Geeky, hard to use, but continually updated and getting better and tied to compelling services like Google Maps and gmail. That's my summary of Android after playing with my Nexus S. This could have been Symbian or Meego or Maemo in an alternate Nokia universe. Oh well. Hopefully Nokia survives Windows Phone 7 long enough to launch something that's a truly useful and compelling total mobile experience and that allows them once again to be master of their own destiny.
The cult of real-time metrics (in addition to big data) in Silicon Valley-style (Silicon Valley is now a state of mind and no longer just a place) startups now. Graph crucial and key metrics all the time and all in real-time ! I jest but it is valuable! Heretofore real-time metrics graphing has just been too hard unless you have the talent and experience of firms like Etsy to put the necessary infrastructure (graphing software, metrics collecting software, etc) in place.
However that difficulty is an opportunity that will be rapidly addressed (because real-time graphing is an itch that can be rapidly scratched by developers and it's helpful to companies' bottom line) and you can start to see this being addressed in projects like Simulchart.
In 1 hour I was able to get SimulChart graphing every 10 minutes the number of new Get Satisfaction Thunderbird topics using some node.js code (this is not a business critical real-time metric; i have plans for other real-time Thunderbird metrics, stay tuned :-) !). That's the future! 1 hour to get a business critical metric graphed in real time without having to stand up home grown infrastructure like Etsy and flickr did.
If anybody knows of any other real time open source and/or free graphing toolkits or services, let me know!
MongoDB is my current persistent data structure store of choice aka "how to slurp your Get Satisfaction data into MongoDB"
Got some data that you want to persist and manipulate but you are not sure what to do with it i.e. you are in exploratory or "side project" mode? Then MongoDB is a fine choice in 2011. Easy to get the data in and out and then when you have figured out what you want to do when you grow up :-) you can store it in a "real" database as well e.g. PostgreSQL. e.g. If you want to get your data out of Get Satisfaction or any other system with an API for backup and other purposes, check out my "hacked in an hour or two but I think it works", mongoUpdateSlurpGS ruby script. I used it to slurp in 20000 Get Satisfaction Thunderbird Topics and their associated replies and tags. If you want to do the same for your Get Satisfaction community, it's trivial to do: all you need is about 1 hour of a ruby (or other language,the code is pretty elementary) developer's time and some time to run the script.
And doesn't understand why the UI is not as responsive in general e.g when playing Angry Birds on the N8
or why the N8 Angry Birds sometimes displays black blotches instead of the correct graphics.
Ah the current sad state of computer software, hardware and experience where only a few companies like Apple can make a compelling, complete experience. (i.e. beyond the Fisher Price iPhone experience; I love Fisher Price Ewan, I also love computer power tools like Ubuntu and Emacs) . I am looking forward to trying out Android in depth but it feels like Linux before Ubuntu rather than a compelling experience that can compete with Apple's.
It's time for real total mobile experience innovation. One that isn't tethered to a PC. One that helps me manage my life without drowning in a sea of overlapping and confusing apps or "ad driven where my data is sold to the highest bidder" web apps.
Perhaps I'll just give in to my geeky nature and run my own powerful but hard to use server for services for my mobile like I run this blog on my own server.
It's not just about digital publishing; it's about our entire society based on oil and motordom. And no, I don't have any easy answers :-) !
QUOTE from http://booktwo.org/notebook/stop-lying/
I go through cycles of belief about the future of writing, of publishing, of the written word. But too much is broken to continue to pretend that the models we have become used to, the models of sales and distribution, of composition and recompense, of form and style, of reading and attention, can stagger on much longer.
This is the world we are living in and we can either lie to ourselves about it or we can dive headlong into the new forms and effects that it produces.
I don't believe in the Quantified Self fad but I do believe in tracking how far I go bicycling. And the Cyclemeter iPhone App / Daily Mile social "workout" community does a great job as you can see in the screenshot above. I have turned off the CycleMeter feature which tells you if you are are "worse" or "better" than median or average because I don't believe in "racing" especially when commuting to work by bicycling; better to enjoy your bike ride rather than yak shaving about a few seconds here and there. Sure would be nice if there was a standard to share data among bicycling tracking apps so I could see all of my bicycling which is spread across Sports Tracker (700+ "workouts"), RunKeeper (176 "workouts") and now Cyclemeter (86 "workouts").
Next up in April or May: try the new iPhone or Android version of SportsTracker
Color's idea for co-locative co-temporal automatic social network is great but Color's execution merits a D
After 6 days with Color here are some musings:
- To me, the idea of a co-locative co-temporal automatically created without passwords and users social network aka "co-created photo and video commons" is great; not sure if that's mainstream, perhaps it will be
- The App is flawed: no obvious way to browse by users, no help information, no tutorial (there is one on the website, but since this app-centric, there should be a tutorial accessible from the app!)
