iCare Consulting

Your Internet Specialist

Wednesday, Aug 16th

Last update12:29:02 PM GMT

You are here:: Home Tech Blog Authors Admin

These days it seems everyone is using a tablet. But not any type of tablet -- an iPad please. Yes iPads are everywhere. In fact it appears that Apple is controlling an estimated 75% of this market. Sweet revenge for Apple that always was struggling in the market of personal computers. I am wondering how many of these devices will sell over the Christmas Holiday. Probably millions. What is amazing is that before the iPad no one knew that they needed a tablet. In fact before Apple came up with its iPad the tablet market was stagnant. I remember one of my colleagues showing me his new Windows computer a few years ago. It had a built in tablet or something that looked like it. My colleague was very proud of his acquisition as for me; I was unimpressed to say the least. This tablet or computer that had an interactive screen that could flip over was really cumbersome. A big piece of hardware that was as heavy as a brick. This wasn't elegant and practical at all. No wonder we didn't see many of these contraptions around.

Apple always claimed that they were not interested into this segment of the computer market (that's what they say). But as usual they had their plan and came up with this beautiful piece of hardware that nobody knew they needed. Two years after the iPad had launch, you see them everywhere. I work in education, and in the last two months 5 of my colleagues have bought their own tablet and are using it with students. They are sharing on almost every lunch hour what apps they use with students. In talking with my other colleagues, there are many more who actually intend to do the same. The iPad is so popular that it replaced the MacBook. Indeed, the entry level MacBook is gone because it is not needed anymore. It is all part of the Apple strategy to minimize the number of products they are offering so they wouldn't cannibalize their sale. The famous four quadrants of Apple products (you have to read Steve's bio to understand).

Meanwhile the competition is struggling to enter the tablet market. HP after an unsuccessful attempt is already out of it. Samsung is doing okay it seems, but their tablet is a bit small or at least this is what I read about it, but it looks like they will make it thanks to Android and the Google locomotive pushing behind it. As for Blackberry, you have to read my other blogs. The best thing that could happen to Blackberry these days is if some company would do a take over (maybe Microsoft as the rumor goes). But I don't see much future for the RIM tablet as no one is interested to get one as it doesn't have much software to run on it and developer are not rushing to write application even after RIM drop the price. Their new operating system probably won't help, as it will not bring more applications.

For consumers, price is not really a matter as long as they have something they can use on their tablet. It is like going to a restaurant where they would serve only one type of food. You won't attract a lot of customers, but offer them a smorgasbord and they will come back even if it is more expensive. Apple understands that and this is what makes it a great company.

So if you are in the market for a tablet, yes you could save yourself a bit of money and get a Samsung or really spoil yourself and get an iPad. I am sure you won't regret it.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year

  • 9 Comments

What a joke!.....

Do you receive email from businesses promising you to be first in ranking with Google? Yes! Next time when you receive such a message, try this. Use some keywords describing the business to see if it comes first in ranking with Google. If not, give them another chance. Try to enter the business name for example “First SEO”. Still no luck, remember it has to be in the first 2 to 3 links on top of your page. Statistic shows that most people won’t go to the second page in a search with Google. Still no luck enter their Web Site address (No address!.. Use the domain after the @ for example “firstseo.com” in info@firstseo.com. Finally you are getting results. Click on the link what…. No Web site!... (It happened to me - the page was there but empty except for the cgi folder). They are using a hotmail or Gmail address. Are you serious? How can you trust such a business? Crooks, yes they are, don’t trust them!...

By now you are probably getting my point. It seems these days half of the Businesses on the Web are there to get your money. Sometimes they are legit businesses such as Google or Facebook but lot of the time they are just crooks. I would even be careful with legit businesses. For example when using Adwords and Facebook Ads be cautious, as it could be very pricey. Make sure you set a budget with them and stick with it. My point is if you want to open a business on the Web, you’ll need to be patient and work hard. Yes there are a few exceptions, but this is it, there are just a few like in a lottery you have a lot of participants but just a few winners. In real life, only hard work will ultimately pay.

