The questions that immediately crossed my mind when I saw Google Keep:
I thought Google were “focusing”?
What’s to stop them from killing this in a year, or two, or five, after I’ve invested a tonne of time and data into it, just like they did Reader?
If Reader was killed, presumably because the data it generated wasn’t sufficient to target ads, but this was green lighted, then if I do invest a tonne of time and data into it, what are Google going to be doing with that data?
My best answer to the first question is, well, ‘nothing’, and the answer to the second is clear: ads. If, like the guy in the demo video, I take a picture of a snazzy guitar, at some point in the future is Google’s Brain project going to recognise “that’s a guitar”1 and serve me adverts for guitars. This is the shit I don’t want to be subject to, because maybe the latest controversy with Google Reader where “Even Billions of Dollars Won’t Support Free” has me jaded, but it may sound cliché but I’m sick of being the product rather than the customer. For that reason; if I had an Android phone, and if this product even appealed to me, and if I was an Evernote user already, then I can tell you I’d stick with Evernote, because the reality is that I sort of know where I stand with them. I can pay for their product.
Instead of just recognising cats like they have now. It’s always good to start with something not sinister like kittens. ↩
More Netflix news: Netflix and YouTube are working on an open AirPlay alternative called DIAL (Discovery And Launch). Now when I read “YouTube working on an open AirPlay alternative”, I hear: YouTube working on a copy of AirPlay that works between Android phones/tablets and Google or Smart TV Alliance TV’s.
It’s nice that people are working on an open standard for this when the best competition is Samsung’s custom AllShare on their TV’s, since AirPlay launched it has blown my mind time and time over with how easy it is to use, there should be an equivalent for Android. I just worry that even this won’t be a satisfying solution, with YouTube working on it rather than the Android team the implication is that this won’t be integrated at the system level, it will be at the content providers digression as to whether DIAL is supported1, making it an inconsistent experience for users.
It’s questionable what Netflix’s motivation is here: to team up with YouTube to create a solution to add to its own app on Android as an AirPlay equivalent and be satisfied with that having it as a competitive advantage, or to push this standard to gain widespread adoption so that it is actually useful for users. If the prior the case, they have missed the entire point of AirPlay – it is universally integrated at the system level, in all apps2 – and DIAL will never gain widespread adoption.
His reasoning [for cancelling the set-top box project] would fundamentally shape the future of Netflix: if the company released its own hardware, it would be seen as a competitor to the very companies with which it hoped to partner. “I want to be able to call Steve Jobs and talk to him about putting Netflix on Apple TV,” Hastings said, according to one source. “But if I’m making my own hardware, Steve’s not going to take my call.”
The public’s faith in the management of Netflix definitely took a hit after the Qwikster debacle but Reed Hastings got it right with this one. The beauty of Netflix is its ubiquity including its availability on Apple TV, I wouldn’t pay for Netflix if I couldn’t get it on my Apple TV, especially in the UK where Netflix’s primary competitor LoveFilm from Amazon still isn’t on Apple TV to this day. The availability of Netflix is its selling point, and a proprietary set-top box of their own would have soured relationships and crippled that.
Sidebar: the Lost-inspired internal video promoting the Netflix box is crazy.
Recognising that a limited selection of official back plates might not be enough for owners of its Lumia 820 Windows Phone handsets, Nokia has taken a different approach and has given device owners the opportunity to create their own cases with the release of its 3D-printing Development Kit (or 3DK).
By offering the development kit — available in three separate files — Nokia becomes the first major mobile manufacturer to provide such resources, allowing for further customisation and the chance to make improvements to its removable back plate designs.
Really cool idea. Also the only good reason left to have a removable back cover.
Heello is an open, real-time sharing platform that let’s you easily share what’s happening. Post photos, videos and check-ins right from Heello. As other social networks are walling themselves off, we are committed to providing an open ecosystem for everyone, with our user’s best interest always in mind. Also as a user you will always own your data.
Q: But for how long? A: Until it needs to make money.
Yesterday The Industry covered a new Newsstand publishing platform called Prss. I’m not going to go into much depth about the service itself since Gannon Burgett writing for The Industry covered every detail which can be abstracted from the prss.com landing page inch-by-inch (point-by-point? pixel-by-pixel?), but I will say that it looks to be the most interesting and new magazine UI since The Magazine, and that was released just three months ago. Prss uses a photo and text heavy interface with great gesture navigation, and more importantly using TRVL1 the really get the gestures right – it’s primarily swiping left and right to move through the magazine and pinching to get a birds-eye quick navigation view, but they do that smart thing where at the edge of every panel they show a tiny slither of the next one to show that, yes, you can in fact move around by dragging here.
In contrast to The Magazine though which is clearly inspired by Marco’s other product, Instapaper, and focuses heavily on just plain text and readability, the Prss/TRVL UI is definitely more “designed”, multi-column formatting for text, bio’s for photographers, shutter speed, ISO and camera used for photos, and iAd’s built in. It’s undoubtably going in a different and more rich direction than the bare-bones reading experience that The Magazine has been commended for, but it does feel more magazine like while remaining inoffensive with the focus still on the actual content rather than the “look at everything we can do with this!” attitude that other iPad magazines have been seen to do.
Prss magazine advert
Prss magazine photo
Prss magazine text
Talking of The Daily, its greatest failing early on was the download time of each issue, one thing that caught my eye from The Industry’s article was that when downloading issues and content, Prss cheats:
Another aspect they have added which gives way to its well thought out experience is that instead of having to download the entire magazine at once, it seems to load it bit by bit (see what I did there?) so you can start reading right away; no waiting for it to uncompress. One of the reasons they are able to present the content to you so efficiently is due to their (assumingly proprietary) algorithm which brings what would be a 200MB file, down to a measly 40MB. In a world full of impatient consumers wanting to consume every pixel of information they can, that is a vital component to a smooth UX.
In short: Prss compresses the issues and opens them instantly on the device and downloads incrementally, from using TRVL I can say theres no wait time to download an issue instead it just loads in content page-by-page ahead of you. Sneaky.
One of the most intriguing things about Prss though is that according to the landing page, “Prss will be free for everyone”, while I’m curious about what the business model is here2 being free means that Prss definitely stands a chance at disrupting the likes of Mag+ which is used for The Next Web’s TNW Magazine and is prohibitively expensive just to publish a single issue. Being free means the barrier to entry for people wanting to play around with an idea they’ve had will be essentially (and literally) nil. I would expect to see a lot more independent content creators putting stuff out there using Prss, even just to see if it sticks. More stuff like Stephen Hackett’s System Extension which was a really interesting idea but ultimately failed because it was taking content away from the site and couldn’t use the jazzy stuff from iBooks Author. It could turn out to be a better way for independent writers to earn money since it supports every established revenue model going: in-app purchases, subscriptions and advertising.
Whats I’m really just noticing now though is that none of this, not The Magazine, not Prss, not TRVL, would ever have existed without that quasi-folder on all our springboard’s that we all love to mock called Newsstand. Newsstand went from being a “publishing revolution”, to a sleeper that nobody cared about, to a publishing revolution, but this time it isn’t in quotes.
TRVL is the flagship proof of concept for this publishing system, it’s a travel magazine so it’s photos, photos and more photos. ↩
Signing up to the mailing list it will ask you “Can we tell our investors that you are interested?”, so that might just be the answer, I’m so tired of this VC funded shit but I honestly don’t care anymore. Publishing is an industry where there are lot’s of avenues they could go down to make money, so they’ll likely figure something out. ↩
Today Polaroid finally started talking about the details of their new Android-powered camera, the iM1836, after they confirmed its existence a few weeks ago. Just like the rumoured pictures the industrial design is second to none, even if the photos being banded around by The Verge and Gizmodo right now feature the non-Android-powered counterpart, the iM1232W, which had me worried since unlike the iM1836, it’s ugly as sin. I’m frankly astounded at how good this thing looks, it may not be completely cutting edge, but it has everything I’m looking for in a camera. Here’s my personal thought process on what Polaroid has come out with. Reasons to be excited:
Support for Micro Four Thirds lenses through an adapter, whether it’s just a mount or a digital adaptor remains to be seen. Probably the prior sadly.
Update: My greatest thanks to Ronnie Lutes who was on the show floor at CES yesterday and stopped by the Polaroid booth to check out the iM1836 for me. The fact that the camera app loads slow is worrying to me, but in their hands-on Engadget already made very clear that this is not a final software build so I still have hope – there is time to optimise and unlike Android phones the Polaroid camera won’t be tied up in carrier bureaucracy so hopefully updates will come through quickly. It will definitely be interesting to see the reception on the Polaroid iM1836 once the reviews start to come in.
Positive/ negative, really depends how you look at it. As Jon Fingas from Engadget mentions it’s small compared to the Galaxy Camera’s 4.8″ screen, but frankly this specs pissing contest is getting ridiculous. Especially when it’s for a camera. I’m perfectly satisfied with 3.5″. ↩
Rumour has it Polaroid are going to release a “mirrorless interchangable-lens camera powered by Android”, for me this is frankly a dream come true. A bold and beautiful design with great (by my standard) camera hardware and software. This is the kind of idea I would throw money at with gusto and I really hope it proves to be a success. The real question is price, the Polaroid IM1836′s cousin the Nikon 1 J2 which it is rumoured to be based on retails at £399.99 in the UK, I would happily spend £499 on a well executed Android “smart camera”, but we’ll have to see. All I can say is CES 2013 should be an interesting time for Polaroid.
Last week after 75 days in review with Apple Twiggy, an App.net client1 for iPhone, lunched in the App Store. It’s an iPhone client developed by Tapmates, the company behind the original Twitter client concept Tweetmate which I was head-over-heels in love with, and some of that affection has transferred over to Twiggy.
Twiggy is a remarkably polished app for what is effectively a weekend project which then went on to spend over 2 months in review2. It’s a really fast app that feels like a good iOS citizen, offering a unique take on that blue nav-bar you see in stock iOS apps with a bit of Tapmates charm.
For an app which uses the stock blue iOS UI it manages to convey a lot of personality through the custom fonts used in the tab-bar and on profiles that really just take the standard UI and twist it a little.
The app is also has a great feature in which I’m calling the “universal smart-compose button”, the compose button persists in the top-right corner wherever you are in the app and will intelligently pre-populate the post with things depending on where you are in the app; if you are on a users profile it will include the persons username, if you are viewing a hashtag it will include that in the post. It simply preempts what you are going to do and helps you out in a little way that most users won’t even notice. That is great design.
Feature-wise it is currently very bare-bones lacking read later support, push notifications and starring with the App.net API, though I’m looking forward to seeing persistent development. It supports photo uploads and geotagging of posts and even has great inline photo previews for photos from MobyPicture, img.ly and CloudApp that fill the whole width of the screen. I much prefer these photo previews to what Tweetbot/Netbot does with a small square preview that doesn’t really give you any insight into what the photo is.
It is also the first iOS client (maybe even the first client) to support full App.net search through the search API for adn.nanek.net which offers trending topics and saved searches, in my experience adn.nanek.net search is under a minute slower than Netbot’s search at indexing posts but the added features like trending topics and saved searches make it preferable.
However both Twiggy and Netbot make one mistake which breaks my heart – both apps nest the Global feed under the Search tab. My gripe with this is that it fundamentally just doesn’t doesn’t make sense, I don’t think the Global feed belongs under search, the Global feed is not search, users are not naturally going to look under search to find the Global feed. It’s bad user experience.
The point of view of the creators of Twiggy seems to be that as App.net grows the Global stream will become less and less readable, which will likely be the case, however I think they could have spend more time to find a better way to expose the Global feed rather than just hiding it under Search. They previously had a working concept where you would swipe to the right in the Stream tab to load the Global feed though this was removed later, probably to make room to add gestures in the future. It is clear then that the brilliant team at Tapmates are capable of solving this problem. I think they just need to spend some time on it.
Stream for iPhone is still my daily driver on the iPhone, it just pushes all the right buttons for me and I love the swipe gestures and design, but I think Twiggy is going to be a solid alternative in the future for people looking for an App.net client on the iPhone, and it’s definitely worth a try now at the introductory price of £1.49 in the App Store.
To my best understanding this is because initially App.net clients had to use a web login form on App.net to authorise the app. Apple viewed this as an attempt to circumvent giving them a 30% cut for an App.net membership and required apps to use a native login form and in the process of this Twiggy got stuck in limbo submitting new versions and having them get rejected repeatedly. For a little more insight you can read this great writeup of the Twiggy development (and submission) process by Petr Reichl on the Tapmates blog. ↩
Scott Lowe reporting for The Verge about Nokia’s new cross-platform maps app Here:
As part of its announcement of its new mapping platform, Here, Nokia has confirmed that it will be extending the service beyond Windows Phone platform with dedicated apps for iPhone, Android, and Mozilla’s Firefox OS. The iOS app will offer turn-by-turn directions, public transportation information, and will be available “soon,” pending approval by Apple.
Microsoft is solidifying their position as a hardware company with the Surface, their Windows Phone partner Nokia is becoming a cross-platform services provider. This is the crazy world we live in. And I like it.
Stephen Hackett of 512 Pixels has announced his decision to stop using his iPhone 5 for a year and instead opt to use a Motorola flip phone:
Unlike Paul’s adventure, mine could be completed by imposing some will power when it comes to my iPhone. The problem is that five years of reaching in my front right pocket any time I’m free has created a strong habit, and I need to quit cold turkey.
Not only could this be solved with self control, it should be solved with self control. Smartphones are part of the world we now live in, and we need to learn how to live within that reality without it disrupting other parts of our lives. Quitting cold turkey just isn’t feasible, at some point the battery in that old Motorola W385 will corrode and Stephen will have to face up to going back to his iPhone, or he’ll just go back to it after a year. It honestly feels like a pointless endeavour, we need to prepare for the future rather than trying to cling onto the past.
Igot to Twitter quite late, late enough that I wasn’t around for the global feed and the eruption of 3rd-party clients. When I arrived I think Twitter had acquired Loren Bricter’s insanely popular Twitter client Tweetie which has paved the way for the standard interface of most Twitter clients we see today. Nothing had changed yet though, Tweetie was Twitter in name only.
I was around for the launch of Twitter for iPad although I didn’t have an iPad at the time, and I was there when the leaked photos of Twitter for Mac A.K.A Tweetie 2 leaked on the eve of the Mac App Store launch, and I was there on launch day when it came out and I scrambled to download it. It was great. Since then though, things have started to turn sour – Twitter for iPhone turned 4 and it sucked, I didn’t want to “connect” or “discover”, I just wanted to read Twitter! Twitter for Mac has also fallen into pixellated disrepair and Twitter have finally found a business model, it wasn’t the one we wanted though.
In parallel to all of this I was also along for the ride feverishly following the development of Tweetbot, I was there when it launched, with the rollout across time zones I was repeatedly checking to get my hands on it, when I did I loved it – the pixels were pretty and it was the most full featured client I’d ever used right from day one. At some point though, I’m not really sure when or why, I came to the brutal realisation that I didn’t really like Tweetbot. It was a brilliant app on paper but in practice it didn’t jive with how I thought I should be using Twitter, I didn’t want to stare at that dark, heavy, noisy interface all day, I just wanted to read Twitter! So I stopped using Tweetbot.
For a long time I suffered on using a copy of Twitter 3.5.2 I found backed up on my iMac G5 which sits downstairs and gathers dust. For a while I have about 5 Twitter clients installed on my phone, recently though I found my solution which was to join App.net, and quit Twitter. Problem solved. App.net represented everything I wanted Twitter to be – a small, brilliant community with a vibrant developer community. Thanks to this vibrant developer community I finally got what I always wanted from a Twitter client, as an App.net client, it’s called Stream.
With Stream you get what you would expect from a Twitter or App.net client, as Federico Viticci said in a recent review of two of the first App.net clients to hit the App Store (Rhino and Adian):
Most of the App.net clients currently in development look and perform exactly like Twitter clients, but they are working with a platform with a much smaller scale, even by 2009 Twitter standards. This is perhaps indicative of the current status of App.net – a service that uses the foundation of Twitter while quickly adding its own unique features – and is undoubtedly helping with creating these clients (a smaller community means easier scaling and lots of feedback), but it also leaves a strange feeling of “seen that, done that”.
Viticci seems to be wanting more from App.net, right now our primary form of interaction with it is reading the Twitter-like microblogging stream dubbed Alpha through various clients1 but as I wrote that’s all I’m really looking for from App.net right now – a Twitter substitute where I’m the customer – and Stream manages to do that with more polish than I’ve seen in a social client in a while.
Stream treads a fine line where it is evident it has been “designed”, unlike Tweetie2, but still feels like a true iOS app, unlike Tweetbot. The glossy blue interface is beautiful but maintains a focus on the content. The app oozes personality without being visually heavy-handed, the profile view is a prime example, from the stretchable cover photo, to the pixel perfect nav-bar, to the glossy number counts for Following, Followers, Posts and Stars.
Even the About page is evidence of the tremendous work that has gone into this app, the design is to die for. It also struck me that as much as having a ‘More’ tab reels archaic and nondescript that is part of the genius of it – it promises nothing but can offer anything. Right now it includes user search, Settings and the About page, a navigation structure which is far more understandable than the befuddling hierarchy where About is nested within Settings which apps often adopt.
Stream treads a fine line where it is evident it has been “designed”, unlike Tweetie, but still feels like a true iOS app, unlike Tweetbot.
It’s worth noting that Stream requires iOS 6, which feels like a bold move but honestly makes sense for an iPhone app, it will work on the iPhone 5/4S/4/3GS and gets to take advantage of iOS 6 only features like native pull-to-refresh and I’m sure lots of under the hood changes that I don’t understand. The one disadvantage of using native pull-to refresh in iOS 6 which is often brought up is the inability to present additional data when you pull to refresh like the last updated time but it’s something I can easily get over because native pull-to-refresh is just so fun to use.
It has most everything you would expect and want from an App.net client: favourites, reposts, multiple accounts, user search, global feed, photo uploads, send to Instapaper, post to Twitter etc.
One noticeable distinction from traditional Twitter clients like Tweetie or more recently Flurry is how it exposes action buttons like star or repost on posts in the stream. In Tweetie you would swipe across to reveal the buttons and them press them like normal buttons, Stream takes a different approach which is more reminiscent of Reeder’s pull left to star, but on steroids. In Stream you pull left on a post to reveal the options to view conversation, reply, star and repost and pull until the option you want to use is highlighted. Then let go. It took a bit of getting used to to figure out where to place my thumb on the post to get it to do what I wanted3 but has now proved to be more efficient using quick gestures than tapping buttons to get things done.
Like Reeder the app also supports a pull to the right gesture which will automatically trigger a single action which you can determine in settings. Right now it simple serves as an even quicker way to trigger one of the four actions you see when pulling to the left (view conversation, reply, star and repost), right now I have it set to view conversation because it’s something I’m constantly using especially with the App.net complete conversation thread view but I’m hopeful that over time we’ll get more options for the pull to right gesture like send to Instapaper4, mail link to post or translate, this could be the equivalent of the triple tap in Tweetbot but far more discoverable.
With the iPhone 5′s taller screen Stream is future proof as well and it’s really noticeable with the New Post compose view where Christian has designed a sidebar to take advantage of the abundance of vertical room added with the 4″ screen and to house common actions like adding a photo (and hopefully your location in a later update) and a quick way to post to Twitter using the iOS Tweet sheet. It’s a feature I don’t use but one those dividing their attention between App.net and Twitter really seem to value, it’s a feature that I don’t expect to stick around forever but should make the transition to App.net that little bit easier for new users. Those glossy buttons from the profile view also make an appearance to let you add @mentions and #hashtags, in general the compose view is another breath of fresh air and a unique approach that I haven’t seen done before.
Stream is a solid 1.0, a foundation which lays the groundwork for the future, a future where we’ll hopefully see the app become more feature complete with support for push notifications5 and support for other photo upload services (as painless as the CloudApp implementation is, I’m a Droplr guy at heart). What I can’t emphasise enough though is just how beautiful the app is and the extent to which the layout of the app just makes sense. So please, go try it for yourself, at £2.49 in the App Store you won’t regret it.
I think other interfaces for the underlying App.net service which look more like Path or Facebook will come later. ↩
Not that Tweetie wasn’t designed, Stream just has some very pretty pixels. ↩
I would struggle to drag the cell far enough before the screen stopped recognising touch input and snapped back. ↩
Stream already supports send to Instapaper but you need to have the webpage loaded in the in-app browser to use it. ↩
Loren Brichter is back with his first big app Letterpress1 since his company Atebits was acquired by Twitter. This one isn’t a client for any social service, it’s a game, it’s not a huge departure from the beauty and class of Tweetie though, Federico Viticci nails it:
A lot of things have changed on the App Store since he had an app for sale, but I think he’s still “got it”. Letterpress is well-designed, fast, social, classy, and, ultimately, fun. If you abstract these qualities from the app’s game nature, Letterpress is not too different from Tweetie.
Personally I’m not a big gamer, so this one won’t be a guaranteed hit with me, I do enjoy social games though (remember Draw Something?) so I do find this one more appealing than most. I’ll be giving Letterpress I fair go, even if it’s just to enjoy Loren’s handiwork again.
Well done, HP, my respect for you just plummeted, welcome to the realms of Samsung level copying. Sidebar: it’s also worth noting HP aren’t participating in Microsft’s vision of the future where every screen is a touch screen:
The desktop also lacks a touchscreen, a curious omission in light of finger-friendly Windows 8. HP told us that adding one would add four to five millimeters to the overall thickness, a drawback they weren’t willing to accept.
I don’t blame Microsoft one bit for making the Surface tablet, maybe eventually we’ll see a Surface PC and phone that are actually original to put HP in their place.
Trendy eyeglass maker Warby Parker has raised $36.8 million in new venture capital funding, according to a regulatory filing that indicates the total round could top out at $40 million.
Everything Warby Parker does is unbelievably classy, and it’s interesting to see yet another original take on consumer gooks which disrupts traditional retail. I just don’t get why they need $40 million to do it.
Tom Warren on The Verge writing about a new rumoured low-end phone from Nokia in the works:
A 4-inch “Flame” Windows Phone 8 device is said to include 512MB RAM, a 1.0GHz dual-core processor, 5-megapixel camera, and 4GB of storage.
Although the specs are fairly low, Flame owners will be able to upgrade the storage with an optional microSD card. The handset will likely be targeted at low-cost markets and offered at similar price points to the existing Lumia 610 and 710 devices. Availability isn’t set in stone just yet, but we hear that the Flame will arrive within the first quarter of 2013.
This seems to me like the best strategy for Nokia right now, now that Tango is out which allows Nokia to put Windows Phone on less powerful devices Nokia can own the low end market – I for one would prefer a Windows Phone with Nokia’s great industrial design to a flimsy plastic Android phone from Samsung. In turn, owning the low end could be their path to finding success in the high end, again. Every teenager with no money eventually becomes an adult with money.
Another example, purely anecdotal: I was phone shopping with a friend last week to replace their piece-of-shit pseudo-smartphone LG running god knows what and they wanted a pre-paid phone and were really considering an Asha from Nokia because even they look great compared to everything else at that price point. I had to break it to him that the software that phone was running was almost as junky as what he had on his LG1, so he decided to wait it out until he could get something better.
If Nokia sold a decent ~£100 Windows Phone, they would have had him there and then. The root of the problem here though is Microsoft, they charge a licence fee for using Windows Phone2, which hikes up the price of every Windows Phone so that the cheapest one we could find was about £120, that’s a lost customer right there.
My humble suggestion: Microsoft, throw Nokia a bone, give your “partner” a saving on licensing Windows Phone to establish Nokia and yourself in the market, again. Consider it an apology for putting a dampner on Nokia’s event by not letting people use the software because it “isn’t finished”. Spend a little to gain a lot.
I was not going to have him pay for a Symbian phone, something had to be done. ↩
Which they’re allowed to do, I’m not condemning that. ↩
Android Central has been invited to the launch event for the new 4G LTE network by Everything Everywhere on the 11th, the day before the new iPhone announcement:
Everything Everywhere, which owns Orange and T-Mobile UK, is to launch its new brand at an event in London next Tuesday, Sept. 11, at an event which is also likely to bring details of EE’s upcoming 4G LTE network. Today’s invite mentions that the company will be showing off its “new brand and the latest innovation in network technology.” That’ll be EE’s recently-greenlit 1800MHz 4G network, then.
It’s also notable that the event takes place just 24 hours before Apple’s due to unveil its iPhone 5,which is widely expected to include LTE connectivity.
Read all of this short post by Marco since he makes three killer points on the market for App.net clients which I agree with: the App.net userbase is early adopters who have shown they’re willing the spend money, there is no competition from free official apps, although right now the market is small, the potential market could be greater than the 100,000 user cap Twitter clients have now.
Although I think it’s going to be a great market to be in with a lot of customers who appreciate quality and are willing to pay good money for it, I still think it’s going to be a hard slog initially, I for one will be buying every good App.net client I find to support these developers.
The current App.net user base (some of whom won’t even own an iOS device) split amongst 19 clients isn’t going to be a great, the fact of the matter is though that it won’t be an even split, a handful of clients will win out whilst others will probably fall to the wayside. I really do believe that the service is going to grow though, and some client developers will make a nice business out of client development, and I can’t wait for the next Tweetbot, the next app that arrives late but blows everyone away.
Have you always dreamed of eating your ice cream like a nacho? We didn’t think so, but now you can anyway. Baskin-Robbins has just rolled out a new product called Waffle Chip Dippers, which the are promoting with the catchphrase “Think Nachos, Only Cooler.”
