Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 4th Sep 2015 15:13 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless

For the past few years, we've been in a relatively healthy balance when it comes to our smartphones. Both Apple and Google provided us with relatively decent platforms that were pretty straightforward to use, provided us with interesting and useful functionality, and at mostly decent price points. In return, we accepted a certain amount of lock-in, a certain lack of control over our devices and the software platforms running on them. I felt comfortable with this trade-off, whether I was using an iPhone or an Android phone at the time.

Recently, however, I've been feeling like this balance in iOS and Android is tipping - and not in the right direction. The users' interests have taken a decided backseat to corporate interests, and the user experiences of the two platforms in question have, consequently, suffered, and I see little in the future to counteract this development

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It's really not that bad
by leos on Fri 4th Sep 2015 15:24 UTC
leos
Member since:
2005-09-21

In other words, Apple would gain strict control over what kind of news you get to see on your iOS device. Does that sound like a desirable situation to you?


How exactly is Apple gaining control over what kind of news you see on your iOS device?
Google Chrome and Firefox have adblockers you can enable in them. Does that mean Google and Mozilla have "strict control over what news you get to see on your desktop?"
No, it's nonsense of course.

The Safari adblocker might be a user feature and it might be a stick to get people to sign up to the News app. Very likely it is both in that Apple wants to develop their service and they also have the luxury of not depending on advertising so they can give the users what they want here.

The default Apple Watch app sucks I completely agree. All the other bundled apps are at least somewhat defensible, and I can see the advantages of having a base set of functionaility on every phone out there. Apple Watch is 100% useless to 99% of the population and should never have been included.

Reply Score: 1

RE: It's really not that bad
by WereCatf on Fri 4th Sep 2015 15:35 UTC in reply to "It's really not that bad"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

How exactly is Apple gaining control over what kind of news you see on your iOS device?
Google Chrome and Firefox have adblockers you can enable in them. Does that mean Google and Mozilla have "strict control over what news you get to see on your desktop?"


Neither Google or Mozilla is the provider of the adblocker. It's whoever made the adblocker one uses and its lists who is in control of such. Apple, on the other hand, is themselves the provider of the adblocker and its lists.

Edited 2015-09-04 15:36 UTC

Reply Score: 9

RE[2]: It's really not that bad
by leos on Fri 4th Sep 2015 16:53 UTC in reply to "RE: It's really not that bad"
leos Member since:
2005-09-21

Still nonsense. Is Adblock controlling the news you see? No of course not. They are blocking ads using well defined rules. Safari ad blocking is the same thing and entirely within the control of the user. Apple has no control over the content you can access through safari.

Reply Score: 1

mistersoft Member since:
2011-01-05

Dear Leos,

I'm not sure if you're being deliberately obtuse or somewhat missing Thom's point -


which I understand to be that, with Apple providing in browser ad-blocking at the OS level, then if users switch on ad-blocking - or more likely it's enabled by default, then website news outlets funded by on-page advertising (of which their are many outlets) - will be forced, economically, to enter Apple's app ecosystem (and thereby have far less choice over which advertising partners they go with and consequently what revenue streams are available)

--and thereby-- Apple is by-proxy having a pretty controlling influence over your available News media

(in theory at least)

Reply Score: 13

RE[4]: It's really not that bad
by leos on Sat 5th Sep 2015 15:45 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: It's really not that bad"
leos Member since:
2005-09-21

which I understand to be that, with Apple providing in browser ad-blocking at the OS level, then if users switch on ad-blocking - or more likely it's enabled by default, then website news outlets funded by on-page advertising (of which their are many outlets) - will be forced, economically, to enter Apple's app ecosystem (and thereby have far less choice over which advertising partners they go with and consequently what revenue streams are available)

--and thereby-- Apple is by-proxy having a pretty controlling influence over your available News media

(in theory at least)


It's funny that you are being voted up despite everything you say being factually incorrect.

Let's see.

