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Review: Eve Motion -- HomeKit-compatible motion detector

iPhone J.D. - Sun, 06/24/2018 - 19:14

I'm a big fan of what Apple has done with HomeKit, allowing you to purchase lots of different products from different manufacturers which can all work together to make your home smarter.  Using an app on your iPhone or Apple Watch, or just by using your voice with Siri, you can easily turn lights and other devices on or off.  One of the most powerful uses of HomeKit is automation so that events can occur without you having to do anything.  For example, the lights on my front porch will automatically go on at sunset, so even if I come home after dark the front of my house isn't dark.  And those same lights automatically go off at sunrise.  Elgato recently sent me a free review unit of the Eve Motion, a HomeKit-compatible motion detector.  It is a powerful addition to any HomeKit environment, although depending upon the size and layout of your house, it does suffer from one shortcoming which I mentioned last week when I reviewed the Eve Degree; it relies on Bluetooth, not Wi-Fi.

Motion detection

The Eve Motion is a small white device.  It is not as small and sleek as the Eve Degree, so it is something that you and others will notice when it sits on a table.  It is 3.15" x 3.15" and and about 1.25" deep.  It is powered by a pair of (included) AA batteries.  It can work indoors or outdoors.

The front of the device has a small window which can detect motion.  Elgato suggests that you place the unit about 1-2 meters above the ground (about 3 to 6.5 feet).  At 6.5 feet, the Eve Motion can detect motion for up to 30 feet across a 120º field of view.  The back of the device has a hole that you can use to hang it on a nail on the wall.

You can adjust the sensitivity to low, medium or high, depending upon how much motion you want for the Eve Motion to be triggered. 

The front of the device has a small red LED light behind the white plastic.  You normally don't see it at all, but you can configure the Eve Motion so that the LED blinks every time motion is detected.  I just found that to be annoying and quickly turned it off, but it might be useful in some situations to confirm that motion is indeed being detected.

Automation when motion is detected

The most common way that you are likely to use an Eve Motion is to cause a certain action to occur when motion is detected.  For now, HomeKit automation is limited to other HomeKit devices; for example, I do not believe it is possible to send a text message to someone when motion is detected, which would allow the Eve Motion to work as a sort of a burglar detector when you are away from home.  A perfect use of the Eve Motion is to turn on a light when you enter a room.

For example, I placed the Eve Motion in my TV Room and created a rule that turns on the lights to 100% brightness when motion is detected.  That way, the lights come on automatically when anyone enters the room.  Fortunately, HomeKit is sophisticated enough that you can customize this rule based upon conditions.  For example, in a TV Room you wouldn't want the light to go up to 100% every time motion is detected, because you might have the lights turned down low as you are watching a movie and you wouldn't not want the lights to turn up just because you stretched your arms.

The solution is to add a condition to a rule.  Conditions can either be time-based (it must be after or before or between a certain time of day) or value based (other HomeKit devices must be in a certain state).  In this first example, I set the trigger to be any motion detected by the Eve Motion, and I set the condition to be that the lights in the TV room are set to off.  That way, if the lights are already on and dimmed, then this rule won't do anything.

 
What if you like to watch TV in the complete dark?  The above example won't work because the Eve Motion will sense motion in the dark and turn the lights on.  You can account for this in the settings for the Eve Motion where you can adjust the duration to last from as little as 5 seconds to as much as 15 hours.  Thus, if motion is detected and you have this set for three hours, the Eve Motion won't register motion again for another three hours.

By adjusting factors such as duration and conditions, you can create pretty sophisticated rules for automation.  For example, if motion is detected in a room, you can make the lights turn on, but then go off after no motion is detected for a specific period of time.  Or you can create a rule that says that when motion is detected, turn on a fan, but only during certain hours of the day, and only if the temperature is above a certain value.  Or you can turn off the lights in a room if no motion has been detected after a certain period of time.

Log of values

In addition to using the results from an Eve Motion to trigger other HomeKit devices, such as turning on lights, another feature of the Eve Motion is that it creates a log of whenever motion is detected.  You can view this on a graph, with bars indicating when motion was detected, or you can view a log of all values. 

For example, in the second picture below, I can see that motion was detected at 10:58 p.m., and then no additional motion was detected until the next day at 8:47 a.m.  Thus, if it useful to you to know when motion occurs place in an area — did a child leave a bedroom to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night; did a person make a late-night visit to the kitchen for a snack; is there any motion in your living room while you and your family are out of town — the Eve Motion can help to provide an answer.

 
Placement of the Eve Motion

The only real critique that I have of the Eve Motion is the same critique that I had last week when I reviewed the Eve Degree.  Because the Eve Motion uses Bluetooth 4.0 to communicate, the Eve Motion needs to be reasonably close to a HomeKit hub to work.  That hub has Wi-Fi and can communicate with other devices.  In my house, the only HomeKit hub that I have is an Apple TV.  When I originally tested the Eve Motion as a motion detector in my living room, I found that the room was too far away from my Apple TV and thus wouldn't cause lights to turn on and off.  On the other hand, when I put the Eve Motion in the same room as my Apple TV, it worked perfectly all of the time.

An Apple HomePod or an extra iPad that you are not using can also act as a HomeKit hub, so if you want to put an Eve Motion in the same room as a HomePod, that should work fine.  (I don't own a HomePod so I couldn't test this.)  Another solution that I noted last week was to use a Bluetooth range extender, such as the Eve Extend first announced by Elgato back in January 2017, but apparently Apple hasn't yet approved of the use of these extenders in HomeKit and thus the Eve Extend is not yet for sale.

In the interim, I see a post on the Elgato website saying that you can use a second Apple TV to extend range, as long as it is an Apple TV 4th generation or newer.  But those devices cost $149 new, and even a refurbished model is $129.

Depending upon the size and layout of your home, this might not be a problem at all for you.  But for me, the limitations of the range of Bluetooth 4.0 — about 200 feet with no interference, and less than that depending upon walls and other interference — prevented me from using the Eve Motion in many of the places in my house where I might want to use it.

Conclusion

If you want to use motion to trigger HomeKit events such as turning lights or other devices on or off, the Eve Motion works great and I can recommend it — but only if you will be using it someplace that is within the range of a HomeKit hub.

Click here to get Eve Motion on Amazon ($48.56)

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Getting Started with IBM zHyperLink for z/OS

IBM Redbooks Site - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 09:30
Redpaper, published: Fri, 22 Jun 2018

With the pressures to drive transaction processing 24/7 because of online banking and other business demands, IBM® zHyperLink on the IBM DS8880 is making it easy to accelerate transaction processing for the mainframe.

Categories: Technology

IBM Spectrum Archive Enterprise Edition V1.2.6 Installation and Configuration Guide

IBM Redbooks Site - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 09:30
Redbook, published: Fri, 22 Jun 2018

This IBM® Redbooks® publication helps you with the planning, installation, and configuration of the new IBM Spectrum™ Archive V1.2.6 for the IBM TS3310, IBM TS3500, IBM TS4300, and IBM TS4500 tape libraries.

