From my personal blog yesterday-
I quit Facebook once. I didn’t quit it out of annoyance or some noble protest of some policy. I wasn’t using it. I kept up with my friends in real life and enjoyed the simplicity of Twitter. I eventually got back on it for two main reasons: to keep up with family, many of whom are in Ireland, and to use the login as an OpenID. It really was that simple.
That was then.
After today’s announcements, one thing is clear: Facebook is no longer a social network. A social network allows you a way to interact with your friends and meet new people on the internet. This is no longer what Facebook does. Facebook is a software platform.
Oh sure, there have been apps, games, and even OpenGraph. But never has it been more like our mobile operating systems. Think about what you can do (and what you normally do) in iOS or Android. Read messages, read the news, listen to music, watch NetFlix, interact with your friends. Facebook now does all of those things and it does them under the umbrella of its own site.
Personally, I’m not a fan of this. To me, it’s no different than being forced to use Bing on Windows Phone 7 but it is what it is and surely people will like it. It’s also a bold step that will steer the direction of the internet.
Pseudo-techies will tell you to look to the future and the future is Google+. Old time techies will tell you that all these social networks are the same and don’t really do anything. But the truth is that Facebook wants to be the place people stop on the web and for a lot of people, it already is. Thanks to today’s announcements, it will be for a whole lot more people.
Pud's Blog: Why Must You Laugh At My Back End -
I’m not a trained engineer or sys admin. Never even finished a book on it. But I’ve launched (and sold) a few things that have become popular (ref: here and here), so sometimes people ask me about my back end. Which ends up in blank stares, or worse.
Windows Server 2008….
I’m sure it’s purely coincidental that just as iMessage is about to hit in iOS 5, AT&T is removing all of their lower-priced text messaging plans.
It’s not like the masses were about to rush to downgrade their rip-off SMS plans or anything.
Now it will be all or nothing — meaning most won’t downgrade. How weird, this timing.
A cynical person may think that AT&T are being huge fucking scumbags here. Really, they’re just “streamlining” their plans. Just like when they “streamlined” their plans by removing unlimited data a few months back.
It’s all in the name of what’s best for the consumer. What class acts.
“It’s the unfortunate future its what the young generation seems to like” (Comments of this article)
People complain daily about their ‘first world problems’ in sarcastic ways. Some are funny, like this one. Others are just dumb, like the above.
How are people allowed to claim that it’s an “unfortunate future” we have because of young people liking filters for their photos or spending money going to SDCC? If this short burst of technological evolution has made people mad enough to complain about these things when 300 years ago nearly the whole world was racially, sexually, and religiously (etc.) segregated, I can’t even begin to imagine what people will think of our ‘asinine’ technology in 3 years.
On second thought, don’t excuse me; excuse yourself.
As a quick little aside, I find myself mysteriously drawn back to the world of Firefox. This has become a recurring thing for me but Firefox 5 is really nice. Not sure if I’ll stick with it or not but stay tuned to see what my final impressions will be on the browser that reignited the web.
I know a lot about technology. So I hear questions like this a lot. The one I’ve been hearing the most lately concerns what phone to get. Nearly everyone I know is making the leap to smartphones. Even family members who had a tough enough time with flip phones have jumped to smartphone platforms. Thanks to the iPhone and everything it ushered in, smartphones have catered to a more consumer platform over the last few years and it’s really hitting mainstream now.
It’s really easy to get labeled in your choice. Everyone knows one of these labeled people too. The iPhone guy. The Android guy. The Blackberry guy (he’s persistent). The Windows Phone 7 guy (he’s interesting but no one talks to him so know one knows that). That makes it hard to choose. See, most consumers don’t want to be categorized. They want phones that do what they want quickly & easily and work where they need them. Honestly, what prompted this post was a post I read on Penny Arcade that detailed why the artist got a Windows Phone. It intrigued me. He got it based on what he wanted it to do rather than looking at just the platform.
The first thing you want to do is make a list of the things you want to do with the phone. For example, my own list:
1. Messaging 2. Phone 3. Email 4. Music 5. Apps 6. Games
And in all honesty, 2-4 might be a tie. I don’t use too many specialized apps and, though I’ve tried, I’m really not all that into gaming on my phone as fun as some of them are. I could get away with really any platform (except Blackberry) with those. Since I’m pretty heavily invested in Google services, Android is most likely my platform of choice with iOS as a close second. That said, it’s becoming clear to me that Blackberry is almost dead in the corporate world. I’m seeing a lot of iPhones and, surprisingly, a lot of Windows Phones.
Windows Phone 7 might be my favorite as an exclusive work phone. It’s fast, stylish, works extremely well with Exchange and its Outlook app is top notch for corporate email. As a bonus, it has some really cool apps, if the selection is a bit limited.
My main point is when shopping for a phone, make sure the phone fits you as opposed to fitting yourself to the phone. If you want to be an Android person just to stick it to Apple, that’s fine.
Just make sure you can live without what Apple’s iOS brings to the table. It’s pretty nice.
I’ve been seeing more and more about data caps lately. They’re everywhere. Mobile data plans have them. High speed broadband providers use them. Most famous is Comcast’s 250 GB per month cap. The way data caps are handled needs to be drastically changed.
