An Apple a day….

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An Apple a day….Apple have this week been forced to pay out 32.5 million dollars to settle a legal complaint about the company’s practices that allowed children to make purchases in mobile apps without parents’ permission. Apple themselves are reacting positively to help in this matter as reported in the Daily Tech recently. Whilst not exactly agreeing in the ruling, Apple have decided not to fight it and doubtless they will revisit their in app purchase mechanisms to ensure that the issue is resolved once and for all.

Well, ……big sigh and roll of the eyes. What on earth is going on here? Where does this leave us in a world where digital devices are increasingly user friendly and accessible?  Imagine, for instance, a scenario where a young child makes an actual phone call and orders up a luxury suite in the Ritz for 2 nights on his mother’s credit card. Who is responsible for allowing that transaction? The phone company for allowing this misuse of the phone? Or the credit card company for facilitating a payment via phone by a minor masquerading as their parent?  What if a young person accidentally cuts their finger off whilst opening a particularly tricky packet of crisps? The knife manufacturer surely should have safeguarded against that…or wait, how about we task the crisp manufacturer with taking a more responsible approach to packaging, ensure that its impossible to cut yourself whilst using scissors.

The ruling against Apple is one which seems to forget the role of the responsible adult. In this case the adult who had purchased the smart phone or tablet which has facilitated the act of purchasing some game add ons. The adult in this case who should be providing a moral grounding to the child and explaining that in app purchases are a “no no”. or more realistically ….. perhaps these in app elements can be purchased occasionally on a one by one permission basis….and on it goes. Those are the first few aspects we might expect a parent or a responsible adult to consider when handing over a connected device like that to a child.

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But crucially if a parental responsibility is too much effort  there are other methods to prevent the risk. For example:

Use the settings of their device set to prevent such purchases. Thats the end of the risk. The discussion need go not further. problem solved.

Talk to their children, explain the issue./Apply rules of use.Suggest that the Lock Down will happen if the rules are broken.  Hold on a moment…. I just need to find someone’s grandmother and teach them how to suck eggs.

We practise this sort of basic approach with animals. Pet shop owners do not have the “damned puppy” – they sold to little Freddie’s mother only last week- returned with complaints of  “he ruined my carpet” or “he messed my lawn”…why not? Because Freddie’s Mother  applies some common sense and realises that the dog is not in fact responsible for his misdemeanour’s. Maybe he will be after he has been trained…… but even then the sensible approach would not be to hold the dog to account because…. the pet owner has the task of teaching the pet to avoid chewing the carpet or digging the grass. Hey ho…..

It would be great to know the logic that leads to the ruling against Apple. Thoughts from our readers please?

 

Innovative App Launched by NHS

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Innovative App Launched by NHS

App Developers UK have developed a highly innovative new app on behalf of the NHS. The App is called Test Checker and it will tell clinicians which preoperative tests are recommended for adult surgical patients, according to the latest (June 2003) guidelines published by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK.

The app works by allowing the user to enter the grade of the surgical procedure together with the ASA grade of the patient, the system(s) of co-morbidity and the age of the patient. The app uses this information to produce of the recommended tests as well as other tests to consider.

The app does not override the individual responsibility of health professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patients.

Using a very simple design the app is deliberately designed to appeal to both the patient and their clinician.

The app is available as a Free App on both Google play and on the Apple App Store, this app is expected to be a really tremendous tool for hospital practitioners.

Find it Fix it Love it – Official Press Launch.

 

fifili press launch banners 2AppDevelopersUK recently released Find it Fix it Love it, a smartphone app created on behalf of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets (LBTH). This innovative app brings “people power” to the fore as it allows any member of the public to download a free app with which they can send positive or negative observations about their borough directly to their local authority. The LBTH team can assess the incoming submission and decide on appropriate actions. If there’s a broken paving stone, an upturned litter bit for instance, the appropriate service can be organised to tackle the issue.  On the other hand, if someone wants to report how much they like a particular flowerbed bench or other amenity, they can report this too. Everyone likes positive feedback and the LBTH is no exception.

We expect that this approach has added benefits of allowing the council to work in a highly efficient way, collecting useful information from the residents of the borough. In addition the feel-good factor between council and its residents is promoted because there is the sense of the local authority listening and acting upon news and information provided by its residents. The app enables a really useful channel of real communication to be developed with all participating residents. The app is available on both Apple and Google Play and the official press release is shown below.

Tower Hamlets Council launches Find it, Fix it, Love it App

Tower Hamlets Council has a new tool in its armory to further improve the appearance and maintenance of the borough in the shape of a new, innovative smart phone app, Find It, Fix It, Love It.

