iPhone Tracking? It’s A Non-Issue.

Yesterday it was announced that your iPhone was tracking everywhere you’ve been and saving it to a file that’s copied to your computer when you synch your device.

Data Presented From Finders of iPhone Tracking

In case you haven’t seen the story someplace on the web, here’s an article about it on Mashable. It’s also now on the CNN home page – HERE

There are a lot of alarmists up in the air about this and Senator Al Franken has asked Apple to explain why it’s doing this.

I was going to write a wonderfully detailed blog post about it and why I thought it really wasn’t a big deal, but the incredibly smart and funny David Pogue beat me to it. Thanks for saving me some typing David!

In the end the only way someone can use this data and figure out where you’ve been is to download special software (which only shows some details) and pull this file off of your computer. As David Pogue put it “If your computer is that accessible, you’ve got much bigger problems.” He also makes a great point of saying only those that have something to hide, may have something to fear.

While you can’t change any setting to stop the tracking, you can (and I encourage you to) encrypt your iPhone back-ups. It’s incredibly easy to do and I’ve found some simple steps right HERE. Honestly everyone should be doing this from the get-go if they’re that worried about the security of their data.

If you’re really worried about the security of what’s on your iPhone you should have it lock and require a password to get into the device. Instructions on that are on the bottom of THIS PAGE.

I know some people feel like this is an invasion of privacy.
They have every right to feel that way.

To that I say in this day and age of Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube along with all the “check-ins” being done your information and location is out there already.

There’s  nothing to hide!

For those that are still incredibly fearful I’ll recommend as do with everyone else –
DON’T PUT YOUR INFORMATION ON OR GET CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET. Despite any password you have or protection you think you have on it, there’s no 100% security when it comes to computers. If someone really wants to get to your data, they’ll figure out a way and will be able to get around anything you put in the way.

That’s just my opinion, as has occasionally happened, I could be wrong. 🙂

iPad2…Is It Worth It?

Last week Apple announced the iPad 2.

We knew it was coming. The rumor mill was running rampant and leaked shots were showing up all over the net. The first question a lot of people asked me was…

“WHAT DO YOU THINK?”

And my immediate answer was “It’s great”.

No, I’m just saying that because I drank any kind of Apple Kool Aid.

I’m saying that because I do think it’s great. When I heard there was an announcement coming I was expecting to be greatly underwhelmed. I knew the front and back cameras were coming, that was a given. But when I started reading down the list of what it did I was incredibly surprised.

Here’s what jazzed me the most…

  • It’s thin! It’s incredibly thin! I cannot believe how thin they go it. On top of that it’s got the same battery life as the original.
  • 1GHz Dual Core Apple A5 chip – Yes, I know the Motorola Zoom has a dual core processor. I’m just happy the iPad has one now too.
  • 9x faster graphic performance – Faster is always better!

The one thing that impressed me the most and I definitely didn’t see coming was
VIDEO MIRRORING

Now finally I’ll be able to display anything I’m doing on the iPad on a bigger screen. I can now travel and do presentations showing anything I’m doing. I’ll even be able to show actual apps. Yes!

So after I glowed over the incredible new iPad, the question I got next was….

“ARE YOU MAD ABOUT HAVING THE OLD ONE?”

No. It’s been a great device that has saved me in so many instances. Most recently I spent 3 hours at a car repair shop and got a good amount of work done without having to lug a laptop and battery adapter. It’s still a great device and if you don’t need the latest greatest I’d go pick one up while Apple clears them out.

So then comes…

“ARE YOU GOING TO GET THE NEW ONE?”

Yup. I’m sold. Count me in.

So then what about my old iPad? Oh I’ve figured out a way to move on up to the iPad 2 and get money for the old one?

How’d I do that? You’ll have to check out my blog post on blog.car.org tomorrow where I’ll let you know about some options for trading in your old iPad so you can get the new one.

