RSS

iOS, third party keyboards, and MDM

This is a bit technical, but I want to put this out into the intrawebs for further thought and comment.

I would very much like to consider getting an iPhone 6plus.  That being said, I find Swype essential when I use a cell phone.

Apple now allows users to select third party keyboards such as Swype.  Great!  Well…

Because I use my phone (and tablet) on the job, my employer has rightfully placed MobileIron, a mobile device management (MDM) piece of software on it to make sure corporate and clients secrets can’t be leaked from it.

After doing some further research (http://www.enterpriseios.com/forum/topic/Third_Party_Keyboards_Beware), it appears that there will NEVER be a way that Swype will work on MDM platforms where “Allow opening managed app documents in unmanaged apps” is unchecked.

Swype, as currently deployed, allows for “Full Access” which includes sending EVERYTHING you type on the keyboard to be forwarded to Swype in the cloud.  You can turn this off.  When you are using Swype, you must trust that when you turn this off it doesn’t send data to Swype (accidentally or on purpose).

That being said: what enterprise security administrator is going to allow Swype to see everything a user types, regardless of Swype’s promises? Even if Swype has a heart of gold, it doesn’t mean that Swype might inadvertantly store users’ keystrokes and allow some hacker access to them.

It appears that the ONLY way for Swype to work on an MDM iOS device would be:

1. A new MDM compliant version of Swype to be created that doesn’t allow “Full Access.” Further, this new version would have to also not store ANYTHING TYPED on the iOS device.
2. Each enterprise that uses MDM and manages apps add this new Swype as an allowed managed app.

There is another way around this which would include some really complex new permission code for iOS… but in the end, iOS would need to make certain third party keyboards won’t let anything out of the third party keyboard… be it on the network or even just storing data to a file (which could be harvasted later by another program). I’m sure it could be done, but I doubt Apple would want to go there.

Bummer. No Swype for me, probably no iPhone for me.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

It is a pretty sad state of affairs when…

…the only new folks following your blog are folks that, when you look at their profiles, are trying to help others (such as yourself) get followers to your blog.

I’m all for folks following my blog, but please follow it because you are interested in what I have to say, not because you are trying to get me to buy something.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 6, 2013 in blogging, spam

 

30th Annual Connecticut Invention Convention

Yesterday was the 30th Annual Invention Convention at the University of Connecticut (UConn) Storrs campus.

Approximately 690 inventors ages kindergarten through 8th grade.  320 or so adults, all engineers, scientists, educators, and business people, gave up an incredibly beautiful early May morning to judge and inspire the young inventors.  Tens of volunteers.  Overall, thousands of people.

Folks in the United States recognize UConn as a basketball powerhouse.  The women’s basketball team just won the NCAA national tournament, its 8th… which is a staggering number for any college basketball program, men or women.

What’s the relationship?

The basketball teams compete in the Gampel Pavilion on the UConn Storrs campus.  The state wide Invention Convention also takes place in the Gampel.

If you haven’t been there, it is breathtaking to see all of the posters and banners celebrating all of the successes of both teams.  Just walking in you feel the building oozing success and achievement… athletic achievement.

But on Saturday, 690 kids got a different message: ACADEMIC achievement, creativity and innovation, were just as worthy of celebration.

The Connecticut Invention Convention is made possible by the Connecticut Invention Convention non-profit in conjunction with the UConn School of Engineering and is supported by Connecticut firms.

If you’d like to learn more about this incredible program, please see the website (www.ctinventionconvention.org) and/or contact me!

 

Spam. Sigh.

I really need to get back to blogging.

That being said, I just disapproved/marked as spam two comments to this blog.  They were ghost written on behalf of two businesses, both from the same domain, bigstring.com.  Apparently this was a free email site which is now owned by some GoDaddy user that is spamming blogs.

I’d like to read the “get.rich.quick” plan that the poster read that claimed they could make money by spamming blogs on behalf of small to medium businesses.  Worst is the small to medium businesses that are actually paying for it.

And just how stupid was this person… to spam a blog, twice in the period of four hours, that has been inactive this long.  What, you don’t think I’m going to notice that you’re promoting a business under the guise of pretending to be interested in my blog, when you use the same email address and the blog postings both mention businesses?  I’m not that desperate for posters or followers.

IMHO the days of this sort of simple minded “guerrilla marketing” are long gone.

