September 19, 2017 brianradio2016

The adoption of agile software development methodologies has been a necessary evolution to support the explosive demand for new and expanded capabilities. There is no doubt that without the broad adoption of agile practices much of the growth in technology, and all of those aspects of everyday life that is driven by technology, simply would not have happened.

Still, too much of a good thing applies. Another old adage that comes to mind is “You can have it better, cheaper, faster. Pick any two.” Many organizations have insisted on all three. How did they do it? They sacrificed the documentation.

I’m not talking about saving shipping costs and trees by making manuals virtual, and then saving bandwidth by replacing the documents download with the install files with links to online documentation (which has its own issues in this world of massive M&A). I’m talking about all those wonderful references that development teams, sometimes backed by technical writers, produced so that others may pick up where they left off to maintain and enhance the final applications. Yes, that documentation.

Self-documenting code does not make a self-documenting solution

While the no one can honestly disagree with the value put forth in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development: “Working software over comprehensive documentation,” I also don’t think the intention was that documentation impedes working software. Still, the manifesto has fed the meme (the original definition, not the funny GIFs) “good code is self-documenting.” When I hear this, my response is “True—and knowing what code to read for a given issue or enhancement requires documentation.” My response lacks the desired impact for two reasons: It doesn’t easily fit on a bumper sticker and it requires putting time and effort into a task that many people do not like to do.  

September 19, 2017 brianradio2016

Video: Dissecting Apple’s iPhone 8, iPhone X, Apple Watch launch: The takeaways for business pros

The reviews for the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus have gone live, and its clear that while it’s a solid upgrade, it’s been seriously overshadowed by the upcoming release of the iPhone X.

Must read: The one must-have accessory for all iPhone8/iPhone X owners

Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:


Pretty much says it all, really.

The Good Fantastic dual-lens camera shoots better than ever with improved portrait mode. Adds wireless charging. Lightning-fast speed. Starts at 64GB.

The Bad Dated design. Most competing Android phones have even larger screens. Upcoming iPhone X could be a more compelling choice.

The Verge

Apple’s iphone event

Overall a feeling that too much has stayed the same.

The iPhone 8 is fundamentally the fourth generation of the iPhone 6 — Apple told us it thinks of the 8 as an “all-new design,” but that’s also what Apple said about the iPhone 6S and 7. It must take a lot of effort to keep reinventing the same basic design without actually changing it. The major difference you’ll notice is the glass back, but other than that nothing has changed — the 8 and 8 Plus will fit right into 7 and 7 Plus cases perfectly.

I didn’t notice a huge performance boost over the iPhone 7 while doing basic things like browsing the web, watching videos, and taking photos. I played a few games and everything seemed fast and fluid, of course. Apple sells iPhones for years after they’re released — the iPhone 6S is still in the lineup! — so a lot of this extra power just feels like headroom for the future, not something you immediately sense when upgrading from a previous model.


More of the same.

The iPhone 8 reminds me of the fifth Transformers movie–you know it’s new, though you can’t for the life of you figure out how it’s different. On its face, the 8 looks like an iPhone from 2014.

If you need to have the latest and greatest, don’t buy the 8. Wait until we get a closer look at the iPhone X, which in addition to face-scanning tricks promises two things that really matter: a bigger, better screen and two more hours of battery life.

If you can’t be bothered with bells and whistles, you can save a chunk of cheese by buying a nearly-as-good iPhone 7 (albeit with less storage) for $550.

Daring Fireball

The iPhone 8 adds horsepower where it’s needed.

Apple isn’t using the power of the A11 simply to make the things older iPhones do faster. They’re using it to power new features, like the lighting effects in Portrait mode on the 8 Plus and the various machine learning stuff.

What’s interesting to me is that some of the camera improvements Apple is talking about with the iPhone 8 aren’t about that. Yes, the sensor has been improved, and is apparently even better at capturing colors in a wide color gamut. But the advances in phone photography are driven more by computing — both hardware and software — than by advances in lens optics or sensors. There’s just not much more that can happen between such small lenses and sensors. The real action is in hardware and software.

These are solid year-over-year updates — at least as impressive as the iPhone 7 was over the iPhone 6S. If they hadn’t debuted alongside the iPhone X we’d be arguing about whether these are the most impressive new iPhone models since the iPhone 6.

But they did debut alongside the iPhone X, and because of that almost nobody is excited about them. There’s no use pretending otherwise.


Buy it only if you have to.

There’s nothing bad about this phone. It’s the same iPhone-shaped, iPhone-sized device that’s been around for 3+ years. And that’s okay! That shape and size is still working for a lot of people, and Apple focused on its longtime strategy of innovation by a thousand tweaks, under the hood.