Want to learn about some of the hot mobile apps out there? Trying to figure out what kind of mobile gear could work best for you in the field? Check out the brand new FREE WEBINARS being sponsored by AgentNTouch™, the next generation in REALTOR® marketing tools!

More Geek Posts…Now at the New Official C.A.R. Blog Site

Love my blog posts? Love the information I share? Looking for more?

Look no further than the official blog site of the California Association of REALTORS®!

No, it won’t be duplications of the blog posts here. It’ll be fresh, new content.
It will be content that’s “EXCLUSIVE” to the C.A.R. Blog!

It won’t be as often as here, but when one is posted it’ll be worth it.

The cool thing is, there’s lots of other great content that’s getting posted to the C.A.R. blog from my various colleagues.

You’ve got the master of words, Josh Sharfman who is bringing all kinds of great tech stuff.

Then you’ve got the queen of numbers, Sara Sutachan keeping you up to date with the latest market data.

Of course there’s going to also be posts from our C.A.R. social media organizer/maven/princess, the always charming Lindsey Moss.

In addition to these three fine folks, there’s also great posts from our communications, legal and legislative departments.

So what are you waiting for?

Go and check it out, and check out my first post on speeding up your iPad and iPhone!

My Blackberry Is Not Working!

Love those Brits!

Many thanks to Betty Thomas for passing this one on to me!

Verizon iPhone, At Long Last…Now Let The Domination Begin!

Back during the whole iPhone 4 “antennagate” issue, Apple held a brief press conference to address the concerns about the iPhone 4’s antenna. During the Q&A Steve Jobs said something to the effect of them having an AT&T as well as a Verizon cell tower on the Apple campus. The immediate question that came to mind was “Why the heck would they have a Verizon cell tower on the Apple campus, unless the iPhone is Verizon bound?”.

Sure enough the iPhone is coming to Verizon at long last, and on February 10th Verizon users will rejoice in the joy that is the iPhone.

Rumors Finally Confirmed

So with the iPhone now finally being available to the millions of Verizon customers I am going to make the prediction that by the end of the year the iPhone will be the dominant smartphone in the market. Let me tell you why…

1. While the Android is a fine device, it’s establishment has come from a couple of different fields.
– The folks who wanted an iPhone but didn’t want AT&T service, so they settled for
what they could get.

– The folks who like to tweak, hack, customize and modify their smartphone OS
without having to worry about “jailbreaking”.

That first group is an incredibly LARGE group and now that they can get an iPhone on Verizon you’re going to have a lot of converts. Not just internally from Verizon but from T-Mobile and Sprint as well.

2. The iPhone just works, you don’t have to do anything special to it, you connect it, you synch it and voila it works!
– A lot of tech guys will say that you should be able to do whatever you want
with  your OS and hardware. While this is fine for those that understand
computers to their core, the majority of the computer using public just wants
things to work. They want to turn it on, make their calls, text their friends and play Angry Birds.

3. Apps..there’s MILLIONS of them on the iTunes app store.

With a choice of networks, a choice of data plans and the fact that AT&T and Verizon are THE DOMINANT cell carriers it just seems a no brainer.

Now before you say that I am an Android hater, RELAX. I believe the Android is a very good device and yes I have spent some time with it. It’s great if you like being able to tweak settings and making it do all kinds of fancy stuff. But based on how I’ve seen my non-computer savvy friends use it, it’s more than they want or will ever need. Even me as a long time computer user I find that it’s more than I feel like dealing with anymore.

As for the Blackberry. I actually used to be a Crackberry addict. RIM had their chance and failed miserably not just with the touch hardware but the OS and its ability to run apps. As always it’s great for making calls and sending e-mails, but that’s it and I suspect all it will ever be good for.

We’ll see how things are at the end of the year and if I’m wrong I’ll admit it. This though is one tech prediction that I think I’ll nail.

iSesameStreet and the iPogo

You know when something has permeated deep into the culture when Sesame Street features segments like this…


REALTORS® take note. The kids watching today are the home owners of the future.

A Sweet Auto Appointment Feature In iOS4?

