18
March

How Google Wear Will Play Out Once Apple Joins the Game

There hasn’t been much in tech news that’s caught my attention the past few weeks — nothing in particular I can think of since the Samsung Galaxy S5. And that didn’t really catch my attention in a positive light.

But today Google announced Google Wear, a version of Android that’s made specifically for wearable devices. By wearables, Google and pretty much everyone else just mean smartwatches. Let’s not beat around the bush though, Google Wear is basically just a condensed version of Google Now. Most of the functionality in the OS is baked into Google Now and most of the UI and UX involve your voice in some way or another. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, in fact it looks pretty interesting.

The reason why I’m writing about this though is not to praise Google. I’ll hold off on an opinion until devices actually get released with Google Wear and the reviews come in about them. I’m writing to make a comparison and to praise Google for being smart. See, announcing Google Wear has absolutely nothing to do with innovation. It was a business move.

It’s no secret to anyone who follows tech even slightly well that Apple has been rumored for years to be working on something along the lines of an iWatch, i.e. a wearable device of its own. Though rumors don’t really indicate this, most people just naturally believe based on Apple’s history that whatever it does release will smoke the competition and redefine what a smartwatch can really be.

Apple released the iPhone in 2007, Google copied the OS with Android and it really started to take off in 2009 and 2010. Then Apple released the iPad in 2010 and Android’s answer was obviously the Honeycomb OS for manufacturers to start creating tablets. Android still hasn’t caught up to the iPad, but it at least has an answer to it.

This time is different though. For the first time, Android is ahead of the game. Instead of waiting for Apple to announce the new product category, Android has already unleashed its own (on the software side anyway.) Don’t be mistaken: if Apple wasn’t so heavily rumored to be working on a watch, Google Wear would have never seen the light of day.

Now we follow a new progression and one that’s rather clever on Google’s part. Apple will eventually release its smartwatch. It’ll probably put Google Wear to shame, but I don’t think Google cares much about that. It will just copy whatever Apple does and put it in a new version of Google Wear, so it’ll be caught up. And this time Google will be able to say it shipped first, it innovated first. Clever.

Apple has traditionally been first to launch a product category into mainstream success and in some cases launch a product category period. I still think the former will be the case with the smartwatch, because it has yet to be seen whether people actually want these things. Personally, I haven’t been convinced that there’s any major usefulness to a smartwatch that justifies buying another gadget. If any company is going to change my mind and the minds of millions, it’ll probably be Apple, not Google. And if Samsung’s Galaxy Gear already flopped, I doubt Motorola or HTC will do any better.

But Apple has never cared about being first. It’s just tech-savvy consumers and petty pundits who do. The examples to prove this that come to mind are cut, copy, and paste in iOS 3 and multitasking in iOS 4, both of which made their debut long after Android started offering them. Whether Apple copied Android on these is arguable but also irrelevant. Apple would rather wait to ship a feature until it’s functioning at the highest quality than rush to ship something in order to compete.

If Apple cared about being first, it would have a smartwatch out already. It’s waiting to perfect its watch before it makes a grand unveiling to the world. Meanwhile, Google Wear is making a nice contribution to this unpredictable market, but only when Apple joins the game will we know the fate of the smartwatch.

28
February

Updates

I haven’t written on here in a while and some things have changed, so I thought I’d post a few updates.

First of all, as of the end of January, I no longer write for Neowin. It was a personal choice of mine and I wish the talented team all the best moving forward.

Second, after a small break from working, I decided to take up a gig that’s slightly different for me. I’m now a freelance tech writer for Demand Media Studios. Unfortunately, this means I’m not quite in the journalism field anymore. Instead, I’m just writing technology-related articles for a variety of websites within the DMS network. It’s not news. I would like to eventually get back into journalism though because I miss being a reporter, but for now this is nice and I’m pretty happy.

