From Me To You

I’m sure I’m not the only one getting a bit tired of MC Siegler and his ilk complaining about e-mail. We get it, you want us to use something else, and preferably – I’m just taking a wild guess here – a service you’ve invested in.

[E-mail’s] the worst thing ever for about a billion reasons.

Siegler famously invested in Path, which was hard to miss if you read tech news, since he kept shilling for it. Later, Path proceeded to copy all the users’ contacts and spammed them all with requests to join the service, even after users deleted the app. (Nobody likes Path very much anymore.)

Here’s the thing about e-mail, though: I can open an account with Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, and a score of others; I can even host it myself if I want. (I do). Once I’ve done that, I can send e-mail from any of these services to any of the others, including the self-hosted one, and the recipient will get it, regardless of provider. Unless, of course, you live in a dictatorship or some hacker suspects you have nude pics lying around or you can’t figure out how to set up IMAP. Even so.

Twitter, Path, Wattsapp, GTalk/Chat/Hangouts/Facebook Messenger make up just a tiny selection of messaging services out there, and while they’re often based on the same technology, pretty much none of them can actually talk to each other, thanks to the proprietary stuff that gets added. Superior communication platforms, my ass!

The one thing I’m pretty sure of is that e-mail will still be around when all these other services have gone to seed. E-mail is universal and open. This is frankly fantastic, and unsurprisingly, came around before the whoring out monetization of the Internet.

Sure, e-mail isn’t great for everything, and yes, it can be clunky, but it was born of the open Internet and after all these years, it still delivers on the promise of limitless, instantaneous communication these other services promise – and fail – to deliver. All this, and not a walled garden in sight.

02.09.2014 • Permalink

[C]ults can sometimes come back to bite the companies, if the most vocal of the faithful are displeased. Apple has seen this when it made too many changes in its pro video editing software, or when the new iPhone operating system, iOS 7, suddenly made everyone’s phone look different.

Walt Mossberg, explaining how complaining about your professional video editing suite suddenly losing a great deal of functionality after a belated update is just dumb fanboyism. (The other stuff about mostly cosmetic changes is fair, though hardly new or even tech-specific.)

06.01.2014 • Permalink

Credit where it’s due

To celebrate my new Kindle, bestowed upon me this Christmas by the lovely Girlfriend, I downloaded some new books. Well, not exactly new: some free classics from world literature.

According to Amazon, the book had been transcribed by “a team of volunteers”, which most likely means it was transcribed by Project Gutenberg. Project Gutenberg is a volunteer effort dedicated to making the world’s literary classics available to everyone. (Provided they’re out of copyright.) Ordinary people taking time out of their lives to make sure the rest of us can enjoy these books.

Amazon is for-profit company valued at billions, poised to take over pretty much everything that pertains to sales, and couldn’t even be bothered to give due credit. I understand they’re within their rights to do it, and I realize the work is right there on the Internet, free and for the taking, but it just seems so damn petty.

Of course, cashing in on work that’s been done before seems to be what paradigm-busting looks like these days anyway. Plus ça change, I guess.

02.01.2014 • Permalink

Up in the air

Google Chromebooks apparently did decent business during the holidays, and I can definitely see the appeal; after all, you can do a lot in the browser these days, and most PCs will probably be thin clients before the decade is over. It’ll be interesting to see if Chrome OS will be powering cell phones and tablets, but I suspect it will, and sooner rather than later.

I keep coming over more and more online apps like the WriteRoom ripoff, er, homage Writebox, and the more feature-heavy markdown editor StackEdit, that work in most browsers and on desktop and mobile clients. Google Docs (or possibly Drive) is already great if you don’t need all of Office’s bells and whistles, and Apple’s own iWork suite will probably be pretty nifty soon too.

Beyond the simple stuff, though, photo editing still sucks, and for this reason alone, I will be using a “proper” desktop for quite a while yet. As a designer, I do extensive and heavy image editing on a daily basis, and the sort of power I need simply can’t be provided by a browser application yet, no matter what web evangelicals say. Still, the idea of having all my stuff in one place is tempting.

The instant update and always being on the cutting edge has an undeniable appeal, but you don’t have to be a conspiracy fanatic to feel some unease about all your stuff being stored in someone else’s house. My document folder is as dull as it gets, and I still get creeped out by the thought of someone going through it.

Of course, convenience will – as it usually does – win the day. And the same people who made fortunes in the previous decade by telling us to share everything have started new companies and will make even larger fortunes in the coming decade by telling us not to do what they told us to in the first place.

01.01.2014 • Permalink

I just read that social network Friendster is finally shutting down, so I thought I’d head down Memory Lane and share some nostalgic moments.  So: One day, I signed up for Friendster. And a while later, I deleted my account. The end.

27.04.2011 • Permalink

The Open Innovation experiment looks at a possible future, which I couldn’t help but notice looks somewhat like what Microsoft predicted about a year ago, which in turn looked a lot like the world of Minority Report. Watching this video, my first thoughts are that the future of screen technology is:

  1. An utter surveillance nightmare. Furthermore,
  2. geeks are going to bitch about, well, every aspect of the implementation (because [obscure Linux distro] pwns). And finally,
  3. Sweden will never win the world cup.

So yeah. Welcome to the future. (Via Swiss Miss)

07.09.2010 • Permalink