The Quarterly Tech Magazine
Tech Crewsaders Magazine A Seoul foreign school publication
Locking Down Android–An Open Platform (p18) —1—
THE PUBLICATIONS TEAM Dhira Web Khewsubtrakool
EDITOR IN CHIEF
SENIOR EDITORS & WRITERS Patrick TomHon James Yuh Lillian Sheng Alex Byun Alexander Sohn Andrew Kim Andrey Ten Andy Cho Anno Chang Callum McEachen Chris Changhyun Kim
EXECUTIVE EDITOR OF DESIGN
Ashton Le Cornu Ian Kim Yoonjie Park
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Floruen Tu Jackie Bharwaney James Whong Jinwook Lee Justin Kae Kathleen Lee Lucas Hong
Nathan Cheung Christopher Yoonjae Kim
Patrick Hahn Sabrina Sung Samuel Kim Steven Paik Stian Mikalsen William TomHon Yong Choi
TEAM UPDATES to us in their interest to start their own student led technology support and innovation team. We were then also featured in the Learning 2.013 Conference held at the United World College of South East Asia in Singapore, where the Tech Crewsader team gained further in the region.
There have been many changes in the Tech Crewsaders since the fall issue released in 2013. After the Google Summit at SFS, it became clear for the Tech Crewsaders there was potential expand into other schools, not only locally with other international schools here in Korea, but also outside the peninsula. One of the first schools that had contacted us was the American International of Guangzhou, who initially reached out
Moving back to local news, recently with the APAC Forensics event held at SFS, the Tech Crewsaders, in conjunction with the Activities Director’s office and the Photography Team, have launched the official website for all things APAC at Seoul Foreign School at, sfsapac. com. There you will be able to find pictures of past events, game rosters, livestreams and much much more. In the future we hope that this will become your main center of content with any APAC sports and activities, and with this initiative we will also be partnering with other teams at Seoul Foreign High School to bring more content to the website. On the other hand, going forward, the Tech Crewsader, in addition to the services we presently provide at our physical location in the library, for the rest of the year we aim to
further diversify our services. In the coming weeks and months, the Tech Crewsaders team will be launching the e-textbook service, which allows students to borrow an iPad with digital versions of their textbooks for a day so that they will not have to carry their heavy textbooks to class every day. Furthermore, we are now beginning to roll out our club services endeavors starting with Phase 1—Web Development. With Phase 1 of our club services project we aim to give every club at SFS a free website, built and designed by Tech Crewsaders, to tell the world of their accomplishments, and connect with other schools elsewhere. We hope that you are excited as we are in the launch of these two new products, stay tuned for more launches coming soon.
Christopher Yoonjae Kim A Tech Crewsader Leader Contributing Editor/Advisor
COORDINATOR’S NOTES reliant on devices, and less intelligent as a result. This fear mongering was the same with the introduction of newspapers, bikes, pencils, etc to society. The same is true for the current implementation of 1:1 programs sweeping the globe and as increased access to the internet becomes universal. Just this week, the Huffington Post published an article stating that laptop programs lead to “shallower cognitive processing” and lower quality of learning. We have heard this all before.
There is a pervasive “Technological Myth” that separates people from technology and propagates that increased engagement with technology will somehow destroy man as a social being, make him more
The Tech Crewsaders are evidence of this, as it isn’t the tools they have access to, but the way in which they leverage them to innovate change in their community. As I reflect upon the wrap up the second year of the Tech Crewsaders program I am amazed with how widely and deeply this club has impacted their community locally and globally. By assisting others to leverage technology and become effectiveness and efficiency
maximizers they have transformed literary clubs, student newspapers, admin procedures, teachers lessons, international conferences, etc. This impact has been anything but shallow or superficial. In empowering others to leverage technology tools, they have exposed them to what would not be possible without, and transformed/redefined what is possible for many. But this is not revolution, teaching others to work more effectively, that’s evolution, and that cannot be avoided. The question is…... will you evolve, or become extinct?
Brian Hamm, B. Ed, M. Ed EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY INTEGRATIONIST
EDITOR’S NOTES It has been a long time since our last edition but I assure you that the quality of our work has only improved. After maintaining and overseeing the production of this publication for the past year and a half, I must say, it was not easy Even though we take pride in our audacious designs, we still believe that there is always room to improve the coherency of the magazine. With the mentality of always producing a better issue than the last, it was our central goal to implement something new to our magazine—a solidified and firm “design language”. In the past, there was not a strong uniform design or style from page to page other than the quality work and effort put into them. It was not until this issue that we realized that the entire magazine had to be unified under a single identity. Now, when you turn the pages, there is consistency in art direction, layouts,
typography, and a clarity of purpose where the content takes the lead and the design serves to make the delivery as streamlined as possible. I hope that you will continue to be captivated by the finished product that all of us in the Tech Crewsaders have put in to our publication and remember that with every turn of the page, you are reading a publication of the best quality. See you again soon !
Dhira Web Khewsubtrakool
Editor in Chief A Leader of the Tech Crewsaders
STARTERS NEWS OPINIONS SHORTS LIFEHACKS SNIPPETS AND RAMBLINGS THE MERGE GOOGLE PLUS AND YOUTUBE BY CALLUM MCEACHEN ven those who dwell in the darkest of caves will still have heard of the day YouTube was merged with Google+, or, in other words, the day Google shoved it’s social networking site down our throats. It was the day the Internet exploded with rage, anger, and frustration. Campaigns and petitions immediately popped up in all corners of the interwebs, but till this day Google has not responded to the voices of these netizens. Those of you who have YouTube accounts have been asked to get a Google+ account for a very long time now. This thoroughly annoyed me personally, because, at that time, I was pretty sure the number of people who used Google+ was pretty much similar to the total number of people who, for whatever reason, still use MySpace. However, the inevitable eventually happened. I had just returned from Cambodia and wanted to comment on a video and BAM, “Create a Google+ profile to comment”. I refreshed the page, hoping it would disappear, but it just would not leave. I finally gave in and created an account and re-uploaded my profile picture (because the people at Google are too lazy to transfer it from my old YouTube Account), but there were still some problems. I actually had to edit my picture because Google deemed it “too dark” and so kindly edited it for me to make it brighter, and then I had to spend more time trying
to get back to the way I wanted it in the first place, without those magical Google Enhancements. Of course, Google is a very powerful business and it knows it can get away with doing anything short of murder with few consequences and naturally, everyone hates change, especially if it involves doing something they will never need, want or use. But eventually we will adapt to the new ways, even if we still dislike the changes. Not very long ago, YouTube went through a major redesign of its entire
site with new video layouts, menus and navigation. Everything was brand new, from the buttons that used to be there to the buttons that never existed, effectively turning YouTube into a fully fledge Google product. It was clear at the time that the changes to YouTube would not end with the outer coat of looks and design but would, in time, extend to every cog in the system. After the redesign, creating new accounts on on YouTube, a service that was once been of independent entity from Google, became very Google in nature. From the demand for you to use your real names to linking your YouTube accounts with your Google accounts, it seems as though Google wants to be part of everything in my life, from my emails, now my videos, and probably, in the future, my identity.
ANDROID KITKAT LAUNCHES BY JINWOOK LEE
WHY SPOTIFY IS NOT HERE BY STIAN MIKALSEN Spotify is a digital musicstreaming service that gives you on-demand access to millions of songs on all your devices. There is both a free and premium version—the latter of which is based on subscription plans. Some of the benefits of the premium version include unlimited streaming of music and no ads.
Google has just taken the newest swing in the fight agains iOS with their release of Android 4.4, dubbed as “Android Kit-Kat”.
COURTESY OF NESTLÉ
On October 31st, 2013, Google finally unveiled their latest operating system— Android Kit-Kat—and to match it, a new smartphone named the Nexus 5. This reference-design phone (manufactured by LG) is the first to be equipped with Android 4.4, and it’s electrified the market. Specs, display, price, there’s nothing it lacks. The Nexus 5 also works unlocked, so you can use it anywhere in the world, without a contract. The true highlight of the OS launch hides behind something called “Project Svelte”. This makes Kit-Kat a welcoming release in that it can now support more low-end devices than previous updates. Google set out to make the Android 4.4 more accessible to older, cheaper devices; instead of the 1 GB of RAM encouraged for the previous version, 4.4 now only requires a minimum of 512 MB of RAM to be able to be used comfortably. This way, more phones can experience the benefits of KitKat.
you relevant information without having to search for it. Searching Google on Android 4.4 is easier, through a more accurate voice search (that listens 25% better), and a new portion of the home screen dedicated to Google Now and it’s cards. The message application has also been changed into Google Hangouts so all messages from Google Plus and SMS can be viewed in one place. The overall user interface is also improved. The transition across different screens is smooth and multitasking is more efficient with fewer crashes and lags. The general aesthetics also underwent a small redesign with more whites and greys than the all-black predecessor. Icons are bigger and less cluttered, making for a more organized visual. However, the general looks will still stay similar to the past Android 4.1 and 4.2. So, when will you be able to get Android 4.4? That’s up to your smartphone’s manufacturer and when they release an update to your model. Good luck, all you Samsung-endorsers, as Samsung’s says that updates are “in due course”. (Don’t expect it anytime soon)
One benefit of Android 4.4 is the increased integration of Google Now. Google Now is a search assistant giving
Today, Spotify is a popular service in Europe and America, but has yet to come to Korea and many other countries. Currently Spotify is only available in 35 countries, mostly in Europe, but is also now available in Australia and the U.S.A. However Spotify is slowly moving towards Asia as it launched in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong earlier this year. However due to piracy concerns, Spotify has refrained from entering the Asian market on a wider basis. Piracy is still a big issue in Asia but the premium service’s ability to offer a more convenient way to get musical content is near unbeatable. Ofcourse Torrenting is free, and you could theoretically capture a streamed track in all its 320 kbps glory, but free accounts should adress this illegal alternative,. Regardless, I use Spotify and believe it’s a phenomenal application for those who really enjoy listening to music as you can get unlimited access to any album or artist. If you want Spotify Premium you have to be in one of the countries where Spotify is available and download it there. And as long as you have the premium version of Spotify you should be able to access music anywhere internationally.
