Wow, the article is actually about sharing circles* but the first sentence… time for bloggers mocking Google. Of course these are precisely the same people who gushed over Google+ a few short months ago.
* sharing circles seems like a decent thing but this is a power-user feature that doesn’t make a ton of sense since the circle isn’t updated once you share it. So I have to share it again later? Is that a new circle or re-shared?
Article: James Burke's Connections: A BBC History of Innovation
Wonderful! If you never saw or read Mr. Burke’s Connections they are now free online. If you watch too many in a row the format becomes a bit precious but if you aren’t a little awed by the randomness of how things became then you aren’t paying attention. *James Burke’s Connections: A BBC History of Innovation* http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2010/12/23/james-burke-connections/ (
This article gets it wrong. Facebook isn’t trying to monetize their users, or at least that isn’t the primary mission. The primary goal is to make Facebook the extensible, social hub for the entire Internet. In other words of http and HTML were the tools of the late 90’s, Facebook is setting themselves up to be the required, essential network of the 2010’s. If they succeed it will simply be assumed that your app/platform/tool/whatever integrates with Facebook. They are doing a very good job of it so far.
Bold move by Netflix. I like bold moves, kudos for that.
But it’s still a disaster. What Mr. Hastings simply isn’t allowing for is
that streaming just isn’t there yet. The choices are too few. Sure, the
website is awful to use, the mobile players are incomprehensible, but the
real flaw is the selection.
But I could overlook that because I too, like Hastings believe this is the
future. But sometimes the future is awkward and needs a little kick. And
having that old-school DVD around was a safety blanket. And it worked, I
basically paid $3/month to have the same DVD sitting around my house in case
I ever wanted it. Netflix has now asked me to examine my safety blanket and
I’ve found it wanting.
Begin forwarded message:
From: “Reed Hastings, Co-Founder and CEO of Netflix” firstname.lastname@example.orgDate: September 18, 2011 23:33:41 PDT
Subject:An Explanation and Some Reflections
I messed up. I owe you an explanation.
It is clear from the feedback over the past two months that many members
felt we lacked respect and humility in the way we announced the separation
of DVD and streaming and the price changes. That was certainly not our
intent, and I offer my sincere apology. Let me explain what we are doing.
For the past five years, my greatest fear at Netflix has been that we
wouldn’t make the leap from success in DVDs to success in streaming. Most
companies that are great at something – like AOL dialup or Borders
bookstores – do not become great at new things people want (streaming for
us). So we moved quickly into streaming, but I should have personally given
you a full explanation of why we are splitting the services and thereby
increasing prices. It wouldn’t have changed the price increase, but it would
have been the right thing to do.
So here is what we are doing and why.
Many members love our DVD service, as I do, because nearly every movie ever
made is published on DVD. DVD is a great option for those who want the huge
and comprehensive selection of movies.
I also love our streaming service because it is integrated into my TV, and I
can watch anytime I want. The benefits of our streaming service are really
quite different from the benefits of DVD by mail. We need to focus on rapid
improvement as streaming technology and the market evolves, without
maintaining compatibility with our DVD by mail service.
So we realized that streaming and DVD by mail are really becoming two
different businesses, with very different cost structures, that need to be
marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate
It’s hard to write this after over 10 years of mailing DVDs with pride, but
we think it is necessary: In a few weeks, we will rename our DVD by mail
service to “Qwikster”. We chose the name Qwikster because it refers to quick
delivery. We will keep the name “Netflix” for streaming.
Qwikster will be the same website and DVD service that everyone is used to.
It is just a new name, and DVD members will go to qwikster.com to access
their DVD queues and choose movies. One improvement we will make at launch
is to add a video games upgrade option, similar to our upgrade option for
Blu-ray, for those who want to rent Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 games. Members
have been asking for video games for many years, but now that DVD by mail
has its own team, we are finally getting it done. Other improvements will
follow. A negative of the renaming and separation is that the Qwikster.comand
Netflix.com websites will not be integrated.
There are no pricing changes (we’re done with that!). If you subscribe to
both services you will have two entries on your credit card statement, one
for Qwikster and one for Netflix. The total will be the same as your current
charges. We will let you know in a few weeks when the Qwikster.com website
is up and ready.
