Category Archives: iOS

So Apple is going thermonuclear against Google eh?

I was reading Mike Elgin’s post on how Steve Jobs before his passing declared thermonuclear war on Google, wanting to destroy it because of how Android is a rip off of iOS.

He mentions the “proxy wars” going on – the patent lawsuits between Apple and various Android hardware manufactures.

The real thermonuclear war armament that Apple will be implementing (according to Elgin) is with the new features in iOS 5.  I don’t believe his ideas will come to fruition.  I’m going on the record here on my site to bring up my counter-arguments to his points.  Elgin is one of the most famous and well known Apple fanboys.  I’m a not-so-famous Google fanboy. 

Here are my counterpoints:

#1) Siri to replace Google Search – sure it’s integrated in the iPhone 4S, but it is yet to be implemented in current iOS devices like the iPhone 4, iPad and iPod Touch.  Will Apple implement it on these “lower end” devices?  I don’t know – only Apple does.  Perhaps they don’t have the facilities to scale Siri’s cloud-based back end.  Siri does require Internet access to do it’s magic, just like Google’s voice & speech recognition implementation.  Google’s has been able to dynamically scale their services with the demands of the devices that rely upon them.  Google knows how to do the Internet.  They know how to scale CPU resources.

Will apple bring Siri to the pre-4S devices?  For sure it’ll be available on the iPad 3, and the iPhone 5 – the one that everyone was hoping to be announced this past September.  If they choose not to implement it on their older devices, it’ll allow them to improve Siri and allow it to scale to support that many more users.  By then, Google will probably have something else and the world would move onto something else.

One thing that Siri does is that it uses other services like Wolfram Alpha, Yelp, etc. to retrieve results to queries submitted to it.  I like the fact that Apple is doing this.  Why?  Because as users of the Internet, we’ve become too dependent on Google.  Google is a verb, AND a noun.  Apple must have made some pretty good offers to hook into Wolfram’s and Yelp’s services.  Hopefully this will spur Google on.  I’m sure Google has other things they’re working on.

Elgin makes mention that eventually Siri will be brought to the Macs, and then poof, Apple will magically flip a switch and all Mac users will no longer be using Google as their search engine.  I don’t think that’ll happen – the part about all Mac users no longer being able to use Google as their search engine.

First of all, like it or not, Microsoft still has the market share in terms of personal computers.  Apple won’t be able to “flip their switch” on these machines.  Secondly, Google employees use Macs.  Well, they use Macs or Linux.  They have to ask for special permission to use Windoze. ;)  

Siri is Apple’s thing.  To use it, you need to use an Apple approved device.  No iOS or OSX, no Apple, no Siri.

According to Wikipedia, – current web client OS has OSX in at about 7 or 8%.  That’s not a lot.  Microsoft still has the majority of the share out there.  

Another thing with Google’s services (compared to Apple), is that Google makes their service as accessable anywhere and on anything.  To Google, it doesn’t matter what kind of device – Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, SunOS, whatever.  This isn’t going to change anytime choose.  If Apple wants to take over, they’re going to have to be a service that people want to use – on *ANY* device.  Not just an Apple device.

How many people in Windows are using Safari as a browser?  How many people on OSX AND Windows using Chrome?

#2) Find my Friends vs. Google Lattitude – Knowing Apple, to use FmF, you’ll have to use an Apple device.  Google Latitude – I only use it between my wife and myself.  She’s on a Blackberry and Lattitude works great on it.  Google Lattitude, has a version for the Desktop, Android (of course), Blackberry, iOS, Nokia, Symbian and even Windows Mobile.  Apple will have to convert *everyone* over to FmF if they’re going to take over…

#3) Yelp vs. Google Places – Well looky there, what does Yelp use for its map service?  Google maps!  Clicking on directions brought me again to Google Maps.

One thing that Google has with its Places service is the ability to pull info from other sources.  For example, I used Google Maps to pull near-by restaurants to where I live.  Of course, reviews from Google users popped up first, but Google also provided links to other sources such as and  Yelp, well it provided only Yelp reviews.

#4) Apple’s maps to replace Google Maps?  I don’t know about this.  Google Maps, well, just works!  Google has been working on Street View for a number of years, and they’re constantly updating both it and maps.  On the Android version of Maps, the buildings of the downtown core of many major cities have been built nearly to scale!  Google is harnessing the powers of Google Sketch-up and cloud sourcing people to help build up 3D buildings.  Oh, and back to Street Views – at SIGGRAPH this past August, I visited the Google Booth and they showed this new up-and-coming feature where you can literally walk into a restaurant or retail space a-la Street View!  Can Apple catch up in time to make their version of Apple Maps comparable?