SNAPCHAT TURNS DOWN BILLIONS
DON’T WRAP YOUR POWER CABLE AROUND THE BRICK BY KATHLEEN LEE
BY LUCAS HONG napchat, one of the newer rising messenger apps, is becoming the center of attention among the companies of Silicon Valley. Recently, Snapchat was offered three billion dollars to assimilate into the Facebook network. This begs the question of what makes Snapchat unique enough to be considered for purchase by Facebook. Compared to Kakaotalk, Line, and WeChat, Snapchat is only famous for its one of a kind idea of ‘disappearing photo messages’. Once these messages are read, one cannot come back to those messages and look at it again. Although Facebook came up with a very close mirror image of the app called ‘Facebook Poke’ it did not have a positive response from the market. As a result, Facebook then tried to offer 3 billion dollars to buy Snapchat. If Facebook were to buy Snapchat, this would have been their second time buying a multibillion startup after Instagram.
he Macbook brick wrapped around both sides of the charger is an excellent, compact way of keeping everything together, but a detrimental way of shortening the life of your power cord. This not only goes with Apple’s MacBook brick adapter but with all power adapters. When you roll up a cable against its natural shape it will exhaust the entire cable. By tightly winding a cable around an object, you are forcing the natural coil of the cable. This will twist the inside of the cable and eventually lead to total failure of the cable. Instead, you want to loop the power cable in alignment with its natural shape or coil. An effective way of wrapping
the power cord is by looping the small cable along the power brick using the set of clips, but keeping the larger cable separate from the brick. However, make sure to form a loop of “extra” cable before wrapping the small cable around the power brick clips. This loop reduces the stress of a tightly wound cable being pulled at a 90 degree angle from where it is attached to the brick. Wrap the rest of the small cable around the clips in a medium tight manner. Do not force it to loop in any way unnatural and let the cable be the guide. When it comes to cables, it might seem more efficient to wrap the cables tightly around the gadget to save space. However, this act damages the cable and incurs unnecessary costs. Therefore, wrap the cable in the proper way to keep the cable fit for use in the long run.
COURTESY OF WIRED JOSH VALCARCE
Evan Spiegel is clearly a determined and ambitious businessman. Originally, he and Frank Reginald Brown, and Bobby Murphy were the founders of Snapchat. Unfortunately, Evan Spiegel, the current CEO of Snapchat, removed Frank Reginald Brown from his position as a co-founder because Spiegel wanted more for himself, believing that he could make Snapchat into a greater value. At the same time, people criticized Snapchat saying that they are making money off of people ‘sexting’ millions of messages. Opposing the argument, Spiegel stated that Snapchat is more than sexting and one cannot build a company out of it.
Based on an article from WIRED
Snapchat rejecting billions might be considered a loss however, from its steady rise of fame, it seems as if Spiegel’s expectation of Snapchat might come true.
THE PHONE THAT NEVER GETS OLD AND ACTS LIKE LEGO FOR ADULTS BY ALEXANDER SOHN using this method, though some have suggested the addition of a case. Cases may be the vital component for Phonebloks. Phones nowadays are fashion statements and status symbols. But with the incorporation of a case on the back of a Phoneblok phone, it generally will not matter what the exact model of the phone is.
ately a new modular mobile phone concept has been the big buzz in the tech world. This concept is called Phonebloks, which was contrived by an independent designer from the Netherlands named Dave Hakkens.
COURTESY OF PHONEBLOKS
Phonebloks is envisioned to be a modular smartphone made up of interchangeable blocks that are easily upgraded or restored if broken. Users can simply design and assemble their phones according to their needs and wants, and leave out the components that they do not desire. Furthermore, the device can be upgraded using bits, one at a time. Though it’s an innovative, and somewhat convenient idea, the appearance of the Phoneblok will certainly not be appealing, which is a major market setback for the project.
and internal storage to cameras and speakers. It’s analogous to an app store, but it involves more interaction between the consumer and the mobile device. Phonebloks is established around a single pegboard. To add components, users have to puzzle together bloks on the back. The modular display is situated on the front. Once all the components are positioned, two screws are locked to keep them in place. However, critics have said that the bloks are more prone to falling out
The basics behind Phonebloks are solid. The project is maker-inspired and will entice Do-It-Yourselfers. Consumers will be able to purchase pre-made phones or construct their own, blok by blok, using components from the Blokstore. Both large and small hardware makers will be able to sell components ranging from processors
Phonebloks is ideal for people in lowincome communities or developing nations, especially with the continuous and prevalent release of the Samsung’s Galaxy series or Apple’s iPhone series. The thought of eliminating a smartphone after a year or two because it broke or is outdated is wasteful and absurd. With the Phonebloks, however, those outdated or broken pieces can be substituted with updated ones and the phone can still be used. Currently, Phonebloks is still in the theoretical stage. Hakkens is trying to convene the public’s attention before working with companies to actually manufacture the phone. Inferring from his Phoneblok Thunderclap campaign, where people can donate their social media sustenance, the public is thrilled. The campaign has lapped its goal twice, at one point crashing the website, and is now approaching 10 million in number.
THE BIGGEST REDESIGN
THAT ANY PRODUCT EVER HAD
EXAMINING THE IMPACT
BY DHIRA KHEWSUBTRAKOOL AND JUSTIN KAE
AND THE FUTURE
COURTESY OF ROB WAUGH
THE LAUNCH Back in September of 2013, Apple released its newest iteration of iOS 7, and marked the biggest release of iOS since Steve Jobs showed the world the first iPhone in 2007. As Evernote’s CEO, Phil Libin, puts it, the day iOS7 Launch was “the biggest day in technology ever. There has never been another day like this in the history of the universe where hundreds of millions of people will see a big change to something that they’re used to. Nothing of this scale has ever occurred.”
COURTESY OF STEPHEN LAM—REUTERS; JEFF SCOTT; JUSTIN SULLIVAN—GETTY IMAGES
THE WHY Over the last two years Apple’s technique of imitating the user interface as ordinary objects (skeuomorphism), from the green felted Game Center to the leather stitched Notes app, have intimidated designers the world over. For the many, it was regarded as the “new Comic Sans” of user interface, but using skeuomorphism is not necessarily a decision that Apple can avoid. Apple’s genius has always been in creating innovative user interface that look and feel like something much better than the future, but in order to achieve such a goal, skeuomorphism has to be used. From the very first folder icon on the Mac, skeuomorphism has been crucial to advancing and maintaining Apple’s reputation for “intuitiveness.” The iPhone is testament to why skeuomorphism and imitation must be used to bring to this world a truly innovative product. The hardware was beautiful and the skeuomorphism user interfaced allowed it to be approachable for millions and millions of consumers around the world who had never had a smartphone. If skeuomorphism was not used, the iDevices we know of today may not have taken off the way we had seen in the last few years.
But it has now been 7 years and hundreds of millions of people around the world have grown accustomed to use them, and thus the market is, without a doubt, ready for something new, something exciting. Skeuomorphism is no longer a solution to a problem but instead a problem that needs a solution. Enter Jony Ive’s iOS 7.
THE DEVE Leading up to the launch of iOS 7 many developers are in a stalemate in the same way that iOS has been for the past couple of year. At the time there seems to be very little innovation left in the platform with only the releases of incremental updates year after year and additional features as consolation gifts for the fact. As soon as it was released at Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference in the summer of 2013, everyone was excited. It was with the disruption in the looks and feel of iPhones and all Apple devices. iOS 7 allowed developers the opportunity to redesign and remake themselves into something new, in the same way that Jony Ive remade iOS. It allowed developers to give users a reason to buy a new version of an app. Not only did developers need to remake the looks and feel of apps, but they also had tod to rewrite an entire app to take advantage of all iOS 7 had to offer.
