Monthly Archives: September 2012

Felix for is now available

Created by Bill Kunz (@billkunz),it's perhaps the most beautiful one yet, with muted colors and nice touches throughout. It has all the features you need, plus some neat ones (including the ability to ignore posts by people just dumping their Twitter feeds into IDN via IFTTT… just as IFTTT prepares to remove Twitter as a trigger). Support for read-later services, and media uploads via CloudApp and Droplr. It came together late enough to work with App.Net's "star" and "repost" support. It's also the first to fill the iPhone 5's taller screen.

It's priced at $4.99, at the upper end of the range so far along with Adian. (Spoonbill is $3.99, and Rhino and Appeio are free.) I hope it's successful enough to keep Bill iterating as fast as App.Net is.

At this rate, the joke will soon be that will have more apps than users. It's a great, smart community. It just needs to grow faster.

#AppDotNet #AppNet

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Hawaii-based international space program for hackerspaces

Congratulations to +Jerry Isdale of Maui Makers and his team for securing first-year DARPA grant funding for SpaceGAMBIT. It's the continuation of the Hackerspace Space Program (and GAMBIT stands for Global Alliance of Makers Building Interstellar Technologies).

The mission is to enable hackerspaces to serve as local community hubs for public engagement and research, provide focused leadership for large-scale international projects, and find areas of mutual relevance between terrestrial and space activities.

Jerry notes that a lot still needs to be sorted out (including establishing corporate structures and 501(c)3 designation, preparing and releasing an RFI, fundraising, and event planning). Right now he's hoping to enlist the support of other makerspaces and other groups and people interested in moving Space GAMBIT forward.

For more information, visit the website, join the mailing list, and join the Facebook group!

#makers   #makerspace   #space   #darpa

Embedded Link

Space GAMBIT – Global Alliance of Makers Building Interstellar Technologies | Connecting Hackerspaces to enhance Humanity's Survival on Earth and in Space
Space GAMBIT – Global Alliance of Makers Building Interstellar Technologies. Connecting Hackerspaces to enhance Humanity's Survival on Earth and in Space. Search. Main menu. Skip to primary content. S…

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Apple's IOS6 Update Adds Panoramic Photos to the iPhone 4S

One of the new features that Apple touted in the forthcoming iPhone 5 (hitting stores tomorrow) was the addition of panoramic photo capability to the built-in camera app. Of course, third-party apps have allowed people to make panoramas for years (my favorite is AutoStitch), but this native to Apple's hardware and software. And unlike the 'take photos then stitch them' process used by many apps, Apple's setup allows users to just slowly sweep their camera from left to right to put things together on the fly, no post-capture rendering needed.

As it turns out, though, the panoramic capability also works on the previous generation iPhone 4S, once updated to iOS6. (No such luck for the iPhone 4.) So I quickly took a couple of panoramic images yesterday.

I'm impressed. Obviously, moving people and objects will vex any panoramic image process, but it looks like Apple's implementation is pretty good. It's a nice bonus for users of earlier hardware.

#apple   #ios6   #panorama  

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Apps for App.Net are multiplying, but are users?

"Alpha," the base social feed powered by, has even more apps to plug into it. +Dalton Caldwell continues to improve and expand the API that aims to ultimately serve as the "nervous system" of a wide range of services. But it's the user community — and by that I mean non-developer user community — that remains a weakness.

On the app front, I actually had to delete a couple of web apps from my App.Net folder on my iPhone to fit all the native ones I use, and I don't have access to most of the native apps still in development.

Buffer was the first app to support posting to, but of course it's a posting-only app, allowing instant or delayed posts to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn as well.

IFTTT added App.Net to its ingredient list, allowing users to set up republishing from various services in any direction. Alas, this has led to many users just dumping their Twitter feed into App.Net, a practice that I think led to the premature demise of other upstart networks.

Rhino was the first full client to turn up in the App Store, but it was clearly rushed (while most devs spent weeks in beta), and it shows. Simply figuring out how to reply a post was a challenge, and people who download it are still asking how to reply today. (Hint: slide left.) Then again, it's free.

Appeio is also free, and is basically an iOS wrapper around the responsive design web app. This slows things down, but has the advantage of working well on different screen sizes. It's also easier to update — I made a comment to the developer about how to present cover images, and he changed it in the app in two minutes.

Adian was the first paid client, and boy, is it paid. Priced at $4.99, many balked. More than a few users still bought the app on principle, as a show of support to the developer community as a whole. On the other hand, it has a much cleaner design, is intuitive to use, and essentially "feels right." It was the first app that I think could sit next to your Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn apps as a native window into a social network.

Spoonbill is the latest addition to the family, priced at $3.99. And it's the app that I think is the most interesting. It has a sharp design, runs smoothly, and does everything a status feed app should do. But it shows off a few more things that demonstrate how can be more than Twitter.

Sure, it has username and hashtag autocomplete, image posting, and the like. But it also has a unique "conversation" view that allows you to see a thread both as a single stream as well as a series of branching threads (which are really how conversations unfold). It uses gestures to get to different functions in different ways. And it has several user preferences that make it easy to customize your App.Net experience (and I expect to see more, the ability to mute users of other specific clients especially).

