Four short links: 21 December 2010

Big Companyitis, Spyware Apps, Maturing Cloud, and Mobile Sync

  1. Cash Cow Disease — quite harsh on Google and Microsoft for “ingesting not investing” in promising startups, then disconnecting them from market signals. Like pixie dust, potential future advertising revenues can be sprinkled on any revenue-negative scheme to make it look brilliant. (via Dan Martell)
  2. Your Apps Are Watching You (Wall Street Journal) — the iPhone apps transmitted more data than the apps on phones using Google Inc.’s Android operating system [...] Both the Android and iPhone versions of Pandora, a popular music app, sent age, gender, location and phone identifiers to various ad networks. iPhone and Android versions of a game called Paper Toss—players try to throw paper wads into a trash can—each sent the phone’s ID number to at least five ad companies. Grindr, an iPhone app for meeting gay men, sent gender, location and phone ID to three ad companies. [...] Among all apps tested, the most widely shared detail was the unique ID number assigned to every phone. It is effectively a “supercookie,” [...] on iPhones, this number is the “UDID,” or Unique Device Identifier. Android IDs go by other names. These IDs are set by phone makers, carriers or makers of the operating system, and typically can’t be blocked or deleted. “The great thing about mobile is you can’t clear a UDID like you can a cookie,” says Meghan O’Holleran of Traffic Marketplace, an Internet ad network that is expanding into mobile apps. “That’s how we track everything.”
  3. On Undo’s Undue Importance (Paul Kedrosky) — The mainstream has money and risks, and so it cares immensely. It wants products and services where big failures aren’t catastrophic, and where small failures, the sorts of thing that “undo” fixes, can be rolled back. Undo matters, in other words, because its appearance almost always signals that a market has gone from fringe to mainstream, with profits set to follow. (via Tim O’Reilly on Twitter)
  4. libimobiledevice — open source library that talks the protocols to support iPhone®, iPod Touch®, iPad® and Apple TV® devices without jailbreaking or proprietary libraries.
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