If you’re an iPhone user with no intention of switching to Android, here’s the deal: The 8 is the phone those with an iPhone 6 or older will want. If you have a three- to four-year-old iPhone, it’s a good indication that a) you want to stick with iOS, and b) you’re not an early adopter or power user who needs The Newest, Bestest Thing.


Focuses a lot on iOS as opposed to iPhone 8.

As with pretty much every Apple upgrade, they will be the best iPhones available when they hit store shelves this Friday. But they exist in the shadow of the possibly superior iPhone X, in all its face-detecting and home-button killing glory. That more expensive device won’t be available until Nov. 3, leaving many iPhone buyers wondering if they should upgrade or wait.

In a refreshing change for Apple, it didn’t add yet another proprietary technology. The iPhone 8 uses the existing Qi standard, which means it can work with third-party devices. Apple doesn’t include a wireless charger with the iPhone 8. They’re sold separately by companies like Mophie and Belkin, and start at around $15.

One of the most entertaining new additions to the iPhone 8 isn’t even exclusive to the device: augmented reality. It’s part of iOS 11, Apple’s latest mobile operating system, which is available for older phones as well. iOS 11 also has a different look, a vastly improved Control Center, and a number of pleasing changes.

Business Insider

Don’t buy it.

For the first time in the ten-year history of the iPhone, I can’t recommend buying the newest models.

That’s not because the new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus are bad phones. They’re actually great.

But there’s an even better phone on the way.


It’s good, but it’s hard to not be thinking about the iPhone X.

The iPhone 8, however, is by no means a slouch of an update. I’ve been testing both the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus (following some hands on time with the iPhone X at Apple’s event) and I must say the impressive update is way more than skin deep beyond the shiny new glass exterior…

Perhaps for many the real review for iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will be a comparison to reviews for the iPhone X when it comes out in the coming weeks. If that screen notch or the lack of a real Home button bothers you, and the $999 price tag doesn’t thrill you, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus are still some of the best phones on the planet. More importantly, Apple didn’t hold a whole lot back from iPhone 8 and 8 Plus as far as smarts and power under the hood goes.

If you’re keeping track, the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus could have (should have?) been the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus, but after spending time with them, wireless charging, the new glass design, and notable camera upgrades feel worthy of the iPhone 8 branding. And for those that could care less about the iPhone X’s OLED display and Face ID, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus offer a ton more value for money with a traditional look and feel.


It’s good, but that iPhone X is just irresistible.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus may not be as flashy as the iPhone X, but anyone upgrading from an older model will appreciate the jumps. Coming from the iPhone 6s, for instance, you’re getting double the storage, the option to wirelessly charge your iPhone, a refreshed design, and a faster camera. If you’re coming from the iPhone 7 family, on the other hand, it’s harder to make the case. If you have last year’s iPhone and want a comparable leap, I’d say boost than rainy day reserve for Apple’s duly next-gen iPhone X.


Food for thought in choosing between the iPhone 8 and iPhone X.

As far as a consumer goes, however, the iPhone 8 is the easy traditional choice this year. It’s got nearly every technical enhancement that the iPhone X has outside of the TrueDepth camera and OLED screen. I think the mental calculus on this one is probably closer than it’s ever been, but the framework is roughly the same: If you’re the kind of person who buys the high end iPhone every year then wait for the iPhone X. With the one added caveat of if the notch for the depth camera on the front of the X offends you, well you have most of the major tech right in the iPhone 8.

I’ve been thinking about this one, and I think the best way to categorize the iPhone X is as a super set of the iPhone 8 series. I’ll talk about that more when it comes time to discuss the X, but for now the iPhone 8 is still going to get you most of the way to “the best” — especially when it comes to the camera.

The Telegraph

How does it stack up against Android?

So how about other devices? Arguably, for the price you can pick up Android phones with better screens and cameras, and with more modern designs. Samsung’s Galaxy S8 comes in at the same price at the iPhone 8, and the OnePlus 5 is cheaper. At this stage, however, the differences are less important than if you prefer iOS or Android, which is really a matter of taste.


A real step forward.

When I first picked up the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, I immediately decided they were actually just the iPhone 7s and 7s Plus. I was wrong: They’re definitely much more than that. They’re just saddled with a less exciting design. If you subscribe to the maxim that it’s what’s inside that really counts, the 8 and 8 Plus are big improvements. They pack more storage, great cameras, improved software and absolutely first-rate performance into some highly familiar packages. The iPhone X will continue to suck the air out of the room for the foreseeable future, but one thing has become clear after my week of testing: They might not have the X’s style, but the 8 and 8 Plus are truly excellent phones that won’t let Apple die-hards and new customers down.


