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” email@example.comDate: 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.
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:* “firstname.lastname@example.org” [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*
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 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.