Category: blog

Austin-Healey Sprite spotted in the wild

I spotted this beauty during a recent bike ride in a local New Jersey park. The (aka Bugeye) was introduced by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) in 1958. This car is my contemporary, give or take a few years. Wow.

Austin-Healy Sprite aka Bugeye British Motor Corporation sports car 1958
Austin-Healy Sprite aka Bugeye British Motor Corporation (BMC) sports car 1958

Snapchat exposes severe Android 4.3 bug

[UPDATE December 21, 2013] Snapchat update this morning. Will this stop the Snapchat/Android phone crashes/reboots? And if it does, does that mean that this has been Snapchat’s fault all along? Come back in a few days to read my report.

[UPDATE December 23, 2013] Snapchat just crashed and rebooted my device.

[UPDATE December 24, 2013] Another Snapchat update. This doesn’t make any sense any more. Or does it… New blog post to follow. [UPDATE: Published.]

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Android 4.4.2 does NOT fix Snapchat crash bug

[UPDATE December 18, 2013] Snapchat just crashed and rebooted my Google Nexus 4 running Android KitKat 4.4.2. So it is still happening. Quite disconcerting that Google hasn’t squashed that Android bug. This is undoubtedly Google’s fault, not Snapchat’s. The OS should not crash due to a “misbehaving” app.

No word from Google on when (or how) they plan to address this issue.

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Android 4.4.2 is here

[UPDATE December 12, 2013] Last night my Google Nexus 4 updated itself to Android 4.4.2 (strangely skipping 4.4.1). Will this stop the Snapchat crashes? Come back in a few days to read my report.

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Android 4.4 KitKat does not fix Snapchat crash bug

[UPDATE December 09, 2013] After a relatively smooth (no crashes) period, last night Snapchat crashed/rebooted my device again. It is disturbing that Android — after three updates — still allows itself to be taken down by a legit application that was already on the 4.2 device and operating smoothly until 4.3 came out and the crashes began. Imagine what a rogue, malicious app could do.

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[UPDATE October 14, 2013] Android still allows itself to be taken down by Snapchat. This began on August 5, 2013 with the release of Android 4.3, and continues to this day. Just how secure is Android?

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With a message to users delivered with their most recent Android update, Snapchat goes on the record to say that the Nexus 4 device restarts, seemingly caused by Snapchat, are due to a bug in the Nexus 4 Android 4.3 operating system — an issue that is out of Snapchat’s control.

Some history: As soon as my Nexus 4 phone updated itself to Android 4.3, Snapchat started crashing. And not just crashing the app itself — it took the device down with it. This was annoying, but also troubling. Why would an OS upgrade allow a previously-installed app to crash the device? Subsequent updates to Android 4.3 (this is not a typo — Android 4.3 updated itself to Android 4.3) did not fix the problem.

I was not alone in this experience, which generated . I maintained that a robust OS shouldn’t allow an app — rogue or legit — to take down the device. I was in the minority. Many were quick to blame Snapchat, because this can’t be Google’s fault, right? Wrong!

Below is a screenshot of the Snapchat message to users, and a full transcript. I hope Google fixes the bug soon, and goes on the record to explain what had happened.

Snapchat message Nexus 4 Android 4.3 bug
Snapchat message Nexus 4 Android 4.3 bug

Dear Nexus 4 user,

Recently, you may have experienced device restarts while using Snapchat. Unfortunately, this behavior is caused by a bug in the Nexus 4 Android 4.3 operating system and is out of Snapchat’s control. If you would like to let Google know that this issue is important to you, please visit Nexus 4 support. Thank you for your patience.

My final political commentary

After a long-time professional acquaintance reacted adversely to , I realized that it’s time for me to stop commenting publicly on political affairs. It’s bad for business. But before I make my exit, let me share what I’ve learned from the recent government shutdown debacle:

  • The country is clearly not being run by the people’s elected representatives. I don’t know by whom, but .
  • The forces that run the country clearly don’t have the American people’s best interests at heart. If they have hearts, that is.

So this is my final political commentary. From now on I’ll stick to dick jokes.

On the value and meaning of LinkedIn endorsements

[UPDATE October 8, 2013] Several LinkedIn contacts share my experience that sometimes “skills” appear in one’s profile out of nowhere. That is, without the account holder adding or approving it. This shouldn’t be happening, . I am trying to get to the bottom of this. Let me know if you’ve had the same experience.

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For me LinkedIn endorsements mean little more than “Hi there, colleague! I am still here, still kicking. How about you? I see you are still doing XYZ. Great!”. Many of my online friends agree. But it looks like some of my LinkedIn contacts think that LinkedIn endorsements are much more than that — that they represent a meaningful measure of something important. Hence this post.

In my personal ranking of social media networks LinkedIn scores a 5 out of 10. In my opinion LinkedIn is a recruiter’s heaven, good for business intelligence, and little else. During my infrequent LinkedIn visits I sometimes endorse some of my contacts for skills listed in their profile. Some endorse me back, many do not (which is fine).

And every once in while a LinkedIn contact would voice displeasure with my endorsement, to my bewilderment. Unhappy that I endorsed you for a skill you “don’t ever intend to use again”? Why is it in your profile then? Upset that I endorsed you too many times? Sorry, mate!

Take it easy, dear friends. LinkedIn is not going to make or break your career. It only did so for its founder. So lighten up, and for “bikes”. Just so I know you are still kicking.

Wunderlist ist wunderbar

First off, this is not a paid post. I must say this because it will probably read like a Wunderlist advertisement, which it is not.

I have been looking for the right to-do-list application since 1994. As technology changed, . But instead of getting better, they gradually got worse and worse. In the last couple of years I have used Google Tasks (a joke) and Trello (overkill). Neither felt right.

And then I discovered .

I have been using Wunderlist for a few days, and I love it. It fits my needs perfectly. It lets me create lists and tasks within lists. It lets me sort tasks by due date (which Trello does not — the main reason I dropped it). Wunderlist is cloud-based, so I can use it to sync tasks between my desktop and my phone. Its interface is elegant. It is a pleasure to use. It is free.*

Wunderlist is made in Berlin, Germany, and has over five million users.

* Wunderlist has a paid version, which I haven’t tried. The free version meets all my needs.

The A.T. Rank of social media networks

This is the annual update of the authoritative A.T. Rank of Social Media Networks. A notable change from last year’s list is the addition of Instagram, which  three months ago and instantly fell in love with.

SERVICE

A.T. RANK

A.T. ACCT STATUS

WHAT’S GOING ON

Twitter

10

Active

Retains last year’s top spot. Still the most valuable network, by far.
Instagram

9

Active

Camera phone photographer’s playground.

8

Active

Surfaces great content from other networks.
Facebook

7

Active

Love it or hate it, but don’t ignore it. This is where everybody hangs out.
LinkedIn

5

Active

Recruiter’s heaven, good for business intelligence and little else. Endorse me for “bikes”.
Pinterest

4

Active

The fastest growing referral network.
Google+

4

Active

Nerds and squares.
Flickr

3

Dormant

The faded dame of social media.
Tumblr

3

Deleted

Acquired by Yahoo! — almost certainly the kiss of death.
MySpace

2

Deleted

Where indie bands’ dreams go to die.
Diaspora*

1

Dormant

The open-source Facebook. There ain’t nobody home.
Findery

1

Dormant

The latest venture of Flickr founder Caterina Fake. Pin notes on a map. Formerly Pinwheel. Nicely done but deserted.
foursquare

0

Deleted

Users populate 4sq’s database for free.
Klout

-1

Deleted

FreeCreditReport.com for dunces.