Fantastically written piece from my teenaged friend Abby Wagner:
People want to secure material in something more reliable than a single website.
I think she has a future in writing.
Fantastically written piece from my teenaged friend Abby Wagner:
People want to secure material in something more reliable than a single website.
I think she has a future in writing.
Before I even get started; Flickr can not stop Instagram at this point. Flickr can not beat Instagram in terms of hockey-stick-growth. Even with Instagram’s recent policy changes Instagram is on a trajectory to hit the nearest star and Flickr nor Bruce Willis can stop them now. But, to succeed they do not need to win – they just need to capture as many Instagram-escapees as possible.
Flickr has long since been very good at a few things; sharing, licensing, and interoperability. It is one of the reasons Flickr was included in Anil Dash’s The Web We Lost; Flickr’s API is world-class and the entire Internet can benefit from its rich offerings.
Instagram being bought by Facebook was the first step in the wrong direction in the eyes of many web veterans. And there are more and more web veterans every single day as the web gets older. Web veterans are people that know better. Web veterans know that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram aren’t the Internet. In fact, they are the antithesis of the Internet. These companies do whatever they possibily can to pigeon hole people onto their websites for as many hours throughout the day as possible. The rest of the web, the real web, tries to solve a problem for people while playing nicely with every other service out there.
Flickr made the first big step in capitalizing on Instagram’s move to Facebook last week when they debuted a brand-new iOS application that has gotten rave reviews from web newb and veteran alike.
However, Flickr is too expensive for people casually sharing a filtered photo from their mobile cameras now and then. Yes, you can use Flickr for free for up to 200 photos but I think just about anyone with a Flickr account would much prefer to have all of their photos available all of the time.
If Flickr were to change their model just slightly – one from a pro backup and catalog solution to one of sharing – they could easily win a ton of accounts that are falling off of the Facebook/Instagram table on a daily basis. Perhaps creating a cheaper account-type that costs, say $5 or $7 per year, would be enough for the web veterans (again, there are a lot of us) to completely jump ship from Instagram and pony up. This way, we would never have to worry about advertisements, creepy data collection, or wondering if our data will ever be trapped on someone else’s servers. And believe me, this isn’t something that is terrible difficult for Flickr to give a shot. They have everything they could possibly need already in place to do this.
Flickr, you’ve already made one step. Take the next step and bring us all back home again.
Anil Dash waxes poetic about the web of turn of the century before Facebook and Twitter. But then talks about what is happening now:
But we’re going to face a big challenge with re-educating a billion people about what the web means, akin to the years we spent as everyone moved off of AOL a decade ago, teaching them that there was so much more to the experience of the Internet than what they know.
Facebook is definitely the modern-day America Online. Twitter the modern-day SMS. But our blogs are still here. And Google does a decent job of indexing them. And maybe, just maybe we’ll see a resurgence of people “getting onto the web” as opposed to “getting on Facebook”. But the only way that will happen is if these tools of yesterday get as much attention and focus as the social web. And I think I see that coming.
Buster Benson disconnects on Saturdays. I do something similar every Tuesday night. Doing it for an entire day would be interesting though.
As of yesterday, 25 percent of the nation’s cell sites were not operational, across 158 counties in 10 states. And around 25 percent are also still without broadband access. Outages will only get worse and Sandy travels across the country.
In case that quote doesn’t make it obvious, that is a lot of people without cell or Internet access.
Eliza and I feel like we’ve dodged a bullet with Sandy. We somehow managed to never lose power, cable, or Internet access through the entire storm. I’m really amazed.
I also have a much longer story to tell as Sandy became a hurricane while we were on a cruise ship traveling south in the Atlantic. But that is a story for another time.
Everyone has an echo chamber that they’ve unwittingly built up around them. Your interests, friends, environment, and location are all factors in determining what your experiences are, what you know, and what you don’t know. It can be limiting.
How can you tell if you’re in an echo chamber? Ask yourself; Is your experience and knowledge more diverse than it was five years ago? Do you know everything there is to know about a single topic such as Apple or Anime? Do you listen to podcasts, read the blogs of, and follow the tweets of the same few guys? Do you see the same headline (or worse, sponsor) more than four times a day? You get the point. You’ve built up a few walls around yourself and things are beginning to echo a bit.
