Tag: iOS App Backend

Pavlov Poke: The painful way to wean yourself off Facebook

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Are you a Facebook addict? If you’re online, it’s at least probable that you check it once a day, probably more like multiple times a day. Do you even know how much time you waste on it? Probably not, but it’s a good bet that it’s way more than you think, or would be comfortable with. Afterall, just exactly what are you doing there? Unless you’re actively talking to someone, is not the case that you’re essentially people watching, but online, on your own?

 This video is food for thought.

Anyways, two P.H.D.s at MIT tallied up how many hours a week between them they were wasting on FB a week. Turns out, a lot. How much is a lot? 50 hours. 25 hours hours a week they were wasting each. That’s a part time job right there, just on Facebook. They realise they had to do something, but what?

Well that’s where the Pavlov Poke comes in.

They hooked up a metal plate to their keyboards that, every time they went on Facebook, would give them a painful (but not dangerous) electric shock. It’s essentially aversion therapy 101, and it’s a hilarious way to go about trying to aid your productivity. We all could probably use that for our own keyboards; even if we’re not Facebook users. We’ve all got our little vices online, websites that we sink hours into because they give us our daily hits of information. Imagine how much more we could get done if we weren’t always alt-tabbing out of whatever we’re supposed to be doing in order to watch stupid videos of animals failing or to follow a link train and end up reading up about how Taylor Swift only wants to be in a relationship to get new material to write about (seriously, this happened and that is true, look it up).

A little aversion therapy may go some way to curing us of our crippling need to read that one little bit more information. Or just make our offices really funny.

Whatever the case, Kumulos is here to provide you with a non-addictive but oh-so-useful Mobile Backend as a Service to cure your app development woes. So get in touch today, if you can tear yourself away from Facebook long enough that is.

 

iPhone 5S’ fingerprint scanner; real or no?

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We talked yesterday about the iPhone 5C and how, despite being the “ugly sister” of the 5S, it’s the one getting all the attention, mainly cause it’s new. Apple have never done budget before, so we’re all curious to see what it can do with the 5C.

Having said that though, we do still have the 5s on the way, and from what scant details we’ve had, there is highly likely to be a dual LED flash there, as well as; potentially, a fingerprint scanner. Now we’ve been hearing about fingerprint scanning tech in smartphones for years. The way we interact with them it seems almost like a done deal to the imagination.

We’re always putting our fingers on the screens, we don’t need to let anyone else use our phones so we don’t need multiple user accounts and also, it’s some mission impossible style stuff. Having a biometric lock, or using biometrics in general is something that makes perfect sense in a smartphone. Google are already doing it with Face Unlock (not that it works very well, but the sentiment is there) and the Moto X has its “always listening” voice activation.

Apple have always been trend setters and disruptors. If they release a phone with fingerprint scanning tech, it will only be a matter of time before the major Android manufacturers are out in force doing the same thing. Although there is even a rumour that the 5s may even sport NFC, despite Jobs having said that he didn’t see any point in the technology (yeah, cause Apple have been doing a great job of listening to those mantras).

As always, the “s” models of the iPhone are only a stepped upgrade rather than a leap and a bound, but we hope that fingerprint scanning tech isn’t the only thing the 5s brings to the table. After a fairly stale 5 launch and nothing exciting all year, Apple needs something to knock it out of the park. So now all eyes turn to Sept. 10th. We shall see what Apple brings to the fore.

Until then, if you’re an iOS app developer that wants to grab the new 5s excitement but need a Mobile Backend, talk to us at Kumulos. We’ve got you covered with a Mobile Backend as a Service that’s powerful, customisable and there for you in whatever form you need it to be. So why not talk to us today?

The iPhone 5C, Apple’s salvation or poison?

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The rumour mill has been turning in overdrive since Apple’s announced September 10th 2013 conference date. We all speculating exactly what Cupertino are going to bring to the table after what feels like a long hiatus.

The 5C has had a lot of attention in the leaks circuit. Photos are cropping up daily, but we’ve not had an official yay or nay from Apple (not that’d we expect one, honestly).

The question, and we’ve looked at this a little bit before, is just what the 5C is going to do for Apple upon its release.

Apple is built on a premium branding, it’s whole design ethos is aesthetics, user experience and quality based. Releasing a budget handset seems like a step in the wrong direction when you take all that into account. It seems like it will cheapen the brand, add that plasticy tinge to an otherwise shiny metallic logo.

But then, the 5C isn’t for the premium crowd to begin with.

It’s for the emerging markets in India and China, and it’s for those of us who like our SIM only packages and aren’t as fussed as to whether we have the latest and greatest piece of hardware. After all, and it’s sometimes hard to believe when your daily existence is to keep yourself up to date with the cutting edge, but not everyone wants to be running a 2 month old handset that can run half the stock market on its own. A good majority of customers just want a handset that’s capable, reliable and of good quality; and the 5C will likely provide all that in spades.

