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    New EU law could require iMessage and WhatsApp to work with other, smaller platforms - NOT using proprietary, but hopefully interoperable standards instead

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Friday, 25 March, 2022 - 13:24 · 1 minute

It's a great idea as WhatsApp, iMessage, and others are creating more and more fragmentation and walled gardens for users who have to install 10+ apps to message their friends elsewhere. But this why open (not insecure) interoperable standards exist in the first place.

Rather than letting each provider now go create their own API, this is the opportunity to ensure open standards exist for each technology so that everyone can reach others. If RCS is to be the open standard for messaging, then let iMessage and WhatsApp adopt that. That way a message from one app can reach users on iMessage, WhatsApp, Telegram and more. Each app will still have its own UI and own bells and whistles that differentiate it from the others. As users, it will mean we are no longer locked into an app that prevents us from leaving.

Such data interchange standards do already exist such as XMPP, XML, RCS, and others. XMPP for example can enable encryption between the end-points so that need not be the issue here. Maybe this will also force the bigger players to help improve these interoperability standards.

It is quite clear that Apple, Facebook, and other big players had no intention of opening up interoperability with their competitors, and we can see already how this harmed consumers on both sides. It is therefore only likely that some legislation will achieve what BigTech has failed to do on their own. Clearly the few consumers that exercised their freedoms to leave platforms, had no real effect on the those running the platforms, so market forces were also not achieving any beneficial change for users (the lock-in effect for mainstream users was just too strong).


#technology #BigTech #interoperability #messaging #EU

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    Apple Podcasts's store ratings have little to do with the app - Really consider good 3rd party podcast players instead

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Thursday, 3 February, 2022 - 11:51

That’s right: they’re reviews of the podcasts themselves, not the Apple Podcasts app. And that is an extremely convenient situation for Apple because actual reviews of the Apple Podcasts app most definitely do not trend toward five stars. In fact, they trend toward an abysmal 1.8-star score because the app has been remarkably buggy for months.

This is particular unfair to really excellent podcast players such as Pocket Casts, Player FM, and others that provide all sorts of other useful features, and actually work.

The content remains the same no matter what podcast player you use, but the features and quality of the playback experience depending on what app you choose.

Seriously, these Big Tech companies are not so good at innovating, or staying very long with a product. This is why they often throw money at something, and buy their "competitor" out. Apps such as Pocket Casts and Player FM exist only because of what they do very well.... think about that.


#technology #ios #podcasts #bigtech

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    If you use Firefox browser, you can volunteer to help cast light on Facebook's pixel tracking network and data collection practices across the web

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Monday, 10 January, 2022 - 17:54

Mozilla has teamed up with non-profit The Markup, and the pair are recruiting for the Facebook Pixel Hunt study, asking users to download Rally - Mozilla's privacy-first data-sharing platform, launched last year - and share their own browsing behaviour. Mozilla Rally is an opt-in data contribution platform that shines transparency on Big Tech.

Tools provided by Rally allow monitoring of the Facebook pixel, a piece of Javascript that tracks the actions of users in response to ads. They should allow the companies to examine what data is collected, which sites it's shared with, what data it reveals about users and how widespread Facebook’s tracking network actually is.


#technology #privacy #facebook #bigtech

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    The internet was designed around principles of openness, simplicity, and decentralization, but Big Tech's private networks and protocols threaten the 'net, say internet registries

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Thursday, 9 December, 2021 - 14:05

So says a Study on the Internet's Technical Success Factors commissioned by APNIC and LACNIC – the regional internet address registries for the Asia–Pacific and Latin America and Caribbean regions respectively – and written by consultancy Analysys Mason.

The document states that "a significant fraction of global IP traffic now consists of data that is moved between the datacentres and edge networks of large internet companies." Those companies' needs, and growing networks, lead the analysts to suggest that "over time, we could see the internet transform into a more centralised system with a few global private networks carrying most of the content and services.

Another risk is that when private networks break, many users suffer. Exhibit A: yesterday's AWS brownout, which hurt Netflix and Disney+, among others.

Yet, if you look at nearly all the alternative social networks springing up, you'll see decentralisation, openness, interoperability, chronological feeds, no Big Tech...


#technology #interoperability #BigTech #openstandards #decentralisation

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    CIOs across Europe add their VOICE to chorus of calls to regulate cloud gatekeepers - What do we want? Licences not lock-in! Where do we want to use them? Anywhere!

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Thursday, 18 November, 2021 - 13:05

Industry bodies representing thousands of CIOs and tech leaders across Europe have thrown their weight behind calls to rein in some of the iffier software licensing practices of the cloud giants.

Findings in the report included pricing for Microsoft's Office productivity suite being higher when bought for use on a cloud that wasn't Azure and the disappearance of "Bring Your Own License" deals, making it expensive to migrate on-premises software anywhere but Microsoft's cloud.

Oracle also took heat for its billing practises, which could differ between its own and third-party clouds.

As for the signatories of the letter, VOICE (from Germany) represents over 400 public-sector or corporate CIOs. France's CIGREF accounts for 150 large users, including Airbus and Thales. The Netherlands' CIO Platform represents more than 130 members, and Belgium's BELTUG accounts for over 1800 CIOs and digital tech leaders.


#technology #cloudcomputing #Europe #BigTech #Licensing

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    These Apps Are a Way Better Choice Than Apple Podcasts - We need creative 3rd party app developers to flourish

    GadgeteerZA · / gadgeteerza-tech-blog · Thursday, 14 October, 2021 - 16:56

I have long since used Pocket Casts on both my Android and iOS phones - because it syncs across my phones and the web, and does fast playback well. Google's own podcast app still does not do everything, but its one claim to fame is being able to search through all the audio discussion (as a text search).

It is rather sad when a Big Tech company comes along and uses it's cash to smother those who have been creative enough to give us such good apps. I know competition is needed, and that is also why we need these smaller apps to keep flourishing. Big Tech often just does not have their heart in areas which are not theirt core business, and ultimately we all lose out when they lose interest later on.


#technology #podcasts #bigtech #innovation