Shake things up. Tear down the walls. Here’s how:
Travel. Don’t go on vacation and just visit the touristy areas. Sit, eat, chat, and work with the people of the area you travel to. Learn what it is that makes business, marketing, and sales thrive there. Come back with ways you can improve how you do business. (Visit the touristy areas too, though, and Instagram the crap out of them.)
Go to conferences and meet ups. No doubt you’ll hear new perspectives from the presenters but also be sure to intentionally speak to people who don’t do exactly what you do. Ask them questions about how they do business, what lessons they’ve learned, what skills they have, and what their favorite hobbies are.
Work next to someone different. Have you had the same job for more than a few years? That’s great. You should consider yourself fortunate. But you have to mix it up and you don’t have to quit to do it. Work at a coworking space or a cafe a few times a week. Sit next to someone different. Feel their energy when they’re getting stuff done. Teach them how you do things. Bring the lessons you learn from them back into your company. Everyone will benefit.
Periodically delete your RSS subscriptions. Or, perhaps, you use Twitter Lists now instead. Whatever the case, once-and-awhile go through and delete the sites that deliver news and opinion pieces. If you read someone’s opinion long enough their opinions begin to form your own. Break out of that habit. Read the counter arguments. Or ditch them altogether.
Take a break from what you already know and follow something brand-new. Do you know everything about the new iPhone being released next month? Do you have an App.net account? (So do I.) This is OK. It is good to know what’s new. But don’t forget to learn from the past or from something new. Something way out of your “wheelhouse”. What about following something super local but important like the growth of your community, the efforts to build new parks in your town, celebrate the centennial anniversary of a nearby bakery, or help a friend build a new business that you know nothing about? Take a break. Follow something new.
Watch 90% less television. That’s it.
Get offline at least one night a week. The Internet is awesome. But it will be awesome tomorrow, too. Get offline one night a week (meaning, from 5pm until you go to sleep don’t touch the Internet in anyway on computer, phone, TV, nothing) and do something you need to get done. Grocery shop, clean your house, repair something, play a board game with a friend, go to a museum, walk around your town and speak with your neighbors, plant a garden, cook a new recipe (twice). Remember; seeing something on-screen is much different than feeling it with your hands, smelling it, or tasting it. Get out there.
Our echo chambers won’t kill us. But they certainly limit our own perspective. And, in reality, our experiences are what make us different, valuable to a company, and fun to be around. Tear down the walls of your own echo chamber and see what else is out there.
Have more to add? Consider chiming in on Hacker News.
Andrew Blum, in Tubes:
“For all the talk of the placelessness of our digital age, the Internet is as fixed in real, physical places as any railroad or telephone system ever was.”
I must get a copy of this book. I found it via Jeremy Keith’s nice post about visiting the Heart’s Content cable station recently. I love how Jeremy wishes (and actually does) visit some of the places that are vital in the birth of the telegraph and Internet.
Most people in this world couldn’t describe to you the way the Internet works. Some, though, could more than likely describe to you the way a telegraph works. At least as its basic “sending Morse code over a line drawn between two locations” description. When people think of the Internet they do not think of it as a physical network the way they do the telegraph. But they should. You should.
I think it is great to remember where we’ve come from and also that the Internet is still, and will be for some time, a huge series of cables and routers and boxes and boosters and buildings and the list goes on and on. To understand the network is to be a better developer.
Paul Miller, a writer for The Verge, somewhat recently decided to take a year off from the Internet. You can call it a stunt if you’d like to – but it is turning out to be one of the most interesting public experiments I’ve ever seen online.
A recent piece and video by Miller was Against the future: inside the Jewish anti-Internet rally. Incredibly interesting, fun to watch, and definitely worth your time. And people are lining up to see what Miller covers next.
You can read all of Paul’s work on The Verge from his page. Presumably he and his coworkers have figured out a system of publishing for him. I secretly wish there was a weekly printed newspaper that could be delivered through the post of all of Miller’s entries for the week.
As of midnight, this is Google.com. It now points here.
xkcd strikes again. This time they’ve hit a nerve (at least for me). I can’t stand finding forum threads that would address the exact issue I’m facing only to see that it went unanswered. Ugh.