THE APPS When it comes to apps it does not necessarily mean a simple change in color, font or design. Its about the “physicality” of the operating, a platform that has taken skeuomorphism out of the user interface and put it into the layers behind the scenes that makes up the apps. This helps users to identify levels and structure within the apps as if they were papers in a folder. No longer will apps be about visually mimicking real-life objects, it will instead be about how the apps work, and the way objects move and interact with your finger and other elements on the screen. iOS 7 stripped back extraneous visual elements and user interface of and made it so content was center stage instead. Apart from redesigning apps that utilizes the physics of iOS 7, effects and UI animation are key to creating the “feel good” factor for the users. Another way to put it, its not necessarily about aesthetics performance. Apps that are optimized for iOS 7 not only looks better, but feels better.
With iOS 7 there is a push now to create the illusion of “direct manipulation”. Apple has always been at the forefront in creating this illusion from implementing swiping to scroll, pinching to zoom, and dragging and dropping objects. With iOS 7 Apple has taken the concept one step further, where apps spring into life from inside their icons and pages within apps can be swept aside when you want to go back. “Previously, a lot of time was spent on making interfaces skeuomorphic (with buttons, app icons, tape decks as pod casts, etc.). By stripping those visual elements away, you move the interface conversation toward one of function over form.” says Cap Watkins, design lead at Etsy. When apps chooses to focus on function instead of serving weird looking buttons, users benefit, and an app is inherrently better.
However, re-creating any application can definitely pose difficulties for developers. Many believed that the most difficult part in designing an app is when one has to reinterpret their app and truly find what is at the core and heart is the change in feel in iOS 7 is so radical, and minimalistic, that the instinct was simply to take away everything to boil down to its fundamentals. While the foundations of how interactions work in iOS 6 and iOS 7 are similar, the looks and feel is redefined in the latter. Many users will immediately perceive apps that is not “optimized” for iOS 7 as bland and old. The consensus between all developers is that iOS 7 is simply harder to design for than iOS 6, even though its interface elements are simpler in nature. In fact the simplicity and minimalism of the platform makes every choice important and sometimes forces designers to settle for “minimal” when the answer to the problem is not necessarily, simple.
COURTESY OF REUTERS
Commonly, people think that the overhaul of iOS 7 is simply a redesign of the old platform. Jony Ive opened the door to other product categories that Apple had never ventured into before. The overall visual look of iOS is no longer only limited to the iPads and iPhones, instead the new design could potentially be used in the iTV, iWatch, and perhaps even an iCar of the future. Even though iOS started with smartphones and then on to tablets, the long term goal for Apple is much more ambitious. Alongside iOS 7, Apple announced that iOS will also be running on cars in the future with it’s partners—dubbed “iOS in the Car”. New features include allowing drivers to call, listen to music, access maps, or even send messages, all from the car’s dash screen.At the time no one actually saw at the time, but iOS In The Car was a hint why iOS had been redesigned in the first place. As it turns out, an operating system designed to be flat is much better at adapting itself for multiple platforms, screens, and devices. From a design perspective, visually, iOS in the Car is consistent with its bigger
brother in iOS 7 on iPhones and iPads, but it’s user interface, however is quite different for example, instead of square icons, iOS in the car uses rectangular buttons and the display is usally in landscape. Having a flat designs allows for this type of transformation. If you put two icons next to each other, one from iOS 6 and one from iOS 7, the latter will be able to expand easily both horizontally and vertically by simply filling the new occupying space with the colors on the edges of the original icon, while the former would require the icon artist to redo the art to better suit the new shape to better adapt the chrome and effects. By going all flat, it would be a very easy job for Apple to adapt its array of icons and its entire visual language to any new device from car to watch. If Apple had not redesigned iOS 7 to be flat, this would be impossible.
Since it’s launch in 2007 with the iPhone, the question at the start has been whether iOS can truly have all the features to be a complete smartphone? We now know that iOS is able to do more than be feature rich. With skeuomorphism out of the way, Jony Ive has cleared the final large road block out of iOS, it is up to app developers to bring more to the platform. Going forward it will be increasingly harder to guess what features will come next on the succeeding OS, since the essential of what we need is already here but what we want is not necessarily known. Right now, for all of us, it is perhaps better not to be excited about what the new OS will be, but instead be excited about what the devices iOS will be running on in the coming future.
Icons with complicated patterns, shadows, light sources, and gradients would need to be reinterpreted and recreated for each new device. —11—
FISHES AND OCEANS ALIKE
MAC OS X MAVERICKS AND WINDOWS 8.1 THE GET STARTED GUIDE BY ANNO CHANG —12—
Recently, Microsoft and Apple both released an update to their operating system, from Windows 8 and OS X Lion to Windows 8.1 and OS X Mavericks 10.9, respectively. Having had the pleasure of being able to personally experience both operating systemsone on my Microsoft Surface RT and the other on my MacBook pro, here is an analysis on some of the discrepancies, issues, and points of interest found across both operating systems.
PRICE While Windows 8.1 was released at a modest price of $199, Apple decided to launch its product for free. Although it is key to note that both companies offer both operating systems for free if users already had owned a previous version of their OS, From a financial standpoint, conspicuously, Apple’s decision clearly made its customers happier.
COURTESY OF APPLE INC.
WINDOWS 8.1 Windows 8 was originally released as Microsoft’s response to the prolific mobile market, as the company has been struggling to gain dominant influence in that market: an ascendency that the company otherwise maintains in the Desktop and Operating System industry. The goal was to integrate the traditional power-pc experience (the colourful ‘windows’ symbol at start up followed by a traditional desktop, with little icons to click and a task bar at the bottom.) with the modern tablet and smartphone experience. (Touchbased interface, with more focus on interconnectivity in lieu of productivity, in effect providing a smoother GUI (Graphical user display) experience.) This was done in Windows 8 by introducing the metro interface, where tiles are stretched across a horizontal page, with each tile representing an app, or other items of interests. The tiles
may change according to its function; A mail app, for example, may have a mail tile that sometimes shows the number of unread message the user has. In this way, Windows could target both the traditional desktop users and the mobile users, by offering a new operating system that would integrate both worlds together. This was in part so that Microsoft could enter the tablet PC and smart phone market. Products such as the Surface RT and the Windows phone where in development whilst Windows 8 was in production. Microsoft also introduced the Skydrive, which is an iCloud equivalent for the Windows Operating system. Overall, after Microsoft’s failure with Windows Vista, and it’s loss of market influence in the mobile sectors, induced Microsoft to overhaul its operating system and enter the mobile market, as well as catch up on the losses made in the past. Unfortunately, Microsoft has yet seen success that was much anticipated. It has made losses this year, and it still only owns 8.02 % of the Operating system sales for the worldwide market. Nevertheless, in Windows 8.1 , Microsoft addressed many issues that the users have voiced after the Windows 8 launch, adding the fact that the update is free for any Windows 8 users, long time users of the Operating System are surely to be rewarded.
OS X MAVERICKS 10.9 Remember the days when major new Mac OS updates came in a CD? Well, those days are long gone and they have come a long way since then. Apple has now integrated the OS upgrade or update experience in to a completely online experience, with each new
update costing less and also being less ‘revolutionary’. Take the transition between OS X and Snow Leopard. It was a huge update, with major new features as well as performance updates. The transition from OS Lion to Mountain Lion, on the other hand, has been more of a refined experience of the Lion OS. Apple is slowly making the user update experience more gradual and feel as if its a regular occasion, where as in the past they were much more rare and significant for the user. This suits the modern Operating Systems’ and Applications nature of release: Companies now often release products that have not been fully debugged, and rely on the users to give feed back so that the company can make small updates to reflect the users complaints. This is what Microsoft has done on a large scale with the transition from Windows 8 to Windows 8.1, and what Apple has done so with all it’s Operating system upgrades. The latest OS, OS X Mavericks, also reflects this trend, with minor upgrades that will refine the experience that Apple has been shaping since the companies creation. One difference, however, is that Apple has not chosen to integrate it’s iOS (the operating system for Apple’s tablets and iPhones) with their Computer Operating systems, unlike what Windows has done. They have, nevertheless, consistently brought major elements of the iOS to the Computers, such as the 5 finger touch support, and the Launchpad. Since the passing of Steve Jobs, Apple has been criticised for its minimalized approach, and the newest OS X definitely reflects this approach.
MAVERICKS TIPS 1
GETTING THE UPDATE
iCLOUD KEY CHAIN
To install Mac OS X Mavericks simply go to the Apple App Store on your desktop and search for Mavericks . Once found, simply click download and enter your Apple ID. Once the download is complete you will find the installer in the Applications Folder under the name OS X Mavericks Installer. Run it, follow the instructions, and wait for a little while longer
The new Keychain allows you to store all your passwords safely in iCloud and makes them available on all of your devices synced with your Apple ID. To use this new feature, go to System Preferences > iCloud, and check the box for “Keychain.” If you didn’t set up iCloud Keychain in the Mavericks Setup Assistant, then you’ll be walked through preparing your iCloud account to make it more secure for Keychain Access.
INTERACTIVE NOTIFICATIONS WEBSITE NOTIFICATIONS
In Mountain Lion, Apple introduced notification center on the Mac. Now, on OS X Mavericks, notifications can come to you from websites as well in addition to locally installed applications. To manage these Web Notifications go to Safari > Preferences > Notifications.
