Faruk At.eş

Archive for 2011

  1. January 12
  2. February 35
  3. March 16
  4. April 29
  5. May 10
  6. June 4
  7. July 9
  8. August 6
  9. September 3
  10. October 4
  11. November 9
  12. December 11

Showing 29 posts from

The truth about Android vs. iPhone market share

Jim Dalrymple:

You cannot compare Android to an iPhone. That’s comparing an operating system to a hardware device.

There is no compelling argument that anyone can give that says that comparing an operating system to a hardware device makes sense. None.

(via David Barnard)

A new kind of conference

The past 48 hours have seen a turbulent debate go ’round the TwitterVerse and across various blogs. My own post from yesterday was widely well-received, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The topic of discussion? Diversity in conference speaker rosters.

Let’s break that open some more. I want to talk about diversity in conferences in every aspect. Specifically today: the talks.

So you’re organizing a design conference, huh?

(I’m using design for this example; substitute with JavaScript, or Ruby, or whatever else you’re doing)

It’s great that you want to educate people about design, but where is your diversity session? Where is the talk about Green technology, or simple ways to make cooking more enjoyable (for geeks)? Why not have a talk on cool innovations in video games, or the health improvements seen all around when cities become more bike-friendly? Or, not unimportant at all, sexism & discrimination. Controversial? Maybe, but crucially important for our industry to flourish.

It doesn’t take a great deal of effort to find some kind of link between a diverse topic and design. It doesn’t have to be a strong link; in fact, it’s better if it’s only a weak link, because that’s why it’s called the diversity session.

“But that’s not what people are paying to see,” you say. Except that as long as you have such a session talk listed on your conference site up front, that is exactly what people are paying to see, and they know that. If you’re worried as a conference organizer that, and this is understandable, people may be less interested in going to your conference because your sessions are not 100% about design, then that’s a shame. I think the incredible success and popularity of the TED and TEDx conferences suggests otherwise. Those conferences are nothing but diversity sessions. Finding someone who is a good speaker and has interesting things to say about something really isn’t that difficult. And to convince them to come speak at your conference, you can use the same reason if they’re hesitant—or find someone else.

Over the past two years or so I’ve noticed a small number of web conferences that have pretty wide-ranging topics, all related to the Web but some only tangentially so. That’s great, but it’s not enough: where is your diversity session?

For many years now, SXSW Interactive has hosted several diversity sessions, and I’ve attended as many as I could. All of the ones I attended were excellent talks, with fascinating, interesting and inspiring content that I probably would have never come across otherwise, because it’s unlikely that I could get approval from my employers (a web startup) to go attend a conference on, say, Zero Waste lifestyles, or relationships in a digitally-connected world. Even when I was a freelancer, it was unlikely that I would spend the time and money to go to an entire conference that had nothing to do with my field of work (TED excluded, except it’s a bit too exclusive for my budget).

Since diversity sessions provide such great value, and are unlikely to reach these audiences if given at a conference on their respective topic itself, it makes me wonder: why aren’t we seeing more of these already? Where are the diversity sessions?

I’m currently lined up to attend and speak at five more conferences this year. Their lineups include women and minorities, but not always as many as I would like to see. More importantly, none of them have any diversity session planned so far. For 2012 and onwards, I will only agree to speak at, or pay to attend, conferences with a more fair representation of speakers. Additionally, I will try to convince each conference organizer to have one diversity session.

In the midst of the debate on Twitter, Alex Pasco said:

Design only gets stronger when you consider diverse viewpoints that challenge your own.

I don’t think that’s true for just Design. I think that’s true for every facet of our lives. And conference organizers should take that lesson to heart.

Translation of General Misogyny to Uncomfortable Truth

Note: don’t miss out on the extensive follow-up to this post.

Last night a big debate took place on Twitter between Mike Monteiro (note: NSFW background) and a slew of privileged white males who disagree with him. It led to several blog posts, which I’ve taken to translate into the uncomfortable truth below (kindly borrowing this concept from Mark Pilgrim).

For those unfamiliar with “Translation” posts: each of the indented sections is a direct citation of the two gentlemen whose posts I’m quoting (so in the first one, “I” is John O’Nolan referring to himself), with my translation of that bit underneath.

