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Andy Simmons
Works at SciQuest
Attended North Carolina State University
Lives in Raleigh, NC
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So here's an interesting thing I discovered.  The 2m Lightning cable that Apple introduced last month alongside the iPhone 5S has a different housing than the standard 1m Lightning cable that ships with the iPhone.  Here's a photo of them side-by-side.  The difference is minor, the 2m cable being slightly thicker, but this could be a huge issue for companies that are building device docks, etc. that require the user to mount their own Lightning cable into a slot that is designed specifically to fit the Apple-made cable.
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In discussing this with the creators of the EverDock device dock on Kickstarter (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fuzdesigns/everdock-iphone-5s-5c-5-4-ipad-ipad-mini-android-d), it seems that the 2m cable housing is roughly the same as the 30-pin to Lightning adapter.  So not a new size, exactly, but still different.  Also, the 2m cable is thicker throughout its length, by about half a millimeter.  Additional shielding, perhaps?
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Gotta admit, it's weird seeing my own Google+ posts in my search results.
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I ended up picking up last year's Nexus 7 on the (relatively) cheap as prices plummeted just before the release of the new model.  I have to admit, it's pretty nice.

Don't get me wrong, I still definitely prefer iOS over Android -- the more I use Android, the more reasons I find to prefer iOS, in fact -- but in a world without iOS, an Android tablet wouldn't be the end of the world.

What has most surprised me is the fact that I think Android is actually a better fit for tablets than it is for phones.  I've had to carry several different Android phones by virtue of my job, and the experience has ranged from "infuriating" in the worst cases to "mildly but regularly exasperating" in the best cases.  But on a tablet, Android feels like a better fit.

Which is funny to say, because there are plenty of places where it's clear that tablets are still kind of an afterthought, not just for Android developers, but also for Google itself.  So many Android apps -- even ones that are ostensibly "optimized for tablets" -- have truly dreadful UIs, and it's clear that this is the result of developers either simply taking the phone app and making it bigger, or not accounting for the fact that there are a great many display aspect ratios and resolutions among Android tablets.  It reminds me of my time as a Palm OS user.  Yes, there are a lot of cool apps, but man, are they ugly.  And then there's the way that widgets resize and rearrange when you change the tablet's orientation.  Aspect ratios change for widgets in ways that distort the contents!  Widgets hang off the edge of the screen!  Buttons in a widget disappear beyond the resized widget boundary!  Seriously, it's awful.  This is amateur hour stuff right here, and it makes the entire OS look clunky and unsophisticated.

But for all that, it's still a decent tablet for the price I paid, and I do like the form factor.  But all that does is make me excited for the prospect of a high-resolution iPad Mini.
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I parked next to a Tesla at work today.  As I got out of my car, I noticed that the car didn't really have traditional door handles, and it wasn't readily apparent how one would get into the car.  So naturally, I looked it up on YouTube.

Now that I see how it works, Tesla has gone down a few notches in my estimation.  First and foremost, this is an embarrassingly blatant example of over-engineering.  I've heard people refer to Tesla as "the Apple of the automotive industry", but this makes me question that assessment, as it seems more like a page from Microsoft's design guidebook.  I just want to get into my car.  Why has that gone from a one-step process (pull/lift/squeeze the handle) to a two-step process that also requires me to wait on the car to finish a process inbetween?

Second, there are now many, many more moving parts that can break; if you've ever had the unfortunate experience of having one of the power window motors die on your car, just imagine how annoying it would be if that motor was also required to allow you into your car.  I wonder how awesome people will look climbing into the driver's seat via the passenger door?

I'm also curious about what powers the handles.  Do they have their own, segregated power source?  Or are they powered from the same power source that powers the car?  If the latter, is that really smart?  If I leave my phone in my locked car, and the car's battery runs out, how would I get into my car to get my phone in order to call for assistance?

Finally, this isn't very user-friendly at all.  It's okay to alter how the driver interacts with the car -- they, after all, will be spending a lot of time with it -- but a passenger should not have to learn anything new just to ride in the car.  The driver should not have to teach them how to open the door.
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Once u spend time with it, you could never imagine being without these features. The other auto makers truly are doomed if the don't do better. We love model S and will never settle for what the other auto makers are presently doing.
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Interesting that the creative director of the same company that built the flagship Facebook Home phone says that he deplores making social networks front and center on a smartphone. So did Hundt approve a phone that he personally disliked? Or does HTC simply not give their creative director a voice in the final approval process?