For me the Netflix red envelope has always been a source of joy. The new
envelope is still that lovely red, but now it will have a Qwikster logo. I
know that logo will grow on me over time, but still, it is hard. I imagine
it will be similar for many of you.
I want to acknowledge and thank you for sticking with us, and to apologize
again to those members, both current and former, who felt we treated them
Both the Qwikster and Netflix teams will work hard to regain your trust. We
know it will not be overnight. Actions speak louder than words. But words
help people to understand actions.
Irvine, CA-based startup Drumbi is today launching its new iPhone and Android app that wants to revolutionize the phone call. With Drumbi you’re now able to specify the topic of a phone call, as well as the location from which you’re calling before you place it. You can also designate the urgency of your call, so that when the recipient answers they’re well aware of the context and other relevant information you would have had to explain anyway. (via Drumbi: Reinventing phone calls by giving them a subject line - TNW Apps)
I like the notion of contextualizing phone calls with metadata, and tying that to the life stream.
Revolutionary? I like new features for phone calls (okay, I hate voice/phone, but bear with me) but revolutionize? I’ve had subject and also rich metadata for calls with Lync (formerly Office Communicator) for years. That didnt make a phone call annoying. And Skype chats escalated to voice more or less have meta data. So tell me how this revolutionizes the call?
Make voice asynch, that would change it. Add reliable video from a mobile (Skype sort of does, FaceTime fails mostly). Make voice more group-oriented, eg integrate with FourSquare.
Anyone out there just sick to death of this nonsense? We’ve had class warfare for the past 11 years. Hyper-rich are wealthier. Poor and middle class are poorer. And yet someone thinks that calling this class warfare is going to be a winner. And you know what, I bet Obama caves on this. This is my final straw: stand up Mr President, call it like it is. The Republican Congress is in thrall to hyper-rich bankers. There are nuances here to be sure, but if you can’t win a fight against a bunch of crooked, evil, morons then you no longer deserve the support of those of us who elected you. And I mean it, I will abstain or head off to Americans Elect. Or a fringe third party candidate because this is it… One thing about a President is he must have some cojones.
I don’t know if Bitcasa is real or not. And by real I mean whether their data claims are true or if this is all a marketing ploy of some sort. At first glance I am skeptical about their backup claims, especially the part about being seamless, always up to date, etc. Having worked on the client-indexing side I know how hard it is to keep up to date with all the changes happening on a system, knowing which are important (saving a photo) and which aren’t (an app caching something to disk for memory management). But I’ve been skeptical about other things and been wrong, so let’s try it out! What I do like about Bitcasa immediately is their explicit use of getting me to do their marketing for them. Sure, we’ve seen this before with invitations before. But this is the most explicit I have seen so far, “you’re at the bottom, here’s how to get to the top”. Nice. Sort of like showing up at a popular nightclub. Arrive as four guys, back of the line. Two guys, four girls… welcome, come on in! Begin forwarded message: *From:* *Date:* September 18, 2011 14:21:38 PDT *To:* Paul@bricin.net *Subject:* *Bitcasa Beta Registration* *Reply-To:* “email@example.com” [image: Bitcasa] Thank you for signing up for the Bitcasa beta. Space is extremely limited and you are at the back of the queue. The more people you get to sign up, the sooner you get Bitcasa. Use the link below to share with friends or post to your social networks. *http://www.bitcasa.com/beta-signup?share=777072595*
I suspect these studies will go back and forth a few times before settling down. But it seems possible that restrictions on driving aren’t working out. Why? Because kids just delay the insanity. Find me something that can out-perform a teenage boy’s innate stupidity and it would change the world.
Last time I checked the Beatles and Stones were fairly wealthy from the songs they wrote and performed in the 60’s. Given that copyright is supposed to reward creativity and genius it seems clear that this current extension isn’t really about helping the artists or fostering a system by which creations are valued (does anyone really think a musician today is worrying about royalties 50-70 years hence).
This is a craven move to a lobbying group, the recording industry. And of course the article calls this out a bit referring to a “troubled industry”. But why do we, the public, care about the finances of the recording industry? We don’t worry about horse-and-buggy manufacturers, we don’t fret about whale oil lamp factories either. Industries change, they come and go, why is the recording industry being protected like this?
And where is the politician who simply says “it’s better for the public, you know, the people I represent, for this content to enter the public domain now”.
