it hard to find things to write about lately because the blogging scene seems to be saturated with so much great content. I’ve been stuck on the thought that just adding to the noise is pointless, so why do it?

Then it hit me. Matt put it eloquently in reply to my grumbling:

I’m sure many that are reading this have experienced writers block at some point in their career. With so many great content creators online and such simple ways to surface killer content it’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that the thought/opinion that you have has already been voiced (or perhaps that it’s not worth voicing in the first place).

It’s easy to discard a completely valid opinion that could result in a well...

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Facebook Home hasn’t failed, it’s just getting started.

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As expected when something interesting is released, the posts begin to roll in about how it’s a failure. We’ve already got a ton of articles with titles like “steer clear of Facebook Home”, “Facebook Home suffering from poor Google Play reviews” and in traditional Forbes fashion “Why The Facebook Phone Will Fail and Why It Really Doesn’t Matter.”

I sometimes wish the media wasn’t so quick to jump to conclusions. Yes, historically a Facebook phone hasn’t panned out well. Yes, Microsoft apparently thinks they already did that. The thing about all of this is that none of these people are the target market.

If we look at this from the perspective of the Android community then yes, Facebook Home is a stupid idea because it dumbs down Android. But, for everyone else out there that doesn’t care about tinkering with...

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Windows Blue is how Windows 8 should have been from the start

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Microsoft has a bad habit of releasing an OS to the world – like Windows Vista – that’s rushed and not polished, just to meet deadlines. Vista would be the prime example of a “half-done” operating system that was directly improved on by a later iteration, Windows 7.

When Windows 8 was released, it was met with harsh criticism from those in the news business as well as the technology industry. Early reviews of Windows 8 slated the OS for having many missing features, inconsistencies and general “odd” usability issues. Here’s a handful of examples:

Technology Review:

It’s easy to find things that are wrong with Modern (which was called Metro in developer and early versions). For example, there are no overlapping windows, and there’s simply no way to put three or four applications on a single screen at the same time—even if your work...

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New Zealand finally gets 4G LTE

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That’s right, 4G LTE is now available in one New Zealand city with a few more to follow this year. It’s crazy fast, supporting throughputs of up to 90mbps and already supports LTE advanced devices (for whenever they’re released) with a total throughput of 140mbps. The above screenshot - taken by @johnreader last night on a Samsung Galaxy SIII should be enough to blow your pants off.

Disappointingly, there’s no Voice over LTE yet, but hopefully we might see that eventually. Amazing that Vodafone can release this a full year ahead of Telecom NZ who are only just starting trials.

Vodafone seems to think that the current data caps are more than enough (which are on average around 1GB) for 4G, which isn’t good news. Additionally, the company is charging an additional $10/month for access to 4G. That said, the company is launching with a decent few handsets...

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