Chrome New Immersive UI

I was reading through a certain XDA thread when google chrome suddenly terminated, rebooting it I was hardly able to recognize the machine i was on. seems like Google just launched a new immersive version of chrome, thus turning any of the machines it run on into a seamless host to chrome. I have to say that this such a well played move by Google to break into the OS market, already I spend most of my time within chrome, the only reminder that I’m on windows usually is the system clock and (on some machine) the start menu orb. Google just replaced both with their own stuff. Also did you notice how dim the minimize/close buttons on the upper right are.

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Thats how chrome launches

 

The simple brilliance of this move is that it keeps all the google apps right in the focal center where the start menu used to be, the paradigm users were trained to use. When you want to access your programs you hit the start menu, now they own that start menu and can shape in which ever form they want. The best thing about this move is how they now insulate the customer from the underlying OS, Linux/Windows/MacOS they’d all look the same once you boot up chrome and soon enough the logical next step would be moving to a cheaper lighter easier to maintain chrome book. Even when you minimize the page you are viewing you are still left in that insulating layer of chrome.

Even when you minimize you are still in chrome

Even when you minimize you are still in chrome

Let us see how the world is going to react to this, I’m also confident Pando daily is going to publish something about the innate security/privacy issues this new update introduces so I’m not going to duel on that in this post. Tell me what you think about the new updated interface in the comments.

 

 

more from the Verge

http://www.theverge.com/2014/1/14/5309326/google-chrome-windows-update-chrome-os-interface

Uber Jeddah

Seems like Uber just landed in Jeddah, after their trial run in Riyadh. Now you can use it in Jeddah as well. Really smart move as I believe Uber perfectly fills a certain market gap they have in Jeddah. It all comes down to – as usual – finding sufficient number of drivers to cope with the market demand.

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The saudi market is quite ready for Uber due to saudis aversion towards standard Taxis, generally speaking it is socially frowned upon to be seen in a taxi. Also women aren’t allowed to drive around town hence they have to rely on undependable limousine drivers. Uber with their unmarked highend cars and well trained drivers provide a long sought after alternative. I wouldn’t be surprised if they got completely inundated in requests within the first week of their launch.

it is no surprise that they chose to use a female model in the email ad they sent, after all I recon women are going to be their main target customer.

The main challenge though is finding legal dependable drivers, due to the new Saudi visa regulations finding such drivers would be a hard nut to crack. Let us see how they are going to handle that challenge.

Overall i’m excited and definitely using them on my next visit to jeddah.

 

**here is an update**

Seems like Uber is expanding to egypt, just spotted a couple of vacancy spots on uber careers in Egypt, lets see how its going to fair in the Cairo Traffic Challenge.

Italian Engineering (Coffee Machines)

Italian engineering may not be the most popular but its definitively the most attractive. Somehow Italian engineers manage to infuse their products with this innate sexiness not present in the more efficient, cheaper american/Chinese counterparts. Recently I came across these machines built by Illy the renowned coffee packing company which resulted in this post.

It comes in 10 different colors, including 2 shades of blue

Nespresso machine can’t hold a candle against this design. The red firetruck red plating and the sexy swooping curves make it more of an art piece than a kitchen appliance. The way they are using classic toggle switches and an analog gauge gives it this retro look, even the screw heads they left exposed and even polished to highlight. In a way this is the exact opposite of Chinese made plastic mass produced appliances.

Even when they go for a more modern interface, they went for lush rubber covered buttons rather than touch sensors that are notorious to fail in the kitchen. The on/off switch looks like the ignition button in an expensive Ferrari the way it clicks for a second, lights up and then slowly returns into position can’t even be compared to what you’d find in Nespresso machines.

Nespresso top of the line machine, with the milk frothing extension

Coffee is a luxury item and should always be treated as such, mass production attempts to bring coffee to the masses, be it instant coffee or cheaply made steam pressure operated espresso machines yields a completely different product. Furthermore the process of making your own coffee using a decent machine is an integral part of the coffee e enjoyment process. When it comes to luxury items my person preferences are always Italian made.

I’m going to write another entry soon about coffee and the different types of beans and how each of them works in an espresso machine, last week I spent around 40 minutes in a coffee place exploring the various coffee beans they are selling and their various roasts.

