Just log out of your social networks (or pay)
The Internet has unearthed Foursquare’s “plan to woo Advertisers.” This is just the latest story covering people who are disillusioned with social networks collecting their data.
Here is a simplified overview on why the social networks run their businesses the way they do:
- Social networks need lots of people to work
- They need to remain free to have lots of people
- They need substantial ad revenue to remain free
- They need to develop intensive personalized targeting to generate substantial ad revenue
These companies have no choice but to develop creative ways to generate that money, whether you think it’s creepy or not.
The quick solution is easy: log out. The real solution is trickier… or at least more expensive:
Are you willing to pay a fee to use these networks ad free?
Think Google Glass is the future of creepy? Check this out.
The Best iOS Weather App
All of these apps are great. They are all “beautiful in that now-tiresome way apps from VC-backed companies are required to be.” The Yahoo! Weather app is especially appealing, integrating lots of fancy Flickr images.
None of these apps are the Best iOS Weather App. These apps require me to fire up yet another app I’ve downloaded because I wanted to check it out… and actively check the weather - an inherently boring task for me. The best weather app is not an app; it’s a text message.
Poncho - a Betaworks backed project - is lunging into the lead (of the fake race to be the best weather app… all going on in my head) ahead of each of these design centric apps. It sends a text message every morning broadcasting the day’s weather and how you should prepare for it, in the form of a human message.
I’ve had an IFTTT recipe that sends me a text whenever it’s about to rain. It doesn’t text me every day, only when I need to bring an umbrella. However, the Poncho style “Go with a light jacket and sweater combo” morning text messages are my favorite way to stay informed. For now.
BEST IOS WEATHER APP: Poncho (and it’s for anyone who receives SMS, not just iOS).
A Proper (Concept) Smartwatch
A juxtaposition of a regular calculator watch, (left) built with technology that has existed since the ’70′s, and the Pebble smartwatch, (right) famous for its darling Kickstarter campaign, raising the largest sum of money in the history of crowdsourced Internet fundraising.
How cool is it going to be to get a phone call and look down at your watch to see who is calling. I’m pumped to read text messages and Twitter mentions with a glance at my wrist. Unfortunately, right now there is a major setback in this smartwatch fantasy… All of these nerdy timepieces look like they were designed with technology from the mid 70′s. It doesn’t have to be this way.
The New York Times reviewed the new batch of smartwatches that will be hitting the market in 2013. They made the observation that “as though by silent agreement, the gadget industry seems to have decided that 2013 is the year of the smartwatch.” Sweet! However, the underwhelming conclusion is that these products just aren’t there yet. I’m afraid we are going to be left with an iPod nano taped to our wrists.
Instead let’s depict what web developer and natural design aficionado Tanveer Chowdhury and I talked through to describe the ideal wearable smart timepiece:
This smartwatch is not for manually inputting any data; it is for reading output (i.e., it’s not for writing text messages, it’s for reading them). It only recognizes verbal input with a Siri connection – think setting alerts and taking calls on speaker phone. If you get a phone call, you glance down at your wrist to see who is calling. If you want to answer it with your cool smartwatch, you can press a button and smartwatch speaker phone with pick it up. You’ll be talking into your wrist, just like our half joking predictions from decades ago.
The primary focus is on the aesthetic of the watch. All of the “smart” functionality is secondary to how it feels to wear and how it looks on wrists. The glass on the face of the watch is ideally a convex meniscus shape. The face’s texture is crystalline and translucent. The hands sit beneath the glass, peeking through like a clear streak on a foggy window. The watch demands two physical buttons. One button activates Siri while the other button serves as an “select” button. Scrolling through objects in the OS is performed with the satisfying click of a radial dial. It’s fastened with a leather strap. Or a nylon straps. It’s a watch strap, pick whichever you like best.
The user decides which apps make it onto the watch in a companion iOS app. My preference is to include the analog clock, compass, weather, and alerts – alerts being text messages, phone call with caller ID, reminders, and Twitter mentions. When an alert happens, the watch gently vibrates and the screen displays the alert text.
Users select different apps by scrolling through with the radial dial, settling on an app by pressing the “select” button. Once the desired app is selected, you can scroll through the app’s contents, cycling through your text messages, or the days of the week (for weather), or recent/missed calls. To pop back up a level, hit the “select” button again and you’re brought back to the app selection. In this case most people would cycle back to the Time app, displaying the face of the clock.
Bluetooth 4.0, speaker in/out, vibrating alerts, iOS/Android compatible, either e-ink or cool concept glass screen.
*Over time this number will adjust with Moore’s Law.
Three eras of currency
Commodity based, e.g. Gold
Politically based, e.g. Dollar
Math based, e.g. Bitcoin