Phone cameras: Photography, or social mingling?

Started 11 months ago | Discussions
Ontario Gone
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Phone cameras: Photography, or social mingling?
11 months ago

I can't help but miss the days when DPR didn't have phone reviews here. It seems there were less "photographers" posting about the demise of the camera. Perhaps it's my sense of responsibility that prompts me to offer the opposing argument, as i feel a bias opinion needs that opposition. Especially when that opinion seems extremely flawed.

Today we are flooded with threads and posts about the greatness of cameras with no controls, sans a spot on a touch screen in place of a shutter button. While i don't take these comments too personally, or even too seriously, there are plenty of "noobs" to this world who might mistake this info for reality. Some may prefer a phone to an ILC, but the facts need to be laid out for all to see so inexperienced people can make an informed decision. Afterall, years ago when i first visited DPR, that was exactly what i was seeking: an unbiased POV to help me decide my first purchase.

With that being said, i can't help but look upon "phone photography" with a bit of disdain. I realize a small sensor with few manual controls is good enough for some, but does this really qualify as photography? Now far be it from me to classify another's passion, i criticize people for trying to define things like that. But i am finding the social aspect the driving force behind phone cameras, and this lends to the idea that it's less photography and more about social media. I have several photos hanging on my walls shot with digital cameras, but i did not take them in hopes of social pats on the back. I took them to save memories for myself and for others. Social media and photography are very different, even if people try to mix them. It just seems like the word "photographer" is a hip word that people want to adopt when they simply want to socialize by using images.

I hope we can keep it fairly civil, but please be honest and candid. What IS a photographer? Is there a fine line between that and the social aspect? Feel free to lay out whatever you think, either side of the idea.

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Spud0
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Re: Phone cameras: Photography, or social mingling?
In reply to Ontario Gone, 11 months ago

Who are you to define what photography is or is not? Photography means different things to different people. Not everyone can afford a "real" camera( $$$$+lens +memory card + extra battery +case etc, etc, etc,) and/or a machine to do post processing on. All while fighting with compatibility issues, screen calibrations, storage space, etc. Yet they still want to take part in the joy of capturing moments - or expressing themselves through the medium of manipulating images. Nothing deserving of your "disdain" in my opinion

You think your hacky landscape image is any better than the one on your nephews Instagram because you took it with a bloated DSLR that makes coffee and files your tax return?

I like photography because I like seeing images that do something inside of me, cause a reaction, invoke a memory, stir an emotion. I don't care if it was taken by a 1DX or a 10 year old P&S.

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Sonyshine
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Re: Phone cameras: Photography, or social mingling?
In reply to Ontario Gone, 11 months ago

Once we reached a point where a phone camera was 'good enough' for most people - and I mean 'good enough'  sincerely - the latest smartphones really are very good indeed - what is there to stoke the desire for better and better cameras where only an ardent pixel peeper can see a minute difference at 100% magnification?

Nokia has made a good stab at dealing with the zoom problem in smartphones too with their crop-able 41mp sensor.

I use my iPhone regularly, not just because its always in my pocket but because I don't always want to lug a bulky camera around.

I dropped my DSLR cameras in favour of mirror-less too. When you can get a cracking 24mp sensor like the one in my Nex7 do you really honestly need any more?

For most people the current crop of cameras from all the big brands are fantastic and even all the basic models produce cracking images.

Photography these days is dominated by social sharing - Flickr, 500px, SmugMug, Facebook etc etc.

I recently tried to purchase a new photo album as I still like to print off some copies - mainly family - not one local shop stocked them any more!

I can print A3 photos from my little Nikon V1 that look gorgeous - even my iPhone prints look great at A4.

I sell a lot of photos on istockphoto and they all come from my Nex7

I honestly can't see why I would want a bigger faster ( MUCH more expensive camera)

Clearly judging by the fall in sales of cameras neither do a lot of other people.

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chkproductions
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Re: Phone cameras: Photography, or social mingling?
In reply to Sonyshine, 11 months ago

Sonyshine wrote:

Photography these days is dominated by social sharing - Flickr, 500px, SmugMug, Facebook etc etc.

