March 14, 2018 brianradio2016

Apple will hold its 29th Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) June 4-8 at its new home, the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose. Here’s what to expect.

What is Apple saying?

Short answer: Not much. Some Apple watchers may get a little pleasure unpacking the company’s statement issued when it announced the event:

“Every year, WWDC provides an opportunity for millions of developers to learn more about how to create new experiences across Apple’s platforms for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, Mac and HomePod,” it said.

“A broad range of robust developer APIs – including SiriKit, HomeKit, HealthKit, GymKit, MusicKit, ResearchKit and Core ML – give developers new ways to help users take command of everything from their health and homes, to how they get around, shop and learn.”

Make of that what you will.

Operating system enhancements

Earlier this year, we heard Apple plans to change its approach to software. The new approach involves moving away from attention-seeking improvements in favor of making sure what is introduced works.

March 14, 2018 brianradio2016

Kubernetes has become a standard way—many would say the standard way — to deploy containerized applications at scale. But if Kubernetes helps us to tame sprawling and complex container deployments, what’s available to help us tame Kubernetes? It too can be complex, messy, and difficult to manage.

As Kubernetes grows and evolves, it is likely that some of its excesses will be tamed from within. But some people aren’t waiting around for Kubernetes to get any easier to work with, and have rolled their own solutions to many common problems with Kubernetes in production.

Here we highlight 10 projects that simplify Kubernetes in various ways, from easing command-line interactions, to simplifying application deployment syntax, to integrating with AWS, to providing a window into multiple clusters.

Bitnami Cabin: Kubernetes dashboard for iOS and Android

No modern web application or service should be without some kind of mobile interface. Cabin provides Kubernetes admins with a version of the Kubernetes dashboard that is accessible from an iOS or Android smartphone. Many of the functions available in the full Kubernetes dashboard can be launched from Cabin, including Helm charts, scaling deployments, reading pod logs, and accessing web-based apps hosted by Kubernetes.

March 14, 2018 brianradio2016

Over the past few years, there has been a subtle but significant shift in the way that data is structured in databases. Whereas yesterday’s databases were typically limited to storing data in rows and tables, today’s modern databases often make use of nested data structures.

In this article, we will take a deeper dive into the nature of nested data structures, how they are represented in different databases, and the benefits and challenges of using nested data structures. Finally, we’ll propose an approach that addresses the challenge of marrying the traditional world of business intelligence with the modern world of nested data.

What is nested data?

Let’s start with a little introduction to dimensional modeling, using a website visit as an example.  There are measures of the visit that exist at the visit level, such as the number of visits and the length of the visit. There are also attributes of the visit that only exist at the visit level, such as the user’s IP address, browser type, and OS. There are also page views that occur as part of each visit, each with their own measures, for example the number of page views and the time on page. And there are page view specific attributes, such as page name, page category, and page URL.

In the traditional world of data mart or data warehouse design, a common approach to creating a model to support the analysis of this web data might be to create something that looks like the following (simplified) data model.

March 14, 2018 brianradio2016

Want to know the lifespan of an Apple device? This quick calculation tells you

When a company falls 24 places in a reputation survey, you know something is wrong. But what?

Must read: The five things that kill your iPhone’s battery the fastest

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It’s not just Apple that suffered. Google also fell twenty places, from 8th to 28th place. Retaining the top spot once again is Amazon.

OK, so what’s going on at Apple? Well, a few things spring to mind.

First, the methodology of the poll. Here is what Reuters had to say:

“The poll, conducted since 1999, surveyed 25,800 U.S. adults from Dec. 11 to Jan. 12 on the reputations of the ‘most visible’ corporate brands.”

So, reputation translates into visibility, which in turn translates into what companies spring to people’s minds.

John Gerzema, CEO of the Harris Poll, offered Reuters a possible explanation for why Apple and Google tanked so hard:

“Google and Apple, at this moment, are sort of in valleys. We’re not quite to self-driving cars yet. We’re not yet seeing all the things in artificial intelligence they’re going to do.”

That’s an interesting idea, but it’s not one that I can agree with. After all, many of those adults will have bought new Apple hardware (Apple sells a lot of iPhones at the tail end of every year), or may have been polled on their iPhones or Macs. And the last time I looked, plenty of people are still using Google services every day.

I think the reason for the drop is more to do with the lack of buzz and maybe that Apple as a brand is being overshadowed by the iPhone. “Apple iPhone” has given way to just ‘iPhone.” The same could be said for Google services. The company has taken second place to the products.

There was no end of hype in the run-up to the unveiling of the iPhone X in September of last year, but I was surprised just how quickly that buzz faded away into a dull hum by the launch date. Sticker shock, and the gap between the launch of the iPhone 8 and the iPhone X, no doubt threw a dampener on things. While there’s no doubt that the iPhone X has sold well, we didn’t get any of the usually boasts from the Apple PR team, which we would have expected if it broke records.

