September 17, 2014

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I’ll keep this one short because I can’t say a lot about my job publicly but in the essence of posterity, I wanted to post to this blog that I’ve now been at TomTom for four years. Not a huge career achievement considering my life expectancy but it is a big deal to me at this stage in my life. 

I joined TomTom on September 7th of 2010, moved from San Francisco to New Hampshire and started a new life here. It was a big risk for me but I’m truly amazed at all of the incredible innovations and talented people at our company.

I hope to continue working @ TomTom for many years to come!

September 10, 2014

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I can’t and won’t comment on yesterday’s fruit event but the one more thing moment was great. I hope this continues.

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Photo via theverge

September 8, 2014

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Twitter goes Facebook by injecting foreign content into your stream and Twitter’s New “Buy” Button Lets You Make In-Tweet Purchases

There was a time with Jack Dorsey dreamt of a service that literally saved the world. Using the simplicity of SMS and the fact that SMS is built into literally every single cell-phone sold in the last 10 years, this service would allow communication without borders to everyone!

Imagine a person who has never used a computer to tweet their thoughts, ideas and life to a world audience to broadcast war, poverty, injustice. This was the dream of Jack Dorsey. 

Then Twitter had to start making money and you get what we have today. I’m simply disappointed in what Twitter has become. The service is mostly spam-bots, the pushing around of TwitPic and requiring developers to move to a token-based API (remember Tweetdeck for Mac?) and that new API means Twitter can inject ads into any application that access their stream meaning even if I pay money for an app, it’ll still have ads that make money for Twitter. Now they’re going to start putting foreign content from people I don’t care about into my stream, they’ve also done a good job of censoring accounts that are bringing news to the masses. 

Twitter has millions of shareholders and they’ve forgotten Dorsey’s dreams. 

I get it. I’m a capitalist as well and eventually, Twitter had to make money. Ads are proven to work but if I was still a Twitter use, I’d pay money to not have any of these features that Twitter has been rolling out. Smart people work @ Twitter and Google and Facebook. The fact that none of them charge a membership fee means that this is not the right path but ads are everywhere and that’s our future going forward.

I hope Dorsey succeeds at becoming a billionaire and releases Twitter Alpha source code (with the approval of the board) for free. I’d use it and I’m sure many others would as well. Then again, it’s not that easy. I still think there’s hope for a global community board that doesn’t come with all of the BS that Twitter has now.

App.net failed at this so maybe I’m just a crazy idealist shouting in the dark. 

September 6, 2014

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via Vanity Fair:

Newson’s hire comes amid something of staffing up by Apple. The company recently acquired Beats Music, founded by music industry pioneers Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. Tech-industry observers characterized that move as underscoring the value of tastemakers. Other recent hires by the company include Angela Ahrendts, a former Burberry C.E.O., Yves Saint Laurent’s Paul Deneve, and Nike’s Ben Shaffer.

Sounds like Tim is assembling a design-house with much more visibility than before. Design out of Cupertino has rivaled Paris, London and New York for the last 2 decades. This team is going to make beautiful products together. I am excited about the next 2 years.

September 5, 2014

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via Waffle & Brent Simmons:

Eventually, communities moved from BBSes and newsgroups to forums, email, chats and instant messaging. But at some point, it became “social media”, and forms of media turned into products. And this isn’t just Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, it goes as far back as del.icio.us, Flickr and Yahoo Groups.

The reason I don’t like social media is that it takes two things that are polar opposites and duct tapes them together. Your own utility – to save links, to write text, to move files or materials, to keep notes, to communicate with yourself in the future, to communicate with some other specific people – and the social media outlet’s desire to fulfil its own objectives first.

This is a recipe for tone-deafness at best. But it’s also an explanation of why so many people are so uneasy with social media.

and from Brent:

My blog’s older than Twitter and Facebook, and it will outlive them. It has seen Flickr explode and then fade. It’s seen Google Wave and Google Reader come and go, and it’ll still be here as Google Plus fades. When Medium and Tumblr are gone, my blog will be here.

The things that will last on the internet are not owned. Plain old websites, blogs, RSS, irc, email.

I remain vigilant on maintaining my independent presence on the web. I own the formatting, the database, the design, the ‘about me’ page (BTW, it’s horribly outdated) and I curate what I want to show to the world. I like that both bloggers are making examples of Web 1.0 products more than the 2.0 products we have today. My linked category on this blog will out live Del.icio.us for sure! The only service I haven’t divested of in my life is Flickr and Google Voice. Flickr is very challenging. I simply don’t have the CPU & Storage to serve up photos. My Flickr albums have been viewed over 3.1 million times since 2005..on average, I get 3-5 thousand views a day of my Flickr photos. I can’t support that with my own server.