TABS IN FINDER
Apple has just implemented the ability to browse your files with tabs, just like Safari. Press Command + T to open a new tab from your current location. New tabs will open with the same view. If no tabs appear, open Finder > Preferences > General and select the option “New Finder windows show”.
Applications now have the ability to implement interactive notifications for users. For example, If you get iMessages on your phone, and the notification also pops up on your desktop, you can reply to it immediately from the notification bubble without going into the iMessage Application on the desktop.
TAGS IN FINDER Now you can be even more organized with your files in OS X Mavericks with Tags! Tagging items in the Finder (or anywhere) is very easy. Simply rightclick an item, and select “Tags.” A pop up will appear, and you can either use existing tags, or type in a new one to assign that tag to the selected file(s).
WINDOWS 8.1 TIPS GETTING THE UPDATE
If you are upgrading from Windows 8, Windows 8.1 is completely free. To download the update, go to the Windows Store and you should see the update displaying “prominently featured on the Windows Store home page” according to Microsoft. If not you need to update to the latest version of Windows 8 first. If not ,please feel free to contact us for help. (We know how frustrating Windows can be)
CUSTOMIZE THE START SCREEN
USE THE START BUTTON
After being taken out of Windows 8, the Start button is now back in Windows 8.1. However, unlike before the start button of Windows 8.1 is not necessarily the same as before. Now by clicking it, the button will take you to the Metro UI. If you right click the button options will be shown for you to select, such as Shut down and key access to system preferences.
GOING STRAIGHT TO DESKTOP (SKIPPING METRO)
If you do use the start screen often to access all your apps—you can name individual groups of shortcuts, access more shades of color, and switch between three app tile sizes. Right-click on the Start screen and choose Customize to change group names and tile sizes; open the Settings charm and choose Personalize to access the wallpaper and color options.
In Windows 8, Microsoft always had you go through the Metro Interface first and then you may be allowed to go to the desktop. In Windows 8.1, you are now given permission to go straight to the desktop. To do so, Right-click on the desktop taskbar > Properties > Navigation tab—tick the top option under the Start screen heading to boot to the desktop (and return to it when there are no apps open).
SETUP AUTOMATIC UPDATES
In Windows 8.1, contrary to Windows 8, app updates will be installed automatically. If they are not updating by themselves open up the Windows Store app and get to the Settings Charms menu (the charm must only be activated only in the Store or else the app updates option will not display). In the Charms menu, select Settings, then navigate to App Updates.
NEW YEAR NEW DEVICES What we’re interested to get in 2014 LG G FLEX LG G Flex has a vertically curved display and it is a little flexible. It has a great battery life, and the performance is just awesome.
SONY SMARTWATCH 2 Despite all the new inventions involving watches connecting to their phones, there has never been a great smartwatch. There have been many such as Pebble and the Galaxy Gear, but now Sony wants to step up their game with their sequel to the failed SmartWatch, with the SmartWatch2.
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COURTESY OF ACER, APPLE INC., DELL, LG. SAMSUNG, SONY
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Our laptop choices for 2014 DELL XPS 12
ACER ASPIRE S7
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SONY ALPHA 7/7R
SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 3
As the first full frame mirrorless camera both the Alpha A7 and A7R boast unparalleled image quality for their compact sizes, and are able to compete toe-to-toe with some of the notable DSLR cameras dominating the market (Nikon I am looking at you) for a lesser price.
Samsung’s New Galaxy Note 3 has a great performance with the long battery life. The display itself is really beautiful, with the 1080p super AMOLED panel. It also sports the top of the line Snapdragon 800 processor making a stellar performer. The key feature for this phone is having the ability to shoot in 4k video (thats 4 times the resolution of 1080p.
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SAMSUNG GALAXY GEAR APPLE MB PRO WITH RETINA DISPLAY 13’
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Although the Galaxy Gear piece has great potential in terms of features, the question remains whether the watch is really worth the asking price of $299.
SAMSUNG ATIV BOOK 9
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ANDROID LOCKDOWN CLOSING DOWN AN OPEN PLATFORM by sabrina sung & dhira web khewsubtrakool
COURTESY OF YANG AND YUN
“a draconian future–a future where one man, one company, one device, [and] one carrier would be our only choice” – Andy Rubin, co-founder of Android, describing a future with only iOS
COURTESY OF AP
hen the iPhone was first announced in the summer of 2007, it caused waves throughout the mobile market, with many proclaiming it to be one of the greatest innovations in the mobile industry. Simultaneously however, this announcement left many, especially Google, uneasy at Apple’s potential dominance in the industry. They saw an ominous future for smartphones if Apple was allowed to monopolize the market. It was said that if there was no competition to fight against Apple, there would be a draconian future—a future where one man, one company, one device, [and] one carrier would be our only choice. At the time, Google was in fact an iPhone launch partner as well as a provider of some of it’s core system apps—YouTube and Google Maps. However, Google
eventually released the Android mobile operating system as the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) in November of 2007. The key phrase to take from this is that Android is in fact an Open Source Project, which in contrast to Apple’s model of a closed ecosystem, is meant to be available for anyone to use on any device free of charge and restrictions. As noted by, Ars Technica,
“Google decided to give Android away for free and use it as a trojan horse for Google services.... Android was the "moat" around the Google Search "castle"—it would exist to protect Google's online properties in the mobile world.” After 7 years, however, the landscape for smartphones is now entirely different from what it was like when
it started. Since 2007, Android has brought the platform to a whopping 81% market share, but it is important to understand that “Android succeeding” and “Google succeeding” are two different things, since in truth these two entities are meant to be separate— Android being an Open Source Project and Google being a firm that builds their own version of Android (Google’s Android). It is imperative to note that Google does not control the Android Open Source Project. It does, however, control its own version of Android built on top of the Android Open Source Project. Well, at least in theory, this is how the entire Android ecosystem should work— Google develops for the AOSP, gives it to the open source community, and uses its version for smartphones
81% AND FURTHER T However, for those platforms that are already well-established, namely iOS and Android, differentiating between the two is very hard as both platforms already have well-built user experiences. Actions performed on one system can often be performed on the other system, but the one area that can still make a difference is apps selection. Here, both Apple and Android have little say in forcing developers to create applications for their software. From Apple’s perspective, apps existing in a closed system ensure that they are created for iOS and will only run on Apple-made devices.
“It’s easy to give something away when you’re in last place..., when you’re in first place though, it’s a little harder to be so open.” Android has transformed from being Google’s protection against Apple’s dominance to something that could very well play a key role in its demise in the mobile industry. Mobile is the future of all services, and controlling the biggest mobile platform is something that no one wants to lose. The problem here is how Google can control something meant to be open source. For Google, it means differentiating its version of Android from the AOSP and effectively making one qualitatively better than the other.
So how does Google achieve such a perplexing goal that very well undermines the purpose of the entire project? The answer? Apps. In the same way that Apple’s apps can only run on iOS (i.e. Safari, Mail, iBooks, Siri) Google’s Apps (i.e. Gmail, Google Drive, Google Plus, YouTube) can only be run on platforms that directly benefits itself- Google’s Version of Android. COURTESY OF AP; DATA CURTESY OF GARTNER INC.
On the other hand, the situation is a little different when a developer builds an App for Android. In theory, any app built for Android can be used on all versions of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP). This means that someone today could design an operating system based on the AOSP and have access to hundreds of thousands of apps. The most successful and prominent example of an Android OS that is not Google’s version of the AOSP is Amazon’s Kindle Fire’s Operating System. Amazon took the AOSP, developed their own operating system, and used its own App Store, media store, browser, online storage, email client, and many more apps instead of the Google Play Store, Google Chrome, Gmail and other Google products. In fact, the entire country of China skips Google’s services as well, since most Google products are still banned in the country. The only option for those users is, in the same manner as Amazon, for developers to create a version of Android based on the AOSP that Google develops but avoid Google’s services and apps. As Ars Technica puts it
Market Share Percentage
he differences between Android and iOS root from user experiences, the performance of the device with the operating system, and most importantly, the number of valuable apps that are supported on the platform. If even just one piece is missing, no one would use the platform, a situation most notably seen with Microsoft’s Windows 8.
CLOSING THE DOOR I
n truth, there have always been closed source Google Apps, but in the beginning, the number of apps was relatively small. When Google had no market share, it was more willing to build on the Android Open Source Project. However, now that Android has become the dominant force that it is, Google feels compelled to have more control over the open source codes. For most of these closed source apps, there are still currently versions that are similar in function inside the AOSP version, but as soon as Google decides to make any of these apps completely closed and completely under their control, work on the AOSP version will cease in development. This will thus force the competition develop their own versions of the apps. It can be said that any time that Google announces a new app or a complete rework of an AOSP version, you can be sure that you will only be able to find it on the Google Play Store and not on the AOSP version.