So, if you’re one of these companies that fell for this (and I’ll send an email to them to point out the waste of their hard earned dollars), I’m sorry, but you’re not using my blog to promote your business.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 2, 2013 in advertising, business model, spam

 

Customer Service NOT

We just came back from a popular bakery, soup, and sandwich chain.  In many ways, decor-wise, it is a Starbucks knockoff, with comfortable seating, WiFi, etc.  The place where you could go, anytime, be comfortable and stay awhile.

The last time I was there the service was awful.

The problem at that time was focus.  It was difficult to get anyone’s attention to take our order and when they finally came over, the two cashiers, a male and female, were busy flirting instead of serving us.

I wrote an email to the corporate management that followed up and the local restaurant manager followed up.

We’ve been back once before: the service wasn’t exceptional, but it wasn’t bad.

Tonight we were back.  The cashier who I reported for her flirting transactions took our order.  She was FABULOUS!  Engaging, polite, one couldn’t ask for more.  I was impressed: the manager turned the place around.

Then I waited for the food to be prepared and my name be called out.  The food prep person stopped working on preparing our meal (or any meal, for that matter) and spent time talking with an employee who had concluded her shift.  There was discussion of how her cell phone had run out of minutes.  The on-duty food prep person actually reached across the food serving bar to “high-five” the departing employee.

During this exchange another two workers were cleaning items… and apparently both were having difficulties, because I heard a loud “SH*T!” out of both of them.

Sigh.  Madeline was better… other members of the staff were now “broke.”

I complained to the on-duty manager, who brought over bakery items to make amends.

Here’s an observation: companies need to make a decision about customer experiences and not send two signals.  A nice warm inviting decor with awful employees is still an awful experience.

What confuses me is this: with so many people out of work, why is still difficult to find quality employees that can provide a quality customer experience?

 
1 Comment

Posted by on October 8, 2012 in customer experience, relationships, retail, users

 

Observations on Retail in the United States today

Last night and today my wife and I ran around getting errands done… shopping.  As a result, I’ve got a few observations:

  • Retail staff are obviously getting spoken to about customer relationships.
    – At Kohls last night, I had possibly the best cashier I’ve ever been served by.  At the end of the his service, he pleaded with us to complete a survey on his service to us.
    – At the Sears hardware store multiple floor personnel greeted me and offered me help.
  • The SKUs that stores carry is still abysmal.

My assessment is this:

  • At least in my case, I’m so used to store personnel that in the past just didn’t give a damn, I really don’t know how to react to these newly caring personnel.  I’ve learn to become so self-sufficient when I’m shopping, that I feel like these folks are intruding on my shopping experience.  Strange, eh?
  • Retailers next threat is a new threat from Amazon.  In the New York Times article “Amazon, Forced to Collect a Tax, Is Adding Roots,” (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/12/technology/amazon-forced-to-collect-sales-tax-aims-to-keep-its-competitive-edge.html?smid=pl-share), David Streitfeld reports “Amazon will soon be able to cut as much as a day off its two-day shipping times, said Jeff Bezos, its chief executive, in an interview. This will put the much-rumored same-day delivery — the elusive aspiration of every online merchant — potentially within reach in some metropolitan areas.”  Amazon has an almost endless lists of SKUs… almost everything I could want for less than retailers have fewer SKUs I really don’t want so much.
  • Helpful personnel are only great if you’ve stock something you can sell your customer.

It only stands to reason that the following use case would be more optimal than Amazon’s next day shipping:

  • I go online, say to http://www.BestBuy.com, find what I want, but see that it isn’t available in my local store.
  • I place an order for NEXT DAY DELIVERY (or if early enough in the day, SAME DAY DELIVERY) to be delivered to my local store.
  • When item is delivered to my local store from a district distribution center, I am notified and go and pick it up.

Lots of retailers provide delivery to local stores now, but to the best of my knowledge, none of them do it in one day.  There are lots of advantages of this to the retailer and me:

  • The retailer better competes with Amazon.
  • The retailer has an extended set of SKUs available at a short time.
  • Since I’m coming into the store to pick up the item, the retailer has an opportunity to cross-sell me something.
  • And for me, I don’t have to be home to accept the delivery: my item is securely delivered to my local retailer.

This means that retailers are going to need to tune up their distribution centers and online systems, because without that, their local presences, with limited set of SKUs, will matter less and less in the face of Amazon’s next day “retail lite” model.

 

Over-designed: the iPhone

Brian Chen of the New York Time reported on February 7, 2012 that Halliburton has dropped the Blackberry platform for iPhone. For me, this is yet another confirmation that the iPhone platform has emerged as the more mature and stable cell phone technology.

