Archive for January 2012
This last option — which is currently the only one available to those who truly object to Google’s new policy — could be very difficult, especially for Android users. And most especially for those who have recently invested in Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus Smartphone, which is pretty much useless outside of the Google net verse.
I must admit, the idea of being completely unable to opt out of specific privacy issues has me very troubled. My immediate reaction is to read Google’s policies, check out some of the more knowledgeable commentators on the subject, and if I find that I do agree with those privacy activists who believe that Google has stepped too far over the line, to join those hoping to pressure the company to alter its new policy.
Google’s applications and products have become an important resource for a large number of people. Their new policy has just been announced, and has over a month to be put into effect. Things can go several ways at this point: Google could simply stick to its guns and hope that the resulting fallout will only be a bit of bad publicity and a relatively few lost users. But if enough Google users become uneasy, Google could back off (the way Facebook has several times over the last few years), at least in it’s “all or nothing” opt-out policy. It will be interesting to watch.
Overall, there was very little “outstanding announcement” to report from CES 2012. It isn’t just one of those years in which we see radical changes. The largest firms (like Microsoft) didn’t participate at all. In fact it was a year when existing technologies just improved significantly in their features, performance, aesthetics, capabilities, and we saw a lot of focus on cost, as the sign of the times.
Nevertheless the use of cloud computing has gone from few and far between to pretty much anything and everything. CES 2012 shows that shift in no uncertain terms.
The rise of the retail cloud has reached critical mass as everything from DVD players to TVs, from car entertainment to alarm clocks, comes with some sort of cloud service to support that device.
For example, Mercedes-Benz announced a new cloud-connected dashboard computer called Mbrace2 that provides access to 3G cellular-connected apps such as Facebook and over-the-air software updates. Ford and Toyota are following up with their own cloud-based systems, providing both driving utilities and entertainment.
Other uses of the cloud are more utilitarian, such as providing storage and processing power for mobile devices, which is old news. But now the same computing models are being used for most entertainment devices in your home, even kitchen appliances that provide “smart grid” features such as the ability to transmit their energy usage and cycle down during peak loads. Pretty much anything that costs more than $100 comes with its own Wi-Fi radio these days.
It’s interesting how cloud computing has seeped into consumer electronics over time. The ability to add streaming from services such as Netflix to your DVD or TV has been around for a while, but that same cloud is now providing an application development platform for third parties and the ability to store many gigabytes of data. In other words, they are morphing from simple website abstractions to true platforms.
What’s driving the rise of the retail cloud is the desire to be more innovative than the competition, which is critical to the success of these companies. The biggest factor is the revenue potential: Once upon a time you got your $200 from a customer by selling a new gadget, and that was that until it wore out or was obsolete. Now you can also sell a subscription to a cloud system for many years to come, gaining double or more the revenues as from the device itself. That profit motive, coupled with users’ embrace of connected technologies (all those iPhones and Android devices), is what will power the retail cloud for years to come.
During the course of 2011 Windows8 was presented to the. Could the current proposed – ‘Windows 8’ – provide the basis for major future changes to Microsoft SharePoint?
SharePoint has been an enormous success for Microsoft in recent years.
Let us take a speculative look at three areas where SharePoint can learn from Windows 8.
The User Interface
Implications for SharePoint are twofold. Firstly, Metro apps aren’t a huge logical leap on from web parts. Could Metro apps form the basis of a “next generation” web part? Could approved Metro apps even run natively on SharePoint? Certainly this could give Microsoft a head start if it did decide to create a SharePoint specific store. Changing the underlying architecture of web parts to something more web based would open up the developer base to a wider audience and bring the technology inline with the majority of other similar widget platforms available.
Secondly, the Metro interface (the idea of functional hubs, full bleed canvases and the typeface) is very likely to inspire the general direction of the SharePoint 2012 interface. How much of this is practical to implement is currently only known to Microsoft. SharePoint will surely retain its current content management system elements, elements that many users customize to provide the exact look and feel they require. On the other hand, the out of the box site templates are starting to feel tired and the administrative interfaces didn’t really change after the 2007 release. Whatever the outcome, there is certainly an appealing argument for Windows 8, Windows Phone 7 and SharePoint 2012 to share a common look and feel.