It also makes business sense for Apple because their only budget offerings right now are the 4 and 4S, and they’re still being manufactured with aluminium and glass, which is expensive. The margins are low on these handsets now, and their 3.5inch form factor just doesn’t really cut it these days. The 5C will have the same size and shape as the 5 but will be much cheaper for Apple to produce.

When thought of that way, it looks like we could be onto a winner. What it may also do is inspire a whole new range of iOS app opportunities as those who couldn’t afford an iPhone before now suddenly have one in their grasp.

Whatever the case, Kumulos will be here to support your app development project from its initial conception all the way through to its launch and beyond. Our Mobile Backend as a Service is designed by app developers, for app developers. So why not contact us today?

 

Amazon.com goes down as well, not to be alarmist but…

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Almost seems like there’s a pattern here doesn’t there?

In the last week; Facebook’s ban bot went mental and kicked a whole bunch of users, Google went down for a few minutes and took 40% of the internet with it, and finally Amazon.com went down for half an hour yesterday, dragging the Canadian site down with it.

Then there’s the fact that the NYT went down, and CNN and the Washington Post were hacked.

All these big bastions of the internet seems to be dropping like flies right now, and although paranoia is what the internet does best, it seems interesting to the casually observant eye that all of these big services have suffered glitches so close together.

“It’s very unusual to see such a number of high-profile websites all suffering peak-time outages within the course of a few days of each other,” said Chris Green, principal technology analyst at the Davies Murphy Group consultancy.

“People are going to be very interested to know exactly what the reasons were for the incidents that are still unexplained because the implications are huge: we’ve seen everything from users being unable to see their email to visitors and third-party retailers who use Amazon’s marketplace being unable to buy and sell goods – all happening seemingly with no warning.”

(source: BBC news)

So what are the explanations?

Hacking groups getting uppity? China or Iranian military trying to steal some more data? Could it be Skynet flexing its online muscles for the coming apocalypse?

Let’s hope it’s not the latter.

What’s interesting is that there’s been no press release from the major companies stating the causes of these faults. We shall have to see.

Until we find out, you can rely on Kumulos’s Mobile Backend as a Service to be reliable, and not associated with any apocalyptic machines. Promise. So why not get in touch?

So, Google apparently owns 40% of the internet

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On Saturday here at Kumulos we noticed Google’s services simultaneously dropped and took roughly 40% of worldwide internet traffic with them. They were only down for a few minutes, but in that time many internet users world’s stopped altogether.

Can we all just take a step back here and think about the mind boggling implication of that statistic?

FORTY percent?

In the internet world owning more than about 10% of anything is considered a win; so Google going down for a couple of minutes hamstringing more than a third of global traffic is downright disturbing. It shows just how much Mountain View’s services have managed to integrate themselves into our lives. Think for a moment, if ALL of Google’s services went away, just how many things would you lose that you use daily? Your email, free cloud storage of files and music, search, most of what makes Android worth using and of course Youtube. And that’s just the most used parts of Google’s cake, there’s so much more there.

Should we be worried that one company has managed to so heavily embed itself in our online lives that Google is now somewhat synonymous with the internet as a general thing?

But then, that’s where the internet is going these days isn’t it?

Civilisation is starting to catch up to the lawless frontiers of old, the small towns like Google and Facebook are now sprawling mega-cities. This is the age of the “stack” where most of the internet is controlled by a few massive, vertically integrated corporations. Amazon, Google, Facebook, they all do the same thing. They want our money, they want our loyalty and they want our data and in return we get our lives entirely catered for online.

Should we be worried? Perhaps, but what’s the other option? Cobble together our services from smaller, specialised companies who don’t talk to each other and have no way of integrating? Sorry, but tabbed Google services beat that headache any day.

And speaking of headache solving services, Kumulos’ Mobile Backend as a Service is meant to do just that. It’s our own problem solver to keep your app development world ticking over smoothly, so why not talk to us today?

Unbuntu Edge crowdfunding breaks record, but that won’t save it

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At Kumulos, reported a little while ago about the Ubuntu Edge, the Linux powered smartphone that, if it gets funding, will be easily the most powerful phone on the market for a good while. The company behind it, Canonical (which also created the Ubuntu Mobile OS), started a crowdfunding effort on Indiegogo, to the somewhat absurd tune of $32 million.

There was a lot of skepticism surrounding the crowdfunding project, and understandably. $32 million is 3 times the highest crowdfunding record ever recorded by Pebble on Kickstarter of $10 million. But the makers of the edge continued undaunted and now, they have officially broken the crowdfunding record set by Pebble, pulling in over $10 million.

