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+ - Google's Social Menagerie and its Android and Web Habitats->

Submitted by Zigurd
Zigurd (3528) writes "In addition to search, email, and office productivity, Google runs at least nine "applications" that deal in user-provided content. We can't call them "Web sites" since most of them are presented through both Android applications and a Web user interface. But the extent and quality of this presentation is unequal and uneven. The content varies by media type and long form/short form characteristics. The intended persistence of the content also varies, though persistence often really means "ease of discovery" which can diminish quickly if a chronological update stream is the principal means of discovery."
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+ - Missed It By Thaaaat Much: Why Chrome OS Athena isn't Chro->

Submitted by Zigurd
Zigurd (3528) writes "Now that Windows 8.1 has landed with a thud, and OEMs are kvetching about being misled by predictions about the success of touch, there are some signs that Google has decided to take another shot at touch in Chrome OS. Or, perhaps, the Chrome OS developers are just tidying up loose ends in the Chrome OS touch interface, of which there are a considerable number at the time of this writing, based on a search of open issues mentioning "touch.""
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Comment: Product definition, they're doing it wrong (Score 1) 121

by Zigurd (#47142265) Attached to: HP (Re-)Announces a 14" Android Laptop

> Android is "a lot cheaper for HP to implement in a laptop; ChromeOS, in contrast, comes with more stringent system requirements that would cost HP a bit more."

It looks like sweet hardware. They may have good intentions re costs. But that's not how to define a product. The laptop form factor works against the touch interface by putting the screen just a little too far away. It also completely destroys the ability to hold a device like a sheaf of paper or clipboard.

The other side of the coin is that a browser-based UI is well-suited to using a pointing device instead of (or in addition to) touch.

Could have been a great Chromebook.

Comment: Loopy logic leaps (Score 4, Insightful) 73

Going from "open government" to "outsourcing" is a non sequitur meant to set up a straw man. It is outsourcing that results in private firms treating government data as proprietary, and it is this kind of outsourcing that open government initiatives seek to avoid.

It's a long piece. Tl;dr: Think tank wonk mistakes Tim O'Reilly for a technolibertarian and turgidly tilts at windmills of his own invention.

Comment: Re:Android app compatability? (Score 1) 148

by Zigurd (#42947081) Attached to: Ubuntu For Tablets Announced

Android app compatibility is available for Linux in several forms: You can install an Android distro in a virtualization container, Canonical's "Ubuntu for Android," Open Mobile's ACL (disclosure, I used to be CTO there), and others.

My view of the best way to do this (and not surprising that this is how Open Mobile does it) is that Android can be integrated into "foreign" desktop environments as if it were a Java SE-like runtime environment.

As for how I would want to use Ubuntu on a tablet, I would put it on a powerful tablet such as those Windows 8 will be shipping on. Then I can have my Android development tools in a tablet form factor, and I can run an x86 Android build in a VM or QEMU for testing/debugging.

Comment: The right to a patent monopoly is not fundamental (Score 4, Insightful) 315

by Zigurd (#41505483) Attached to: Another Call For Abolishing Patents, This One From the St. Louis Fed

The right to a patent monopoly is not a fundamental human right.

The US Constitution is written with a specific sense regarding rights. It grants no rights because it takes the point of view that you have human rights, with, or without any government's say so. Instead, the Constitution grants powers to the government.

The right to a patent monopoly is not one of the rights the Constitution assumes you have. That's because, in the eyes of the authors of that document, it's not really a basic human right. Instead, the government is explicitly empowered to grant patent and copyright monopolies. And that power is conditional: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

If it isn't functioning as intended, is it still legitimate?

Comment: A servant, or a lifeguard? (Score 1) 238

Is this some kind of weird expression of the New England work ethic? Make the driver work just as hard as ever, but should he ever falter, a superior system kicks in and saves his ass?

If I have a computer that can handle emergencies more reliably than I can, surely it can handle the mundane more reliably, too.

Comment: Trending in the right direction, room to improve (Score 3, Insightful) 208

by Zigurd (#40613117) Attached to: An Android Tablet Victory May Be Problematic For Free Software

The trend in Android has been, up to now, in the right direction.

For example, the Android Open Source Project originally did not have a development platform build target or reference hardware. Now it does. That means you can take the entire Android Open Source Project and built it and run it, instead of having to "root" a commercial device and port Android to that device before you can start playing with Android on real hardware.

It is in Google's interest to make Android progressively easier to port because Google wants faster and more-consistent updates to Android across all the OEMs using Android. A vibrant and useful AOSP is important to that goal.

Moreover, when faced with a competitor using the Android Open Source Project to build a competing platform and support a competing ecosystem, Google did nothing to thwart AOSP, or to make it harder for Amazon to use AOSP.

Android is partly-open because Google uses a suite of applications and services that are not open source to create commercial Android products with the Google Logo, and OEMs and carriers add their own software to products. There may be room in the market for a more-open mobile OS that isn't tied to big e-commerce ecosystems. Tizen might be one such system, and Jolla might bring Meego back. If those systems prove to be more open, and under less pressure to provide exclusivity to their sponsors, they could turn out to provide truly open, hackable communications devices.

Open communications devices, with open hardware and software, are important because they would enable communications privacy, among other qualities.

Comment: Mistaking Android versus Google's Android apps (Score 1) 215

by Zigurd (#40120955) Attached to: Dark Days Ahead For Facebook and Google?

The article mistake's Google's lack of direct revenue from Android with revenue of all the different products Google delivers over Android and other mobile OSs. The money-making parts of Google deliver apps to Android, iOS, and other mobile platforms, and make money from those apps.

Facebook has a greater challenge, and is off to a later start, but you have to ask if that's really a worry, compared with getting the mobile launch right. Facebook faces very little competition. Other than Google+, there are no social networks that have an in-house phone OS. The mobile Google+ app is among the least well-executed mobile apps among all of Google's products.

Amazon has shown it's possible to have a successful product entry with a mobile device, even with Android and iOS as competitors. Facebook has a large ecosystem, like Amazon. There is no reason to think Facebook's mobile market window is closing. On the other hand, if Facebook were to ship a "Kin"-like flop, that would set them back substantially.

If a Facebook mobile device is coming, Facebook has every incentive to wait until it is done right.

"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter