Smartphone vs tablet vs phablet vs ???

I recently traded in my iPad for a Nexus 9. It has made me look at the phone/tablet thing a bit differently.

When I had an Android phone and an iPad, they felt like very different devices, each with a different role. But now that my tablet and phone work the same, and seamlessly share information, they don’t seem so different anymore. For example, if I make a note on google keep, it instantly shows up on the other device.

The only real difference is the size of the screen, and that the tablet can’t make phone calls or send texts. (Actually that’s not really true as you can make free calls over WiFi using google hangouts.)

That’s why phablets are growing in popularity. For those who can put up with carrying around a larger device, they are the best of both worlds. I want a phone I can put in my pocket though, and phablets are too big for my taste.

So what we really need is a modest sized phone with a screen that appears to be several times the size of the phone. Or better still, are we that far off from a full-fledged computer the size of a smartphone with a holographic display the size of a monitor, and a virtual keyboard? Would that be a complet? – a comphone?

Cross posted to Slaw

CASL Software provisions explained – Sort of…

I’ve had some time to reflect on the CASL software provisions as interpreted by the CRTC .  As I’ve said before, the CASL software consent provisions are tortuous and unclear, and if taken literally could cause huge problems for the software industry.  The CRTC has tried to interpret them in a way that aligns with the intent of stopping people from installing malware on computers.  While the CRTC interpretation may not line up with the act, we basically have to work within it for the time being. (Lawyers advising clients would be well served to include caveats that we can’t guarantee that a court would agree with the CRTC’s interpretation.)

Software providers should review CASL with their legal counsel to determine how they fit within this labyrinth, but here is my take from a simplified high level on how it applies to the installation of software on a device I own.

I acquire the “Sliced Bread” software by Softco.  It doesn’t matter how I get it – could be an app store, download, CD, etc. I install Sliced Bread on my computer – or my phone, tablet, car, drone, thermostat, fridge, server, router, etc.

Since I’m installing it myself on my own device, CASL doesn’t apply.

BUT IF Sliced Bread does one of the things CASL deems undesirable – things like collecting personal information, changing or interfering with data / operations / control, or sending information to someone;

AND IF those things are something I’m not reasonably expecting Sliced Bread to do (this expectation issue is a huge grey area and will vary depending on what Sliced Bread does);

THEN Softco is deemed to be installing it on my device, and Softco has to obtain my express consent outside of the EULA as detailed in the act.

Cross posted to Slaw.

CRTC provides guidance on CASL software provisions

The CRTC has just published their thoughts on the interpretation of section 8 of CASL that requires consents for certain types of software installations.

They also discussed them in an IT.Can webinar.  Their interpretation is helpful, and addresses some of the uncertainty around the provisions.  But some aspects are still unclear, and some of their interpretations may not be entirely supported by the wording of the act.  That may be fine so long as the CRTC is enforcing it, but a court does not have to defer to CRTC interpretation.  I suspect there will be further clarification coming at some point given some of the questions that were being asked in the webinar.

They are interpreting it with the philosophy that the provisions are to prevent the installation of software that does perhaps undesirable things if they were unexpected by the user.  More detail to come after we digest their thoughts and how they might work in practice.  Anyone in the software business should consult their counsel to find out how section 8 might apply to them.

Cross posted to Slaw.

http://harrisonpensa.com/lawyers/david-canton

Jargon

Wired magazine has a regular column called “Jargon Watch” that defines terms relevant to existing and future tech and other issues.  They are sometimes amusing, sometimes food for thought, sometimes telling of our culture.  The November issue has some definitions I thought readers might relate to, including:

Rogeting: Using a thesaurus to disguise plagiarized writing.  Such word substitution can thwart anti-plagiarism software, but the tactic becomes comically obvious when overdone, especially with contextually inappropriate synonyms.  for instance: Rogeting “legacy networks” into “bequest mazes.”

Nearable:  A smart, connected object that can share data about itself with a smartphone or computer.  Retailers will soon be creating them using sensor-laden stickers that attach to products and report on how customers react with merchandise.

If you are curious about the definitions of “card clash” and “swarmies”, check out this November Wired page.

Cross posted to Slaw

http://harrisonpensa.com/lawyers/david-canton

CASL software provisions & CRTC interpretation

In addition to the anti spam provisions of CASL, it contains provisions against malware starting in January 2015. It imposes disclosure and consent requirements for software providers in certain situations.

Unfortunately, those provisions are perhaps more ill-advised and unclear than the anti-spam provisions.  They have the potential to make life difficult for software companies, create additional record keeping responsibilities where none are needed, and could even hurt Canadian consumers if foreign software developers simply don’t sell their products in Canada to avoid compliance.

The IT law bar is collectively scratching their heads trying to understand what the provisions mean in practice.

When I last mentioned this, the CRTC was collecting questions to help them frame their guidance on the sections.

The CRTC will reveal their interpretation thoughts in an IT.Can webinar on November 11.

Cross posted to Slaw

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

The goal of Cyber Security Awareness Month is to remind us to guard against cyber threats.  The Canadian Government getcybersafe website has resources to describe the risks and suggest ways to protect against things such as cyberbullying, scams and fraud.  It covers both personal and corporate risks for smartphones, social networking, online banking, online shopping, and more.  It also explains the differences between common threats such as pharming, phishing, and spoofing.