- The App is flawed: no way to unfollow a user or at least delete a user's photos.
- The App is flawed: no way to "unPost". Would be great to be able to delete your photo or video within 10 minutes of posting it.
- There is no web presence. Why have a website if it doesn't have proper permanent links for each user? (is this unfriendly link my permanent link:http://color.com/s/6a0esD?)
- 10 second videos are cool, but 1 minute or ideally 1:30 like flickr would be great
- Color is yet another social media ghetto where you can't get your stuff out with full metadata. Please follow flickr's example and provide an API that allows full metadata to be extracted along with the photos and video.
No obvious utility even to digital hipsters as evidenced by its lack of takeup; not everybody is an environment of iPhone and Android users who will try and both use this app. Color needs to promote themselves at conferences or events where lots of folks use the app (e.g. a geek conference with lots of iPhone & Android users; perhaps Northern Voice but probably not because it isn't iPhone and Android-centric) and thereby bootstrap their network. I think with the improvements above and heavy promotion at events with heavy Android and iPhone usage, it could be big, but there's no evidence that this will happen so far.
Conclusion: Great idea, D for execution. Color will not succeed but somebody else who's hungrier will take this idea and do it right eventually. A "co-locative co-temporal automatic social network" aka "co-created photo and video commons" will happen with or without Color.
Now running Drupal 7 courtesy of Richard (thanks!), who I had the privilege to work with at Bryght and Raincity Studios. Richard, like myself, has been working with Drupal since 2004 (wow, has it been that long?) and he has a deep technical knowledge of both working with, and administering Drupal sites as well as debugging and writing Drupal code and modules. And Richard is a gifted trainer & educator as I've experienced first hand watching him working with social media newbies at Northern Voice and at Drupal events helping out Drupal novices.
We are the network: Local, live video, curation, aggregation - How I would have covered the Vancouver 2010 Olympics
tl;dr:Hindsight is 2020 :-) Funding + bandwidth + curation + live streaming with anchors & field correspondents using mobile streaming = a true dynamic people's network which goes beyond merely static text, photo & video blogging that we had in 2004 and 2006
I loved the grassroots coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics from the folks at the True North Media House. But as always :-) I wanted more. If I had the time, energy, and budget (I am looking at you CBC, UBC, and the educational institutions and organizations with money and staff !) here's what I would have done:
- Found the funds to provide massive bandwidth to True North Media House to truly make it a place for the rest of us to get our stories out on the Internet
- We are the network; we don't need to kowtow or reference the official VANOC sanctioned networks.
- With adequate massive bandwidth the people can provide their own network. By network, I don't mean some text blogs with some photos and videos posted hours or minutes later. I mean, wouldn't it have been excellent to have:
- Implemented a real live video network up 4-24 hours a day with rotating anchors from all the communities of the host cities (e.g. GBLTQ, Filipinos :-), East Van, South Van, every group in Metro Vancouver who has a voice!) merged (e.g. using CamTwist like software) with live mobile streaming video from mobile phones using Qik to get the local stories live as they happen on the ground) i.e. we don't need CNN, CBC etc.! With a studio with massive bandwidth and a few mobile phones with data plans and live streaming we can make a better grassroots, organic network !
- Implemented some modern aggregation technology like Managing News to aggregate social media and then getting local folks to curate and surface the local stories that others were missing or don't care about.
Nokia execs believed it couldn't do 21st century mobile phone experience hence Nokmsft & the move to Windows Phone 7
We will never know for sure. But that's my theory and if you look at the failures of Nokia Software [Symbian, Meego, Qt (sure Qt has made compelling apps like Skype and VLC but nothing mobile and when has anything cross-platform beside HTML, CSS and JS produced compelling experiences? and QML had potential but was beta), etc. ; only Ovi Maps is great, IMHO all other Ovi services and software were failures] it makes sense to believe that.
I choose to believe that there were and are Nokia folks who can do 21st century mobile experiences but they were let down by upper management and leaders (all leaders who were involved in the total Nokia mobile experience prior to February 11 should go in my armchair CEO opinion).
Perhaps Nokia with this WP7 aliance can pull it off. But just like Nortel whose leadership never really moved from their circuit switched and transmission mentality to the Internet mentality, I don't think the Nokia leaders can pull this one off. Love to be proven wrong by a resurgent "non RF, non embedded software" mindset Nokia that somehow manages (after a dark "interregnum" of WP7) to surge forward with something that is truly a compelling and unique mobile experience that I would pay my own money for.