First up, John O’Nolan’s Discrimination:

Back story: Mike_FTW [Monteiro] just went on a rant telling everyone how conferences MUST have female and black speakers and that a full roster of “white dudes” is unacceptable.

I said:

“Are you retarded? How many black swimmers do you know? How many white 100m sprint runners? How many female fighter pilots?”

The extreme sexism in the Air Force is entirely acceptable and does not in any way reduce the strength of my poorly-based argument.

A lot of people misinterpreted these tweets and have been calling me all sorts of names, so I wanted to clarify what I’m talking about:

It is your fault to have interpreted my subtly misogynistic views as such.

Hypothetical scenario: I’m putting on a conference. I’m trying to fill my keynote slot and I have to choose between two people. One is a white, middle aged man, who is a fantastic speaker and a highly talented individual. He’s spoken at conferences all over the world and has a great track record. The other, is a black, lesbian female who’s just come out of college and is doing an internship for an advertising agency.

I will create an unrealistic and extreme hypothetical scenario in order to try and get you on my side.

Mike is suggesting that if the rest of my speakers are “white dudes” then I should choose the second person, out of those two options - purely for the sake of having someone from a minority as a speaker.

I will now unfairly represent what Mike has said and is suggesting, to further try and convince you to agree with my views.

That. Dear friends. Is racism.

I have no fucking clue what racism means.

Equal rights means just that - EQUAL. Not “favourable” or “better”, but equal.

I support equal rights until the point it requires me to change my views.

I used the example of black swimmers / white runners / female fighter pilots purely as an example of how different people are naturally good at different things and that it’s not EXPECTED to be equal.

I am so glad that my industry is still dominated by white men.

Sometimes as a result of genetic makeup (as in all of the former examples) and sometimes as a result of education, experience and skill (for something like, say, design). Different people will always be good at different things, and everyone is NOT naturally equal.

Women are worse at things because they have vaginas. Privilege and preferential treatment are things that do not exist in our society, according to my world view.

When it comes to conferences I would much rather see a lineup of ANY people who are good speakers and good at their jobs. Not 1 white guy, 1 black guy, 1 asian guy, 1 gay guy, 1 girl and 1 [insert other minority] just for the sake of pleasing everyone - regardless of whether or not they’re even qualified.

I support all people of all genders, races and sexualities, as long as they work twice as hard to prove themselves as their white male peers.

I have seen awful female conference speakers who were only put on the roster for the sake of having a woman on stage.

It is inconceivable for any white man to be a terrible conference speaker. Not that I would know, since there are so many to choose from that we’ll never see one.

I am not saying that women aren’t good at speaking, I’m saying that [if] someone is good at speaking then it doesn’t matter what gender they are.

I do not understand that there might be reasons beyond the obvious that may affect any lineup of speakers. It’s just a coincidence that we historically have always had white males dominating our industry every corner of western civilization since the age of record.

Putting someone in a favourable position based on their gender or ethnicity is just as bad as putting someone in an unfavourable position based on their gender or ethnicity.

I have never read this critical post on diversity in conferences, nor do I understand that society’s norms may affect other people differently than they affect me.

Focusing on, and making decisions based on gender and ethnicity instead of talent and aptitude for the job at hand makes you racist. Not me.

I still have no fucking clue what racism means, but I will label you as such because it makes me look extremely defensive unfairly treated.

Next, Matt Donnelly’s On Positive Discrimination:

The debate was started by a few tweets posted by Mike Monteiro (@Mike_FTW) which said, in essence, that if you are organizing a conference and all of the speakers are men, it is the conference organizer’s moral obligation to get rid of some men and replace them with women JUST because women are a minority.

I can’t believe that minority groups and genders other than my own deserve fair and equal representation in the world.

This then caused another twitter user, John O’Nolan (@JohnONolan), to get involved. John sent Mike this message which caused quite a bit of controversy:

Are you retarded? How many black swimmers do you know? How many white 100m sprint runners? How many female fighter pilots?

It is baffling that expressions of narrow-minded sexism and racism got people riled up.

Many people misunderstood what John was saying here and naturally took it to mean “All black people are shit swimmers, all white people are shit 100m sprint runners and all women are shit fighter pilots”. This is not what John meant at all, what he means is that different people are good at different things (as he clarified later).

I can’t see the forest for the trees of bigotry. Hence, all of you misunderstood these words.