GOOGLE SEARCH APP In the summer of 2010, Google launched Voice Actions and the “Google Search” app into the Android Market (the original name of the Google Play Store) of Android 2.2, codenamed Froyo. As we can see the AOSP version of Android 4.4 KitKat looks like it is still stuck since the last time Google touched the app when Android 2.2 Froyo was latest platform. As we can see, as soon as Google releases a closed source version of an app once in the AOSP, the AOSP variant of the app ceased development. The Google version in comparison to the AOSP version now has voice search, text-to-speech analysis, and Google Now the automated assistant service. The current AOSP 4.4 KitKkat can only do normal written searches.
Android 4.4 AOSP
Google Android 4.4
Android 4.4 AOSP
Google Android 4.4
Android 4.4 AOSP
Google Android 4.4
MUSIC At the Google I/O developer’s conference back in 2010, the company introduced, for the first time, its their new and upcoming music app called Google Play Music. Again, as soon as Google Play Music was released via the Google Play Store, the AOSP music player has become stuck in the Froyo days. Now, the Google Play Music app offers cloud music streaming, clean new user interface designs, and Chromecast support, whereas the current AOSP gained nothing new since 2010.
SMS AND MESSAGING With the release of Android 4.4 KitKat along with the flagship Nexus 5 device in the fourth quarter of 2013, Google unified the AOSP SMS application with its own Google Hangouts app. As a result, all development of the AOSP messaging application ceased, and now all Google Android phones will be running Google Hangouts as the default SMS app. Moreover, the app itself also differentiates itself from the AOSP version by offering video conferencing, similar to the Facetime app, and direct messaging to Google Hangouts on both other mobile and on the desktop as well.
LOCKING DOWN MANUFACTURERS
t is evident that Google is trying its best to discourage everyone from using the AOSP version of Android by controlling apps. The company believes apps are the key reason why customers are attached to Android. However, it is still the manufacturer’s final decision to choose which version of Android to pick. Of course, Google cannot allow the manufacturers to be totally free in choosing their choice of Android’s variations.
COURTESY OF KIN CHEUNG—AP
Hypothetically, if a company does manage to build a version of Android from the AOSP that is anywhere near as good as Google’s version, and clone perfectly the features and looks of all the Google Apps, such a company would find it even more difficult to find someone to even make the device. If the market is completely free and perfectly competitive, it would be as easy as signing a contract with a manufacturer. But again Google does not allow that. Google’s dominating control over these manufacturers is based on the fact that its apps are simply the best in what they do namely. Apps such as Gmail, YouTube, Google Now, Hangouts and Play Store are so integral that it would be impossible for any manufacturer, big or small, to survive without them on their devices. And to get these apps, they must learn to play nice with Google.
Since these apps are not open source...they need to be licensed from Google and on Google’s terms only, and without a doubt there are always strings attached.
Though there is no official requirement that a complete agreement must be made with Google to run all its apps, it will definitely be made easier if you play along with Google in its games known as the Open Handset Alliance (OHA). The alliance is made up of the big names of mobile manufacturing from the likes of Korea’s Samsung and LG to Sony to Acer to Dell to Asus. And what they all have in common is that they uphold and commit themselves fully and only to Android, more specifically, Google’s Android. And what if you choose to disobey? In 2012 Acer, a very prominent Windows PC and mobile manufacturer, decided that it wanted to work on a project to manufacture a phone that will run China’s Alibaba’s Aliyun OS (an OS built on the AOSP)
and as Google heard of such acts they were told to immediately shut down the project or lose its license to Google Apps. The only company that is audacious enough to go against Google’s reign of fear and terror is Amazon, who developed its own version of Android based on the AOSP for its Kindle Devices. Furthermore, since Amazon’s version of Android is regarded as an “incompatible version of Android” by Google, no manufacturer part of the OHA is allowed to produce Amazon’s devices. That means Acer, Asus, Dell, Foxconn, Fujitsu, HTC, Huawei, Kyocera, Lenovo, LG, Motorola, NEC, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, and ZTE will not be able to become manufactures for Amazon simply because Google will not
allow it. Currently Amazon is using the manufacturer Quanta Computers/ For manufacturers, being in this alliance forces them to completely rely on Google and keeps them from moving away from Google’s Android. Manufacturers either choose to stay on Google’s Olympus or choose to be kicked down the mountain as soon as they produce a different version of Android. Not only will the fall be painful, but they will never be allowed to climb back up. The only way to leave is to be cunning but prepared at the same time. To be part of the OHA and license the Google Apps one must pass Google’s socalled “compatibility” tests. According to Google, these tests are to ensure that all the Apps in the Play store will run smoothly on a manufacturer’s device. Moreover the word “compatibility” in Google’s terms can be very vague when the company wants it to be. Even Android engineers at Google know that they are:
“using ‘compatibility’ as a club to make [manufacturers] to do what [they] want”—in an email written by a Google engineer Making life more difficult, these licenses for Google Apps are only given as a bundle, making it impossible for manufacturers to choose which Google Apps they want to run and which ones they do not. It’s all or nothing.
THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX At this time, the vision of manufacturers being completely free from Google is a fantasy at best. One popular path that manufacturers take is to create their own alternative versions of Google Apps for mobile devices. A company that is doing relatively well in testing Google’s reach is Samsung. Right now, Samsung has replicated all of its apps: a user account system, backend syncing and even its own app store. In fact, most of these applications are actually rooted on the foundations of the original AOSP version of the apps. But Samsung chose to add on feature sets long after Google have abandoned them for closed sourced version of its apps. Nevertheless, looking from the consumer’s perspective, having these doppelganger apps on the same phone along with Google’s version of apps, which are far more superior, is just simply ridiculous. But for manufacturers, these junk apps are actually their “Plan B”; something that they can hold on to. If Google were to push manufacturers too far, resulting in manufacturers leaving the alliance, the manufacturer will need something to show to its customer to prove that its platform has value. Thus having these apps, whether or not the consumers like them, is important to the manufacturers.
Samsung Galaxy S4
Google Nexus 5
Despite the fact that Samsung seems awfully prepared for the worst, Google still has a strong hold when it comes to apps that run on Android, which is a key part in making any platform a success. It seems that Google’s last string on everyone is the developers that are equally critical in making any platform successful. COURTESY OF RON AMADEO
LOCKING DOWN DEVELOPERS
COURTESY OF MICHAEL LIEDTKE—AP
In late 2013, Google launched a service known as Google Play Services in order to defragment its scattered Android platform to achieve a better unity amongst all devices running Android, again, more specifically, Google’s Android. In the past, Google Updates were done first in the AOSP. They are then sent to the manufacturers to adapt to their devices, and the devices are sent to the hundreds of carriers around the world. Where, after testing, they are sent back to the manufacturer for revisions. This process repeats itself numerous times, and eventually the device will reach the consumer months after Google announced the release of a new version of Android. In such a case it is difficult for Google to apply the changes it wants to apply to its manufacturers. Now, instead of relying on delivering updates through new versions of the operating system and rebuilding the AOSP, Google tries to push system updates to its apps instead via the Play App Store. In such a case, not only does a device with all of Google Apps be
updated with brand new features just like a new phone with a new operating system, but Google is also moving completely from open sourced model to a closed sourced model. First in the form of apps and now in the form of system wide changes, which are now delivered through app installation/ updates instead of system wide updates. Moreover, if this transition becomes completed, it would mean, too, that apps running on Android depend on Google Apps installed (aka Google Play Services) instead of relying in the foundational platform that is the AOSP. This makes any app running with Google Play Services incompatible with any other devices that are not running Google’ s Android. But why exactly would developers depend solely on Google Play Services rather than fully on the Android AOSP platform? As a matter of fact, in the same way you lure consumers with features, you do the same with developers. However, you do so instead with selling possibilities. Briefly speaking, Google Play services offers a platform for apps along the lines of cloud saving of game,
saving app data, the use of Google’s map data, location services, device tracking systems, and the list just goes on and on.
Google’s strategy with Google Play Services is to turn the “Android App Ecosystem” into the “Google Play Ecosystem” by making a developer’s life as easy as possible on a Googleapproved device—and as difficult as possible on a non-Google-approved device.—Ron Amadeo from Ars The sad story of the day is that since Google’s Android is the largest shareholder of the Android market, developers who develops for Google’s platform and developers only really care about how they can get their apps to their consumers as fast and as easy as possible. To achieve that, using Google’s Play Services is the only route.
GOOGLE CLOUD MESSAGING
GOOGLE MAPS Suppose you are an app developer and you would like to use Google’s Map data in your application. Having access to Google’s Play Services Map data allows you to create apps like restaurant finders, tour guides, and type of travel apps as easy as it can be. The only problem here is that if you even have a single feature set that requires the use of map data from Google’s Play services, you are immediately reliant on Google instead of Android. Thus this also implies that your app will not work on any non-Google-approved device.
To counter Google, Amazon had to build its own version of Maps Services by licensing map data from Nokia. As we can see if any company wants to make their own version of Android they would need to either recreate or rebuild services for App developers to use in their apps. Otherwise, there is simply no incentive for developers to move from the well established Google’s Android ecosystem with complete services and tools to accommodate any apps.