The Find it, Fix it, Love it app has been launched as part of the council’s commitment to making the borough an even cleaner and safer place to live, work or visit and will enable users to share what they love about the borough.
Through Find it, Fix it, Love it the council wants people to send pictures and share their thoughts of the many great aspects of the borough; anything from a special place or landmark, to a quirky shop or local character.

By using the app residents and visitors can also instantly tell the council about any issues that need addressing such as graffiti, fly tipping, broken play equipment, pot holes or over flowing bins.

Users simply take a picture of a problem and the app will pinpoint their location and send the details directly to the council’s environmental contractors, ensuring that problems are dealt with swiftly. The app also allows residents to highlight specific areas on the image or send comments and contact details if they want feedback, but this is optional, making the process very quick and simple.

Launching the app, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, said: “Find it, Fix it, Love it” is simple to use and an innovative reporting approach for issues. The app will also be great for showing what people love about the borough. There are so many good things in Tower Hamlets and it will be fascinating to see what people think are our hidden gems.”

Cllr Shahed Ali, cabinet member for the environment, added: “The reporting side of the app will enable us to efficiently and effectively deal with problems. I encourage residents to help with reporting issues as we can’t be in all places at all times. I’m excited by the potential use of the app and the role it can play in reducing costs and improving efficiencies in dealing with clean and green issues.”

Jamie Blake, Service Head, Public Realm, said: “Find it, Fix it, Love it has been developed to meet the reporting needs of the mobile generation. The app is unique as it focuses on the positives of the borough whilst also allowing users to report problems that may occur. The app will hopefully capture the imagination and allow us to build a unique picture of Tower Hamlets through the eyes of our residents and visitors to the borough as they tell us why they “love it.”

The app has proved popular during the pilot phase with over 100 reports being made to date.

Download the Find it, Fix it, Love it app for free at the Apple App Store or via Google Play, search for FiFiLi. For more information about using the Find it, Fix it, Love it app visit www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/clean.
October 23, 2013

Facebook Rules.

Facebook Facebook Rules.Or to put that another way, “The Rules of Facebook” are in the news.

Freedom 

 Facebook has a positive role to play in social development, and its provision of a useful international platform for the often unheard voices of the oppressed is arguable more valid than the posting of endless selfies(sic) and other banter which  entertain so many millions of  Facebook users. Many would be quick to say that as well as a platform for the voices from politically or socially oppressed societies of the world, Facebook also has a social responsibility to try its best to avoid enabling some negative social impacts from the materials which it hosts. The current issue is that FB says they wish to allow the posting of videos of a horrifically violent nature because that’s how freedom and democracy works best. And that they need to allow people to post and view what they want in order to allow the unheard people to be heard and to spread knowledge of their plight.  The underlying motive sounds laudable; most of us are in favour of freedom and unchaining the oppressed.

Consistency

FacebookBut if that argument was to be accepted, then Facebook should be allowing ALL violent, pornographic, oppressive images which are posted on its servers for viewing by the Facebook community (1.1 billion at March 2013 –  a sixth of the world’s population give or take). Some observers might wonder what God like abilities and moral authority do Facebook hold which allows them to choose to show a decapitation but not to show a rape? Which committee or individual is making this judgement?

Is not the decapitation, like rape, an event which includes at least one unwilling participant, the victim? So what’s the fine distinction being drawn between that horrific spectacle (for a spectacle it is – its not informing a viewer of anything is it? merely confirming what they already knew to be a heinous act of depravity). But well, what’s the valuation to be put on other human activities which are so often captured on mobile phones these days.  Let’s not list these but a few obvious ones may raise an eyebrow or two. For instance the activity of a paedophile perhaps ranks as not permissible, but wait a minute…….. then how can the act of chopping another humans head off be deemed acceptable to Facebook?  It’s not necessary to list the various atrocities which recent war zones have thrown up, never mind what goes on behind closed doors in many societies throughout the world, but we all know there have been many and varied types of actions one human on another which would not pass muster for general viewing. What finessing of judgement makes the act of beheading (in one case a man beheading a woman) any more palatable than other acts of extreme depravity?

Debate

All of the above is of course open to discussion in a civilized society extreme views are heard as well as more mainstream thinking. There’s no civilization since the start of mankind, throughout the great epochs of history that has been untainted by these acts and therefore no one is above or beyond it. But on a simple practical level why would we, as a civilized society wish to be exposed to these images? More importantly why would we want our children to be exposed to these things? Don’t adults have a duty to protect the young of society? Obviously they do. That’s a social responsibility which society recognizes and backs up with many laws and punishments for those who transgress.

No doubt there are high powered psychological reasoning which would explain the possible effects of exposure to these images…. but surely it’s obvious. A fleeting glimpse of such an act can leave a long lasting impression of a kind and with ramifications we cannot know. Ramifications which may never come to the surface or ones which cause depression, solicitude and other unhappy outcomes for an individual but which cannot be traced back to any singular reason or event (as hard as the many caring agencies may try).