2017 was also a pretty bad year for Apple software quality.

Just over the last few weeks of the year, we saw both macOS and iOS hit by several high profile bugs. And what’s worse is that the fixes that Apple pushed out — in a rushed manner — themselves caused problems.

And this is just a selection of the bugs that users have had to contend with over the past few months. I’ve written at length about how it feels like the quality of software coming out of Apple has deteriorated significantly in recent years.

Now don’t get me wrong, bugs happen. There’s no such thing as perfect code, and sometimes high-profile security vulnerabilities can result in patches being pushed out that are not as well tested as they could be. But bugs, especially high-visibility ones that get a lot of press coverage, are going to put a ding in any company’s reputation.

Here’s what I wrote back in December of 2017:

“Apple owes a lot of its current success to its dedicated fanbase, the people who would respond to Windows or Android issues with ‘you should buy Apple, because that stuff just works.’ Shattering that illusion for those people won’t be good in the long term, which is why I think Apple needs to take a long, hard look at itself in the run up to 2018 and work out what’s been going wrong and come up with ways to prevent problems from happening in the future.”

Apple, maybe the time to take that long, hard look at yourself is here.

See also:

March 14, 2018 brianradio2016

A wrong-number text had doubly heartwarming results last week. It all started when a woman named Syd texted a picture of herself in a dress, apparently seeking advice—but not to the person she meant to send it to. Instead of just ignoring it or telling her she had the…

March 13, 2018 brianradio2016

ORLANDO, Fla. – The wide variety of collaboration and communications tools now available to businesses can help connect employees in different locations, but can also result in fragmented and siloed conversations. 

With that in mind, a new breed of team collaboration chat apps has emerged in recent years that, in many cases, incorporate video and voice call functionality alongside text-based messaging. That means enterprise organizations can begin to  consolidate some of their existing communication tools into a single platform deployed across the business, according to a panel of CIOs at the Enterprise Connect conference here in Orlando.

Jason Kasch, CIO at Structural Group, a Maryland-based engineering and construction firm, said his company had previously used a range of applications to connect staffers – everything from Microsoft’s Yammer and Oracle Social Network to group text messaging platform GroupMe and Slack. By moving to RingCentral’s Glip, the company found it easier for employees to start conversations with the right people in the organization.

“We had a bunch of different products where people were collaborating and the one piece that was missing was a central contact point,” Kasch explained. “If everyone was on a different platform, they didn’t have the ability to single point click to start a video conference or a conversation immediately.”

March 13, 2018 brianradio2016

apple-wwdc-18.jpg(Screenshot: Jason Cipriani/ZDNet)

Developers can now register for a chance to attend Apple’s 2018 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC).

The event will take place June 4 to June 8 in San Jose, Calif., at the McEnery Convention Center.

Apple typically uses the opening keynote of WWDC to announce software updates to the company’s various platforms such as iOS, macOS, watchOS, and tvOS.

Occasionally the company also uses the event to announce hardware products. Rumors have already begun circulating that Apple will announce a new MacBook at this year’s event.

The registration window for developers is open until March 22 at 10am PST. Apple will then randomly select developers who can then purchase a ticket for $1,599.

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March 13, 2018 brianradio2016

On the surface, Google’s Android P release — in its current, unfinished form — isn’t exactly what you’d call “exciting.”

Yes, the first developer preview of Android P has plenty of fresh functional touches (including a new native system for editing screenshots on the fly — who woulda thunk?!). And yes, it has its fair share of visual refinements, too.

But the bulk of Android P’s biggest features so far have revolved around under-the-hood improvements — things like support for a newer Wi-Fi protocol that’ll improve indoor location pinpointing, a more advanced system of image processing and compression for developers to utilize, and a more intelligent system for data management that’ll let apps prefetch data only when network conditions are optimal.

Android P also gives apps expanded access to Google’s neural networks system for advanced types of machine learning, creates a more effective system for the universal autofill process introduced in Oreo, and provides substantial improvements to the underlying systems that allow apps to operate. Apps on Android P should use less memory, be more power efficient, and be faster-loading than what we see now.

March 13, 2018 brianradio2016

Global spending on mobile hardware, software and services will rise this year by 3.2% to more than $1.6 trillion, pushed by developments such as augmented reality (AR), artificial intelligence (A.I.) and 5G, according to a new report from IDC.

“Overall, businesses will invest more in new devices and apps that enable A.I. and AR use cases for the business,” Phil Hochmuth, IDG’s program director of Enterprise Mobility, said via email. “On AR, businesses will spend on new mobile devices [and] hardware to help support enterprise use cases, such as medical AR, real-time data/schematic integration in industrial scenarios, etc.”

Spending on AR headsets and smart glasses will also be a part of the spending.

And, when 5G finally becomes a reality, “there will be big device upgrade waves to take advantage of increased bandwidth, security and functionality of 5G,” Hochmuth said.