Tag Archives: Twitter

My Xoom review

I’ve been meaning to write this for a few days, and decided I just need to sit down and do it. Be aware, this review has no pics. There’s so many pics of the Xoom and the iPad out there, there’s just no need for them now. We all know what a tablet looks like now.

 

OK here’s my thoughts on the Xoom…

The short: I like it, I like it a lot. I’ve been using it almost exclusively since my friend and colleague Jeffy Houser gave it to me for my work on The Flex Show. It’s no iPad but it’s nice.

The Long version:

OS: Honeycomb seems like a great OS. Google shoulda been working on it sooner, and needs to stop dicking around trying to port it to a phone. Rock tablets, and let Honeycomb’s successor be the 1 OS for both.

It’s got some rough spots, but overall I’ve found it to be a great Tablet OS. I had a Viewsonic gTablet and tried 2.2 and 2.3 on it. Clearly neither OS was made for Tablets, so the experience sucked! But the Xoom, feels and works like a tablet should.

The widgets rock, the transitions between screens are very nice, and clean.

 

Apps (marketplace): Point, Apple. I admit, most of the apps on my iPhone and iPad, I can live without, some I never even open after installing or using once. However, right now, there are like 62 apps made for honeycomb. Not 1 is a twitter app!!

Many of the apps for the Xoom, are stupid, so being available doesn’t really do much. Thankfully google does a better job at upscaling than Apple does, so phone apps, mostly don’t look like ass on the Xoom, assuming they work

Say what you will about Apple and the iOS Store, the Google marketplace is pretty much like Dave Chappelle predicted. Amazon has cleaned up the mess a bit, but they’re not there yet.

I’ve been pretty happy with the Xoom app wise, not really missing most iOS apps. Here’s the ones I miss and why.

  • OmniFocus – I’ve invested in their offering. It’s on my iPhone, iPad, and mac. Making todo lists, etc is nice when they’re shared across devices.
  • Flipboard – I’ve got Pulse, and Newsr but Flipboard and Reeder were my goto apps and I do miss them. NetNewsWire too for that matter. My iPad was mainly remote desktop, and news reading.

That’s really it. There’s a few others I’d like to have on the Xoom for sure, but if any combo of those three apps made it to the Xoom I’d be cool.

 

Ecosystem: Win, Apple. Obviously lock in is a big part of this picture, and Apple certainly gains nothing by cooperating, but not having a viable iTunes replacement is a huge loss for the Xoom, and android in general. There’s DoubleTwist which is ok, but nothing remotely close to the awesome experience Apple offers. I will give Double Twist props for the over the Air syncing. Apple, really you shoulda figured this out already.

But yeah I STILL haven’t gotten any of my pics onto the Xoom. There’s not USB host support yet (fail) and Double Twist does music and sorta, video only. Even the Dropbox app doesn’t support saving an image from dropbox to the local storage. I could do some wifi FTP stuff, but that’s just too much work as far as I’m concerned.

Other Tablets: Apple needs competition, so does Motorola. But more importantly, if Google hopes to make some headway against Apple, with Tablets, they need to have more devices out there. Motorola did a good job with the Xoom, but I think someone can do better.

Plus if they (Motorola and Google, etc) hope to get developers interested in building apps for Tablets, there needs to be more devices out there to run them. I suspect part of the reason there’s only 63 apps is that many developers don’t want to waste their time, if there’s a chance the OS could change or google could scrap it entirely (GoogleTV anyone?)

 

So verdict? If you’re ok not having many apps right now (the main ones are there. Evernote, a nice VNC app, tweetdeck sorta works, Firefox, dropbox, etc), and can survive without iTunes-like desktop love. The Xoom might be a fun device for you. The OS is certainly more computer-y which I like, but it’s definitely an easy device to use. Easy as an iPad, no. Easy enough for a non moron? Yes.

Like I said, i’ve been leaving my iPad at home the last two weeks, and am surviving quite well. I haven’t gifted my ipad to Nicole yet, so I have the option to go back, but honestly, with an iPhone, not sure I will.

Social Media – The new ‘Internet’, hello 1998

I’ve been using the internet since just after it was born. Yeah I’m that old… and my highschool was lucky enough to have a NeXT workstation in every classroom, 8 in the library, plus a mathlab, and my personal kingdom, the student government/yearbook office, which had 4, including a color station :)

Anyhoo. history aside, I was struck the other day at a MHSMC meeting that social media is the new ‘internet’. Mainly this relates to my love of all things Cluetrain Manifesto. One of the ¬†of the primary things I took away from Cluetrain in my first reading as a lowly Software developer at a mortgage company where marketing outnumbered IT (as well as my many subsequent readings), was that it’s important, and beneficial for enterprises to let their people be people. Lower the walls, don’t raise them. I thought we were making progress here.

It seems that social media is moving away from that if MHSMC is any indicator. The presentation this month was on Corporate use of Social Media.

One of the panelists, I don’t remember whom I’m afraid, made an example of what to her (and many in the audience it appeared) was a social media gaff. A call center employee somewhere in a state most of us don’t care about commented on a blog post. The post was critical of the complany and this person came to the defense saying not much more than ‘we’re working hard for you in Toledo Ohio’ (I don’t recall the city honestly).