More information about wealth inequality. I think this is a key problem with the US economy today and can certainly dig up articles to show this.
That said… there were a lot of things going on and this infographic conveys correlation but not causation. What else happened at the inflection point? One key I think is under-studied is what the impact of other economies was. For instance Europe was just climbing out of the WWII hole; did German resurgence for instance force the US to work harder for less? Also what impact did the debt from the Vietnam war have on the situation?
This rings true. I like cool apps as much or more than the next person. I too dash from trend to trend, when I’m good I’m a few steps ahead but really it’s not focusing on the hard issues.
And what are the hard problems? There are a few recurring themes, these are generally the same themes I grew up with.
A. Distribution of food and goods. We still over-produce food n some places, under-distribute it in others. Maybe it’s better now than 30 years ago but it’s not solved.
B. Healthcare. The US still has poor healthcare for many and even for the lucky/rich people with good insurance it’s tricky. And even with all that we don’t do much preventative care, we band-aid with some seriously expensive band-aids after the fact. Where is pre-natal care, fitness and diet care, well-being, tracking for differences in aging when hormones flare. Fitness and health is an area I am passionate about but the depth of the problem and institutional inertia is daunting.
C. Distribution of wealth. I’ve posted on this before, but we can’t continue like this. If you want a healthy economy at the tide must rise for all boats. Sure, some boats are nicer than others, but we all need to gain.
I don’t know (yet) how tech can make a huge impact to solve these problems but there aren’t enough people working on it.
“When you get old reading the obituaries is like Facebook”—Julie is over this morning and reading the newspaper (yep, we actually still get a daily newspaper). We don’t know who actually said this but it cracked me up.
THE 5 percent of Americans with the highest incomes now account for 37 percent of all consumer purchases, according to the latest research from Moody’s Analytics. That should come as no surprise. Our society has become more and more unequal.
When so much income goes to the top, the middle class…
Why isn’t this causing outrage? Why do so many people who have it so bad in this country keep voting for this?
Part of this of course is the simple explanation (riffing on a quote from someone) that most Americans don’t believe they are poor, they are just temporarily not millionaires.
Jobs are a good start, well-paying jobs are the next.
For years people have wondered about Google: why can’t they make pretty products or products which are fun to use? I use Gmail and enjoy it but that’s mostly because of the speed. There isn’t much joy there.
This article essentially boils down to:
1. Don Norman doesn’t like Google treating privacy as their own asset. This is a growing meme.
2. The godfather of design thinks Google needs more design, more humanity.
The first is a valid critique. At some point services will be launched which return more value in return for selling ones privacy. To date we trade our privacy for pennies on the dollar; that won’t always be true as services become more commoditized and we have choices. Right now the alternatives to Facebook and Google+ are either not good enough. But for an example of one network which provides a little more bang for the privacy buck, LinkedIn is the dark horse here. Yes, you trade privacy. But in theory you might get a job or improve the network you have. You get something more for it.
For the second…it’s hard to argue Google needs more designers. They could use them and their products would get nicer. More friendly. But their simple design-by-metrics approach will continue right up to the point that the main metric, $$$, changes.
I recently bought a used paddleboard after surfing on one in Mexico and borrowing a friend’s for lake excursions. Paddleboards can be tricky: look down, you fall off. Paddle too hard, you fall off. Paddle pretty much any way you want and you veer to the left or right. If there is a headwind it’s easier to drop to your knees and paddle.
I don’t know exactly what this is a metaphor for. Politics for sure, especially that whole left/right thing. Certainly there is a lesson to be learned from the fact that if you look at the horizon you tend to go forwards just fine, if you look at your feet you get tippy and fall over. That would seem to apply to many endeavors from technology to personal growth to fitness. It’s easy to fall off if you don’t look at the horizon.
One really nice thing about paddleboarding is that you know that given enough time you will fall off. You’ll catch a bad wave, you’ll look down and tip, a gremlin will get you. But it’s really easy to get back on the board and keep paddling.
What this article completely misses is why someone would use one vs. another. Tumblr is for mini-blogging, the space between Twitter’s 140 character chatter and WordPress’ fully-formed essays. It’s easy to re-Tumbl and get viral spread as a result.
