Evening Reading: 12/15/08

There’s a lot to talk about tonight.  Let’s dive right in.

AppCraver talks about iPhone app development.  This description of the app industry sounds like the music industry from a songwriter’s perspective: “with the hit-driven mentality behind the App Store that unless an app quickly gets pushed into the top 50-either by being featured on iTunes or by word of mouth-it’s doomed to only break even or lose money.”  I love browsing the App Store, but my advice to app developers is the same as it is to songwriters and auto makers: if you want people to buy your stuff, either make better stuff or make a lot of stuff and cross your fingers.  I’d pay way more than 99 cents for a really fun or helpful application.  I think others would too.

Ed Bott on the Windows Live Essentials programs.  I can’t put my finger on it, but something about Microsoft’s internet-related applications seems significantly less elegant and user-friendly than the various alternatives.  I say seems, because it may be a marketing problem more than a technical problem.  I’m using Live Writer right now.  Movie Maker is an easy yet powerful application.  The best of the bunch used to be Photo Story.  I used it all the time.  Why is it not part of this package?  Is it dead?  Anyone remember the Microsoft application from the nineties that let you create songs, sort of like Band in a Box?  It was really cool, and then it disappeared.  Microsoft’s ancillary products are like television shows- you’re afraid to get hooked because they may not be around for long.

Here’s a Christmas present recommendation for the hard to buy for lion in your family.

There’s been lots of talk about whether brands belong on Twitter.  I tend to agree with Lon in theory, although I think email is still the new phone company.  Twitter is the new chat line.  The problem with turning brands loose on Twitter is that corporate America has absolutely no idea how to use the web in a mutually beneficial way.  Until they figure it out, Twitter will be just another advertising medium, at best.  Still, since Twitter is opt-in, the noise can be easily filtered.

Maybe soon we’ll see ads like this on Twitter.

Now you can toss your shoes at President Bush without getting tossed from the news conference after a minute or so.  How did that dude get a second try?  Where were the Secret Service guys?  I’m not a big President Bush fan, but I don’t like the event or the game.

Fresh off the less than fulfilling conversation on the “Semantic Web,” Read/Write/Web takes on “Cloud Computing.”  After shaking off what, I think, was a tongue in cheek prologue about jigsaw puzzles and splendor and whatnot, I tried to assimilate the first paragraph of the article:

Not merely some game of buzzword bingo on an unprecedented scale, cloud computing is coming into its own, and it is becoming increasingly easy to see the opportunities for a significant shift in the way we access computational resources and to recognize that the walls separating organizations from their peers, partners, competitors, and customers will become ever-more permeable to the flow of data through which those distant machines will compute.

Oh boy.  Off to Wikipedia, which was slightly more helpful than it was during my “Semantic Web” quest:

Cloud computing is a general concept that incorporates software as a service (SaaS), Web 2.0 and other recent, well-known technology trends, in which the common theme is reliance on the Internet for satisfying the computing needs of the users. For example, Google Apps provides common business applications online that are accessed from a web browser, while the software and data are stored on the servers.

I think there is something to Cloud Computing (unlike the “Semantic Web,” which I think is either an inside joke or complete nonsense), but if its proponents want people to care, they have to learn how to explain and discuss it in a way that doesn’t read like something on The Onion.  I am dead serious when I say that I believe at least some of the people writing about this stuff are messing with the rest of the devotees.  In a Borat sort of way.

All 10 of us corporate iPhone users desperately need a way to exchange vCards.  I tried Snapdat, but it didn’t work on my phone.  When I tried to add or edit a SnapCard, the app just closed.  Anything tied to a network or platform won’t work in a corporate setting.  Few corporate users have iPhones and none have the same application you have.  We need a cross-platform, email based system.  I’d pay way more than 99 cents for that.

I’m still putting Technorati tags in some of my posts, even though Technorati no longer picks them up and doesn’t seem to be indexing my blog at all.  I think I’m about to pull the plug on Technorati.  Too bad Dave Sifry isn’t still there to help me out.

Three iPhone apps that every corporate user should have: Note2Self, Evernote and RTM (I could make RTM the perfect application with 3 tweaks).

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