However, with only a week to go, it seems increasingly unlikely that anyone is going to see their Edge.

This is quite a sad case of too much hope being put in the generosity of strangers, but also an interesting study of where the potential limits of crowdfunding lie. With Pebble and now the Edge topping out at around 10 Million, is it a sign that crowdfunding can only potentially take you perhaps as far as say, $15 million before people’s interest wanes. We all only have so much money after all.

What has been said to Canonical is that they should have been seeking more traditional funding as well, VC, Angel Investors and the likes; which makes sense. These rounds of funding can push a project’s budget up immensely in a short space of time.

This isn’t to say that Canonical have had no interest, they’ve been in talks with large manufacturers and have been praised for going straight to the buyers to find the project; as they are the ones who will ultimately be the users.

With a week left to go, it will be interesting to see if Canonical can pull something out the bag that pushes their successful, but not successful enough campaign over the edge (pun intended).

For now though, we’ll just have to see if the all powerful dual boot Android/Ubuntu monster phone see the light of day. Until that time, if you’re an app developer looking for a Mobile Backend as a Service, we at Kumulos have got you covered with a powerful, customisable Mobile Backed as a Service that’s designed to let you the user, get exactly what you want from it.

So why not get in touch today?

UPDATE 2017: If you stumbled on this article and want to know a little more about the whole Ubuntu Edge episode, here’s the Wikipedia page.

The future of Apple, is it really that uncertain?

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There’s been a lot of speculation in recent days about the future of Apple. They have been quiet essentially all year, with the biggest update to any of their products being the the MacBook Pro. Not that that was any slouch, the jet-engine looking computer promising to be a mid-range server instead of a computer in terms of power.

And it’s not like they haven’t got things in the pipeline, the iPhone 5s is almost certainly coming, and the budget iPhone has been heavily rumoured to be in the works; oh and there’s probably some kind of iPad update coming too. So lots of stuff on the horizon, but it’s being met with an overwhelming “meh”.

Don’t get us wrong, there will still be people lined up around the block to get their latest iCrack; a good number of us at Kumulos will be right there with them. Apple isn’t one of the biggest companies in the world for no reason after all. The trouble is that we all want more.

And that “we” happens to include the company’s board of directors, who are getting increasingly antsy with Tim Cook, claiming that the company isn’t “innovating fast enough”. Aside from the somewhat questionable untone that innovation is somehow something you can just control the pace of rather than something that comes in unpredictable fits and starts, there’s also the issue of whether Apple is really doing badly.

The answer is no.

Of course it is, they have more money than half of the developing world. Even if they start to bleed money for a couple of years whilst they look for that next big thing; they’ll still be doing better than Microsoft or Google in terms of pure profit. And if money is the goal, then why is everyone worried?

The unlying issue here is of course, that Apple showed absurd growth during the end of the 00s and they kept doing it for years. Whereas most company growth is only in spurts, Apple kept a consistent push going all the way through from the release of the iPhone to around Jobs’ death. And now they’re still growing, but they’re not growing fast enough. Wall St wants them to be pushing that 80% growth mark still, but since when has any company ever managed to do that? The answer is not one (that we know of at least).

Like an athelete who, due to a perfect storm of events, sets a near unbeatable record during one Olympics, Apple have raised the bar so high that they themselves can’t measure up in the long run. But that doesn’t mean they’re doomed, just returning to a more sustainable pattern of growth. Sure, it’s anti-climactic and a little disappointed, but what do you want? A flash in the pan, or a slow burn that lasts as long as you want it to?

You’re doing it wrong LG

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Marketing is tricky, we all get that. In this all connected world, where we know what everyone is doing, all the time, it’s difficult to stand out from the crowd. Which is why companies are turning to more and more… interesting ways to put their product out there. So, in that vein, LG decided the best way to attract attention was to tie 100 vouchers for a free, brand new, G2 to helium balloons and then tell people when and where they were releasing them.

The results were, in a word, predictable.

The crowds turned up with BB guns, knives tied to sticks and essentially any kind of weapon that was likely to bring down a balloon; and then they surged when the balloons were released resulting in 20 people being injured. LG have offered to cover all the medical bills of those injured and that they take “full responsibility” and that other events have been called off for “safety concerns”

You can see the reasoning behind LG’s idea. Get people hyped up about getting a new smartphone, and then gamify it so people don’t get all sore (no pun intended) when they don’t get the phone. But really, someone somewhere should have probably been able to predict that telling people they can get a £600 smartphone for free if they bring down a balloon with a voucher attached would result in a situation like this.

