Month: August 2012

App.net

Just under a month ago App.net launched it’s own Kickstarter style appeal. Give us $500,000 and we’ll launch a real-time social service where users and developers come first, not advertisers. This would be a paid for social network where user and developer concerns outweigh advertisers. This would be a social network unlike any others as you would have to pay every year to continue using the service. A paid alternative to Twitter.

This all stemmed from the threatening and changing tone from Twitter. Where initially they wanted the support of developers (and indeed saw many features grow organically from the user community) over the last 6-12 months there is a definite change in how they work with third party developers and an increase in adverts. A service like Twitter doesn’t come cheaply so the adverts are a necessary evil for a free network.

App.net promise an advert free network and fully open API. It sounded great but I was and still am sceptical. Will it attract the numbers required to make it useful? Will it become a walled garden? Will it get third party support? There’s a pessimistic/realistic post from MG Siegler that sums up many of the problems App.net faces.

The idea still appeals though, hence I’ve signed up. I like paying my way on the internet if I get a better service. I pay for Flickr as it keeps it ad free for me and I still think it’s a great site despite the many free options out there. I pay for web hosting despite wordpress.com as I get more control over how my site works. I’m hoping that by paying for App.net that I’ll get rich conversations, I won’t have to suffer adverts and it should be spammer free – how many spammers and trolls wil pay $50 a year? I guess I also have expectations that may be difficult to deliver initially as it’s a brand new service up against the like of Twitter and Facebook, but if people don’t support ventures like App.net then we will forever be used to selling our privacy and data for allegedly free web services. Like many have said, I’d pay for a premier Twitter account if it could keep me advert free, gave me full search etc.

I hope App.net succeeds but even if it doesn’t I’m hoping that it will at least jerk Twitter into providing a better service longer term. With three days to go it will be touch and go to get the $500,000 funding but they are progressing – the alpha is now live and the API spec is available on Github. Will I see you on App.net?

Mountain Lion

Mountain Lion has been out for over a week now. While generally stable it does feel like a really small upgrade…although it was for a small price. Some initial thoughts below:

– Wake from sleep – are they doing the same as iOS and displaying an image and then the actual desktop? In fact as the week has went on I’m convinced the wake is slightly slower than on Lion.
– Definitely snappier and faster than Lion once booted. Seeing the speed increase when I upgraded the Air and especially on the iMac where I went for a fresh install.
– I really like tab syncing across all platforms. Very handy and it happens quickly without any distraction. Like many things, it just works.
– Sharing is useful. Needs to allow for other services to plugin. Knowing Apple that will be in next years update.
– Safari – stable on the Air but totally unstable on the iMac and thats with a fresh O/S install, no extensions and no flash. Strange. Impressed with Safari speed though. Finding it much faster than Chrome and it finally unifies address and search bars. I do notice that CPU usage is high with Safari. I think it will be one or two point releases before I try Safari again as it’s just not stable at the moment.
– iCloud doc’s still confuse – my head does not get each app having it’s own document store – easy to lose content? Maybe I need to use it more.
– Dictation actually works…mostly. Best for short statements like a tweet though.
– Battery life on my 2012 Air is reduced by Mountain Lion and by quite a margin. Hope Apple address this quickly. Also noticed that the magsafe adaptor goes green but the battery is at 95% and still has 20 mins to get fully charged. CPU issues from Safari and a battery that isn’t always fully charged might explain my shortened battery life.
– Notifications are good but not as useful or granular as Growl.
– Yet to be convinced by Messages. Conversations don’t sync across platforms for me. Handy to be able to send large files to and from iOS though. Won’t replace Adium for IM mostly due to the poor UI.
– New screensaver options are good.
– RRS button removed in Safari. Probably says more about RSS than anything else. There’s an extension to get back the feature though.
– Those invisible scrollbars are much improved.
– Dock looks clearer, not so much the running app indicators. Maybe they aren’t needed after all?
– Most third party app’s working fine. Not as big an issue as when Leopard or Lion came out.

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