Why doesn’t the new Flickr app do automated background uploads like Google+ or Dropbox? Seems like it would be an obvious way to increase usage by reducing friction. Keep them private until I decide to share them, but do the boring bit for me. Add in some sort of “highlights” feature to surface the best of the batch and it would be a winner.
Yahoo! today announced they’ve bought Tumblr, in a deal we first heard about over the weekend. I’ll leave others to go into the analysis, but what I’m interested in is what the very vocal Tumblr community are going to do now.
I’m pretty sure 95% or more of Tumblr users will carry on as they have up to now, but inevitably there will be a number of users looking to jump-ship in case Yahoo! break their promise to “not screw this up”. Where will they go though? To me, the answer isn’t obvious.
If I had to list the most important things any potential replacement needed to have, to capture the core Tumblr demographic, I’d say:
- Images (photos + animated GIFs), videos, and audio should all be treated as equally as text – if not better.
- Sharing between blogs on the service should be “two-click simple”.
- Robust theming and customisation options. No two blogs need look alike.
- It should probably be free, with some paid, non-essential, upgrades (i.e. don’t charge me to use a custom domain)
- Rules and policies should stay out of the way of the community and content as much as possible (with only a few exceptions)
- It should be easy to stay anonymous/pseudo-anonymous
Posterous used to be touted as the main rival to Tumblr, but they were acquired by Twitter and eventually shutdown earlier this year. Right now I imagine some of the original team are kicking themselves at a lost opportunity.
Automattic have added a lot of Tumblr-esque features to WordPress over the last couple of years. Matt Mullenweg today blogged they’re getting a huge uptick in the number of users importing from Tumblr (I can believe it – importing my small Tumblr site took over 2 hours to import). That may well be the case, but I took a look this evening and couldn’t find a single theme in the WordPress theme directory which I would count as a “Tumblog“, or which worked well enough with a wide variety of post-types out of the box to make switching painless. Top it off with most customisation features are a paid-for upgrade, and WP.com isn’t going to be an instant choice for most Tumblr users.
So who else is there? I don’t think any “traditional” blogging service is going to cut it, really. Tumblr content is too varied to fit into the standard blog editor which focusses heavily on text (with a little bit of photo thrown in). Again, in this category WordPress.com comes the closest, using post types and media embeds.
If I was Automattic, I’d be trying to release a tonne of free themes matching the Tumblr media experience right now.
Researching this entry I came across a couple of lesser-known services – Soup.io, and Jux. Of the two, Soup.io resembles an cut-down, early version of Tumblr, and might be a good shout if you don’t need all of the bells and whistles. Jux seems more in tune with the art/photographer side of Tumblr; I can’t tell how well it copes with videos, GIFs, or audio. It was very pretty however, using a full-screen aesthetic.
So where will they go?
I really can’t see a clear winner. WordPress.com comes closest in features, but there’s still a big gap – largely cultural – between the two services that might be too big for many users to bridge. I’d love to hear any thoughts on this, or even recommendations of alternative services, so please leave a comment below!
I just switched over to Crunchbang Linux, on my ageing desktop. So far so good!
Not a fan of the video, but the song itself is gorgeous
My Spotify subscription just got cancelled; I’m moving to Google Play Music full-time. The Instant Mixes are a resurfacing a load of forgotten gems in my existing collection, and once the “All Access” streaming service hits the UK I’ll have access to everything else they have in their store too. Win-win.
As a bonus, I get to use a mobile client which works well and doesn’t destroy my battery!
As if I wasn’t excited enough about this movie:
OK, so I’m behind on the times a bit. The Google Nexus 4 has been out for several months, and I’d paid it no heed. I’ve been chugging along with my bought-at-launch iPhone 5 in that time, and barely paid the Nexus any thought. I read the reviews, and concluded it was a great Android phone, but I had no wish to rush out and buy one.
Then something strange happened.
I’m not sure why, but I got disenchanted with my iPhone. I never had that with my 4S, or 3G/3GS, despite the 5 being – in every way – better than all of them. Once that feeling settled in all the little niggles started to grate1. The easily chipped and scratched aluminium casing (as gorgeous as it is to look at); the way the sharper edges of the back felt in my hand; the random network-stack drop-outs; the hoops you sometimes need to jump through to share files/data from one app to the next; the keyboard that seemed to miss random presses, and still took me longer to type on than I could on my 4S (where I could at times type whole messages without looking at the screen).