All these are arguably a heavy cost to wider society. The pornography of violence is a known area of contention and what is the Facebook policy other than a channel for exactly that? There’s no valid information being passed, no underlying communication, no revolutionary cry to be passed through the actions unveiled on the Facebook website. So what is their point?

Opinion

All views and insights welcome. Drop me  a line.It would be interesting to hear from anyone who can throw light on the reason for Facebook allowing this when they do, as they have demonstrated if not  boasted, have the technical ability to disallow such postings?  The fact that some things are allowed and some are not is indeed a very inconsistent policy. Surely this is common sense. If so why not apply that common sense? Whats your opinion?

 

XploreGhana! App from AppDevelopersUK

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XploreGhana! App from AppDevelopersUK has just been released on both the Google Play and Apple app stores.

This is one of those apps that has been fun for our developers to work with. Its very simple and very useful for all those planning a trip to this fantastic country.  The app includes an RSS feed of news views and opinions about subjects relevant to the user. Rather than use further words describing it I will include a number of screenshots and a live link to both stores so that you can check it out for yourselves. It’s completely FREE to download.

Give it a try.XploreGhana!

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IFCS’s Foster Care App

IFCS’s Foster Care App - App Developers UK

IFCS’s Foster Care App - App Developers UK

Independent Foster Care Services have just released a smartphone app aimed at helping prospective foster carers.The iPhone app provides a valuable social service by bringing together various sources of information. These include pod casts of interviews, application forms and some tasters for the many training modules available.

The app gathers information for the user too, enabling the IFCS head office to make initial assessments and to follow up with appropriate individuals. Of course, the long term aim is to make Fostering a much less daunting process for those who have considered it. With this in mind the Advice Links are invaluable as in the general information about how to become a Foster Carer.

The look and feel of the app has been designed to be as straight forward as possible. The design is clean and navigation is completely intuitive with main menu features taking the user into each topic where a sub menu allows for further detail to be accessed. Here at App Developers UK we are proud to have been a part of this process and hope that by developing the app for IFCS we can help promote this service. If you know of anyone considering becoming a Foster Carer please point them in direction of the IFCS app
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The Google Bill Settler

going-dutchThe Google Bill Settler is upon us, well its coming soon anyway….

You know how awkward it can be at the point in a meal when the bill is produced.  There are 4 of you and one of you didn’t have a sweet, or was driving so had nothing to drink. So the bill comes in and everyone is wondering “how are we going to split this up fairly?”. Well its easy if you can all agree to work it out and add up the parts you are responsible for and pay accordingly. But, in fact that’s the socially awkward part because no one likes to point out that “hey, I only has a salad!”.  So somehow it ends up unfairly split either someone pays too much or someone else pays too little.

Our friendly and ever present master of the digital Universe, Google, has now addressed the problem, has filed a patent for the technology and is working to release a smartphone app which tracks payment transactions between a group and works out who owes what exactly after a joint activity be it a meal, taxi or holiday. What’s more it takes care of the messy business of transferring funds between the respective accounts of these people in the group. But o make it work there is still a need to input the amounts involved and assign them to a joint account which has been set up for the purpose. Let’s hope there are no bugs, that could be a recipe for disaster. Well in my opinion this could cause more problems than it may solve so not one for immediate download. It just moves the argument a little bit further down the digital route instead of resolving the issues. It provides a neat way for doing the maths but the discussion still needs to be had as to who had what and who owes this that or the other.

Maybe this is the point I am coming to…apps cannot necessarily add to your quality of life. They may do, and they may seem essential in some cases and some situations but as consumers we need to be on our guard against spurious apps that simply digitise an issue rather than resolving it. perhaps this is being a little harsh…the proof will be in the pudding.(eek!)

Apple V Android: Market Share

imgresApple V Android: Market Share. When we think of smart phones people often think first of Apple before Android. That’s interesting in light of the fact that in terms of numbers of people using Android devices the market is split as follows: Android 79% of the market, iOS 14.2%, Windows, 3.3%, BlackBerry 2.7 %others 0.7%.

Pretty comprehensive domination from Android then! So why is it so many of us think Apple when we consider the concept of the smartphone?  Surely it must be the branding, the marketing, the product simplicity the single design purist approach with only black or white models available. Android is happy to be diverse in design and manufacture to carry its OS. There are in excess of a thousand devices carrying the OS.

Smartphones, like many other products sell worldwide but the world is not a simple single marketplace. The development of a market in emerging nations of Asia and Africa in particular has undoubtedly helped the Android OS. Devices priced under£ 60.00 help popularise Android, in short its relatively affordable whilst iOS needs an expensive Apple iPhone to run on which are several times the price.  According to Gartner, Asia/Pacific, Latin America and Eastern Europe had the highest smartphone growth rates of 74.1%, 55.7% and 31.6% respectively, compared to the same quarter in 2012. This is largely growth in Android OS based devices.

