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“The Daily Rind”, a Better Way to Plan the Day — A. King in Society

“The Daily Rind”, a Better Way to Plan the Day — A. King in Society

iCloud – Conjecture, Magic, and A Fools Hope

Those who follow me on Twitter saw me drop this idea last night in my stream so this may not be new to you.

I was just thinking aloud after reading the umpteenth rumor/speculation/claim-chowder post about the alleged Apple iCloud service and the possibly to stream music from some giant locker in the sky. In almost every one of these I have read, it is speculated that one would be able to upload or store purchased music in some sort of cloud based digital locker – similar to the way Google and Amazon are doing it.

Here are some thoughts on that:

  • Why would Apple want to get into the upload game? Let those that don’t get it (see above) fail at that. All the reports I have read from those who have used the above similar services is that it sucks. Broadband speeds in America are slow, at best, on the upload stream. When was the last time Apple released anything that was slow, hard work, or difficult for, say, your Mom to understand.
  • Why would Apple have to do that? Apple likely knows what is in your iTunes library already. How? Genius. To generate those nifty Genius results in iTunes, your entire library is scanned and that data is sent to Apple where they can compare it against those of others and their purchase history.
  • Therefore, if they know what is in your library, and that info is connected to your AppleID, and that item is already on a server for sale on the iTunes store, why not just allow people to stream it? In other words, no upload needed.

This, I’m sure is bringing up a lot of questions. That’s OK. I’m here to help (which is especially easy with things I make up):

  • “But what about that live concert rip I downloaded off of Pirate Bay?”. Sorry. Can’t stream it. Has to be something for sale in the iTunes Music Store.
  • “But what about the stuff I bought from Amazon? Ripped from CD?” Buy it from Amazon? Rip it from CD? No matter. If iTunes sells it you can stream it.
  • “But most of what I listen to is not on the iTunes store!” Then, this service is not for you.

Apple does not care about the outliers here. Why should they? What’s the business case for doing so? The sales numbers tell the tale. Most regular people, the vast majority, buy their music from the iTunes Store and have for years. Such a service will be built and tailored for them.

The reason is obvious – Apple wants to make it even easier to listen to that music anywhere you have an Apple device so you buy more music. From Apple. To play on Apple products. Have an Apple product? Great! Any music you can buy in iTunes will be available to stream over WiFi or 3G to any Apple device.

Here, buy some music!

If you ever want to figure out what Apple is going to do in any case, look for these things…

1) What is the easiest to explain to anyone and everyone (Hi, Mom!)?

2) What is the simplest way to achieve the goal with the resources they already have?

3) What directly feeds the bottom line which is to sell more Apple stuff?

If your answer to any of these sounds like anything less than magic, pixie dust, and unicorn tears you are likely wrong.

Feel free to mark this as yet another piece of claim chowder and call me on it when the facts come out.

The Data Security Myth

Dropbox Lied to Users About Data Security, Complaint to FTC Alleges | Threat Level | Wired.com

Yes, it seems the whole Internet is talking about this story. That said, here is the general rule of thumb we all should be aware of as a blanket statement of security about everything:

If you want your data to be 100% secure, here’s the solution:

Don’t have data.

Anything on or attached to the Internet could be accessed no matter what. This is especially true of anything you willingly give to someone else, no matter what they promise. The only way to be safe is to locally encrypt all of your data and never, ever, attach it to the Internet. Though, that is only as safe as someone taking your machine and breaking the encryption which, well, the government could surely do if they wanted to.

The bottom line is that the moment you even have data it is at some level of risk. So the real question is how much risk are you comfortable with?

For instance, I’m reasonably sure my hosting provider could read my IMAP based email anytime they want to. I’m also reasonably sure that, someone with the right skills could hack into my local machine from afar and read whatever they wanted. Therefore, I’m not at all surprised that a company that syncs data to the cloud that I allow it to and then to other machines has the ability to read that data and hand it over to authorities if pressed to do so under threat or law.

By connecting with the Internet in the first place I’m assuming some level of risk. Having my email hosted by a 3rd party I’m assuming another. Put any of my data in the hands of anyone else (Dropbox in this instance), well, that is yet another. 

Osama Bin Laden spent years not connected to the internet and encrypting his data. This still has not stopped our government from taking his machine and finding his porn stash.

I’m trading security for personal convenience in all of these cases and it’s a risk I have, thus far, been comfortable with in the instances I have done so. A big part of that comfort comes from knowing that most of our ideas about security are stories we like to tell ourselves and each other to help us sleep comfortably at night. The Internet knows much more about us then most of our friends do from the moment the cable guy flips the switch.

So, yes, back to the Dropbox thing…

Just be reasonably careful so you can be reasonably comfortable and know that there is no such thing as secure data.

Have a nice day!