Just when I thought the Internet was already a commodity I visit Atlantic City where people are nickel and dime’d to death – literally.
I suppose it shouldn’t be very surprising to me that the resorts in Atlantic City charge you for every single amenity that they can, for every step you take on their property, and for every bite or sip of anything while you’re in the resort. This is the land in which retirees sit transfixed on three tumbling numbers – hoping they’ll line up and their life will somehow change.
Walking through the casinos Eliza and I saw older men and women, smoking and drinking, working two and three machines at a time – simply eking out the remainder of their existence at the mercy of the smoke, liquor, and gambling control boards. It isn’t a pretty sight. I’m all for a good game – this isn’t what this is. This is bloodletting and the vein is the pension plans of the retired and the drug and alcohol induced whims of newlyweds.
Did I mention we had a good time? For those of us with self control, the motivation to seek out the side streets, and the wherewithal to side-step the money hungry schemes – Atlantic City can be fun.
I suppose the part of all of this that makes me upset the most is that the Internet is a commodity nearly everywhere else in the world. Cafes, “cheap” motels, even the local car garage. It is a service. Like providing a phone book, phone, TV, business services, and “things to do” sheet all in one.
I’m just looking forward to the day when the Internet is as ubiquitous as electricity.
We’ve all heard it before – and at this point I’m sure we’ve all experienced it – the Internet is having a profound effect on my attention span. From the first days of hypertext to the era of Twitter the messaging of the net is getting shorter and shorter while at the same time increasing in number. I find it very hard to swim up river so I suppose my attention span is simply changing with the times.
A few years ago I made it a goal to read a book a month for a year. I did OK. I didn’t reach my goal but I found time to read a fair number of books and had a great time doing it.
But now I’m finding it hard to get through a single book, or even a few chapters of a book. I find it especially hard to read long form on the iPad. With a flick of my fingers I can check Twitter, Facebook, my email, CNN.
Most books have rough parts. Parts that drag, lull, or seem to slow way down. You expect it. And when I came to these parts in past I would simply power through them. But now, if I find even a few sentences in a row that do not keep my attention I feel like I should move on, close the book, and read something else.
OK. We get it. We are probably all suffering from this trend. So how am I going to conquer it? Simple; practice. I’m going to retrain my attention span. I’m going to sit down with something – a book, a project, maybe even some time for meditation – and spend 30 minutes with it. Then, I’ll progress from there.
For whatever reason this hasn’t really affected my work or my personal research projects. I’m guessing that deadlines have something to do with that.
I’ll report back on my progress.
Revision3, the Internet video network that brought you DIGG Nation, The Totally Rad Show, Scam School, and other very popular video podcasts, is offering Conan O’Brien a spot on their network. What’s more they are offering a fair stake in the company itself to Conan if he decided to make the jump.
Jim Louderback, the CEO of Revision3, also provided his reasoning on the matter. I believe his comparison to Howard Stern andÂ satelliteÂ radio is apt.
I think this bold move is great for a company like Revision3 to make. I hope there is some dialogue that carries on as a result of this move that, at the very least, puts the Internet into the mix for anyone that does traditional TV and wants something different. It may not be Conan’s choice but if it even makes it “a choice” for Conan that will be a success.
The Boxee Box, a mini-square-ish computer with the sole purpose of running Boxee on a television, is becoming more compelling with every press release. Made by D-Link this little box is being reported to hit the market at under $200 and to have one heckuva remote control.
At that size, with that design, that price point and with a remote control that sports a QWERTY keyboard on the back I see no reason not to get a Boxee Box. I’m still looking forward to details on the way it integrates with the home network though.
Google launched its public DNS offering yesterday. Immediate reactions were “ooo, aaahhh, sweeet!” because we all know Google will nail the technology aspects of an fast, open DNS. Immediately following those reactions, however, came the “Oh great, now they know more about me!” statements.
This has Google’s public DNS casting a slightly different shadow now doesn’t it? Your ISP, while they probably do have a policy for privacy in place, has more than likely never shared that policy with you. Or, even if they have, you may not have read it.
What would I care if they have a log of where I’ve gone online? I don’t.
For years the Internet has challenged those that work on it.
