attention. industry.

I find it interesting that iOS is opaque about things like storage and the file system, to the point where Siri can’t access that information.

I find it interesting that iOS is opaque about things like storage and the file system, to the point where Siri can’t access that information.

Trying to Optimize.
Last night, I became fascinated by trying to figure out which apps I use the most, and which home screen apps are actually just wasting space. So, I’m experimenting: moving some likely lower utility apps off the home screen, and seeing what my daily use is actually like.
(Apps removed: Safari, Foursquare, TeuxDeux, and Facebook)
Interestingly, I only starting realizing I didn’t often use Foursquare and Facebook when I turned off notifications. FB was essentially spam, given the low barrier to event invites, and Foursquare notifications stopped providing even useful information when I realized I’d rather use it as a discovery tool when traveling. Safari is functionally accessed 90+% of the time via other apps, or spotlight search, and I found my mobile to do list was only accessed during certain meetings, in which I am more and more relying on Evernote.
I’ll post an update later on with any realizations from this process.
EDIT 1: After only a short time, I realized that I head to my second screen of apps for the App Store icon more than nearly anything else, given it manages updates, and I tend to be obsessed with new technology releases.

Trying to Optimize.

Last night, I became fascinated by trying to figure out which apps I use the most, and which home screen apps are actually just wasting space. So, I’m experimenting: moving some likely lower utility apps off the home screen, and seeing what my daily use is actually like.

(Apps removed: Safari, Foursquare, TeuxDeux, and Facebook)

Interestingly, I only starting realizing I didn’t often use Foursquare and Facebook when I turned off notifications. FB was essentially spam, given the low barrier to event invites, and Foursquare notifications stopped providing even useful information when I realized I’d rather use it as a discovery tool when traveling. Safari is functionally accessed 90+% of the time via other apps, or spotlight search, and I found my mobile to do list was only accessed during certain meetings, in which I am more and more relying on Evernote.

I’ll post an update later on with any realizations from this process.

EDIT 1: After only a short time, I realized that I head to my second screen of apps for the App Store icon more than nearly anything else, given it manages updates, and I tend to be obsessed with new technology releases.

Today’s Apple event marks an important tipping point – it marks the point where Android starts to surge past Apple the way Windows surged past Apple in personal computers back in the 1990s. Moreover, I also believe that Jobs knows this, and doesn’t care. I think he’d rather have a small share of the market where he can exert complete control and create beautiful products that look exactly the way he wants them to look. Thus we have the new iPhone 4, which will cost a little more but will have pretty icons, pretty ads, and a cool video chat feature that only works if the person you’re talking to has the same Apple phone that you do. If you want to buy into Apple’s world, and you can deal with AT&T as your carrier, you’ll probably be very happy.

Lyons, on the new iPhone (via newsweek)

This has been my stance on Apple vs Android for a while. Google is the champion of owning a market, and collapsing it into a smaller one owned entirely by google. Apple, on the the hand, has spent the last decade building integrated experiences that Apple controls all aspects of, and gets paid at every transaction point of.

If I had to bet on who was going to make the most money in the long run, the smart bet is Google. But remember what Jobs said to John Sculley: “do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to change the world?” Apple is focused on a different end game than selling the most phones. It would much rather sell the most important phone.

Are bloggers journalists? I guess we’ll find out.

Nick Denton, in response to Jason Chen’s home being invaded by police and his computers confiscated over his articles for Gizmodo based on the “stolen” next generation iPhone. (via soupsoup) (via mikehudack)

I judge every public statement by the standard of Trudeau saying ‘Just watch me’, in what is likely the most badass moment of modern politics.  This isn’t that awesome, but it does encapsulate what makes Denton great, in very few words.

I guess we’ll find out.

Attention older geeks: You are not the world.

Even though I don’t own an iPad, and probably won’t anytime soon, I find the launch exciting.  It seems like a big shift in interfaces, and a great opportunity for some of the talented developers I know.

It is also, apparently, going to kill creativity and social aspects of content, if you ask Cory Doctorow.

This is a difference of opinion, but I have a few key things to point out:

  • Closed platforms can be hugely inspirational.  Go read Scott Pilgrim and tell me it would have existed without Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, two very closed platforms.
  • Nothing that offers internet access keeps people from creating.  The internet BEGS for content, and offers thousands of ways to create it.  My work and passions don’t require unfettered access to my device’s inner workings.  They require information and a way to share my ideas and conclusions.  
  • Code is not the totality of creativity.  Geeks (and I count myself among them) often forget this.
  • No one is going to buy an iPad because ‘it’s easy’.  If you think Apple’s value proposition is ‘easy’, you don’t understand the market.  Simplicity, clarity of use and purpose, and astonishment aren’t ‘easy’.  If they were, maybe people would use linux for something other than servers and proving a point.
  • Saying Apple isn’t developer friendly is in no way connected to the reality I observe.  The most engaged, excited and interested developers I know are working on Apple’s mobile devices through the app store.  Would they like a clearer process from Apple?  Of course.  But they also like having a market, which no other mobile platform offers in a meaningful way.