"What traits do you most deplore in a smartphone?

The smartphone consumes you and becomes a habit. There is a fundamental question: does being socially connected all the time really enable you to be closer to people you care about? Is typing a message, status update or designating a "like" really more effective than a simple phone call?"
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i am a huge supporter of txting way more than web social networking. not really big on talking on a phone. WAY more into face to face contact than any of the above. just seems people want that less cause when you are with them... they are fiddling with their fucking phone.
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Surprisingly, my favorite thing so far about iOS 7 is a small behavioral change: you can now unlock the phone as normal (going to whatever you were doing when it locked) even if a new notification has just appeared.  It used to be that unlocking the phone when a new notification was on-screen would always take you to the app for that notification.  The only way around this was to lock and then re-wake the phone before unlocking. Thanks for fixing that, Apple.
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I've come to the conclusion that I don't "get" WeatherMob.  I don't trust the data, and I'm not terribly compelled to take the time to contribute weather data.  I'm all for crowdsourcing data, but WeatherMob is no Waze, that's for sure.
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What I really want to know is, why would I need or want to control my toilet from my phone?  Everything I could ever want to do with a toilet requires me to be in the same room as the toilet.

I can only guess that this is the result of a strategy meeting where somebody said, "everybody already uses their smartphones while they're on the toilet, how can we bring those two things together?"

Maybe connected toilets will make more sense when they can analyze waste and provide us with information about ourselves that we might not have otherwise had.  Imagine how awesome a talking smart toilet would be.

"Between the duration of this session and the content of your sample, you should consider eating more fiber."

"Good morning, Susan.  Did you know that you are pregnant?"

"The alcohol content of this sample is 500% greater than your last sample two hours ago.  This must be some party.  Remember to pace yourself, or we will soon be meeting under less pleasant circumstances."

"I'm sorry that you are feeling ill, Carl.  Perhaps you should have taken my advice regarding your alcohol intake."
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forget smart toilets, for $6 you can have an evil toilet clown!
http://boingboing.net/2013/08/05/supernatural-evil-clown-toilet.html
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Question for Android users:

I can't figure out how to share a Google Play account without also sharing your entire Google account.  For example, persons A and B, a married couple, have Android devices.  Person A buys an app from the Google Play store, and wants to put it on person B's devices as well.  If Person A adds his Google Play account to Person B's devices, Person B now can download the apps that Person A has purchased, but also has access to Person A's email, calendar, etc.  These parts of Person A's Google account can be set to not auto-update on Person B's devices, but they are still present, and Person B can still access them.

What's the solution?  Or has Google not yet figured out how to make this work, when Apple has had this solved since the introduction of the App Store?
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You might be able to do this with profiles in Android 4.3.  Person A sets up their account in a separate profile on Person B's device and then only shares apps with Person B's profile.

Edit: fixing syntax and a error.
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Decided to shed a few social networks and related apps today.  So long, +Path, Highlight, Sonar, and +Banjo.  I hardly used ye.
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Received in email at 4:52 PM on July 1:
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Thank you for using Yahoo Alerts! To help focus our efforts on core Yahoo! product experiences, we will discontinue Feed/Blog Alerts by July 1. You can find more details here.
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I mean, I get it, Yahoo.  You want to remind us that Google isn't the only company in the world that is really good at killing off services that people actually use.  But at least Google gave us advance warning that Reader was going away.  Sending a notification email on the same day that the service disappears is only marginally better than not sending a notice at all.

Stay classy (and largely irrelevant), Yahoo.
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Isn't Yahoo! that web directory thing? I liked dmoz better.
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As eager as I would be to see Apple release a smart watch, I would actually sort of love it even more if they were to take this opportunity to throw all of the market analysts and prognosticators for a loop by using "iWatch" as the name for their long-rumored television.
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In his circles
116 people
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127 people
John Broome's profile photo
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  • North Carolina State University
  • Colorado State University
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  • SciQuest
    Software Developer, 2001 - present
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