At first it was all about how to get the bits from here to there. Then it was how to link them together and to navigate through them. Then it was about adding media. Next came display ports and fitting well-designed information on them using both text and rich media together. The next big challenge was bandwidth – using it efficiently, increasing it, and making it affordable. And on and on the challenges came and went.
The next challenge for Web designers, according to Jason Santa Maria‘s article on A List Apart titled On Web Typography, will be choosing font faces. Until somewhat recently a Web designer would have to go through some technical fire-circles to use font faces outside of the normal ‘system fonts’ that come standard on every computer in the world. Due to the limited choices, designers haven’t had too much of a challenge about what font to use where.
Web designers, according to Jason, are going to have to dive into Typography like never before. They will need to learn what font faces go well together, how many to use, how to use weight and selection to invoke certain emotions, etc. He lays out some really great rules to follow in the article but even he admits that his rules are breakable. His point is, roll up your sleeves and be prepared to work hard at this.
Two things excite me about the future of Tyography on the Web. The first is that we’re going to see an explosion of Web sites that incorporate font faces that we haven’t really seen on our screens. You know that feeling you get when you see a really well designed poster, magazine, book, manual, or anything else that is printed thesedays? You’re about to have those same feelings when you look at Web sites. The second is that old school designers, those that got ink on their hands when they started their career, are now the guys that know more than the new guys. The technical hurdles for using non-standard font faces on Web sites have been removed and the creative juices can now begin to flow from even the most non-technical designers. The field is wide open.
In a word, the world of type on the Web is getting interesting.
These facts are nothing new and, I’ll bet, do not allude those that built these services. But, they see a general use and purpose for these services and decided to provide their own solution to the problem.
The problem is that, in some cases, you need a shorter URL than the one provided by a particular Web site. Web sites with incredibly long URLs (like Amazon, Google Maps, or search results on a site) can be cumbersome to deal with in situations like writing email, Twittering (I’m cdevroe by the way), and sending SMS messages. URL shorteners attempt to solve this problem by creating links to these pages much easier by providing a significantly shorter URL that simply redirects to the URL that you chose.
Seems innocent enough. Seems simple enough. However, by creating a shorter URL that represents a longer one you’re, as Joshua states, adding unneeded layers that could potentially fail overtime. If the URL shortening service manages 1,000,000 redirects, and suddenly goes down, those redirects no longer work. This is a big problem.
For services like Twitter, which benefit greatly from these URL shortening services due to their short message limit, they stand to have millions and millions of dead links. Right now, by default, Twitter uses TinyURL to automatically shorten URLs to help them fit into the 140 character limit for SMS messages. Jason Kottke suggested that Twitter create its own URL shortening service so that they can guarantee it be around forever and to replace all of the short URLs it had created in the past. I’m going to go one step further and suggest that they buy Bit.ly.
While Twitter has chosen to use TinyURL I believe this was because Bit.ly wasn’t around when they added the TinyURL functionality. Bit.ly is more on par with Twitter’s real-time efforts. Twitter would immediately get their own URL shortening service that has, on top of it, a very good statistics package to show how those links are being used, where they are clicked on from, how many people clicked them, and a service that has a good API.
Let me just start off by saying that I think this is excellent in every way. Shaquille O’Neal, the star Center from the NBA, is on Twitter and actually uses it aright. This you may have known already, but if you aren’t one of his 225,000+ and counting followers yet, now you know and maybe you will be. He’s been asking that his Twitter followers begin to try to meet him “in real life”. His reason? Because of these two guys.
Two fans of Shaq decided to go to a diner in their hometown because Shaq Twittered that he was there. They showed up and, indeed, he was there. Shaq asked, via Twitter, if any Twitter-peeps were in the diner. They raised their hands. Shaq asked them to come over. They took some photos, shook hands, and left. One of the guys wrote about it on their blog (at Shaq’s request no less).
Since then Shaq has asked that people be more brave about coming to say hi. He even said to his followers that they have a special bond in that they are all on Twitter. In fact, at this very moment Shaq is in Miami and giving away two tickets to the first people to come up and touch him.
The fact that this all started at a diner just makes it all the better. I love diners.
Side note: You may follow me on Twitter. I’m cdevroe. The_Real_Colin, if you will.