Good, but they’re no iPhone X.

Okay, so they’re not the all-singing, all-dancing iPhone X, but these phones are both worth moving up to, especially if you are coming from an iPhone 6s or older handset. However, I’d say there’s enough upgrade here to make it worthwhile from an iPhone 7, too.


An inbetweener of a smartphone.

Pro. A solid and attractive glass iPhone with a lovely screen, excellent camera, wireless charging, water resistance, iOS 11

Con. A sandwich device falls between the pricier but more dramatic iPhone X, as well as other fine iPhones that are cheaper.

The bottom line

Having read the reviews, you get the feeling that the iPhone 8 will never really get it’s time to shine. While some of the reviews certainly focus on it being “just another iPhone,” those reviewers who were very positive and gushing about the iPhone 8 were thinking about and fantasizing about the iPhone X, and that’s an odd space for a new iPhone to inhabit.

It’s going to be interesting to see if the tone of these reviews push people towards the higher-priced iPhone X (and put pressure on Apple to keep up with demand), or whether people will hold onto their existing iPhone in the hopes that everything that’s good about the iPhone X will next year be in the iPhone 8s or 9 or whatever it will be called.

See also:


iPhone X: How outrageous is that $999 price tag?

The iPhone X starts at $999 for 64GB of storage, with that price rising to $1,149 for those who want 256GB of storage. Is this price tag justifiable, or is it outrageous?

Apple iPhone X sets the stage for future price hikes, not innovation

When we accept expensive smartphones and salivate over smart features, there is no barrier to budget.

September 19, 2017 brianradio2016

As the feds investigate whether the Equifax breach that exposed data of up to 143 million Americans resulted in insider trading, the company has a new problem. Three sources tell Bloomberg that although Equifax learned of the intrusion in late July, the company knew of another breach as early as…

September 19, 2017 brianradio2016


Safari’s new Intelligent Tracking Prevention imposes new restrictions on how cookies can be used to personalize ads.

Image: CNET

Apple is rolling out iOS 11 and macOS High Sierra today, bringing with them a new cookie anti-tracking feature in Safari that advertising groups say will “sabotage the economic model for the internet”.

Globally, iOS is dwarfed by Android, but Safari accounts for a little under half of all mobile web traffic in North America and a quarter in Europe, according to StatCounter. And adoption of the newest version of iOS has historically been rapid compared with Android, so the impact of changes to how Safari handles cookies will be swift.

The ad industry last week published an open letter criticizing Apple’s “unilateral and heavy-handed” approach with Safari’s new Intelligent Tracking Prevention, which it announced in June.

The system puts new restrictions on how cookies can be used to personalize ads. Safari already blocks third-party cookies, but ITP will delete first-party cookies too if the user hasn’t interacted with the site in the past 30 days. It will allow cookies to be used in a third-party context for 24 hours to support login scenarios.

Apple says the intent is to ensure that users only have persistent cookies from sites they interact with while tracking data is continuously cleaned out.

The approach is different to Google’s forthcoming ad-blocker in Chrome, which will target annoying and intrusive ads rather than online tracking.

The ad industry says Apple’s ITP is placing a set of “haphazard rules over the use of first-party cookies” and asked Apple to “rethink” its approach to online privacy.

“Apple’s unilateral and heavy-handed approach is bad for consumer choice and bad for the ad-supported online content and services consumers love,” the advertising groups argued.

“Blocking cookies in this manner will drive a wedge between brands and their customers, and it will make advertising more generic and less timely and useful. Put simply, machine-driven cookie choices do not represent user choice; they represent browser-manufacturer choice.”

The letter was signed by the American Association of Advertising Agencies, the American Advertising Federation, the Association of National Advertisers, the Data & Marketing Association, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, and the Network Advertising Initiative.

However, Apple has no plans to drop ITP from Safari, and in a statement on Friday reiterated its stance that users feel that trust is broken when their web activity is tracked online and sold for purposes they didn’t agree to.

“Ad-tracking technology has become so pervasive that it is possible for ad-tracking companies to re-create the majority of a person’s web browsing history. This information is collected without permission and is used for ad retargeting, which is how ads follow people around the internet,” an Apple representative said.

“Apple believes that people have a right to privacy.”

Previous and related coverage

iOS 11 release date is tomorrow. Here’s how to get your iPhone or iPad ready

Here’s what you need to do to make sure that your upgrade goes smoothly and you don’t lose any data.

