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Vevek Selvam
Attends Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Lives in Singapore
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Rocking this one everywhere!

3840x2160 full res download :]
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Apple and Privacy, Just like Google

One thing that really annoys me about Apple is how it is using its reality distortion field to twist the message about privacy. Only a week ago, Tim Cook said this:

”I’m speaking to you from Silicon Valley where some of the most prominent and successful companies have built their businesses by lulling their customers into complacency about their personal information. They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be. So we don’t want your data. “

“We don’t think they’re worth have your email or your search history or now even your family photos data-mined and sold-off for God-knows-what advertising purpose.”

And then, at the WWDC Keynote, they announced the new Apple News app. What does this app do? Well… I quote from their product page:

”The stories you really care about. The more you read, the more personalized the News app becomes, refining the selection of stories delivered to your screen so they are relevant to you. Easily share articles with others and save them to read offline. News stays on top of the stories you’re interested in. So you can, too.”

So… how can Apple learn what it is that you are interested in, and deliver that information to you without tracking people?

Granted, at the keynote, Craig Federighi also displayed a slide pointing out the privacy features for Apple News. These included:

Anonymous
Not associated with Apple ID
Random identifier
Not linked to other Apple services
Not shared with third parties
You’re in control

Clearly pointing their fingers at Google.

First of all, this is a weird way of doing things. Not having the news targeting data linked to your Apple ID means that it can’t be used across devices. Your iPhone and your iPad won’t know which is which. And if you buy a new iPhone, you will have to teach your news app all over again from scratch.

What’s the point of that? That’s not a privacy issue. That’s just terrible UX. 

It’s also not linked to other Apple services, meaning that Apple won’t be able to show you news from where you are in Apple Maps, compared to your personal interests. That seems like a weird limitation, and again, poor UX.

Finally, we have the “Not shared with third parties”.

It’s so annoying. Why, because neither is Google
It’s the same thing. Google isn’t sharing anything. No advertiser sees any user data, ever.

It’s like when you advertise in a newspaper. You pay the newspaper to display the ad in the right section. But as an advertiser, you have no clue as to who it reaches. You just know it has been targeted right.

That’s how Google Adwords work.

More to the point, tools like Google Analytics work almost exactly like Apple News. It too is anonymous, not associated with people’s Google IDs, uses randomized identifiers, not linked to other Google services, nor is it shared with third parties. 

Granted, you can add aggregated demographic data to this as well, in which case it does link to Google Adwords, but it’s still anonymous, and you have no way to track that on an individual level.

I get so annoyed by this. Apple is promoting itself as the savior of privacy online, bashing Google and others with vaguely misleading statements along the way.

That said, there are genuine concerns about privacy as well.

For instance, there is a real problem around the whole industry of data brokers. These are companies who are buying and selling user data to the highest bidder, from anywhere. For instance, when you go into Target to buy a t-shirt, they will end up knowing your age, income, social status, your food preferences, and sometimes even your medical history. 

Similarly, when I then go into another store a week later, then they suddenly also know that I bought a T-shirt.

That’s not right. That’s terrible! It should be illegal for companies to buy/sell/share their data. (and indeed it is in my country).

If I go into a store, whatever I do and whatever I buy in this store should be kept between the store and me. It is a massive violation of trust when that store sells this information to others. 

That is a real privacy problem.

This also extends to websites. If I visit a newspaper, what I read should not be bought and sold by other companies. That is an interaction purely between me and the newspaper. 

The newspaper can target me all it wants based on the interaction that has taken place between us. But when I then visit another newspaper, they shouldn’t be allowed to know what topics of articles I read elsewhere. 

This is the whole concept of privacy. 

Apple is doing this right because what it tracks is kept within Apple. Which is good. And that is also how Google works. Whatever you do on Google, stays with Google.

But the rest of Apple PR bashing about privacy is just that, PR.

Look at Apple Music, which will be available on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows and Android. Here you can create your own playlists, follow artists, like, comment and share things.

The only way they can do that is by linking your actions to your Apple ID. How else would it be able to show you the playlist on your phone that you just created on your Mac? How else would it be able to keep track and notify you across devices when there is an update to something you engage with?

So, Apple is using your data, just like everyone else. As Apple says on their site (about Apple Music)

“Enjoy recommendations handpicked just for you or explore everything they find that’s new and noteworthy in the world of music. It’s all yours.”

“Even with a library this massive, finding the music you’re looking for is easy. The intelligent search engine remembers whether you’re looking in your local library or the Apple Music library, so you get results from the place you expect. You can also browse music you’ve looked for previously, and see what searches are trending.”