Our Natural State is Now

In a child’s mind, everything happens right now. Have you ever suggested something to a child, especially a two or three year old, with the intention of it happening at a later date. For instance, suggesting having ice cream after dinner or going to a movie later in the day? My results are always that they start heading straight for the freezer with bowl in hand or to the door ready to take in a show. It takes effort and explanation to sway them from the idea that there even is something called “later” let alone that these things are happening there.
I believe there is a reason for this. It is because later does not exist. The future is great in concept and theory but, until the future becomes now, it is as real as a fairy tale or an imaginary friend. Everything that exists in the world around us exists only in the now. Our natural state is now.
Therefore, imagine how strange and complex a subject the idea of later must be to the mind of a child. Especially one who is only just beginning to grasp the concept of time.
Perhaps we should all try to approach life and our time in it in the same way. Let the past be prologue. Let the future be fantasy. Let your thoughts and actions exist in the now.

Societal pressure to ‘keep house’

Societal pressure to ‘keep house’

Personally, unless a home is filthy or is a danger to the person who lives there or a burden to others, I don’t care about the clutter. I just hope the person is happy and the clutter doesn’t interfere with her ability to pursue the life she desires or anyone else’s. Not only do I think gender is irrelevant to this topic, I believe we need to stop cluttering up our thoughts and time by concerning ourselves with how other people have chosen to live. If someone chooses to be an unclutterer, I think that is an amazing decision. However, I don’t think everyone should or needs to be an unclutterer to pursue a remarkable life.

What we believe in.

Just like Erin, if anyone were to see my home at any given time, they would likely think that the person who curates this site was a complete charlatan. I live in an old house. There are constant remodeling projects in ious stages of completion. I have a three year old daughter who messes it up as quickly as I can pick it up (so why even bother most days). My office area is in such a state of disarray that I can barely stand working in it. Plus, I married someone who, by their own admission, is the opposite of a minimalist. A big part of my desire to have a more minimal existence with my technology and other personal items is driven by the fact that it is the one thing I can control. It is the one area I can reduce some clutter and friction without forcing others around me to conform. 

Therefore, I’m always surprised when people think I judge them and how they choose to live and work. That I care about how much they have on their desktop or think poorly of them for having a messy desk. Quite the opposite actually. I want people to live and work in whatever way is best for them. All I try to promote here is the idea that we should not just let these things “happen” to us. We should all ask questions, in this increasingly crazy world, about what we can do to make our own lives a little bit more sane.

Do your to-do lists need a makeover? | Unclutterer

Do your to-do lists need a makeover? | Unclutterer

The Conversation

The other day I was having lunch with a friend. My friend has a business. He is a realtor. This business, like most, would benefit greatly from the use of a blog and social tools to both communicate to current clients and capture new ones. The problem: He thinks he doesn’t have anything to write about. He says he gets there, logs in, but does not know what to say. He sweats over the details. The words. The subject. Everything. He tells me this, seeking my help. So, here is what I told him and the secret I’m going to give you: Every conversation you have contains something to write about. If it’s interesting enough to have a conversation about, it’s interesting enough to write about and, if it’s not, you should not waste your time talking or writing. I’m not talking about idle chit-chat here (though that could be great too). I’m talking about conversations where real value and information is exchanged. Casual or not. The post is right there, waiting for you to capture it, share it. For instance, here are the things I learned in the five minute conversation we had when I asked him, “How’s business going?”:

  1. In this market, you can get a 2,500-3,000 square foot house with three bedrooms and two baths for under $200,000. Compared to even a couple of years ago, it’s a bargain.
  2. There are plenty of great house deals like this and plenty of people to buy. The problem is the bank’s willingness to loan. The problem in getting a loan is easily solved with the right Mortgage Broker. He has a guy that has relationships with 30+ banks and can get a loan for just about anyone.
  3. Part of his job is, up front, assessing if he and the client are the right fit. He wants to be your guy. Therefore, he asks a few up front questions of perspective clients. Like, what’s their name. Many people don’t even want to give that. They are afraid that will somehow make a commitment. That he will be looking them up and cold calling them every five minutes. In fact, that is the last thing he will do. Why would any reputable business person want to start a relationship with someone who does not want to. How can he even know if he can get you the right house if you won’t even give him your name?

Guess what I told him? In five minutes he came up with his first three blog posts. Information that would be valuable to any current or perspective client. Ideas that can then be promoted with a single tweet or status update. Also, if we could come up with that in five minutes just think of what we could come up in an hour long lunch. A meeting. A phone call. Especially with a colleague or client. Do you also see something else? It’s hiding right in front of your eyes… This post. This post is from that same conversation. I start with “nothing to write about” and in five minutes of casual conversation I have something to share. It’s like magic. But it’s not. It’s called writing.