Until then my money will go to other platforms like iPhone, Android and in the future hopefully WebOS.
My Blink Reactions to the Nokia Microsoft Windows Phone 7 announcement today:
- Nokia committed #Symbian suicide "Unexpected error occurred. Power off the device & restart" #UXUnimprovedSince2006 http://flic.kr/p/sCFgT
- No disrespect to fine Microsoft folks but I will never buy a WP7 powered phone with my own money.
February 11, 2011 shall henceforth be known as #Nokia #Microsoft Co-Dependence Day :-)
N8 Review - Nice Camera, Shame about the Total Experience which hasn't progressed since the N80 of April 2006
tl;dr If you are the 1% who value a cameraphone with fantastic photos above total experience (user experience, dev experience, apps experience, etc), then the N8 is for you. For others who only require a decent camera and are not cameraphone camera obsessed like I am, there are plenty of alternatives in 2011 with better user, dev and apps experiences which I won't bother to name!
On the eve of Nokia's February 11, 2011 announcements, it seems appropriate to review the Nokia N8. For those who don't know I have taken over 50,000 photos with Nokia cameraphones (7610,N70,N80,N73,N93,N85,N82,N900 and now the N8) since I first bought my first Nokia cameraphone back in 2004, the Nokia 7610 a 1 megapixel cameraphone.
What I love about the camera:
- The photos the photos the photos. Can't believe how great they are! Thanks!
- Fastest shot to shot of any cameraphone I have ever used. faster than our Canon point and shoot.
- Fastest auto-focus. Until the N8 I almost never used Nokia cameraphone focus, because it was too slow.
- Best Sensor
In other words the hardware and the sensor and the embedded software of the N8 camera are unparalleled. Thanks to those at Nokia responsible for the hardware and the sensor and the embedded software. A+ !!!!
What is substandard about the camera is the software i.e. the Nokia camera application:
- basically unchanged since the N80 in 2006. Menus and user experience hasn't changed much since the N80 and N95 days back in 2006 and 2007. Over 5 years of wasted user experience improvement potential
- Sometimes the camera app appears to crash and gives you a deceptive error message very similar to the one pictured above i.e. implying you need to restart the N8 to get the camera app working. This is deceptive and broken because you don't have to restart the N8; you simply have to quit and restart the camera app. Unacceptable that this has been appearing in Nokia camera apps since 2006
Substandard experiences of the current N8 pre PR 1.1 (I still haven't been able to upgrade to the newly released PR1.1):
- Dev experience: doesn't work on a Mac or Linux as smoothly as Windows and there is no grassroots, innovative developer energy going forward with Qt. Get rid of the Mac and Linux versions or get them working properly and as smoothly as Windows. Qt is confusing and old school C++ without any of the refinement of other platforms. QML has great potential but is still not mature enough.
- User Experience - Symbian^3 is much better than any previous Symbian on a touchscreen phone but it is still feels cobbled together and like a wart on a wart (power management and voice quality and true multitasking are the only exceptions which like awesome cameraphones nobody really cares about unfortunately!). And the primitive out of date web browser built-in to the N8 (I am aware that for PR 2.0 in March or April there will be an up to date browser, but "real artists ship" :-) !) is an embarassment and very frustrating for users.
- Apps Experience - I could go on and on about this but here is one example close to my heart: given Nokia's ridiculously large lead in cameraphones (at one point, Nokia was at least 3 years ahead of Apple and Android in cameraphone technology and software), it would stand to reason that there would be lots of great camera apps but there are none. It's really hard to use the OVI store and it's not built into the pre PR 1.1 firmware!
Really Enjoyed DemoCamp Vancouver 12 yesterday. Great Venue. Great energy from some great pitches and some great looking companies and ideas. Best yet. The only thing that could be improved is lighting for videos :-). Can we shine a light on the presenters next time? Just kidding! Some sample videos (I was able to stream about 16 or 17 including happy birthday to Justin of 49 pixels and all the pitches) after the jump of The Perfect Song and QuikPiq (randomly selected!).
I was disappointed by my N900 live-streamed Qik Videos:
- The videos are too dark! But what can you expect from a cameraphone :-) Hope the N8 is better in low light. Or perhaps I should think of a portable light. Anybody know of a portable lighting solution?