1. "Apple providing in browser ad-blocking at the OS level" It's in safari, not the OS. Apple is also not providing ad-blocking at all, they are providing an extension framework that supports ad blockers. Exactly like Mozilla and Google have extension frameworks in their browsers.

2. "then if users switch on ad-blocking - or more likely it's enabled by default" Not only is it not enabled by default, you can't even switch it on. You have to install an ad-blocking app from the app store.

3. " then website news outlets funded by on-page advertising (of which their are many outlets) - will be forced, economically, to enter Apple's app ecosystem" Wrong. When you run Adblock on your PC you are depriving publishers of revenue. When you run adblock on your iOS device, you are doing the same. Neither option forces publishers into anything, or if you want, Adblock on the PC "forces" publishers into the apple news app just as much as adblocking on iOS does.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: It's really not that bad
by leos on Fri 4th Sep 2015 17:02 UTC in reply to "RE: It's really not that bad"
leos Member since:
2005-09-21

Never mind that Apple is not proving the content blocker, they are only providing the framework just like Mozilla and Google. Third parties will be able to write the actual content blockers.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: It's really not that bad
by darknexus on Sat 5th Sep 2015 18:12 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: It's really not that bad"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Never mind that Apple is not proving the content blocker, they are only providing the framework just like Mozilla and Google. Third parties will be able to write the actual content blockers.

Yes, but how long do you think it'll be before Apple starts deciding that certain content blockers violate their guidelines? Then again, why am I trying to reason with someone like you?

Reply Score: 4

Remove ads on *rooted* Android : ad-away
by lord_rob on Fri 4th Sep 2015 17:18 UTC
lord_rob
Member since:
2005-08-06

If your Android device is *completely* rooted (I mean that /system must be writable too), you can install ad-away.

First download and install f-droid : https://f-droid.org/
(your device has to accept unknown sources for this to work).
ad-away can be installed from f-droid easily.

For more info see https://f-droid.org/repository/browse/?fdid=org.adaway

Edited 2015-09-04 17:18 UTC

Reply Score: 4

tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

It's a good idea to install F-Droid either way. You get some useful stuff in there that you can't get in the Google store: AdAway, VLC, Atomic (really nice IRC client), and unlimited ad-free builds of Lightning.

Reply Score: 3

v Comment by kurkosdr
by kurkosdr on Fri 4th Sep 2015 18:14 UTC
RE: Comment by kurkosdr
by Nth_Man on Fri 4th Sep 2015 22:29 UTC in reply to "Comment by kurkosdr"
Nth_Man Member since:
2010-05-16

> you can cut open the executable any time you want with a hex editor and/or a decompiler.

Even if someone is able (a lot of systems, like Playstation 4, etc. fight that, putting a lot of resources to make it impossible), they still put other problems, like:

https://www.google.com/search?q="No+reverse+engineering,+decompilat...

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by kurkosdr
by Verenkeitin on Sat 5th Sep 2015 10:51 UTC in reply to "Comment by kurkosdr"
Verenkeitin Member since:
2007-07-01


The 98% doesn't care, they just want usable software.

Why is this always a justification for making things worse in software? Less than 98 % of people also don't care about the amount of mercury and lead in their food as long as it is cheap tastes good. They are either completely clueless that food may have bad stuff in it or they are trusting that somebody is looking out for them. Somebody who knows what's bad and puts a stop to it.

You are confusing the OS with one (or two) bundled apps.

And you are willfully confusing details with the big picture at hand. The YouTube app's ad spamming is here used as an example of the kind of BS you can expect to spread everywhere.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by philcostin
by philcostin on Fri 4th Sep 2015 18:16 UTC
philcostin
Member since:
2010-11-03

I still can't bring myself to buy a smartphone. I feel it would lower my status from "human" to "consumer".

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by philcostin
by kurkosdr on Fri 4th Sep 2015 18:26 UTC in reply to "Comment by philcostin"
kurkosdr Member since:
2011-04-11

I still can't bring myself to buy a smartphone. I feel it would lower my status from "human" to "consumer".


