Category Archives: Internet

50 Shades of Open

There is trouble in micro-blogging paradise. Twitter changed its API guidelines, which leaves third party clients like TweetBot or Twitterrific with an uncertain future. App.net raised over 750,000 dollars in a Kickerstarter-like crowd-sourcing campaign1. Finally, Tent tries to build an open alternative to Twitter.

In the first years of its existence Twitter was considered open (or at least more open than its competitors) because developers had access to nearly every feature of their platform through the Twitter API. Twitters very limited feature set and the API made a huge ecosystem of Twitter apps from third party developers possible. Especially power users favoured clients like TweetBot or Twitterrific over the clients provided by Twitter directly. However, the changes to their API guidelines announced on August 162 leave developers of third party clients with an uncertain future3. For now the guidelines still allow clients and developers seem to look optimistic in the future45. The problem is that Twitter made changes to their guidelines and policies in the past and they can do it again any time. For example, Twitter revoked access to the friend-finding API for Instagram and Tumblr6. While Instagram is now owned by Facebook, their biggest competitor, Tumblr partnered with Twitter in the past. After this announcement it is unclear if Twitter allow a find friends feature for any other service in the future.

Since a lot of users and developers are scared that Twitter will strengthen their guidelines even more and, eventually, disallowing third party clients, App.net was successful in meeting their funding goal of 500,000 dollars7. Although this has happened before Twitter changed their guidelines, there where rumours and signs for Twitter becoming the bad guys for a while now. In this case bad means trying to earn money from advertisers and therefore by compromising the experience for users. There are two main problems with App.net. First of all, currently we do not now if App.net succeeds, that is, it reaches a critical mass of users and not only a small group of nerds that care about third party apps and open API access. Secondly even if a critical mass signs up for App.net and pays to use the server we can’t determine if they can generate enough revenue from its users to develop and maintain the service.

Another huge problem of App.net is that generating revenue from users instead of advertisers and providing an open API does not make App.net a truly open service. A truly open service would work somehow like email or blogs. Everyone is able to install the service on its on servers, even if the vast majority of users choose to use a commercial provider (like WordPress.com for blogs or Gmail for email).

Although OStatus8 and Status.net exist for several years now, Tent.io tries to build such a distributed social network9. The goal of these projects is noble, but only the future will show if it is even technically possible to build a distributed real-time network that scales well10 and if enough users are going to use this open alternative.

The future of real-time micro-blogging is unclear, but we will see if Twitter will remain useable (i.e. there will be third party clients), if App.net will become successful or if we even can use our own servers to publish status updates. In the worst case scenario nothing will work out and we will blog more.

Google Fiber →

Milo Medin:

It’s easy to forget how revolutionary high-speed Internet access was in the 1990s. Not only did broadband kill the screeching sound of dial-up, it also spurred innovation, helping to create amazing new services as well as new job opportunities for many thousands of Americans. But today the Internet is not as fast as it should be. While high speed technology exists, the average Internet speed in the U.S. is still only 5.8 megabits per second (Mbps)√¢‚Ǩ‚Äùslightly faster than the maximum speed available 16 years ago when residential broadband was first introduced. Access speeds have simply not kept pace with the phenomenal increases in computing power and storage capacity that’s spurred innovation over the last decade, and that’s a challenge we’re excited to work on.

Google is going to offer Gigabit Internet in Kansas City, Kan and Kansas City, Mo. When I tell people I have a 100 Mbps connection they often ask me if I need that much. Google will offer a connection ten times faster for about the same price. And yes, of course, I need Gigabit Internet.

Please Google, please bring this to Austria as soon as possible.

Teenage Dreams

When I was a teenager and I started programming and developing websites and web applications I always thought I would end up either founding the biggest internet company in the world or founding a company and selling it to the biggest internet company in the world for millions of dollars. However, as I grew older I realized that I do not want to found a huge company with thousands of employees and shareholders and investors and lot of politics and that I also do not want to sell my company to one of these corporations.

If I ever should found a company (and hopefully I will) I want to create great products with a sustainable business model. I want to gather a small group of extraordinary smart people and I want to create products I love, at a company I love.

In other words, Sparrow, the greatest email client for OS X and the iPhone was bought by Google. There will be no more updates to it and that sucks a lot.

Instagram Camera

Instagram makes a Polaroid camera. Funny.

Evernote Raises $70M At A $1B Valuation To Prep For An IPO, And The Next 100 Years →

Josh Constine:

To transition from a startup into a late-stage company that aims to be around for 100 years, Evernote today confirms it’s raised a $70 million Series D round of funding at a $1 billion valuation. Meritech Capital and CBC Capital were chosen to lead the round because they’re the firms that can help Evernote prepare for an eventual IPO.

Evernote is one of my favorite web services. Since I put a lot of my data in there I really hope it will last 100 years.

Dropquest II: The Future is Now →

Jon Ying on the Dropbox Blog:

Many of you were around for last year’s Dropquest, where we sent y’all on a magical journey through Dropbox and the interwebs. Wordokus were solved, music puzzles were deciphered, origami cranes were folded, and dragons were slain. All in all, nearly half a million Dropquesters were rewarded for their craftiness, skill, and effort. That was well over a year ago, and since then we’ve been holding our cards and toiling away to craft a Dropquest successor worthy of the first.

Dropbox is holding a new Dropquest thisnext weekend. This will be fun.

Liebe illegale Fans! →

Radio FM4:

Vielen Dank! Es waren schöne Jahre mit euch auf Facebook. Bis auf Weiteres müssen wir laut dem neuen Bescheid der Medienbehörde alle Tätigkeiten auf unserer Facebook-Seite einstellen.

Die öffentlich-rechtlichen Medien dürfen in Österreich nicht auf Facebook vertreten sein. Das ist ein bisschen peinlich.

Conveniently framed self portrait of a girl with a low-cut shirt.

— Text-Only Instagram (@textinstagram) April 25, 2012

Instagram without photos.

Spotify’s Chief Content Officer: playlist searching ‘could use a lot of improvement →

Nathan Ingraham:

We had the opportunity to ask Parks if Spotify plans to improve search-ability of its playlist system, noting that Spotify’s search capabilities are rather limited in terms of letting users find playlists created by users who aren’t directly in your social circle. Parks responded definitively: “the short answer is yes, and I agree that is something that could use a lot of improvement.” While he didn’t say when we might see these improvements, it seems that Spotify definitely recognizes this need, as Parks reiterated “we plan to make that much better, it has to be.”

The first step to solve a problem is to recognize it.

Dropbox Sharing Gets Ridiculously Easy With Links →

Anthony Ha:

Now, if you want to share a file in Dropbox, you just click on the file, then click on √¢‚Ǩ≈ìGet Link√¢‚Ǩ¬ù, and Dropbox will automatically generate a custom URL. You can share that URL via email or however else you like, and whoever clicks on it will be able to view the file in their browser. Simple, and also the first easy way for Dropbox users to share files with people who don’t have Dropbox accounts.

I am waiting for this since the day I started using Dropbox.