To this day Delivery Status touch has to be one of my favourite iOS apps, it makes tracking packages enjoyable, and for a long time Junecloud – the creators of Delivery Status and Notefile – have been making great Mac widgets, but with the rise of the Mac App Store to really get noticed you now have to be in the App Store where there is no place for widgets. So today Junecloud launched Notifile for Mac, a native windowed Mac client for Notefile with support for full screen mode and iCloud. By default it hooks up directly to iCloud to sync your notes, but I implore you to use Junecloud sync, it has never-ever failed me and in my experience is so much faster. Notefile is a really delightful little app, although it really should let me hit enter to delete a note once i’ve clicked the cross. Just saying.
Christine Chan reviewing AppNet Rhino, the first App.net client in the App Store:
If the goal was to be the first ADN client in the App Store, Goran Vuksic has succeeded, but that comes with a cost. Rhino still has a long way to go before it can replace the beta software that I’ve been using on my iPhone, but I guess it’s a start for ADN users who haven’t gotten into a beta.
Rhino has a lot of rough edges and is lacking a lot of features, it doesn’t even have a post detail view. People are pondering why it’s free and whether they’ll introduce in-app purchases in the future but I think it’s a reasonable prediction that Planet 1107, the company behind the app, might just be writing this app off as a loss.
I think it’s a cool thing to do to put a free client out there that everyone can use and it gives them a lot of press as a development services shop who can turn around a relatively usable and good looking app in a very short period of time. I also think it’s interesting the effect it’s having already on App.net, no longer do you have to be one of the cool kids and be in on an app beta test to use App.net on your iPhone, based on my stream it’s already increased activity and engagement.
I do worry what it will do to other developers wanting to charge money for clients, it’s a small market of 20,000 or so people to begin with, some of whom won’t have iPhones, and now developers have to compete with free. I for one am going to be buying every good App.net client I find even if I don’t use it day to day. In such a small competitive market developers are going to need all the help they can get.
App.net is only a few weeks into its life as of writing and there are already more App.net clients that I like the look of than there are Twitter clients that I like. It remains to be seen if “like the look of” will become “like” once they’re available, but I think it says a lot about how much potential App.net has. I think it’s the result of a very young service with very like-minded users who want it to be great to use and have the ability to contribute to making that happen by making great apps. It’s also obvious that App.net is a company which actively encourages the creation of apps in contrast to a company which is intent on scaring people away.
I’m honestly really excited about the apps people are building, and although there is an exhaustive list of all of the apps in the works over on GitHub, I wanted to put together a more concise list of my personal favourites as a reference for anyone who has just joined or is just looking for a client to use:
Right now Alpha looks to be the definitive web interface, it’s what you see when you sign into App.net and if there are any new features added to App.net down the road I bet Alpha is going to be the first to get them. My comments about App.net still stand though, I’m worried about the companies focus on App.net instead of Alpha and the fear that it will fall to the wayside. However, if you can’t get your hands on and App.net iPhone client, Alpha has a mobile interface as well so it might be the way to go.
Stream is the iPhone client I’m most excited about right now. It screams of Tweetie/Twitter for iPhone before version 4.0 hit which ruined everything – a beautifully plain and simple app with a focus on the content. For a long time I’ve wanted to use an app designed by Christian Dalonzo, the man responsible for this Twitter for Mac icon, he’s making Stream with Kolin Krewinkel, creator of Stratus, an iOS CloudApp client, I can’t wait.
No, not the same Alpha I just mentioned, it’s an iPhone client developed by Tapmates, the company behind the original Twitter client Tweetmate that never was, which had me very excited for them to build an App.net client that is actually a functioning app. It looks great with custom fonts and a simple 3-tab nav-bar to reduce the focus on the global feed which is going to get less and less readable as App.net grows. It’s not out yet but there’s a demo video to keep you going in the meantime.
Pika looks like a beautiful app with a really plain and simple interface with no UI chrome, the nav-bar hides until you need it which means in normal use you get as much content on the screen as possible.
Rhino has a lot of rough edges and is lacking a lot of features, in my experience it’s been very slow to load and it doesn’t even have a post detail view. However, it’s the first iOS App.net client in the App Store, so you don’t have to be one of the cool kids who’s in on an app beta test to use App.net on your iPhone anymore.
I’ve been beta testing Appesia and it is nothing short of brilliance, it looks to be the first App.net client for iPad and has been built iPad first. It uses a ticker mechanism to live-update your stream post-by-post and even let’s you add tickers for hash tags and user accounts which I really like. It is honestly better than any iPad Twitter client I’ve used and I think that speaks to how well thought through the interface is for a tablet.
Hooha is nice enough and is the first App.net client distributed through any app store, for basic use it’s the most full featured App.net client for Android although it has a long way to go I think, right now you can read your stream, mentions and the Global feed and compose new posts but if you want to do anything more than that like looking at a user profile it will bounce you out to the web interface. Hopefully it will benefit from some active development. Horrid name though.
Tapp started out great, to my knowledge it was the first publicly available App.net client for mobile, which comes as an advantage of Android where you can install from “unknown sources”. Since then though the developer David Krauser has decided to start over with development of the app and move more slowly to build something great. As a result, there’s not much to show for right now with Tapp, you can still download the last release which won’t get updates but Tapp is definitely worth keeping an eye on, David is definitely one of those aforementioned dev’s who wants to build something great. For now though, if you’re on Android, Hooha is probably the way to go.
Tweet Lanes by Chris Lacy is my go-to Twitter client if I’m ever using Android and now he has started working to port the client to work with App.net. He got 95% of the way to finishing it in one day but there have been no progress updates since then and the app isn’t available to download. If the app ever gets finished it’s going to be my client of choice for Android.
DotDot is in private beta right now but you can follow along and see screenshots on the Windows Phone Marketplace and sign up to be notified when it goes public. I love the icon and the app looks great, the best in class on Windows Phone right now.
Gnirous is one of the first App.net clients for Windows Phone in development, Gnirous looks how you would expect an App.net client for Windows Phone to look. It also has my face in both the screen shots, so definitely worth checking out.
Appetizer is what I am using in conjunction with the Alpha web interface on the Mac right now, it seems like the most well built Mac client although I think it could use some design work and a re-thinking of the top nav-bar.
It’s very simple. By default, if you use DuckDuckGo we’re not storing or sharing your personal information when you conduct a search. That’s the kind of easy message that we try to stick to.
We try to go beyond that some cases. We try to not share a search when you click on organic links, we operate a Tor exit enclave, among other things. The bottom line is our goal is not to collect or share your personal information by default.
This is a company which looks out for its users, and does it in a smart way. It makes me think more about Apple branded search, but theres still a big sticking point with it.
Marco Arment talking about Twitter pulling the plug on the “Find my Friends” feature of Tumblr:
That said, purely from the outside, this looks like some serious bullshit on Twitter’s part. When they cut Instagram off, the between-the-lines explanation was because of Twitter’s rocky history with Facebook, with Facebook’s previous blocking of Twitter. It was a dick move to everyone using Instagram, but I guess Twitter’s rationale was “two dick moves make a right.” … This is how Twitter treats its “partners”.
The focus of Samsung in the second half of 2012 is fully on Windows Phone 8 and Android.
Because the Windows Phone market is in the hands of Nokia they will try to get that share back.
Samsung will also try to make their Android position better than before.
Thanks to some new Galaxy products in the second half of 2012.
Bob Quinn of AT&T on their limiting of FaceTime over cellular to Mobile Share plans:
The FCC’s net neutrality rules do not regulate the availability to customers of applications that are preloaded on phones. Indeed, the rules do not require that providers make available any preloaded apps. Rather, they address whether customers are able to download apps that compete with our voice or video telephony services. AT&T does not restrict customers from downloading any such lawful applications, and there are several video chat apps available in the various app stores serving particular operating systems. (I won’t name any of them for fear that I will be accused by these same groups of discriminating in favor of those apps. But just go to your app store on your device and type “video chat.”) Therefore, there is no net neutrality violation.
This is insane, and the most ridiculous loophole I’ve ever heard of. I’m going to bring this back round to the topic of 4G launching in the UK which came out recently, my worry is that the launch of Everything Everywhere’s 4G network ahead of the spectrum auction which would allow the other carriers to launch their own 4G networks could create a divide in the UK carrier market which would make it look a lot more like the US market where you have to choose between GSM or CDMA and effectively AT&T or Verizon, the kind of market which enables AT&T to pull crap like limiting FaceTime to one plan.
Here I think it would enable Everything Everywhere to get away with a lot more and charge a lot more because they have a year long exclusive on 4G service in the UK in contrast to how it has been for a while where all carriers are on a level playing field and compete on price and the products they offer. Honestly I would probably get on board with Everything Everywhere for the next iPhone if it meant I could have 4G but that really proves what I’m saying, for a year it’s not going to be a fair competitive landscape for mobile carriers in the UK, and it’s something the market might take a while to recover from.
On Monday 13th August, to the surprise of pretty much everybody, App.net ended its 30 day backing period having reached its goal of $500,000, and exceeded it as well finishing up at $803,000 with 12,315 backers, it’s now a reality and everyone can pay their $50 for an account at join.app.net. I had desperately wanted to back the service and in the last 10 hours of funding I found enough pennies down the back of the couch and pitched in my $50 as well. I’m not in the alpha yet as the team are now continuously adding backers on a first come first served basis because of the huge demand. Here’s my take on some of the big conversation points surrounding App.net.
App.net as a name
Dalton Caldwell has already said “I think we are going to try referring to the App.net-powered webapp as “Alpha”. Let’s see how this works…”‘ which makes App.net as a product and a brand make a lot more sense. App.net is the “app network”, the server backend which all products are built on, including “Alpha” which was originally shown off as the actual App.net alpha, it’s really just a very full-featured demo of what the service is capable off. Alpha is going to be one of many ways to access the service. This change actually makes it even more exciting for me, what we as users have backed is the App.net backend, and that is what they’re going to be focusing on building for users and developers, it makes me hopeful that Steve Streza’s proposal for a way to set post visibility will become a reality, enabling more use-cases for the App.net service like IM and gaming. My only worry with the focus on the App.net service is that the Alpha web interface will fall to the wayside, and when you’re asking people to pay $50 outright for an online service, you need a really compelling live demo of it.
I think the motivation to keep the username you use everywhere else is hugely diminished with App.net – it’s a smaller community of nerds and geeks where you don’t have to fear of using @justin and being assaulted by an onslaught of “Beleibers”. The total user base of App.net (12,315 backers at the end of the 30 day backing period, not everyone is on the alpha yet) is a fraction of the user base of Twitter (140 million active users) and right now everyone joining are early adopters so you really have the choice of whatever name you want. I decided to reserve @huw, rather than @huwmartin which I use everywhere else. What it came down to for me was getting the shorter name @huw compared to @huwmartin because on a microblogging service every character matters1. On a smaller network I don’t think I have to be worried about getting hacked for my three-character username either, the potential audience is a fraction of the size.
Being a paid service
People complaining about App.net being a paid service saying that normal people will never pay for this are missing the point, normal people don’t have to be on App.net for it to be a success, they just need to convince the nerds and geeks that there are enough other nerds and geeks there that it’s worth staying. There are even a lot of benefits to not having normal people on App.net – you can keep up with the global stream and discover people on it, trends will make sense again, and my mum will never ever be on App.net, and I don’t want to sound mean but I don’t want her on App.net, to talk to family I have Facebook. People saying that “$50 for no ad’s” isn’t a reason to switch are undervaluing having an alternative there and waiting if Twitter goes south, or maybe they are just happy being a pair of eyeballs, I’m not.
Marco Arment also suggested on the latest episode of Build and Analyze that App.net should drastically cut their sign up price to $10, he explained that it would increase adoption and that backers wouldn’t mind the price cut, I don’t buy that. The service doesn’t need a huge influx of users to be successful, it would actually ruin some of the things that are great about App.net. Also, I think cutting the price after everyone who made the project a reality has paid would be a quick way to annoy people by immediately devaluing what they have paid for. The only thing I could see App.net doing is adding a monthly plan for $5 to lower the barrier to entry to let people try it out while maintaining the premium price.
App.net existing isn’t going to compel Twitter to change their business model and add paid accounts, Twitter is in too deep, but if Twitter starts killing third-party clients, I want a place of refuge that I can trust, and when I’m the paying customer, not the product being sold to advertisers, I feel a lot safer about trusting a company.
Even if I can use 116 more characters than on Twitter. ↩
Nathan Ingraham writing for The Verge about a leaked internal memo from HTC:
Chou said that HTC has “people in meeting[s] and talking all the time but without decision, strategic direction, or a sense of urgency.” The memo wasn’t all about HTC’s issues, though — Chou tried to rally his troops by saying that HTC is “just having short-term problem” and that “we are still very strong and financially healthy. The most important thing is what we do to solve the problem.” Chou’s envisioning a return to the company’s more nimble days, saying “please make sure we kill bureaucracy.” Chou’s memo closed on a high note, saying “we are coming back.”
It’s funny how I have profound respect for one Android OEM and none for another, I wonder what the difference is?
I’ve been using Hiss since Mountain Lion came out to bridge the gap between Growl and Notification Center, but in all honesty, it sucked. It required you to have a menubar icon for it and would open a window on launch every single time, it really got on my nerves. MountainGrowl is an alternative which does the same thing as Hiss and puts Growl notifications in Notification Center, but does it as a good citizen of Growl – it works as a plug-in for Growl compared to Hiss which is an app of its own which pretends to be Growl to put notifications in Notification Center. It’s a really nice little solution, hopefully only a temporary solution though with Growl working to add support for Notification Center.
