Today, they launched an entirely new Readability service: you pay a small fee each month, and they give most of the proceeds to the authors of the pages you choose (by using the Readability bookmarklet on them, or adding them in other ways). It’s a great way for readers to support web publishers, big and small, directly and automatically.
I am signed up to pay $5 a month right now and The Brooks Review is setup to receive funds on Readability.1 This is so new and I was so excited about it I had to get it setup up right away. You will also notice that the Instapaper buttons are gone — replaced with Readability’s new buttons. On any article that I write you will see a button that says ‘Read’ and gives you two options: now and later. Later saves the article in the Readability back-end and Now gives you a great view of just the content. I am a huge fan and it helps that the colors somewhat match TBR’s colors.
Marco is working on an iOS app that uses Instapaper’s back-end for ultimate awesomeness. Let me know if you hit any problems, until then hit the link and sign up to use the service and sign up as a publisher if you haven’t already.
My ultimate goal is to end up paying a subscription for whatever I bring in to TBR a month, back to the sites I read. I don’t know what, if anything, that will be right now so I am starting with $5/mo. ↩
Mike Elgan wrote an exhaustive piece full of technology day dreams for a world where we can rid the password. He talks about how Apple is presumable pursuing NFC technology and how Android is set to include it.
NFC is a word that is going to be annoying for the next few years — it stands for Near Field Communication. Basically it is like a Bluetooth/RFID system.
Google likely isn’t going to transform this — adding support for NFC in Android leaves it up to developers to implement the system, which is just asking for crap.
Apple doesn’t care to do this unless they are getting 30% of every NFC transaction. They do have incentive to use NFC to make interacting between iOS devices and Macs better.
I like Elgan’s grand thoughts, but they are all pipe dreams that are more than 5 years out (at best).
Fabrizio Capobianco debating Nokia’s mobile OS options:
The big question is: will there ever be a lot of MeeGo developers? Hard to say, the ship has sailed a long time ago. Developers today build for iPhone first, then Android. If they have a good reason (i.e. Microsoft paying) they build for Windows Phone 7. If they are in the enterprise, maybe they look at BlackBerry. If they want to support the existing bunch of devices, they suffer and go with Symbian as well. Hard to think they will pick yet-another-OS…
Capobianco is right, MeeGo has no developers and that means that there will be little consumer interest. I would guess that Nokia tries to launch a Windows Phone 7 and Android phone to see which sells better. As much as I would like them to pursue MeeGo and not license Windows Phone 7 or Android I just don’t see the benefit to it.
In a country where users are ahead of the authorities in terms of their ability to exploit the relatively new “social” media, blunt instruments must be used, and the economic consequences for Egypt could be profound.
A fascinating look at Internet filtering versus turning off the Internet completely.
Marco has a hard time seeing Apple dropping the Ethernet and FireWire ports in the 15″ MacBook Pro in order to obtain a wedge shape.1 What if Apple decided that USB 3.0 was the way to go, thus theoretically allowing a Gigabit USB Ethernet adapter and FireWire speeds?
I don’t know if you could do Gigabit over USB 3.0 and the standard is very new, but I do know that it is backwards compatible with USB 2.0 devices — you wouldn’t need any more ports.
Personally I think Apple ditches the Ethernet and platter based hard drives. Though USB 3 would be a compelling reason to get the ‘Pro’ lineup of Apple portables.
Individual phones can also act as relay points, and theoretically should be able to bridge together a phone in a remote area with no service to one with access to the cellular network, where the call can finally be relayed to its intended recipient.
This is really cool — as many of us know, when a disaster hits the cellphone networks start getting overloaded. This is a huge problem for emergency responders as they have to begin to rely on older technology to keep in touch. I could see this being a huge draw from agencies like FEMA to us in the field — as well as search and rescue operations that often happen well outside the coverage area.
Typically I like to let quotes stand on their own with no commentary, but I can’t leave this one alone. Shawn has written an awesome post, and that statement above is one of the best paragraphs I have ever read. I honestly mean that.