What confuses me most is the suggestion that the iPad, and by extension the iPhone OS, design has “a palpable contempt for the owner”.  It’s not contempt, it’s respect for a more common set of priorities than your own.  Contempt is creating something that you need to conform to, a thousand times a day.  Contempt is expecting someone to become an expert in using your tools, to make a simple task feasible.

If you’ve ever used Open Office, you’ve felt software with contempt for you.

A Hypothetical Query.

Upon (hypothetically) unlocking and jailbreaking my primary communications device, I asked a single question:

"I know a lot of developers - can I still buy apps from the store in the normal way?"

Meaning:

I will happily pay for applications (and prefer to do so if I have some connection to those developing the applications).

I consider paying for mobile software normal (moreso than I ever have for desktop / laptop software).

My (hypothetical) desire to jailbreak my primary communications device has little to do with a desire to get applications for free (therefore it must serve a need or a curiosity that can’t be served through ‘normal’ use of the device).

[The last question someone asks before doing something notable or disruptive is normally a source of at least this much information.]

I’d like everyone to note that when you visit the iPhone 3GS product page on Apple’s site, the only thing it bothers to compare itself to in the initial splash is other iPhones.
By comparison, the Motorola / Google Droid is defined entirely in opposition to the iPhone, down to the url: droiddoes.com (as in, iPhone doesn’t, Droid does.)
If your messaging is entirely defined by drawing attention to the other guy’s product, you have a fairly notable problem.
"Lexus! It’s not a BMW." would also be a pretty crappy campaign, for those watching.

I’d like everyone to note that when you visit the iPhone 3GS product page on Apple’s site, the only thing it bothers to compare itself to in the initial splash is other iPhones.

By comparison, the Motorola / Google Droid is defined entirely in opposition to the iPhone, down to the url: droiddoes.com (as in, iPhone doesn’t, Droid does.)

If your messaging is entirely defined by drawing attention to the other guy’s product, you have a fairly notable problem.

"Lexus! It’s not a BMW." would also be a pretty crappy campaign, for those watching.

Crack Pricing and iPhone Apps.

I had an excellent conversation this week, discussing pricing and the iTunes App Store.  The recent shift to allow for free applications to charge for in-app services or features, has created an ecosystem that is conducive to crack pricing - that is, the stereotypical ‘the first one’s free’ pricing scheme associated to the sales of addictive drugs.

The example in question was Boxcar, an extremely useful application that lets an iPhone user receive Push notifications twitter messages (@replies and Direct Messages).  While this may not seem beneficial, for people who use Twitter as a major communications tool, receiving a notification that someone is trying to speak with you directly is a massive boon to their (my) continuous partial attention abilities.

Boxcar’s pricing is free.  However, if you’d like to use the same service for anything beyond Twitter, including push notifications for twitter search queries, email, second twitter accounts, or facebook, the application begins charging you.  While I don’t feel the need for any of these services, I can see how many users would - I already have trouble imagining using Twitter without Boxcar, it’s that good of a service.

Similar crack pricing models should be applied to applications for news services.  Charging for the Globe and Mail application on the whole wouldn’t go over well, despite the excellent job that Spreed Inc did putting it together.  But charging $.99 a month, for full sections that aren’t included in the general app, might hold enough value to make money.

You could argue that I’m talking about the old concept of micropayments.  I often say I’m against micropayments as a model, because they have never worked, and most proponents misunderstand the issue: it’s not about charging people an amount below the threshold of notice - it’s about charging people in a method that is below the threshold of notice.

Apple has that system, in the iTunes music and app stores.  I have yet to encounter another ecommerce system that is less work, especially on a mobile platform.  Letting users pay for expansions within the application makes it even simpler, as the purchase process becomes indistinguishable from the use process.

I say the amount is less important than the process due to (admittedly) anecdotal evidence.  Everyone I know who has purchased at least one album or app on an iPhone, continues to do so.  Most of them happily report that spending three dollars isn’t much more of a barrier than spending one.  It’s equally easy, and the instant gratification of downloading directly to the device helps.

Micropayments as a solution for news are worrisome, because the newsmedia are unlikely to develop a platform that allows charging in a manner below the threshold of notice.  For the moment, iTunes offers one.

Any statements related to the creation of an ‘iTunes for news’ are missing the point entirely.  iTunes is already there.  Get to it.

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