But where Tumblr stumbles, Posterous shines. Posterous is great for travel sites, news, essays, and photos. If you use these services enough Tumblr’s offline capabilities are a severe limiting factor. Try using Tumblr on vacation sometime to see what I mean. We won’t even get into my frequent rants about Tumblr’s awful email formatting (this post for instance will be gibberish until I edit it (update: yep, gibberish and yet Tumblr’s support team continues to ignore it)) and things missing as simple as table support. Ah well…
Both are excellent tools. This article would have you believe that in the choice between a scalpel (well-designed) vs a hammer (well-engineered) that a scalpel is always better. But try pounding a nail with a scalpel and the fallacy is obvious. Choose the tool that suits the task.
launched today. Billed as something like “trimming the fat from LinkedIn” it’s the latest in a recent spate of professional networking sites. Zerply and BranchOut came out recently, LinkedIn had a decent IPO. Does this mean people need more networking sites? Doubtful, it’s hard to keep up with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, LinkedIn, FourSquare, Instagram, Path, boring old email, etc. already. What I think it does signal is that people want new jobs (the grass is greener) and the tech sector thinks social networking is the key to unlock this migration. If you think about it job-hunting is still pretty boring. Essentially we went from physical classified ads to online listings. Best-case someone screen-scrapes the company sites and aggregates the listings for you. These sites are trying, but something is still not there. What none of these sites has done yet though is quite the same as the old word-of-mouth, heard about this opening, you should apply, sort of thing we do in the real-world. I know several people who have job openings for instance and *none* of them are listed on these networks.
I love new theories like this. It shows that something we all either assume to be true (loading from the back first) or just never think about is false.
But… This scheme won’t fly, so to speak. You know why? Because it requires passengers to be orderly and ready to board and no queue-jumping and no special lane for gold card members. We’re already in make believe land, but when they ran the test did everyone have two ginormous carry-ons? Was there a petite person unable to lift the bag into the bin? Were the bins over-flowing so the flight attendant had to check the bag? And what about kids? And the inevitable “do you mind switching seats with me”
Theory is great, but find me a system that deals with real people and their odd behaviors and we’ll talk.
Gizmodo reports Facebook Just Killed Places, the competitor to Foursquare that was supposed to destroy the upstart start up. It’s still on the Facebook site, but the company has announced plans to disable the functionality in its mobil clients.
Remember all the folks saying that Foursquare was…
I suspect I was one of the crowd who said Foursquare was dead when Facebook entered the fray. But somehow the people (or more accurately personas) who use Facebook aren’t the same personas who use Foursquare. So mea culpa
You could blame it on lack of badges (Sierra Madre joke here) but somehow checking in on Facebook never felt right. Too wide of an audience maybe, or no points so no reason?
I bet one of two things happens: 1. Foursquare is now an even better acquisition for someone 2. Facebook has another attempt coming.
One interesting albeit anecdotal indicator of a service’s success is seeing how it’s working locally. With Trover for instance I don’t see new discoveries near me very often. With Foursquare I see numerous local checkins. So at a glance I’d conclude that Foursquare is doing better (at least at this end of the world).
I switched to “nearby” mode in Google+’s stream this morning And note that it needs to pick a radius of 20 miles to fill a page. That’s not a high density. Less than Trover.
I’m sure this is different in the Valley but in the hinterlands Google+ doesn’t seem to have traction (yet)
Scoble mentioned Ness the other day and I tried it out. Nice service, with ten ratings near me they were getting a solid handle on my taste. This is especially great since Amazon, with a bajillion ratings still sends me offers for women’s clothing. Downside is their local data is sparse; partnering with Yelp/Foursquare/Google Places might really boost them. I also wish the categories were customizable, eg I see “Sushi” but I never really eat sushi. I’ll keep using it though as the UX is more fun, simpler, than many others. http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ness/id454869181?mt=8
You know me. I have bought books from you and electronics too. Some clothing from time to time. I’ve written reviews. We’re not on a personal “grab a beer and watch a game” basis or BFFs or whatever the phrase is. But you know me pretty well. So women’s clothing? Really? Or maybe I need a few more offers for Botox treatments.
I’m not an expert in collaborative filtering or ad matchmaking but maybe we could have coffee sometime and chat about a few things on the list, e.g. offering women’s clothing to men (and plus sizes to boot!) is probably a good starting point of no-nos.
Kind regards, keep up the good work with the Kindle,
p.s. LivingSocial did offer me stand-up paddle board rentals, that one was great.
—note: Tumblr’s email really did bad things to the email from Amazon—
Begin forwarded message: *From:* “Amazon.com” *Date:* August 25, 2011 6:43:38 PDT* Subject:* *Half-Off Women’s Apparel - Bellevue/Eastside* Your Local Deal for Bellevue/Eastside [image: AmazonLocal.com] [image: A delightful image!] Location 16508 Redmond Way Redmond, WA 98052 $50 to Spend on Women’s Apparel Trade Chic $ 25 Value $50 Savings 50% ($25) [image: View this deal] The Details There’s no need to visit Paris to get your haute couture fix — today’s deal will find you worldly fashion right in Redmond: For $25, get $50 to spend on women’s apparel at Trade Chic . Try on tuxedo shirts, wrap dresses, and chic casual separates tailored to flatter your body type, or score one-of-a-kind gently used fashion finds — like sequined tops and solid tunics — that will feel like they were designed just for you. Trade Chic sells trendy women’s clothes in sizes 12 to 28, and each perfect piece is runway-ready. Go ahead and strut your stuff»»»>
Zerply is a new professional network/connection service. In the wake of LinkedIn’s successful IPO (as defined as having an IPO, not necessarily making anyone buying the stock rich) you knew more companies would jump in, especially if they are trying to fill a niche that the big, vanilla-flavored LinkedIn doesn’t.
So what does Zerply do? For a start they make the “about me” more focused on the Twitter generation. The one liner is 60 characters, the bio is also very restricted. You get five tags which is tough. How does one distill oneself into five tags? I missed a few but still feel okay. The import of my professional data from LinkedIn was solid.
The only glitches to speak of were minor. First was adding a Tumblr account which bizarrely went from bricin.Tumblr.com to bricin.bricin.Tumblr.com which just isn’t going to work. The second is an overall clunkiness on the iPad. Yes, it worked. But c’mon guys, Zerply is aiming for the Twitterers of the world, the designers, the people who use Tumblr. And sipping my morning coffee, getting the link from Flipboard, I am not firing up my laptop for that. So nail the tablet experience please.
All that said, it seems like a pleasant app, I will spend a little time looking around to see what type of people are jumping off LinkedIn and onto Zerply. Moving forward I expect more niche networks to spring up as the signal/noise ratio on LinkedIn gets too difficult.
I hate bad ads. I like good ads. I understand that services come with advertising and that, effectively, I am selling my personal data for “services”. I’m an educated (more or less) consumer. Which is why I find it offensive that Pandora just sent me an ad for Flaming Hot Cheetos. WTF? I am “rocking out” to Elton John, a great cut from Simon and Garfunkel, Desperado went by… It’s the Neil Diamond station for pity’s sake. Do I really seem like the kind of guy who eats Cheetos? At my age a Cheeto is a death wish waiting to happen. And we’ll ignore the fact that I write blogs about fitness, Paleo eating, and trying to make my world and myself a better place. Hey Pandora, give me an ad about grass-pastured meat, maybe some decent wine, even some ridiculous new cooking gadget. But bad ads are inexcusable these days, Google sort of made that passé years ago.
For the first time in months the family decided to watch a movie. We have a Netflix subscription and while I am peripherally aware of the recent changes Netflix made with regard to streaming and DVDs I hadn’t thought about it much.
Last night though we decided to watch a movie and ran through their new releases. And it was a wasteland of dreck. Nothing much new. So we went to the cupboard and checked out some old favorite the kids haven’t seen like “Say Anything” or “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. Nope.
So we checked out iTunes and yep… All there. So we paid Apple another $4.99 and this morning I am working out the math and thinking “I ditched cable TV and don’t miss it, why not ditch Netflix too?” I can hit RedBox on the way home from work if we want a movie. And since we rarely watch movies that would be a savings. And even if it wasn’t a financial savings it would be one less recurring charge that I just don’t need to deal with or think about.
If you make Android phones for a living and you aren’t at Motorola I bet your long term strategic plans just got changed. While Google says Android will stay open how long until Motorola phones are getting features just a little faster than others or get features which just happen to align with the hardware. If this is mostly about the patents and Google simply leaves Motorola more or less alone then that’s a different story. But the comments by Larry sure wouldn’t make me want to build Android right now.