Categories: Technology

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 00:28

It has been all over the news that as a part of the investigation of Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, the FBI has obtained messages that were sent and received in apps such as WhatsApp, Signal, and Telegram — apps normally thought to be fairly secure.  How is that?  Seth Hallem is the founder and CEO of Mobile Helix, a company that makes the LINK encrypted app for lawyers, and he explains in an interesting article on CSO the most likely scenarios for how the FBI has accessed those messages — and also explains how you can protect your own secure data.  And now, the news of note from the past week:

  • Attorney John Voorhees of MacStories explains how the Documents app by Readdle can transfer files using WiFi between a Mac and an iPhone or iPad.
  • Rene Ritchie of iMore wrote an interesting article explaining the original reason for the heart monitor on the Apple Watch, and how that has turned the Apple Watch into a healthcare device.
  • Andrew O'Hara of AppleInsider shows off 24 iPad-specific features in iOS 12.
  • A blog post on the TripIt website explains how the TripIt iPhone app can now give you safety scores for neighborhoods around the world.
  • Ed Baig of USA Today explains that when iOS comes out this fall, your iPhone will automatically share your location with first responders when you call 911.
  • AppleInsider shows off the new Walkie-Talkie feature that will be added to the Apple Watch this Fall.  I don't see using this feature very much when I'm in the office, but I can see this being very useful for quickly communicating with friends and family after hours and during the weekend.
  • If you have kids, then I presume that you know what Fortnite is.  Luke Dormehl of Cult of Mac reports that after three months on iOS, the company made $100 million on the Apple platform alone.  What makes this particularly amazing is that the app itself is free to play; my understanding (from my kids) is that the in-app purchases are mostly cosmetic, just ways to make your character look cooler and do things like dance around.  But unlike some other games, you can win without spending any money.  My daughter has certainly won a ton of games without paying anything, although she has to use my iPad because the hand-me-down iPhone 6s that she uses can't run the game.
  • If you are a fan of Westworld on HBO like I am, you might want to check out the free episode of Apple's Carpool Karaoke which will come out today.  According to Christian Zibreg of iDownloadBlog, it will feature Evan Rachel Wood and James Marsden — the actors who play Dolores and Teddy.  You can watch the episode in the TV app or the Apple Music app on your iPhone or iPad.
  • According to Juli Clover of MacRumors, in the future, your iPhone will be able to act as a digital key for your car.
  • And finally, if you have had a long and busy week like I have, then you deserve something silly and fun to end the week.  And what could be better than combining an iPad with magic and cute monkeys?  Take it away, Simon Pierro (video link):

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Detecting Kernel Memory Disclosure – Whitepaper

Google Project Zero - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 12:28
Posted by Mateusz Jurczyk, Project Zero
Since early 2017, we have been working on Bochspwn Reloaded – a piece of dynamic binary instrumentation built on top of the Bochs IA-32 software emulator, designed to identify memory disclosure vulnerabilities in operating system kernels. Over the course of the project, we successfully used it to discover and report over 70 previously unknown security issues in Windows, and more than 10 bugs in Linux. We discussed the general design of the tool at REcon Montreal and Black Hat USA in June and July last year, and followed up with the description of the latest implemented features and their results at INFILTRATE in April 2018 (click on the links for slides).
As we learned during this study, the problem of leaking uninitialized kernel memory to user space is not caused merely by simple programming errors. Instead, it is deeply rooted in the nature of the C programming language, and has been around since the very early days of privilege separation in operating systems. In an attempt to systematically outline the background of the bug class and the current state of the art, we wrote a comprehensive paper on this subject. It aims to provide an exhaustive guide to kernel infoleaks, their genesis, related prior work, means of detection and future avenues of research. While a significant portion of the document is dedicated to Bochspwn Reloaded, it also covers other methods of infoleak detection, non-memory data sinks and alternative applications of full-system instrumentation, including the evaluation of some of the ideas based on the developed prototypes and experiments performed as part of this work.
Without further ado, enjoy the read:
Detecting Kernel Memory Disclosure with x86 Emulation and Taint Tracking (PDF, 1.54 MB)
Categories: Security

IBM Power System AC922 Introduction and Technical Overview

IBM Redbooks Site - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 09:30
Draft Redpaper, last updated: Thu, 21 Jun 2018

This IBM® Redpaper™ publication is a comprehensive guide that covers the IBM Power System AC922 server (8335-GTH and 8335-GTX models).

Categories: Technology

Hortonworks Data Platform with IBM Spectrum Scale: Reference Guide for Building an Integrated Solution

IBM Redbooks Site - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 09:30
Draft Redpaper, last updated: Thu, 21 Jun 2018

This IBM® Redpaper™ publication provides guidance about building an enterprise-grade data lake by using IBM Spectrum™ Scale and Hortonworks Data Platform for performing in-place Hadoop or Spark-based analytics.

Categories: Technology

Discovery on a Budget: Part III

A list Apart development site - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 08:59

Sometimes we have the luxury of large budgets and deluxe research facilities, and sometimes we’ve got nothing but a research question and the determination to answer it. Throughout the “Discovery on a Budget” series we have discussed strategies for conducting discovery research with very few resources but lots of creativity. In part 1 we discussed the importance of a clearly defined problem hypothesis and started our affordable research with user interviews. Then, in part 2, we discussed competing hypotheses and “fake-door” A/B testing when you have little to no traffic. Today we’ll conclude the series by considering the pitfalls of the most tempting and seemingly affordable research method of all: surveys. We will also answer the question “when are you done with research and ready to build something?”

A quick recap on Candor Network

Throughout this series I’ve used a budget-conscious, and fictitious, startup called Candor Network as my example. Like most startups, Candor Network started simply as an idea:

I bet end-users would be willing to pay directly for a really good social networking tool. But there are lots of big unknowns behind that idea. What exactly would “really good” mean? What are the critical features? And what would be the central motivation for users to try yet another social networking tool? 

To kick off my discovery research, I created a hypothesis based on my own personal experience: that a better social network tool would be one designed with mental health in mind. But after conducting a series of interviews, I realized that people might be more interested in a social network that focused on data privacy as opposed to mental health. I captured this insight in a second, competing hypothesis. Then I launched two corresponding “fake door” landing pages for Candor Network so I could A/B test both ideas.

For the past couple of months I’ve run an A/B test between the two landing pages where half the traffic goes to version A and half to version B. In both versions there is a short, two-question survey. To start our discussion today, we will take a more in-depth look at this seemingly simple survey, and analyze the results of the A/B test.

Surveys: Proceed with caution

Surveys are probably the most used, but least useful, research tool. It is ever so tempting to say, “lets run a quick survey” when you find yourself wondering about customer desires or user behavior. Modern web-based tools have made surveys incredibly quick, cheap, and simple to run. But as anyone who has ever tried running a “quick survey” can attest, they rarely, if ever, provide the insight you are looking for.

In the words of Erika Hall, surveys are “too easy.” They are too easy to create, too easy to disseminate, and too easy to tally. This inherent ease masks the survey’s biggest flaw as a research method: it is far, far too easy to create biased, useless survey questions. And when you run a survey littered with biased, useless questions, you either (1) realize that your results are not reliable and start all over again, or (2) proceed with the analysis and make decisions based on biased results. If you aren’t careful, a survey can be a complete waste of time, or worse, lead you in the wrong direction entirely.

However, sometimes a survey is the only method at your immediate disposal. You might be targeting a user group that is difficult to reach through other convenience- or “guerilla”-style means (think of products that revolve around taboo or sensitive topics—it’s awfully hard to spring those conversations on random people you meet in a coffee shop!). Or you might work for a client that is reluctant to help locate research participants in any way beyond sending an email blast with a survey link. Whatever the case may be, there are times when a survey is the only step forward you can take. If you find yourself in that position, keep the following tips in mind.

Tip 1: Try to stick to questions about facts, not opinions

If you were building a website for ordering dog food and supplies, a question like “how many dogs do you own?” can provide key demographic information not available through standard analytics. It’s the sort of question that works great in a short survey. But if you need to ask “why did you decide to adopt a dog in the first place?” then you’re much better off with a user interview.

If you try asking any kind of “why” question in a survey, you will usually end up with a lot of “I don’t know” and otherwise blank responses. This is because people are, in general, not willing to write an essay on why they’ve made a particular choice (such as choosing to adopt a dog) when they’re in the middle of doing something (like ordering pet food). However, when people schedule time for a phone call, they are more than willing to talk about the “whys” behind their decisions. In short, people like to talk about their opinions, but are generally too lazy or busy to write about their opinions. Save the why questions for later (and see Tip 5).

Tip 2: Avoid asking about the future

People live in the present, and only dream about the future. There are a lot of things outside of our control that affect what we will buy, eat, wear, and do in the future. Also, sometimes the future selves we imagine are more aspirational than factual. For example, if you were to ask a random group of people how many times they plan to go to the gym next month, you might be (not so) surprised to see that their prediction is significantly higher than the actual number. It is much better to ask “how many times did you go to the gym this week?” as an indicator of general gym attendance than to ask about any future plans.

I asked a potentially problematic, future-looking question in the Candor Network landing page survey:

How much would you be willing to pay, per year, for Candor Network?

