Posted on September 6, 2012 in Web
Elliot Jay Stock is moving from Paypal, and encourages others to follow suit :
If PayPal want to hold your money, they can, and they will. A freeze on your account means you absolutely cannot get at your own money, and even if you eventually do, it will only be after a hefty delay and in staggered percentages. Can a bank do this to you? No, they can’t. So why should PayPal?
I dont think anyone willingly likes using Paypal.
Posted on August 31, 2012 in Technology
Paul Miller sums up the differences between his (and coincidentally my) Facebook and Twitter usage :
I’m often asked if I’ve lost touch with a lot of friends and family since I’ve left the internet.
“Not really,” I say. I was never much of a “Facebook guy,” I explain, and I talk to my mom on the phone enough to keep up.
But now that I think about it, I wasn’t a “Facebook guy” because I found it artificial, or fake, or lame. I just wasn’t very good at it. I had hundred or so IRL friends on Facebook, but thousands of Twitter followers. I liked my Twitter “alt” better because it had better stats. I’m better at saying something funny on Twitter five times a day than taking the time to wish my sister-in-law happy birthday, as if I care more about a few retweets than bonding with the mother of my adorable niece and nephew. I’m better at retweeting @Horse_ebooks than pressing the Like button on a friend’s blog post because @Horse_ebooks is funnier than my friend’s blog post, and I want people to think I have great taste. Facebook is a grind to me, and “who has the time?” I tweet to my like-minded accomplices.
His “offline” column is one of the best online
Posted on August 23, 2012 in Design
Microsoft have unveiled their new logo, which bears resemblance to the blocky (previously Metro) aesthetic that they’ve been incorporating into all of their products.
I think the logo is fantastic. It’s clear, representative of the work that they do, products that they make. It has hints of this branding concept, that was created a few months ago, which I think is great news. It shows us as consumers that they are listening. Each colour signals a section of their vompant. Blue for Windows, Red for Office, Green for Xbox, nd presumable Yellow for Mobile
Maybe I’m just impatient though, but I think Microsoft could go a step further, by unifying the logos, like below
Posted on August 12, 2012 in Web
The open, publicly backed alternative to Twitter, App.net, has reached their goal of $500,000 with 38 hours left. The premise – Twitter, without ads, funded by people that will use it – is not a bad idea for people who are oposed to the closed nature that Twitter have seemed to adopt recently. It’s also recieved some huge coverage from popular tech news publications. But, it seems that people are forgetting a few things, some of which I think are important reasons as to why app.net will not work.
Back in 2007-08, Twitter wasn’t the only microblogging service around. In fact, the market was diluted with alternatives. You had Pownce, another acquired company founded by Kevin Rose, which just didn’t gain traction as fast as Twitter did. You had Jaiku, the service that nailed threaded conversations, and was developed by Google. You had integrated functionality built into sites like Bebo.
The thing about it is, Twitter was there for the taking in 2008. Their service was intermittent, it wasn’t reaching unanimous popularity yet, and its functionality paled in comparison to some of it’s then-competitors. There were no photo upload features. Functionality was created based on user habits, such as the @reply or the #hashtag. From the outside looking in, Twitter was not organised.
But it’s still here. And its big, with it being the 3rd largest social network in the world. You could say that Twitter’s success was because of the poor competition, but it was still competition, and they still won. They got the celebrities, they got the service running for more than 24 hours at a time, and now it’s one of the first things people check and update when the wake up in the mornings.
So for app.net, they have a huge task ahead of them. They have the tech audience on a fencepost, but these are people who would sign up for anything new, shiny and exclusive given the chance. It will be much more difficult to persuade the non-techy Twitter user to switch allegiances.
Even the name is poor in comparson to Twitter. Twitter is a friendly, approachable brand and even from the name, you kind of guess what the service is for. But app.net? It sounds almost robotic, it says nothing about the service and what it does, and again, it will not appeal to people who aren’t immersed in technology.
Personally, my microblogging history is all on Twitter. I have a set of people that I follow, that follow me, and 27,000 tweets with my signature on them. That 4 years of my tweeting time wasted if I were to move to app.net. I think i’ll just stick to tweeting rather than apping.
Posted on August 9, 2012 in Technology
One blogger. Thats all it takes it seems to trigger a whole industry to wake up to the fact that we are not secure.One piece of clever social engineering set of a series of events which had said blogger locked out of his Google Account, his Apple account, his Mac wiped, and his Twitter hacked and smeared with homophobic slants. In some ways it makes sense that it would happen at some point (such as the integration of everything we own and use), but in others I wonder why did someone have to take a hit for the team, so to speak, for us to wake up to this clear problem?
Our online accounts and presences are holding more pieces of confidental information and it seems that the current mechanisms in place are not sufficient.
Google has a good idea. They’re calling it “Two-Factor Authentication”, and it works by using an ultra-personal device that you have on you, your mobile phone. In addition to logging into Google using your email and password, you are then sent via text or a phone call, a unique 6 character code, which lets you login. Nearly everyone in the world has a phone with them, with the ability to send receive phone calls and texts (at the very minimum).
It’s a good idea, in theory. From my experience however, things arent so bright. Firstly, Google’s text service didnt send me any code, so I had to use the phone method instead (at least for the time being). Listening to a phonecall for 20 seconds before I’m allowed to login does not align with my idea of a hassle free login.
Secondly, Google have understandable issues with integrating this service with 3rd-party apps. For this, Google allow users to generate a one-time application-specific password for that specific application. For me, who has at least 30+ apps, its not ideal, but hopefully this is just a stop gap.
Hopefully the whole notion of 2-step authentication is just a stop gap. Its a step in the right direction, but with our online presences holding more personal information and our mobile devices getting smarter, this needs to be looked at with more consideration.