- I was also disappointed by the Qik application itself which seems to have lost (or maybe it's an N900 or Maemo bug) the 6 presentations that were buffered in the N900 Qik application but Windmobile couldn't stream fast enough in real time (probably because of Wind's nascent, un-tuned un-optimized 3G network and lack of base stations).
pitch from Quikpiq
pitch from The Perfect Song
tl;dr: Surprised by the paucity of real-time geotagged photos on flickr. People seem to upload in batches many hours after the fact. Still looking for a cool real-time geotagged picture feed so I can do some Blinkenlights info visualizations in a web browser near you!
Real Time Average Colour of Geotagged photos of 18 cities after a few minutes
Real Time Average Colour Geotagged photos of 18 cities after a few hours
Since 2007, I have over 50000 21000 (29000 non geotagged) geotagged photos uploaded on flickr from cameras most in real-time or near real time (a few minutes to a few hours after they were taken). I expected in 2010 that there would be many real-time geo tagged obsessive :-) photo uploaders like me. Enough to power a cool Blinkenlights info visualization.
- people are concerned about loss of privacy
- uploading with GPS coordinates is too hard
- GPSes are unreliable but getting more reliable every day
- most people upload to social media ghettos like Facebook and Twitpic where most of their metadata including latitude and longitude is lost and/or not available via API instead of "full photos as social object with full-meta-data-preservation-and-APIs-to-get-the-meta-data" services like flickr
Each red, yellow or orange dot represents 1 geotagged cameraphone photo from folks on Flickr taken between 00:00 Feb 28 2010 PST to 11:59PM Feb 28 2010 PST. Over 2000 photos! generated by: dl.dropbox.com/u/361757/CCC/mens-gold-medal-hockey-game28...
(Works on Firefox 4, Safari 5, Chrome, Safari iOS 4 but not Firefox 3., github source)
- Granville and Robson truly were the epicentre of action that day!
- No photos uploaded from Granville Island
- No photos uploaded from The Drive - East Van was almost totally unaffected by the Olympics which corresponds with my experience. East of Gastown there was no Olympic visitors and not nearly as much buzz.
Thanks to the excellent organizers of Interesting Vancouver 2010 for giving me a chance to present on Lessons from 50,000 Cameraphone photos:Create Coolness Constantly and for the great event. The right (almost impossible to do but I think the organizers accomplished this!) mix of people and thought provoking topics and fun food in an intimate setting.
The usual random stream of consciousness post-event thoughts:
- Can't disagree with JJ Lee about suits. In particular, I think that 99% of Canadian men look better in sports jackets and suits than their normal garb but that's just me :-)
- Leanne Prain and yarn bombing are awesome as always!!!!!
- Cory Weeds - His passion for jazz and music is infectious and made me dream of a world where everybody could lindy hop to 21st century live jazz instead of awesome recordings from the the 1920s-50s
- Lisa Salazar's invocation of the Bible is inspirational even if you (like myself) are no longer a believer.
- Kuba Om's passion is making the world a better place; one juicy groove at a time.
- Dustin Rivers - As an armchair linguist :-), I was really looking forward to hearing you! Next time?
- Anthony Nicalo had me dreaming (again!) of a world powered by food that comes from the heart rather than big food.
- Amanda Gibbs - The Museum of Vancouver is rocking! Loved the Fluevog and the local food and the bicycling shows. Can't wait to see MOV.next :-)
Thankful for in no order but the priorities should be obvious :-) !:
- cross country skiing
- music and dance
It's so 1.0 :-) i.e. it's early days but it delivers on the promise of showing what's happening with the Get Satisfaction forum. Check it on gitbhub or if you running Firefox 3.6 or above click on the following link to run it from my dropbox (yay for dropbox deployment!):
Current Features as I write this blog post:
- Today's hot keywords (a bit mislabelled: should be today's hot email providers)
- Today's support pattern, a bar graph showing when folks have filed support topics and replies over the last calendar day
- 5 most active topics in the last 24 hours
- 5 latest created support topics
- 5 random topics from today
- 5 most recently solved topics
- 5 latest active solved topics (since we can't really close a topic, people can still comment on a solved topic so it's good to know this; this is a major Get Satisfaction gap IMHO, we need a a *real* close feature
- Real-time tag cloud - neat but not really helpful since most of the tags users use are not helpful
- applause feature when a support topic is marked close i.e. it plays an applause sound!!!!!
- Real-time - updated every two minutes!
Current bugs / feature requests
- improve the styling
- Add avatars of the folks who solved support topics
- The Get Satisfaction API could be improved with better documentation as well as support for real-time stats. Would be great for example to have an API call for the current calendar's day's solved topics, current contributors who solved topics etc instead of having to compute this (this is thinking out loud, haven't thought of this too much will blog about it more in the future)
- Deploy to github static pages instead of dropbox!