  • Would not pay anything
  • $1
  • $5
  • $10
  • $15
  • $20
  • $25
  • $30
  • Would pay more

In this question, I’m asking participants to think about how much money they would like to spend in the future on a product that doesn’t exist yet. This question is problematic for a number of reasons, but the main issue is that people, in general, don’t know how they really feel about pricing until the exact moment they are poised to make a purchase. Relying on this question to, say, develop my income projections for an investor pitch would be unwise to say the least. (I’ll discuss what I actually plan to do with the answers to this question in the next tip.)

Tip 3: Know how you are going to analyze responses before you launch the survey

A lot of times, people will create and send out a survey without thinking through what they are going to do with the results once they are in hand. Depending on the length and type of survey, the analysis could take a significant amount of time. Also, if you were hoping to answer some specific questions with the survey data, you’ll want to make sure you’ve thought through how you’ll arrive at those answers. I recommend that while you are drafting survey questions, you also simultaneously draft an analysis plan.

In your analysis plan, think about what you are ultimately trying to learn from each survey question. How will you know when you’ve arrived at the answer? If you are doing an A/B test like I am, what statistical analysis should you run to see if there is a significant difference between the versions? You should also think about what the numbers will look like and what kinds of graphs or tables you will need to build. Ultimately, you should try to visualize what the data will look like before you gather it, and plan accordingly.

For example, when I created the two survey questions on the Candor Network landing pages, I created a short analysis plan for each. Here is what those plans looked like:

Analysis plan for question 1: “How much would you be willing to pay per year for Candor Network?”

Each response will go into one of two buckets:

  • Bucket 1: said they would not pay any money;
  • and Bucket 2: said they might pay some money.

Everyone who answered “Would not pay anything” goes in Bucket 1. Everyone else goes in Bucket 2. I will interpret every response that falls into Bucket 2 as an indicator of general interest (and I’m not going to put any value on the specific answer selected). To see whether any difference in response between landing page A and B is statistically significant (i.e., attributable to more than just chance), I will use a chi-square test. (Side note: There are a number of different statistical tests we could use in this scenario, but I like chi-square because of its simplicity. It is a test that’s easy for non-statisticians to run and understand, and it errs on the conservative side.)

Analysis plan for question 2: “Would you like to be a beta tester or participate in future research?”

The question only has two possible responses: “yes” and “no.” I will interpret every “yes” response as an indicator of general interest in the idea. Again, a chi-square test will show if there is a significant difference between the two landing pages. 

Tip 4: Never rely on a survey by itself to make important decisions

Surveys are hard to get right, and even when they are well made, the results are often approximations of what you really want to measure. However, if you pair a survey with a series of user interviews or contextual inquiries, you will have a richer, more thorough set of data to analyze. In the social sciences, this is called triangulation. If you use multiple methods to triangulate and study the same phenomenon, you will get a richer, more complete picture. This leads me to my final tip …

Tip 5: End every survey with an opportunity to participate in future research

There have been many times in my career when I have launched surveys with only one objective in mind: to gather the contact information of potential study participants. In cases like these, the survey questions themselves are not entirely superfluous, but they are certainly secondary to the main research objective. Shortly after the survey results have been collected, I will select and email a few respondents, inviting them to participate in a user interview or usability study. If I planned on continuing Candor Network, this is absolutely what I would do.

Finally, the results

According to Google Optimize, there were a total of 402 sessions in my experiment. Of those sessions, 222 saw version A and 180 saw version B. Within the experiment, I tracked how often the “submit” button on the survey was clicked, and Google Optimize tells me “no clear leader was found” on that measure of engagement. Roughly an equal number of people from each condition submitted the survey.

Here is a breakdown of the number of sessions and survey responses each condition received:

Version A:
better mental health Version B:
privacy and data security Total Sessions 222 180 402 Survey responses 76 68 144

When we look at the actual answers to the survey questions, we start to get some more interesting results.

Bucket 1:
would not pay any money Bucket 2:
might pay some money Version A 25 51 Version B 14 54

Breakdown of question 1, “How much would you be willing to pay per year for Candor Network?”

Plugging these figures into my favorite chi-square calculator, I get the following values: chi-square = 2.7523, p = 0.097113. In general, bigger chi-square values indicate greater differences between the groups. And the p-value is less than 0.1, which suggests that the result is marginally significant (i.e., the result is probably not due to random chance). This gives me a modest indicator that respondents in group B, who saw the “data secure” version of the landing page, are more likely to fall into the “might pay some money” bucket.

And when we look at the breakdown and chi-square calculation of question two, we see similar results.

No Yes Version A 24 52 Version B 13 55

Breakdown of question 2, “Would you like to be a beta tester or participate in future research?”

The chi-square = 2.9189, and p = .087545. Again, I have a modest indicator that respondents in group B are more likely to say yes to participating in future research. (If you’d like to learn more about how to run and interpret chi-square tests, the Interaction Design department at the University of California, San Diego has provided a great video tutorial.)

How do we know when it’s time to move on?

I wish I could provide you with a formula for calculating the exact moment when the research is done and it’s time to move on to prototyping, but I’m afraid no such formula exists. There is no definitive way to determine how much research is enough. Every round of research teaches you something new, but you are always left with more questions. As Albert Einstein said, “the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know.”

However, with experience you come to recognize certain hallmarks that indicate it’s time to move on. Erika Hall, in her book Just Enough Research, described it as feeling a “satisfying click.” She says, “[O]ne way to know you’ve done enough research is to listen for the satisfying click. That’s the sound of the pieces falling into place when you have a clear idea of the problem you need to solve and enough information to start working on a solution.” (Just Enough Research, p. 36.)

When it comes to building a product on a budget, you may also want to consider that research is relatively cheap compared to the cost of design and development. The rule I tend to follow is this: continue conducting discovery research until the questions you really want answered can only be answered by putting something in front of users. That is, wait to build something until you absolutely have to. Learn as much as you can about your target market and user base until the only way forward is to put some sketches on paper.

With Candor Network, I’m not quite there yet. There is still plenty of runway to cover in the research cycle. Now that I know that data privacy is a more motivating reason to consider paying for a social networking tool, I need to work out what other features will be essential. In the next round of research, I could do think-aloud studies and ask participants to give me a tour of their Facebook and other social media pages. Or I could continue with more interviews, but recruit from a different source and reach a broader demographic of participants. Regardless of the exact path I choose to take from here, the key is to focus on what the requirements would be for the ultra-private, data-secure social network that users would value.

A few parting words

Discovery research helps us learn more about the users we want to help and the problems they need a solution for. It doesn’t have to be expensive either, and it definitely isn’t something that should be omitted from the development cycle. By starting with a problem hypothesis and conducting multiple rounds of research, we can ultimately save time and money. We can move from gut instincts and personal experiences to a tested hypothesis. And when it comes time to launch, we’ll know it’s from a solid foundation of research-backed understanding.

Recommended reading

If you’re testing the waters on a new idea and want to jump into some (budget-friendly) discovery research, here are some additional resources to help you along:

Books

Articles

Categories: Technology

Review: Eve Degree -- HomeKit-compatible weather station

iPhone J.D. - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 01:25

There are lots of iPhone apps which will tell you the weather in your general area, but if you want to know the precise weather at a specific location — such as at your house — you need a thermometer.  According to the fine contributors to Wikipedia, the thermometer can be traced back to Hero of Alexandria, a mathematician and engineer who lived from 10 AD to 70 AD.  But Apple's HomeKit technology wasn't around back then, so the folks in Alexandria couldn't use an iPhone to check the weather at their house.  Back in 2015, I reviewed a device made by Elgato called the Eve Weather.  The Eve Degree is the second generation of that device; you can still find the Eve Weather on Amazon, but Elgato no longer has it listed as a product on its website.  Elgato sent me a free review unit of the Eve Degree, and I've been trying it out for the last few weeks.

The hardware

The Eve Degree is a small 2.1" x 2.1" square which is 0.6" deep, a much smaller size than the Eve Weather, which was 3.1" x 3.1" and 1.3" deep.  The body is made of anodized aluminum, and the front is acrylic glass.  It looks very nice.

Unlike the Eve Weather which just had a white plastic front, the front of the Eve Degree has an LCD display which displays the current weather.  This is a great addition, making it simple to see the current temperature without even having to use your iPhone.  The default setting of the Eve Degree is Celsius, but using the Eve app on an iPhone you can easily change that to Fahrenheit. 