You could always by a Jolla, an Ubuntu phone or a used N900 and have an honest-to-goodness gnu/linux computer in your pocket (if that's so important to you).

But I feel that would increase your status from "whiner" to "user".

Edited 2015-09-04 18:28 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by philcostin
by demetris on Fri 4th Sep 2015 19:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by philcostin"
demetris Member since:
2010-06-25

Lol

Reply Score: 1

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

You know ubuntu would sell every metric they could and send all your key strokes to the highest bidder.

Jolla is not very open. I can compile Android and load my nexus from source. I can't really do that with Jolla.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by philcostin
by philcostin on Sat 5th Sep 2015 11:36 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by philcostin"
philcostin Member since:
2010-11-03

It's not that - I have a computer on my desk at home and work. The only time I might need a smartphone is when I'm driving - but then I can just check google maps before I set off. It's one less thing to bother charging up.

Reply Score: 1

Ads and Play services
by WorknMan on Fri 4th Sep 2015 18:17 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

So far, I haven't seen any of these ads on my Android devices, but yeah... that would suck.

As for Play services, I think Google has the right idea here. I'm not really sure you can find a balance between giving OEMs complete control over skinning the OS and preventing the whole thing from becoming a fragmented clusterfuck. But I think it's safe to say that the customization OEMs were adding on top of stock Android is something that many users didn't want anyway.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Ads and Play services
by CapEnt on Fri 4th Sep 2015 19:52 UTC in reply to "Ads and Play services"
CapEnt Member since:
2005-12-18

I'm not really sure you can find a balance between giving OEMs complete control over skinning the OS and preventing the whole thing from becoming a fragmented clusterfuck. But I think it's safe to say that the customization OEMs were adding on top of stock Android is something that many users didn't want anyway.

Not, it's not safe to say that users don't want that customization. Samsung phone owners in particular never had contact with anything other than TouchWiz and looks to be content with it, since Samsung still is the single largest Android OEM by a quite large margin. And there is some quite high quality customization out there, like CM and MIUI.

Ironically, this increased lock-in by Google can fragment Android, or even kill it. It's not only a question of how much users will accept relish control to Google, but OEMs as well.

Reply Score: 3

Tech pundits are all-in on Tracking/Spying
by curio on Fri 4th Sep 2015 19:28 UTC
curio
Member since:
2010-05-03

Loss of control is much worse when it's helped along by tech pundits who aren't pushing back against this encroachment of corporate/gov control over our devices.
This little linked clip shows how all-in TWiT's Leo Laporte is on the total surveillance state.

TWiT-0507-Leo Laporte-loves-Google-Spying
https://vid.me/Db6w

What's sad is, all the features he likes so much about Google Now, could easily be integrated into a supremely personal, private and effective, digital assistant plus maintenance and security app/program on everyone's devices. "Pull" information instead of having it "Pushed" to you by all tracking, all spying big-brother, on central servers.
Leaving users effectively no choice but of which Big Brother.

Reply Score: 2

At least Android has "distros"
by Licaon_Kter on Fri 4th Sep 2015 20:25 UTC
Licaon_Kter
Member since:
2010-03-19

I'm doing the no-GoogleServices dance now.

It started not by choice but I was rather pushed here, see while I do understand that my Xperia Sola is old and that this port of CM is patched to hell and back by amateurs to work on my 512Mb RAM ( really 384Mb usable ) piece of 2012 dual core STE marvell of a device, having GoogleServices doing NOTHING but eating my battery day after day after day was too much.
Normally one would have "screen on" for 70% and all the other apps added up to 100%, but noooo, kill all apps, thinking I should be fine and use it for voice and sms only to end up with the phone on low battery 6 hours later, GoogleServices running 70% of the time God knows why for on a 2G active, no data, no Wifi, no bluetooth whatsoever.

Cool story bro you say but what next...