Right now the iPhone 4 is getting a ton of attention because of the supposed antenna issue. What I don’t see enough of is people focusing on the cool new features of the updated iOS.

Sure you’ve got folders which rock organizing apps. You’ve also got the multitasking which I’m so used to I feel cheated when I can’t do it on my iPad.

But I believe I’ve found a sweet new feature in iOS4 that is going to make our lives even easier.

The other day I got an e-mail that had some dates and times in it. When I looked at it the dates and times, they looked like hyperlinks.

So like any good geek I touched the hyperlinks, it then prompted me to create an event.
When I selected to create the event, it created a new appointment with the date and time listed in the e-mail.

SWEET!!!!

Of course the geek in me had to test it again to make sure I wasn’t in some magical tech fantasy land, so I created a test e-mail:

Then I touched one of the hyperlinks and got the following:

When I tapped on Create Event, voila!

Check that out! It even included the subject line of the e-mail as the appointment name.

So you say, C’mon Chris. No one really writes e-mails that have the dates and times perfectly spelled out.

You’re right.

Cool thing is it still works. See!

Granted it can’t create the appointment as accurately, but it does.

I remember over ten years ago Microsoft showing off a potential new future feature for e-mails where it would intelligently take the information out of the e-mail and create appointments. It never appeared, but it looks like Apple has done it. Go Apple!

So that’s it! Sweet new feature on iOS4 for you to play around with over the holiday weekend.

Enjoy and HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

iPad Thoughts Thus Far

As I type up this post I’m on a Metrolink train that’s headed to Los Angeles from Orange County. I’m typing with my iPad propped up on my lap. Aside from the rocking of the train it’s incredibly easy to type on it in landscape mode. Even in portrait mode it’s not so bad, just a little slower.

Before getting to work on this post I was able to quickly and easily check on the latest tech news on Mashable, TUAW, and Digg. I also quickly scanned through e-mail to see what may await me in the office this morning. My internet connection is being provided via my Verizon mi-fi device that’s in my laptop bag.

So far I’m incredibly impressed with this device and I do think its going to be a game changer. From being able to very nicely present video to being able to doing complex documents on the fly – all without having to wait for it to boot up. I also don’t have to wait for it to shut down as I get closer to wherever I’m going which gives me another couple of minutes to finish things up.

I’m loving my iPad to be sure and I can’t wait to write more on it as well as the apps for it. Looks like we’re just about at Union Station….HAVE A GREAT MONDAY!

Posted from my Apple iPad

Internet + TV = The Multitasking Household

As I was perusing the web I found a report from the fine folks at Nielsen Online and their findings on how consumers are simultaneously using the Internet while watching TV. According to their latest Three Screen Report…

“In the last quarter of 2009, simultaneous use of the Internet while watching TV reached three and a half hours a month, up 35% from the previous quarter. Nearly 60% of TV viewers now use the Internet once a month while also watching TV.”

So what does that matter to REALTORS®?

It means your clients and prospective clients are trying to do more than even while catching up on their favorite T.V. shows.

They’re checking in to see what their friends, family and co-workers are doing on Facebook.

They’re reading blogs to get the latest gossip, news or information.

They’re jumping onto Twitter to see what people are tweeting about.

They’re watching videos on YouTube to see what everyone is raving about…yes, while watching video on their T.V..

It means that YOU need to be on the internet and have your information in as many places as possible.

This way when they’re watching T.V, they can…

Read your blog with the latest news on the real estate market or info on the communities you serve.

See what you’re up to on Facebook and find out about some of your new listings and listings that have been sold.

Look at your Twitter page to see if you’ve shared anything interesting or entertaining.

View video home tours of your new listings on YouTube.

So you’re a REALTOR® that’s already online and you’re pushing out news and information through the various sites?

Keep up the good work, and keep working on making the content worth reading.

For those of you not online and making the most out of these social media and social networking sites, it’s time to start using them. If people question why you’re doing it, tell them about stats like the ones above.

