Posts tagged with ‘apps’
Slate’s Farhad Manjoo has an interesting take on the future of cloud computing. It comes with a review of the Chromebook Pixel that begins like so:
So I’m late to this party. It’s been two weeks since Google unveiled the Chromebook Pixel—a stylish yet mystifying addition to its line of machines that run the Chrome operating system—and pretty much every tech reviewer in the world has already offered his assessment. They all agree, too: With its stylish design and amazing high-resolution touch display, the Pixel is a wondrous machine … and only an idiot would consider buying it.
The Pixel starts at $1,299, but it has a limitation that other high-end laptops don’t: It can run only a single native program, the Chrome browser. Take it away, David Pogue: “If you’re going to spend $1,300, why on earth would you buy a laptop that does nothing but surf the Web?” How about you, The Verge? “Everyone should want a Chromebook Pixel. … But almost no one should buy one.” OK, let’s check in at Gizmodo: “The Chromebook Pixel is amazing. Don’t buy it.”
I wish I could muster up some Slate-worthy contrarianism, but I’m right there with those guys. In the couple weeks that I’ve had the Pixel, I’ve marveled at almost everything about it. Its display is indeed delightful, turning the Web’s ordinarily drab text into the crisp stuff you remember from glossy magazines. Its track pad and touch screen are fantastic; indeed, the Pixel’s is the first track pad not made by Apple that I didn’t want to jab with a sharp stick. Yes, the machine is a little too heavy—at 3.3 pounds it’s about 6 ounces more than the 13-inch MacBook Air, which sells for almost $200 less and does a whole lot more. Yet its extra weight is in keeping with an overall solidity. Made out of dark, precision-machined aluminum, the Pixel looks and feels like a computer designed by Harley Davidson: It’s all sharp, tough angles, and its moving parts are buttery smooth. This thing was made with a lot of care. I hope Apple’s design chief Jony Ive has ordered several of these. As a really rich guy who loves beautiful computers, he’s one of the few people in the world who’d truly appreciate the Pixel.
For the rest of us, the Pixel is foolish, a nice-looking but fatally hobbled bauble…
…So why did Google make it? That’s the mystery I’ve been wrestling with these last few days. And despite the Pixel’s being a nonstarter right now, I’m beginning to think it’s brilliant as an idea, albeit one whose time has not yet arrived. Why? Let me sketch out a few thoughts.
Farhad talks about Google’s potential business model (lowering the laptop’s price and basically wrapping people in all things Google via Chrome). More interesting are his thoughts and predictions on cloud computing and the migration he sees a majority of people making to Web apps that will handle all of what they do.
Five years? It seems too soon. But five years in Internet life is a very long, long time.
Farhad Manjoo, Slate. The Laptop of the Future.
Tagline for LivesOn, a new app launching in March, that will algorithmically post your thoughts after you’ve died.
Via the Guardian:
Launching in March is a new Twitter app called LivesOn. The service uses Twitter bots powered by algorithms that analyse your online behaviour and learn how you speak, so it can keep on scouring the internet, favouriting tweets and posting the sort of links you like, creating a personal digital afterlife…
"It divides people on a gut level, before you even get to the philosophical and ethical arguments," says Dave Bedwood, creative partner of Lean Mean Fighting Machine, the London-based ad agency that is developing it.
"It offends some, and delights others. Imagine if people started to see it as a legitimate but small way to live on. Cryogenics costs a fortune; this is free and I’d bet it will work better than a frozen head."
I think when I die I’ll keep my thoughts to myself. — Michael
Most newsrooms know that mobile is growing fast. Everyone can see mobile usage (phones and tablets) creeping up on their desktop numbers. For example, The Guardian recently said mobile visits hit 35%, outpacing desktop at certain hours of the day. A growing handful of media brands — including where I work at Breaking News — have watched mobile soar over desktop in audience. And we’ve all seen the stories about the unprecedented growth of tablets, the fastest-growing product in the history of consumer electronics.
Soon, mobile will be the primary way people get their news.
If that’s really the case, then why isn’t mobile dominating journalists’ discussions on Twitter? Packing sessions at journalism conferences? Sitting at the top of “most popular” story lists on journalism blogs?
I have a few theories:
Cory Bergman is the general manager of NBC News’ Breaking News and points to social media’s ease of use; the overall newness of mobile as a form factor for delivering news; and the potential threat mobile poses for advertising dependent organizations among other factors that many news organization have been slow to enter mobile.
Read through for his explanations of each.