Not all black people are bad swimmers, but it just so happens that white people are better at [it], however at the same time, black people are better 100m sprint runners. So should there be a law that in every olympic 100m sprint race there must be at least 1 white runner? Of course not, this would mean that more often than not, 1 black runner who had put in just as much work as the white runner, would not be allowed race despite having a better chance at winning.

Design conferences are like a competition, and only the best of the best are allowed the privilege of sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience to teach us. Any other perspective is illogical. I will also ignore the fact that slaves were originally prohibited from competing in the Olympics.

This being a tech related conference one can assume that there’s a lot more men applying than women, but apparently that’s sexist so lets pretend the number of men and women applying is the same. The reason all men were picked was not because the conference organizer’s decided that they didn’t wanted any women speaking at the conference, the reason was because the men were better.

Obviously the men were better because, uh, they’re men. Who are white. Why can you not see this obvious truth?

This is not say that there is no such thing as good female speaker you can sure [see? ed.] a lot of them out there, but you can be pretty sure that not one of them would be happy to speak just because they are a woman because this is positive discrimination and is every bit as bad as negative discrimination.

The only way for negative discrimination to be eradicated from civilization is to ignore that it exists and do nothing. Fighting for equal treatment never made the status quo-lovers uncomfortable.

The thing that shocks me most about positive discrimination is that people don’t have a problem with it!

I am high as a kite.

A conference of all women speakers is something that Mike praised as ‘equal’ but this not equality and is the exact same as having a conference of all male speakers! It amazes me that when people think of equality they think of conferences of all black lesbians speakers or even with exactly the same amount of men as women because forced equality is not equality.

Our industry needs more white, male role models for people to look up to, be inspired by and learn from. For diversity’s sake.

If you’re thinking that there are too many men speaking at a conference and that you should replace them with women, you’re being sexist and I think John phrased this perfectly: “Equal rights means just that - EQUAL. Not “favourable” or “better”, but equal”. An ‘equal’ conference is not one that has just as many black people, women, lesbians, gays or any other minority as men speaking at it, it’s one that picks speakers regardless of skin color, sexuality or gender.

The status quo is perfectly fine, nobody is feeling underrepresented or unfairly treated anywhere.

Anyway the argument against me that I was referring to earlier was from Jeremy Sear (@jeremysear) who argued that positive discrimination was something that would work in the long run and mean that in the future women would be treated equal. I strongly disagree with this.

I like being on the wrong side of civilization and progress. I like it here in my cosy dome with my all-white, all-male friends.

Apart from the fact that there is no evidence to suggest that this would work even in the long run…

Apart from all the lessons we learned in the 20th century from the struggles of gender, sexual and racial equality activism, there is no evidence to suggest that this would work even in the long run.

in my opinion it’s just as likely that if we continue to give women and other minorities preference over white men, who seem to be the big bad wolf of world, …

I refuse to acknowledge or understand that I am privileged just from being a white male in this society.

we’ll end up in a situation where men are discriminated.

The idea of being discriminated against scares the hell out of me, so if you threaten the status quo I will continue to discriminate against others.

Later, Matt wrote another piece:

I’ve spent the past hour defending myself from people who you would swear I had insulted.

I don’t understand why other white men are upset that I want to keep suppressing women and minorities.

While I was perfectly happy to have a civilized argument over the whole discrimination thing, nearly every person opposing me has chosen to resort to bitter name-calling, snide remarks and the Gruber Retweet move I mentioned in the previous post.

It’s totally unfair that people repost the stupid shit I say in public to their much larger audiences.

However, among the few people I have had proper discussions with, this circular argument has come up time and time again. I thought I had addressed this in my previous post but either I wasn’t clear enough or they didn’t bother reading it.

My world view does not permit the possibility that I am ever wrong on this subject.

Of course they can choose anyone in the world, man or woman! But in this instance they have chosen male speakers only, more specifically white male speakers which people have an even bigger problem with. And what people have chosen to interpret this as is that they have chosen men because they are not women, which is false. The men have been chosen because they were the best speakers they found first, not because the conference organizers are involved in some sexist/racist government conspiracy or because they have political agenda.

Socio-cultural responsibilities lie only with people who are doing things I personally disagree with.

The response I get to this every time is “they’re just being lazy”. No they’re not! If they need to find 10 speakers and they immediately see 10 great white male speakers standing right outside, the conference organizers are going to choose them if they are in any way rational!