”Tell us what you like. Discover something you’ll love. When you tell us the genres and bands you’re into, we’ll bring you more suggestions from our experts who know and love music. They’re out at the big shows and the small gigs, combing scenes to bring you emerging artists and deep cuts, and creating playlists that feel like they’re coming from a friend who knows exactly what you want to hear.”

”The more you listen, the better we hear you. When we make recommendations, we consider what you tell us you like. Whether you love a song or not, your feedback helps our suggestions get better and better. But we also pay attention to what you actually play. So if you’re an EDM fan with a secret affinity for big band music, we’ll find you more stuff that swings. And drops the beat.”

How is this not exactly the same as what Google is doing with their services?

Oh, you say. But Apple isn’t using this to sell advertising. Really? 

Here is the description of ad targeting for the Apple News app:

”Monetization of Apple News Format content is simple with iAd, Apple’s advertising platform. When monetizing with iAd, you’ll have access to iAd’s segmentation capabilities, so your advertisers can reach just the right audience within your content. iAd targeting is accurate and scalable, and based on registration data from hundreds of millions of validated Apple users.”

So, when Apple said that Apple news was anonymous, not associated with Apple ID, uses a random identifier, nor linked to other Apple services, that apparently only applies to all the things that aren’t iAds. Because with iAds, they can accurately target your content to millions of Apple users.

Again, just like Google.

Add that Apple recently announced they will support ad blockers in Safari on the iPhone, thus blocking newspapers from earning money that way. While iAds does work in their own news app... well...

This is why I get so annoyed when I hear Apple’s PR machine talk about privacy. First, we have Tim Cook saying: “They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong. And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be. So we don’t want your data.“

Then they launch two new services; Apple Music and Apple News, both featuring individual targeting, tracking and tailoring. Including integration to iAds.

I call shenanigans. 

Both Apple and Google track what you do. Both companies use that information. And both companies that keep information within themselves, thus ensuring your privacy stays intact. 

There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, as they both show, doing this creates much better products for you and me.

Let’s instead focus on the much more important issue of data brokers, and how data from one site is sold or given to others, thus causing one company to know what you did in another store. 

That is the real issue we should be dealing with. Not how data is used between us and the individual companies that we have chosen to be a part of.
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I've used your app for a long time but recently I have switched over to and iOS device. Will you ever develop and iOS version of your app? I hope you would do it pretty soon because none of the iOS weightlifting apps come close to progression.
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Part of the beauty of progression is the material design which iOS won't have though :P
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City Centre

We had a great photowalk in Toronto on Sunday, Thank you +Brandon Luk and +Susan Porter for being awesome hosts!!

#toronto   #FL   #longexposurephotography   #nightphotography  
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So many things I like about this.
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Chase your dream and do not let them go. Hold them tight.
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A very intuitive and well designed app.
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" That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines. Every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician. Every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended on a sunbeam.

The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel, on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits that this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known...." 
---CARL SAGAN  "Pale Blue Dot"

Perhaps no better words have been spoken in the history of man, than these laid before you. The cosmic perspective is one that can change humanity for the better, if only we were to embrace it and move beyond our infancy, rather than clinging to it out of fear of the unknown...

Image is from our Voyager I spacecraft as it exited our solar system.
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Studying Aperture and Bokeh

The evening when I took the image of my last post, I shot the same subject with different settings to check, which aperture would produce the nicest results.  Which of them do you like most ?
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3-Legged Military Dog Skydives to Test Canine Combat Vest

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Dream, think and create because life is too exciting to sleep it away.
Introduction
I am glad I was introduced into this wonderful world. There's always something to do. 

Space exploration is just getting started, mobile technology and general technology is seeing large changes within a small amount of time. I am looking forward to see how all these changes and improvements fuse to become available to everyone, in a world where everyone is connected, all the time.

Medical breakthroughs are being made all the time. Cures are not available yet for every disease, but they are being formulated. Imagine a day where you know you are going to live forever. Yes, I am looking forward to the day that a medical breakthrough is made for immortality. Many may doubt its possibility, but keep in mind we have not understood everything revolving reality as of yet. 

I can't wait to see how the future will pan out to be. It's an exciting time to be part of and therefore I look forward to everyday. I love the fact that we learn new things all the time. I love learning and thus improving.  
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Got on Google+ before you
Education
  • Ngee Ann Polytechnic
    Diploma in Engineering Science, 2014 - present
  • Meridian Junior College
    A Level's, 2013 - 2013
  • Tanjong Katong Secondary School
    O Level's, 2009 - 2012
  • St Hilda's Primary School
    PSLE, 2004 - 2008
  • St Stephen's Primary School
    PSLE, 2003 - 2004
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