I am so disappointed with HTC’s Android 2.3 update to my Incredible cell phone.  It is now unstable, restarting regularly (complete with annoying “Droid” sound). The Sense Launcher (the operating system’s user interface) restarts every time I use the browser… and this takes many seconds, delaying me from using the phone. It has been widely reported that the Android ecosystem is fragmented. My experience is proof that there is little control over the quality of the user experience. It may be time for me to switch to an iPhone.

That being said, if I go to the iPhone, I will go with reluctance.

Steve Jobs famously said: “This is what customers pay us for – to sweat all these details so it’s easy and pleasant for them to use our computers. We’re supposed to be really good at this. That doesn’t mean we don’t listen to customers, but it’s hard for them to tell you what they want when they’ve never seen anything remotely like it.”

I don’t believe this totally applies to the iPhone.

The iPhone is, at least, remotely like a cell phone.  Since it is like a cell phone, users do have certain expectations.  One is to be reminded of missed phone calls and voice mails. This functionality has been on cell phones for at least a decade such as my Motorola StarTAC. This functionality is VERY important to the way I use my cell phone.  I have a great app on my HTC Incredible that serves this function and had a similar app on a previous Blackberry.

As of IOS 5, this feature does not exist. There have been FIVE different versions of the iPhone’s operating system, NONE OF WHICH support this feature. Moreover, for “security” reasons, Apple prevents developers from adding this functionality through an app.

Given all of this appears, the lack of these reminders appears to be conscientious design decision on Apple’s part.

If the lack of customizable audible reminders is a design choice, I argue that the iPhone is over-designed.  By over-designed I mean that the design forces a specific usage model on a user and a model that is inconsistant with the way some users function.

That being said, I figured that since Apple is filled with such great designers, starting with the late Steve Jobs, I might be wrong about this. Therefore, I set out to find a rationale for this design choice.  Here’s what I came up with:

  • The iPhone is not really a phone.

If we assume this is correct, then why does IOS 5 have a setting to remind users of missed SMS messages? (even this is a shortsighted: the reminders max out at 10 reminders spaced every two minutes, for a total of 20 minutes of reminding… so if you are away from your phone for 20 minutes, you miss it). No, this can’t be it: even the name, iPhone, has “phone” in it.

  • Since iPhone users constantly look at their phone every waking moment of the day, they will see a visual notification.

Even though I use my cell phone a lot, it isn’t the center of my existence.  I don’t check it all the time. From other comments throughout the internet on this topic, there are a lot of us who don’t look at their cell phones all the time and need audible reminders of missed calls and voicemails.

The point is this…

The way we use our cell phones is very personal.  They are now part of how we function.  The phenomenal success of the App Store is a testimony to this statement: people personalize their phone with apps, cases, docking stations… well, you get it, the whole ecosystem that has sprung up around the iPhone. They buys these things to allow the phone to support they way they function.

Originally Steve said that the apps that came with the iPhone were all everyone would ever need.  (See an article in The Guardian here about this).  Steve got this wrong… so wrong that Apple is about to celebrate 25 BILLION APPS being downloaded from the App Store.  Indeed, the iPhone and the App Store are the epitome of empowering the user to use the iPhone the way they want it.

With this as a backdrop I’ve got to ask this: why doesn’t the Apple allow iPhone users to personalize how their phones remind them of missed calls, voice mails, missed SMS, etc, like virtually every other smartphone, even the lowly Blackberry line?

The only rationale I have left is this: Steve didn’t like to be interrupted by a cell phone reminding him of something.  Steve didn’t like to be nagged.  

I’m about a third of the way through reading Isaacson’s biography of Steve.  Based on everything I’ve read, this seems to be the most plausable.

Really great designers often seem to act like gods for the masses. They bring design and order to where there was none.  I, for one, respect a lot of designers.

But there are two ways of acting like a god:

  • You can dictate and force your design vision on to the masses, or,
  • You can allow your design to empower the masses

I think Apple is schizophrenic in this sense: it plays both ways.

I challenge Apple, now that Steve is gone and not dictating anymore, to be less schizophrenic. Empower users by meeting all of their expectations, not just the ones that meet a narrow definition of what a product should be. Please, give us a complete cell phone experience, not a limited over-designed iPhone cell phone experience.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 29, 2012 in Apple, design, innovation, iPhone, smartphones, users

 

Tags: , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: