October 1, 2014

Should you leave venture capital backed Ello?

Ello, the hyped ad free social network, are getting a lot of press. Aral Balkan thinks we should all leave Ello behind though, because it’s backed by venture capital.

Sorry, Paul, but by taking venture capital you have made a crucial mistake that is incompatible with the goals you set out in your manifesto and I will not support yet another venture-capital funded network only to be disappointed at the time of the inevitable exit.

He might have a point there, if you want to be all idealistic about these things. The notion that Ello was independently built is shattered, do with that what you will. I’m still on there, for the time being.

WordPress sustainability

Matt Mullenweg, creator of WordPress, thinks we, who make money off the open source publishing platform, should contribute more. 5% of our time, actually.

It’s a big commitment, but I can’t think of a better long-term investment in the health of WordPress overall. I think it will look incredibly modest in hindsight. This ratio is probably the bare minimum for a sustainable ecosystem, avoiding the tragedy of the commons. I think the 5% rule is one that all open source projects and companies should follow, at least if they want to be vibrant a decade from now.

The relevance of WordPress is in our hands, and although I’m not so sure about the numbers (5% might nit be the sweet-spot), I do believe that we need to amp up the contributions from the commercial side of things. We’ll definitely be talking about this at Odd Alice, where we already have contributions and core patches to be proud of, but we can no doubt do more.

Gold iPad in October?

Rumor has it that there’ll be a gold iPad in October, much like there are gold iPhone models. I’ve always thought it makes sense to use similar colors and types of casing across the mobile product line for Apple, and the only reason to omit gold from the iPad product line is if it looks bad on a larger device. Given that the iPhone 6 Plus is both huge and available in gold, I can’t see that as a reason not to have a gold iPad model anymore.

September 30, 2014

The Flic hype

You’ve no doubt seen the Flic signup links. Here’s mine, where you can see how many how signed up for Flic using it as well. Flic isn’t a service, it’s a button that does one thing, developed by Swedish company Shortcut Labs AB.

Flic is the new era of smartphone simplicity. It is a wireless shortcut button that connects to your smartphone and can do practically anything that your smartphone can do. With flic, you don’t have to take your phone out of the pocket or purse to do simple, every day tasks.

For each signup you refer, you’ll get closer to get your own Flic for free, coming in 2015, assuming you’ll be a part of the crowdfunding campaign. Or several free Flic buttons, if you spam a lot of your friends. Much like the Dropbox share links where you get additional storage for referrals, but here you’ll work your way up to Flic buttons. And promote the product while doing so, oiling the hype machine…

Fireside Fiction Year 3 has started

Fireside Fiction publishes great short fiction, as well as (soon) books. Year 3 has started, with issue 16 and back issues made free. There are ways to support them if you enjoy what they do.

And now, finally, Year 3 has begun! We have a completely redesigned, free website. (Thanks so much to Pablo Defendini for his beautiful work.) We have a variety of ways for people to support us as we work to move away from Kickstarting to a more sustainable model.

You’ll find a short story of mine later in Year 3. I’m thrilled about that, obviously.

 

Excuse the mess, site update in progress

Stuff will misbehave for a bit, I’m afraid. A proper update on what’s going on here’ll be online later tonight.

Alright, I think most things are working now. If you find something funky here, ping @tdh on Twitter please.

There are things on my todo list, so this is by no means a finished project. Sites never are. I’m a firm believer in an early 1.0 though, and then iterations after that, so here we are. Enjoy.

July 10, 2014

I promise, the text on the Alphasmart NEO's LCD screen is actually readable
My Screens

Screens are interesting. I’ve got a lot of screens that I interact with. It’s obviously the actual device behind the screen that makes a difference, but I’s still fascinated by screens.

I’ve got a HDTV (several, in fact). I watch and play stuff on it, but other than that it’s not much of an interaction.

There’s the retina MacBook Pro too. This screen is gorgeous, a truly impressive piece of technology right there. Having switched to retina iOS devices a long time ago, I now have a hard time using an operating system on a non-retina screen, or equivalent. I love the retina MacBook Pro screen, and I can’t wait to see it on other devices.

Read more →

June 24, 2014

The Amazon Fire Phone Is About The Future

I haven’t played with nor seen Amazon’s smartphone, the Fire Phone. It’ll probably not even be available in my neck of the woods, much like the Kindle Fire tablets. It matters little for this piece though.

Amazon showing off the Firefly feature
Amazon showing off the Firefly feature

The tech media seem puzzled about Amazon’s decision to ”fork Android” (read Ben Evans’ piece on this if you’re interested) and go head to head with Apple, Google, and to a lesser extent, Microsoft. There are some interesting features in the Fire Phone, including the 3D UI, Firefly and Mayday, and the Buy button, and then there’s Amazon’s Prime service too. The general consensus is that the Fire Phone is an expensive yet underpowered high-end smartphone with Amazon’s limited app store, tailored for Amazon services. The question this beckons is who’d want this?

It’s a valid question, with an obvious yet complicated answer: Amazon’s customers wants this. The answer is obvious because if you do all your shopping at Amazon, if you use Prime, then the Fire Phone’s for you. On paper that might make sense, but in reality smartphones are personal devices and I doubt a lot of us want to be defined by where we buy adult diapers.

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June 12, 2014

My Day On The Town Kit

I’ve got a full day ahead of me today, with errands and events lined up across town. There’ll no doubt be downtime, so I’ll bring my day on the town kit. It consists of small and light gear, packed in my excellent Axial Mini Messenger bag from Modern Industry. I can get a lot done with these tools.

The day on the town kit:

  • iPad mini with retina display (although some days I’ll bring the iPad Air) with Smart Cover.
  • Compass 2 stand from Twelve South.
  • Logitech’s Easy-Switch K811 bluetooth keyboard, for more extended writing sessions.
  • Small notebook, currently a Cahier from Moleskine, and a Pilot G2 pen.
  • External battery for powering USB devices, currently a Macally model I’m evaluating, otherwise an old but still useful Phillips one I got for free.
  • Wacom Intous Creative Stylus for iPad.
  • Lightning cable, small screen cloth from Apple, a 32 GB USB stick, and a really short mini-USB cable for the keyboard.
  • Tissues and coins, always useful.
  • A filled water bottle (still looking for the perfect canister, thus far without luck).
  • Thin sweater and a Buff should it get chilly.

I used to have a pocket knife and a lighter in my kit, but I forgot about them at customs once and it was somewhat stressful, so now I don’t bother with that anymore.