I only started getting up early about 2 years ago and, like Shawn, it is my most productive time of day. One thing I like about getting up early is the flow of information — be it email, Twitter, or RSS feeds — is incredibly low. Sitting at my desk after I shower at 5:45am has made this time a silent bubble. Even our cats are too tired to bug me.
I get every minor thing out of the way so that when I get to my office I can immediately start checking off stuff in OmniFocus. I absolutely love the mornings and I am thinking about moving my wake up time to a touch earlier, perhaps 5:30am.
I finally had a chance to read this very long article from the NYT about their interactions with Assange and WikiLeaks. I found these two bits fascinating, as reported by Bill Keller:
On the fourth day of the London meeting, Assange slouched into The Guardian office, a day late. Schmitt took his first measure of the man who would be a large presence in our lives. “He’s tall — probably 6-foot-2 or 6-3 — and lanky, with pale skin, gray eyes and a shock of white hair that seizes your attention,” Schmitt wrote to me later. “He was alert but disheveled, like a bag lady walking in off the street, wearing a dingy, light-colored sport coat and cargo pants, dirty white shirt, beat-up sneakers and filthy white socks that collapsed around his ankles. He smelled as if he hadn’t bathed in days.”
Keller later says:
Assange was transformed by his outlaw celebrity. The derelict with the backpack and the sagging socks now wore his hair dyed and styled, and he favored fashionably skinny suits and ties. He became a kind of cult figure for the European young and leftish and was evidently a magnet for women.
Gee I wonder why, oh wait:
The flow of donations to WikiLeaks, which he claimed hit 100,000 euros a day at its peak…
If you think for one-second that Assange is doing this solely to open up the world of corporate deceit a political games then you are a fool. While those are most certainly part of his motivation, the larger part is fame. Otherwise why dye your hair and start changing how you present yourself?
Please welcome Federico Viticci the editor-in-chief of MacStories.net, where he always has great scoops on Apple and their products. Federico was kind enough to take some time from his busy schedule and geek out about iPads with me. Tell me a little about yourself, what do you do, where do you live? Hi, my name […]
Please welcome Federico Viticci the editor-in-chief of MacStories.net, where he always has great scoops on Apple and their products. Federico was kind enough to take some time from his busy schedule and geek out about iPads with me.
Tell me a little about yourself, what do you do, where do you live?
Hi, my name is Federico Viticci and I am the editor-in-chief of MacStories. I live in Italy and more specifically in Viterbo, a small town 80 kilometers away from Rome. Life is pretty good around here, although I wish I’ll be able to move to the States someday, both for work purposes and personal reasons.
What was your reaction when the iPad was launched?
I remember the months ahead of the iPad announcement. People were skeptical about the “Apple tablet”, they didn’t know how such a device would run OS X (yeah, some people actually thought Apple would come up with a new portable Mac) and, above all, they didn’t see why users would need another thing to fit in their workspaces. Personally, I wasn’t skeptical at all. I knew I needed a new device, possibly touch-based, to put between the MacBook and a smartphone, and Apple delivered just that.
Being based in Italy, I had to buy an iPad from the US on day one. Our editor Cody Fink drove to the nearest Apple Store to get one, shipped it inside a UPS box and, thanks to the super-expensive & super-fast Express shipment, I received it in 60 hours. When I first opened the box, first reaction was “Wow, this screen is large”. Second reaction was “Well, this is heavier than I thought”. I’ve been using the iPad since April 6th and I love it. I know we’re just getting started with the tablet market and better iPads will come in the next years, but the iPad 1 has definitely changed the way I work, read, play games and consume media.
I also remember being one of the few folks in my town with an iPad didn’t help getting people away from the screen.
Which model did you order and why?
