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Entries in Computing (15)


The Steve Jobs Story

THE DAY AFTER losing Steve Jobs, I felt the best way to honor him would be sharing this 48 minute, 5-part Bloomberg documentary and Nightline's restrospective from Wednesday night.

Hat tip to Shelby White, who shared these on his blog, for the inspiration.

ABC Nightline, Wednesday, Oct 5, 2011, from Hulu:

Thanks Steve.


Fusion + Carbon Ads Productivity Bundle

TEN APPS and services aimed at better productivity are now available for $29.95 in the Fusion + Carbon Ads Productivity Bundle. Purchase these separately and you'd spend over $360, so it's a pretty great deal.

Fusion carbon bundle

The bundle includes:

1. Evernote Pro
3 months of Evernote premium note service with apps for major platforms.

2. Strongspace
15GB of storage for a year with weekly snapshots for rollback access.

3. Sparrow Mail
Simple, Twitter-like mail app to keep your emails brief and manageable.

4. Carousel
Instagram viewer for the Mac with save-out to the Mac and iPhoto.

5. Alarms
Manage alarms in one place with support for iCal and Growl.

6. Flow
1 year subscription of this cloud-based task tool for the browser and iPhone.

7. Koku
Personal finance app for the Mac with a fresh approach to money management.

8. Grasshopper
Virtual phone system with toll-free or local numbers. $100 credit.

9. Nottingham
Clean, lightweight and useful Mac note app with Simplenote sync.

10. Inbox Assistant
Inbox tool extracts key info from emails for tasks, events and more.

Pick up the Fusion + Carbon Productivity Bundle for just $29.95, a pretty sweet deal. I love the use of Gerren Lamson's Prova typeface on the bundle website.


iPad Observations

I've had a 3G iPad for a bit over a month now and though it would be good to capture some observations of the device, software and how I've found it useful.

• I find the iPad most useful and pleasant as a reading device using Instapaper for saved articles, NewsRack and Reeder for RSS and Kindle Reader for books. I still read RSS feeds with my iPhone but there's something pleasing about the larger screen that makes reading a joy on the iPad.

• Battery life is a killer feature. It's unusual to see the battery go low, though vie learned that the 10 watt charger is key — iPhone chargers simply don't have the oomph to charge the iPad, even though they will at least maintain the current charge level.

• Browsing is also very well suited to the iPad. This Friday I had to do some sketching for a logo project and decided to take only my iPad, sketchbook and pencils to the cafe. It was perfect device to reference my Basecamp projects, search for reference images in Google and playing music in iTunes and Pandora.

• I've enjoyed the Netflix and ABC Player apps — watching movies on an iPad is nicely intimate and not cumbersome as it always feels with my MacBook.

• Drawing works well on the iPad with a variety of useful drawing apps. I especially enjoy Adobe Ideas, Sketchbook Pro and Penultimate. The biggest issues are stylus options. I have the Pogo Sketch stylus and it works, but feels like drawing with a mushy pea on a stick. I've heard good things about the Dagi stylus but haven't bought one yet. I hope more, better styli appear over time that feel like actual pens and pencils.

• it's heavy and that's a plus and minus. On the downside it can be awkward to hold up in bed for extended periods, but that weight also gives me the sense that an iPad is a substantive device. It certainly feels well made.

• Using the USB adapter from the photo connection kit works well with my wired USB Apple keyboard, though the Apple Bluetooth Keyboard is one item I think will make the iPad a more useful as a writing device for me.

Those are just a few thoughts — I'll post more here as I think of them.



The Amazon Kindle is Back In Stock

Amazon Kindle
Just in case you were aching for an Amazon Kindle, I got word today they're back in stock at Amazon. If you buy a Kindle through my Amazon Associates link, Amazon pays me a referral bonus, in case you were feeling generous. :-)

Photo Credit: David King


What Happens When Web Services Fail Us?

failure.gifAs Web 2.0 gets into full swing and mainstream "average joes" start using and relying on web services, what will they do when those services eventually fail them?

A few stories have brought me to this line of thinking:

  • TinyURL went down Sunday and Monday for several hours. TinyURL conveniently shrinks long web links into tiny web links and handles redirection to the long link's site. When TinyURL failed, so did all of the web links I and thousands of others have created to help our friends, family and colleagues.

  • Pete Prodoehl mentioned the plight of Phil Wilson, who had all of the web services he used on Google fail in a different way — account suspension. Without any warning, his email, documents, and other data was denied him for over a week, as of his last posting.

  • Google penalizes hundreds of blogs who offer text-link advertising on their websites, by dropping PageRank, a number from 1 to 10, assigned to sites based on Google's secret algorithm and other criteria. In a single day, many who relied on Google (too much I'd contend) saw their PageRank and AdSense revenue drop at the whim of Google.

I see these stories as a warning: be aware that the web services I'm using can fail at any time. Be aware that I could be denied services, without notice. Be aware that I could face a lack of access to my account and data, at the whim of the service I use. Be aware that the company who provides advertising income and my search results could change its mind about the value and importance of my site.

I'm not against web services — I use them all the time. However, I keep mission critical data like email on my Macs and my own servers. Maybe it's a generational thing to want my data local, and to be a little leery of giving away too much information to web services.

What web services do you depend on? Could you survive if they folded tomorrow?

Have you considered what you would do if your services went down for a day, a week... forever?

What if those services simply denied access for a terms of service violation you can't prove because the service doesn't respond to your emails?

How would you handle denial from years of your email for 1 week, 2 weeks, a month?

Something to think about.