Texting whilst driving

Texting whilst driving …a concept that is familiar to one and all on the roads of Britain. Whether its a sneaky one word text at traffic lights or a novella during a run up the motorway, its something that society acknowledges is happening to a lesser or greater degree. So, hey, what’s the problem?  Well, to borrow words of veteran football commentator John Motson, “it only takes a second to …er.. kill someone by accidentally driving into them” actually his words are just the start of that sentence of course. The point being whether it’s a 1 second text or a ten minute effort, the risk of making a driving error during that time is immense. In driving terms you can drive 50 metres in a second or less so that little cute message to your friend may turn out to be your infamous last words.

The number of times I see people talking on phones whilst driving beggar’s belief. If they are not texting or talking they are looking at phones whilst driving presumably reading a Facebook banality (boo hiss) or writing a text, or maybe just placing a bet, reading the news, or whatever their passion may be. The thought that this selfish action could end someone’s life, cripple or maim some innocent on in another vehicle, or on the pavement or zebra crossing or whatever seems of little interest to these self-centred morons.

Motoring organisations including, the AA say that they find that some drivers appear “addicted to texting and  using smartphones, it’s an addiction that is very hard to break even when in the car — it will take some system to help people break that addiction.”

Meanwhile the road safety charity Brake, labels the activity “a “widespread menace” which has been shown to slow driver reaction times by 35% and increase the likelihood of a crash by 23 times for commercial drivers.”

Therefore it is with unashamed self-righteousness that I welcome the proposed new developments coming out of the Apple orchard of technological loveliness…they have proposed a method that would prevent this kind of distraction and indeed disable the functionality of certain smartphone actions when an iPhone user is driving. Apple have  applied for patents such as one describing  “a “driver handheld computing device lock-out” system that detects when a user is driving using on-board sensors or pulling information from the car when connected, blocking the use of text messaging or using other smartphone functions from the person driving”.

Apple recognise that this habit of attempting to multi task whilst already multi-tasking (driving) is anti-social. So hats off to Apple, let’s wait for their next update on this but on the face of it any effort to reduce the risk of innocents being wiped out or maimed by idiots behind the wheel is a great step forward.

 

Bitcoin

bitcoin pic 3Bitcoin explained, or not. Can anyone explain Btcoins in a way that makes perfectly rational sense to a non-clued up majority? Bitcoins, we hear about this mysterious currency from time to time, whether it is in relation to the so called inventor / founder turning up in Malaysia and denying all knowledge or whether it’s the unemployed chap who accidentally lost 4 million pounds worth by chucking out a few old hard drives. Today we hear that Wikipedia is considering accepting these as donations to its cause. What next? Loyaltybit points on my clubcard for spending  actual Bitcoins.  In fact are there any physical Bitcoins, there are certainly lots of photographs of lovely piles of these virtual coins….why?  …

This month we notice continues coverage in the news about companies established with the sole purpose of mining Bitcoins. That is to say they attract millions of pounds, dollars and other boring real world cash investment on real stock markets with which they invest in factories to build powerful servers to create or mine the Bitcoins. It’s like the elusive Black Panther of the Cotswolds  or Somerset or wherever the Black Panther kept getting sighted. Very hard to know if any of these Bitcoin sightings or explanations are anything but a high flown prank by some megalomaniac IT / nerd. Who be dat? You may well ask. Its rumoured to be . well ,  er …..well its only a rumour.

The fact is however that a company called  KnC Miner in Sweden is a real company and it is spending more money that they care to detail on building numerous computers at a cost of 10 thousand pounds each with which people can to “mine” for Bitcoins. Well excuse us for being nonplussed but why, how, where ? Astonishingly KnC Miner have just announced that within four hours of putting these on  sale they have orders for over 2 million us dollars worth. Its not like buying you pick and shovel for the old school gold rush then is it?  “We are overwhelmed by the positive response we have gotten and we will continue to produce the best possible mining hardware for our customers,” said co-founder Andreas Kennemar. Can’t argue with the sales figures but frankly ..what does it all mean?

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How and why are Bitcoins valuable?  Hard to find? So is a four leafed clover but it doesn’t make it valuable and that’s something that’s real and does exist. I have seen one !. So is the mutated humorous root vegetable, but its not worth a lot once the laughter fades. Bitcoin on the other hand, a rare beast indeed so rare that they seem unlikely to exist. Most of us haven’t seen a Bitcoins and out of the many people I have asked, neither has anyone else. That’s because they don’t exist as material things, they are a series of numbers. Big Deal. Yawn.