I got a 16 GB WiFi-only model because a) WiFi model was the only choice available in April and b) I didn’t think I would need much storage on a tablet. Now I can say my next iPad is definitely going to be a 32 GB model with 3G connectivity. For as much as MyWi and, most recently, Apple’s Personal Hotspot have helped me using the iPad on the go, I want to be able to connect to the Internet using 3G with no additional devices or apps required.
How are you using the iPad on a daily basis?
Mostly for reading, writing and playing games. Well, actually my friends grab my iPad to play games, but still. The iPad is perfect to read long articles saved from the web: with the combination of Instapaper and Read It Later, I take the device off its stand to read and focus on what I’m reading (I can’t do that on a desktop browser) at any time. The iPad’s large screen is equally impressive to write down articles and quick ideas for MacStories: notes go into Simplenote, articles are written into Writings, a Dropbox-based text editor I started using a few months ago.
Overall, though, I believe it’s not about “how I use my iPad” — it’s about how I can’t use it. This thing can do almost anything besides Flash, movie and photo editing and other desktop-related tasks that require professional software. Which, as you can guess, it’s not really a problem for me. So every time I found myself using the iPad instead of my MacBook or the iPhone, I’m surprised of how this device is changing the way I work every day.
Can you give me a quick run down of the apps that you use the most?
I have too many apps installed on my iPad, but these are the ones I come back to on a daily basis:
Screens: Awesome VNC client I use to connect to my MacBook Pro and iMac;
Twitter for iPad: Many people and well-known bloggers hate it, I love it. It’s got its issues and bugs, but I believe the Twitter team will get them fixed soon. I use Twitter because it’s fast, intuitive and lets me see lots of information at once.
OmniFocus: See reply below. It’s the app for iPad.
Writings: The text editor I use to write articles for MacStories and sync them through Dropbox. With Notational Velocity running on my MacBook Pro, I can also sync these articles to Simplenote.
iFiles: A great app to get files out of the iPad (with a built-in WebDAV server) and into it via supported internet services. I use iFiles every day to share iPad screenshots with my Mac or upload them to Rackspace.
iCab: An alternative to Safari that’s actually great and good-looking. It’s got tabs, it’s fast and never crashes. I love it.
Read It Later / Instapaper: The perfect combination to read articles from the web. Read It Later works better with articles that have lots of images and video.
Reeder: I have tried several RSS readers on the iPad since April, but Reeder is where I sticked. I use Silvio Rizzi’s app on the iPad, iPhone and Mac. I guess I’m just too much of a Reeder fan.
Colloquy: IRC client to communicate with my team. The UI is minimal and it makes IRC easy.
1Password: Seriously, there’s no better way to manage passwords and logins. 1Password is must-have both on OS X and iOS.
Which app is your favorite?
OmniFocus. Ever since it came out it dramatically improved the quality of my GTD workflow by offering cloud sync, a great UI (way better than the Mac version) and an impressive feature set. Of all the apps on my homescreen and the ones I’ve tried, OmniFocus might be the single reason to get an iPad if I didn’t have one already.
Do you have any bag/stand/case recommendations for people?
Sure. I only use a case and a bag for my iPad: a Griffin Elan Passport case (ecru leather model) and a Tom Bihn Ristretto bag. The Ristretto is a great, high-quality bag that can easily fit cables, iPad camera connection kit dongles and iPad (inside the case) + ZAGGmate Bluetooth keyboard with ease. I also know some people who use the Ristretto to carry the iPad + MacBook Air 11-inch without any problems.
What features do you want to see in a future iPad?
I can tell you the features I can imagine, because you can’t really know what Steve Jobs will come up with. Anyway, I would like a front-facing camera for FaceTime and Skype, a thinner and lighter design, a higher resolution screen (even though it looks like we won’t get it just yet with the iPad 2) and the obvious faster processor / more RAM / more storage. I also think touch-sensitive bezels would help in allowing developers to enable multi-touch gestures without overriding Apple’s ones (that aren’t coming with iOS 4.3). Oh, and a software developed by Apple to integrate the desktop with the iPad. Like a full-featured VNC client + lightweight Finder + cloud-based file management. I think a future iPad with more powerful specs will be able to handle this kind of desktop -> iOS portability.
