Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Shhhh.... Not in Front of the Kids TV

Fortunately, my Samsung TV is not that smart, but it makes you think!

News this week that Samsung smart TV sends data about your livingroom utterances to every man and his dog is yet another example that we have surrendered our privacy to consumerism. Once your privacy is gone, you'll never get it back.

Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition."

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Quick Tip - Centre an iframe in Blogger Using CSS

I draft most of my blog posts in a text editor before uploading them to Blogger. The advantage is that I keep a local copy (for prosperity or vanity I have yet to determine) and I can play around with presentation and layouts at my leisure. However, it's often easier to get things where you want them using CSS in a text editor than in Blogger itself but, for routine settings, you can customise the style sheet in Blogger and make the changes permanent.

Today, I wanted to centre an embedded video (an iframe), so I updated my style sheet as indicated below:

  1. From your Blogger home page, click the more options drop-down list & click the Template option.
  2. Click the Customise option.
  3. Click the Advanced option & then scroll down to Add CSS option.
  4. Add the following code in the Add custom css text box:
  5. iframe { display: block; margin: 0 auto; border: 0; }
  6. Click Apply to Blog button (top RHC of web page).

This should work with any CSS, but bear in mind that it will become the default style once the code is uploaded. In this case, all iframe objects on this blog will be centred from now on.

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Ubuntu Phone - Too Little, Too Late?

So, the Ubuntu Phone is finally coming, although it's not all that we thought it might be. According to first reports, the handset will no longer act as an extension to your Ubuntu pc and some pretty fundamental applications will not be ported in the early releases of the smartphone.

"Unlike the original proposal, the handset does not become a desktop PC when plugged into a monitor. Source: BBC Technology

For instance, Leo Kelion is reporting that both Whatsapp & Skype will be absent from the first handsets.

Whilst I realize that this is a new (and very exciting) smartphone concept, these omissions seem to me to be problematic for Canonical. Even the mighty Microsoft has struggled to break the Android stranglehold on the mobile phone market and the Ubuntu OS will have to compete with Google, Microsoft, & Apple for market share: the minimum requirement for market entry is to match (if not, surpass) the current offer and, if Canonical is not hasty, by the time the Ubuntu phone catches up with the market, it's competitors will have moved on.

Of course, existing operating systems are not the only concern for Canonical in an all ready crowded market: in January, Samsung released the Z1 running its Tizen operating system: the significance of this event should not be underestimated, in 2013, Samsung was by far the largest producer of handsets in the world (although the iPhone (all variants) was the largest selling handset (same link)).

But, even if you are desperate to own the new Aquaris E4.5 (not a terribly catchy name), you can't just wander down to your local mobile provider and pick up your new handset: you have to wait for a flash sale to pick up your new toy, so Ubuntu's entry into the mobile arena is limited to say the least.

Ultimately, only time will tell if Canonical has got this right or missed its opportunity. However, the €170 price tag is undoubtedly attractive and it may be that the phone will find a niche. I for one hope that this venture is successful for Canonical and the Ubuntu operating system continues to find new fans.

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