Adobe have released their first open source font: Source Sans Pro. It’s quite the looker for a free font and is available for Typekit, WebInk, and Google Web Fonts as well as for writing in Google docs online. I’m just looking forward to when it starts being included in WordPress/Tumblr themes so that novices like myself can start using it on websites.
With the big news that Square is partnering with Starbucks to provide Square at nearly 7000 Starbucks retail stores across the US, Dan Frommer was lucky enough to be invited to a “press breakfast” with Square and Starbucks, and sets the record straight about some of the finer details of how the partnership is going to work:
For now, there won’t be any Square-powered iPad registers, no cute little Square credit-card readers, and no geolocation-powered Square “tab” feature. Starbucks may add more Square features in the future, Schultz said, but for now, it seems mostly a back-end thing. Square will handle credit- and debit-card transactions, but Starbucks’ existing infrastructure will handle the rest.
So for now Square will be in Starbucks stores in name alone, after reading the post I came to the same conclusion Dan did about why Starbucks are doing this: it makes them the hip company with the modern technology and gets them them a foot in the door if they want to fully integrate with Square in the future.
Those folks up there at Visa sponsored the Olympics under the limitation that no other credit card could be used to purchase stuff in the Olympics, from a cup of coffee to an official hoodie. If you’ve never been to such an event it’s hard to imagine how huge the venues are, and once you entered a stadium in the morning, you’re not allowed to exit and return with your ticket. Which practically means that once you’re inside, you can either use Visa or cash, that’s it.
The things Olympics sponsors are doing are mighty screwy, but it pays the bills.
The US Patent Office has granted Apple a patent for NFC-enabled “on-the-go shopping lists,” as reported by Engadget. The patent shows a unified interface allowing iPhone users to compare product prices and features after entering a UPC code, scanning the barcode, or tapping an NFC tag. After a product is added to Apple’s shopping list, it can be located at a physical retail store using a “trace depicting a route between the user’s current location and the selected retailer.”
Apple is in talks to acquire The Fancy, a fast-growing social commerce site backed by cofounders of Twitter and Facebook, Business Insider has learned.
The objective: to secure a role for Apple in the growing e-commerce market, putting the 400 million-plus users with credit cards on file with Apple’s iTunes Store to work shopping—with Apple getting a cut of the action.
Apple seem to be making moves to get involved in the sale of physical goods as a middle man, not having to sell the products but simplifying the buying experience for customers. I’m wondering though if this would be the first time Apple would be acquiring a sexy social web company which is in the public eye rather than a technology company, and how they would handle that transition from The Fancy being a social network to probably becoming a back end for the new shopping service.
Think about this for a moment: what if Apple used a fraction of the cash they have on hand to buy two companies:
Then they turn those two search engines into one and the same search engine — powered by Apple — and only available to Apple customers. It’s now the default on iOS and Mac OS X — it would become instantly excellent and widely used.
I could definitely see an Apple branded search engine being a success, especially if it was the default in Safari on OS X and iOS, as long as it provided comparable results to Google and was ad’ free as Ben suggests as a possibility in the post. I don’t think it’s something Apple are interested in doing though, it’s pretty clear with Siri that Apple are more interested in building a knowledge engine which gets you answers compared to a search engine like Google with a spanning list of possible answers.
However, I would really like to see Apple offer DuckDuckGo as a system search engine option. DuckDuckGo have a nice mobile interface and the bang feature would make the fallback search part of Siri a lot better – if a phrase starts with one of the supported services1 it could just parse it and execute it as a bang search. I bet DuckDuckGo wouldn’t mind the huge influx of new users either. Everybody wins!
It supports searching services like IMDb or Amazon. ↩
The question is how does this affect Apple TV? AirPlay can beam mobile web YouTube videos from iPhone/iPad, but it still seems important to have a dedicated app because of the lack of a web browser on Apple TV. Another way to look at it: How many people actually watch YouTube from Apple TV?
Don poses a really interesting question about whether YouTube will stick around on Apple TV with the update to iOS 6, arguably a platform where YouTube is all the more important. YouTube is the service of choice for free user uploaded video and I think it would be a sticking point for potential Apple TV customers, we would still have Vimeo which provides better quality content but there’s less of it. I personally use YouTube on Apple TV a lot and it would be seriously missed, I think a lot of other people would feel the same. The alternative explanation would be that the Apple TV will be able to run third-party apps before we have to worry about any of this, here’s to hoping.
Apple’s statement to The Verge about the removal of the native YouTube app in iOS 6:
Our license to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended, customers can use YouTube in the Safari browser and Google is working on a new YouTube app to be on the App Store.
The licence to include the YouTube app in iOS has ended and Apple and Google have decided not to renew it, maybe this is Apple pushing forward with its painful divorce from Google, maybe this is Google’s play to have more control over their own products on mobile, maybe it was a mutual decision. The reality is though that it sucks for customers, although people bitch and moan about how opening a YouTube video in Safari will bounce you into YouTube.app, it was a really good app, and one I used a lot, now although we’re not going to be left high and dry without a YouTube app since Google are making their own, I doubt it will live up to the hype.
Google has a pretty spotty track record with native iOS apps – Chrome is decent enough, Gmail is abysmal. The real disappointment though is that Google will no doubt seize the chance to monetize YouTube on iOS with pre-roll ad’s, and I guess it’s their right to, but it’s a noticeably worse experience for customers. For now I’ll be using FoxTube instead.
My friend Matt, noticing my struggle of trying to fit a humongous peg into a seemingly unwilling pinhole of ketchup, nonchalantly reached for my ketchup container, tugged the upper crust out, and showed me that I had been using these ketchup containers wrong my entire life.
Levine spent his Saturday reading through 3,500 responses to a user survey. No less than 92 percent of respondents said they would not recommend Digg to a friend. “People were surprisingly very positive and excited and optimistic,” he said, although “a handful of folks was just kind of trolling.”
Betaworks genuinely appear to be a company that likes to build great things, with a strong interest in social news aggregation from making News.me and Bitly, and they had the whole internet rooting for them with the relaunch and rethinking of Digg. I really like the new digg.com even though it’s clearly not finished, in v1.0 it requires a Facebook login to do a lot of things (you can’t even save an article to Instapaper in the iPhone app without logging into Facebook) and doesn’t support comments, but it really is a 1.0 product that they built in 6 weeks, the fact that it launched at all is impressive.
One place where I think they’ve missed the mark though is in launching with an iPhone app first, Digg seem’s like a natural fit for the iPad, it’s news and it’s visual. Instead they have focused on making an iPhone app for the launch, seemingly because they were able to re-use a lot of the code from News.me for iPhone1, that and they only had 6 weeks. If I look back in a few months i’m worried this will be the reason the app hasn’t stuck with me.
At least it means the app has Paperboy, a feature from News.me which rocks. ↩
The Verge has an image gallery of the “Sony” phone in question. Here’s the thing, though — it’s not a Sony phone. It’s an in-house mockup by an Apple designer inspired by a very broad description of Sony devices. There is no actual circa 200. Sony phone that looks like this.
This is why I don’t get Samsung’s case. Samsung’s argument is that Apple didn’t invent the black rectangle, that they apparently copied it from Sony, and so Samsung themselves should be allowed to copy Apple and make black rectangle’s as well. But Apple didn’t “copy” Sony, and Samsung shouldn’t be allowed to copy Apple.
How Apple didn’t copy Sony
Maybe Samsung just don’t understand the context of this “Jony” phone design, it wasn’t designed by Sony, it was designed by Apple, according to The Verge:
Apple industrial designer Shin Nishibori was directed to design an iPhone prototype inspired by Sony’s aesthetics after Tony Fadell internally circulated an interview with a designer from the company. An assortment of renders reveal his design, complete with a Sony logo — save for one where the logo has been modified to read “Jony,” presumably in honor of Apple’s Jony Ive.
So it was designed by someone at Apple. They observed industrial design of Sony, and imagined what a Sony made phone with a touch screen1. would look like, to be clear: Sony didn’t sell this phone, Apple didn’t sell this phone, it was a concept, inspired by the industrial design of Sony, but not copied, as John notes in his piece, this is the actual phone Samsung claim Apple copied. We all know how the story goes after that, some years later Apple announced the iPhone 4. a device which looks similar to the “Jony” phone2, with a large black screen and a surrounding metal band. It seems to me like it was a design they had kicking around for a long time and wanted to do, and liked so much that it looks like the next iPhone will keep the same design, and power to them, they designed it.
How Samsung shouldn’t be allowed to copy Apple
Now Samsung’s next point is that because Apple supposedly copied Sony, Apple’s design patents are invalid, and so they should be allowed to make phones with a big glass screen on the front that strikingly resemble the phones Apple make, “you can’t patent a black rectangle”. They’re wrong though, to my mind, they shouldn’t be able to copy Apple’s designs to the extent they have and get away with it, Sony themselves manage to make phones that don’t rip off Apple, so do HTC, so do Motorola, so do Nokia, the list goes on. But Samsung seem to thinkit’sOK, they think it’s acceptable to copy Apple’s designs and confuse customers, but they shouldn’t be allowed to.
The trial has already unearthed a treasure trove of legitimately beautiful iPhone design concepts and prototypes. that Apple decided not to go with, the first few looking a lot like what Nokia are doing now with the Lumia line. These prototypes demonstrate that there are a million ways to make a black rectangle, a million ways that don’t capitalise on the success of Apple’s existing products. Samsung could have easily made something like any of these, I mean they made the Continuum for crying out loud, the problem is that they didn’t, and that’s why they’re in court. I hope if this trial achieves nothing else, it teaches Samsung that what they are doing right now has to stop.
[Big Bucket, creators of The Incident] just announced a brand new title, coming out later on this year. The as-yet-unnamed game will be announced at Portland’s XOXO Festival (the gathering funded by Kickstarter and organized by Andy Baio), and will be previewed there. According to Mrgan, parts of XOXO will be open to the public, so if you’re in Portland, you can stop by and see it if you like.
The Incident is my favourite iOS game to play, especially because I can play the game on my Apple TV from my iPad, using my iPhone as a controller thanks to the AirPlay wizardry baked right into the app. Anything new coming out of Big Bucket is going to be nothing less than great. Side note: the teaser art for the new game looks amazing.
I’m a sucker for having a consistent app experience over multiple devices, it’s the reason I’m back on the Tweetbot bandwagon, whatever device I’m on it’s the same app with the same kind of look and feel and I always know it will work the same way, it’s also great to be able to choose the best device to fit the purpose when complete a task. I think about this stuff a lot, so I’ve compiled this short list of apps I use day-to-day that I would love to have an iPad/iPhone counterpart:
Foursquare — although I do use Foursquare to check into places when I’m at the location, it’s also a great tool to discover places – either recommended by friends or to look at reviews and tips for places you’re interested in. The latest update to the app also reduces the check in feature to only a small part of Foursquare, focusing more on the discovery aspect, which begs the question, where’s the iPad app? Maps in general are so much better on the iPad, and Yelp demonstrates that it can be done well on an iPad, but none of my friends are there.
Pastebot – the iPad needs a clipboard and an easy way to push clippings to your Mac (and maybe iPhone) too.
Instagram – I know, what kind of an idiot takes photos with their iPad, but Iris for iPad demonstrates that at least a photo viewing Instagram experience on the iPad can be good, and they don’t have Tim Van Damme. As for photo taking, the iPad has the same camera sensor as my iPhone 4, plus face recognition, which my iPhone 4 doesn’t have.
Basil – if only for being able to add recipes to the app whenever I find then and have them sync to my iPad over iCloud or some other magical cloud medium. I honestly don’t trust myself with the iPad in the kitchen either. The only downside to a Basil iPhone app would be that it would be less glanceable, smaller font and less steps viewable on screen.
The tablet, shown about 55 seconds in, might be the Slate 8 that was leaked in April, though we still don’t have much to go on with either the leak or the commercial. It’s being held in landscape mode, the way Microsoft intends Windows 8 to be used, and it looks to have a smooth metallic back with a plastic insert at the top. The logo placement indicates that the tablet is primarily meant to be used in landscape, just like HP’s Slate 2.
Notch talking about the gender (or lack thereof) of mobs in Minecraft:
The human model is intended to represent a Human Being. Not a male Human Being or a female Human Being, but simply a Human Being. The blocky shape gives it a bit of a traditional masculine look, but adding a separate female mesh would just make it worse by having one specific model for female Human Beings and male ones. That would force players to make a decisions about gender in a game where gender doesn’t even exist.
I just find it hard to see how any Google television play is going to win out if Google has to disrupt itself in the long run. Maybe they don’t either, and Google Fiber TV is them admitting that if you can’t beat them, join them.
Apple sold 1.3 million Apple TV devices during the June quarter, an increase of 170 percent over the same quarter a year ago.