I caught myself checking out other phones in the stores. Clearly it was time for the iPhone and I to “take a break”.
I looked at Windows Phones, but decided there wasn’t enough there to make it last. Blackberry? Err, no. That left Android.
I have a history with Android. I bought the HTC Desire HD on pre-order, as it had been loudly proclaimed “King of the Hill” at the time. Before it was even in my hands its crown usurped by (I think) the Galaxy S. We had some fun times, but I could never get along with the Sense UI. I rooted and flashed the phone, trying ROM after ROM. The experience was akin to installing Linux on an early Centrino laptop (anyone who tried it, back in c.2002-2003 will know what I mean) – where a feature worked, it worked very well… but only if you could live with the unsupported stuff. In the end, as much as I enjoyed parts of Android, I ended back in the warm embrace of iPhone.
Anyway, as I was saying, Android seemed the obvious choice, but which phone? I immediately gave up any notion of trying to get a phone that would be top of the specs pile for more than a few weeks2. I also ruled out those ridiculous “Phablets” like the Galaxy Note 2. The recent HTC phones look brilliant, but they’re still packing Sense. Sony’s Xperia line look distinct, but seemed to come with another GUI skin and a load of unneeded apps. Samsung… well I’ve never had a good experience with Samsung’s phone build quality, and they have the TouchWiz skin3… lets just say I ruled them out quickly. There’s the also-rans, but I was keen to get a phone that would get at least a few regular OS updates in its time.
I think I’d initially dismissed the Nexus because there was nowhere locally I could find one to try it out. Eventually I found somewhere with a display model, but I still couldn’t test it because the security system used by the store blocked most of the screen. In the end (after a couple of weeks mulling it over) I went ahead and ordered one through the Play store anyway4. A little over 24h later and the phone arrived.
First impressions were good. The unboxing experience was nice, and the first switch-on and setup was very fast. Within a few minutes my phone was syncing all of my Google services. If you use Google apps, then the experience is very, very smooth – everything “just works”. Contacts, Calendars, GMail, Google+, Picassa, YouTube, Music… all setup with just one login during start-up. I had some data issues with contacts and calendars, due to the way I had my iPhone setup, but that’s the subject of another post.
Of all the apps I regularly used on my iPhone (a decreasing amount recently), the only one I haven’t don’t have is Everpix, but I can keep using that one on my iPad Mini. Everything else either had an Android version – even my banking apps5 – or a suitably good equivalent (Falcon Pro instead of Tweetbot, for example).
Android itself has come a long, long way since I last used it. Jelly Bean is amazingly well polished, and the experience is very smooth. Coming from an iPhone, things do take a while to adjust to. I’ve found myself missing notifications on the lock screen, and application badges as indicators of which app just beeped at me. This is something I’ll get used to I guess.
If I can get round to it I’ll post a more comprehensive look at the Nexus 4, but for now I’ve not had it long enough to form more than first impressions. What I will definitely write-up is some of the experiences of moving my data from iOS/iCloud into Android/Google.
- These are all anecdotal, and in no way intended to imply they are common issues, or even that they’re not “all in my head”↩
- I think by now, in the age of quad-core CPUs and multi-GB RAM that Smartphone specs are good enough for most tasks they need to do. ↩
- What is it with Android OEMs and custom GUI skins? ↩
- I recommend going this route. Despite the £10 delivery charge, it’s at least £150 cheaper than buying at a retail store.↩
- I wasn’t too impressed by one of them insisting I needed to install anti-virus on my mobile…↩
My Little Paint Blog is my new miniature painting, hobby, and gaming site, where I’ll be adding any new hobby related material, through 2013 and beyond.
Just in case you’re interested.
If you were a good boy or girl this year (like me), you may have been lucky enough to get a Raspberry Pi under the Christmas tree. Which is awesome, but (like me) you may be wondering what on earth you’re going to do with it!
The choices are limited only by your imagination, but as per usual – the more choice you have, the harder it is to choose! I’m still deciding what to do with mine, but here are a few links which might inspire you: