Your Apps Are Watching You

January 4, 2011

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

This a contribution from an eSociety member.

A WSJ Investigation finds that iPhone and Android apps are breaching the privacy of smartphone users


Few devices know more personal details about people than the smartphones in their pockets: phone numbers, current location, often the owner’s real name—even a unique ID number that can never be changed or turned off.

Click here to read the full article:

Click here to view all the different apps and how they pull data:

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Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

Answering the question, “How to Choose a Programming Language” has more to do with what you are trying to accomplish than one language being better than another. Of course if you are a programmer, then go for a heavily supported language so you can find libraries and code bases to make your life easier.

To get started you need to first determine what is your application:

Websites: If you need to get a basic website created, and you don’t have any experience, then you probably don’t need to be worried about a programming language, or even HTML. Instead you should get a basic CMS, content management system, that will allow you to create pages, a quick sitemap and links to your site. I’d recommend WordPress as a quick way to get started.  It is an easy to use framework that can quickly create basic sites, yet at the same time scale for much larger organizations. WordPress has been developed in PHP. If you are getting a programmer make sure they have a background in CSS3 and HTML5, as these are some of the top protocols for juicing up your website.

    On a Shoestring Budget: If you don’t have a lot of money, and don’t expect to have a lot any time soon, then you need to pick a programming language that is widely used and adopted so you can get access lower rates per hour for programmers that will meet your needs and solutions. But a word of caution, just because you’re on a shoe string budget, doesn’t mean that you need to be sacrificing proper planning for your application. Cobbling an application together without proper planning can cost a lot more money to get fixed than getting it done properly the first time.

    Content Management Systems: If you have a lot of pictures, videos, articles, and new pages that are going to continuously be produced then you should consider using a robust CMS. Although WordPress is a great choice, it might not be as fully integrated as you might like. If you are looking for a complete list of CMS’ see below. There are many others out there, and the list that I provided will continue to evolve, but what you really want to search for is how active the community is in order for you to get the most number of add-ons modules.

    Online Applications: If you have a very specific application you are developing, I first suggest finding a framework out there that has already been created and then building up from there leveraging best practices and design patterns to help you build a more robust application.  Of course, each framework has its advantages and disadvantages, which will be dependent on your application. You could also be like the guys from 37Signals, who created Ruby on Rails, their own framework on the Ruby Language.

    What is the difference between a language and a framework? A framework is developed on a language, but depending on the framework you can code in possibly various languages to get the framework to work, such as .NET, which you can code in VB.NET, C#, or J#, then run it through the compiler to a common language infrastructure.

    Touch Screen Applications / Mobile are the new rave with iPad, iPhones, Android Phones, etc. One framework that you can check out is Sencha. It’s venture backed and works with the Google Web Toolkit (GWT). You can also check out MobGenie to find portability to different mobile phones.

    Though it is debatable, the top 10 languages in order are:

    1. Java
    2. C
    3. C++
    4. PHP
    5. Javascript
    6. Python
    7. C#
    8. Perl
    9. SQL
    10. Ruby

    The top web frameworks would be as followed. Term framework isn’t really accurate, but it’s a start.

    PHP based Frameworks

    Python Based Frameworks


    Javascript / AJAX

    Just in case you are still unsatisfied with our CMS recommendations above, check out the list below:

    This is a list combined from personal experience and a few good websites. My point is not to give you commentary on each and every one, but for you to quickly go through the list and find the one that fits you.

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    Morgan Stanley
    Image via Wikipedia

    I received an in depth Heathcare sector report produced by Morgan Stanley that is really interesting that I think you should read if you’re in the space. Things have not been looking so great as of late.

    Click Here to Read the Report

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    ASIMO uses sensors and intelligent algorithms ...
    Image via Wikipedia

    Recently, I was engaged in a spirited debate about the iPhone 4, and whether or not it was a killer phone or a disappointment. With the iPhone 4GS, the market capitalization of Apple has surpassed Microsoft taking it to the 2nd largest in the world. If you’ve watched the WWDC or announcement, I’m sure you’ve thought about the competition of Apple, Google, Facebook, and all these companies on different markets competition against each other. But is there really a debate?

    I personally don’t think so. I think you can compare all you want, but what are you are trying to achieve with the technology is what is most important.  So is anyone actually delivering what you want?

    Many people might say yes, that these companies are producing what you need and want and they are advancing the way we live our lives with every iteration and with good competition.

    I think that these products are fine, but I believe that there is development of technology that will much more dramatically shape our lives than these titans of technology. In fact, this new generation of technology is already making more decisions that are impacting your daily lives than you can imagine.

    A.I., artificial intelligence.

    There are several financial reports that state that over 2/3rds of the financial markets are now being traded and/or decisions being made by machine. Why does this make any difference to you? It may not today, but the growth of AI’s influence is undeniable and may start making its way into mainstream consumer products sooner than you think. But, will it come from Apple, Facebook, or Google? I don’t think so. The leaders in AI come from two major industries – gaming and hedge funds.

    Do you remember when Apple started to talk about the iPhone, as a computer company, and all the phone companies laughed? It can happen the same way where many people may laugh when a hedgefund or a gaming company says that they’re going to be utilizing their AI to start developing consumer applications and products. True AI will be a world changing paradigm shift that probably won’t come out of Silicon Valley. It’ll may be from Renaissance Technologies, the most successful hedge fund utilizing the most advance AI known. Many of the engineering advances in AI will be exponential as we become reliant on these pieces of technology.

    I think that most of these Sci-Fi technologies will not come from the existing players in the technology market place that we are used to seeing, but in the heavy AI focused industries such as hedgefunds and the gaming industry that utilize heavy quantitative algorithms already. Investing time, effort, and energy into learning about AI and its advances will be key to staying ahead, because when you can’t stay ahead, your AI will be able to.

    So take a pause on Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and other players of technology, look at what’s really happening in the market place.

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