It doesn’t make sense for conference organizers to care about what kind of message they may be sending out to the world, or to care about gender equality, diversity, fair representation, or the betterment of mankind.

They are not trying to find the very best speakers in the entire world (which would imply that they think men are better than women), they are trying to find some excellent speakers as quickly as possible, which a woman has just as big a chance of being part of.

I will ignore the fact that women don’t get on conference rosters as a speaker because they haven’t had the chance and opportunity to prove themselves as speakers on conference rosters. This is not cyclical at all.

At this stage I’ve explain this so many times that I feel like a broken record and if you still want to argue: I’m not interested, the only response you’ll get from me is that we have different opinions so I don’t want to discuss it further.

I am too lazy to expand my world view to include the possibility that I may have unconsciously treated women and minorities unfairly my entire life, and it wears me out that you’re trying to get me to understand this.

Flashy Tablets

First, there was Andy Ihnatko’s review of the Blackberry PlayBook and the LG G-Slate. Then, there was John Gruber disagreeing with Andy on his comments regarding Flash. And then there was John C. Welch disagreeing with both Andy and John. And here I am, adding some comments of my own, which only goes to show that Flash is nothing if not the source of extreme divisiveness amongst people arguing over its purpose, quality and merits.

I’m going to expect that you’ll have read those three pieces before, and therefore quote only the smallest bits from each piece I want to respond to. If you feel you’re missing some context, read those articles in full.

First, Andy wrote:

Yup, Mobile Flash is imperfect. Gaming in particular is a real problem: Adobe hasn’t figured out how to translate the ubiquitous “a mouse pointer is hovering over something but isn’t clicking it” user-interface to a touchscreen device.

In the past two months I’ve found myself using Flash a lot more than almost ever before, and it’s all to do with one simple thing: Glitch. Glitch is a web-based massive multiplayer game perhaps best described as World of Warcraft-meets-Farmville done well. Glitch runs entirely in Flash, and is a great example of how Flash is a lot more than just video, and can be used really well.

It’s also a Flash product that just utterly fails to be truly usable on a tablet where there is no mouse cursor and no keyboard except one that overlays on top of your browser screen. It’s a lot more than just Adobe having to figure out how to do this; it’s something that, as John C. Welch actually points out, the authors of such Flash products have to redesign and recode to work well for touch screen interfaces. Nothing Adobe can do for Flash will ever “fix” that problem, and if authors have to redesign and recode anyway, why not build or compile it out as an iOS and/or Android app anyway?

(if you’re in the Glitch beta, this forum thread has people talking about playing it on Flash-enabled tablets)

Andy also wrote:

But Flash video plays a damned-sight better on the PlayBook and the G-Slate than it does on the iPad. It’s as simple as this: I can watch last night’s “Conan” and “The Colbert Report” and last week’s “The Amazing Race” on these tablets without any problems. On the iPad, I can’t. I like those shows. I therefore see this as a drawback of my iPad.

Sure, Flash video plays better on the PlayBook and G-Slate than it does on any device without Flash. It also plays better on those two devices than it does on my cup of tea. But guess what: it’s been 4 years since Jobs introduced the iPhone and told online video publishers around the world that being trapped in an Adobe-owned video platform was not a good idea, and most video publishers online have long come to realize this. (we’ll leave the H.264 debate out of this for now)

One simple counter-example to Andy’s is Castle, a TV show I personally love watching. For the PlayBook, you can use the website, but have a slideshow-like framerate “until the buffer is full” (as Andy wrote), but on the iPad I can use the free ABC app to see it in glorious streaming quality with just a few taps. No hiccuping, no low framerates, it just works. Yes, that ABC iPad app had to be built from scratch and cost ABC money to make, but the video they’re streaming is almost certainly H.264 to both devices. Ironically, if they’d used HTML5 Video on the PlayBook or G-Slate, it would probably play back much better than it does in Flash, thanks to the native H.264 hardware decoder. (unless Blackberry or LG made the mistake to omit those chips in their respective devices)

Lastly, John C. Welch concluded his piece with this:

So yeah. I don't think Apple's wrong for excluding Flash up 'til now, although i do hope they regularly revisit that solution, and as soon as including flash becomes painless, or relatively so from an installation and security standpoint, they change their stance to reflect the revised data. And, I think that both the Dowdellians and the Gruberites need to stop defining Flash as naught but a way to play video.

