Since I’ve been playing around a bit with creating a Flipboard magazine, I’ve been giving this some thought. Now, don’t get me wrong, at it’s core Google Reader was an RSS reader, and there’s no way I could replace the simplicity of following 200+ feeds in Reader with following 200+ magazines on Flipboard. Reader also had a very popular feature, well back before Google killed it off in order to get everyone to start using Plus, called Shared Items.
Shared Items were a great way to follow a handful of people, who had similar interests to you, and see what kinds of things they were sharing. I could see Flipboard magazines being a similar way to follow a handful of magazines, and see what those folks are sharing.
I’ve been creating a few of my own to match up with my own websites. The thought process, again, is that if mobile users won’t come to the website, because they don’t browse the web, we’ve got to share content with them in the apps they use. Flipboard is one of those apps. So I can share, not only my own blog posts, but lots of other content as well, all within the app or from the web, and you, as a Flipboard user, can “follow” the magazine and get a glimpse at what I’m sharing.
What about you, have you started “flipping” items to your own magazine in Flipboard? Share a link so we can check it out!Tags: Flipboard, Google, Mobile, RSS
Reading this latest article about the future of the mobile web, Smartphones: The silent killer of the Web as you know it, I’m struck by the difference between how young people interact with the web, and how us old veterans do it.
Young people don’t use tablets because they don’t see them as necessary for accessing the internet, since their perception is that apps are what makes up the internet. They’ve grown up primarily using their phones, not using laptops with Web browsers. To this generation, it seems slow, purposeless even to go from website to website in a single, sub-par Web browser environment when they can get rich app experiences right from their home screen.
Of course, this sort of information intrigues me in two ways. One, is that part of the reasoning behind using apps instead of w web browser has to be because using a web browser on a phone sucks. Partially that is because sites don’t look good at all at that size even with a mobile theme like the WordPress option I use for this site. It’s better, but not great. Another reason it sucks is because we’ve become so good at redirecting people using phones to an app instead of the website. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to click a link in a blog post on my phone to a news story, and have that site take me to the iTunes store to download their app, or redirect me to the mobile home page of their site instead of the link I wanted to read. It degrades the experience of using my phone to browse the web, so it’s no wonder people are much more likely to use an app instead.
This leads me to the second reason this intrigues me. If it’s true that more and more of the internet “audience” is using mobile devices, and only accessing the web through apps, what’s a website owner to do? As an independent, and unpaid, site owner I can’t pay to have someone develop an app for me. I’ve looked at some of the free “create your own app” services, and frankly, between very limiting licensing and very limited features, they didn’t really provide much of a resource. Not to mention that you still have to pay to be an Apple developer or Google Play developer if you want your app to be available in either of those places.
So it would seem that the only way to get your content in front of this growing mobile audience who doesn’t use a web browser, is to get your content into the apps they do use. This is why I’ve been toying around with various social networks, trying to get my content, and the other content I want to share, in front of this audience. I’ve been using the more traditional routes, posting to Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, but recently I’ve also started to dabble on Tumblr and Flipboard, which seem to be a bit more popular among that younger, smartphone-using, audience. Over at my child abuse blog, I’ve already added a Flipboard magazine, and a tumblr blog. Both are an effort to get that content in front of smartphone users, and hopefully to get them to likewise share it. Over the next few weeks, I suspect I will be doing similar types of things here and on my other sites.
The bottom line is that I have my website in order to share ideas and information with other people, whatever the topic might be. If they won’t come to the site, I should try and get that same information to them another way. Developing my own app isn’t really an option, but getting the content into the apps they already use, is.
The trick is being able to also interact with people in those apps as well so that you don’t appear to just be auto-posting to a social network and dropping out like some spammer, which takes some time and effort, but ultimately that is the goal of all this sharing isn’t it, to spark conversations? So what if they happen in Tumblr instead of in the comments.
As I develop other tools for this site and others, I will be sharing that information, so if you want to use those services to get the content I’m sharing on your smartphone, or know someone who does, they’ll be able to do that.Tags: Apple, comments, Facebook, Flipboard, Google, Mobile, Tumblr, Wordpress
Pardon me for a moment while I shill for the company I work for.
Actually, no I’m not really shilling, I’m promoting a free resource that is being offered up by our mobile forensics division, a podcast that is all about mobile forensics.
Join Lee Reiber as he discusses Today’s approach, and tomorrow’s data from mobile devices. The Mobile Forensic Examiner focuses on the problems and their solutions that are encountered by real examiners using today’s mobile forensic tools. Examiners will speak on current cases utilizing AccessData’s Mobile Phone Examiner Plus along with other mobile forensic solutions.
So if this eciting area of forensics interest you, and you want to hear from some people out there working in real world situations, check it out!Tags: Forensics, Mobile, Podcast
As I was sitting in the airport yesterday, I started to notice the number of people complaining about various things about air travel, and thinking to myself that yes, there are plenty of things to complain about, but some of what was being said just really wasn’t accurate. It seems to me that there are a large number of people who seem to think that flights arrive late, baggage gets lost, flights get cancelled, etc. “all the time”. As someone who now travels quite a bit (I’ve already spent 75 nights in hotels during 2013, I think that qualifies), I’m always taken aback a bit about these claims, because while they do happen, it really isn’t that frequent. The statistics on airline travel back me up. Based on May, 2013 there’s a 1 in 10,000 chance you’ll be denied boarding, and about a 3 in 1,000 chance that your luggage will get mishandled. Both of those mean there’s less than 1% chance of it happening to you, and while there is a somewhat decent chance (Generally above 20% most months, increasing slightly in months more likely to have sever weather) that you will encounter some delays, it’s still hardly “all of the time”.