 

  • 2 Comments

Research in Motion outage this week could be just another nail in their coffin, and the timing couldn’t be worse. Indeed with the release of a newer iPhone – the iPhone 4S, RIM is going to face more competition. Many companies are now allowing their workers to use their own phone and I sense that many other companies will start doing the same. Why not? It is after all a saving for these companies if they don’t have to pay for communication devices. Productivity should also increase if you are using technology that you can master.

With this newer iPhone, Apple is getting one step closer to what RIM is offering. Indeed Apple now offer a mail service that is similar to what the maker of the Blackberry is offering. Preordering of the newer iPhone is doing very well. Apple announced that on the first day they received over a million orders for the new iPhone. This even after this newer iPhone has bee largely criticized. The fact that Steve Jobs died the day after the release of the new phone didn’t affect at all sales. I would even say that it might have helped. The death of Steve just brought more attention to Apple – the company maker of all these marvelous gadgets. It showed to the world that Apple is a company that will continue to thrive even if Jobs is gone.

Apple has now over 75 billion $ in its coffers. RIM on the other hand is loosing money. They have great technology but can’t seem to manage. Apple on the other hand has no problem managing but will need to continue improving to compete with Android. Maybe it would be time for a marriage of RIM and Apple. RIM would probably loose a lot in this union but at least they would survive. Not so long ago we’ve seen such union of reason between Nokia and Microsoft. If Apple and Research in Motion would unite their forces, they would be in better position to affront Android.

One thing for sure there is not enough room for all these players into this market.

 

 

Most of us are connected to one social network or another. For some, it is a necessity and for many others, a great source of income. Should it then come as a surprise that it is also one of the worst breaches of privacy ever invented? We are ready to unveil information that we would never share in public to an online audience so large that we may not even estimate its size. Participation in social media networks leads to a loss of personal information on a scale not previously thought possible before. Plagued with advertisers stealing user information, these networks restrict on what can't be shared and give anybody the power to report what their friends are doing anytime. Social media has an important impact on society due to the rampant abuse of personal information and the loss of privacy

Whenever a user writes a post, shares a photo or likes a product's page, that user is sending a very large amount of data to everyone who is on his/her friends list, and to many agencies that aren't. These agencies comprise of advertisers, marketing analysts, other social researchers and salesmen. The information obtained can then potentially be shared with any number of advertising, spamming and marketing firms.

While it is not criminal to share user information for the purposes of advertising on their own website, there is always the threat that information would be shared with other less ethical parties. Social networks don't generate enough money to sustain themselves on their own and this is why they have to share their users' information with advertisers, trade of this sort keeps them afloat. It is also important that the users be protected from having their information stolen by third parties.

Mark Zuckergerg, founder of Facebook, argues that the loss of privacy is a social norm that we have acquired recently and that it is only normal for everyone to know everything that others are doing. This was in response to complaints about the recent privacy changes to Facebook that removed many privacy features. It is not normal for the choice to be taken from the users, as privacy options are being changed without notifying or giving the options for users to change them back. City, gender and profile picture information were private before an update removed the option of making them available only to friends or family. These demographics are now considered to be public information and are shared with the world no matter the settings that a user may have.

Not only is social media a means to steal personal information, it is also a way to spread gossip, harmful misinformation, and further abuse. There is no way to really check for what is happening in a photo or video, except through user voting and reports. This means that if a humiliating photo taken at a party is posted, the individuals in the photo have no knowledge that their reputation is being hurt. They will likely not find out until it has reached an enormous audience and has harmed their reputation badly. Employers have recently started checking their employees and prospective employees Facebook pages for opinions, habits and other subjects that could make them reconsider hiring or continued employment. This means that personal data leaks are all the more dangerous. Employers looking through their employee's pages or data also has a negative impact as they will have access to the most intimate personal data, what their friends are like and what kind of person they're hiring or have hired. Employees can and will post what they think of their jobs, coworkers and bosses, which may get some more expressive employees fired for their opinions. Not only are employees responsible for keeping their opinions out of their statuses, they are also judged by who they are friends with, needing to clean up or delete friends' comments and posts on their pages.