At Google I/O developer conference in 2013, Google released another service to its suite of Google Play Services called Google Cloud Messaging. The platform is used solely for linking the
COURTESY OF BRIAN KLUG—ANANDTECH; JUSTIN SULLIVAN
communications lines between apps and their owner’s servers. For example, when Facebook sends a notification from their server to all your devices and computer and you open Facebook on your phone, the app sends a “message” back to there server so that the notification will be marked as read on all of your device. Without the implementation of any cloud messaging users will be swamped with notifications and messages on devices everywhere. On the one hand, Maps may not be necessary in all apps, but apps need to be able to communicate with each other from devices to devices. Again Amazon is forced to make its own version of a Google Play Service. Its version is called “Amazon Device Messaging”, and it only works with Amazon devices. Developers are then forced to test and develop their apps. More importantly if a feature that was on Google’s Cloud Messaging platform is not available on Amazon’s, the developer must play the game of jumping hoops on their own (Amazon will not play further than what it had already accomplish; it’s just too much).
GOOGLE LOCATION SERVICES At the same developer conference in 2013, Google launched an entirely re-written version of Android’s state of the art location services such as Google Location Services which is again a part of Google Play Services. Additional features include Location Tracking (which fuses data locations from different sources/sensors), Geo Fencing (which lets user define areas on a map which could in fact trigger an action if the user is in those fenced areas), and Activity recognition, (which uses the accelerometer to determine whether the user is walking, biking, or driving—all without turning on the GPS.)
IN APP PURCHASING— A GOOGLE PLAY SERVICE You’re a developer and you want to sell items within you application? Then the only way possible is with In App Purchasing, a Google Play Service. If a developer want in App-Purchasing to work in China or on a Kindle they would
need to find a work around. If you are lucky, the AOSP variant developer, say Amazon, then there will be a separate In App Purchasing platform to use, but again you’ll have to test it and integrate/ implement it into your app above Google’s Services.
KEEPING IOS CLOSE Despite being competitive rivals with Apple, 90% of all Google Play services are also supported on Apple’s iOS platform. As a result, any developer building an app with Google Play Services could potentially create an iOS version very easily since most of their work of converting their app to iOS is already taken cared of by Google Play Services. It is completely understandable that developers needs to use Google Play services simply because they would like to have the potential to reach a larger portion of the market in iOS.
COURTESY OF MICHAEL LIEDTKE—AP
SURVIVING THE FUTURE Unlike manufacturers who are hardware-first and service-second, Amazon is born with the Internet, an environment built on code, servers and services made to help consumers. Companies like Samsung and LG are not built from the cloud. Building an infrastructure to support apps services is simply not what hardware manufacturers are. If any company wanted to consider running a different type of Android other than Google’s, it will have to start first with replicating the Google Apps, and then recreating the necessary Apps Services that developers need to get going on the new platform. Last but not least, it will have to find a manufacturer to make the phone that will run the platform. Nearly all manufacturers are held to their throats when it comes to options for Android and it is a noose that Google will not loosen anytime soon.
However, a company must also consider the costs as well. Since Google Services only has to rely on itself, the company as a whole does not have to pay for data such as maps, and the cloud services fees. Companies running an alternative version, on the other hand, has to license its Maps data from Nokia on a per-user basis. As such coming up with an alternative version of Android is something no small firm or company would ever decide on partaking. Only someone as large as Amazon could potentially have a fighting chance against the mountains that Google has laid. When Android started it was, for most parts, open, but the real question though is now and the future of Android. Currently Android is anything but fully open, it is a platform with walls inside and outside of the platform. Those that
are in are not necessarily free to move in anyways they want, those that want to join the group, on the other hand, faces hurdles and pain step after step. For the future, things can only get tougher and tougher. From a business point of view the actions of Google is completely understandable, and from an app developer point of view they are doing a fantastic at consolidating a fragmented platform, but ethically that is not really the case. Google is literally becoming the company that it feared in the beginning, Apple, where one company rules all devices and platforms—mobile, web, and hardware.
DATA COURTESY OF WIRED
This article gains inspiration from the book Big Data: A Revolution by Kenneth Cukier and Viktor Mayer-Schonberger. Cukier is the data editor for the Economist and Mayer-Schonberger is professor of Internet governance and regulation at the Oxford Internet Institute, Oxford University.
When you open up a book, play a CD, or even watch a VHS tape you’re utilizing a method of storing data created by man. One of man’s greatest weaknesses has long been his incapacity to remember, to recall his past experiences, ideas, or memories. It has been the inability of man to collect information and store it in large accessible quantities within his brain that has led him to create technology such as writing to enable us to store information that we need or that we think others may need in the future. From the great library of Alexandria to British trade records to the library of Congress, data has been compiled throughout human history. Yet only in the past fifty years has data taken on a new meaning in the lives of billions. Since the advent of the digital age we have looked at data in terms of bytes, gigabytes, etc. The growth of digital data was slow at first, but exponentially ballooned to quickly overtake analog data by the end of the twentieth century. With the growth of even stronger computers in the twenty-first century, data has become something that we no longer only directly create but something that we also create indirectly.
A $200 HARD DRIVE THAT HOLDS 260000 SONGS.
PHOTOS UPLOADED TO FACEBOOK EACH MONTH.
ALL THE DATA AND IMAGES COLLECTED BY THE HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE.
DATA THAT THE LARGE HADRON COLLIDER WILL PRODUCE EACH WEEK
ALL THE DIGITAL WEATHER DATA COMPLIED BY THE NATIONAL CLIMATIC DATA CENTER.
ALL THE VIDEOS ON YOUTUBE.
ANCESTRY.COM’S GENEALOGY DATABASE (INCLUDES ALL U.S. CENSUS RECORDS 17902000).
DATA PROCESSED BY GOOGLE’S SERVERS EVERY 72 MINUTES
We are not strangers to this flood of information. For most of us it has become a vital part of our lives: from dawn to daybreak we are plugged into a constant stream of data from the world around us.
We are not strangers to this flood of information. For most of us it has become a vital part of our lives: from dawn to daybreak we are plugged into a constant stream of data from the world around us. Yet many of us have only just begun to realize the enormity of the data that we create daily through accessing the news, tweets, and notifications that we deem so vital to our existence. The era of Big Data has begun in these digital footprints we leave every day. In their book “Big Data”, Viktor MayerSchonberger and Kenneth Cukier argue that, “In the spirit of Google or Facebook the new thinking is that people are the sum of their social relationships, online interactions, and connections with content. In order to fully investigate an individual, analysts need to look at the widest possible penumbra of data that surrounds the person – not just whom they know, but who those people know too, and so on.” We now are what we do.
2.9 MILLION EMAILS PER SECOND
The availability of this data is allowing companies like Google to challenge the way the world operates. In 2009 the H1N1 flu outbreak caused a global health crisis. Government agencies needed information and fast. Usually agencies like the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) rely on information passed in by doctors, hospitals, and other members of the health industry around the world and the nation. However, infected individuals are often not pushed to go to the doctor’s office until their symptoms become severe. Hence the CDC receives delayed information about the spread of viruses like H1N1. Incidentally Google had developed a system that could track the spread of the flu in the U.S. only weeks earlier, utilizing its vast amount of data from billions of search queries every day. This software allowed them to analyze their data and search for terms that correlated with past data about the spread of the flu. Google had identified 45 search terms that had a very strong correlation with the actual figures of the spread of the flu in past years. So
DATA CONSUMED PER HOUSEHOLD
when H1N1 emerged as a crisis, Google was able to harness the software they had created to give health agencies real time data on the spread of the flu weeks ahead of physicians and governmental data collections. After they explored this example, Mayer-Schonberger and Cukier elaborated on how Google’s
700 BILLION TOTAL MINUTES SPENT ON FACEBOOK PER MONTH
COURTESY OF CONNIE ZHOU—GOOGLE
The power of modern day computing and the extent to which we utilize computers in our daily lives allows for the creation and collection of more data than ever before. From a purchase with our credit card at a Starbucks to the logistics of a shipping UPS package
thousands of bytes of information are collected and stored by different companies and agencies with different interests.
DATA TRANSFE MOBILE INTERN
actions are “built on ‘big data’ – the ability of society to harness information in novel ways to produce useful insights or goods and services of significant value”. This description details perfectly what big data is: a tangible by-product that we no longer knowingly create, but have to learn how to shape and mold.
