Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Death of the TV

From an article today on Recode by Dawn Chmielewski Millennials Spend More Time Watching TV on Other Devices:
"A new study from Deloitte finds that teens and young twentysomethings spend more time watching movies and television shows on their computers, smartphones and tablets than they do on their TV screens."
I am at the old end of the millennial generation and I find this to be true in my viewing habits. We have a great TV set though I often enjoying watching movies or TV on my tablet or computer. As the article also mentions this change will alter the landscape for TV consumption and also for TV tracking (i.e. Nielsens) to determine ratings. 

Secondly, the article also touches on additional screens:
"The Deloitte survey confirmed that most viewers split their attention between watching TV and glancing at another screen to browse the web, read email, send text messages or use a social network. Some 86 percent of U.S. consumers said they are multitaskers — though few are turning to their smartphones or tablets to get information related to the program they’re watching."
When I am watching shows or movies on TV I almost always have my laptop or tablet nearby to look-up actors on IMDB, search for something that I might see on the show or the show triggers me to look up. As more users adopt a second screen while consuming media content creators have an opportunity to leverage additional content toward that screen or build interactive elements into the content. Though they will need to have the vision to capitalize on the moment. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Why I Choose Mac Over Windows PCs

Dave Sobotta wrote a great article on Readwrite  day before yesterday about leaving the Mac behind once he left Apple, and the article got me thinking about my progression from Windows to Mac and my subsequent loyalty to the platform. 

I have been a Mac user for a little over ten years now after spending many years using a Windows PC. This was when Apple was returning from the brink though before their renaissance spurred by the iPhone (and then the iPad). At that time Apple seemed like the Rebel Alliance fighting the Evil Empire, and I had this image that they were the plucky little company that could. (I realize this is ridiculous, I promise.) Since then I have continued using a Mac for my personal machine and have added an iPhone and an iPad to my device portfolio.

Since I switched from Windows to Mac Microsoft has gone through their own renaissance releasing Windows Vista, Windows 7, and most recently Windows 8 while re-launching their phone operating system as Windows Phone and moving into tablets (again) with the Microsoft Surface. I have used Windows at my office, and I have no major complaints using Windows 7 (save for the lack of the multiple desktops that Apple provides via Spaces). Though while I may not have many complaints with Windows I plan on being a Mac user far into the future for several reasons:

  1. Software & Hardware: Windows machines are often much cheaper than Macs, and part of the reason is that many machines come with trialware/junkware installed, and are built by OEMS. The trialware/junkware has been combated recently by Microsofts Windows Signature program though I still appreciate the simplicity in Apple providing applications coded in-house on their hardware. (Apple also offers a free word processor, spreadsheet and presentation program.)
  2. Ecosystem: Apple generally prices its machines higher than most Windows machines though backed into that price is the app and store ecosystem that enables Mac users to bring their device into an Applestore for technical support, and/or sync their information across multiple devices.
  3. Unix: Mac OS X is based on Unix, which I appreciate and enjoy. I don't often dig into the terminal application though I like know that I can if wanted to dig into the machine's systems.
  4.  Inertia: I have spent over 10 years accumulating 3rd-party software for Max OS X, and corresponding iOS applications. Returning to Windows would mean I would need to repurchase of find alternatives in the Windows install-base.
  5. Aesthetics: My main Mac is a 13'inch Macbook Pro that is frankly gorgeous. Other companies create similar looking machines though Apple often pushes physical design.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Hitting "Pause" on your Inbox

I was going to write a post about the recent article from Techcrunch concerning the revamped "Inbox Pause" utility from Baydin, which allows users to "pause" their email delivery so they can interact with their inbox at their schedule. (The company behind the utility, Baydin, makes the plugin Boomerang, which runs for Gmail, and Outlook.)

Though today I ran across the article from Time magazine entitled 5 Email Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs from Martha C. White, which covers the destructive habits we build around email usage. Among the tips in the article the author mentions how important it is claim back your time from your inbox.


References:
Newly Updated “Inbox Pause” Utility Lets You Check Email on Your Schedule, Not Theirs by Sarah Perez (http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/06/newly-updated-inbox-pause-utility-lets-you-check-email-on-your-schedule-not-theirs/) Published on: 06.06.2014 and Accessed on: 03.14.2014

5 Email Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs by Martha C. White (http://time.com/25472/5-email-mistakes-that-are-basically-killing-you/) Published on: 03.17.204 and Accessed on: 03.18.2014


Friday, March 14, 2014

Incomplete Data Costs Money

All Things Considered from NPR ran a story yesterday by Laura Sullivan on how empty government buildings are costing the taxpayers money in upkeep and maintenance fees

According to the article:

"Government estimates suggest there may be 77,000 empty or underutilized buildings across the country. Taxpayers own them, and even vacant, they're expensive. The Office of Management and Budget says these buildings could be costing taxpayers $1.7 billion a year."
Apparently the main database used to manage federal properties, the Federal Real Property profile, is incomplete and also inaccurate. Properties listed in great shape are actually crumbling, and are being utilized when empty. The head of the GSA is trying to help federal agencies leverage currently opened properties rather than leasing, and thus push for savings though the incomplete data hampers this effort.

Data maintenance/auditing is never easy and given the size and scope of the government's property database it is even harder in this particular case.

Sources:
Governments Empty Buildings are Costing Taxpayers Billion by  (http://www.npr.org/2014/03/12/287349831/governments-empty-buildings-are-costing-taxpayers-billions) Published on: 03.12.2014 and Accessed on: 03.14.2014

Friday, March 7, 2014

ReBump: A buoy in a crowded ocean of email

Last week Techcrunch ran an article about Rebump, which is an online service that integrates with Gmail and automatically resends (aka. rebumps) your email to someone if they haven't replied. The article in Techcrunch claims this is the worst aspect of email, and that you will be universally hated if you use the service. While I think using Rebump for every email would be a mistake I think saying that it could never be useful or you'd be hated if you used it is mistake.

Email is the universal medium though everyone interacts with their email with a specific process that matches their preferences, and needs. I have worked with folks who have 2 emails in their inbox and that makes them crazy and I have worked with folks who have over 1,000 emails in their inbox (That used to me be though no longer; though no judgement if that is your style.) The person who is agonizing over the 2 emails in their inbox won't benefit from Rebump though it could be valuable to the person who has over a 1,000. Depending on the intended recipient Rebump could be a valuable tool to help surface those important communications that you need to finish a project, move forward with a client etc.

References:
Meet Rebump, The Worst Thing About Email by Alex Wilhelm (http://techcrunch.com/2014/02/28/meet-rebump-the-new-worst-thing-about-email/) Published on: 02.28.2014 and Accessed on: 03.07.2014

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Facebook in Space

Many have drawn comparison between the Facebook being in talks to buy Titan Aerospace and Google's Project Loon, which I think is fair comparison. I agree that if Facebook can provide cheap, free, internet to areas currently being underserved then that opens Facebook to new markets. Much like Google, Facebook makes money when more people use the internet.

Sources:
Facebook Looking Into Buying Drone Maker Titan Aerospace by Sarah Perez (http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/03/facebook-in-talks-to-acquire-drone-maker-titan-aerospace/) Published on: 03.03.2014 and Accessed on: 03.05.2014