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Get this, in Sweden KnC are building a 43 thousand square foot data centre for…you guessed it, for back up capacity for their customers who are mining the Bitcoin. Ho h oho… what? But then again this malarkey has proved itself profitable as the company, only a couple of years into its existence says it made 15 million dollars profit last year on a turnover of 75 million. Whose laughing now.? Well…. No one because they don’t get the joke. Why Sweden? because its cold. Like Facebook and Google before them, who have both huge purpose built data centres in this corner of the world, the advantages of the Nordic chill are well understood in the world of data centres. Keeps the server cooling costs down (mind you the outgoings on company thermal underwear must be through the roof!)….Wait a minute… what was that? Bitcoins? Haven’t got a clue, but perhaps some of our more switched on readers will let us know. Please!.

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?

 

SMS texts are overtaken by Chat Apps

smstext imageEver since texting began back in the mid eighties  it seemed destined to be the most important communication tool available. Indeed it took off like wildfire beyond all predicted levels. Ever since then the growth has been phenomenal. According to forecast by Informa Telecoms & Media  (www.informatm.com) SMS will remain a source of revenues and traffic for mobile phone companies until at least 2015.

Revenues in 2010 for Global SMS traffic was 110 billion and is expected to be 137 billion by 2015.  Recently there’s been an upturn in the use of SMS in the emerging markets, mostly to deliver financial information to mobile phone users who would otherwise not be reachable.

whatsapp image

But there’s a new pretender and it’s about to knock SMS texts off the top spot. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised to hear that Informa have now released data and analysis to point us to a future where Chat Apps such as WhatsApp and BBM rule the messaging roost. By the end of 2013 its estimated that there will be 41 billion such messages sent daily across the globe and that’s double the predicted number of SMS messages. On a smaller scale this differential can be appreciated even more starkly: each app user, sending messages, does so an average 32.6 times a day compared to the 5 SMS texts they may also send. The trend is clear. App usage for messaging services are on the increase.

Where this may be felt just as heavily is in the world of social networking site Facebook. Its not that Facebook is losing popularity but there’s a sense that youthful communicators are attracted to the succinct message properties of WhatApp type services. Again it would be a mistake to overstate this but it’s a different medium and probable one which is complemented by rather than than threatened. Perhaps there’s a synergy there waiting to be exploited.

As we noted in an earlier piece, the growth of the Smartphone and the relative decline of the so called Dumb phone sector seems to mirror this trend. But as industry insiders have noted, there’s life in the SMS market purely because the emerging economies by and large are not big consumers of the Smart phone technology. Hence communications via SMS will remain important and potentially grow until such a time as the SmartPhone dominates all regions of the world.

Choices for Humankind

Here’s the BIG dilemma we humans are having to grapple with. What sort of handset do we want? Or what sort do we think we need?

Large screen for great media playing, or small and compact for unobtrusive practicality. Here at App Developers Uk one or two of us are wondering, maybe we actually need two phones….what’s going on?

samsung-two-larger-handsets-0

A large screened Android for those movie moments or a relatively compact iPhone for the less obtrusive phone call situation? After all it it’s a phone. Or is it? Well no actually its not, it’s a cinema, a radio, bank portal, a shopping portal, browser, diary, organiser, a camera,  message centre, book, map, sat nav,weather forecaster, newspaper, news programme…what else? Well as the saying goes, there’s an app for everything.

On the larger side of things we hear that Samsung are planning on a June release which is to include a mega display busting 6.3inch screen. That’s a Tablet by most people’s definition.

For many the last thing you do with a phone is actually make a call with it and hence the logic of the move towards a larger screen which can display visuals and render sounds in a better way than its pre smart forerunner. And why not?. Why not have the ability to speak to someone real-time on a video link for free…yes, Skype (or the horribly named “Facetime”). Why not use that phone to buy a cinema ticket or that new sofa? Its all about convergence. The phone is no longer a phone, the computer is no longer a computer, the mp3 player is no longer a  ….wait a minute!

A phone is, as we have all known for a while, not merely a device for making vice calls. It’s a lifestyle companion device through which our daily lives is often managed, mangled or mediated, depending on our grasp of the technological possibilities of course. As humankind evolves so too does its understanding of the thousand and one uses of a mobile phone.  Beam me up Scotty.

 

Hitachi Air Conditioning App is released by App Developers UK

mzl.qwqyqegm.320x480-75Hitachi Air Conditioning App is released by App Developers UK. Hitachi Air Conditioning Europe has developed in collaboration with www.appdevelopersuk.com a free App which will provide service engineers with fast, easy access to alarm codes and their meanings – even if you’re not familiar with Hitachi’s equipment.

What does it do?

•Simple and fast product alarm code identification tool for air conditioning, heating and ventilation
•Reduces the need for bulky manuals, all information you need is in the palm of your hand
•Detailed ‘troubleshooting’ flowcharts
•Access information 24/7, making diagnosing problems much easier – even for those not familiar with Hitachi equipment.
•Helps service engineers to diagnose the problem and resolve things quickly, saving both time and money.
•Makes finding answers when you’re on site or doing repairs and maintenance much more straightforward.
•Quick diagnosis and resolution of problems, enables service engineers to provide a satisfying outcome for their customers.
•Attach the technical sheet to an email or add to favourites for one tap easy access later on
•Hitachi helpline information available in a few taps
•Keep up-to-date with Hitachi news using the links to Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin
•Available in a number of different languages

This application is fully supported for iOS versions 4 and 5 and Android.