The back of the device has a hole, so you can hang the Eve Degree on a nail to mount it on a wall.  There is also a reset button on the back, and a cover for a replaceable CR2450 battery.  Elgato says that the battery should last about a year, and replacement batteries cost around $1 to $3 on Amazon, depending upon the brand and the quantity that you buy.  (The Eve Weather used AA batteries which only lasted about three months.)

Etched into the bottom of the Eve Degree is a unique HomeKit code that you use when you first set up the device with your iPhone.  It's nice that it is down there so that if you ever need to perform a setup again and you no longer have the box or instructions, you will still have that code.  And having it etched looks much nicer than just putting a sticker down there.

The measurements

The Eve Degree measures three things: First, it monitors the weather, accurate to within 0.54° Fahrenheit.  Second, it monitors the humidity, accurate to within 3%.  Finally, it monitors the air pressure, accurate to within 1 mbar / 0.03 inHg.  In the following picture, you can see the data after I moved my Eve Degree from my back porch to my study so that I could take a picture of it for this review.  You can see that the humidity and temperature decreased noticeably after I brought the device inside.

The Eve Degree logs each of these measurements every 10 minutes, and can store up to two weeks of measurements on the device.  The main page on the Eve app shows you about the last 12 hours, but you can get more information for the past hour/day/week/month, and can even see each specific measurement in the log.

 

Every time you use the Eve app to check the current measurements, that log is downloaded to your iPhone.  Thus, as long as you use the Eve app to check in with the Eve Degree at least once every two weeks — or, to be safe, once a week — your iPhone will have an unlimited historical log of all of the measurements.  Using the Eve app, you can even export this data to a spreadsheet.

Where to place the Eve Degree

The Eve Degree can work either indoors or outdoors.  If you keep it outdoors, it is rated IPX3, so it is OK if it gets wet from rain, although it shouldn't go underwater or be sprayed with a jet of water.

Having said that, to get the most accurate readings, you should put it in a place that is always in the shade — which means that it probably won't be exposed to much rain either.  Official outdoor temperature measurements are always in the shade because when a thermometer is in direct sunlight, the sun rays can heat up the fluid that is used to measure the temperature, so you end up getting a reading of that fluid and not the air.  At my house, I put the Eve Degree on my back porch in a spot that was mostly shaded, but every morning there would be a short period of time when it was exposed to sunlight.  Thus, when I looked at my temperature logs on sunny days, I saw artificial peaks that lasted about 30 minutes.  For example, in the following picture, I got a recording of almost 110º the other day.  It certainly can feel pretty darn hot in New Orleans in the Summer, but not that hot.

If you don't want those false readings, move the Eve Degree to a place that will not get direct sunlight.

One other issue to think about for placement is keeping it near a HomeKit hub.  The Eve Degree uses Bluetooth 4.0 to send data.  So if your iPhone is reasonably close by, you can get data measurements.  But if your iPhone is far enough away from the Eve Degree — either on the same house or when you are away from home — the only way that you can see the current temperature is if your Eve Degree is in relatively close proximity to a HomeKit hub device.  You also need to use a hub if you want to use the Eve Degree to do automated tasks (more on that below).  If you have an Apple TV, that will work, so I place my Eve Degree on my back porch in a location that is just on the other side of the wall from where my Apple TV is located.  An iPad can also serve as a HomeKit hub, if you keep it at your house all of the time, and a HomePod can also serve as a hub.  See this page on the Apple's website for more details.

Unfortunately, if the place at your home that you have decided to keep Eve Degree to take measurements is not sufficiently close to a HomeKit hub, then you lose some of these more advanced functions.  As a workaround, you could use a Bluetooth range extender to act as a bridge between the Eve Degree and your HomeKit hub.  Except that these products don't exist yet.  Elgato announced one called the Eve Extend back in January 2017, but it still isn't available.  When someone recently asked Elgato about this on Twitter, the company said that it has "nothing to announce at this point" and Elgato seemed to point the finger at Apple:

We have nothing to announce at this point. What's more, please note that the range extender category currently isn't listed on the Apple Support page with upcoming and available Home accessories: https://t.co/PfOlZ7JNy3

— Elgato (@elgato) May 30, 2018

Siri and automation

Because the Eve Degree is a HomeKit device, you can use Siri with it.  Thus, instead of opening up the Eve app, you can just ask Siri the current temperature at your house or your backyard.

You can also set up HomeKit automations, such as turning a fan on or off depending upon the temperature, or turning on a lamp when it gets really hot outside.  With the new Shortcuts feature in iOS 12 coming this Fall, I suspect that you will be able to do even more sophisticated things with HomeKit automation.

Durability

Everything about the Eve Degree seems like a much better design than the Eve Weather.  However, one thing that I don't know about is long-term durability.  I used an Eve Weather on my back porch for about two years, and then it stopped working completely.  I haven't seen other people complaining on the Internet about similar problems with the Eve Weather, so maybe there was just a problem with my unit.  Perhaps it was exposed to too much water in a very strong rainstorm. 

Whatever it was that caused my Eve Weather to bite the dust after two years, hopefully this Eve Degree will work for even longer.

Conclusion

Only you can decide if you have an interest in measuring the precise weather at your house.  Perhaps you want the specific temperature right now.  Perhaps you want to see a historical log.  Or perhaps you want to trigger some HomeKit automation based upon the weather.  For the two years that I used an Eve Weather, it was interesting to have access to that data, and while I cannot say that it was life-changing, I liked the product.

If you do think that this sort of product is for you, the Eve Degree works very well.  I love that you can see the temperature right on the device itself, and I like the smaller size and the aluminum body.  And I like that you don't have to change the battery every few months.  It is also nice that HomeKit has improved over the years — triggers were not even possible when I first started using an Eve Weather — and with the increased automation coming in iOS 12 with Shortcuts, I expect that this will only improve.

It is a shame that you need to keep an Eve Degree reasonably close to a HomeKit hub to get the full value out of the product, but depending upon the layout of your house, this might not be a problem at all.  And perhaps even that will improve the in future if and when Elgato releases the Eve Extend.

Click here to get the Eve Degree on Amazon ($59.95).

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

IBM Power Systems H922 and H924 Introduction and Technical Overview

IBM Redbooks Site - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 09:30
Draft Redpaper, last updated: Tue, 19 Jun 2018

This IBM® Redpaper™ publication is a comprehensive guide covering the IBM Power System H924(9223-42H), and IBM Power System H922 (9223-22H) servers that support memory-intensive workloads like SAP HANA and deliver superior price/performance for mission-critical application in IBM AIX®, IBM i, and Linux operating systems.

Categories: Technology

IBM Power System L922 Introduction and Technical Overview

IBM Redbooks Site - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 09:30
Draft Redpaper, last updated: Tue, 19 Jun 2018

This IBM® Redpaper™ publication is a comprehensive guide covering the IBM Power System L922 (9008-22L) server designed from the ground up for data-intensive workloads like databases and analytics in Linux operating system.

Categories: Technology

IBM Power Systems S922, S914, and S924 Introduction and Technical Overview

IBM Redbooks Site - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 09:30
Draft Redpaper, last updated: Tue, 19 Jun 2018

This IBM® Redpaper™ publication is a comprehensive guide that covers the IBM Power System S922 (9009-22A), IBM Power System S914 (9009-41A), and IBM Power System S924 (9009-22A) servers that support IBM AIX®, IBM i, and Linux operating systems.

Categories: Technology

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 06/15/2018 - 00:40

This week, Apple announced that as a part of its ongoing efforts to make iPhones (and iPads) safer, the upcoming iOS 12 will include something called USB Restricted Mode.  This means that if you plug your iPhone in to a computer or other hardware using a USB to Lightning cable, you will not be able to transfer data to and from the iPhone unless your iPhone has been unlocked within the past hour.  This way, if a criminal steals your iPhone, even if he has a hardware hacking device that can try to crack your iPhone's password, he won't be able to do so unless he gets your iPhone to that hacking device within 60 minutes.  Many outlets reported this as Apple battling law enforcement because many law enforcement agencies use a device called the GrayKey sold by Grayshift to try to hack the password on an iPhone taken from someone accused of a crime.  For example, the New York Times headline is "Apple to Close iPhone Security Hole That Law Enforcement Uses to Crack Devices."  But the idea that only the good guys have access to these hacking devices seems incredibly optimistic, if not downright ridiculous.  As an attorney who keeps confidential attorney-client and work product information on my iPhone and iPad, I'm glad that Apple is always working to close any security loopholes, regardless of who is known to be using them today.  In the cat-and-mouse game of security, hackers will always be looking for new exploits, so Apple and others should always be working to improve security.  (Indeed, just yesterday, Joseph Cox and Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai of Motherboard reported that Grayshift already has found a way to defeat Apple's latest security improvements, although the reporters note that "it is unclear ... how much of this may be marketing bluff.")  And now, the news of note from the past week: 

  • On a recent episode of the Lawyerist podcast, Minnesota attorney Sam Glover interviews California attorney David Sparks to discuss ten ways that lawyers can get more out of their iPhones.  That interview starts just after the 10-minute mark if you want to jump directly there in the podcast.
  • In a post on his MacSparky website, David Sparks explains why he is excited about the new Shortcuts feature in the upcoming iOS 12.
  • If you want a full explanation of Shortcuts, the absolute best resource for learning about it is this article by Federico Viticci of MacStories.
  • In an article for Tom's Guide, Jason Snell explains why iOS 12 will be the biggest iPhone upgrade in years.  And as you might guess, the Shortcuts feature is one of the reasons.
  • David Rubenstein of Bloomberg interviewed Apple CEO Tim Cook.  The video is 24 minutes long, but it is sharply edited so that the pace of the interview is very fast, and this is one of the best interviews of Cook that I've seen in a while.
  • Stewart Rogers of VentureBeat discusses the ABBYY TextGrabber app, which you can use to capture text using the camera and then translate it into another language, even when you are offline.
  • If you don't have CarPlay in your car, you can instead mount an iPhone so that it can provide you with driving directions.  There are many ways to do so, and CarPlay Life discusses good options for mounting to the air vent in your car.
  • I posted a review of Anker's USB-to-Lightning cables earlier this year, and I still really like them.   They are very durable, and they are much less expensive than the cables sold by Apple.  As pointed out by Alexandria Haslam of PCWorld, you can now get a two-pack of red three-foot cables for only $15.99 on Amazon, which is a $4 discount and a very good deal.  As you can see from my review, the red color is very striking and makes your cables really stand out.  It is always nice to have some extra Lightning cables, so consider grabbing these before the sale ends.
  • Ben Lovejoy of 9to5Mac notes that Verizon now has three different plans called "Unlimited," all of which have limits.  But he also notes that other carriers do something similar.
  • The iPhone 3Gs, which I reviewed in 2009 and which Apple stopped selling in 2012, is on sale again.  Sort of.  Roger Fingas of AppleInsider reports that a South Korean company obtained a whole bunch of them from a warehouse, still shrink wrapped, and will soon be selling them for ₩44,000 — about $40.
  • In an article and associated video, David Pogue of Yahoo shows off the new stereo feature of the Apple HomePod.
  • If you are interested in meditation, Alex Arpaia of Wirecutter discusses the best meditation apps.
  • Do you hate losing your glasses?  Janet Cloninger of The Gadgeteer reviews the Orbit, a tiny tracker that attaches to the arms of your glasses, so that you can use an iPhone app to locate your glasses.
  • In its continuing series on essential iOS apps, Ian Fuchs of Cult of Mac discusses GoodNotes, a great app for taking handwritten notes.  I myself use that app almost every day at work.
  • And finally, if you have ever had the urge to throw your iPhone X off of a 1,000-foot high bridge, I implore you not to do so.  But if you cannot resist seeing what this would look like, I encourage you to watch this video instead.  If you want to skip to the "good" stuff, the iPhone is dropped at around the 45-second mark, and the video taken from the iPhone X while it is falling is shown at around the 2:35 mark.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Security on IBM z/VSE

IBM Redbooks Site - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 09:30
Redbook, published: Thu, 14 Jun 2018

One of a firm’s most valuable resources is its data: client lists, accounting data, employee information, and so on.

Categories: Technology

The Problem with Patterns

A list Apart development site - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 09:01

It started off as an honest problem with a brilliant solution. As the ways we use the web continue to grow and evolve, we, as its well-intentioned makers and stewards, needed something better than making simple collections of pages over and over again.

Design patterns, component libraries, or even style guides have become the norm for organizations big and small. Having reusable chunks of UI aids consistency and usability for users, and it lends familiarity and efficiency to designers. This in turn frees up designers’ time to focus on bigger problems, like solving for their users’ needs. In theory.

The use of design patterns, regardless of their scope or complexity, should never stifle creativity or hold back design progress. In order to achieve what they promise, they should be adaptable, flexible, and scalable. A good design pattern is undeterred by context, and most importantly, is unobtrusive. Again, in theory.

Before getting further into the weeds, let’s define what is meant by the term pattern here. You’re probably wondering what the difference is between all the different combinations of the same handful of words being used in the web community.

Initially, design patterns were small pieces of a user interface, like buttons and error messages.

Buttons and links from Co-op

Design patterns go beyond the scope and function of a style guide, which deals more with documenting how something should look, feel, or work. Type scales, design principles, and writing style are usually found within the bounds of a style guide.

More recently, the scope of design patterns has expanded as businesses and organizations look to work more efficiently and consistently, especially if it involves a group or family of products and services. Collections of design patterns are then commonly used to create reusable components of a larger scope, such as account sign-up, purchase checkout, or search. This is most often known as the component library.

Tabs from BBC Global Experience Language (GEL)

The final evolution of all these is known as a design system (or a design language). This encompasses the comprehensive set of design standards, documentation, and principles. It includes the design patterns and components to achieve those standards and adhere to those principles. More often than not, a design system is still used day-to-day by designers for its design patterns or components.

The service design pattern

A significant reason why designing for the web has irrevocably changed like this is due to the fact that more and more products and services live on it. This is why service design is becoming much more widely valued and sought after in the industry.

Service patterns—unlike all of the above patterns, which focus on relatively small and compartmentalized parts of a UI—go above and beyond. They aim to incorporate an entire task or chunk of a user’s journey. For example, a credit card application can be represented by some design patterns or components, but the process of submitting an application to obtain a credit card is a service pattern.

Pattern for GOV.UK start pages

If thinking in terms of an analogy like atomic design, service patterns don’t fit any one category (atoms, molecules, organisms, etc). For example, a design pattern for a form can be described as a molecule. It does one thing and does it well. This is the beauty of a good design pattern—it can be taken without context and used effectively across a variety of situations.

Service design patterns attempt to combine the goals of both design patterns and components by creating a reusable task. In theory.

So, what’s the problem? The design process is undervalued

Most obvious misuses of patterns are easy to avoid with good documentation, but do patterns actually result in better-designed products and services?

Having a library of design components can sometimes give the impression that all the design work has been completed. Designers or developers can revert to using a library as clip art to create “off-the-shelf” solutions. Projects move quickly into development.

Although patterns do help teams hesitate less and build things in shorter amounts of time, it is how and why a group of patterns and components are stitched together that results in great design.

For example, when designing digital forms, using button and input fields patterns will improve familiarity and consistency, without a doubt. However, there is no magic formula for the order in which questions on a form should be presented or for how to word them. To best solve for a user’s needs, an understanding of their goals and constraints is essential.

Patterns can even cause harm without considering a user’s context and the bearing it may have on their decision-making process.

For example, if a user will likely be filling out a form under stress (this can be anything from using a weak connection, to holding a mobile phone with one hand, to being in a busy airport), an interface should prioritize minimizing cognitive load over the number of steps or clicks needed to complete it. This decision architecture cannot be predetermined using patterns.

Break up tasks into multiple steps to reduce cognitive load Patterns don’t start with user needs

Components and service patterns have a tendency to serve the needs of the business or organization, not the user.

Pattern Service User need Organization need Apply for something Get a fishing license Enjoy the outdoors Keep rivers clean; generate income Apply for something Apply for a work visa Work in a different country Check eligibility Create an account Online bank account Save money Security; fraud prevention Create an account Join a gym Lose weight Capture customer information Register Register to vote Make my voice heard Check eligibility Register Online shopping Find my order Security; marketing

If you are simply designing a way to apply for a work visa, having form field and button patterns is very useful. But any meaningful testing sessions with users will speak to how confident they felt in obtaining the necessary documents to work   abroad, not if they could simply locate a “submit” button.

User needs are conflated with one another

Patterns are also sometimes a result of grouping together user needs, essentially creating a set of fictional users that in reality do not exist. Users usually have one goal that they want to achieve efficiently and effectively. Assembling a group of user needs can result in a complex system trying to be everything to everyone.

For example, when creating a design pattern for registering users to a service across a large organization, the challenge can very quickly move from:

“How can I check the progress of my application?”
“Can I update or change my delivery address?”
“Can I quickly repeat or renew an application?”

to:

“How can we get all the details we need from users to allow them to register for an account?”

The individual user needs are forgotten and replaced with a combined assumed need to “register for an account” in order to “view a dashboard.” In this case, the original problem has even been adapted to suit the design pattern instead of the other way around. 

Outcomes are valued over context

Even if they claim to address user context, the success of a service pattern might still be measured through an end result, output, or outcome. Situations, reactions, and emotions are still overlooked.

Take mass transit, for example. When the desired outcome is to get from Point A to Point B, we may find that a large number of users need to get there quickly, especially if they’re headed home from work. But we cannot infer from this need that the most important goal of transportation is speed. Someone traveling alone at night or in unfamiliar surroundings may place greater importance on safety or need more guidance and reassurance from the service.

Sometimes, service patterns cannot solve complex human problems like these. More often than not, an over-reliance on outcome-focused service patterns just defeats the purpose of building any empathy during the design process.

For example, date pickers tend to follow a similar pattern across multiple sectors, including transport, leisure, and healthcare. Widely-used patterns like this are intuitive and familiar to most users.

This does not mean that the same date picker pattern can be used seamlessly in any service. If a user is trying to book an emergency doctor appointment, the same patterns seen above are suddenly much less effective. Being presented with a full calendar of options is no longer helpful because choice is no longer the most valuable aspect of the service. The user needs to quickly see the first available appointment with minimal choices or distractions.

Digital by default

Because patterns are built for reuse, they sometimes encourage us to use them without much question, particularly assuming that digital technology is the solution.

A service encompasses everything a user needs to complete their goal. By understanding the user’s entire journey, we start to uncover their motivations and can begin to think about new, potentially non-digital ways to solve their problems.

For example, the Canadian Immigration Service receives more than 5.2 million inquiries a year by email or phone from people looking for information about applications.

One of the most common reasons behind the complaints was the time it took to complete an application over the phone. Instead of just taking this data and speeding up the process with a digital form, the product team focused on understanding the service’s users and their reasons behind their reactions and behaviors.

For example, calls received were often bad-tempered, despite callers being greeted by a recorded message informing them of the length of time it could take to process an application, and advising them against verbally abusing the staff. 

The team found that users were actually more concerned with the lack of information than they were with the length of time it took to process their application. They felt confused, lost, and clueless about the immigration process. They were worried they had missed an email or letter in the mail asking for missing documentation.

In response to this, the team decided to change the call center’s greeting, setting the tone to a more positive and supportive one. Call staff also received additional training and began responding to questions even if the application had not reached its standard processing time.

The team made sure to not define the effectiveness of the design by how short new calls were. Although the handling time for each call went up by 16 percent, follow-up calls dropped by a whopping 30 percent in fewer than eight weeks, freeing up immigration agents’ time to provide better quality information to callers.

Alternatives to patterns

As the needs of every user are unique, every service is also unique. To design a successful service you need to have an in-depth understanding of its users, their motivations, their goals, and their situations. While there are numerous methodologies to achieve this, a few key ones follow:

Framing the problem

Use research or discovery phases to unearth the real issues with the existing service or process. Contextual research sessions can help create a deeper understanding of users, which helps to ensure that the root cause of a problem is being addressed, not just the symptoms.

Journey maps

Journey maps are used to create a visual representation of a service through the eyes of the user. Each step a user takes is recorded against a timeline along with a series of details including:

  • how the user interacts with the service;
  • how the service interacts with the user;
  • the medium of communication;
  • the user’s emotions;
  • and service pain points.
Service teams, not product teams

Setting up specialist pattern or product teams creates a disconnect with users. There may be common parts to user journeys, such as sign-up or on-boarding, but having specialist design teams will ultimately not help an organization meet user (and therefore business) needs. Teams should consider taking an end-to-end, service approach.

Yes No Mortgage service Registration; Application Passports service Registration; Application Tax-return service Registration; Submit Information

Assign design teams to a full service rather than discrete parts of it

Be open and inclusive

Anyone on a wider team should be able to contribute to or suggest improvements to a design system or component library. If applicable, people should also be able to prune away patterns that are unnecessary or ineffective. This enables patterns to grow and develop in the most fruitful way.

Open-sourcing pattern libraries, like the ones managed by a11yproject.com or WordPress.org, is a good way to keep structure and process in place while still allowing people to contribute. The transparent and direct review process characteristic of the open-source spirit can also help reduce friction.

Across larger organizations, this can be harder to manage, and the time commitment can contradict the intended benefits. Still, some libraries, such as the Carbon Design System, exist and are open to suggestions and feedback.

In summary

A design pattern library can range from being thorough, trying to cover all the bases, to politely broad, so as to not step on the toes of a design team. But patterns should never sacrifice user context for efficiency and consistency. They should reinforce the importance of the design process while helping an organization think more broadly about its users’ needs and its own goals. Real-world problems rarely are solved with out-of-the-box solutions. Even in service design.

Categories: Technology

[Sponsor] Westlaw -- powerful legal research on your iPad or iPhone

iPhone J.D. - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 01:21

Thank you to Thomson Reuters Westlaw for sponsoring iPhone J.D. this month.  Westlaw is incredibly useful on a computer, but it also works really well on an iPhone or iPad with the fantastic Westlaw app.  With the Westlaw app, you can extend the power and collaboration capabilities of Westlaw so that research begun in one place can be continued on your mobile device and vice versa.

There have been countless times when I was in court and I suddenly needed to pull up a case or statute.  With the Westlaw app on my iPhone or iPad, I was able to do so quickly and easily.  And using KeyCite, I could quickly see if there were cases distinguishing the jurisprudence cited by opposing counsel.

Even when I have been in my office with my computer on my desk, and thus I didn't technically need to use Westlaw on a mobile device, I have often used Westlaw on my iPad so that my computer screen can be devoted to a brief that I am writing.  Also, it is nice to be able to lean back in my chair and review cases on my iPad, and then pull back up to my desk when I'm ready to type again on my computer. The Westlaw app lets you run searches and filter the results, review prior research in folders, and add notes and highlighting.

I'm not the only one who has had good experiences with the Westlaw app.  Earlier this year, the Westlaw app was named the Best Legal App in the seventh annual Best of The National Law Journal Readers Rankings.

If you haven't yet checked out the Westlaw app for iOS, or if it has been a while since you did so, use it the next time that you perform legal research.  It's a great tool for any attorney with an iPhone or iPad.

Click here to get Westlaw (free): 

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

IBM Z Integration Guide for the Hybrid Cloud and API Economy

IBM Redbooks Site - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 09:30
Draft Redpaper, last updated: Tue, 12 Jun 2018

Today, organizations are responding to market demands and regulatory requirements faster than ever by extending their applications and data to new digital applications.

Categories: Technology

What to look forward to in watchOS 5

iPhone J.D. - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 01:21

Last week I discussed the numerous reasons that I think that lawyers will love iOS 12, due out for the iPhone and iPad this Fall.  Apple will also update the operating system for the Apple Watch this Fall, and it looks like there will be some nice additions.  Here are the features that I am most looking forward to.

Notifications

When it comes to using my Apple Watch in my law practice, one of the things that I like best is using my Apple Watch to handle my notifications.  There are many ways to control which notifications are important enough to deserve a tap on your wrist, and it is quick and easy to glance at my wrist and see the notification without significantly disrupting whatever I am working on.

In iOS 12, notifications on the iPhone can be grouped, making them easier to manage.  The same is true for watchOS 5, which should make it faster and easier to deal with multiple notifications at the same time.

watchOS 5 will also add more advanced Do Not Disturb functions.  For example, you can tell your Apple Watch not to disturb you for a specific period of time, or until you leave the current location.