The loss of privacy is a rising issue among web rights activists as more and more users sign up to share their lives with the world. If a major exploit is ever found that allowed anyone to see anything posted or otherwise told on any media site, it would have huge repercussions for both the users and the network's good status. Measures must be taken by social media developers for their users' sakes to stop the misuse of private information, take action against the posting of media containing non-consenting individuals and their own carelessness in handling user data. Privacy is being thrown out the window along with inhibition against sharing even the most private things which is leading to a whole market based on user data. The loss of privacy is affecting users in myriads of ways with self confessions, private information theft and the scrutinizing eye of their peers reporting all that they do. The participation in social media comes at a very high price. With privacy shriveling at a rapid pace with no signs of stopping, at what point will we be putting it in museums along with the remnants of our individuality?

 

  • 10 Comments

Penny Auction

Interesting, last night I was surfing the Web and came across and ad that got my attention. It was an ad for a new type of auction. Not so new as I found out a bit later as it has been around for a while. It is called penny auction. The site I found is called Dealfun.com but there are many more. Being curious by nature and a consumer of expensive technology (mainly Apple), I wanted to know what these guys had to offer so I click on the link. I was brought to a site that promises to get you just what you wanted for a fraction of the price. Everyone like a good deal and if I can pay only $25 for a new iPod touch, why not! But you know what they say  "If it is too good to be true"...... So I became immediately suspicious because you had to register to the site in order to see the deals. Then I did what I usually do when I want to find out more about a business or product, I typed "dealfun scam" into google. The first results surprised me as I came across a bunch of site that were all saying how fantastic penny auctions were. Sure they also said that some site where dishonest (especially competition as I found out later). The only problem I had with these sites is that they were more or less saying the same things and they were all having a bunch of links that would send you to a penny auction site. That made me more suspicious so I made another search and found out a few sites that were highly critic of penny auctions. In one of the blogs I read, I even found out that some penny auction sites were creating site such as pennyauctionscam.org to promote what they are doing. That explain why my first search wasn't successful. These site are misleading and are also loaded with links that would connect you to penny auction sites.

So how does it work?

Apparently when you register, you have to pay a fee usually around $150 that gives you 300 bids (about 50¢ per bid depending on the auction). According to a few people who were scammed, it is not clear that you are paying this fee. I didn't try it myself as I don't have money to trow away, so I have to trust what they said. Still not a bad deal you think. If I can get a Canon camera for 10 bid ($5) plus the price of the auction it is very good. But this is not that easy because each time you bid the clock will jump by 10 second and if not enough people are bidding, the site itself will bid on the auction just to raise it and get the clock ticking again. At the end, only one person will win the auction (so someone wins but all the others lose). The cost for the winner will be whatever price the auction went to (for example $38) plus the total amount of bids you did (for example 12 X .50¢). Not bad! you get a brand new Canon camera for $44. Maybe, but that is if you are the winner of the auction. Remember all the others are actually subsidizing your prize. Good deal!... for the penny auction site. The math is not difficult if for example 40 people put in 500 bids on an iPod touch 8 Gig and it went to $ 30 that means the company is making $280 for something you can buy for $230 on the Apple store. To make sure they make a profit, the site will bid on the item until it is paid for. So all the bidders will pay for the product. Simple! So in a way it works a bit like a lottery. Yes someone will win but ultimately the real winner is whoever runs the lottery. So beware and when you see something that is too good to be true, check the Web an find out. You can also check with the BBB (http://www.bbb.org) to find out about a business. I check one penny auction site on BBB and it was rated F (the lowest mark you can get). Lots of complaint on price, delivery, etc. You get the picture!....

  • 4 Comments

I have been in this Web business for more than 15 years. I still remember the beginning of it. The first Web site I designed, the first Internet access centre, etc.

 

One of my clients at the time had just received a grant to set-up an access center. At first the plan was to connect through a 28.8 baud modem. Slow, but reliable, but our local TV cable company was just starting to offer cable connection, so I phoned them immediately to get them to install a cable modem. It was still something new for them and they didn't quite know what they were doing. I remember the time, this is when the first  iMac started to sell. At this time people didn't know about routers. It was not possible to buy one at Staples or anywhere else. I had to search the Internet to find out how I could share the connection as I needed to have 4 computers using one IP address. The solution at the time was to use soft routing. I configured a computer  (a Mac 4400) with two ethernet cards to be able to share the connection. I was also running on that computer software to host a few Websites (good thing I had a static address). Not at all a good solution. The soft router was okay but it needed to be restarted once in a while. As for Web sites hosted on the server they were very slow and down 20% of the time as I needed to drive to the building every time the server would crash to restart it.

