Thursday, August 25, 2011
See, a long time ago I made a mistake. I ignored my own advice and imported all my Delicious bookmarks into Evernote. I also made the fateful decision to retain my tags. Basically, where before I had fewer than 100 tags, I now had thousands. This is what's been slowing down Evernote on the Web for me. Evernote doesn't even offer Delicious importing anymore, but if you made the mistake earlier, as I did, doing the collapse might help you.
Problem solved, right? Sure, but I have one more suggestion for Evernote and CEO Phil Libin. He once commented here, so maybe he'll see it. Give us poor users with thousands of tags a way to "delete unassigned tags." See, I've deleted my Delicious bookmarks, but all the tags I imported are still there. Sure, I have the option of hiding unassigned tags. But deleting them would be even better.
Consider it another step Evernote can take toward perfection.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Monday, August 22, 2011
I love Evernote's penchant for constantly evolving their products. I love their commitment to a quality, cross-platform family of products. But it seems like they "completely revamp" things an awful lot. Maybe the lack of UI focus and consistency is the price we pay for having a free, bad-ass notebook on multiple gadgets.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
So with the services now out there making people less reliant on SMS, what was going to happen? People were going to want to downgrade their plans. Who wants to pay $20 a month when you’re using only a handful of messages? Why not pay $10? Well, now you can’t. You can either pay $20 for unlimited, or have no plan and pay AT&T’s ridiculous per-message rate.
AT&T knows that most people are not going to chose the latter. Again, we’re not to the point yet where people will be fully comfortable letting go of SMS. Hell, all of the services I mentioned use it as a backup in one way or another.
Think of it this way: unlimited SMS is heroin. The $10 a month limited plan is methadone which you could have used to wean yourself off. AT&T has just cut off the methadone supply. They’re daring you to go cold turkey. Most won’t be able to.
And maybe they deserve it. But Siegler does omit a key bit of information: if you're already an AT&T customer you can keep your existing plan. Indeed, AT&T killed off their $5.00/200 plan in January. But I've still got it. No untoward billing issues or unexplained increase in my bill.
Nothing to see here. Move along.
Monday, August 15, 2011
I'm really glad to hear it. I had forsaken Zotero because it was linked to Firefox—and continuing to use Firefox was untenable because it had become so sluggish and old hat.
But part of Zotero's facelift includes a stand-alone client and integration with other browsers such as Chrome and Safari. I'm excited about this.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Google+ and Facebook both require their users to use their real names on the site. This might or might not be a good idea that is beneficial to users. The wisdom of such policies can be debated. But having such a policy is not "revolutionary."
Alexis Madrigal begins his “revolutionary” claim by conceding his initial instincts "strongly pointed to requiring real names." He then uses a bogus thought experiment to convince himself otherwise:
Imagine you're walking down the street and you say out loud, "Down with the government!" For all non-megastars, the vast majority of people within earshot will have no idea who you are. They won't have access to your employment history or your social network or any of the other things that a Google search allows one to find. The only information they really have about you is your physical characteristics and mode of dress, which are data-rich but which cannot be directly or easily connected to your actual identity. In my case, bystanders would know that a 5'9", 165 pound probably Caucasian male with half a beard said, "Down with the government!" Neither my speech or the context in which it occurred is preserved. And as soon as I leave the immediate vicinity, no one can definitively prove that I said, "Down with the government!"
In your head, adjust the settings for this thought experiment (you say it at work or your hometown or on television) or what you say (something racist, something intensely valuable, something criminal) or who you are (child, celebrity, politician) or who is listening (reporters, no one, coworkers, family). What I think you'll find is that we have different expectations for the publicness and persistence of a statement depending on a variety of factors. There is a continuum of publicness and persistence and anonymity. But in real life, we expect very few statements to be public, persistent, and attached to your real identity. Basically, only people talking on television or to the media can expect such treatment. And even then, the vast majority of their statements don't become part of the searchable Internet.
I’m fine with analogies, but this is the wrong one. Facebook and Google+ aren’t at all like yelling out into a nameless crowd. Instead, you’re writing a message, to people you choose to share it with. This is a lot more like a letter or mass e-mail. Technologies much older than modern social networks, and ones that we quite often connect with our real names. Why? Because we wan’t our readers to know where the message is coming from. We want them to read it and trust it and care about it.
I’m not saying that anonymity doesn’t have its advantages. Sure it does, and it has a rich and honored history on the Web, including web forums, chat rooms, Myspace, Friendster, Tumblr and Twitter. But let’s not pretend that using one’s real name on the internet is some sort of crazy, unprecedented idea.
Both Facebook and Google are trying to connect you with your real friends, because those are the relationships that can most easily be monetized through advertising. And they are the relationships that create the “stickiest” network effects. You trust your close friends more than anyone else. This is the idea behind the “real names” rules.
If we must use a talking out loud analogy instead of a written one, fine. What if you’re talking to your friends in a bar, they all know who you are, don’t they? That bar is what Google and Facebook want to be. They want you to have a few drinks, let down you guard, and show you ads while you’re in the can. They are the new Cheers, “where everybody knows your name.”
You may not like it. You may be worried that someone will overhear, or that you’ll be taken advantage of. That you don’t really control your privacy. You may prefer a low profile. That’s fine. There are a couple of rando funhouses down the street. They’re called Twitter & Tumblr, and they’re great. See you there. I like all the bars in this neighborhood.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
So Amazon beats both Google and Apple to market with what I expect will be similar approaches to cloud based “music locker” services. You can upload, store, and stream your entire music library for $1 per gigabyte per year. Your first five gigabytes is free, and anything you buy from Amazon is free to store. That’s a good deal, made even better because Amazon’s music downloads are priced much more cheaply than iTunes and are frequently competitive with eMusic, neither of which currently offer a music locker service.
But there are some drawbacks that will probably keep me from using the service (much as I love Amazon).
- It won’t work on your iPhone or iPad.
- MP3s you’ve already purchased from Amazon aren’t included in the service. You can upload them, of course, but they’ll count against your 5 gb limit.
- No social integration with Last.fm, Facebook, or Twitter.
Right now Rdio and Audiogalaxy both offer more sensible, comprehensive approaches to music in the cloud. Rdio lets me stream more than 7 million songs with great social features and zero uploading. And if I want to listen to my own mp3 library, Audiogalaxy gives me streaming access to my entire hard drive (almost 200 gb) for free—again, with no uploading.
As I said, I expect iTunes and Google (and probably eMusic) to offer similar services, all of which will probably be oriented around purchasing, uploading, and storing mp3s. But I can’t figure out why I’d want to use any “music locker” option. Why chain myself to the old paradigm of storing thousands of digital files on a virtual drive? Why do that when I can more cheaply access millions of files with a small monthly subscription using Mog, Rhapsody, Rdio, or Spotify (when it gets here to the States)?
Amazon’s storage price isn’t bad, but it would cost me almost $200 a year to store my library. I pay Rdio about $120, and that gets me unlimited streaming and downloading to a mobile device. That’s all I need, and I don’t have the hassle of managing a drive full of files.
I will use Amazon’s free service. And probably Google’s. If only to stream my purchased music that isn’t available on Rdio. But unless one of the big three, Amazon, Google, or iTunes, figure out how to marry a subscription service with their music locker approach, or offer free storage (similar to Lala.com), I’m not interested.