See also Jason Pontin’s great article from last year in Technology Review about why publishers don’t like apps. This isn’t to say they don’t like mobile. Instead, Pontin explains why TR ditched their native app in favor of HTML5.
It seemed like a simple enough idea for an iPhone app: Send users a pop-up notice whenever a flying robots kills someone in one of America’s many undeclared wars. But Apple keeps blocking the Drones+ program from its App Store — and therefore, from iPhones everywhere. The Cupertino company says the content is “objectionable and crude,” according to Apple’s latest rejection letter.
It’s the third time in a month that Apple has turned Drones+ away, says Josh Begley, the program’s New York-based developer. The company’s reasons for keeping the program out of the App Store keep shifting. First, Apple called the bare-bones application that aggregates news of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia “not useful.” Then there was an issue with hiding a corporate logo. And now, there’s this crude content problem.
Begley is confused. Drones+ doesn’t present grisly images of corpses left in the aftermath of the strikes. It just tells users when a strike has occurred, going off a publicly available database of strikes compiled by the U.K.’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which compiles media accounts of the strikes.
FJP: A short demonstration of how the app works (both text alerts and a map-based visualization) can be seen on Vimeo.
In a recent article at the Columbia Journalism Review, Dan Gillmor reminds us how news organizations’ reliance on technology companies is increasingly problematic. For example, and sticking with Apple:
Governments and businesses are creating choke points inside that emerging ecosystem—points of control where interests unfriendly to journalism can create not just speed bumps on the fabled information highway, but outright barricades…
…Consider Apple. The news industry’s longstanding love affair with what has become the most valuable company on Earth expanded with the death of Steve Jobs. But Apple has a long history of controlling behavior. If you create a journalism app to be sold in the iPhone or iPad marketplace, you explicitly give Apple the right to decide whether your journalism content is acceptable under the company’s vague guidelines. Apple has used this to block material it considers improper, including (until the company came under fire for this) refusing for a time to allow Mark Fiore, who has won a Pulitzer Prize for his cartoons, to sell his own app. Given the dominance Apple now enjoys in the tablet market, journalists should have a Plan B. Apple’s paranoia (not too strong a word) and secretive ways have led it to attack journalism itself. In 2004 the company tried to force several websites to disclose their sources in their Apple coverage; the case was a direct challenge to fundamental business-journalism practices. (Note: I played a small role in that case, filing declarations on behalf of the websites that they were engaged in protected journalism.)
Read through to Gillmor’s article for more about how telecommunications providers, government, and entertainment and technology companies threaten journalism and innovation.
Live Streaming as Activism
- BROOKE GLADSTONE: A lot of people think of live streaming as a paragon of objectivity. Is this really the case?
- MANS ADLER: No, but it's definitely much harder to fake. I mean, it has the potential of validating things that a lot of other tools have a hard time of validating. Since Twitter is only text, it's very hard for a news editor to validate if someone writes that there is 100,000 people on Tahrir Square at the moment. However, if they are live streaming, then a news editor will be able to send a real time chat saying, can you broadcast to the right, and they will validate that this is going on right here, right now...
- BROOKE GLADSTONE: …What is the relationship between news outlets and this live streaming?
- MANS ADLER: A lot of news outlets pick up our videos, use it around their websites or even in their traditional broadcasting scenarios. We have deals with all the public broadcasters in Scandinavia and also a couple of the private ones.
- When the bomb exploded in Oslo in the 22nd of July this year, there was a person starting a live broadcast, and he - with the bomb they had taken out, and that video was directly picked up by the Danish national broadcaster. So it took four minutes from he started his broadcast until that broadcast was live on the television in the market.
- FJP: Mans Adler is a co-founder of Bambuser, a live streaming mobile app. Read on at http://wny.cc/JzCDUn
New figures have revealed the extent to which UK national newspaper Saturday circulations far exceed sales on Monday to Friday.
The shift in reporting the circulation figures for particular days, instead of lumping them together may seem like a small change to reporting figures but it also signals the beginning of a seismic shift in the business model of UK newspapers. If Saturday is the best day to publish a newspaper, maybe it’ll become the only day?
As the shift to online reporting via iPad, apps and the web itself continues, we could see newspapers using their websites during the week and the Saturday edition become bumper packages with more long form journalism, features and lifestyle stories.
This could be a long-drawn out affair or a quick one - after all, The Economist has seen steady increases in readership and initiatives like Matter show that there is an appetite for less noise in users consumption of news. Intriguing times.