Again, as someone who travels quite a lot, I can look at the number of times I’ve been delayed, or had other problems, compared to the number of times I’ve flown without any problem, and put it in perspective. Most people, however, don’t fly that often. A more typical traveler travels maybe twice a year, once for a family vacation in the Summer time, and once for the holidays. Both peak travel times, where there’s little extra space to account for any problems, and both times when you are somewhat more likely to run into severe weather. All it takes is one delay caused by a storm, one person getting bumped from an overfull flight, one mishandled bag, and you come to think that this must happen all the time. After all, if you travel twice a year and it happens to you, it must happen all the time. Even more, when you took the internet and complained about it, your tweet, Facebook post, etc. gets commented on by every other person this has ever happened to, leading to the obvious conclusion, if you fly, the airline will delay your flight, lose your baggage, and there will be some combination of drunk adult or unruly children on your flight. And if you don’t experience those things as part of your flight, you just got lucky. The fact is, if something bad does happen, you just got unlucky.
Unfortunately, I see much of the same sort of believe system set into place over technology too. Most people do not interact with large database systems, or complex networks, on a regular basis. Their interactions mostly involve using a mobile device to access email, or Facebook, etc. or simply using a computer at work. They have infrequent interactions with their own IT departments, and almost always when something goes wrong. They don’t see the 99% of the time things are working perfectly, they see the 1% when it doesn’t and judge you based on that interaction. There’s no sense of perspective, there’s “it didn’t work when I needed it to”. Just like the airlines are always losing luggage, or always overbooking flights, because I saw it happen the one time I interacted with the airlines, the IT department is always non-responsive, always clueless, always rude, because the one time I interacted with them, the Exchange Server had crashed and they were all running around clueless as to how to fix it. It doesn’t matter that they were simply stressed, trying to get it back working again, the impression left with the users is that they were rude, or non-responsive. Of course, those users will then complain to their peers, who also never interact with tech support until something is broken and get a similar response.
On the other hand, if you can slowly explain the situation, set the expectations for how things are going to get fixed, and when, the user might still be unhappy that this happened, but they are less likely to walk away with a bad feeling about the people running the technology.
Still think working in IT is a good way to avoid having to deal with people? If you do, you should probably get out before your poor interactions add to the pile of stories that lead users to believe IT people are always rude.
Where else do you see this sort of dissonance occurring? I can think of plenty of things that people believe happen “all the time” because they know someone it did happen to, or saw it in the media, that in fact are very infrequent. (Natural disasters, crime statistics, etc.) Where do you see it? Where do you not see your own incorrect assumptions?Tags: database, Facebook, IT Department, Mobile, Travel
There’s been a world of attention paid to the Mailbox app for iPhone and Gmail since it was announced. In fact, the wait list for access to the app is quite impressive.
Recently, after nearly forgetting that I had even signed up for it, my turn finally came around and I was able to hook it up to my Gmail account and take it for a spin.
The premise behind Mailbox is to make your email a better to-do list. First and foremost, that bothered me, because I have always maintained that email is a horrible tool for keeping a to-do list, and I don’t use it that way at all. I don’t want my email to be a better to-do list, because I have a to-do list that has nothing to do with my inbox. However, I also understand that, my protestations to the contrary, I am in the minority here. Most people seem to continue to try and use their inbox as a to-do list, and if a tool can help them, that can’t be all that bad. Mailbox accomplishes this by allowing you to “swipe” an email, moving it out of the inbox until “later”, which you then define as tomorrow, next week, 30 days from now, etc. This is nice. It solves the one big reason I don’t use my inbox as a to-do, new mail keeps piling on top of the stuff I’m supposed to remember to do. Since you’ll be able to move things that you need to read, respond to, or act upon out of your inbox, only to see them reappear when you do need to actually do something with them, they won’t get lost in the pile of new mail.
This, of course, assumes you actually do something with them when they do appear back in the inbox. Since the “alert” on the iPhone continues to show you the number of messages in your inbox, as opposed to just unread messages, at least the phone will be nagging you a bit now.
I can see where this would actually be quite useful. Obviously, if your to-do list is elsewhere, it’s not quite as useful, but even having the ability to drop something out of your inbox to be read tomorrow on those days when you really just don’t have time, is nice. I might have considered using this full time just for that.
You’ll notice I said “might have”. Here’s comes the deal breaker, at least for me. Once I’ve finished what I needed to do with an email; replied, did some other task, etc. my only options within Mailbox is to archive it or delete it. I can’t label it. In fact, I don’t have any integration with Gmail labels as all. If I want to find an old message, I have to go to the All Mail archive and scroll until I find it. Personally, I use labels for everything in Gmail. That is how I organize my past email for easy retrieval. Yes, I could use the web interface to search within my Gmail archive, but most of the time I am not in the web interface, I’m using Outlook, an iOS device or even my Droid. I need to be able to go to a label and retrieve the messages in that specific “folder”.
So while Mailbox may be making it easier to use your email as a to-do list, it is making it harder for me to use it as an information store, the way I normally use Gmail on a mobile device. In the end, I just don’t think Mailbox is for me, which is sort of what I expected to discover.
If you aren’t a big user of labels, and constantly use your inbox as a to-do list, I suspect you might disagree with me. That makes sense, not every tool is for everyone. If you just love it, leave a comment and let me know what you do like about it!Tags: Gmail, iOS, iPhone, Mobile