Additionally, apps will be able to create watch notifications that are interactive.  For example, Yelp can send you a notification that your table is ready, and right on the watch you can tap to extend the reservation for 20 minutes because you are running late.

Siri Shortcuts

Another feature that I mentioned when discussing iOS 12 is the new Shortcuts app.  It is an expanded version of the Workflow app already available for the iPhone, but the new version will allow you to create shortcuts that can be triggered by Siri using a voice command that you choose.  watchOS 5 will support this as well, which is convenient for those times when your iPhone is not in your pocket and you want to just talk to your watch.  And even when your iPhone is close by, just saying a command to your watch might be faster and easier.

For example, I can imagine creating a command triggered by me saying a phrase like "on my way" which will send a message to my wife which says something like "I'm leaving now, and I should be home in X minutes."  All I would need to do is tell my Apple Watch "on my way," and it will figure out where I am located, how many minutes it will take me to drive home, and then it will send the appropriate text message to my wife.

The ability to automate tasks, combined with the power to trigger those tasks using a phrase that you select, will be an incredibly powerful function on both the iPhone and the Apple Watch.

And by the way, speaking of Siri, there will be a new feature whereby you don't have to first say "Hey Siri" before giving a command and instead can just raise your wrist and speak.  I'm curious how this will work in practice, and a little concerned about false positives when you lift your arm for some other reason, but if this works well it could be very useful.

Walkie-Talkie

The new Walkie-Talkie app will allow you to press a button on your Apple Watch and say a short message, and then the message will automatically play on an Apple Watch of a friend or family member.  And they can do the same thing to quickly respond.  Press to talk, let go to listen.  It's a very simple way to communicate. 

Fitness Improvements

The Apple Watch does a great job of encouraging you to be more active and monitoring your workouts.  This will get even better in watchOS 5.  A new "Competition" feature will allow you to compete with another person in closing your rings every week.  The watch will be able to track new types of workouts, including yoga and hiking, and if you forget to press the buttons to start or stop a workout, the watch will detect when you have done so.  And if you have a target pace when you run or walk, the Workouts app will help you keep track with your desired pace.

Podcasts

You can currently use an Apple Watch to listen to music even without an iPhone nearby.  This Fall, you will also be able to listen to podcasts using only the Apple Watch.  Apple's own Podcasts app will work, and it looks like it might be possible for third party apps — such as my favorite podcast app, Overcast — to do the same.

Safari on the Apple Watch?

Using a web browser on a watch seems silly, and no, Apple isn't adding a Safari app.  However, in watchOS 5, when you get an email or text message with a website link, you will be able to tap the link on the watch to see a version of the web page optimized for the watch screen.  If you don't have your iPhone with you and are just using an Apple Watch with cellular, and if you are just trying to get a quick piece of information from a website such as an address or phone number, this could be very useful.

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

In the news

iPhone J.D. - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 01:21

In the latest episode of the Mac Power Users podcast, California attorney David Sparks and Florida attorney Katie Floyd discuss Apple's announcements earlier this week at WWDC.  I recommend this episode if you want to hear some insight on the announcements while you are driving in your car, doing some chores this weekend, or otherwise looking for something interesting to listen to.  Like me, they were impressed with many of the new features coming to iOS.  However, Katie was less impressed with the new improvements to Animoji in the Messages app, including Memoji, saying:  "I was stunned when we went to the ABA TECHSHOW this past year, and the lawyers, the professionals that we entrust to secure our liberty and to save us from tyranny, were going crazy over the [Animoji].  I shudder for what is going to happen with the Memoji."  I had not previously considered Memoji a threat to the foundation of this country, but I guess we'll find out in a few months.  And now, the news of note from the past week:

  • Kentucky attorney Stephen Embry shares his thoughts on Apple's WWDC announcements.
  • Virginia attorney Sharon Nelson discusses Formal Opinion 2017-5 from the New York City Bar, which was updated on May 9, 2018, and which discusses an attorney's duty to keep client information on a mobile phone confidential when crossing the U.S. border.
  • Ste Smith of Cult of Mac posted a video showing every new iOS 12 feature in action.
  • Jeff Banjamin of 9to5Mac posted an even longer video showing off 100 new iOS 12 features.
  • Jeff Benjamin also posted a video showing off 50 new watchOS 5 changes.
  • Dan Thorp-Lancaster of iMore notes that Microsoft's To-Do list sharing app now works on iOS, Windows. and Android, if you have a need to share lists with folks on other platforms.  Of course, if you just need to share with folks using an iPhone, you can easily share a note with a checklist or other list in Apple's Notes app.
  • One of the iOS 12 improvements that I am really looking forward to is the ability for password manager apps to integrate more directly with Safari, so that you can use them without having to leave Safari.  1Password (the password manager that I use) posted a short demo of how this could work, and it looks great.
  • Another interesting iOS 12 feature is called Live Listen.  Steven Aquino describes the feature for TechCrunch.  In short, if you are in a situation in which you will have trouble hearing, you can put your iPhone near the audio source and then step away while you are wearing your AirPods, and your AirPods will play the audio that your iPhone is hearing.  There are some hearing aids that work the same way. 
  • Graham Bower of Cult of Mac discusses an Apple Watch stat that I had never heard of before called Heart Rate Variability, which you can use to determine how hard you should work out and when you should slow down.
  • John Sculley has been talking about the 10 years that he was CEO of Apple ever since he left in 1993.  Even so, in this article by Catherine Clifford of CNBC, Sculley reveals some interesting details that I had not heard before.
  • Although this has nothing to do with the iPhone, if you find yourself getting hungry, I thought you'd want to know that TripAdvisor named New Orleans the best food city in the United States (and #5 in the world) and the best place in the United States for a foodie vacation.  Rankings were done using a "proprietary TripAdvisor algorithm which considers booking volume, traveler reviews, and traveler ratings based on all food tours and food-related experiences on our site."  You can't argue with science.  (And if you find yourself headed this way, feel free to ask me for restaurant recommendations.)
  • And finally, the upcoming iOS 12 will include features which let you limit the amount of time that you spend using your iPhone.  But what if you need to REALLY limit the time that you use your iPhone?  Conan O'Brien came up with a solution — the new addiction-proof iPhone, shown in this video:

Categories: iPhone Web Sites

Orchestrating Experiences

A list Apart development site - Thu, 06/07/2018 - 09:04

A note from the editors: It’s our pleasure to share this excerpt from Chapter 2 (“Pinning Down Touchpoints”) of Orchestrating Experiences: Collaborative Design for Complexity by Chris Risdon and Patrick Quattlebaum, available now from Rosenfeld Media.

If you embrace the recommended collaborative approaches in your sense-making activities, you and your colleagues should build good momentum toward creating better and valuable end-to-end experiences. In fact, the urge to jump into solution mode will be tempting. Take a deep breath: you have a little more work to do. To ensure that your new insights translate into the right actions, you must collectively define what is good and hold one another accountable for aligning with it.

Good, in this context, means the ideas and solutions that you commit to reflect your customers’ needs and context while achieving organizational objectives. It also means that each touchpoint harmonizes with others as part of an orchestrated system. Defining good, in this way, provides common constraints to reduce arbitrary decisions and nudge everyone in the same direction.

How do you align an organization to work collectively toward the same good? Start with some common guidelines called experience principles.

A Common DNA

Experience principles are a set of guidelines that an organization commits to and follows from strategy through delivery to produce mutually beneficial and differentiated customer experiences. Experience principles represent the alignment of brand aspirations and customer needs, and they are derived from understanding your customers. In action, they help teams own their part (e.g., a product, touchpoint, or channel) while supporting consistency and continuity in the end-to-end experience. Figure 6.1 presents an example of a set of experience principles.

