Archive for September 3, 2018

Monday, September 3, 2018

Chrome OS Is Set to Expand Beyond the Education Market

Peter Bright (via Hacker News):

Most Chrome OS systems are cheap: plastic instead of metal; TN displays instead of IPS; screen resolution that felt cramped and low a decade ago; inexpensive ARM processors rather than more powerful and pricier Intel ones. In a lot of regards, Chromebooks are hitting the same price points—with the same compromises—as netbooks did in the mid-2000s. This has given Chromebooks great appeal in the K12 education market, where the low price and almost disposable nature of the devices makes them a good match for careless student users.

But these $600 machines aren’t aimed at those same students. Lenovo reps told us that its new Chromebook was developed because the company was seeing demand for Chromebooks from users with a bit more disposable income. For example, new college students that had used Chrome OS at high school and families who wanted the robustness Chrome OS offers are looking for machines that are more attractive, use better materials, and are a bit faster and more powerful. The $600 machines fit that role.

And that’s why Microsoft should be concerned. This demand shows a few things. Perhaps most significantly of all, it shows that Chrome OS’s mix of Web applications, possibly extended with Android applications, is good enough for a growing slice of home and education users. Windows still has the application advantage overall, but the relevance of these applications is diminishing as Web applications continue to improve. A browser and the Web are sufficient to handle the needs of a great many users.

Previously: Everything You Knew About Chromebooks Is Wrong, Chrome OS Is Getting Linux App Support.

The Missed Opportunity of Shelf Apps on iOS

Gabe Weatherhead:

Apps like Gladys also help with a terrible implementation of Apple’s clipboard sharing. All too often, when I copy anything to the iOS clipboard, the content is gone before I get to an app to paste it. That’s because Apple’s clipboard sharing through HandOff somehow erases it. Instead, I drag items to Gladys and then drag them to the destination app. Because I’m not relying on the Clipboard, I have more control and a better experience.

Apple never made a clipboard manager for macOS. I have no hope they will make one for iOS. But, because the AppStore is heavily focused on games and mainstream apps, utilities like Gladys have little hope of reaching sustainability. With affiliate linking removed from the AppStore, I’m guessing this will only get more dire.

Via John Gordon:

Perfect win-win fit for subscription pricing. Stop the hating on subscriptions.

Update (2018-09-04): Pata Ling:

Not sure if John Gordon read beyond Gabe Weatherhead’s headline before posting his snarky blog because the example of a discontinued shelf app in the article, Workshelf, used supscription pricing.

Google and Mastercard’s Ad Deal to Track Retail Sales

Mark Bergen and Jennifer Surane:

Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Mastercard Inc. brokered a business partnership during about four years of negotiations[…]. The alliance gave Google an unprecedented asset for measuring retail spending, part of the search giant’s strategy to fortify its primary business against onslaughts from Inc. and others.


“Before we launched this beta product last year, we built a new, double-blind encryption technology that prevents both Google and our partners from viewing our respective users’ personally identifiable information,” the company said in a statement. “We do not have access to any personal information from our partners’ credit and debit cards, nor do we share any personal information with our partners.” The company said people can opt out of ad tracking using Google’s “Web and App Activity” online console.


Since 2014, Google has flagged for advertisers when someone who clicked an ad visits a physical store, using the Location History feature in Google Maps. Still, the advertiser didn’t know if the shopper made a purchase. So Google added more.

Update (2018-09-05): Nick Heer:

It is worth noting that privacy was one of Apple’s goals for the design of Apple Pay. According to this Bloomberg report, the complete opposite was true of Google Wallet. As much as we view decisions by any companies as financially-motivated, we should remember to also think of Google’s moves — and those of credit card companies, data brokers, and so forth — as inherently creepy, invasive, and also likely not in the best interests of consumers.

Different Kinds of Archives

Dave Winer:

Most of the content of the Village Voice is probably already safely stored at But what about the domain? Don’t we also want to preserve the links into the site, for ongoing web sites that point to the Voice? Or when someone reads the preserved Scripting News, if I’m able to get that done, be able to click a link to a great Voice article and not get a 404? That’s analogous to preserving ancient Rome in addition to remembering its history. (BTW, some of it’s already gone. Here’s a post on this blog from 2004 that links to a VV article. Not found. Ouch.)

With the web we have the technical means to create a perfect archive, but without planning ahead, all we will have are the museums. And we are not doing the planning. The web, as a historic medium is far less than imperfect, it’s temporary. Only present as long as someone keeps paying the bills. And there’s no way to pay the bills far in advance, so the historic record has a literally no chance of surviving, given the current state of things.