That still qualifies as a “hobby,” according to Apple CEO Tim Cook, who disclosed the number in response to an analyst’s question on the company’s earnings conference call. But here’s an interesting data point: Microsoft sold 1.1 million Xbox 360s worldwide during the same time period.
Admittedly the Apple TV is only $99 “compared with $199 for the 4GB Xbox 360″ according to Todd, and the Xbox is nearing the end of it’s product cycle. Although I’d love to see Apple TV become an apps and games platform, the future of these kinds of devices isn’t as games consoles, it’s about being the home entertainment system.
While Microsoft are putting all of their energy into getting content deals like the ‘Woodstock’ Xbox music service that was rumoured for E3, Apple already have the best content offering available anywhere with iTunes on Apple TV.
Microsoft don’t have to be worried today because of the reasons I mentioned at the start, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Apple get all the pieces in place for the Apple TV with apps, games and entertainment before Microsoft does with the Xbox, and that’s when they should be worried.
Instagram has just announced 80 million users and a new app update; Noticeably missing in the update? The “Find Your Friends” on Twitter feature, which allowed users to follow the same people they follow on Twitter on Instagram.
The “Tweet Photo” feature is still available.
We’ve learned that the feature is missing due to API restrictions from Twitter’s end, restrictions that possibly came about over concerns about Instagram’s scale and its strain on data pulls.
It seems like Twitter are throwing their weight around and really following through on their word that they would be being more strict about how the Twitter API is used. Twitter are still allowing you to share photos to Twitter from Instagram but blocking Instagram from reading your Twitter following list to suggest people to follow on Instagram, it demonstrates that Dick Costolo is serious in his comments that he wants ‘a world where people build into Twitter,’ not off of it, problem is, it makes them look super greedy.
The Silicone Valley drama aspect is that that the change has been made as part of Instagram’s latest update, but they haven’t removed the button to find friends on Twitter. When you click it now it just explains that Twitter “no longer allow its users to access this information in Instagram via the Twitter API”, it shows up Twitter as the ones who don’t want to share, and props to Instagram for that.
Michael Simmons, creator of Fantastical, talking to The Verge about how they decided on the $20 price point for Fantastical:
Pricing is a very complex topic and varies greatly per product, but with regard to Fantastical, $20 was a price we discussed and researched quite a bit. We decided on this price since other “full” calendar/productivity apps were about $40-$50, so we wanted to make Fantastical a price that wouldn’t convey that it was a “full” app. But we also didn’t want to make it $10 and make it seem like it is something super simple or cheap.
There’s been a lot of talk recently about app pricing after Sparrow sold to Google, some suggested that they weren’t charing enough for the app or selling enough of the app to sustain their five person team.
The approach by Flexibits who make Fantastical was to evaluate the perceived worth of their app compared to others in the market, they came out at $20, and it seems to be working well. They deemed that $10 makes an app “seem like it is something super simple or cheap” – thats what Sparrow was charging.
I would have paid upwards of that $20 price point for Sparrow for it’s sustained development, because that’s what it was worth to me, but unfortunately the Sparrow team chose a price point that would lower the barrier to entry for purchasing but that limited the sustainability of the business in the long term, it’s a risky game to play, that ended in them selling to Google. So I guess they’re the smart ones.
My beta-quality, more-or-less unsupported Subscribe to Feed extension adds a handy button to the toolbar that, when a page offers RSS or Atom feeds, can be clicked to easily open the feed:// link, which should automatically open your favorite news reader.
Daniel Jalkut has made this awesome Safari extension which add’s a button in Safari which will become clickable if it detects an RSS feed for the page you’re viewing, a replacement for the built in Safari RSS button from prior versions of Safari1. It works great with Reeder for Mac, just click the button and bam, it will launch Reeder with the subscribe field already filled in. It’s not quite as elegant as the old feature built right into Safari which (would only show if there was an available RSS feed) but I think it’s limited by the extension framework for Safari and it’s still a good replacement nonetheless for something I do so often.
Apple have today released OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, it’s out and on the loose in the Mac App Store. I haven’t got anything written for the release today. Instead I’ll be reading a few of the extensive reviews other people have published today whilst sipping at some mango and passion fruit juice in the sun, here’s a list of the one’s I have Instapaper’d:
Mountain Lion: The MacStories Review – Federico Viticci’s review clocks in at 27,000. words, so a long one but hopefully a good one. I really love Viticci’s lengthy reviews for apps and this looks to be just as great.
MacStories Features: OS X Mountain Lion – MacStories also announced their first eBook: an overview of Mountain Lion which included the full review from Viticci, other in-depth chapters on new apps, and a foreword from Shawn Blanc. Also, 30% of its proceeds going to the American Cancer Society, which rocks.
Ben Brooks’ article on Mountain Lion is less of a review and more of a list of observations, I love his stuff though. I’m not going to link to it, if you want to read it either wait a week or become a member for $4 a month and support the stuff he does.
Chris Ziegler telling his tale of woe in The Verge forums:
Chrome is too important to the health of the internet for this to be anything other than a severity one issue. If Flash is mucking something up in a way that you can’t solve in Chrome alone, drop Flash from your release channel until Adobe gets its act together. It’ll hurt (I’ll feel it as much as anyone, trust me), but desperate times call for desperate measures.
I come from a weird place in that I don’t use Chrome as my primary browser as Ziegler does, I use Safari without Flash installed and if I ever encounter a video or website which requires Flash, like a lot of people I will open it in Chrome, consume whatever I need to consume and promptly close it afterwards. I haven’t encountered the problem Chris complains about but I don’t expect you would with only one tab open for about five minutes. There is a solution though for the hardcore Chrome users out there, there is a preference in Chrome to ‘Click to play’ Flash.
Sean Hollister reviewing the Vizio 15.6″ ultrabook for The Verge:
Believe it or not, Vizio wasn’t the only company that tried to break into the Windows PC industry this year with a shiny new laptop. In March, we reviewed the Razer Blade, a gorgeous black beast of a laptop. What could Vizio’s inexpensive ultrabook have to do with a $2000+ gaming PC? Both manufacturers were so laser-focused on design that they failed to address the primary need for their machines. With Razer, the raw performance of the Blade couldn’t match up with its price tag and the expectations of the gamers it served. With Vizio, the price is right, but people buy thin and light computers looking for portability, and the uncomfortable keyboard, iffy touchpad, lack of ports, and disappointing battery life make it extremely difficult to use on the go.
This is disappointing. Vizio aren’t present in the UK market like they are in the US as the partner of choice for TV’s at Walmart, and so the first time the company entered my world view was at CES 2011 where they showed off their first mobile play by introducing a phone and tablet at the event, even then I liked the look of what they were doing and since then we’ve only seen more and more from them in the consumer electronics space with them announcing desktop computers, notebooks and TV boxes over the last year.
They always seemed like the parallel to Apple amongst the mess of other consumer hardware OEM’s, and the recent feature Nilay Patel did about the company only reinforced that representation of them as the thoughtful company who really cared about design and the software experience, something you just don’t see from other PC manufacturers, and they’ve been constantly fighting with Microsoft and Intel to try and pull it off:
“I can’t say that the inspiration for this design came from a leaf we saw falling off a tree,” Scott tells me. “It was really a deep analysis of what existed in the market, plus where we really felt there was an opening.” In fact, McManigal decided to get as far away from nature-inspired designs as he could, in an attempt to differentiate Vizio’s PCs. “There’s a lot of product out there that’s very organic, with kind of amorphous surfacing that attempts to look very thin — but it doesn’t leave a strong feeling of making a statement,” says McManigal.
Reducing clutter and increasing overall quality also meant fighting with Microsoft and Intel to keep the machines sticker-free. “I hate opening a PC and seeing stickers and flashing LEDs all over the place,” says McManigal. McRae was even more vehement: he spent hours arguing about the stickers, even putting together PowerPoints of forum posts and websites discussing the best ways to remove stickers from other Windows PCs. The fight paid off: Vizio’s machines are totally clean apart from a small Windows emblem silkscreened on the bottom casing.
It seems that although the Vizio ultrabook’s industrial design is to die for and the software is squeaky clean, Vizio just aren’t set up to build a competitive laptop at this point in time1 – they’re still figuring out how to make a keyboard that looks great and doesn’t suck and haven’t managed to replicate the voodoo Apple pulls off with battery life in portables, just over three hours of battery life during average use is an embarrassment, and if Vizio want to be successful in the computing industry, they need to go back to that drawing board.
Nilay’s feature explains that Vizio “focuses on overall vision and product design, and relies on partners and suppliers to do nearly everything else”, maybe that’s the problem. ↩
Again, you never know when people are going to check your Twitter profile, Facebook page or blog for the first time.
You can’t control it and I can’t think of anything worse than micromanaging your online profiles in a way that means you only ever have your most brilliant tweets, status updates and posts at the top of the pile. That would be illogical, antisocial media.
If you care about first impressions, the one thing you can achieve is consistency. You can aim to always meet your own idea of what’s appropriate. It may be that someone stumbles across your writing, wherever it may be, and the first thing they read is far from ideal.
I have to try really hard at this, I’ll often feel like I shouldn’t post something about my mundane life, which people who personally know me might “get” because they know the extended context, because I have more geeky internet followers than real world followers1. I haven’t got it completely figured out of course, I’m not perfect, a few days ago I let loose about importtax and RoyalMail, but justified that because it was a geeky internet t-shirt. I had to pay import tax on. The funny thing was that, that particular slew of tweets saw a response from a few of my followers, geeky internet and real world alike, I figure it’s just a universal rule that everybody hates the postal service.
Not by much, mind, and I have many more spam-bot followers than both those numbers put together. ↩
EpicEditor is basically an plugin for WordPress which add’s a third tab on the ‘Add New Post’ page next to Visual and HTML called ‘Markdown’. It let’s you write in markdown and quickly preview the output or even go full screen and see markdown and output side-by-side.
I have no idea about the technicalities of how this works. Does it install a component similar to Markdown Extra to render markdown posts as HTML on the fly? Does it convert to HTML when I hit publish? I don’t know. But it’s pretty awesome, and Preshit is right, I do love it.
We’ve just received a somewhat vague save-the-date from Samsung’s North American team for Wednesday, August 15th, promising that there will be a “major announcement and unveiling of the newest Galaxy device.”
Ellis Hamburger writing on The Verge about the Sparrow acquisition:
At Google, I can’t imagine that genius designer Jean-Marc Denis will any longer ask the audience what icon he should use for his next app. No longer can Leca and company beta test an app with their most dedicated and fanatical fans. As much as I love Google products, I’m afraid that the company swallowed my favorite developers much like Twitter swallowed Tweetie (coincidentally one of Leca’s main inspirations in designing Sparrow). Well, the Sparrow team will certainly build some amazing things and bring “beauty” to Gmail, but they won’t be unchained in building products for themselves — debatably the impetus for building great products. They’ll be building things for Gmail’s 425 million users.
This sums up all of the fears I have about Sparrow at Google, we know now that Sparrow won’t get any new features,the Sparrow team are going to stop prioritising the thoughts of the users and pay more attention to the thoughts of the people at Google.
I must add as well that they’ll be building things for Gmail’s 425 million users and Google. Whatever they invent will be subject to the motives of Google and kept for Google and only Google1 instead of benefiting all of email, thats no way to reinvent email, when you have to use Gmail to feel the benefit.
As betaworks and Digg both announced on their blogs, we are taking over Digg and turning it back into a startup. What they didn’t mention is that we’re rebuilding it from scratch. In six weeks.
On August 1, after an adrenaline and caffeine-fueled six weeks, we’re rolling out a new v1. With this launch, we’re taking the first step towards (re)making Digg the best place to find, read and share the most interesting and talked about stories on the Internet
I used to really like Digg, I was never a contributor, but I liked using it to read news, and now it’s got a really cool new team behind it, the guys who made News.me. I think rebuilding Digg from the ground up will mean they can make better decisions without all the legacy and build something fresh, I’m excited to see what they come up with, especially since they have pioneers features like location-based automatic background downloads which have been adopted in other app’s like Instapaper. I think Digg is in safe hands, and if #newdigg isn’t all we hoped it would be, it was Digg, who can blame them?
After todays acquisition hoo-hah, I think it’s worth everybody’s time to read over this review of Postbox by Chris Bowler again. I’ve already switched back to Mail.app in my dock on OS X and iOS but I’m going to give Postbox a try to see what the Gmail integration is like, there’s actually been one major release since Chris’ review and it’s now at version 3. Although Postbox isn’t changing the world, at least it’s reliable.
We’re excited to announce that Sparrow has been acquired by Google!
We care a lot about how people communicate, and we did our best to provide you with the most intuitive and pleasurable mailing experience.
Now we’re joining the Gmail team to accomplish a bigger vision — one that we think we can better achieve with Google.
So Google just bought it’s very own native Gmail experience on OS X/iOS, also know as one of my favourite apps, good, I’m overjoyed. But Google will probably make the app free subsidised with horrible Google ad’s, limit it’s functionality for email services outside of Gmail, and slowly suffocate it inside their corporate bureaucracy full with the vested interest of benefiting Google and only Google, bad, I’m terrified.