Of course, this event puts LG front and centre in the public eye, but it doesn’t paint LG in the best light. This is the really tricky thing about good marketing, attracting attention is not that difficult, but you want it to be the right kind of attention. The Russian tampon advert was good because it had a sense of humour, was edgy and turned heads. The Marmite ad linked earlier has got a lot of negative reactions from people claiming it to be trivialising the plight of real animal abuse cases and the people who deal with them and despite 400,000 views, has had no appreciable increase in sales.

LG will go home and lick their wounds and their next publicity stunt will probably be quite safe and tame, but it will be interesting to see what the ultimate fallout from this event will be for them.

Luckily, Kumulos won’t be asking you to chase balloons through the streets; we just offer a solid Mobile Backend as a Service that promises to make your app development life that much easier.

 

Ashton Kutcher’s acceptance speech for the Teen Choice Awards is worth watching

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Now usually at Kumulos, we like to talk about the tech and mobile industry, because that’s where we work and there’s where our interests lie. But, that’s not to say that something can’t catch our attention outside of this, of course not. One good example is Ashton Kutcher’s recent Teen Choice Awards acceptance speech.

Now, it’s easy to dismiss Kutcher. He started out as a model, moved to being an actor playing a dumb teenager in the 70s before carrying on to play a series of throw away, silly and/or just cringeworthy roles. Oh and he was the presented of Punkd. And he married then divorced Demi Moore. Overall, he’s not had what you could call an inspiring career in terms of inspiring intelligent debate.

Like with all people though, there’s more to him than appears apparently. He’s spent the last few years investing in some very smart people and ideas such as Airbnb, Spotify, Fab and Uber. He’s also got a real thing for listening to the wisdom that Steve Jobs passed down, no surprise really considering Kutcher looks more and more like a butch version of Jobs as he gets older. And at the Teen Choice Awards recently, his speech wasn’t just a “Thank you for your parents money, good night.”, in it he genuinely tries to impart some wisdom on these kids.

It’s not every day you get a celebrity with some serious clout in the younger demographics talking about how “Smart is sexy” and that everything else is “crap”. It’s quite heartening really. Even though he borrows heavily from Jobs own speeches, what Kutcher is saying is no less relevant. It certainly can’t do any harm for teens to hear someone they admire telling them that they should work hard for opportunities, that they shouldn’t worry so much about being “sexy” and that they don’t have to conform to the patterns set down by those around them.

Whether it has any impact is yet to be seen really, but maybe it’ll inspire more of those who are, whether they like or not, role models, to act like them. And with that linked vid already closing in on 2  million views, we can but hope that it does some good.

This is Kumulos signing off for now.

Internet popularity and gaming the system

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In marketing these days, virility is everything. Why spend thousands on a TV advert that people are most likely to switch off of when you can make something catchy, post it online and bang, you’ve got hundreds of thousands of people talking about you and your company. Just look at Psy (remember him?); despite Gangnam Style seeming to be an accident, it really was nothing of the sort. Go back and watch the video with a neutral eye; it has all the hallmarks of an incredibly clever plan to hook people in.

It’s got a catchy tune, a singer that looks and sounds unique (to western audiences anyways), he’s doing all kinds of zany things that you instantly want to mention to your friends and, of course, there’s a dance that’s as silly as it is fun and easy to learn. Package all that up and you have one of the biggest cultural phenomenons of 2012.

There was no good reason not to share Gangnam Style, and as soon as the shares and the likes started coming, they carried on in a state of perpetual growth. This is the power of social proof at its finest.

Incidentally, Apple understand the power of social proof all too well. Their products are expensive, deliberately so. Sure, the build quality is solid, but that’s no reason to charge an extra $300 for a computer with, let’s face it, average specs for the price. It’s the same with the iPhone. Compare it to any flagship Android currently in terms of tech specs and it falls flat on its face; and yet iPhones are consistently more popular overall. Why is this? To those who value performance over pure aesthetics, it can be baffling; but it’s simple really. Apple is premium, Apple is expensive, and Apple is social proof that you only buy “the best”. It’s the same reason why people buy Sony products for their living room even though, objectively, they are no better than other big manufacturer’s efforts usually.

It’s all about proving yourself to be cool, in the end.

And if you’re trying to market online, this is something you need to tap into. Recent research by Sinan Aral has found that by posting a link that’s already supported by a few likes or other shares, he could artificially boost its popularity by up to 32%. This is supported by the idea that, generally, we want to share things that are positive and/or if they are negative, they’re funny about it. After all, no one wants to be seen as a constant downer.

So if you’re marketing your latest app, bear all this in mind, you never know what will become the latest viral sensation. And if you’re still developing your app and you need a Mobile Backend, look no further than Kumulos.