#5) iCloud to replace Google’s Cloud service – well sure!  For all those Apple/OSX/iOS users out there.  Like it or not, the majority of iOS users are also probably Windows users.  Unless Apple opens their iCloud service to Windows machines, they’re going to be fighting an uphill battle.  With Google’s Cloud service, again, I can use it on anything.  I can view a Google Doc on my school’s iPad.  I can edit it on my Phone at the same time a student edits their version on their home computer.

Here’s a cross-platform example of the power of Google’s cloud service.  I took a sick day on Friday, but i still needed to meet with my GameDev students to talk about their high level design document for their current project.  I was able to use Google Video Chat with my students at school, while at the same time, going through and edit their document which they shared with me on Google Docs.  They were at school running XP, I was at home on my Linux machine.  Will that happen on Apples iCloud service?  Unlikely.

I can’t wait to see what Google’s “G-Drive” service is going to be like.  It’ll probably be cross-platform-able. :D

#6) Apple’s iMessage vs Google Talk and Gmail.  Apple’s game play here is to make using Google’s service as difficult as possible, and make Apple’s service all that much better to use with Apple devices.  Like I said earlier, most iOS users that I know of also have a Windows machine they use as their desktop.  Unless Apple can get all those people to switch over, this is an uphill battle for Apple.

When Apple announced their “Face Time” for the iPad2 and iPhone4, I didn’t think it was that big of a deal.  I’ve been video chatting on MSN and Google Talk for a few years before it became popular via Apple’s FaceTime.  If anything, Apple knows how to market themselves.

On our recent trip down to Seattle, before I bought my Asus Transformer, I took my school iPad down with us on our trip so that my kids could video chat with their grandparents.  Did I use Facetime?  Nope.  My parent’s don’t have an OSX machine – They’re running Linux. ;)   Did I use Skype?  No, because that would have been yet another program to install, yet another user account to create, etc.  I used Google Talk with my parents – the web-based plug-in works on my parent’s Linux box, and I used the app VTOK since there is no Google made app for Google Talk.  At least the protocol for Google Talk is open so that third-parties can make programs that hook into it!  Will Apple allow that to happen?  Probably not, because it will go outside of their ecosystem!

My friend whose a big Apple fan, says he doesn’t like Gmail because of all the ads that appear in Gmail.  I said to myself, “What ads?”  Sure, there are ads in Gmail, but maybe because I’m so use to NOT looking for the ads, I don’t even see them.  They barely take up one line in the web version of Gmail’s interface.

Besides, you don’t have to use Gmails web interface to access it.  You can use Outlook Express, Th


derbird, even OSX’s mail client!  I only use the web interface when I’m on a traditional computer, otherwise I access Gmail via my phone or tablet.

Google is much more than searching and email.  Their cloud based services are openly accessable through almost any device!  I love the collaboration and sharing that is possible through Google’s services.  My wife has read and read-write access to my work and personal calendars.  I have access to hers.  I use Google Docs to collaborate with my students, and I can access it at school, at home, or on the bus.  What is Apple’s challenge to Google Docs?  Google Chat has both text-based, voice and video chat services, long before Apple’s FaceTime and now iMessenger.  Google has single sign-on *and* they’re considerate of my account info – who else has a two-factor authentication service to ensure that their users’ data is safe and secure?

Google, being Google will be gracious enough for people to leave if they choose to do so.  Heck, they even provide facilities to pull their data out of their system if they choose so.  Will Apple be so gracious to those who want to leave them?

FH Tech – Issue that came up – Google shared calendar vs iOS

So today was our first day where the technology cohort (a group of teachers at Frank Hurt) who are interested in studying and implementing technology and digital tools into their teaching practice met together. Boy was it a busy day. Lots of info, lots of idea, lots of discussion and an interesting debate/discussion on who can purchase apps, for how much and how to manage the purchase of them.

I won’t go into the sticky details of the app purchase policy, but I’d rather talk about technical issues that came up.

One of the things that I have tried to get the staff to use is our Frank Hurt Google Apps account. One of the draws are the collaboration features of Google Apps.

Outside of school, I use my personal Google account and calendar with my wife. We share each others’ respective calendars. That way, I can see what she’s up to, and she can see what I’m up to. Any family event she puts in the calendar automatically gets updated in my Google account, and to my phone, and vice-versa. A nice way of keeping our tight schedules on track and shared.

I wanted to take advantage of that ability to share a calendar with the people in this group. I took it upon myself to create a “Tech Cohort” shared calendar in my school Google account, and voila! Everyone has a shared calendar where they can put events and whatnot into it.