Bingo.  Not that there's anything wrong with that.  It's just what is.

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Ontario Gone
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Re: Phone cameras: Photography, or social mingling?
In reply to Spud0, 11 months ago

Spud0 wrote:

Who are you to define what photography is or is not? Photography means different things to different people. Not everyone can afford a "real" camera( $$$$+lens +memory card + extra battery +case etc, etc, etc,) and/or a machine to do post processing on. All while fighting with compatibility issues, screen calibrations, storage space, etc. Yet they still want to take part in the joy of capturing moments - or expressing themselves through the medium of manipulating images. Nothing deserving of your "disdain" in my opinion

You think your hacky landscape image is any better than the one on your nephews Instagram because you took it with a bloated DSLR that makes coffee and files your tax return?

I like photography because I like seeing images that do something inside of me, cause a reaction, invoke a memory, stir an emotion. I don't care if it was taken by a 1DX or a 10 year old P&S.

I guess you missed my last paragraph, i asked "what IS photography ?". I simply gave my opinion, in my experience. The context of course implies i don't possess the end all definition, so i welcome your definition. My position is that this concept has been reduced to an oversimplified state since oversimplified people have adopted it. Afterall what are the reasons for those using phones?

It's always with me (good reason actually), its IQ good enough (id like to see a good phone image posted here), i don't like all the complicated PP (jpegs are still possible, just like in phones), monitor calibration (whaaaa??? isn't it the same monitor you view your phone pics on??), compatibility issues (what computer works with a phone jpeg but not a camera jpeg???), storage space (most high end phones are 13mp now, my last two DSLRs were only 3mp more), ect.

My hunch is some people are plain intimidated by all the options on an ILC. The masses like the easy road, they don't want to think too much. It's not about money, for example one can get a 20mp APSC camera with a kit lens for $350 right now (Sony A3000). It will trump any phone camera IQ, offers optical zoom, has a VF, far better feature set, full manual controls, AF ....the list goes on. The only advantage a phone would have is the size, it's easy to bring along bc it's pocketable.

That hardly means one should never opt to use better gear, yet people limit themselves to exactly that. Like i said, i think people are just afraid to use complicated electronics.

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brianj
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Re: Phone cameras: Photography, or social mingling?
In reply to Ontario Gone, 11 months ago

Ontario Gone wrote:

Spud0 wrote:

Who are you to define what photography is or is not? Photography means different things to different people. Not everyone can afford a "real" camera( $$$$+lens +memory card + extra battery +case etc, etc, etc,) and/or a machine to do post processing on. All while fighting with compatibility issues, screen calibrations, storage space, etc. Yet they still want to take part in the joy of capturing moments - or expressing themselves through the medium of manipulating images. Nothing deserving of your "disdain" in my opinion

You think your hacky landscape image is any better than the one on your nephews Instagram because you took it with a bloated DSLR that makes coffee and files your tax return?

I like photography because I like seeing images that do something inside of me, cause a reaction, invoke a memory, stir an emotion. I don't care if it was taken by a 1DX or a 10 year old P&S.

I guess you missed my last paragraph, i asked "what IS photography ?". I simply gave my opinion, in my experience. The context of course implies i don't possess the end all definition, so i welcome your definition. My position is that this concept has been reduced to an oversimplified state since oversimplified people have adopted it. Afterall what are the reasons for those using phones?

I think we would have to go back to a dictionary definition and accept that.

It's always with me (good reason actually), its IQ good enough (id like to see a good phone image posted here), i don't like all the complicated PP (jpegs are still possible, just like in phones), monitor calibration (whaaaa??? isn't it the same monitor you view your phone pics on??), compatibility issues (what computer works with a phone jpeg but not a camera jpeg???), storage space (most high end phones are 13mp now, my last two DSLRs were only 3mp more), ect.

The connect site has shown lots of good phone images in the photo of the day window, I really like them because the flaws add something, nothing worse than a perfect sterile photo.

