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. 🙂

My Blackberry Is Not Working!

Love those Brits!

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

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

Need to Play A Concert? There’s An App For That!

Nuff’ said. Or in this case…shown.

The Muppets – Bohemian Rhapsody

I’m a huge fan of the Muppets ever since I watched the Muppet Show on T.V. – Yes, I know I’m dating myself.

So as I perused throught the net as the day’s meal continued to digest I found this wonderful little treat courtesy of Ain’t It Cool News.

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!

Time To Reboot Cowboy Stadium…

In my daily travels I’ll run across  big electronic billboards, or small displays in the Metro station where it’s clear that Windows isn’t performing as expected. I ran across this little blip on TUAW this morning and just had to share it.

Turns out during a game this last Saturday at the brand new (and incredibly expensive) Cowboy Stadium that the displays went a little crazy and wound up displaying the following…

byu9-07-09

You can get a better look at the photo by checking out TUAW’s blog post here –
http://www.tuaw.com/2009/09/07/offensive-line-not-the-only-thing-broken-at-oklahoma-game/

or by clicking on the picture.

…and you thought Windows error messages only hapenned to you when you really needed to get a document done.

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!!!!

Travelling With Technology

I really enjoy David Pogue’s articles and if you don’t subscribe to them I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you do.

He presents tech in a way that’s easy to understand and often does so with a great sense of humor.

His latest…okay this was last Friday…I was busy finishing my classes so I didn’t have time to post this earlier…. Anyways….

His latest covers what he carries around with him in his travel bag, and this guy travels A LOT!

Some really basic stuff, but definitely worth a read and potential adds to your travel bag.

You can read his article by clicking right HERE.

Twitter Growth Continues & Facebook Still #1

Nielsen Online reports that Twitter continues to see incredible growth up 1,444% over last year and people are spending more time on the site.

You can check out the article by clicking HERE and also see how Facebook has retained its #1 social networking spot for the 7th month in a row.

So…REALTORS® finally ready to learn about how to use these tools and go where the clients are?