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The articles I post to Peak Geek are just a fraction of what I find of interest on the web…if you use Flipboard, follow my magazine by clicking this:

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And if you’re not using Flipboard…check it out!  It’s a great way to catch up on the news.  I still use Feedly for RSS feeds, but for general news, Flipboard is great…the newspaper of the next era.

Google’s tracking you

Do you own an Android smarphone?  Chances are, you opted in to passing along location data to Google when you set up the phone…but did you have any idea just how extensive that is?  Google’s doing their part to be a bit more transparent here, giving you the ability to view all the location data they have on you.  Just go to the location history browser.  I wasn’t able to use this as I’ve always been an iPhone user, but this article at TechCrunch sheds some light on the level of detail involved.

There’s no reason to believe that Apple isn’t collecting a similar dataset on its users.  There are plenty of beneficial reasons for doing so, but any user of technology needs to be aware of stuff like this..if it bothers you, you can usually opt out.

Apple’s ’12 days of gifts’

Apple is launching its ‘12 days of gifts‘ app, with giveaways starting 12/26.  Each day will feature some new app, book, music, movie, or who knows what, downloadable for free for 24 hours only.   This is the first time they’ve done this in the US, so I have no idea what level of quality we’ll see, but I’ve been impressed by the free Christmas music they’ve given away in the past, and considering there are going to be approximately one gazillion new iPad activations on 12/25, my hunch is Apple is going to through some quality stuff out there for free to get people hooked on the App store.  It’s definitely worth checking out, you can’t beat the price!

(I wish they’d just call it what it is, ’12 days of Christmas’, but oh well.)

I love iOS7!

ios7I’ve spent a day with iOS7, and I gotta say, I love it.  Fantastic upgrade and you’d be a fool to note jump on this.  I know there are plenty of functional improvements, but what strikes me most is the huge improvement in the user interface.  Partly the look, partly the swipes and button locations, but overall it’s a really solid upgrade and I’m thoroughly impressed.  Very beautiful, very usable, and makes anything else look antiquated, like Pole Position compared to Gran Turismo 5.

That said…my attempt to upgrade one of our iPads (iPad2 FWIW) failed miserably.  The upgrade process froze, so I forced a power-off.  At that point, I had to do a system restore to factory settings, then restore from my most recent backup.  Normally that’s a pain, but what made it worse is that Apple’s activation servers were not responding for a while so I was stuck waiting for those before I could restore.  So when you plan to upgrade to iOS7 (when, not IF, right?), be sure you’ve recently backed up your iPhone/iPad, and don’t embark on this journey if you’re in a rush.  At best, you’ll be fighting slow download times (it’s ~700MB)!  At worst, your device will be plugged in to your computer for a while restoring itself.  But it’s worth it, trust me!

I’m still on an iPhone5…but am equally impressed by the iPhone5C.  I design lots of plastic parts, and to see Apple accomplish what they did with the 5C is really cool.  I’ve rarely even added CNC second ops to a part, and usually got scolded by the purchasing folks for the added cost.  Apple went overboard with their second ops, but the result is really beautiful.  Check out this video to get an idea:

Sherpa – predictive AI for your iPhone

1_iphone-late@2xSherpa is a new, predictive artificial intelligence that will soon be available for iPhones (if you want to sign up, follow this link).  It’s raised a bit over $1M seed funding so far, and promises big potential by making location a key part of its services.  For example, based on your calendar and current traffic, it would know that you’ll be late for an appointment and offer options for notifying the meeting organizer, and even alternate routes to take.  Ideally you’d be able to avoid that situation, as it would notify you when you need to leave to make it to your meeting on time.  Weather forecasts will be based not only on your current location, but where it knows you’re going.  It’s a background app, pushing information to you as needed…pretty cool stuff if they can pull it off.