I was in the back row cheering on Timmy from call center X in Toledo. I mean how lucky is that company that an employee at that level stood up for his employer with nothing more than “We’re working hard.” To the best of my recall the panelist didn’t say Timmy made promises or claims, or anything that could in any way be said to hurt his employer, just that he and his fellow employees were working hard. How awesome is that, every company should have passionate people speaking plainly without motive, on their behalf.

The panelists went on to relate similar stories, and reinforce that not just anyone could use twitter. That some people weren’t on the company twitter account, and wouldn’t be. That specific people followed specific guidelines in order to be the ‘voice of the company’. That without rules and regulations on what is and isn’t ok, social media was some sort of no man’s land of ROUSs.

I sat in the back row thinking, “wow, it’s like 1998 again”. Companies are back to being afraid of the internet, this time social media, and rather than embrace it, they’re locking it down, restricting who can say what, how.

it was sobering to see that as much as things change, some things stay the same. I wish I had had time to process what I was seeing then, I might have asked if anyone in that room had ever heard of or read the Cluetrain Manifesto. I wish I still had a box of them I’d bring them to the next meeting.

I thought I’d hate Four Square

I clearly remember when I heard about Four Square (FS). My reaction was ‘meh’

I figured I’d wait it out until the fad wore off. That is until I went to WWDC. I imagine it was much the same at SXSW, the right mix of people to initiate a chain reaction. We were out at one of the too many competing parties, every one had it. I figured I’d join in.

Screen shot 2009-07-21 at 4.07.32 PMI racked up some serious points and badges thanks to the nightlife of WWDC, and as you can see, I’m still mayor of the Intercontinental… guess they don’t get many developer/social media types.

Then I came home, where I work out of my home office… my Four Square awesomeness quickly declined except at my gym and my house (Yeah cheating, but screw you, cubie, going to lunch every day, blah blah) where I reign supreme.

What really keeps me interested in Four Square, and even brightkite is the awesome outside the phone potential. I want my starbucks to give the mayor a free coffee (Frapaccino please). I want my neighborhood bar (where Dave and I are in a cold war for mayorship) half off drinks, or a free drink, something.In the brighkite world, I want to check in and see that where I am is running a Brightkite special, or maybe not where I am, but the place next door.

Where FS excels is that it identifies the losers (cough) people who frequent a place. Rewards them for doing so with points and meaningless badges, that can’t even be printed out! What if they got a burger instead!

This techcrunch article is exactly what I’m talking about. Ideally Brightkite will get there first, sorry FS, I gotta go with the home team. I definitely think whoever can start cementing these relationships first, will be hard to unseat, and FS already has a model. There’s no need to discount to all users, though that’s awesome, just give the mayor something great! Everyone will see, and want to be mayor, and guess how you do that? Be the one to visit a place the most. Win Win.

twitter as a one way communication vessel??

Gwen twittered this on Monday and I’ve been noodling on it for a bit. The noodling was fast since I brought something similar up on twitter the week before 360|Flex, so my thoughts were already kinda ordered.

Gwen asked if it was ‘assholish’ for someone to have 5000 followers and follow 0.

My answer, yes, it is. I don’t have the slightest idea why twitter exists, but I believe it to be to build community and allow (140 character) conversations to take place.

twitter isn’t a PR engine, and it isn’t (well it seems to be actually) an ego machine. I don’t care who it is, but there’s no one I’d follow that isn’t actually engaging in a conversation. Following no one in return just says (to me, at least) that you don’t care what anyone has to say. If that’s the case, then why Twitter? Other than ego building by counting how many (largely spammers I’d guess) people are hanging on your every word.

the 360flex twitter account, get’s tons of spam followers. Not only do we not follow them, but I go in and actively block the, so they can’t follow.

I gotta say if twitter turns into merely another water mark of who the next Scoble is or who’s as popular (heaven knows why) than Jason Calcanis, I’m not sure it’s worth participating, there’s other options.

Maybe twitter needs to go P2P

I was thinking today. What’s the deal with twitter? I mean now they’ve bought another company? for millions! It might’ve made more sense to funnel that kind of cash into infrastructure, since it seems not a day goes by, that theere’s something wrong with twitter.

And that’s been discussed a hundred million times at least. But then I was thinking, would twitter work better if it was distributed? like Napster used to be before it turned lame and musical, lame again and now is with Rhapsody I think which is way lame. Like BitTorrent is now.

what if Twitter was a service, or even an app that users installed, obviously controlling their own settings, just like a torrent client, and such. Given the numbers of twitterers out there, assuming even just 1/3 would be interested, that seems like it might solve the problem, of scalability. They (twitter) certainly need to do something. They’re surviving on good graces at the moment, but before long some one is gonna come and steal their lunch money right out of their hands.

Privacy? I’m guessing there’s a number of ways to handle that, since the EFF sells their anonymous browsing app with memberships, and it surely has something to handle privacy concerns.

At this stage it might be more hassle than it’s worth, but it popped into my head so I thought I’d throw it out there.