My hunch is some people are plain intimidated by all the options on an ILC. The masses like the easy road, they don't want to think too much. It's not about money, for example one can get a 20mp APSC camera with a kit lens for $350 right now (Sony A3000). It will trump any phone camera IQ, offers optical zoom, has a VF, far better feature set, full manual controls, AF ....the list goes on. The only advantage a phone would have is the size, it's easy to bring along bc it's pocketable.

All the camera you mention are way too big to carry every day for me.  The size of a camera is the first criteria in my choice, IQ comes way down the list.

I have worked in electronics and computer field for all my life, so I have no fear of technology, but I do not want it getting in the way.  For that reason, I spend a lot of time setting up my P&S so the OOC image is always just right, the most I will have to adjust is sometimes EV or WB, otherwise I frame and take the shot.

That hardly means one should never opt to use better gear, yet people limit themselves to exactly that. Like i said, i think people are just afraid to use complicated electronics.

Many of us develop patterns of behavior based on experiences that become optimised and continue through our entire lives.  Nearly 15 years ago when i owned a SLR which I only had because the view finder showed what you were going to take, I missed many good impromtu shots because the camera was so big that it could not be at hand all the time.  I decided then that I would always choose small cameras that could be accessed and ready in seconds, which the P&S can do, and also the LCD shows what you are going to take, no cut off heads like tunnel viewfinders any more thank goodness..

I have not moved to the phone camera because I don't really have much need for a phone, and I don't want t pay for expensive mobile communications.

Brian

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mgd43
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Re: Phone cameras: Photography, or social mingling?
In reply to chkproductions, 11 months ago

Photographers have always wanted to share their photos with others. Social media sites are just another way to do it. Camera phones are fine when used within their limits. I find their limits to be too limiting so I don't use one. My carry everywhere camera is a Nikon P7800. That's my choice. I think everyone should choose whatever they prefer without other people judging them.

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Mahmoud Mousef
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spyware
In reply to Ontario Gone, 11 months ago

Phone cameras are great spy tools.

Profiling, categorizing, collating, selling to and brainwashing you and your children. Turning on cameras without your permission or knowledge on your phone and computer.

Turning on GPS without your permission or knowledge. Bulding wi-fi databases allowing your location to be approximated closely even with GPS off. Persistent cookies. Pervasive scripts on many websites. GPS location data embedded in pics.

Disallowing the fine control over GPS settings in phones that we once had in older phones. Leaking private data being used by countless companies and app and game makers. Marketer's wet dream.

http://www.androidauthority.com/could-one-third-of-free-android-apps-be-stealing-sensitive-data-185228

All the while targeting us for a life of consumption and lack of independent thought and active censorship while using your tax dollars to spy on you. Recording all calls, offline & online (Skype, etc). All instant messages.

Google.

Microsoft.

Apple.

Blackberry.

Nokia.

Countless other companies in IT and telephony. All NSA associates.

All in bed with Big Gov, Big Contracts & Big Data. All about those lucrative contracts. Non-participation in spying means missing out on big contracts.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/30/microsoft-privacy-chief-nsa

http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2013/12/fbi-can-secretly-activate-laptop-cameras-without-the-indicator-light/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/12/10/nsa-uses-google-cookies-to-pinpoint-targets-for-hacking/?clsrd

Then we have Google shills responding to me on this forum, assuring me that because gov is 'watching them' it means the company is doing good. Cue laughter. They are all in on it and they have the most to benefit from our data.

CIA and Google. NSA and Google. Yahoo and NSA. Google it.

A bit long-winded, and a bit of a tangent, but phone cameras aid the profilers and advertisers and Big Gov and Big Data. The stealers of our data and those most keen on nipping censorship in the bud before it has a chance to change the world. Calling cameraphones social isn't really doing it justice. Spyware is more accurate. Plus all the associated negative effects that our private data going to central planners has on our freedom.

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Ontario Gone
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Re: spyware
In reply to Mahmoud Mousef, 11 months ago

Yes, you are speaking about prism. It is the reason i won't be buying my kids an Xbox One, they tried that always on crap and i won't be a part of it. I actually have my phone's camera taped over, since it's worthless as photographic gear anyway... No you cannot see me eagle eye !!!!!!