Sparrow had a chance to change email and make it into something new and better than before, I hoped that was what they were doing with their seed funding, instead it looks like they were trying to get into the loop with the big boys in Silicone Valley.
Samsung’s always marched to the beat of its own drummer when it comes to digital cameras, from the two screens on the DualView shooters to the Wi-Fi connectivity that’s permeating all its models. ;The new MV900F point-and-shoot doesn’t deviate from the plan, adding a bunch of out-there features to an otherwise fairly normal spec sheet. The 16.3-megapixel MV900F has Wi-Fi built-in, so you can do things like use your phone as a viewfinder or easily share photos from your camera to Flickr or Facebook. Its 3.3-inch AMOLED display flips up 180 degrees, so you can point both screen and lens at yourself to frame a self-portrait.
Disclaimer: I don’t really care about the Samsung MV900F and it’s unbelievably baffling name. I’m just using this half decent touch based point-and-shoot camera as a springboard to talk about my dream point-and shoot. Note I didn’t say DSLR, I said point-and shoot, that’s what I’m interested in, although it could be extended to that.
Instagram has only made things worse. Instagram doesn’t regard hashtags in the same way Twitter does; in my social circles at least, hashtags on Instagram are used as just words – lists of every little thing, noise or emotion that relates in some way to the photograph that sits above. Add this to the fact that the photo in question will almost always be of the pouty-faced variety, and we have a sorry state of affairs.
Funny, honest post. I use hashtags for events like #WWDC and #googleio on Twitter and don’t see any problem with it. Where I really see grave misuse of hashtags is Instagram, as Ted mirrors in his post, people substitute words for hashtags and it’s a mess. I think the problem is that the “big-shots” on Instagram are often a mix of social media assholes and truly good photographers, and people new to the service learn by example. Which is easier to copy, taking a great photo or appending 20 hashtags to every photo you take? The solution I’ve found to clean up my stream is the obvious one: unfollow the causes of clutter.
Sacha Greif, writing about doing a better interview:
I mean, does it help you in any way to know that Designer X uses a MacBook Pro for work (who would’ve thought!), walks his dog every day at 9 (so that’s the secret of his success!) and likes to listen to Portishead while designing? (And all that time I’ve been listening to Massive Attack! I’ve got it all wrong!)
So my message to interviewers: you can still ask designers about their setup and daily routine, I won’t mind (I’ll just skip those questions). But in addition, I’d love it if you could also ask questions that dig a little deeper.
I don’t like some of the kinds of questions suggested, I personally don’t like negative grilling’s in interviews, and some of the questions are a little weak, but I completely agree with the sentiment of the post – most interviews could be done better – and I’ll be keeping this post bookmarked for future reference.
If I can substitute buying something from a high street store with buying it online, chances are I will. It’s typically easier by orders of magnitude. So any sign that stores are adapting to make things easier for customers by embracing technology is encouraging.
If they don’t want to be replaced by Amazon, then the way to survive is having a retail space people want to be in, with technology to make shopping and buying in the retail space easier1. Aisle411, the company making the app for Walgreens’s, could stand to be the go-to company to implement this stuff as well, and could stand to make a lot of money from it.
I must mention Apple as well, they’re raising the bar in terms of in-store customer service, retail design, and making it easier for customers to buy stuff in the store with Personal Pickup and EasyPay. ↩
I never thought we would see the original Apple tablet spoken about by Steve Jobs at AllThingsD conference, but in a strange turn of events brought about by a deposition of Jony Ive by Samsung, photos of an original Apple tablet have been released and published by “Network World”. It looks a lot like the iPod’s and iMac’s of the era, and is obviously much thicker. It looks good, and would have probably sold a fair few.
The thing that’s really interesting to me though is why Apple didn’t ship it in 2002, when the photos were apparently taken, instead they waited worked away for years in secret, made the iPhone, and then the iPad after that. In parallel Microsoft made multiple lacklustre attempts in public at making and marketing a tablet with hardware partners, and failed. Only now, in 2012, are they seeing any glimmer of hope with the Microsoft Surface. The difference is that Apple had the restraint to wait, and the clear vision of the final product that wanted to make that Microsoft lacked.
The Theme Foundry have knocked it out of the park again announcing a new WordPress theme for photographers called Avid, although looking at the live demo, it could be used as a for any tumblog style site running on WordPress. I use the Duet theme by The Theme Foundry for this site, I probably wouldn’t be using WordPress if it wasn’t for all of the active development of themes and plugins for it. The work The Theme Foundry are doing makes me even more excited about the fact that they’re making the Twenty Twelve default theme for WordPress. It’s bare bones, as the default theme for WordPress always is, but it’s really well done, and I could happily use it if I’m being honest. FYI, all themes by The Theme Foundry are fully responsive as well, so go on, resize your browser window erratically, you know you want to.
Talking of Apple enhancing its relationship with Yelp from yesterday, here’s an old episode of The Critical Path on 5by5 where Horace Dediu talked about a shift from Apple being the company that “doesn’t play well with others” to partnering with select companies like Yelp and TomTom to best match the service offerings of Google. I think it’s an exciting change for Apple to allow these companies who do what they do best, be it mapping or recommendations or social in the case of Twitter and Facebook, a place in the core of the OS, allowing Apple to focus on other problems instead of trying to do it all on their own. It really benefits everybody.
Julian Guthrie for SFGate, in a profile on Jeremy Stoppelman, co-founder of Yelp:
Jeremy Stoppelman was on a conference call with venture capitalists when an assistant slipped him a note: “Steve Jobs is on the line.”
Stoppelman quietly left the room at Yelp headquarters in downtown San Francisco. It was January 2010, and Google wanted to buy Yelp, the online, crowd-sourced review site. On the phone, Jobs urged Stoppelman, who revered the Apple chief as a visionary, to “stay independent and not sell out to Google.” Jobs was not a fan of Google and had accused the search giant of stealing Apple’s smart-phone and tablet technology.
“At that point, we had already turned down Google,” Stoppelman said. “But Steve liked Yelp and wanted to make sure about Google. It was a moment where I said, ‘This is crazy. What just happened?’”
The ISP – which shared the data with the BBC on condition of anonymity – said P2P traffic had peaked in the days court proceedings were taking place, largely due to increased media coverage.
Immediately after the ban was enforced on its network, the ISP said P2P activity had dropped by over 11% compared to average levels.
“We saw a fall at the time of the block,” the source said, “made more dramatic by the increasing amount of such traffic in the weeks leading up to it.
“But volumes are already pretty much back to where they were before.”
I’m not surprised. People persevere. They’ll always find a way to get access to the content they want, the best way to curb the level of piracy is to make as much content as possible available everywhere at a price the majority of people will be willing to pay: iTunes, Netflix, Spotify, Rdio and the like, with no restrictions.
It’s a very serious problem, trying to filter out things that no one is there to see. Somebody has to sit there and filter out all those d*cks. You can’t let all those d*cks get through. You have to err way on the side of safety. You have to have people sitting there looking at things that may or may not be d*cks all day long. Apple refuses to farm stuff out to massive groups of people. They insist on having actual smart, educated, well-trained people doing the job. So that means they have to have some of their actual employees sifting through a pile of d*cks.
Marco’s Nursing Clock icon was probably a welcomed bit of variety compared to this stuff.
Just in time for the Olympics, Google has released its indoor map feature for various locations in the UK. Indoor Maps was first released in the US and Japan in November last year, and has since been updated to improve indoor location accuracy and to provide indoor walking directions. The feature launches in the UK with maps of more than 40 locations including the National Theatre, museums, train stations, airports, shopping malls, and others
It’s going to be a huge task for Apple to take on Google in maps. Although they have Flyover is a great demo feature which is going to sell a lot of iPads, Apple maps are still lacking practical features like Street View, and now, indoor maps. At least if Google really are working on “providing amazing Google Maps experiences on iOS”, then iOS users will have the best of both worlds.
In short: it probably is worth $199. Stephen Hackett wrote a great post over at 512 Pixels which I don’t want to re-hash here, but it’s clear the Nexus 7 isn’t a direct iPad competitor1, at $199 it’s a Kindle Fire competitor.
Although it will no doubt steal away a few potential buyers. ↩
First impressions of the new Nexus Q media streamer from Google, by Bryan Bishop on The Verge:
The Nexus Q differs from competing devices in that it only serves as a conduit. It has no UI of its own; you control the Q with your Android smartphone or tablet, and the sphere then streams audio and video content down from the Google Play Store (it can also be used to route YouTube content to your television). We spent some time with the device today, and while there are some nice stylistic touches, we did find the device to be somewhat lacking in its feature set and ease of use.
Nokia’s Kevin Shields in a sit-down talk with Tom Warren from The Verge:
“I definitely think it’s more than enough. I think that ultimately your typical customer probably isn’t all that aware of this upgrade thing,” he says, referring to news about Windows Phone 8. Shields says he holds Nokia accountable for ensuring that the company delivers on its promises with its Lumia range. “I definitely think with products like the Lumia 900, where a consumer walks in and buys that product they’re getting great value and they’re getting a great offering that’s gonna have a long lifetime of innovation.”
Bullshit1. Just because the “typical customer” isn’t savvy enough to know they should be getting updates and deserve to get updates, doesn’t give you a free pass to ignore them and move on. These aren’t single-purpose phone’s anymore, they are computers. Apple are still issuing major updates to the iPhone 3GS, a phone which first went on sale in June 2009, Nokia aren’t going to be updating the Lumia 900, a phone released in April 2012, to the next major version. This isn’t their fault, as Microsoft set the requirements, but to purport that they are doing “more than enough” for the early adopters who bought their phones, they’re wrong.
I have a bad relationship with phones, or at least, the telephone functionality of phones. Everything else about my amazing i(nformation)Phone I love. But I evidence a cultural evolution in Generation X/Y/Z1 where I never use a landline phone and detest using the telephone functionality of my phone in general. However, I have obligations such as college and my part-time job, which pays for the hosting of this site, which require me to have conversations on the phone.
Right now, I get by well enough using my ugly hack to ignore incoming calls and deal with them later. My trick is to simply silence my phone2 and I’m usually ignorant enough and often walking – or on a deafeningly loud bus – so the incoming calls that I get go unnoticed until later when I’m at home and ready to deal with them. I basically just walk around with my phone on silent, and a lot of the time I miss things, and I constantly have that worry hanging over me, but right now it’s the best solution for me.
This isn’t a good solution though, but neither are telephone calls in general, I’m much more of a proponent of asynchronous communication tools like Twitter, or even SMS. Just like email, telephone calls are broken. While SMS just comes in and requires no obligation of an instant response, and while IM requires more of an instant response, but is something you are volunteering for by being “Available”, telephone calls just violate everything, they come straight through, they are the most ignorant form of communication in the modern age. It’s supremely broken.
Last Monday though, at WWDC, Apple took a step towards fixing it. They announced that “iOS 6 adds new calling features to your iPhone. Now when you decline an incoming call, you can instantly reply with a text message or set a callback reminder.”This isn’t new, I admit, but it’s new to me, and I think having this functionality on more than 150 million iPhone’s built in might do more to change the habits of people than peripheral use on other platforms through apps which need to be installed to take advantage of the features.
The new feature would allow the user to respond to incoming calls when ignoring them, sounds weird right? Instead of just ignoring the phone, you’re given the send an SMS response or set a reminder for later to deal with the call. I’m less of a fan of the SMS response, as like TextExpander snippets, people catch on quickly and this feature serves more as a way to defuse the rage of the person on the other end for ignoring their call, rather than fixing this broken medium. It’s also something I couldn’t get away with as a low-ranking, part-time employee for the company I work at.
What excites me more is reminders, location-based ones. Location-based reminders using geofences were a killer feature of iOS 5 in Reminders.app, and something I use often, and now even app’s like Instapaper are taking advantage of the geofencing functionality to make our lives easier. I have a shitty memory, but even just adding this context to a task of “remind me later at…”, will seed a thought of “I need to remember to…”, this allows me to put off dealing with a call now until a more appropriate time without the worry of forgetting about it. This feature will hopefully teach people to be a little more responsible with how they deal with telephone calls, and time management in general, to prioritize better, and maybe, hopefully, fix this broken-ass communication system that is voice calls over a cellular network and make me hate the telephone part of my phone a little less.
But crowdsourcing translation seemed like different kind of problem. Almost anyone could provide image keywords or decipher a distorted bit of text. That didn’t require specialized knowledge. Translation, though, demands bilingual fluency, which dramatically narrowed the size of his potential crowd. And even if you could reach those potential translators, what incentive would they have to contribute? “We realized we’re going to need people to help us translate the whole web,” he says. A lot of people. And they would need a motivation to keep translating.
Duolingo originated as a way to solve both of those problems by appealing to the more than one billion people who want to learn another language: they could learn as they translated.
It’s always been a great source of guilt and shame to me that I can only speak English. I personally blame the way I was taught, which soured me against it, but I just wasn’t willing to learn the way it was presented to me either. Luis von Ahn has an amicable goal to translate the web, and teach people languages in the process, starting you off with basic function phrases. I signed up yesterday.
