Android is more than a phone

Google is a self described information company, so why would they enter into the phone market? One obvious answer is that they see mobile as a major advertising platform and wanted to capture the market. While this is true, it’s not the full story.

Google’s thing is information and this has to be captured in some fashion. We all know that Google makes use of the data we submit in searches, gmail and gtalk. They have even sent around street view vehicles to take pictures of our houses and streets. But with android, they no longer have to do this. We are doing a lot for them. Through use of android, we are a mass of mobile information gathering nodes for the Google collective.

For example, Google would be very interested in the locations of the wireless hotspots you’ve run into today. You can also correct navigation data on the fly and crowd-source traffic information. You already upload pictures to picasa with geotag information. And the GPS records your coming and goings while driving, working and shopping. All valuable information to marketers and this information is silently recorded by your android handset.

In many ways this is a little creepy. Big brother and all that. But in others, this is a great experiment in digitizing the human experience. We just need to be vigilant that our rights are not trampled along the way.

Linux and Open Source Adoption

After several years running Linux and Windows side by side, it appears that the current barrier to Linux adoption at this point are the applications available. Openoffice is nice for 90% of users, but for presentation, powerpoint slaps it hard. Plus you can’t print a fripping envelope in OpenOffice to save your life. (Bug reported over 7 years ago) I use a console for games, so this isn’t an issue for me, but others are really left out in the cold. I am tied to Intuit, which I hate with a passion reserved for child molesters. So I have to run those apps in Vbox. The Linux alternatives do not provide the capabilities that Money or Quicken do, unfortunately.

The O/S is sound on the right hardware. I tried Windows 7 on my new laptop, but it was a pig. Slow, with tons of crap I had to uninstall. I don’t like reinstalling O/S’s, and I shouldn’t have to. Windows maintenance became too much for me to handle. I have multiple RAID’s, which were always dodgy under XP. Linux is a much easier install when it works. When it doesn’t, well the wheels fall off. I try to tailor my system with compatible hardware. Laptops are a different story. Right now my touchpad is better than Win 7, but not perfect. And my microphone doesn’t work for web chat.

Bottom line, linux is lacking in many ways, but for me Windows was as well. But I don’t have to deal with license keys and activation which are a pestilence on the face the earth. Plus I can put together systems from spares and they have sufficient horsepower to make them useful.

When the apps finally come around, adoption will follow.