New to iOS 11? Change these privacy and security settings right now

Before you do anything on your iPhone or iPad, you should lock it down. This is how you do it.

More on iOS 11

September 19, 2017 brianradio2016

The web is at the heart of many modern business applications. We use browsers as the universal interface for our services, wrapping them in familiar HTML and JavaScript. If you’ve got an internet connection and a browser, you’ve got access to an application, whether on your PC or on your smartphone.

But what if you need access to more than the keyboard and the mouse, such as using cameras or other device hardware in your code?

That’s where the next iteration of the web comes in to play, the progressive web app. Progressive web apps originated at Google, with a focus on the mobile web and the prospect of being able to deliver web apps that can work offline. With cross-platform support a key deliverable, it’s an important shift, one that goes further than Microsoft’s existing hosted web apps. Build a progressive web app for Android, and it should work on a future release of Windows 10.

Unlike traditional web apps, which you bookmarked or pinned to the Windows task bar, progressive web apps are installable. They’ll launch like apps, without the familiar browser frame, and they’ll work offline.

September 18, 2017 brianradio2016

Google will strangle most auto-playing audio in early 2018 when it issues Chrome 64, the upgrade expected to ship Jan. 21-27, the search giant promised last week.

“Chrome will be making auto-play more consistent with user expectations and will give users more control over audio,” wrote Mounir Lamouri, a Chrome software engineer, in a post to a company blog.

With Chrome 64, auto-play contents – often, but not always, advertisements – will not be allowed to run automatically unless it mutes the audio. There will be some exceptions, including a very large one: If the user has clicked or tapped (desktop Chrome or mobile Chrome, respectively), “somewhere on the site during the browsing session,” the audio may play.

That exclusion means that auto-play audio won’t sound as soon as the user reaches a site — the biggest complaint about the practice — but the content could later begin running its video and echoing its audio.

September 18, 2017 brianradio2016

When you use PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Wallet or simply your credit card to make an online purchase, you the consumer, the ecommerce retailer and the banks behind the money exchange are using FinTech.

When Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade or Fidelity Investments purchase stocks and the banks settle the securities transactions, that’s FinTech.

And when you go online to find the best mortgage rates for that dream home or to refinance the one you’re in, that’s FinTech.

FinTech defined

Broadly speaking, FinTech (financial technology) is anywhere technology is applied in financial services or used to help companies manage the financial aspects of their business, including new software and applications, processes and business models.

September 18, 2017 brianradio2016

Those of you with a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 who are running Windows Insider beta builds, sit up and take note: Don’t turn off your machine.

Somehow Microsoft managed to release the latest beta build, 16288.1, to both the Fast and the Slow ring. If you install it on your Surface Pro 3 and try to reboot, you’ll see a “Surface” on a black screen, the dot-chasing “working” icon, and exactly nothing else. My SP3 has been bricked since yesterday, and the dots are still chasing each other.

How, you might question, could this have happened? Certainly anybody who installed 16288.1 on an SP3 machine didn’t ever get it to reboot. The build was pushed out to the Fast ring on Sept. 12. It went out on the Slow ring on Sept. 15. And I didn’t see any mention of the bug until Sept. 16. Is it possible that nobody inside or outside Microsoft rebooted a beta-enhanced Microsoft SP3 between Sept. 12 and Sept. 16?

There’s a report of a similar bug on the Microsoft Answers forum, dated Sept. 14, but that appears to be caused by having an SD card installed. The Surface Pro 3 won’t reboot if there’s an SD card in the slot.

September 18, 2017 brianradio2016

The other day, I was at a coffee shop where the Wi-Fi seemed slow. I didn’t run actual speed tests, as that would have just added to the network load. Instead, I fired up the excellent WifiInfoView program from Nir Sofer.

Windows, like many operating systems, provides a pathetic amount of Wi-Fi information. Without sufficient technical data, we are left to guess at the root cause of slow Wi-Fi. WifiInfoView is the motherload of techie information about your Wi-Fi environment. I ran the program just to check on the signal strength, but I learned much more.

The coffee shop had two Wi-Fi networks, one on each frequency band (2.4GHz and 5GHz). I had connected to the 5GHz band. If you are close enough to a router to get a strong signal, the 5GHz band should be faster. If the 5GHz signal strength is weak, the 2.4GHz band should offer a stronger signal, as the lower frequency allows it to better pass through obstructions.

wifi info view problemMichael Horowitz/IDG

Two coffee shop networks, one on each frequency band, as displayed by WifiInfoView

Above is a small excerpt from the WifiInfoView report showing the two networks (each had a different SSID) belonging to the coffee shop.