A nice thing about Google devices is their integration. On my Android phone, I have it sync with my Frank Hurt Google account. That shared calendar appears in my phone’s calendar and I have granularity in that I can show or hide it.

When it came to the iPad, I added my Frank Hurt Google account to pick up my email and calendar events. While my main calendar events were sync’d with the iPad, the “Tech Cohort” shared calendar did NOT come across through to the iPad. There was no way for the iPad to pull that calendar out.

I was disappointed to say the least that this calendar did not come through.

I do have a “hack” – a work around so that a single “shared calendar” can be accessible via Google Calendar, my phone, and through the iPad calendar app.

Because I have full control over my school’s Google Apps account, I made a “calendar only” Frank Hurt account.  Here’s what I did:


Step 1 – Make a calendar-only user

I first made a new user group within Google Apps.  This group had all services turned off EXCEPT for calendaring.  Once this group was created, I made a user and put this user in the group.  This account will be “shared” in the sense that the members who need to access this calendar need to add it as a user to their iPad.  Outside of the iPad (or any other iOS device), the members of the group will be able to add and edit this calendar via their personal Frank Hurt account.

Step 2 – Log into this account and make a shared calendar

There is only one service that this account can access – – so I punched in this URL and logged in under this account.  Because the iOS Calendar app can access only the first calendar in a Google Apps account, for this shared calendar account, I added all of the members of our cohort and gave them “edit” permissions of this one-and-only calendar.  If any other member logs into their Google Calendar, they will see in their list of calendars, this shared calendar.  They can add and edit events to this calendar and everyone in the group will see them.

Step 3- Add the account to the iOS device

Now back to the iPad.  I added this account in the Mail and Calendar accounts under Settings.  Because this account does NOT have email – only calendaring, when it gets added to the iOS device, it tries to verify the account, but returns an error “Cannot Get Mail”.  You’ll have no other choice but the “OK” button to go back to the Account window.  Click the “Next” button and you’re given a warning stating that this account may not be able to send/receive emails.  Click the Save button, then turn off Mail and Notes for this account, and simply leave the Calendars service on.  Click the save button and voila, the calendar account is now saved to your device!

Step 4 – Accessing the Calendar

Now you can go into the Calendar app and show this newly added “shared” calendar.   Events added to this calendar by the members of the group will now be visible and accessible on the user’s personal calendar AND their iOS device once it’s been set up!  I can now add an event to this calendar via my Android phone, and voila, it appears on my iPad.  I can edit it on my iPad and voila, a few moments later it is now on my Google Calendar

Summer Relearmixing

So here we are at the end of the school year.  I’ve decided to start another blog.  Why another blog when I already have one that I haven’t written a blog post in a while?  Well, this one will be non-family related stuff – basically education & technology related stuff.

This year, the principal at my school has embarked on a journey for us to become a hub of technology of secondary education.  Part of this is bringing mobile devices – iPads – into the hands of teachers and students.

What are we going to do with them?  Well, I’m not too sure just yet.  I’ve been given an iPad to explore and experiment with over the summer.  I will definitely be thinking of how this device can benefit the learning of the students and how teachers can best use it.

Also, another motive for me to have this blog is to put things down in writing – to write to the anonymous public out there as a public record of my thoughts and opinion.

Anyone who knows me and knows my opinion on computing, I’m a big FOSS – Free & Open Source Software advocate and user.  Apple computers are at the opposite end of computing which I prefer to use as it is a closed ecosystem, tightly controlled by Apple Inc.

Nonetheless, I cannot deny the fact that it is a very polished product with a lot of potential to use in the educational environment.  If anything like I tell my students, it is not the hardware or software that is important to learn, but it is the computing concepts that you learn and that you can apply elsewhere which is important.

If I were to spend my own hard-earned money on a tablet device, right now the top two devices would be the Asus Transformer or the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1.

For me, the Transformer has the advantage of the optional dock which is a keyboard, touch pad, extra ports and secondary battery.  I like this optional feature.

The downside of the GTab for me is the lack of ports on the device itself – no external microSD slot, no HDMI and no USB unless you use the multi-pin connector.

But alas, I don’t have an extra $500 or so to spend on my own tablet.  But who am I to complain, I’ll use the iPad assigned for me for now. :D

Oh, and another project I’d like to do (other than post more in this blog), is to play with Google App Inventor and make apps for my phone.  In an ideal world, I’d teach this in my programming class and have my students build their own apps.

Well, that’s what I plan on doing this summer.  We’ll see how it goes…