September 4, 2014

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via FastCompany:

The fuzzy focus culminated in Square Wallet, which was initially called Card Case. Though Dorsey won’t acknowledge it publicly, the aim internally, says one source, was to “own both sides of the counter”–vendor and customer–so the company could one day “cut out the credit-card companies altogether.” (At weekly all-hands meetings, former COO Keith Rabois, only half-jokingly, used to announce the projected date on which Square’s payments-processing volume would overtake Visa’s.) Instead of helping consumers pay with their phones, like many other digital-wallet products, Square’s Wallet app enabled consumers to open a virtual tab with a nearby shop and then pay for items merely by saying their name when they arrived. Despite its popularity with the tech vanguard, Wallet saw barely any adoption. Few merchants accepted it, partly because few consumers paid with it, and vice versa. Even where Square Wallet was accepted, cashiers often didn’t know how it worked. “It wasn’t necessarily faster, or more convenient,” Dorsey says, looking back. “It felt more futuristic, but that doesn’t make it better.”

I STILL use Square Wallet. Every single merchant I’ve ever encountered accepts Wallet. i’ve never had an issue paying with Wallet and at most of the breweries, cafes and bakeries that I frequent, I auto-check in when walking through the doors. They see me on the list and charge me. The fact that Square Wallet is no longer available on the App store is a shame but I still keep it on my iPhone and use it every single day when I’m in big-cities. Finally, I use it as a way to find nearby establishment. I open it and use it like FourSquare to find nearby cafes. For some reason, a cafe taking square means they do Pour-Over coffee…something about the hipster-ness of Square that if a place accepts wallet, I’m certain the quality of their coffee is also good. Wallet is a utility in my life that I’d hate to give up. Why it didn’t catch on doesn’t make sense.

September 3, 2014

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via The Atlantic:

Last, Silicon Valley startups seem to be able to offer the great experiences that they do because they centralize our information within their server farms. But email proves that this is not necessarily the case. Progress can come from much more distributed decision-making processes. The email protocol evolves based on the deliberations of the Internet Engineering Task Force, not by the fiat rule of a single company in Silicon Valley or New York.

Nearly 100% of my communication is done via email. In the rare cases that someone sends me an SMS, it goes through Google Voice. In both cases, I have an indexed, searchable organized repository for all of my communications. With Email, I own 100% of it the server, the internet connection, VPN tunnel and desktop mail application. There are no ads in my Inbox, only communications server to server with my contacts. Google owns my SMS but hosting my own SMS relay is very costly and difficult at the individual level. I worked on SMS technology @ Brightkite (check-ins via SMS) and it’s not a cheap setup to own your own shortcode.

I’m off topic now but my point is, one day Facebook will be gone and email will still be alive. I don’t use Twitter or Facebook anymore. I don’t use any of those new fangled services. I can email my photo full resolution (not cropped like a square) to a thousand people just like I do with instagram. I can email videos, photos, party invites and thoughts. Email rules and unfortunately, articles like the above-linked one don’t come around as often as they should.

September 2, 2014

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via The Bold Italic:

I think you would have had to live in both SF and New England to fully appreciate this. If you have, it’s worth the read.

September 1, 2014

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via McSweenys:

I’d noticed that in my store, only Managers, Creatives, and Geniuses have their face on their employee key cards. Everyone else’s card is white. How do you get your face on your key card? You get it by visiting Cupertino.Managers, Creatives, and Geniuses, the senior positions in the store, are flown on the company’s dime to Cupertino for training, Apple finishing school, if you like. You’re paid salary to take classes and partake in tradition. It makes the pilgrimage seem that much more of a reward.

I do totally know the feeling. In a few years, I’ll post my employee key cards which you can only get by going to Cupertino. I have the files but can’t share them at this time. They are truly a big deal both for fans of the company and the remote employees. They mean basically nothing but it’s a rite of passage and is a big moment for all of us that ever worked for that fruit company.

August 29, 2014

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via Matt Gemmell:

It’s important to have a boundary between your work and home life, psychologically and physically. For anything but the most casual, occasional periods, you need a dedicated working environment.

there are a lot of tips in here and I encourage teleworkers to read it but this one really stands out. It’s good to switch off and be home when your’e at home. That’s hard with an apartment but you have to make it work.