I've attached a bunch of Spoonbill screenshots here, for the curious. If you're on, I'd recommend it. Still, the app ecosystem is evolving quickly. I'm beta testing Alpha, AppApp, Pika, PostStream, Xtendr, and Yawp. And yes, these are just the iOS apps, not counting the Android and mobile web apps that are out or in the pipeline.

And App.Net's API is evolving, too. It seems Dalton and friends are pushing all the most frequently requested enhancements, from favorites ('stars') to native reposts. As excited as I was about 'annotations', it's clear most people are currently focused on the things that Twitter has that Alpha doesn't. Which I guess makes sense.

App.Net offers a great platform. Great technology with infinite possibilities. App.Net has a great community of developers ready to build upon the platform, doing interesting things and interacting on the platform. But as a non-developer, everyday geek enthusiast, I do feel a little lonely. And I think that a population of non-developer everyday users is the main thing App.Net lacks.

Dalton has built a huge, gleaming and growing village filled with quirky shops, parks, and interconnected paths. Everyone within is happy and optimistic (apart from the IFTTT blind cross-posters). But it's a gated community, with a $50 entry pass, and even though that's $4.16 a month, that's steep in a world full of open roads and towns. Sure, some of those other neighborhoods are crappy, or passing ordinances to make life a little less enjoyable, but people are free to move anywhere else. Getting into App.Net is a hurdle most people aren't willing to leap over.

I love the community that's there already, of course. Almost entirely smart people, almost no idiots. And new people join every day. I can still watch the global stream and greet people after their first post. But I admit, it certainly doesn't feel like it's growing as fast as it was two weeks ago. And the global stream isn't a racing torrent just yet.

I'm not sure what the answer is. Dalton is dead-set against advertising. How else can his service make money besides charging users?

Would a lower price help? +Marco Arment proposed $10 a year early on, which felt right to many people, including me. But of course that's an 80 percent cut in revenues, and a likely huge increase in users.

I thought perhaps app developers could pay App.Net for its users, and charge its users a markup for the app (a $5 app pays App.Net $2 a user)… but that's obviously even less money than a lower user enrollment price.

As quickly as the App.Net platform is advancing, and the app economy is growing, I hope we see some significant work on the business model — even just temporary trials of different schemes. Because right now, App.Net basically lacks the one thing the incumbent networks have in abundance: regular people.


First Month on – Charts and Stats

Directory of third party devs and apps

My previous App.Net post: I'm Backing App.Net

#AppDotNet   #AppNet   #Spoonbill  

In album Spoonbill (19 photos)

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Local coder Keoki Lee (@keokilee), working with data published by the City & County of Honolulu on its Data.Honolulu.Gov portal, has launched a mobile web app designed to help residents find HI5 Redemption Centers. uses a mobile-optimized design and browser-based geolocation to show the nearest recycling center and operating hours. He notes he built it using Backbone, Node.js, jQuery Mobile, MongoDB and Coffeescript, and released the source code publicly on Github.

Check out and follow Keoki on Twitter:

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A new Popspotting Listener Edition is out with more great picks!

A new Popspotting Listener Edition is out with more great picks!

Reshared post from +Popspotting

Two podcasters from the golden age of “LOST” come together to share five post-”LOST” picks in a new Popspotting Listener Edition. Anna and Wendy recommend The Booth at the End (on Hulu), Castaway on the Moon (on Netflix), Twin Peaks (on Netflix), Bone by Jeff Smith (on Amazon), and Five Year Mission. Fixed link!

#popculture   #podcast  

Embedded Link

Popspotting Listener Edition: Wendy & Anna

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I'm backing App.Net

To be perfectly honest, I decided to back when I thought there was a fairly good chance the fundraiser would not succeed. Now I'm user #565, and trying to stay hopeful.

The timing couldn't have been more perfect, given the changes that Twitter is making, moving to being a media company and not a platform. Application developers are getting cut off, users are being told they don't own their own data, it's a mess. And here comes Dalton Caldwell with an audacious proposal: let's build what we thought Twitter could have been. Let's build the central nervous system of the real-time social web. Let's build a platform, even though platforms aren't sexy, and put the users and developers first.

Of course if you can't sell ads or information on your users, you still have to make money somehow. And for this first phase, is asking users and developers to fund everything.

Today, most people just see a Twitter clone with a small community of users and developers who could pay $50. Today even I see more potential than real product. This could still turn out as poorly as Diaspora (dumped into the hands of the community last week), or (which never caught on either).

But I still think it's worth trying something completely different. I still think social networks can change the world, but there's going to be a constant,
natural conflict over access and presentation if the people using them are what's being sold to run them.

The two main signs of early hope for me?

One, that there are so many developers putting together clients, even though the system could still change quite a bit, or even though the system might never feel like more than another Twitter. There are barely any users, even, and yet people are willing to work hard and build things (that I'm eager to try out). All based mostly on a promise, and despite the shenanigans being pulled by Twitter.

Two, annotations, or payloads, additional metadata offering infinite possibilities because of things that can be attached to individual posts. This is something that Twitter promised, but pulled back on when they decided they would base their business on putting ads in tweets. It could be GPS coordinates, it could be audio and video files, it could be reviews and ratings and links. It could be anything, meaning that could be the backbone for anything. might not be the basis of the next Twitter. might be the basis of the next model for television, or group messaging, or gaming. might not be much now, and might not amount to much in the end. But I am very excited that someone's trying something, and I'm glad to be a tiny, tiny part of it.

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