Just wait until the iPad really hits…then I think you’ll see the stats go even higher.

If you’re interested in reading the full article, check it out HERE.

Google E-Mail Outage – A Great Example Of Good Customer Service

Around 12:30PM PST yesterday Google had a pretty significant e-mail outage that lasted a little over an hour and a half.

For a heavily utilized service like Google, this is HUGE. There’s many businesses small and large that rely on Google e-mail to be functioning in order to get business done.

So now you may be wondering…How is this a great example of good customer service?

Stay with me for a sec on this…

Later in the day Ben Treynor, VP Engineering and Site Reliability Czar for Google added  a post to the Gmail blog. In the post they not only accepted full responsibility for what happenned, but outlined what happenned (in the least techie way possible) and let people know what they were going to do to help keep it from happenning in the future.

It seems like so often tech companies and even non-tech companies skirt around issues and fail to accept responsibility for what they did or didn’t do. Then they fail to learn from their mistakes and repeat incidents, again not accepting responsibility or truly addressing what the core issues are.

Technology is hard to manage and hard to keep up. In my 16+ years in the tech field I experienced some of the same things as Google did yesterday – just on a smaller scale. Routine maintenance or procedures would lead to a major outage, even with lots of careful planning and back-up plans.

So the lesson for all businesses (both tech and non-tech) to learn from Google’s issue and Google’s response…

1. Plan, plan, plan and then plan some more – Try to avoid over analyzing things, but always remember that anything can and often will happen, especially when you’re least prepared for it.

2. Work the problem…not the people – Focus on getting things working and back to normal, don’t start pointing fingers. If it’s up to one group or person to resolve then work with them. Offer them your help, support and encouragement. When I was in I.T. my immediate supervisor Tim Johnson and our OPs group VP Rick Shumacher were great about just letting me work the problem. They stood back and let me do what I needed to do, the whole time letting me know they were there if I needed them.

3. Keep people up-to-date – You don’t need to overwhelm people with status updates, but don’t keep silent. Nothing induces more fear or uncertainty and  lack of confidence than not knowing what’s going on.

4. Let the dust settle – Once the issue has been taken care of, let things settle, let people get some sleep and then debrief on what happenned. Sometimes the situation may not even be totally over and some additional things need to be addressed before a really good debrief can happen.

5. Work the problem…not the people – No, this isn’t a mistype, or a cut and paste mistake. When you debrief focus on what happened and what can be done to prevent future issues – not who did what and how idiotic it may be.

  • Mistake Makers – If you made a mistake then admit your fault and let people know what you learned from it to avoid doing it again. Admitting to mistakes will carry far more weight than trying to hide a mistake you made. Trust me, eventually people will find out.
  • Mistake Maker Managers/Supervisors – Work with your staff to help them avoid making the same mistake. Remember what it feels like to make a mistake and the courage it takes to admit you made one. This is a learning experience for everyone.

6. Final update – Update everyone and assume group responsibility for what happened as well as what steps are being taken in the future to avoid the same issue. DO NOT LAY BLAME ON AN INDIVIDUAL – this is the biggest way to kill someone’s drive and determination to do better.

7. Put it into practice – Take everything you’ve learned and actually put it into place. Nothing looks worse than having the same issue happen again because no one bothered to implement what was learned.

For my REALTOR® readers –
All of this can apply to all of your transactions as well. In fact the one thing that’s most important is keeping your client apprised as to what’s going on. The one thing we keep hearing that is important to buyers and sellers is that they’re kept up to date, even if there is no new news.

When you have issues learn from what happened and apply them to your future transactions. Maybe you’ll need to switch vendors, maybe you’ll need to change how your staff interact with customers, maybe you’ll need to change how you do things.  Don’t let bad transactions fall by the wayside…there’s a lesson to be learned in all of them.

As far as Google goes I have even more confidence in them, their services and their products. I love how they handeled everything and while it was in inconvenience, this stuff happens. What matters is how they handled the situation and what they’re doing to avoid future problems.  GO GOOGLE!!!!