Given that the experience of a Flash interface on a touchscreen device with no mouse cursor and only an on-screen keyboard will always be a terrible one unless the author of said Flash interface recreates their product to be tailored to these new environments, it doesn’t seem likely that Apple will ever care to include it in their iOS devices unless the vast majority of Flash interfaces on the web are recreated this way. And that just doesn’t seem likely to ever happen, period.

For the Flash-for-video scenario, Apple has already convinced all the smart publishers to use HTML5 or build a native app and stream their H.264 video content that way for iOS devices.

For the Flash-as-ads use case, Apple is countering with iAds and using HTML5 and CSS3, which produces just as annoying results for those who really want them.

And for the Flash-as-gaming-engine case, I think Adobe’s efforts at offering tools that export a Flash product into pseudo-native Objective-C code for legitimate inclusion on Apple’s iOS App Stores are highly commendable as well as just plain business-smart. Making it easy for publishers to redesign their interface but re-use the bulk of their work (code, art, etc.) and allowing them a one-button export for other platforms is exactly what, I think, may keep Flash relevant as a technology for the coming years. And that’s a much healthier way to deal with this brave new world of iOS-dominated mobile devices than trying to fight tooth and nail with Apple about inclusion of the Flash plugin when it doesn’t really make sense for Apple to do so, and probably never will either.

The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We're All Going To Miss Almost Everything

Linda Holmes for NPR:

Culling is easy; it implies a huge amount of control and mastery. Surrender, on the other hand, is a little sad. That's the moment you realize you're separated from so much. That's your moment of understanding that you'll miss most of the music and the dancing and the art and the books and the films that there have ever been and ever will be, and right now, there's something being performed somewhere in the world that you're not seeing that you would love.

It's sad, but it's also ... great, really.


The first Facebook game built with HTML5 and related technologies. I’m looking forward to giving it a try and seeing how far we’ve come with browsers and web standards.


Microsoft‘s Photosynth is a simple, easy to use iPhone app to take a 360° photo by simply moving your camera around and snapping areas, then store them as interactive panoramas on Bing Maps, Facebook or on photosynth.net. In their own words:

Today, we're introducing the official Photosynth app which lets you capture amazing panoramas of your favorite places to share with your friends and even the world with Bing Maps. […] Photosynth’s interactive panoramas allow you to look left, right, up and down, letting you capture and view more of the places you visit.

It sounds cool. It looks cool. It even works really quite well. And since the iPhone app is free, there’s really no barrier for you (if you have an iPhone that is) to give it a try.

But here’s my frustration with this whole thing: it requires you to install Silverlight if you wish to actually see and use these interactive panoramas. I’m sure most people are relatively unfazed by this, but anyone who cares about the betterment of the Web as a platform will be frustrated by this proprietary plugin’s requirement.

It also strengthens the argument that Microsoft is a company where one arm has no idea what the other arm is doing, and vice versa. Less than a week ago, Dean Hachamovitch gave us the “Native HTML5” announcement on the IE blog which, weird stuff aside, at least suggests that Microsoft remains committed to the open web as a platform, but then today they go back to pushing their proprietary plugin onto the world.

In case you’re curious, Google Maps Streetview—easily the closest simile in terms of what it is and does—uses either the (far more ubiquitous) Flash plugin, or, if that’s unavailable, standards-based JavaScript, HTML and CSS3.

I truly hope that Microsoft will add the latter as an implementation to Photosynth, because until then, this product is somewhat of a frankensteinian creation: an iOS app (only) to capture with, a Silverlight requirement to view, and all designed to extend a standards-friendly, web-based maps platform.

UPDATE: As a couple of readers pointed out to me, Photosynth itself as a service and technology has actually been around for years, it’s only the iPhone app that’s new. I did not notice that it had been.

Tweetbot: A Great, Not Perfect, 1.0

Tweetbot is the new Twitter client created by the talented folks at Tapbots, whose Pastebot app I reviewed in the past. With Tweetbot, Tapbots show us that innovation is still very much taking place in the Twitter ecosystem outside of Twitter’s office walls. The app is available for $1.99 on the App Store and well worth a purchase. I, much like a lot of people in my Twitter stream, have been using it since it became available and am enjoying it a lot. That said, there are a couple of interaction design decisions in the app that I’m not yet convinced by, and in this post I hope to crystallize—for myself but also as feedback for the Tapbots team—what irks me about them.