Apple is recognized as more of a luxury item and hence may be considered as niche. Android on the other hand is  increasingly the people’s phone.  Between Apple and Android -with a teeny bit of help from the likes of Windows and Blackberry (though for how long is anyone’s guess)- smartphones account for 51.8% of the market share for mobile phones. It’s amazing to think that  it was only last month that the number of devices sold in a quarter finally out sell on the smartphone OS’s as opposed to the traditional “feature phone’s”.  This 51.8% figure is startling considering that 12 months ago the smartphone market accounted for only 36% of the market. meanwhile the never tiring wheels of marketing will grind on. Apple have their high profile annual jamboree very shortly…. Watch this space.

 

Apple iWatch

Apple iWatch is a soon to be seen item to be added into the category of “Wearable Technology”. As Google Glass ramps up for its big push in 2014….Apple are already pushing hard with their iWatch. We noted the trend toward the iWatch type device some time ago but now Apple are really pushing ahead and have plans afoot to ship their iWatch in vast quantities in 2014. The mock up below has been seen across the internet for a considerable time. As to how close to reality this mock up may turn out to be, is unclear.

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It seems likely that the iWatch will be hitting the shelves at around £130.00. But what will it do and what’s the point? Well it’s a watch, it will tell the time…..yes, and….? Well it’s unclear and as always with the new products bought to the world by large tech companies there’s a degree of mystery and cloak and dagger so that rival firms (Samsung are also in the game apparently) cannot get the jump on features and looks. But there must be an upside for them somewhere with that sort of price tag its got to do more than tell the time! Maybe it will link to the Glasses, or to your iPhone, or ….we don’t really know.

 According to Bloomberg, Apple has a team of around 100 designers working on “a wristwatch-like device that may perform some of the tasks now handled by the iPhone and iPad” Maybe the burgeoning fitness apps will sit well on the iWatch for performance monitoring and ready visibility it seems a good fit. But that’s pure conjecture, nothing more, nothing less.Only time will tell for certain…groan….”watch” this space (double groan).

The Canal & River Trust’s eNatureWatch app

mzl.ciwsksnh.320x480-75AppDevelopersUK.com  have re developed the Canal & River Trust’s  eNatureWatch app.

Press Release July 2013 from the C&RT.

USE YOUR EYES AND IPHONE TO PROTECT WATERWAY HABITATS

Following a national report earlier this year stating that 60% of more than 3,000 animal and plant species have declined in the UK in the past 50 years, the Canal & River Trust today [Monday 29 July] launches Great Nature Watch – a campaign to get members of the public to help to protect 2,000 miles of waterway habitats.

The old industrial routes of canals and inland waterways have become a unique corridor for wildlife, providing essential shelter, food and breeding grounds.  The habitats they provide are helping to support many of the UK’s most valuable, yet threatened wildlife species such as kingfishers, butterflies and dragonflies.

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With the State of Nature Report highlighting that ‘freshwater and wetland habitats occupy just 3% of the UK’s surface but support around 10% of our species’, the Trust is asking for help to map its waterside habitats to ensure they remain a thriving place for hundreds of animal and plant species.

By using a free app called enaturewatch, or online via the Trust’s website, visitors will be asked a series of questions which will help paint the picture of a cross section of canal or river habitat being surveyed.

Peter Birch, Head of Environment for the Canal & River Trust, says: “Our ultimate aim is to ensure there are plenty of habitats for wildlife to move up and down our waterway corridors, through city centres, as well as remote parts of the countryside.  We’re hoping Great Nature Watch can support the great environmental progress we’ve made over the years. People power can make a big difference so we hope visitors to our canals or rivers will get round as much of our waterway network as possible and help create a ‘living map’.

“The countryside has been fragmented over the last 50 years with increasing urban environments.  Our 2,000 miles of waterway corridor are unique and we need to do all we can to keep them this way as we’re seeing so many species struggling for survival.  To do this, it’s vital that we continue to learn more about the state and health of our habitats so that we can help them flourish through our ecology work.”

Whilst out on the towpath, budding environment enthusiasts and families will be able to learn about what they see through a ‘spotter’s guide’, a section of the app designed to teach people about the wildlife, plants and trees that can be found on the towpath.

The revamped free enaturewatch app is available from iTunes and Google Play.  For more information on Great Nature Watch please visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/great-nature-watch.

For media enquiries please contact:Claire Risino, National Campaigns ExecutiveT: 0203 204 4430  M: 07785 920 863   E: claire.risino@canalrivertrust.org.uk