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Mahmoud Mousef
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Re: spyware
In reply to Mahmoud Mousef, 11 months ago

Mahmoud Mousef wrote:

A bit long-winded, and a bit of a tangent, but phone cameras aid the profilers and advertisers and Big Gov and Big Data. The stealers of our data and those most keen on nipping censorship in the bud before it has a chance to change the world.

Of course here I meant nipping freedom in the bud.

Every phone today is heavily tied to the 'cloud' and sharing our private data to the profilers and the central planners they have contracts with (and lobby, and are in bed with).

Cameras are a big part of it. Social media is a big part of it.

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yardcoyote
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You don't need a phone! (plus two photos)
In reply to brianj, 11 months ago

You don't need a phone to have fun with a phone camera. Any current iPod Touch (5th Gen) has the same nifty little camera as the most expensive iPhone, at a much lower up front cost than an unlocked phone and no expensive data plan. Mine is always with me whenever I leave my house. It's a clever little device that plays music and games, takes notes, goes on the internet from anywhere where there is wi fi, and of course gives you a pocket camera. While hardly an IQ monster, this camera is fun to play with, surprisingly flexible, and of course, always there when you want it.

For the record, I do not call myself a photographer, but I am a person with a fair amount of film experience who makes digital pictures with intent and who takes the process at least semi-seriously. I have been a working artist in other media for many years. I treat the output of my iCamera with the same respect I do any of my photos. I certainly don't consider them a tool for "social mingling" (I don't do social media), although they do make their way to my website/blog fairly often since I can post them from the road without going through my studio computer.

Some of you have seen these before, and after this they will be in my gallery. I don't know if you would call them good photos, but I am very fond of the short series I call "Do I Dare to Eat a Peach":

Found art with the pocket camera. Peach under the fender of a big Dodge in the parking lot of Wal-Mart this past summer.  Images cropped to squares with the iPod's own editing software.

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Ontario Gone
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Re: spyware
In reply to Mahmoud Mousef, 11 months ago

Mahmoud Mousef wrote:

Mahmoud Mousef wrote:

A bit long-winded, and a bit of a tangent, but phone cameras aid the profilers and advertisers and Big Gov and Big Data. The stealers of our data and those most keen on nipping censorship in the bud before it has a chance to change the world.

Of course here I meant nipping freedom in the bud.

Every phone today is heavily tied to the 'cloud' and sharing our private data to the profilers and the central planners they have contracts with (and lobby, and are in bed with).

Cameras are a big part of it. Social media is a big part of it.

Don't have a FB or myspace, don't have twitter. Never will, any of them. Another reason why the social media craze is a bad idea, just sheep being led to the slaughter. But hey, daddy didn't give me attention, so i want everybody to care what happens every 5 minutes in my life. Look at me, look at me!!!

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Draek
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Re: Phone cameras: Photography, or social mingling?
In reply to Ontario Gone, 11 months ago

Ontario Gone wrote:

I can't help but miss the days when DPR didn't have phone reviews here.

Why? too hard to avoid reading them?

It seems there were less "photographers" posting about the demise of the camera.

No, there weren't. If it wasn't phones killing off SLRs, it was mirrorless killing off SLRs and, before then, SLRs killing off superzooms, premium compacts, compacts in general, medium format systems, other SLRs, and your little kitty. I've been a member of this forum for... what? 7 years? and one of the first things I saw when I first joined in was a post denouncing the recent inviability of the superzoom camera due to the size and features of the new Canon SLRs of the time.

Perhaps it's my sense of responsibility that prompts me to offer the opposing argument, as i feel a bias opinion needs that opposition. Especially when that opinion seems extremely flawed.

