Hello. Welcome to the weblog of Sean Sperte. This is a collection of things relevant to the topics of design, technology, & geekery. More info →
The free version of ExpressionEngine, Core, is back and once again available for non-commercial use. If you’ve been itching to try ExpressionEngine, Core is the way to do it. Smart move by EllisLab.
There we go. This is the Seth Godin I know and love:
If you want to make something new, start with understanding. […] The making isn’t the hard part, in fact. It’s the seeing. […] When everyone has the same Mac and the same internet, the difference between hackneyed graphic design and extraordinary graphic design is just one thing—the ability to see.
This promotes a purpose-driven approach to creating. Rather than focusing on tactics, this advice tells readers to dig deeper – to understand.
The choice is between investing in employees or entrepreneurs
What each of these sites argues, implicitly, is that the web norms that we’ve evolved over the past decade err toward crassness and ugliness. That advertising — which all these sites lack, and which is proving to be less-than-sufficiently-remunerative for lots of “quality” online media — is an uninvited guest in our reading experiences. That the free-for-all of a comments thread creates broken-windows-style chaos. That the madness of the web might be tamed through better tools and better platforms. That the web’s pressure to Always Keep Posting New Stuff leads to a lot of dumb stuff being posted.
Speaking of MG Sielger, he recently wrote a post about Twitter’s ecosystem changes – or, has he puts it, their ‘landscaping problem’. It has the same sort of gloomy, it’s-a-bummer-but-that’s-the-way-it-is feel as his piece about App.net, which is sort of uncharacteristic.
I have a great deal of respect for Siegler, and usually agree with everything he says, but I don’t think he’s accurate in assuming Twitter Cards are going to be used as a tool for revenue. Granted, he would probably know better than I do, but I haven’t read or seen any official word from Twitter to suggest they’re going to attempt to monetize Cards.
While Twitter Cards do signal a(nother) shift in the core product, I don’t think it’s a shift motivated solely by revenue – at least not directly. Instead, I’m guessing the new Cards are designed to optimize Twitter’s product usage – to enhance the user experience. (Which, incidentally, does leads to more revenue, of course.)
Twitter is a great messaging platform; good for notifications, alerts, and short, one-way broadcasts. That means users, while they may use Twitter often, are bouncing in and out all day long. By contrast, Facebook users stay on facebook.com all day long – clicking around, viewing photos, playing games, Liking, Poking, etc. Hypothetically, that would make Facebook a better platform for advertising, and I think that’s why we’re seeing the shift to make Twitter a ‘stay here, don’t leave’ product. They’ve already proven their ads work better, now they just want to scale, multiply, and optimize the affect.
I just backed App.net, an altruistic effort by Dalton Caldwell and his team to create a real-time social platform that’s advertising-free. They want to do so by charging users for the service – $50/year. To prove Caldwell’s hypothesis, that users will see the value in a paid service like this, they’ve launched a Kickstarter-like campaign with the goal of raising $50,000 in 30 days.
I just don’t see a social platform growing quickly enough to overcome the network-effect barrier when it’s not free to join, especially when the goal is effectively to replace an existing, free, extremely successful network.
He goes on to qualify that he hopes he’s wrong. I agree with both he and Siegler, but also hope I’m wrong.
Regardless, though, I don’t think an advertising-free social platform is a pipe-dream. There are other growth models that circumvent the barrier Marco is talking about. The bottom line is: the [perceived] value has to outweigh the [perceived] costs. And there are tricks to tipping the scales.
For what it’s worth, I’d love it if you’d join me in backing the project.
Dark Knight Razes is a tumblog me and a buddy of mine started after seeing the latest Batman movie. It calls into question some obvious plot holes and hard-to-believe elements from the film – and contains spoilers.
According Benjamin Mayo, almost 1/3 of Twitter users access the service via a third-party client. He concludes that if Twitter did, in fact, want to shut down third-party client apps, they could do so because:
The only people who would care would be the geeks, like me and anyone else who could be bothered to read this post, who actually care about the client they are using. And let’s face it, Twitter doesn’t care about geeks.
It’s an interesting assumption. I’m curious: should Twitter care about geeks at this point? What do you think?
If you’re like me and you (still) use a mouse, you might like to know that Safari’s new tab-exposé feature does have a keyboard shortcut:
But, if you’re also like me, you think this keyboard shortcut sucks, and would rather use something else. To do so is easy: go to System Preferences, Keyboard, Keyboard Shortcuts (tab), and add an Application Shortcut for Safari. The two menu titles you need are “Show All tabs” and “Show One Tab”.
I’ve set mine to use the
Cmd+~ command – since I rarely use or need to switch between multiple Safari windows.
Today Apple released OS X Mountain Lion, the latest version of their desktop OS. It’s just $19.99 and available on the Mac App Store. Shawn Blanc has an excellent rundown on some of the lesser-known features that it ships with.
Everyone’s talking – well, blogging and tweeting – about the acquisition of Sparrow by Google. I’m not going to chime in, other than to point out that I’m pretty sure everyone’s right, but just from different perspectives. Here are some of the posts:
- “Entitlement and Acquisition” by Matt Gemmell
- “When Selling Out is, In Fact, A Dirty Choice” by Faruk Ates
- “Talent acquisitions” by Marco Arment
- (I’m sure Ben Brooks wrote about it, but it’s still behind his new paywall)
- “The Sparrow Problem” by David Barnard
- “The real reason we’re upset about Sparrow’s acquisition” by Rian van der Merwe
I like what Rian van de Merwe said:
The real issue is the sudden vulnerability we feel now that one of our theories about independent app development has failed.
Which begs the question:
is there any non-free/investor-based software economy that can [support an ambitious project like Sparrow]?
This is why we can’t have nice things. Tumblr just made a simple change to their API that has large implications for third-party developers, such as Red Sweater/Daniel Jalkut, creator of the popular Mac blogging app MarsEdit:
MarsEdit, and other clients of this API, are effectively broken until and unless Tumblr restores functionality of the API.
I’ll come out and say it: it’s damned frustrating to support Tumblr, and sometimes I wonder if I was a fool to ever try to do it.
[Published via MarsEdit.]
How did I miss this? It’s a new notes app for Mac called Justnotes; a perfect companion to Simplenote for iOS. Apparently Ben already wrote about it, too. How in the world did this slip under my radar?
I’ll likely have more thoughts about it after using it for longer than 5 minutes, but so far it seems like exactly what I’ve been wanting.
The new Retina MacBook Pro can power three external displays, plus its own retina display. Daaaaaaaang.
Speaking of Chuck Skoda, his pre-publish checklist is a great reference for anyone publishing content on the web. Bookmark and reference the next time you feel like commenting on a blog post or video.
A week with iOS 6 is a great first-impression evaluation of Apple’s new mobile OS. I don’t necessarily share Chuck’s optimistic opinion of iOS 6, but do appreciate a lot of the subtleties he points out.