Now I’m not ignorant to why these are in place. Yes, they’re to cut provider costs and maximize profits but the truth is that it’s expensive to actually allow unlimited data for the amount of people that consume data. The problem lies in how the caps are structured.
Comcast is the worst offender with its low cap for residential service so I’ll poke at them to start off. Their cap is 250 GB. It sounds like a lot but imagine an average family of four. The kids play a lot of video games, many of which are becoming available to download and even more of which are played online. The household is always on YouTube watching HD videos and they like to stream movies over NetFlix. If someone misses an episode of their favorite show, they catch up with it on Hulu. And let’s not forget all the music downloaded from iTunes. This adds up to a good bit of data. Maybe it won’t hit 250 GB every month but it’s definitely going to come close at least once or twice which is all it takes for Comcast to switch off service. The worst of it that Comcast counts downloads and uploads into this cap. More than ever, people are using internet backup solutions. These people will hit the cap, almost assuredly.
I’m not letting mobile plans off the hook either. I’ve been watching my own data usage and I’ve been averaging between 2.3 and 2.5 GB per month. Admittedly, this is quite a bit higher than the average user. In addition to the basics (email, internet, social networks), I use Google Music, Pandora, and the occasional NetFlix video on my phone. The data plans being introduced right now are starting at 2 GB. Just like with Comcast, the average user as of this moment is probably going to be fine.
But come this fall, that will all change. Why? iOS 5 and Android 4.0. Google is going to be ready to roll out Google Music to everyone who wants it. iOS 5 and iCloud are going to be rolling large amounts of data over the mobile networks. Even over wi-fi, uploads/downloads will be subject to Comcast or other residential internet providers’ data caps.
My point here is that these caps need to be structured to be scalable. Take the average user or user archetype and design data caps that way. Mobile networks are going to have to take the hardest hit and introduce minimum data caps at 3 or 4 GB, then up to 5 and 10. 2 is going to be too low for the data that is about to hit this fall.
As for Comcast? They need the bigger redesign. 250 GB is more than enough for a single user. Hell, 200 GB is probably more than enough for a single user. So set up plans: single user pack, family bundle, large family bundle (by request). The single user can be 250 or 300 GB, a marginal raise, to accommodate the bulk of apartment dwellers that live in 1 or 2 bedroom apartments with 1-2 people. A family bundle can be 500 GB that would more than suit 4-6 person families. Families with 7 or more people can request a higher cap of 750 GB. They can build these right out of the existing bundles with varying speeds (bonus: they’d be easier to market than names like “Performance” or “Blast!”). The caps can go lower if Comcast would only count the amount of data downloaded.
Some adjustments now will lead to much happier consumers and a much easier transition into the future. Failing to change now is going to cause a very painful end: internet will become classified as a utility. It’s already headed that way now. The private sector has to prove it can scale to accommodate the growing user base. Of course, this is going to be moot in the future. Internet will become a utility. It’s going to happen whether you want it to or not. It’s already a human right according to the United Nations. So if these companies are in it for the money, why not stave off the inevitable for a bit longer and make some more?
And let me stream as much of my music as I want while you’re at it.
I want to briefly (very briefly) touch on the Nortel patent bidding just over a week ago. There was a lot of media coverage and some of it focused on how Google was making bizarre bids that were mathematical numbers like pi. The general perception became that Google wasn’t really taking it that seriously.
This is wrong.
Not only were they taking it seriously but they were taking it very seriously. A well-placed source present during the entire bidding process informed me that bidding got pretty intense among all the parties, including Google. In fact, when bids got as high as the $4 billion mark, Google employees had to take a break in order to go back and clear new, higher bids with Larry Page.
My point is that Google didn’t just take this lying down. They knew exactly how much they wanted to spend and how much they were willing to go over that amount to get what they wanted. And they lost.
In the midst of all the free and great services that Google provides, it’s easy to look at them like a snarky little startup that just happens to be more successful than most. They’re not. They are a large business and they’re very good at being one. Are they going to get slammed by litigation now? Of course. Those Nortel patents were valuable. But just like Apple, Microsoft, Intel, and a whole host of others, Google knows what it’s doing. Most successful businesses do.
Normally, this is one of the tabs I keep open. I got prompted to use this today and closed the tab. I hate having that sidebar there and no, I don’t care that I can turn it off. It looks like crap. There has to be a better way. In fact, I know there is. So why doesn’t Facebook use a better way?
We’ll start with a question: How many posts a year do you see about app store A with X apps and Y downloads? I reckon it’ll be 50+ total. The problem with this is that none of those posts give a metric that shows the real health of the application ecosystem for those devices. If there were some way to see an app store’s quality pickings in comparison to it’s bloat items, we could rank the markets properly.
To qualify as a quality app, we’d have to have an average rating higher than 4.5 and at least 100 reviews to make sure it isn’t horribly skewed by outliers. You could take that number alone and rank the application markets, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Over saturation of a market also plays a part in how desirable a market is. Measure over saturation as the percentage of all apps on that store that aren’t deemed quality apps.
When it’s not hard to come up those extra quality identifiers of an app store, why don’t the journalists work on analyzing app stores how they really should be? Quality over Quantity, as the saying goes.