Paid Apps Appearing in GooglePlay in Egypt

With Google checkout not supporting Egypt, there weren’t any paid apps listed in the Egyptian version of Google store. For local developers the only way for them to get paid for their android app was to set up a bank account in one of the “Google Approved” countries and even then they wont be able to sell their apps in Egypt. This was the main reason why android development never picked up in Egypt unlike iPhone apps (since Apple App store has been handling local payments for quite sometime now). Today I noticed that paid apps started popping up in Google Play, which may indicate that Google now allows Egyptian users to purchase apps, of course this completely relies on Google wallet which is the only way to pay for apps on Google Play.

Paid Apps Visible on Egyptian Google Play

Paid Apps Visible on Egyptian Google Play

So far Egyptian users were forced to rely on creative methods such as using “market enabler” which requires rooting the device, however now even on none rooted devices I can see paid apps (exactly 5 of them). I tried to purchase one of the apps and was immediately asked for my Google wallet login only to later find out that my Egyptian credit card is still NOT approved by google, which basically means that even though we can view paid apps we still can’t purchase them.

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Egypt is not listed as one of the “approved” countries

This has one of two explenations, either a technical glitch resulted in us seeing these apps – or – we can purchase apps through redeeming google play gift cards which are purchased using credit cards issued from one of the approved countries. The caveat of it all is that Egyptian android users still need to root and then use market enabler on their phones to be able to download any decent apps.

 

**update**

When I logged into the development console I spotted this, obviously starting sunday egyptian users can purchase apps, however they don’t mention anything about allowing egyptian developers to sell them.

Capturehttps://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=138294

You can only sell paid apps if you are living in one of the following countries

Facebook does it again

Facebook is notoriously known for their hacker like attitude. Ever since they started they’ve been using certain ethically questionable techniques whenever they released a new feature to their existing customers, usually opting everybody in and calling for people to opt out when if they wanted to.

Seemingly innocent, grossly misleading.

Just the other day I was going through my timeline when I spotted this banner on top asking me if I wanted to try “Better Photo Sharing”. Digging around I found out that this seemingly innocent question has a lot to it than what anybody can deduct from reading the banner. Facebook has launched a photo-stream like service, allowing their users to upload every single photo they take to Facebook – privately of course – thus turning Facebook to a cloud storage for your photos. Quite similar to apple’s photo-stream, even Dropbox has a similar feature. The main difference though is that neither Dropbox nor Apple mine your photos for data they can use to sell better ads, also they don’t have the facial recognition Facebook now has. You know how you take 10 photos only to delete 9 of them, well facebook would know have all 10 photos, and given how their user agreement is they actually OWN them.

Had I pressed the “try now” button FB would have had a full access to every single photo I have on my phone. Uploaded them all to their servers, and then started the process of auto-tagging them. Personally I’d not feel comfortable knowing that FB has all my photos (including these super awkward ones) stored on some server somewhere. Unless you are ok with that don’t press that “Try it now” button.

 

Twitter Now Offering Photo Filters (and in the process following on FBs footsteps)

Twitter has been reinventing itself over the last year. In the process of finding new possible revenue stream it’s becoming more similar to facebook than ever (which is becoming more similar to my space, but thats another story).  People initially went for Twitter since it was not as cluttered as Facebook, it was simpler with the focus on thoughts rather than media. Ages ago, twitter didn’t even support media’s as simple as photos, triggering the rise of third party tools such as pic.ly and its likes. Twitter included that feature around a year ago, and now it has partnered with aviary to provide instagram like filters to its users.

Personally I’ve always preferred twitter, Facebook bombards the user with media, photos, ads and videos. Twitter on the other hand used to offer what can be called the conscious stream of society. FB tried to include that feature with subscriptions, which didn’t work that well, now twitter is trying to become more and more like FB. Instagram was purchased by FB and so they went for aviary themselves. I believe the main turning point was FB’s IPO, twitter realized how much money FB was able to generate through that and decided to ditch its vision for that of FBs, thus alienating the core twitter user base. Also I’m sure that the powers that be in twitter realized that most of the photos on twitter are instagrammed with twitter becoming the channel rather than the application.

The question now is whether they are going to introduce twitter chat next…

http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/10/twitter-brings-aviary-powered-photo-filters-to-its-android-and-iphone-apps/