Last question: You seem to tweet all day while I am awake, yet I am in Seattle and you are in Italy — do you set your schedule based on U.S. times, or just stay awake all day long?
That’s a good question. Yes, even if I live in Italy I have adjusted my life to the U.S. time zone. It’s better for work, but it lead to some “issues” with my friends and family at first. They have come understand my needs and times though, so it’s not really a problem now. The amount of caffeine I have every day doesn’t help sleep either, so that’s why it looks like I’m always online and available.
Thanks again to Federico for taking the time to give us a peek at his iPad life. You can follow him on Twitter he is @viticci.
Shawn Blanc elaborating on an idea from Ian Hines:
OmniFocus Aid would be lightweight, easy to use, and built for the sole purpose of throwing tasks into your OmniFocus database when at your Mac.
I am plus one to that idea. I think for many people the cost of OmniFocus for the Mac is a huge amount of money to come up with. If you are just starting out with OmniFocus I recommend you purchase in this order:
OmniFocus for iPad (if you have an iPad).
OmniFocus for iPhone (if you don’t have an iPhone this would be your excuse to go get one).
OmniFocus for Mac Trial.
The best version for organizing and reviewing your tasks is the iPad version, the iPhone version is a must have for on the go entry and the Mac version is a must have for anyone working on the Mac. I recommend getting the Mac version last — even though the trial is free — because this will give you an idea as to whether or not you actually need the Mac version. There is a large subset of people who will be just fine without the Mac version — personally I couldn’t live without all three.1
Ok I could live without all three, but I don’t know if I would ever be able to get out of bed. ↩
Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten writing for The Next Web:
I know it is very polite to say thanks when I answer your question offline and face to face. But in email, when you ask me a question, I answer it and you are happy with it, there really is no need to send an email with nothing but “Thanks!” in it. Want to thank me? Keep my inbox clean. Really NEED to thank me? Send me a bottle of champagne or some flowers.
PostDesk reporting on a response that a Tumblr user received from co-founder David Karp:
Karp responded abruptly, saying that “…we have no interest in customers that will go out of their way to discourage our entire team” continuing to say that this is a “…team that regularly spends their nights and weekends working feverishly to provide the best service we can against extraordinary challenges”. He signed off saying that “Plenty of services will import Tumblr blogs. Please go away.”
If this is true (and no real evidence is provided that it is) then it is a massive failure on Tumblrs part. Karp needs to go on record denying this or apologizing for this lapse in judgment. Either way Tumblr is losing my respect and I may just close the personal blog I host on the service.
There is this little feature in OmniFocus that most of you have probably seen, but have never used. That feature is: Start Dates. We all know that we should be assigning due dates to time sensitive tasks in OmniFocus, but you should also be assigning start dates to help you keep a clear mind. Start […]
There is this little feature in OmniFocus that most of you have probably seen, but have never used. That feature is: Start Dates.
We all know that we should be assigning due dates to time sensitive tasks in OmniFocus, but you should also be assigning start dates to help you keep a clear mind. Start dates do one very important thing: keep unavailable tasks from cluttering up your views.
Most of us will set our ‘due soon’ times to 24 hours and as I have seen many people express some frustration that this is ‘24 hours’ and not just simply ‘tomorrow’. The difference is profound — if I set something to be due tomorrow at 5pm, then come today at 5pm that item will be showing up in the default ‘due’ pane of OmniFocus. It will also show as due in both iOS apps (not in the iPad Forecast view though, that shows due items by day).
This can put a lot of undue anxiety on people when they get home from work and see that there are still tasks that are ‘due soon’. The simple way around this problem is to set start dates. If you have something that is due on 1-31-11 @ 5pm and you know that you can’t, or don’t, want to work on it until that day — then setting the start date of 1-31-11 @ 12am means that it won’t appear on the ‘due’ lists until that day.