Third, I haven’t fully decided what I want to use this blog for. I don’t want to do a Daring Fireball-style linked list with commentary; I already tried that and got bored of it quickly. What I’ll most likely end up doing is writing full-length articles such as this one as I have been whenever I get the inspiration to, on any topic.

Fourth, there is no fourth.

20
September

'Happy iOS 7 Day!'

I think Sept. 18, 2013 should be declared forever in history as iOS 7 day. The phrase “Happy iOS 7 Day!” was shared among quite a few people, iOS 7 alone was talked about by many more. It was a trending topic on Twitter for pretty much the entire day. At 1 p.m. Eastern time, millions rushed to their Settings app on their iPhones, iPod touches, and iPads to download the latest version of Apple’s operating system.

It. Was. Fucking. Insane.

Probably one out every five conversations I overheard on my college campus on Wednesday were about iOS 7. I really don’t think that’s an exaggeration at all. The hype was a little bit surreal. It was exciting to me because I naturally get excited about technology news such as a huge software update, but I have never seen so many ordinary consumers get equally as excited about something in the tech world. The iOS 7 release was seriously like a holiday.

In fact, Mashable reported that exactly 7,364,005 tweets were sent in the 24 hours before iOS 7 launched and the 24 hours after. Over seven million tweets about an operating system in 48 hours. Never have I ever seen so many regular iPhone users with no knowledge of or interest in technology get so insanely hyped up for something technological. Apple has managed to bring the terms “iOS” and “software update” completely mainstream.

And of course, Apple’s servers suffered as a result. As millions rushed to download the software update all at once, more and more folks encountered various errors that prevented them from installing over and over again. It was frustrating, but virtually everyone managed to pull through.

Most of the tweets on my timeline were surprisingly positive. Judging by a lot of the backlash when Facebook redesigns, I thought reaction to the redesign of iOS would be lukewarm at best. Most people genuinely like it. Even I had some negative feelings about it at first, especially with the icons.

Google has never been able to generate this much buzz over an Android update. In fact, nothing has ever even come close. Ask everyone who updated to iOS 7 what “KitKat” is and I bet most of them would condescendingly tell you it’s obviously nothing more than a chocolate bar.

I’m still amazed by all of the excitement. Sept. 18, 2013 was iOS 7 Day. And on top of that, the hype paid off because the majority of users from what I’m seeing are loving the update. I’m convinced only Apple would be able to pull something like this off, at least at the moment.

Can’t wait for iOS 8 Day next year.

28
August

Moving from IntoMobile to Neowin

As most of you know by now, I left IntoMobile as of August 15, 2013. I’m now employed as a news reporter for Neowin at neowin.net. My duties are much of the same, except Neowin covers all of technology except for mobile.

Because I always write about my experiences on this blog because in general I’m a pretty open book, I figured it’d be appropriate to address the job move and also answer some questions I’ve gotten.

I’m a college student, 19, who commutes to campus. This semester I have an extremely busy schedule with six classes instead of the recommended five. Because of the times of these classes, they consume most of my day and I realized I wouldn’t be able to write for IntoMobile very much at all with this schedule. I’d be able to put in very few hours per week.

I ultimately decided that it would be in my best interest to leave IntoMobile, since classes have to be the priority here. I didn’t at all leave because of any bad experience or anything like that. The IntoMobile team was incredibly fun to work with for almost two years and hopefully in the future we’ll cross paths again.

Then I stumbled upon Neowin as a job (I’d followed its tech news for months though). The gig allows more flexible writing. I can, in essence, write at my own leisure. So I decided to take up the opportunity and have since been writing for this website — the team here is great as well. And it works out well so that technology writing, as much as I love it, is just something on the side while I make it through this semester.

So as of now, you can find me on Neowin right here with all of my latest posts. I also share them to Twitter frequently. Thanks.

