January 28, 2009

Amazon MP3 Store: I Think I’ll Like It

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 8:19 pm

Oh, I raked it over the coals when I tried it shortly after it launched.

Then this tweet reminded me of the great deals it sometimes offers:


Although the Pre interface for it doesn’t look much like the iTunes Store interface on the iPhone, if it makes searching and buying easy, I’ll be gobbling up deals like that!

Palm, Please Learn From The App Store Mistakes!

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 6:06 pm

Palm indicated it will take a different tack with its App Catalog than the one Apple has taken with its App Store.

Once again Apple has chosen to play Nanny and has denied entrance to an application: There’s a Whole Lot of Shakin’ Going On in the App Store

This is really the key sentence:

Atherton says Apple gave his app a second look after Wobble topped the sales chart in Japan.

What’s unclear there is if he means the App Store for Japan.

Apple has embarrassed itself in the eyes of intelligent people by banning a comic book and banning an eBook.

Yet not only did it approve of shooting nurses in the face in the UK App Store, it has also allowed that now in the American App Store [this link will launch iTunes].

In fact, with the American listing, they’ve allowed a more violent screensnap!

American App Store

UK App Store

Before Apple came along, no one had any problems with handheld apps for sale and with eBooks for sale.

I don’t recall seeing a single article about the “dangers” of games for PalmOS and Windows Mobile devices.

I don’t recall anyone wringing their hands over the language in eBooks sold by Fictionwise, eReader, MobiPocket, the Kindle Store, the Sony eBook Store, and others.

And then along came Apple, appointing itself Nanny.

It’s my sincere hope that aside from checking for unsafe code — outright spamware and malware — Palm will refrain from value judgments when it comes to applications and information.

In addition, I hope the Palm Pre will also be able to download applications and eBooks from any vendor, not simply Palm. Caveat emptor, of course, but word travels fast on the Internet.

I think most non-geek people will rely on the official Palm App Catalog.

But everyone shouldn’t be restricted to only that choice.

Palm Pre: Predicted In 2007!

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 2:41 pm

I was going through my first blog to see what I could use a fodder when I came across a link I made to a post.

I went back to read the linked post and it stunned me.

Look at this:

What the iPhone would have looked like if I was Steve Jobs

Social networking would have been front and center. It would have been a social networking device from the ground up. One that — oh, by the way — can also be used as a “telephone” or a “web browser” (yawn). And of course as an iPod and a video player etc.

It would have supported dozens of social networking concepts from the get-go. iTunes would have been expanded to take your user name and passwords for major social networking services, and then it would just suck down all the meta data it needs for the corresponding functions to work on your device.

Or, perhaps even better, Apple would roll out it’s own Web 2.0 alternatives, ones that are fully coordinated with the Mac, with iTunes, with iPods, and with the iPhone.

Photos would automatically sync with your selected photo sharing device. Instant messaging would manage multiple groups and friend lists on top of SMS, hiding control data in SMS messages from you and just showing the socially relevant data.

Location-aware signaling would be built it. The phone would sense if you were in your favorite coffee shop and flag that to friends.

The wifi software would support peer-to-peer; it would let you know what people in your vicinity are listening to; it would include a bunch of multiplayer games that you can play right away with friends (or strangers!) in your vicinity. Or anywhere! In fact, it might include traditional games like chess with direct support for a global iPhone chess ranking.

Calendar would sync with online services, not wait to be connected with a big, ugly PC. It would be extended to support stuff like movies, shows, bands, local events, etc.

Video, of course, with automatic syncing with my own location on the web for storing and editing them.

Messaging would be integrated into a single view, with iconic/font/color indicators to separate news items, blog entries, text messages, chats, etc. You have full control to organize all the streaming sources into one or more distinct “pages”.

Red emphasis added by me.

And here is a fundamental difference between the iPhone — still! — and the Pre:

What struck me already from the early reviews was that Apple seems to fundamentally not understand social networking, and the potential that a brand new mobile platform could have for that. It’s a generational thing, I guess. Steve is even older than I am, and I’m having a real hard time keeping up with the times. Plus he’s busier than I am.

Unless you’ve been spending time with all the new communication flavors out there – stuff like Flickr, Twitter, Myspace, Facebook,, the RSS universe, etc etc – you won’t notice the egregious strategic blunder that Apple is in the midst of making. The mainstream reviewers certainly haven’t picked up on it.

The thing is, the use of mobile devices for social networking is something that has been forced into the current platforms out there. There are all sorts of obscure ways to leverage text messaging infrastructure to support higher semantic notions like chat rooms, instant messaging, bulletin boards, classifieds, etc.

I was actually in the room when Steven Jobs first announced the iPhone at Macworld earlier this year. I was immediately struck by his emphasis of desktop/iPod-oriented features; using the telephone, using the calendar, todo lists, listening to music. That’s the stuff the 1990s generation did, and they do it on their desktops. The 21st century kids – and workers! – have other frameworks. They chat; they blog; they share their music playlists; they listen to internet radio; they play text RPG-like games on wikis; they argue on bulletin boards; they exchange pictures and phone/webcam videos; they watch youtube; they post video responses to youtube.

The new generation doesn’t use the phone. They don’t call somebody to discuss a document. They just change the wiki entry and they know any subscribers to changes will be notified. They chat. They update their emo trackers with mood and location like “wd market, nw” [walking down market, nice weather]; and so forth.

Yeah, they got youtube. But only because Google had bought them. And you can’t post to youtube from the iPhone. Even if you could post, you can’t actually make a video with the iPhone.

You can’t even leave a friggin comment on the youtube service.

And at root is this, he surmises:

Here’s my theory. Apple can only do really interesting products if Steve Jobs understands the end user. And Jobs does not understand the 21st century computer usage paradigm. In this century, people don’t send memos to each other. And that’s what email is – electronic memos.

Whereas outside of Steve Jobs’s view:

Today, people chat; they blog; they share multimedia like pictures, video, and audio; they flame each other on forums; they link with each other in intricate webs; they swap effortlessly between different electronic personae and avatars; they listen to internet radio; they vote on this that and the other; they argue on wiki discussion groups.

Again: I won’t knock the iPhone. But I will say that I think the people behind the Palm Pre understand today’s market in a way Apple has so far not grasped.

And that’s why I find the Palm Pre appealing.

I Get Cranky At Adobe

Filed under: Groundwork — mikecane @ 10:36 am

Adobe has published a little fable that borders on the twee about Internet video.

So very self-satisfied, Adobe seemed, I naturally come along with the pin to puncture their ego balloon:

And then there were the Princes. They couldn’t see the cute little video file in her flashy dress because they were using the iPhone and the Palm Pre and hanging out at the swank places like Veoh, dailymotion, vimeo, et al.

Fix that already, Adobe, willya?!!?

Let’s see if the Moderator lets it through.

Update: Not only was it let through, there was also a response:

[jd sez: Working on it. Palm has been ambiguous about Flash during their initial press, but I’m hopeful. Adobe has committed to the technical development, but Apple has remained mute about permitting it.]

Blog at