Why not download it here – https://itunes.apple.com from Appstore or here https://play.google.com/store from Google Play

Or view the video here –http://www.youtube.com

 

 

App-tastic App-e-tite for App usage

A mobile phone is for talking on …right? ……… Wrong.

According to new research from Flurry, it seems that 80% of time spent on a mobile phone is spent doing something with an app. So the whole point of a mobile phone has been subsumed by the world of apps.  The statistics relate to surveys carried out in the USA but let’s just assume these translate across much of western society including the UK.  Statistics show that 2 hours and 38 minutes a day are spent on the mobile device and that all but a fifth of this is spent on apps. Does that ring true with you? (pardon the pun).

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So what exactly is the 80% of phone time being used on? Well, the figures, drawn from analysis of over 1 billion active smart devices, show that  almost half of this time is spent gaming- driving shooting, puzzling. The rest is split between social networking apps, browsing on the web and entertainment (what’s Facebook and gaming then.. ….education?). The results are simply staggering as they show how we as a community of techno addicts spend so much of our waking time engaging with an inanimate and inhuman machine. If you add this stat to the hours in front of a computer screen, a TV and so on, the picture emerging is of a trend towards watching screens rather than talking to people. Food for thought.

Facebook Messenger Users in U.K Get Free Calls with Apple iOS App

Got an Apple device, a Facebook account and a friend? Then you can benefit from the social site’s latest update for its Messenger app – as from today voice and video calls across UK based iOS devices becomes completely cost-free!

Facebook’s free face-to-face chat platform has been free to use in the States since earlier in the year and we’ve been waiting eagerly for two months for this news to arrive for users over here. To get free calls you will need to have the most up to date Facebook Messenger app installed on your Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch and you’ll find the ‘i’ button appearing with your Messenger contacts is they are eligible to take or make a call. Hitting ‘free call’ will give you just that and you can now enjoy VOIP chatting with friends in the UK, USA and Canada without paying a penny.

The Facebook app also updates to offer push notifications, allows callers to leave a message in a voicemail feature and the quality of the calls is said to be on a level with market leader Skype. It’s available to try now by updating or new users can download the Messenger app from the App Store.

Launching App Developers UK into Social Networking

We at App Developers UK are constantly focusing on creating the best Apps on the planet but we have recently started to join the social media revolution with our new look website and new Facebook, Twitter an YouTube accounts.

We have setup a new Twitter feeds so you can ask us a question, comment on our work and share some of our news with all of your followers and likewise with the Facebook Page.

On YouTube you can see just what we have created in the past with an extensive look at our App videos on the worlds biggest video sharing website.

Check us out using the links below:

Get following!

A short-sighted view of Google Glasses

So, you are in the middle lane of the M25, concentrating on not shunting the car in front and trying to keep calm as someone in a Subaru undertakes you. The radio is telling you in an inappropriately cheerful manner about hold ups on the road ahead and there’s a traffic signal ahead just before a contra flow kicks in, but then… dammit! You have a stream of photos from a boozy night out in your face from your pal, Freddy.
Yes, those state of the art Google Glasses are delivering more information to you to interpret, digest or dismiss and there’s no immediate escape from it even when you are trying to drive the car without crashing it!

Seriously though, how exactly would the latest change in content and communications delivery systems actually work in practice? Would there need to be new laws about using the Google Glass whilst in control of a 2 ton lump of metal, and if so exactly how would these laws be enforced? Would we expect to see courts full of people suing others for negligence? Who is going to pay? Who would defend a case where an accident was precipitated upon the driver having been too busy watching the content pass in front of their eyes courtesy of Google Glass?
Maybe your lawyer would be wearing these Google goggles as they take your brief to keep abreast of other cases or legal updates streaming in on a feed.

And it’s not just on the road where such distractions could be hazardous, the whole idea of walking about with these content delivery mechanisms on your face, pushing email notifications, social network updates and breaking news from around the globe, seems very unnatural and surely if everyone was doing it there would be some serious social consequences.
Tell us your thoughts – would you like it if the love of your life was supposedly in conversation with you but in actuality is only half engaged, as other distractions of one sort or another pass before their eyes? How much of a harder battle for the attention of your nascent teen-age child would you have if they were wearing Google Glass? How much of a head ache, an eye strain of an ear ache would you put up with to be using the latest piece of futuristic tech?
Many could argue that the glasses are a great step forward and a fantastic technical achievement (they are even going to be able to have lenses which match your prescription). Others may share the view that the Google Glass is a long way from a perfect application of technology. What’s your point of view on this?