The “Windows Store”
Could the launch of the Windows store for Metro apps and other software influence the similar launch of a new SharePoint store where web parts and third party add-ons could be purchased?
The Windows store is set to be the key digital distribution platform for Windows, likely offering both Metro apps and more traditional Windows software. Seen as a direct response to the Apple Mac software store, and of course inspired by the original iPhone app store, this feature will probably change forever how Windows software is purchased and maintained.
The next version of SharePoint seems almost certain to feature a similar offering. Two elements of the current SharePoint experience make this likely. Firstly, SharePoint is extremely well supported by third party suppliers and developers. A whole host of add-ins and tools are already available for purchase, and it would make perfect sense to centralize the distribution of this software. Secondly, one of SharePoint’s key features, web parts, makes almost the perfect store item. Web parts are generally small pieces of software, tightly focused in functionality and low in price. They are very much the app of the SharePoint world.
The “Ribbon” Interface
A respected commentator envisages a greater use of the Microsoft ribbon in any new SharePoint version; in the same way that the ribbon is expected to be integral to Windows 8…
Yes, the Microsoft ribbon can already be found in SharePoint 2010, but SharePoint 2012 will surely see it used to a much greater extent. The often controversial ribbon, which debuted as part of Office 2007, was used sparingly in Windows 7 but forms a more integral part of Windows 8. It is now integral to the operating system as part of Windows Explorer. Whilst this hasn’t been met with universal acclaim by those that have used it, Microsoft looks unlikely to backtrack.
As a result I expect to see the ribbon used much more extensively in the next version of SharePoint. Settings screens and central administration are obvious candidates for an overhaul. It would also seem likely that its use for list, and in particular web part, configuration will see an improvement.
Thank you for attention and you are always welcome with your comments!
It’s well known that Android is fragmented or, as Google CEO Eric Schmidt contends, “Differentiated.” In a bid to codify design principles for the operating system’s look and feel, Google unveiled Android Design at CES 2012.
This website seeks to help app developers create apps with a more uniform look and feel for Android 4.0, also known as “Ice Cream Sandwich.”
“[Google] definitely wants to have a uniform look. They never have provided a style guide before,” Melissa Skrbic-Huss, creative lead at Amadeus Consulting, told LinuxInsider.
“This is Google’s attempt to try and rein in the craziness of how Android apps look,” said Al Hilwa, a research program director at IDC.
The major issue with Android’s fragmentation “is the loss of brand identity,” he told LinuxInsider. “If you call a device an Android device, what does that mean?”
The Android Design website goes into great detail. Among other things, it spells out Google’s creative vision, design principles, style, themes, typography, patterns, gestures, building blocks, and switches and dialogs.
Google has three overarching design goals for its core apps and the Android OS at large.
One is that apps should be sleek and aesthetically pleasing on multiple levels, with crisp, meaningful layout and typography, and clear, fast transitions. The experience should be “magical,” Google said.
The second is that the apps should be intuitive and easy to use, without overwhelming users with too many choices.
Third, the apps should empower people to try new things and use the apps in inventive new ways while feeling personal.
The Android Guide is Google’s attempt to inject a level of standardization in Android’s look and feel. Google is probably trying to resolve some of developers’ complaints about Android.
Developers have to worry about differences in the UI of different versions of Android, differences in hardware specs, and differences in the versions of Android that run on various hardware platforms, Simon Khalaf, president and CEO of Flurry, told LinuxInsider.
“Software and applications are the fuel of an ecosystem, and software developers make that fuel,” he pointed out.
Fragmentation enabled the rapid pace of R&D development — “a key factor in Android’s success,” according to Hilwa — but the problems with the OS “will become more prominent to the extent that the market matures and the growth rates flatten.”
Schmidt’s discussion of fragmentation “is evidence that it’s an issue for the brand and the platform,” he argued.