Why are we so bad at software engineering?

An app contributed to chaos at last week’s 2020 Democratic Iowa Caucus. Hours after the caucus opened, it became obvious that something had gone wrong. No results had been reported yet. Reports surfaced that described technical problems and inconsistencies. The Iowa Democratic Party released a statement declaring that they didn’t suffer a cyberattack, but instead had technical difficulties with an app.

A week later, we have a better understanding of what happened. A mobile app was written specifically for the caucus. The app was distributed through beta testing programs instead of the major app stores. Users struggled to install the app via this process. Once installed it had a high risk of becoming unresponsive. Some caucus locations had no internet connectivity, rendering an internet-connected app useless. They had a backup plan: use the same phone lines that the caucus had always used. But the phone lines were clogged by online trolls who jammed the phone lines “for the lulz.”


Samsung takes second crack at a foldable smartphone with Galaxy Z Flip

The world’s biggest smartphone maker unveiled a new foldable device, the Galaxy Z Flip, at its Unpacked press event in San Francisco on Tuesday.The 6.7-inch smartphone folds into a square about half its size, with a small rectangular display on the front cover for notifications. It comes in three colors — purple, black and gold — though only the first two colors will be available initially when it goes on sale Friday February 14 in select stores and online.Samsung also unveiled a limited edition of the flip phone in partnership with New York fashion brand Thom Browne, which features the brand’s signature red-white-and-blue stripe on a gray exterior.”This is no ordinary smartphone. It changes everything,” Rebecca Hirst, Samsung’s head of UK mobile marketing, said while unveiling the device.

Apple Tech

Apple MacBook vs. iPad: Which One Should You Buy?

Apple’s iPad and MacBook are two powerful devices that can be used to do a lot of things. The two of them are very different from each other, however, and that includes differences in design, capabilities and usefulness.

Here’s a quick guide that will help consumers choose between buying an iPad or a MacBook, per Cult of Mac. This is not exhaustive, but will give readers a basic overview as to what each device is best used for.

The MacBook generally offers more computing and processing power compared to the iPad. This translates to having the ability to do more complex and power-hungry tasks such as video and audio editing.

  • Users will need to do a lot of writing

General Tech

Elon Musk’s verdict on Facebook: It’s ‘lame’ and you should delete it

London (CNN Business)Elon Musk has taken another swipe at Facebook.Responding to a Twitter (TWTR) post by actor Sacha Baron Cohen calling for Facebook to be regulated over its content, the Tesla founder tweeted over the weekend, “#DeleteFacebook It’s lame.”Baron Cohen asked in his post why Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg was allowed to “control the information seen by 2.5 billion people,” when regulators would not permit one person to wield the same power over water or electricity supplies.”Facebook needs to be regulated by governments, not ruled by an emperor!” said the actor and comedian.Baron Cohen is a vocal critic of social media platforms, including Twitter and Google (GOOGL) video platform YouTube, describing them as “the greatest propaganda machine in history.” He has directed much of his ire at Facebook, which he says profits off propaganda by not fact checking political advertising.Facebook has defended its policy on political ads and says hate speech is banned from its platform, as is anyone who advocates for violence. The company did not respond to a request for comment on Baron Cohen and Musk’s tweets.


Samsung’s Galaxy S20 has better cameras, battery life and built-in 5G

San Francisco (CNN Business)Samsung is betting on a souped-up camera and enhanced 5G capabilities — as well as a new flip phone — to fend off its competition for the global smartphone crown and convince users to upgrade their devices.The world’s biggest smartphone maker unveiled its latest flagship device, the Galaxy S20, at its “Unpacked” event in San Francisco on Tuesday, boasting a new camera architecture it says is capable of taking “pro-grade” photos and videos. It’s also the first time Samsung is releasing a fully 5G lineup, with all versions touting support for the emerging mobile technology.Samsung says its decision to jump straight from the S10 to the S20 is meant to signal its shift to a new generation of devices as 5G becomes increasingly available.”As we enter this new decade, 5G will completely change how we communicate and how we experience the world around us,” said TM Roh, the company’s president and head of mobile communications, in a statement. “Samsung is providing a next-generation device for transforming people’s lives,” he added.