QUANTITY VS. QUALITY
COURTESY OF JOI ITO
ERED BY NET USERS
50 MILLION TWEETS PER DAY
20 HOURS VIDEO UPLOADED TO YOUTUBE PER MINUTE
Data in the past was something that had to be sought out and collected. This was the purpose of tools such as censuses and surveys. The evolution of the collection of data is vital to examine in order to comprehend the magnitude of the change that big data brings about. In the late 1800s the U.S. census bureau faced a giant problem of the mounting time it took to carry out a census. The U.S. Constitution requires that a census has to be taken every decade. However, the 1880 census took 8 years to complete and the 1890 census was estimated to take over a decade to complete, rendering them virtually null and void. This swamp of information that the U.S government and also companies across the world were swimming in at the end of the 19th century was an enormous problem that was solved by the advent of computing. With conventional sampling, quality of data for analysts is an absolute necessity. This is what the U.S. census began using to procure its data in the early 1900s. The invention of new mathematical models for sampling analysis allowed agencies to realize that a sample size of only 1,100 was needed to achieve percentage error of only about two or three percent. This concept has been the basis of all statistics and data collection since its conception; the idea that a small bit of data could be extrapolated to represent a much larger set was outstanding. Over the decades analysts have developed increasingly advanced methods to compensate for margins of error in sampling, attempting to reduce the error to as small as possible so that the data is potentially more useful. However, this idea of absolute quality of data is being challenged in the modern era where only the quantity of data matters and not the quality. As Cukier and Mayer-Schonberger put it:
When data was sparse, every data point was critical, and thus great care was taken to avoid letting any point bias the analysis. Today we don’t live in such an information-starved situation. In dealing with ever more comprehensive datasets, which capture not just a sliver of the phenomenon at hand but much more or all of it, we no longer need to worry so much about individual data points biasing the overall analysis.
between products and combined it with purchase data. This yielded the system that we see today when we go to Amazon. The computer doesn’t know why someone buying a desktop computer might also like to buy a monitor, but it makes the suggestion anyway, yielding huge sales. The system evolved to know what to suggest, not why, and we have to come to realize that this is the essence of what big data can give us.
Essentially, when quantity is so great the number of incorrect data points is small and insignificant versus the correct ones so the margin of error is extremely small. This process is all about efficiency. We understand that inexactitude exists, but it’s more efficient to just analyze the complete data set with the inexactitudes. We have to learn to live with the fact that the data isn’t perfect, but by using such a large quantity the imperfections are insignificant.
Cukier and Mayer-Schonberger also examine the case of hospitals. When computer scientists have collected large amounts of information that is often thrown away after patients leave or pass away at hospitals, anything from spikes or dips in monitors and sensors, they have been able to use computers to analyze these large data sets to discover new correlations. In the case of premature babies sensors capture over 1,260 data points per second about the new child. By compiling past data, computers have been able to determine certain correlations between sensors and the baby’s condition, such as that constant vital signs often precede an infection. Doctors may not know why this occurs, but it doesn’t necessarily matter at the moment, as the correlation can save thousands of lives before finding out why it happens.
For example, in determining inflation rates governmental agencies have to call companies and stores across the nation to determine the prices for everything. This allows them to create the Consumer Price Index (CPI) based on the rising or falling prices. This list used to take months to compile, making the data old, but extremely neat and very accurate in terms of the sampling process. However, the age of the CPI number often crippled companies and agencies abilities to take action with salaries and other inflation-based assets. Hence two economists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Alberto Cavallo and Roberto Rigobon harnessed the power of big data in order to turn out a “real-time” CPI. By analyzing tens of millions of internet prices they were able to create a rough CPI. This process included the inconsistencies in prices that abounds on the internet, but by utilizing such a large data set the overall trend of inflation was demonstrated through their calculations. The messiness that goes hand-in-hand with quantity is also demonstrated in such applications such as web page
Facebook likes. When the number of likes is small, each additional like is displayed by a numerical increase of ones. However, as the number gets into the thousands Facebook begins smudging the numbers with estimates like 4K, 10K and 150K. When a page has four thousand likes, each individual like doesn’t matter as much, but large incremental increases still do, so accuracy is sacrificed at the larger quantity. No one really cares about the difference between 4000 and 4010 likes.
CORRELATION One of the biggest effects of big data is the way it has shaped our perception of correlation vs. causation. Mayer Schonberger and Cukier describe correlations:
At its core, a correlation quantifies the statistical relationship between two data values. A strong correlation means that when one of the data values changes, the other is highly likely to change as well. Conversely, a weak correlation that when one data value changes little happens to the other. This creates many useful applications in the real world. One example was demonstrated by Amazon in the early years of Amazon books. Amazon first dreamed up the idea for recommending more books based on a customer’s purchase. However, this yielded mediocre results as it only suggested very similar items. As such technicians at Amazon dreamed up a new system of “item-to-item” filtering where the computer analyzed the broad database of products and identified similarities
THE ESSENCE OF BIG DATA The essence of big data is that its not just reshaping certain aspects of how we work, it is reshaping the way we think altogether. Wired magazine’s editor-in-chief Chris Anderson said in 2008 that “the data deluge makes the scientific method obsolete”. Anderson describes the evolution of data further: “The Petabyte Age is different because more is different. Kilobytes were stored on floppy disks. Megabytes were stored on hard disks. Terabytes were stored in disk arrays. Petabytes are stored in the cloud. As we moved along that progression, we went from the folder analogy to the file cabinet analogy to the library analogy to — well, at petabytes we ran out of organizational analogies.”
By 2015, nearly 3 billion people will be online, pushing the data created and shared to nearly 8 zettabytes.
WORLDWIDE INTERNET TRAFFIC WILL QUADRAPLE BY 2015!
COURTESY OF CONNIE ZHOU—GOOGLE
This new age marks the death of the scientific method. The scientific method has been the staple of not only science but every field involving data for almost all of human history. We have always first identified a problem and then sought out a solution, usually through the collection of data. The advent of the “Petabyte Age” means that so much data is available that only the questions need to be found. The scientific method has been reversed in our strange new world where we don’t know what to ask and we don’t know for what to look. Google processes one petabyte of data every 72 minutes, equivalent to the DNA of the entire US population times three. That means that given that is a constant rate Google will have processed an exabyte of data in 10 years. However, the amount of data being processed is only growing exponentially meaning we will probably see that amount reached much sooner. This evolving “deluge” of data will increasingly cause us as individuals to reexamine how its forcing us to change the way we think.
THE RISE, REIGN AND [POTENTIAL] FALL OF YAHOO’S MARISSA MAYER
by william tomhon & ian kim
COURTESY OF MICHAEL REMY STEINEGGER—WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM; YAHOO; ANNA SHER
ONCE UPON A TIME... In 1975 Marissa Mayer was born into a middle class home with two working class parents—far from the glamor and glory of a yet to be born booming Silicon Valley. A small-town girl from Wisconsin, her first job was not designing a computer or electrical circuitry, but working at a local grocer as an inventory manager during high school. (Although she was highly exceptional at school in math and science, she was day-to-day far from living the life of the prodigy we are familiar with today’s startup CEOs.) Taking ballet lessons, baking brownies, ice skating; just a small town girl, with ambition. However, the significance of these humble beginnings would become forever more important from this seemingly simple and typical childhood, one of the world’s most powerful executives arose. The upbringing of Marissa Meyer would transform into an American Dream consummate, despite the criticisms American meritocracy has received with the seeming fall of the American education. Meyer’s journey to unprecedented success did show first glimmers when she entered Stanford University.
BEYOND THE CEILING Four years after admission she graduated top of her class. Her excellence served her well as she entered a nascent, but potentially ground-breaking, Google, as its 20th employee. She was Google’s first female engineer, making headway into an industry dominated by otherwise maybe not macho but still male personalities, paving the way for more women to rise up in the field. Even then she was seen as proof that, no matter your gender, the Silicon Valley valued talent.
However, by no means was Meyer’s time at Google insignificant. Part of what Google is today is because of Meyer’s work at the company. Through her crucial and momentous work on nearly every Google product: Search, Images, News, Maps, Product Search, Toolbar, and Gmail, she rose from an engineer, to designer, to product manager, and soon enough one of the top executives at Google. From this position, she oversaw the design of the Google homepage, cementing her place as not only one of the most powerful female executives in the industry, if not the world.
SUPER NERD TO CORPORATE PROTÉGÉE
Yet, probably the most reflective aspect of her “super ego” is her role in the projects she has worked on. Marissa Mayer is a “product person” in the eyes of the reigning people in Silicon Valley. In the last decade and a half of innovation, she has attempted to create products that people want to use, not products that people have to use. She is noted to have superhuman energy in executing such visions, pulling 250 all-nighters in her first 5 years at Google, according to employee records, yet never burning out. Google colleagues have described her as surprisingly articulate in a sector of geeks with the “qualities of a programmer and a humanist.” Accordingly, she has captivated the
Marissa Mayer is a self described geek, a super nerd. She received a Bachelor of Arts and Science at Stanford with a degree in symbolic systems aka artificial intelligence and interface engineering, graduating with honors and later went on to receive a prestigious Master of Science at Stanford in computer programming as well. Since starting at Google, her central influence on Google’s hallmark products as well as her charismatic persona, both in boardrooms and in the office, gained her notoriety for efficiency and played a role in her selection for Yahoo’s top spot as will be discussed later. Especially, Meyer’s move to an executive position in Google brought her nomers such as “the face of Google” or “Google’s glamour geek”. Vanity Fair magazine called her a business superstar and a cultural icon. The nicknames are well founded as one of Google’s longest serving and most famous executives.
media, often stories concerning her work have been centered around more on Marissa Meyer the person, and less on Google. She has been seen at times as totalitarian to those who worked for her and it was very clear that she protected her team, but if you were not on her team, well then, as she put it, “she may not play as nicely”. This was seen in policies such as her often machiavellian human resource protocols of cutting employees who were peer-reviewed at the bottom: omens of her coming policies at Yahoo?