Today we are flooded with threads and posts about the greatness of cameras with no controls, sans a spot on a touch screen in place of a shutter button. While i don't take these comments too personally, or even too seriously, there are plenty of "noobs" to this world who might mistake this info for reality. Some may prefer a phone to an ILC, but the facts need to be laid out for all to see so inexperienced people can make an informed decision. Afterall, years ago when i first visited DPR, that was exactly what i was seeking: an unbiased POV to help me decide my first purchase.

Hopefully, the years have taught you better.

With that being said, i can't help but look upon "phone photography" with a bit of disdain. I realize a small sensor with few manual controls is good enough for some, but does this really qualify as photography?

Yes. Or what, is the only valid form of photography that which is taken with a camera in manual exposure, manual focus mode, with separate incident meter, in RAW, developed to an uncompressed TIFF then printed on a carefully-calibrated, 6-inks printer on premium archival-grade paper? or hell, perhaps nothing counts unless you shot it in film, developed it yourself, then printed it on a darkroom instead of these fancy-pants inkjets you kiddos are using nowadays.

Because, surely you aren't confusing the capture and archival of a digital image, without producing even a shoddy print off it, as actual photography, are you?

One of the funny things about elitism is that, no matter how much you push it, someone else can always take it a step further and screw you over it.

Now far be it from me to classify another's passion, i criticize people for trying to define things like that. But i am finding the social aspect the driving force behind phone cameras, and this lends to the idea that it's less photography and more about social media. I have several photos hanging on my walls shot with digital cameras, but i did not take them in hopes of social pats on the back. I took them to save memories for myself and for others. Social media and photography are very different, even if people try to mix them. It just seems like the word "photographer" is a hip word that people want to adopt when they simply want to socialize by using images.

So? your intention doesn't have anything to do with the tool you used for the job. There was a recent art sale over at TOP, a diptych of one frame captured with a film MF system, and another with a modern iPhone. And well, no offense, but without even having met the photographer, if anyone would've said the iPhone frame had been taken purely in hopes of "social pats on the back", that person would be an utter idiot.

I hope we can keep it fairly civil, but please be honest and candid. What IS a photographer? Is there a fine line between that and the social aspect? Feel free to lay out whatever you think, either side of the idea.

No such line exists and, if there were, it'd be orthogonal to the art or the craft themselves.

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Draek
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Re: spyware
In reply to Mahmoud Mousef, 11 months ago

As a professional Software Engineer I can tell you with full confidence: you're a paranoid freak. No, really. Every single thing you list is just as easy with your internet-connected home computer as it is with a smartphone, and only marginally harder with a cross-reference between databases of the various systems you use and have contracted (such as electricity, water, etc), and even those you haven't but still use in some sense (garbage collection, police departments, etc).

And, I'm willing to bet you're using a propietary OS anyways, so your paranoia against phones is even more unwarranted.

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yardcoyote
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Re: Phone cameras: Photography, or social mingling?
In reply to Draek, 11 months ago

Best use of the word "orthogonal" I have read on the internet today. Seriously-- I couldn't agree more with most of what you said. According to my first teacher, there were those who looked askance at the TTL meter on his Spotmatic when he first bought it, claiming it lacked the subtlety and exactness of a handheld light meter.

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PenPix
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noun: a person who takes photographs, especially as a job*
In reply to Ontario Gone, 11 months ago

* http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/photographer

How many of us are "real" photographers then?

Personally, I have done work for "real" photographers who's work I was ashamed to print!  Then there was the lady who primarily used disposable cameras and produced pictures with stunning imagery and colour!

Perhaps my definition of a photographer goes beyond the equipment they use and what they are paid.

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chkproductions
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Re: Phone cameras: Photography, or social mingling?
In reply to mgd43, 11 months ago

mgd43 wrote:

I think everyone should choose whatever they prefer without other people judging them.

Agree 100%

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Ontario Gone
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Re: noun: a person who takes photographs, especially as a job*
In reply to PenPix, 11 months ago

PenPix wrote:

* http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/photographer

How many of us are "real" photographers then?

Personally, I have done work for "real" photographers who's work I was ashamed to print! Then there was the lady who primarily used disposable cameras and produced pictures with stunning imagery and colour!

Perhaps my definition of a photographer goes beyond the equipment they use and what they are paid.