Well, I put CM 12.1, and gosh, skipped GoogleApps, grabbed F-Droid and look at that, plenty of apps there, plenty of apps on github, plenty of apps mirrored from the PlayStore that don't need GoogleServices to run. Oh and the free memory went from <100Mb to >150Mb with no app open, really? Yes, the first app to be installed is AFWall, and each new app will be blocked there after install, so many apps request internet connections and so few actually do something for me with it.

Switching to F-Droid might not be for all, it depends on your closed app usage mostly, say if you are all in Google(Drive/Mail/Keep/Hangouts/whatevercloudsomething) then it will be tricky.

I'm still looking for the perfect Google Keep replacement where OmniNotes might be it, but you can't sync that data nowhere private (yet) so meh, then NoNonsense Notes has a sync to SD card that could be it but there are some niggles here and there.

The AOSP mail client has come a long way, it's fine for me.

Hangouts is messy, at least text, it still acts like a XMPP server but whoknows for how long, you can send messages ( Conversations, Xabber, ChatSecure etc ) and get them if online, but you can't see missed messages. The voice/video parts I did not study yet.


Anyway, TL;DR Android still offers the possibility to get some more freedom today. If Google decides to close its version even more there are others ( CM, MIUI, OEMs ) that can fork it and devices will still run.

Reply Score: 4

RE: At least Android has "distros"
by tidux on Sat 5th Sep 2015 07:31 UTC in reply to "At least Android has "distros""
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

I really enjoy K-9 Mail, which started as a fork of AOSP Mail and has more active development and PGP integration.

Reply Score: 3

The dance
by fretinator on Fri 4th Sep 2015 21:23 UTC
fretinator
Member since:
2005-07-06

I think this is an interesting phenomenon, in that both are arriving at the same destination, but taking very different paths. There are reasons why both systems are arriving at this same point of excessive control.

1. Android - for this ecosystem, it is the "free lunch" syndrome. User's don't want to pay for email, social networking - even for the operating system. Heck, with some carriers, even the phone "seems" free (even though it isn't). We have become so used to not paying, we have created an advertising based economy. In that system, it only makes sense that the advertising giant, Google, is going to want to maintain control of the system to garner advertising revenue. So this is the cost of the "free lunch" syndrome.

2. In iOS, it is the "premium" syndrome. By controlling all aspect of the ecosystem (hardware, software, what can and can't be installed), Apple is able to offer the user a "Cadillac" system. Users feel they are part of the "in" crowd, the cool people, etc. Basically, in this system, Apple is able to almost beat their users, and still charge a premium price, because it's part of being in the club.

So we are 2 almost diametrically opposed ecosystems, and yet they arrive and the same destination. In both cases, I believe lack of individual responsibility is the cause. In one, they don't want to share in the cost of a service, in the other, because they don't want to have to think about anything - do it for me, Apple.

OK, enough of that, now go enjoy the weekend... responsibly, of course.

Reply Score: 3

Content Blockers = control?
by aktariel on Fri 4th Sep 2015 21:32 UTC
aktariel
Member since:
2015-08-12

What?!? Seriously, I can understand how you might be able to draw a correlation between Apple enabling content blocking in Safari in iOS 9, and trying to get more publishers interested in their new news application, but to say that that is the sole or even primary purpose seems to me to miss the point very badly.

I'm not an Apple apologist, though I'm sure I might get called one, and I dislike the lack of control I have over my iPhone as much or more than most of the readers here. But Apple does seem to be "fighting for the user" a bit more these days, and content blocking is primarily about defanging adtech and all of its privacy-violating bulls**t. Are you suggesting that Apple believes content blocking will be so successful that it can't help but be a stick to drive publishers to News, and doesn't think at all about the benefits to the actual smartphone owners? This is the company that stood up to law enforcement with stronger default encryption, after all.

Your cynicsm seems to lead to very convoluted logic, when Occam's Razor might simply suggest they did it to enhance the user experience of web browsing on their flagship product - instead of having people complain about how crappy mobile browsing is. One more point of differentiation to drive conversion, by word of mouth and glowing tech reviews, to iPhone.