Fab is the world’s leading design marketplace. More than 5 million people in 20 countries turn to Fab for everyday design inspirations and sales.
Like us, Fab is passionate about supporting designers, and they promote exciting emerging talent alongside world class designers: they’ve featured classics from Herman Miller, they’ve recently collaborated with Tom Dixon, and they even launched Madonna’s latest album.
I came across this post on Gizmodo covering a review of the IKEA entertainment centre, the UPPLEVA, via Ben Brooks, his comment on the article is “It’s unclear to me whether anyone thought this would actually be good…”, I did.
Now I haven’t read the original review on M3 as it’s in Swedish. Admittedly the quality of the inbuilt software seems to have worsened since its announcement, starting as a clean set of glossy icons it’s now a mess. But reading the Swedish-to-English translation on the site, I can only find one negative comment about the product:
You get a TV that can handle internet services (though poorly) and is equipped with a media player.
The picture quality is quite mediocre and the sound system very good.
Which Gizmodo then translates from English-to-Snark as:
The TV’s picture quality is crap: poor black levels, muddy colors, and a noisy image. This is not what you want with a $1000 TV system. The “smart” aspects of the Uppleva are brain dead, too, with a paraplegic-slow, godawful interface, and broken features.
Some people are never going to be convinced and are just looking for what they want to hear, it’s what Gizmodo do. I still have high hopes for the UPPLEVA, based on this early review, the furniture is great, the sound system is “very good”, but the device falls down with the hardware and software, two problems which are easy to fix if IKEA are willing to spend a little more.
Some people have been weighing in with disappointment about what they perceive as minor updates in iOS 6, but it addresses some very common pain points for customers. This is a refinement release, which as far as I can tell is a big part of Apple’s strategy for development. Somewhat a reflection of Intel’s “tick-tock” strategy, Apple makes a new release with big bets and new features, following it up with a release more notable for its tweaks and subtle refinements.
Even if I’m basing my conclusions on the absence of evidence, this year there have been a lot less comments on the bugginess of the latest beta on Twitter. Apple is taking the solid product they have already and making smaller refinements with iOS 6 and Mountain Lion. A process which is a lot more fitting with their new yearly release cycle for iOS and OS X.
On the display of all of Apple’s laptops, at the bottom, there is an insignia at the bottom denoting the name of the laptop. This is gone in the Retina MacBook Pro. The bezel is all black, with no note of what the laptop is. While not distracting in prior laptops, it’s just one piece of clutter that I don’t need to see every day, and now I don’t have to.
John Paczkowski is reporting on a rumour that Ping will soon be retired, over at All Things D:
Rather than continue to maintain Ping, the company is abandoning it and using its partnerships with Twitter and Facebook to make its various software and service offerings social in a way that consumers actually care about.
Apple have realised that they don’t need to own the social network to allow for social engagement and sharing, the infrastructure is messy and it’s impossible to get the users engaged with another social network – even a devoted audience like Apple’s one – instead they’re providing solid integration with the major players.
As noted by poster “macrob” on MacTalk’s forums, the Apple Australian webpage for the recently announced iOS 6 suggests FaceTime over cellular will work on the iPhone 4 and iPad 2 in Australia. As indicated in a fine print at the bottom of the page (point 4), ”FaceTime over a cellular network requires iPhone 4 or later, or iPad 2 or later with cellular data capability. Carrier data charges may apply. FaceTime is not available in all countries”. This compares to Apple’s other iOS 6 Preview webpages, where Apple states ”FaceTime over a cellular network requires iPhone 4S or iPad (3rd generation) with cellular data capability”.
I understand Apple is in the business of selling hardware, and these extra features encourage people to upgrade, but when they are proven to be so arbitrary that they vary from country to country, and have been shown to work, that’s just a slap in the face.
Schiller walks on stage: “Hello, today we are announcing updates to all current Macs. We are starting by making SSDs standard on all new Macs.”
Then the only other Macs that Apple would have to talk about are MacBook Airs. Boom, every Mac updated.
The most conceivable scenario in my opinion, and it looks like the MacBook Air will get the added option of 8GB RAM and a 512GB SSD, to make it even more appealing.
The huge problem with this for me would be price of the newly updated hardware, Ben says the change “makes it harder to comp Macs against other computers”, and that’s exactly right, but mainly because it would take the Mac’s right out of the price range for the average consumer. When I was first deciding between a MacBook Air and a MacBook Pro around this time last year, I had to choose between a MacBook Air with a 64GB SSD, or a MacBook Pro with a 320GB HD, both at £999. I knew the Air would be much faster, but I chose the Pro, if the only option had been a 13″ MacBook Air starting at 64GB (now 128GB), I wouldn’t have my MacBook now.
A lot of people dismiss the 13″ MacBook Pro as being a bad choice “when you could get the Air” but I think any 16-year-old student would agree – those people need a reality check. Every single person I know in real life with a MacBook, has that exact model, because you get a lot of bang for your buck with it, taking that away would put a lot of people off.
Some epic punditry leading up to the WWDC keynote today, covering everything from rumours of new hardware, to changes in iOS, to the flawed thinking of Ari Emanuel on piracy, a story I’d completely missed whilst I was off the grid these past few weeks, so I thoroughly enjoyed having it explained.
What I’m talking about is a mentality that is both harmful and erroneous, bordering on pure incompetence. It’s the thought process I would like to label as “I don’t like this, therefore it sucks for everyone” or “I don’t understand this, therefore it sucks for everyone”.
According to trusted sources, Apple has an incredible headline feature in development for iOS 6: a completely in-house maps application. Apple will drop the Google Maps program running on iOS since 2007 in favor for a new Maps app with an Apple backend. The application design is said to be fairly similar to the current Google Maps program on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, but it is described as a much cleaner, faster, and more reliable experience.
The first rumour i’ve heard about iOS 6, sounds like it should be a nice addition to iOS with 3D mapping from C3 Technologies, and a worthwhile competitor for Google Maps.
We know that Apple has been busy tweaking their iCloud.com website and testing new features like iOS 5-like notification banners, and now it appears that Apple is expanding the website’s web-application library. If you head to beta.icloud.com, you will see a beta-version of the iCloud.com website that includes new Reminders and Notes applications. Currently, we are unable to login, but we have been able to load the new icon grid. It is hard to tell if these new apps are something Apple trashed for the original iCloud website release or if Apple is planning on bringing them to the site.
I doubt the Notes and Reminders apps were planned for the launch of iCloud, then canned. I think it’s far more likely they are new additions, one’s we’ll probably see at WWDC this year, maybe as part of a wider expansion of iCloud’s functionality to encompass more app’s available across OS X and iOS, CloudOS?
The problem some economists see is that giant tech companies such as these won’t be able to maintain this immense growth in the future. There seems to be a general disbelief of the continued future growth of technology companies, especially with knowledge of the gloomy past lingering in the back of people’s minds. After all, history has shown multiple times that unhindered growth at such a rate is nigh on impossible. At some point, growth will stop or decline sharply.
Apple and Google along with everyone in the mobile space still have a lot of room to grow though, I think. According to Horace Dediu of Asymco, as of November 2011 the smartphone market has now reached over 30% of shipments within the whole phone market, with 69% still resigned to “dumb phones”. That is an insane number which I think we often ignore in our common world-view saturated with iPhones, Droids and the like. Apple and Google still have an awful lot of room to grow into the market currently held by dumb phones.
I think Apple are working hard to penetrate this market by maintaining availability of the iPhone 3GS for free on contract, and with Tim Cook at the helm improving operations to reduce costs breaking into emerging markets is going to become a larger priority than ever before. They don’t want to find themselves in the same position as RIM though, and I don’t think they will, because they know to innovate, as Philip says.
I also think John Gruber is right with his recent comments on The Talk Show that the opinions of writers in the media about Apple are coloured by their first impressions of the company and its beginnings as a computer company rather than a consumer electronics company. The same may apply to Wall Street analysts, worried that Apple can’t continue their fantastic growth. I tend to disagree.
I think anyone working in education, enterprise or retail would appreciate these optional features to lock things down. It always annoys me when I go into an Apple store and all of the iPad displays are colour inverted.
In an interview today with AdWeek, CEO of AOL Tim Armstrong denied the rumours originated from this post on PandoDaily that the company was planning to sell on Engadget and TechCrunch for $170 million, instead he suggested that they were planning on “investing ourselves”.
AOL reported a 4% drop in average monthly visitors to AOL owned-and-operated properties, when it reported first-quarter earnings on Wednesday. Among these properties are TechCrunch and Engadget, but CEO Tim Armstrong said the properties aren’t for sale, refuting a report in the tech blog PandoDaily that said AOL was seeking buyers for the sites.
“We are planning to invest in those properties, not sell those properties,” Mr. Armstrong said in an interview with Ad Age. He admitted the company has spoken with outside entities about partnerships that would lead to increased investments in TechCrunch and Engadget, but that right now AOL is leaning toward “investing ourselves.”
Following the news, this pretty interesting conversation between Ben Brooks and Dave Caolo ensued:
As sadistic as it sounds it’s actually been pretty interesting to watch the decline of Engadget and TechCrunch over the past few months, and I tend to agree with Ben Brooks on this, there is “nothing left there to sell”, they have little chance of bouncing back unless they do something radical to rethink the way they do things, and it’s not going to be a redesign which fixes that.
I want to talk specifically now about why I personally have stopped reading Engadget in particular, after the launch of The Verge, I still read Engadget for a while, and listened to the podcasts, and the Engadget Show, I gave them a fighting change. Now I only listen to the Engadget Mobile Podcast, for Myriam Joire exclusively. The reason for this can be well explained in this photo posted to the forums on The Verge in a thread called “Why I Switched from Engadget to The Verge”.
Two Words: The Community.
Not just the community of flaming commenters though, I try not to read those, but the community of writers, I much prefer a site with objective, non-snarky writers whom I can trust to get reliable information from – it’s a news site, not Twitter. So over time I’ve stopped visiting Engadget, instead typing theverge.com when I want to read some news is second nature to me. The only way I could start reading Engadget again would be for them to turn it around, start producing better content which competes with that of The Verge, I just don’t think they have it in them.
Today Instacast got its most substantial update yet, the app has been updated to version 2.0. Instacast is easily the most-used app on my phone, every day of the week I have a pretty lengthy commute to college there and back, and Instacast is the main thing that keeps me entertained. It’s up there with Twitter.app on time spent in the app.
This update to Instacast ditches the Reeder-style layout of old for a fresh new look, nesting the three views from Instacast 1.x (Unplayed, Downloaded and Favourites) as smart playlists under the Playlists tab, one of the new features in version 2.0. The new layout also adds a tab for ‘Bookmarks’ yet another new feature of version 2.0. The bottom bit of interface chrome in the app is now occupied by a listing of how many podcasts I’m subscribed to, and how much space my downloaded episodes are occupying, something I was always checking in Settings before. This whole new hierarchy of the app is going to take some getting used to for me, but I’m loving it so far.
One thing with originally attracted me to Instacast and has kept me with it is the native feel, the minimalist design sensibility of the app makes it look like it was built into the OS, and they’ve managed to sustain that with version 2.0, even with all the stuff that has been added.
The update has also brought a revamped player interface, it looks much of the same except for two grips either side of the player controls, drag up on one and it reveals Instacast’s own player tray, complete with linen. The tray includes volume controls, playback speed controls and AirPlay like the original player, as well as a share button for bookmarks, the tray also included two other buttons, honestly I’m not quite sure what they do1, maybe I’ll find out in regular use.
The player interface also adds a persistent button to reveal links and bookmarks, this used to exist for enhanced podcasts with chapter markers, graphics, and links like the ones Engadget publish, but now Instacast parses show notes for links to provide this for all podcast episodes. This is a feature I see myself using day-to-day as a quicker way to find links mentioned in podcast episodes without having to look through the actual show notes.
With the update to the app, Vimedio have also come up with a new pricing model: the app is cheaper and now costs only 69p, with an in-app purchase for “Instacast Pro” which costs £1.49 and add’s features “that novice users won’t need most likely, but power-users will appreciate when using the app on a day-to-day basis”:
For now it includes the ability to manage playlists, add your own bookmarks, configure settings on a podcast-by-podcast basis and receive push notifications for new episodes. Every other new feature is going to be delivered to previous owners for free. This way everybody has the opportunity to stay up-to-date on the latest architectural advances, but opt-in for new features.
Frankly these are features I wouldn’t have been able to live without, and I’ve bought the in-app purchase already. I’ve already put together two custom playlists for all of the shows I subscribe to from 5by5 and 70Decibels.
The killer feature of this update though is bookmarks, something I had wanted for a while with the Favourites functionality was a way to comment on why I had “favorited” the episode, the addition of bookmarks allows me to do this personally and a lot more with the bookmarks socially. Podcast’s have been a siloed medium where there’s no way to directly link to the part of an episode which you’re talking about on Twitter, Instacast 2.0 fixes that. Podcasts just got social. While listening to a podcast you can add a bookmark and name it and then share it by email or Twitter (or just copy the URL) and post it, like this, then people can respond and comment on the discussion from the bookmarked part of the episode. It’s really awesome.
