app.net: why it sucks.

I recently decided to try App.net, which is a new-ish micro-blogging service. Here’s a brief summary of my experience with it.

First, a little nuts and bolts info. It’s basically Twitter. There’s a larger character limit, and all sorts of access to their API, and… well, that’s about it. It costs a minimum of $5 per month to use it, or $36 per year. The (only?) benefit is that there are no ads. Also, the name is a complete misfire. “App.net” doesn’t lend itself well to anything.

I used an iphone app called Netbot to actually interact with people. Netbot is made by Tapbots, the same people who make Tweetbot, and for all intents and purposes, it’s the same app. I immediately knew what I was doing, since again, it’s basically Twitter. There are far, far fewer users than you’ll find on Twitter, and the conversations are of a decidedly tech-based nature.

That sounded pretty good to me at the outset — after all, I am of a decidedly tech-based nature — but since I’m not someone who writes code, I found myself quickly at a loss as to what I was supposed to do with app.net. I decided to ask if there were any gamers about, being careful to hashtag “gamers” to make my query more visible. I decided to search for that hashtag in attempt to find some gaming buddies, and I was shock to find three results, one of which was mine

I was a bit taken aback by this. Surely that was a mistake, just poor word choice on my part. I decided to try a different search, going with #Warcraft, since I love playing World of Warcraft. Surely in this haven of geekery there would be a few MMO fans, right?

Nope.

There were 2 posts containing the hashtag #Warcraft, with the most recent one being over a week old. At that point, it really crystallized in my mind that this service is not for me. Unless you’re in one of the very narrow bands of geekdom that App.net seems to cater to, you won’t find anything there to keep you around. I’ve already canceled my account, which, to their credit, was very easy.

All in all, that’s really the best thing I can say about App.net… canceling my account was quick and easy.

Instagram

Instagram

Instagram, if you’re unfamiliar, is an iPhone app that lets you take pictures, apply effects, and share. It’s a dead simple concept, but Instagram has the benefit of having its own social network baked right in, so it’s become extremely popular, despite the fact that version 2 of the app basically destroyed the coolness of the filters.

I like using Instagram, but I rarely do anymore… I got tired of people doing what I feel is cheating. “What are you talking about, you moron? How can you cheat at taking pictures?”, I hear you asking. Let me explain.

In Instagram you’re given the ability to import pictures, filter them or not, and share them. I don’t think that should be an option, honestly. To me, the point of the app is to take the pictures with your iPhone. That showcases your creativity both in composition as well as the filter you use serving the shot. If you can set up your $3,000 camera and take an absolutely stunning photograph, that’s awesome… but it doesn’t belong on Instagram. That’s not to discount the hundreds of beautiful photos that I’ve seen on Instagram that were taken exactly like that, but I don’t think it’s really following the spirit of the app. In my mind, anyway.

There’s something to be said for having a photographic eye. There’s also something to be said for being able to take a great picture with nothing but your iPhone. When I started messing around with Instagram, the photos that I liked weren’t breathtaking or anything, they were just cool. They were photos that someone took with their iPhone because that was what they had with them to capture a moment. There was a certain level of candidness to them, and I enjoy that. I like photos of life as it happens as much if not more than photos that are set up.

What do you think? Is Instagram an app that lets you share photos, or an app that lets you take them? If you use it, what do you find yourself doing with it most often?

Comforting Photograph for Tea Lovers

I was playing around with Instagram and Hipstamatic while waiting on my tea to steep the other night, and I came up with this shot. I think it’s very simple but very comforting at the same time. I’ve had so much Lady Grey that I can practically taste it just by looking at this picture!

An Empty Library

  by rtik13
, a photo by rtik13 on Flickr.

AT&T reportedly preps for Sept. 5 iPhone launch

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Not this one. This one is old.

Boy Genius Report (BGR) suggests that AT&T is prepping retail employees for a September 5th iPhone launch. According to BGR’s sources, supervisors are being told to wrap up training as soon as possible, so that floor staff will be available to handle the traffic in September.

Rumors of a September launch have been prevalent for several weeks now. Last month Morgan Stanley analyst Katy Huberty suggested that production will begin in August, and Reuters claimed that the next iPhone will ship in September back in April of this year.

Of course, there’s only one way for us to know for sure. Wait and see.

via AT&T reportedly preps for Sept. 5 iPhone launch.

Jungle Mighty The, Jungle The In

Image representing Apple as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

Natural Scrolling is a new feature in the latest version of OS X (called Lion), and for some reason it’s drawing massing amounts of hate. If you’re unfamiliar with it, let me explain it briefly. At the heart of it all is the idea that all our lives, we’ve been scrolling backwards. When you roll your mouse wheel down, the content on the page goes up. The same is true for scrolling with a track pad… drag your fingers down and the content moves up as well.

Natural Scrolling turns this upside down, quite literally. Dragging your fingers down will result in whatever you’re looking at traveling toward the bottom of the screen, as though you were actually touching it. This sounds like a completely wild and stupid thing to do, until you consider the iPhone and iPad. When navigating with these devices, you’re already unconsciously using natural scrolling. All Apple did was apply that principle to OS X instead of having it solely on iOS.

Personally, I use a Magic Trackpad and have found that after the initial fight with muscle memory, I absolutely love the change.

There are a lot of people who are violently opposed to it, however, and have taken to any form of media available to bash Apple as being stupid or what have you. I don’t understand this reaction, because there are hundreds of features in every operating system that users tweak to their own preference. This is no different. If you don’t like it, simply don’t use it. It’s extremely easy to disable. Most of the people who have gone on rants about how stupid it is could have disabled it 20 times over by the time they finished typing said rant out.

Am I in the minority here? Are there any other Mac users out there that like scrolling the “natural” way?

Benches (Some of the Nicest People I Know)

Benches outside

 

There are some benches outside of where I work that don’t seem to serve any purpose. By and large, no one even knows they’re there. I’ve never seen anyone sitting on them, despite the fact they’re in a somewhat shady spot behind the building. I was roaming around this morning looking for interesting and/or unusual things to shoot (as I am wont to do from time to time) and decided that even though these benches aren’t particularly spectacular, I wanted to document them; patiently waiting for when anyone that happens to walk by might be tired and need to rest a moment. Something about that struck me as being very kind and generous of them. Taken with my iPhone using Hipstamatic.