If you’ve ever wondered how many people actually fall for what appear to be blatant phishing attempts, take a look at this infographic that shows that even a very small percentage of phishing success translates into significant actual numbers.

 

Cross posted to Slaw

harrisonpensa.com/lawyers/david-canton 

 

Businesses relying more on mobile – is Blackberry still in the game?

A BMO poll released today shows the unsurprising result that the business world is becoming more reliant on mobile technology.

Lawyers were early adopters of Blackberries, for which email was the killer app.  At our firm there are only a handful of lawyers still using Blackberries.  The rest of us are split between iPhones and Android.  While Windows phones are technically as good as the others, they just can’t seem to gain ground.

Passport

Blackberry has not given up, though.  It just launched a new phone called the Passport.  Blackberry has moved from touting email as its killer feature to touting productivity and security as its killer features.  The main focus is clearly on the business market.

Only time will tell whether Blackberry can claw back market share.

Cross posted to Slaw.

http://harrisonpensa.com/lawyers/david-canton

Will a smartwatch be on your wrist? 10 things to ponder.

As expected, Apple introduced its Apple Watch (not iWatch) last week with great fanfare. It is actually not a single watch, but a series of watches in 2 sizes and 3 models with various types of bands.  It will be available “early 2015″.

Of course only those with iPhones can use an Apple Watch.  Those with Android phones will use one of the options running Android Wear.

The reaction to the smartwatch phenomenon has been interesting.  Traditional watch manufacturers are being dismissive about it – which  sounds a lot like how Rim (Blackberry) dismissed the iPhone when it first came out.

Things to ponder about the smartwatch market include:

  • How many people will value the advantage of not having to pull out a phone so often that they will want a smartwatch?
  • Will those who no longer wear watches because they use their phone for the time start wearing watches again?
  • Will it hurt sales of traditional watches?
  • How many traditional watch manufacturers will sell their own smartwatch versions?
  • Will people want to spend hundreds of dollars on a watch that has a far shorter life span than a traditional watch?
  • Will style trump functionality? Smartphone physical differences are subtle – but watches come in many shapes and sizes.  There has been a lot of comment on square vs round, for example.
  • Apple announced its watch with an unusually large lead time – perhaps in part to steal the thunder of the various Android Wear watches.  Will Android Wear be updated by the time the Apple Watch comes up in ways that make it more compelling?
  • The type of phone one has will dictate the Apple watch vs Android Wear watch choice.  But will some choose or change their smartphone preference based on watch choice?
  • Will the large size of a smartwatch (some might be a challenge to put tour shirt sleeve over it, for example) be a negative?
  • How much better will smartwatches become as they mature over the next few years?

I definitely want one – I’m in the Android camp – the only issue is which one, and can I hold out long enough for 2nd gen improvements?

Cross-posted to Slaw

http://harrisonpensa.com/lawyers/david-canton

CASL software provisions

CASL – the Canadian anti-spam legislation – contains provisions that require certain disclosure and permission requirements on the installation of software that does certain things, or when software does certain things.  This aspect of CASL has been overshadowed by the anti-spam provisions, in part because the software provisions are not in effect until January 15, 2015.

Unfortunately these software provisions are not easy to comprehend or apply in practice. There is a lot of uncertainty around their interpretation.  And IMHO they are going to cause far more harm than good.  There is a real danger that some software creators will simply not offer their products in Canada to avoid the pain of complying with CASL.

Yesterday CRTC and Industry Canada representatives were at a Canadian IT Law Association teleconference to collect questions from the IT bar to help them prepare FAQ’s or guides to the CASL software provisions.  That guidance should be a big help to understanding the legislation.

Unfortunately they did not give us any hints at all on their thoughts on interpretation.  They are aiming to publish their material in November or December, which, as one participant commented, is far too late.  Compliance will be more complicated than tweaking a EULA.  Software vendors will require time to create new processes and verbiage to comply.   Then back that up through an effective lost 2 weeks over the holidays, and the time it will take to digest and advise clients on what they have to do….

Cross-posted to Slaw

http://harrisonpensa.com/lawyers/david-canton

Smartwatch week

The IFA – the European equivalent of the Las Vegas Consumer Electronic Show – starts Friday – although manufacturers have already started pre-show press conferences.   A wide range of consumer electronics and appliances will be on display.  The tech press will have extensive coverage, including CNET and engadget.

Smartwatches will be prominent.  With Google’s recent launch of its Android Wear smartwatch operating system, several new smart watches are being announced.  Some are updates of existing models, and some are new.  Examples include the Asus ZenWatch and the Sony SmartWatch 3.  Not to be outdone, Apple is expected to announce the iWatch at its own event Sept 9.

I want one – but am not quite sure yet which one. I’ll be watching the specs, prices, launch dates and reviews. Will this be the year that smartwatches take off?  Is a smartwatch in your future?

smartwatch

Cross posted to Slaw

http://harrisonpensa.com/lawyers/david-canton