Overall this is a solid update to Instacast, I admit I had one false start on my first launch of the app, which got me pretty worried, but everything has been working fine since then. If you were on the fence about getting Instacast, now is the time to act, and if you have just updated, check out Instacast Pro, you won’t regret it.
Crackpot theory: What if the Dropbox SDK controversy1 is Apple setting a premise before the submission of Google’s own competing app for Drive. Dwell on that for a moment. To me it seems like a very real possibility, but a possibility which shouldn’t have existed in the first place.
In my mind, the In-App Purchase system works best with and should be limited to products and services confined to Apple’s ecosystem: the Instapaper search subscription, a subscription to the Bloomberg Businessweek app, new levels in a game. Instead the IAP system is blanketed and enforced for any app which wants to sell anything to anyone in the App Store, even services which pre-date the introduction of the IAP, like Dropbox, for example, or Amazon’s Kindle book store, or even the Readability subscription. The reason the IAP system doesn’t seem to work for services like these is because the IAP is built for either one time purchases where the only persons involved are Apple, the developer and the customer (for things like new levels in a game), or subscriptions, which again only involve Apple, the publisher and the customer. For this limited selection of cases, the system is actually great, it offers an optional extended revenue stream for apps like Instapaper after the user has actually bought the app outright.
Where the system falls down is with these stores and services like Dropbox, Amazon and Readability where there are more people involved in the payment process wanting to take their share. Readability was crippled because with their system they take 70% of payments they take from their subscription and give it to publishers, keeping to other 30%, but in the App Store with the IAP system, Apple take that 30%, leaving Readability with, you guessed it: 0%. That isn’t a nice place to be, and it’s a place Readability couldn’t be, it delayed their launch in the App Store by months. Dropbox and these apps using the SDK are in a similar position in that there are again multiple companies involved in the transaction process if they were to use the IAP system to sell storage space. How would it be handled for an app using the SDK? They would have to collect the money, not Dropbox. Before you even start to consider that though there is the issue of whether Dropbox could even afford to give Apple a 30% cut – they already run file hosting through Amazon, the main reason why they haven’t been able to compete with Google Drive on pricing, they don’t have the flexibility there and might not even be able to afford to lose that 30% to Apple.
The argument from most, including Dan Benjamin on The Talk Show this week, is that Apple is enforcing the IAP to offer a better user experience where they have control over any money changing hands inside apps on the store, so if an app attempts to make charges maliciously, then they can deal with it. Others have argued that Apple should offer a way to hook up the IAP interface to your own payments back-end, maintaining the good user experience of the IAP system but allowing apps to roll their own or pay the 30% privilege to have Apple just handle it.
I personally think Apple should limit the range of the system to the likes of the Instapaper search subscription, a subscription to the Bloomberg Businessweek app, new levels in a games etc. so only they can take advantage of it, allowing those who clearly deviate from this to manage their own payments on a case-by-case basis, as Apple already puts a good amount of resources into the reinforcement of the IAP system. Making the system what it says on the tin, an In-App Purchase, any product which extends beyond the App Store, you don’t have access to it, even if you want to.
Where apps leveraging the SDK were rejected for the Dropbox sign up interface used including a link to the desktop site, which in turn allowed people to buy storage for Dropbox, supposedly circumventing Apples In-App Purchase system. ↩
Replies imply a selective process.
People with a lot of followers simply can’t reply to everybody who mention them and perform some kind of selection.
This selection process – the work provided by the person who is worshipped – is valuable and can be leveraged in the form of following suggestions for the worshipper.
A nicely done post by Dom Leca of Sparrow about discovery on Twitter, suggesting Twitter add a function which was considered back in the early days of its creation: worshipping. Like Dom, I think i’d use the feature too. Twitter try hard to suggest “users you might like” and “users similar to you”, but this would be a very personal way of discovering people, done by the user independently, not with Twitter encouraging them to, because they want to discover more interesting stuff and more interesting people.
Another story which I missed in the erratic madness of the Galaxy S III announcement, Flipboard for Android was announced today, one of many iPhone app’s which is opening up to Android recently. The kicker though, it’s exclusive to the Galaxy S III, with support for more devices in the “coming months”, maybe it’s a paid exclusivity thing, maybe it’s the fact that the S III is one of the few phones that can run the app well, it’s probably both.
We grabbed the app and loaded it onto an HTC One X, where it runs totally smoothly, and it’s worth noting that xda’s forum members say it runs just as well on older handsets like the original Galaxy S.
Samsung have just announced “the next Galaxy”, the Samsung Galaxy S III, at Samsung Mobile Unpacked 2012. First impressions, from the early hands-on from Pocket-lint, this thing is remarkably ugly. The “marble white” model still has one physical button – something Android 4.0 no longer requires – which looks completely out of place, and three ambiguous lenses, one I assume is a front facing camera, the other two are possibly for the phones eye tracking. They have taken a legacy of arguably well designed phones with the Galaxy S, S II, and Galaxy Nexus, and trashed it. At least it doesn’t look like an iPhone, no more lawsuits.
I always used to lose pens. I’d leave them everywhere, give them away, dismantle them and lose the springs. I really couldn’t have cared less about pens, namely because I was working through a reserve of junky college pens I accumulated visiting open evenings when I was deciding where I wanted to go to college.
Then The Pen Addict podcast came along. I’d heard of and read posts from The Pen Addict blog before when I saw a link on Twitter, but I never paid much attention, looking at a few hundred words about a single pen bearing down at me felt pretty intimidating as a beginner. I just didn’t know enough.
In 2010 Android had just hit second place on Google’s mobile revenue charts, with a $120m yearly run rate. iOS was solidly in first place, with a $281m yearly run rate.
A wealth of news and revelations coming out of the Google vs. Oracle trial today, and the coverage on The Verge is outstanding. Today Andy Rubin shared revenue numbers for Android from search and their cut of content sales. Although the numbers date back to 2010, they’re the first official numbers on how much Google make from Android, and in 2010 for search it wasn’t as much as they made from iOS, fascinating.
Myke Hurley wrote an article titled Paying The Price On Android trying to discover why Android users are so adverse to paying for applications with their own money, instead tolerating the experience being subsidised with ad’s.
I think Myke nailed down the primary reasoning behind it – lack of commitment to the platform and a lack of trust in Google. As Myke explains in the article a lot of these Android users are using their phone more like they would a feature phone than a smart phone. The other factor suggested by Maxim Harper is that people are already set up to pay with iTunes. I also think people just don’t trust Google Checkout like they do iTunes and don’t want to put their bank details in there. My dad has a Samsung Galaxy S and won’t buy things from Google Play, but he has bought app’s from the Amazon App Store before. I might be putting words in his mouth but I think he just trusts Amazon more, he’s bought stuff from them before.
Since IKEA introduced the UPPLEVA last week, i’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand what I, and others, find so compelling about this thing. Instead of trying to figure it out for myself though and articulate it in a way understandable to others, I’m just going to link you to a fantastic post Khoi Vinh wrote. The post nails a lot of the important characteristics of the UPPLEVA which in my humble opinion make it immensely compelling, it also raises some points I disagree with though.
I am not sure when this happened, but NameCheap has overtaken Go Daddy in Google for the key search term, domain name. Both companies still trail the Wikipedia page for that term, but it’s certainly a major boost for NameCheap to be listed ahead of Go Daddy. A search of the plural ‘domain names’ shows that GoDaddy is still outranking NameCheap, with both companies trailing Wikipedia.
To me this seems like a big deal. Being the first registrar in the results list for the search term ‘domain names’ is as valuable for customer mind share as plastering your ad’s over the Super Bowl. An average Joe just knows he needs a domain name, not a domain name from Go Daddy.
The real nature of Pocket is revealed by the icon next to the view selector in the top toolbar. Because Pocket isn’t just articles but wants you to save all kinds of content, the developers implemented a simple method to switch between “articles”, “videos” and “images”. It’s a simple and effective way to tell the app what you want to do, and it reminds us that verbs and actions are more important than the oft-abused “content” marketing tagline. Pocket is smart in that it will also assign articles that contain embedded videos to the Articles and Videos filters.
Pocket is doing the right thing in enabling a better experience for watching videos, and supporting YouTube and Vimeo at launch — those two websites alone make up for 98% of videos saved through the service. I look forward to having more supported video services (I’d love to have the developers figure out a way to use the video player for Devour, Apple Trailers, and TED videos) and deeper integration with photography websites (did anyone say Big Picture?).
An epic review of Pocket from Viticci on MacStories. I haven’t quite finished reading it yet, I’ll admit1, but based on this review and my brief use of Pocket so far, I do think Pocket could be used in conjunction with Instapaper for saving videos and photos, rather than as an opposing alternative to Instapaper as Read It Later was in the past.
It’s also worth giving Watchlater a mention though. I’ve been playing with it this last week for saving video to watch later, and I rate it pretty highly, if that counts for anything.
This beast of a review comes in at roughly 5,200 words. ↩
IKEA introduces UPPLEVA, a completely new range that integrates smart TV and sound system with furniture. UPPLEVA brings beauty and functionality to the living room, solving the problem of cable clutter and miss-match between TV and furniture.
You will find UPPLEVA in Stockholm, Milan, Paris, Gdansk and Berlin in June 2012. During autumn 2012 UPPLEVA is available in all of the stores in Sweden, Italy, France, Poland, Denmark, Spain, Norway and Portugal , and during spring 2013 in even more countries.
The idea of an integrated, unbranded, home entertainment system is really appealing to me. 2013 can’t come quick enough.
Mr. Systrom may have lost one connection in the deal: Mr. Dorsey of Twitter. His company, according to several people briefed on the matter, had expressed interest in buying Instagram in recent months. Mr. Dorsey once used Instagram daily to send photos to Twitter, but he has not been back since the deal was announced, perhaps a sign that he is not happy to see it in the hands of a competitor. A Twitter spokeswoman declined to comment.
Less interested in the fact that Twitter were interested in buying Instagram, I think everyone was, but Jack hasn’t made a post to Instagram in 5 days – when Facebook announced the acquisition. Maybe he’s trying to make a statement.
Sure, there’s an arguable distinction between all the offshoots of Power Rangers (Mighty Morphin, Dino Thunder, Space Patrol Delta). But by Amazon’s figures, Power Rangers-related episodes are counted as about 715 shows in its streaming library–that is, 4.2% of the 17,000 movies and television shows Amazon says it offers.
Smart Dot, a laser pointer from TANGRAM, plugs right into your iPhone 3.5mm headphone jack and uses an app on the iPhone to control it, pretty similar to the way Square works. With other extensions for the 3.5mm plug you can also use it as one of the nicest looking iPad styli I’ve seen.
It honestly looks pretty smart, and the kind of thing that would make a million on Kickstarter in a day. Instead though they’re going it alone and selling it independently, they don’t appear to have announced the price yet though, and i’m sure that will be the real kicker that decides whether I’ll be buying one of these.
So with the internet atwitter again after the confirmation by John Gruber on The Talk Show that a 7″ iPad does in fact exist (surprise, surprise), I just had a go at some quick and dirty math to figure out the PPI on a 7″ iPad:
7.85"/9.7" = 0.8092783505
7.76" × 0.8092783505 = 6.2799999999"
5.82" × 0.8092783505 = 4.7099999999"
1024 pixels/6.2799999999" = 163.0573248434ppi
So an 7″ iPad with a 1024×768 display would measure up to 163ppi, well below the minimum 300ppi requirement for a ‘Retina Display’ on the iPhone 4/4S and also well below the 264ppi screen on the new iPad. Clearly, a great reading experience wouldn’t be the primary selling point of a 7″ iPad and maybe portability and price would take priority over that. It sounds like a good display nevertheless, but it all really comes down to “why would Apple ship it?”, as John suggested on The Talk Show is more important than “why shouldn’t they?” to Apple, a great display is just another thing that won’t be on the list of reasons.
Today Google announced ‘Project Glass’, their concept for a pair of augmented reality glasses. Frankly I’m just excited to see Google innovating working on a new idea of their own, rather than Android, and it seems like Google X is where all of that innovation is going to be coming from in Google over the next few years. The proof will be whether they’re able to execute on something so ambitious though.
A group of us from Google[x] started Project Glass to build this kind of technology, one that helps you explore and share your world, putting you back in the moment. We’re sharing this information now because we want to start a conversation and learn from your valuable input. So we took a few design photos to show what this technology could look like and created a video to demonstrate what it might enable you to do.
It’s also worth reading The New York Times feature on Google X from November of last year. They have some high profile people involved in the Google X labs – Sergey Brin, Larry Page and some big hires from Microsoft and Nokia Labs.
So, Instagram for Android launched yesterday, with 430 thousand people on the waiting list to be notified when it went live. And today we’ve already seen Sarah Pavis’ testing ordeal of actually getting Instagram onto an Android phone, but beyond that I want to highlight some of the subtle differences between the versions for iOS and Android and what it will be like for the average Android user using Instagram for the first time.