 

In these days we didn't talk about Facebook, Google or Youtube an the browser that everyone used was Netscape. Internet Explorer was just starting but everyone was still using Netscape.

 

I designed a lot of Web sites during that time and every site would take me up to 50 - 60 hours to design. Today I can design something equivalent in less than a day. Yes we did a lot of progress in just a few years.

 

I learned a lot about the Internet and I am still learning today. Things have changed. Videos are very popular today (thanks to broadband). Social networking is hot, and you can find answer to almost all your questions on the Web. Is there anyone out there still using Altavista?Do you know that it was at one time the best search engine on the Web. Altavista  is now part of Yahoo which is doing everything possible to keep its part of the market.

 

In less than 15 years, we saw so many changes on the Web that it makes you wonder what is going to happen next. Who knows maybe another search engine will take over Google or something else will replace Facebook. It happened before!….

  • 5 Comments

I wish I had bought some Apple (AAPL-Q) when they were in the toilet. Shares that were trading for around $28 just a few year ago are now trading over $370 and they are expected to go as high as $450. Why is that?

First Apple is a good company that makes products consumers want. Second they are going after the Chinese market. The biggest market in the world with over 600 million people using cell phones. Finally there is a rumor that Apple will release a consumer iPhone that would sell for a fraction of the price of their new iPhone 5. This way Apple would have a phone for everyone, just like they have a computer or a tablet for everyone.

Apple is doing fine even without Steve. This is a good sign! It means that the company has finally matured and its image is no longer attached to its CEO. Apple will continue to strive even when Steve retires entirely.

Research in Motion is coming with a new generation of high-powered mobile devices. At least this is what they are announcing. I don’t know about you, but me I wouldn’t bet a penny on this company. I had a friend who asked me about RIM a while ago, his wife had just sold out her Visa and she wanted to invest in RIM. My answer “Stay away from it”.

RIM reminds me a bit of Nortel, great Canadian company with great products, but that might be just what the problem is. Rim is Canadian and it looks like it is getting a hard time competing with other companies (mostly American ones). Take their tablet for example. I was in a store the other day, and I look at one of them. Couldn’t get it to work! Battery was drained or tablet simply didn’t work. Apple had the same problem a few years ago. When I was visiting stores that would still carry their products (not many did in these years) it was hard to find computers that would be working.  Today when I go to a store and try Apple products, they all work. Why so you think? Probably because this is what the store is selling and they want to make sure they won’t miss a sale because a customer could not get the thing to work. Salespersons are making sure that Apple products are fully recharged or that they are on power supply. Also the employees are very knowledgeable because that is probably what they are using themselves.

I don’t wish RIM’s death, but they have to come with better products if they want to survive. Hope this new generation of mobile device will be their iMac.

Yellow Media is in trouble. You are probably asking yourself what this has to do in this blog. Everything! After all technology is what is killing directories like Yellow Pages.

Recently, I had a client who wanted me to build a Website for his business. His reasoning was that he was paying too much in advertising with yellow pages. He thought that it was time for him to move on and drop phone book advertisement.  I am not surprised of this decision; after all it is so much easier to look for a business on the Web. Need a phone number! Just enter the name of the business into your search engine and in less time it takes to look into the phone book you not only get the number you need, but also a lot of information about the business. You can even get a link that will bring you to YouTube for infomercial about the product the business is selling.

Same scenario is happening with other businesses that are not adapting fast enough to the changes in technology. But that will be the subject of another blog.

  • 5 Comments

Today with no news Apple (AAPL - Nasdaq) went up another $ 2.33. For a company that had so many problems just a few years ago, this is quite an accomplishment. This is not by luck that Apple is doing so well. They are making great products! There are a lot of companies that are trying to copy the products that they are making, but Apple is always two steps ahead of the competition. This stock will soon hit $400 and maybe will even go higher!...