Marissa Mayer, then Google’s VP of Search Product and User experience, introduces new search features at its “Search On” event
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer speaks Tumblr at a news conference in New
HAIL TO THE CHIEF
While, Marissa Mayer’s transition today maybe an accepted reality, the fact is she wasn’t at first the likely choice. When the search for a new Yahoo CEO was underway, the then interim Ross Levinsohn was seen as a natural successor.
traffic or drift from its initial vision. But most likely it was due to the onslaught of all of these problems at terminal velocity in the business cycle. This ultimately leads to the question, what is Marissa Mayer doing differently in the face of this inheritance she has been given and has defined the earliest part of her tenure?
After her decade long meteoric rise at Google, she has taken on the imposing challenge of saving Yahoo. The fading legend that is Yahoo, a company which peaked in the early 2000s with share prices of 118.75$ but began 2013 at around 20$, is an Marissa Mayer has been on a corporate ailing institution. “shopping” spree of mergers and
However, in a series of last minute meetings, the board of directors determined that Levinsohn was incapable of leading Yahoo to innovation
After taking the wheel, Mayer despite Yahoo’s declining stock value, has managed to maintain the 700 million user base considered to be necessary for future growth: this user-base allows Yahoo to check their email and stocks, get news and answers, to shop and search the web. Yet Mayer’s Yahoo is still seen as barely staying afloat due to its many failed acquisitions and purchases. Partly it is due to the expanding market with megalithic companies like Google continuing to squeeze Yahoo out of the picture or possibly because of its erratic
acquisitions. During the first month of Mayer’s tenure, Yahoo purchased twenty startups, and still plans on spending $4.8 billion more on nonleveraged acquisitions alone. But what does this mean in terms of a greater business strategy for Yahoo? The fact is companies she acquired do not historically generate much actual revenue or profit, and yet she has bought many of these fledgling service providers, with little concrete assets, for millions and sometimes billions of dollars out of Yahoo’s own increasinglylimited coffers. The majority of the assets of which she has acquired from M&A operations are not the products but in fact the engineering, marketing, and social networking experts; in other words, Mayer has acquired a vast pool of talent. This is an essential input for a company that has been mired by a lack of innovation and vigor. Moreover, many of her acquisitions have been a cosmetic and tactically wise decision nonetheless. Although her 1.1 billion acquisition of
COURTESY OF BROBERT SCOBLE
and Marissa Mayer, seen as the most radical yet capable talent, was invited to take on the future of a $300 billion rich, yet troubled, Yahoo asset network. It is important to note that in Silicon Valley and the industry in general, Yahoo is at this point a somewhat of a fading giant. (While a major victory for Mayer, it is also a great burden.) Some are already saying the Yahoo board may have made a mistake in bringing in an executive known for stepping on toes and going past shareholders. However, many say that the board knew the risks and was convinced by the profit incentive. The question that remains, however, is “what now”?
Weighed down by mismanagement under a lack of visionary leadership present in competitors, and lost acquisitions and opportunities, Yahoo needs a change, and that change for the time seems to be banked on an experienced and tenacious Mayer. And with that idea in mind, Yahoo elected Marissa Mayer to become the youngest C.E.O of a Fortune 500 company.
COURTESY OF STEPHEN LAM—REUTERS
about the company’s acquisition of York
Marissa Mayerspeaks on stage during a fireside chat session at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013 in San Francisco, California, September 11, 2013
Tumblr, a company which does not make much money, does not contain many advertisements, and does not have as large of a user base as nearly every other social networking site, it provided Yahoo with presence in the news and returned the Yahoo name to the field of competition--demonstrating to the rest of the technology industry that Yahoo can and will compete. It is both a benefit to public and investor confidence in a Yahoo that is in desperate demand for it as well as Mayer’s personal potential for longevity in the executive position.
are actually quite impressive in their integration to already existing services. A prime example is Xobni: an add-on for email which helps to organize, search, and find contacts. The product was integrated into Yahoo mail. Another example is Bignoggins: a fantasy sports app for mobile platforms that will be integrated into Yahoo Fantasy Sports. Other acquisitions have been ones that put Yahoo at the forefront of new developments such as Qwiki: an iPhone app where consumers can create short films. Finally, a number of acquisitions by Yahoo aren’t necessarily ones proposed for the everyday consumer: instead additions to Yahoo operations or for special target audiences--a strategy that is residue of the preMayer direction the company was already taking for a change. These range from Ztelic, a social data analysis startup, Admovate, an advertisement targeting firm, Lexity ,an app maker for small ecommerce businesses, and PlayerScale, a utility which helps game developers build on different platforms and add features like leaderboards and virtual currencies.
Mayer’s strtegy may be best described as a very sensible maxim. It all goes back to the age old proverb, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” By purchasing Tumblr, Mayer is increasing her short term gains, and adapting to the current economic environment that stresses ‘relevance’. But a few years from now, Yahoo would in turn need to buy another company if they could not find a way to their own innovation. That is why Mayer needs to acquire the experts from startups like Stamped, OnTheAir, or Alike-- all companies Mayer’s has picked up along the way. It must be said that Yahoo’s acquisitions are not simply buyouts of competing young talent. Many of the acquisitions do provide an actual value benefit. Some of Mayer-directed acquisitions
THE FUTURE In light of Marissa Mayer’s emphasis on aggressive overhaul, Yahoo stock price has doubled since Mayer has taken the helm. Profits are up. Usage of key services are up. So far so good seems to be the narrative amongst many Yahoo
optimists. In the coming months and hopefully the coming years Mayer can translate these sentiments into stable growth. It’s imperative that Mayer does so or else. The fact is there is no time for Meyer to be complacent. Revenue is continuing to fall with many business partners lowering their premium on Yahoo’s advertising space. The consensus among many commentators is that Yahoo, in its current state, is not one with a bright future and the profitability of the company is still under great doubt. In the end, it is still to be seen as to whether Marissa Mayer can lead Yahoo to success in the way she contributed to Google’s ascendence. Her tenure will inevitably define her legacy in Silicon Valley. Views on the future are greatly divergent. Those in the industry mostly want Yahoo to succeed if only out of respect for its capacity. There is great expectation and need riding on Mayer’s success, but the bottomline is she was selected to fulfill that and most people at this point believe at least in her undeniable ability. The die has been rolled, the plays are under way, the future is for the taking: boom or bust.
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Klug, Brian. Google Cloud Messaging. 2013. Photograph. Google I/O 2012 Keynote Day 1 - We’re Here Live. Anandtech. Web. 01 Feb. 2014. Lam, Stephen. Marissa Mayer at TechCrunch Disrupt SF 2013. 2013. Photograph. The Wire. Reuters. Web. 01 Feb. 2014. Nestlé. Android KitKat Statue at Google. 2013. Photograph. Flickr. Web. 01 Feb. 2014.
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Nestlé. Android-branded KitKat Bar. 2013. Photograph. Flickr. Web. 01 Feb. 2014.
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Reuters. Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook Takes the Stage during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. 2013. Photograph. Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2013. REUTERS. Web. 01 Feb. 2014.
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Scoble, Robert. Marissa Mayer, Introducing New Search Features. 2010. Photograph. Flickr. Web. 01 Feb. 2014. Scott, Jeff. Forstall on Stage. 2012. Photograph. Apple Event Rundown – IPhone 5, IPod Touch, IOS 6, and More. 148Apps, 12 Sept. 2012. Web. 01 Feb. 2014. Steinegger, Remy. The Global Agenda 2014: Marissa Mayer. 2014. Photograph. Davos Dorf, Canton of Graubunden, CH. Flickr. World Economic Forum. Web. 01 Feb. 2014. Sullivan, Justin. Attendees Line up to Enter the Google I/O. 2013. Photograph. Google’s Stock Closes Above $1,000. Web. 01 Feb. 2014. Sullivan, Justin. What’s New in IOS 6. 2012. Photograph. 13 Reasons Why Your IPhone Experience Is About To Get A Whole Lot Better Read More: 13 Reasons Why Your IPhone Experience Is About To Get A Whole Lot Better. Getty Images. Web. 01 Feb. 2014. Tama, Mario. Yahoo Buys Tumblr. 2013. Photograph. Losangeles Times. Getty Images. Web. 01 Feb. 2014. Valcarcel, Josh. Note the Loop. 2013. Photograph. Don’t Wrap Your MacBook’s Cable Around the Power Brick. WIRED. Web. 01 Feb. 2014. Valcarcel, Josh. Twisted. 2013. Photograph. Don’t Wrap Your MacBook’s Cable Around the Power Brick. WIRED, 14 Dec. 2013. Web. 01 Feb. 2014. Waugh, Rob. “Britain’s Sir Jonathan Ive Is the “soul” of Apple Not Steve Jobs, Says Biographer.” Yahoo News UK. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Feb. 2014. Yang and Yun. Android Statues at Google HQ. 2010. Photograph. Flickr. Web. 01 Feb. 2014.
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This is the Fall 2013 issue of our monthly education technology magazine for both Teachers and Students in Seoul Foreign High School