Each of us works differently, but I do know quite a few people that have lamented about this problem so I thought that it would be worth sharing. Typically I won’t set start dates for my tasks and I will just know that even though items show as ‘due’, they really aren’t due today. I do make extensive use of start dates for any actions that I am tracking, or actions that I truly cannot due until a certain date. This keeps the task from being in my thoughts and in my way. Especially if a task is location sensitive and I know I won’t be at that location until a certain day and time.
If the Due view in the Mac app is still showing these unavailable tasks then edit the perspective to show only ‘available’ tasks and you should be good to go. I typically keep my due soon view on my Mac at 2 days and use start times to hide things I don’t want to see. This helps me get a head start on the next day if I find extra time.
Twelve South, You make some of the best looking and best functioning computer accessories that I have ever had the chance to use. Currently I own your BookArc stand, BackPack shelf, BookArc stand for iPad and your Compass mobile iPad stand. These are each excellent products and exactly what I wanted when I purchased them. […]
You make some of the best looking and best functioning computer accessories that I have ever had the chance to use. Currently I own your BookArc stand, BackPack shelf, BookArc stand for iPad and your Compass mobile iPad stand. These are each excellent products and exactly what I wanted when I purchased them. Though one pays a premium for your products I have always found them to be excellent and have always recommended them to others.
Today represents a massive failure in customer service and customer appreciation. When I went from a 15” MacBook Pro to a brand new 13” MacBook Air I immediately put the MacBook Air insert in the BookArc to hold my new MacBook Air. To my dismay the insert was too large for the newer, thinner, MacBook Air. I promptly emailed your customer service department to inquire if a new insert would be made that I could purchase.
On October 27th, 2010 I sent you the following:
I already own a BookArc (love it) but I just got a new MacBook Air and noticed the old MacBook Air insert is a bit loose. Is there a way to buy an insert for the new MacBook Air?
I received a response that day that said:
We have our factory working on inserts for the new Airs but these things take a little time. Sadly, Apple doesn’t give us any advanced notice regarding their new products so we have to wait like everybody else to get started on updates and solutions to accommodate the latest and greatest Apple offerings.
Now we are talking — I knew that a bit of patience was all that was needed to get a better fitting insert. Fast forward to today, there still is no such insert (even though two relative amateurs can make a product in 5 months). Then I get an email announcing an all new BookArc for the MacBook Air, one that makes my current BookArc obsolete. The same BookArc I had just purchased on May 11th, 2010.
I immediately complained on Twitter, but decided I would email to see if you would also be making the insert for existing customers.
Back in October in this email below you led me to believe that you would be making an insert for the BookArc that I currently own — today I see that you released one exclusively for the MacBook Air, which does not solve the problem that I have.
I feel mislead by this email — are you still planning on making an insert for the MacBook Air that goes with the BookArc?
I can certainly understand you feeling that way. When we corresponded last, a new insert for the old stand was the plan however, through time, this plan changed and a new stand, custom-made for the new Air and with cable management, was pursued instead.
If your BookArc was purchased between the time of Apple’s announcement for the new Airs (October 20, 2010) and December 8th, when the final decision was made and the compatibility was changed on websites (in other words, it was purchased specifically for your new Air and you had no way of knowing it would be incompatible), we will put your name on a list of ‘early adopters’ who may participate in an exchange program. If you qualify, please provide me with proof of the date of purchase and your address, and I’ll add you to the list.
In other words you are telling me to piss off. Fine Twelve South, I will piss off and take my money and recommendations elsewhere — there are plenty of other companies that make fine accessories that give a damn about their customers. My advice is that you try to give a damn the next time someone wants to be able to use a product of yours that is less than a year old — at the very least don’t promise something you will never deliver. Had you told me from day one that you would not be making the insert I would (believe it or not) be just fine with that. Leaving me hanging for three months garners no good will.