30
June

Paula Deen is Guilty of Ignorance, But Not So Much Racism

I think it’s time to forgive Paula Deen and end the crucifixion. Seriously. The media is blowing this entire story way out of proportion because it makes for an excellent headline that everyone’s sweet, charming old lady who loves butter is secretly a racist. People love the classic “good gone bad” theme in news stories.

Except I don’t actually think Paula Deen is truly a racist. I’ve done my research because I find the topic very interesting. I even read the full transcript of her testimony in court. I watched the numerous apology videos, I watched multiple interviews in the past that some are using to support the argument that she is a racist, and I read news story after news story about yet another company severing ties with her.

The conclusion that I’ve come to is that Paula Deen is not a racist, she can just be ignorant. That’s a very big difference. I think racism is associated with the word “hate” and she has shown no hate. She’s had black guests on her show, talked about having a black friend on an interview, and has worked with Oprah many times. That’s not hate. If she was truly racist toward African Americans, she wouldn’t have partaken in any of that. In an interview she talks about how she feels Southerners might even be less racist because African Americans were considered “like family” in the past. But the way she said it is what I found most interesting because it truly seems like she’s totally ignorant. It’s far from unheard of that once-slave-owners don’t pass down stories of slavery as accurately as everybody else knows them to be because they don’t want to be portrayed as terrible people. My theory is that Paula Deen’s ancestors probably dramatically censored everything they may have done during slavery. If that’s the case, then what she said about African Americans being like family is a very ignorant comment. And even if that’s not the case, the comment was still ignorant. It doesn’t strike me as racist, in fact nothing I’ve read has really struck me as truly racist.

I’m white, so maybe I shouldn’t be the true judge of racism, but guess what? I have black friends and the vast majority of them agree with me. They don’t really see this Paula Deen “scandal” as a huge problem. She said the N-word once many years ago, some reports claim in varying ways that she wanted a “plantation-style wedding” for her brother but she denies this, and she apologized for her use of the N-word as well as any racial jokes she may or may not have uttered over the years. I saw the apology and I have to say it seemed mostly sincere, and I consider myself a very good judge of character. And a quick search for “Paula Deen” on Twitter will prove that many African Americans also think she should be let off the hook. Or go to Paula Deen’s Facebook page and look at all the African Americans expressing their support.

So who really has a problem with Paula Deen? All the overly politically correct white people. In fact, a white person is the one who filed the lawsuit that created this whole mess. It’s all the people who think they’re doing some justice by crucifying this woman because she said the N-word once 30 years ago and the N-word is this absolutely terrible racist word that no one should ever say or may God send them directly to hell and chop off their limbs while they burn because that’s how racist they are.

Nigger.

I just said it. I literally just said the word and nothing else. Does that make me a racist? Of course not, and it never will. The first reason is obviously because I’m not a racist. In fact, the problem of racism I feel is so far behind us that the remaining minority of people who are genuinely racist today just look like ancient morons that have zero credibility. The second reason is because acts of racism have never been about saying the word, they’ve been about intent. If you say the N-word to a black person with racist intent, then you are a racist and also an idiot. Rappers use that word all the time in songs and it certainly doesn’t make them racist to their own kind. That’s because they don’t have racist intent. They just used a word.

Whether or not Paula Deen had racist intent when she said the N-word one time is completely irrelevant because it was many, many years ago. People change, and most importantly, she shouldn’t be getting into all of this trouble for something she said so long ago. The appropriate time to have addressed this as a legitimate issue was when she said it.

Companies are ending their relationships with Deen for the sole purpose of making themselves look good. Big corporations don’t give a shit about what Paula Deen said and how it might offend people. Dropping her is just a scheme to increase brand reputation. If Deen’s products were somehow crucial to the companies’ bottom lines, they’d defend her all the way to her grave. It’s just business.

Again, the entire situation has gotten way out of hand. Paula Deen seems guilty of being ignorant on certain fronts, but she is not guilty of displaying any type of hate toward people of color. This is what I believe. Let’s just move on already.