Lets not play semantics games, for example a "race car driver" is defined as: A person who races in a race car as a living.  I wouldn't however hold this word for word as i know somebody personally who is definitely a race care driver, yet makes no money doing so.

I consider a photographer to be anybody who takes photos for the sake of taking photos, and subsequently uses them for a myriad of things. If i took a photo of damage to my car for insurance purposes, it's definitely a photo but i wouldn't call myself a photographer because of it. In the same vein, one who simply wants to share snapshots to satisfy their social media addiction is not a photographer. It doesn't mean photographers can't do that, but we are talking about people who refuse to use a DSLR because they don't "NEED" it for snap shots on Facebook.

I agree the definition of something goes beyond the gear they use, it's the purpose that defines it. My point is, anybody who is really serious about photography, serious beyond posting fuzzy 1.5MP snapshots of their night out at buffalo wild wings, will insist on having more than a cell phone to work with. Laymen love to adopt fancy titles, and most cell phone warriors simply like the idea of calling themselves photographers, without actually being one.

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Mahmoud Mousef
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Re: spyware
In reply to Draek, 11 months ago

Draek wrote:

As a professional Software Engineer I can tell you with full confidence: you're a paranoid freak.

I can say with full confidence that the tin-foil hatters were right, and you don't even understand the extent of it, just like the guy working at Microsoft didn't in one of my links - until now.

No, really. Every single thing you list is just as easy with your internet-connected home computer as it is with a smartphone, and only marginally harder with a cross-reference between databases of the various systems you use and have contracted (such as electricity, water, etc), and even those you haven't but still use in some sense (garbage collection, police departments, etc).

And nowhere do I say it isn't just as easy with your home computer. One of my links specifically talks about home computers...

The thing is, we carry phones around with us, and they are far more pervasive in our lives than a stationary computer (and have more tech integrated to track us, and allow for more apps to steal more private data and are heavily tied to cloud services, more than the average PC is). There is far more scope for data profiling on the move and on devices with heavy cloud integration and carrying all our personal data.

And, I'm willing to bet you're using a propietary OS anyways, so your paranoia against phones is even more unwarranted.

Indeed I am. Have to, in fact. The type of response you give, where you attack the messenger, and insult the messenger, tells me all I have to know about your extent of knowledge.

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Ontario Gone
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Re: spyware
In reply to Mahmoud Mousef, 11 months ago

Mahmoud Mousef wrote:

Draek wrote:

As a professional Software Engineer I can tell you with full confidence: you're a paranoid freak.

I can say with full confidence that the tin-foil hatters were right, and you don't even understand the extent of it, just like the guy working at Microsoft didn't in one of my links - until now.

A person who develops apps with overwhelming adds for phones does not qualify as "professional" in my book.

No, really. Every single thing you list is just as easy with your internet-connected home computer as it is with a smartphone, and only marginally harder with a cross-reference between databases of the various systems you use and have contracted (such as electricity, water, etc), and even those you haven't but still use in some sense (garbage collection, police departments, etc).

And nowhere do I say it isn't just as easy with your home computer. One of my links specifically talks about home computers...

The thing is, we carry phones around with us, and they are far more pervasive in our lives than a stationary computer (and have more tech integrated to track us, and allow for more apps to steal more private data and are heavily tied to cloud services, more than the average PC is). There is far more scope for data profiling on the move and on devices with heavy cloud integration and carrying all our personal data.

But it's not true either. My computer doesn't have a camera, or a mic connected to it. Ever. It also doesn't go with me to the store, the movies, the inlaws. Nobody can track my every move with my desktop, but if my phone is on and in my pocket, they could.

And, I'm willing to bet you're using a propietary OS anyways, so your paranoia against phones is even more unwarranted.

Indeed I am. Have to, in fact. The type of response you give, where you attack the messenger, and insult the messenger, tells me all I have to know about your extent of knowledge.

Right, as if companies like Google and MS would never partake in spying on citizens....

 Ontario Gone's gear list:Ontario Gone's gear list
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