Figure 6.1: Example set of experience principles. Courtesy of Adaptive Path

Experience principles are not detailed standards that everyone must obey to the letter. Standards tend to produce a rigid system, which curbs innovation and creativity. In contrast, experience principles inform the many decisions required to define what experiences your product or service should create and how to design for individual, yet connected, moments. They communicate in a few memorable phrases the organizational wisdom for how to meet customers’ needs consistently and effectively. For example, look at the following:   

  • Paint me a picture.
  • Have my back.
  • Set my expectations.
  • Be one step ahead of me.
  • Respect my time.
Experience Principles vs Design Principles
Orchestrating experiences is a team sport. Many roles contribute to defining, designing, and delivering products and services that result in customer experiences. For this reason, the label experience—rather than design—reflects the value of principles better that inform and guide the organization. Experience principles are outcome oriented; design principles are process oriented. Everyone should follow and buy into them, not just designers. Patrick Quattlebaum

Experience principles are grounded in customer needs, and they keep collaborators focused on the why, what, and how of engaging people through products and services. They keep critical insights and intentions top of mind, such as the following:

  • Mental Models: How part of an experience can help people have a better understanding, or how it should conform to their mental model.
  • Emotions: How part of an experience should support the customer emotionally, or directly address their motivations.
  • Behaviors: How part of an experience should enable someone to do something they set out to do better.
  • Target: The characteristics to which an experience should adhere.
  • Impact: The outcomes and qualities an experience should engender in the user or customer.
Focusing on Needs to Differentiate
Many universal or heuristic principles exist to guide design work. There are visual design principles, interaction design principles, user experience principles, and any number of domain principles that can help define the best practices you apply in your design process. These are lessons learned over time that have a broader application and can be relied on consistently to inform your work across even disparate projects.

It’s important to reinforce that experience principles specific to your customers’ needs provide contextual guidelines for strategy and design decisions. They help everyone focus on what’s appropriate to specific customers with a unique set of needs, and your product or service can differentiate itself by staying true to these principles. Experience principles shouldn’t compete with best practices or universal principles, but they should be honored as critical inputs for ensuring that your organization’s specific value propositions are met. Chris Risdon Playing Together

Earlier, we compared channels and touchpoints to instruments and notes played by an orchestra, but in the case of experience principles, it’s more like jazz. While each member of a jazz ensemble is given plenty of room to improvise, all players understand the common context in which they are performing and carefully listen and respond to one another (see Figure 6.2). They know the standards of the genre backward and forward, and this knowledge allows them to be creative individually while collectively playing the same tune.

Figure 6.2: Jazz ensembles depend upon a common foundation to inspire improvisation while working together to form a holistic work of art. Photo by Roland Godefroy, License

Experience principles provide structure and guidelines that connect collaborators while giving them room to be innovative. As with a time signature, they ensure alignment. Similar to a melody, they provide a foundation that encourages supportive harmony. Like musical style, experience principles provide boundaries for what fits and what doesn’t.

Experience principles challenge a common issue in organizations: isolated soloists playing their own tune to the detriment of the whole ensemble. While still leaving plenty of room for individual improvisation, they ask a bunch of solo acts to be part of the band. This structure provides a foundation for continuity in the resulting customer journey, but doesn’t overengineer consistency and predictability, which might prevent delight and differentiation. Stressing this balance of designing the whole while distributing effort and ownership is a critical stance to take to engender cross-functional buy-in.

To get broad acceptance of your experience principles, you must help your colleagues and your leadership see their value. You will need to craft value propositions for your different stakeholders, educate the stakeholders on how to use experience principles, and pilot the experience principles to show how they are used in action. This typically requires crafting specific value propositions and education materials for different stakeholders to gain broad support and adoption. Piloting your experience principals on a project can also help others understand their tactical use. When approaching each stakeholder, consider these common values:

  • Defining good: While different channels and media have their specific best practices, experience principles provide a common set of criteria that can be applied across an entire end-to-end experience.
  • Decision-making filter: Throughout the process of determining what to do strategically and how to do it tactically, experience principles ensure that customers’ needs and desires are represented in the decision-making process.
  • Boundary constraints: Because these constraints represent the alignment of brand aspiration and customer desire, experience principles can filter out ideas or solutions that don’t reinforce this alignment.
  • Efficiency: Used consistently, experience principles reduce ambiguity and the resultant churn when determining what concepts should move forward and how to design them well.
  • Creativity inspiration: Experience principles are very effective in sparking new ideas with greater confidence that will map back to customer needs. (See Chapter 8, “Generating and Evaluating Ideas.”)
  • Quality control: Through the execution lifecycle, experience principles can be used to critique touchpoint designs (i.e., the parts) to ensure that they align to the greater experience (i.e., the whole).

Pitching and educating aside, your best bet for creating good experience principles that get adopted is to avoid creating them in a black box. You don’t want to spring your experience principles on your colleagues as if they were commandments from above to follow blindly. Instead, work together to craft a set of principles that everyone can follow energetically.

Identifying Draft Principles

Your research into the lives and journeys of customers will produce a large number of insights. These insights are reflective. They capture people’s current experiences—such as, their met and unmet needs, how they frame the world, and their desired outcomes. To craft useful and appropriate experience principles, you must turn these insights inside out to project what future experiences should be.

When You Can’t Do Research (Yet)
If you lack strong customer insights (and the support or time to gather them), it’s still valuable to craft experience principles with your colleagues. The process of creating them provides insight into the various criteria that people are using to make decisions. It also sheds light on what your collaborators believe are the most important customer needs to meet. While not as sound as research-driven principles, your team can align around a set of guidelines to inform and critique your collective work—and then build the case for gathering insights for creating better experience principles. Patrick Quattlebaum From the Bottom Up

The leap from insights to experience principles will take several iterations. While you may be able to rattle off a few candidates based on your research, it’s well worth the time to follow a more rigorous approach in which you work from the bottom (individual insights) to the top (a handful of well-crafted principles). Here’s how to get started:

  • Reassemble your facilitators and experience mappers, as they are closest to what you learned in your research.
  • Go back to the key insights that emerged from your discovery and research. These likely have been packaged in maps, models, research reports, or other artifacts. You can also go back to your raw data if needed.
  • Write each key insight on a sticky note. These will be used to spark a first pass at potential principles.
  • For each insight, have everyone take a pass individually at articulating a principle derived from just that insight. You can use sticky notes again or a quarter sheet of 8.5”’’x 11”’ (A6) template to give people a little more structure (see Figure 6.3).
Figure 6.3: A simple template to generate insight-level principles quickly.
  • At this stage, you should coach participants to avoid finding the perfect words or a pithy way to communicate a potential principle. Instead, focus on getting the core lesson learned from the insight and what advice you would give others to guide product or service decisions in the future. Table 6.1 shows a couple of examples of what a good first pass looks like.
  • At this stage, don’t be a wordsmith. Work quickly to reframe your insights from something you know (“Most people don’t want to…”) to what should be done to stay true to this insight (“Make it easy for people…”).
  • Work your way through all the insights until everyone has a principle for each one.
Table 6.1: From insights to draft principles Insight Principle Most people don’t want to do their homework first. They want to get started and learn what they need to know when they need to know it. Make it easy for people to dive in and collect knowledge when it’s most relevant. Everyone believes their situation (financial, home, health) is unique and reflects their specific circumstances, even if it’s not true. Approach people as they see themselves: unique people in unique situations. Finding Patterns

You now have a superset of individual principles from which a handful of experience principles will emerge. Your next step is to find the patterns within them. You can use affinity mapping to identify principles that speak to a similar theme or intent. As with any clustering activity, this may take a few iterations until you feel that you have mutually exclusive categories. You can do this in just a few steps:

  • Select someone to be a workshop participant to present the principles one by one, explaining the intent behind each one.
  • Cycle through the rest of the group, combining like principles and noting where principles conflict with one another. As you cluster, the dialogue the group has is as important as where the principles end up.
  • Once things settle down, you and your colleagues can take a first pass at articulating a principle for each cluster. A simple half sheet (8.5” x 4.25” or A5) template can give some structure to this step. Again, don’t get too precious with every word yet.  (see Figure 6.4). Get the essence down so that you and others can understand and further refine it with the other principles.
  • You should end up with several mutually exclusive categories with a draft principle for each.
Designing Principles as a System

No experience principle is an island. Each should be understandable and useful on its own, but together your principles should form a system. Your principles should be complementary and reinforcing. They should be able to be applied across channels and throughout your product or service development process. See the following “Experience Principles Refinement Workshop” for tips on how to critique your principles to ensure that they work together as a complete whole.

Categories: Technology

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