Edited 2015-09-04 21:33 UTC

Reply Score: 0

RE: Content Blockers = control?
by Thom_Holwerda on Fri 4th Sep 2015 21:38 UTC in reply to "Content Blockers = control?"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

but to say that that is the sole or even primary purpose


It is. Otherwise, iAds would be blockable as well. Heck, if Apple really cared about the user, ads would not be allowed at all on iOS.

Edited 2015-09-04 21:40 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Content Blockers = control?
by leos on Sat 5th Sep 2015 15:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Content Blockers = control?"
leos Member since:
2005-09-21

"but to say that that is the sole or even primary purpose


It is. Otherwise, iAds would be blockable as well. Heck, if Apple really cared about the user, ads would not be allowed at all on iOS.
"

You are being intentionally misleading. It's not like Apple is letting their ads through. All content is blockable with Safari iOS content blocking, including iAds, assuming they existed on the web. Except they don't exist on the web so they cannot be blocked.

A totally separate issue is in-app advertising. This is not blockable using Safari content blocking (why would it be?). Given that iAds consitute about 3% of the mobile advertising revenue, clearly Apple is not allowing mobile ads to protect their couple bucks of revenue.

Safari content blocking has nothing to do with in-app advertising. Understand that first before commenting.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Content Blockers = control?
by galvanash on Sat 5th Sep 2015 02:45 UTC in reply to "Content Blockers = control?"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

I'm not an Apple apologist, though I'm sure I might get called one, and I dislike the lack of control I have over my iPhone as much or more than most of the readers here. But Apple does seem to be "fighting for the user" a bit more these days, and content blocking is primarily about defanging adtech and all of its privacy-violating bulls**t


I'm usually the one going out on a limb defending some usually harmless change Apple or Google makes. But this...

I'm sorry but I have to agree with Thom on this one. This is just Apple cashing in on some anti-google sentiment while its still hot. If this was really about "defanging adtech", why does Apple still run an advertising network? When (if?) the other shoe drops and they get completely out of the advertising business I might give them a wee bit of credit, for now this is just self interest at work.

Reply Score: 3

wow honestly?
by kristoph on Fri 4th Sep 2015 21:54 UTC
kristoph
Member since:
2006-01-01

There's another sad example of Apple placing its own interests above that of its users, and it's one where you don't expect it: the content blocking feature coming in iOS 9.

Apple is NOT adding content blocking features to anything. It's allowing extensions in Safari so that, you know, apps can interact more seamlessly with Safari.

It is beyond my understanding how you think that Apple allowing YOU to extend the browser on YOUR phone with whatever code you want is 'Apple placing its own interests above that of its users'.

Reply Score: 1

RE: wow honestly?
by galvanash on Sat 5th Sep 2015 02:59 UTC in reply to "wow honestly?"
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

It is beyond my understanding how you think that Apple allowing YOU to extend the browser on YOUR phone with whatever code you want is 'Apple placing its own interests above that of its users'.


Maybe because they waited like 5 years longer than they should have to do this? Now that they realize they don't make any money through advertising on their phones and probably never will they decided what the hell, two birds with one stone (make users happy and kick Google in the teeth while they are at it).

It seems awfully duplicitous to me to have Apple implement a highly requested feature only after the point is reached where the feature benefits Apple.

That somehow seems exactly like Apple placing their own interests above that of their users...

Edited 2015-09-05 02:59 UTC

Reply Score: 5

Pay-TV with ads?
by tomz on Fri 4th Sep 2015 23:29 UTC
tomz
Member since:
2010-05-06

The problem with Apple (and to a lesser extent with Android/Google, and now Win10) is that you are paying through the nose for the device.
A $500+ device shouldn't be ad-supported out of the box.
I could see a "free" system (hence the Win-10 reference) being ad supported with lockdown. But now they are the worst of both worlds. Crapware, now crap-notifications, crap alterts, crap everywhere, and you have to pay the full unsubsidized cost.

Reply Score: 4

AdamC
Member since:
2009-07-25

There is a big difference between the two so try to get it right and stop all the FUD.

Reply Score: 0