If you’re looking for a review of the great features of Tweetbot to help convince you whether or not it’s worth the $1.99, this is not it. This is a review of several details about the app that irk me; if these issues ring particularly strongly with you as you read them, perhaps Tweetbot is not for you. If you think I’m nitpicking or overly critical—and I likely am—you should do yourself a favor and buy the app already.

Like many others I found out about Tweetbot’s release on the App Store because of John Gruber’s post, wherein he writes:

Two favorite aspects. First, when you tap a tweet in your timeline, it gets selected and a bar of buttons to act on the tweet appears beneath it. Most Twitter clients, when you tap a tweet, present that tweet in a standalone view, sliding over to the right. With Tweetbot’s inline action bar, you can do something like replying or marking as a favorite and then immediately go back to scrolling the list of tweets — no need to tap a “Back” button.

As I read it my excitement grew, even though Twitter for iPhone (or Tweetie) has a swipe-LTR (left-to-right) feature for individual tweets that gives you access to action buttons “hidden” behind the tweet. Having a bar appear underneath sounded like an improvement because the tweet itself would still be shown, unlike in Twitter for iPhone.

However, functionally this turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment to me. Whilst the visual design (including animations) of this feature is fantastic, it doesn’t do one thing that Twitter for iPhone does: clean up after itself. In the latter, tapping on any of the action buttons that you reveal by swiping a tweet off to the side will instantly return the tweet back to its original place in the stream. Want to favorite a tweet? Swipe, tap, you’re done—and no visual residue remains other than the little corner label indicating you favorited this tweet. The behavior is similar for the Reply and Profile buttons, except those take you to a new view. Regardless, each of these buttons returns the tweet to its original state. And if you accidentally swiped or decide against any action, simply scrolling your stream brings the tweet back as well.

In Tweetbot on the other hand, this action involves a forced delay: you tap on a tweet and have to wait for the bar to show up. Not only does this take a fraction of a second (yet is still noticeable, especially if you do this 50 times a day), but after you’re done interacting with the buttons the bar is still there. You have to manually tap on the original tweet again to hide it. I suspect most people won’t really care either way, but to me (and my strong preference of UI cleanliness) the visual residue is a nuisance.

Two things about this: first, the interaction feels slower due to the observable delay before the action bar appears. On a purely factual level, Twitter for iPhone and Tweetbot put the buttons in front of you in a roughly-equal amount of time (with Tweetbot being only a fraction slower), but because the visual animation in Twitter for iPhone is so much greater it feels like there is a lot more going on. This effects you on a psychological level: your sense of accomplishment is rewarded more when small actions produce great results. In Tweetbot, your action is about the same—simple taps and swipes are not significantly different efforts—but your reward is “only” a very small bar sliding out slowly.

The second thing is the importance of this visual residue. Tweetbot has a very polished user interface, almost to a fault. In most areas of the app I find the polish a delight, but the stream—arguably the most important feature—feels over-designed: tweets have a relatively dark and present gradient background; retweet indicators get a full horizontal bar all for themselves; new tweets get separated by a blue “X New Tweets” bar, and geo-tagged tweets display the identified location as part of the tweet in a gray-italics font. All these differing visual elements cumulate to a remarkably busy feeling twitter stream. A visually very beautiful one, but after just a few hours of using it I already started to consider many of these elements UI clutter I wish I could disable.

The other feature that Gruber highlighted regards that same swipe gesture that in Twitter for iPhone reveals the action buttons. In Tweetbot, this gesture shows you the conversation preceding the swiped tweet, if there is one. This is a great way to quickly get to a conversation, but it only works when you swipe left-to-right. When you swipe right-to-left, you get the “reverse” action, e.g. replies that people might have made to the swiped tweet. If, like me, you are a heavy-duty user of Twitter for iPhone’s swipe feature (which has been around for a very long time), remembering the difference between swipe directions requires unlearning a lot of muscle memory. That’s not Tapbots’ fault, but I can’t quite tell whether this is the reason I keep forgetting which direction corresponds to which feature (Related Tweets or Conversation) or whether it’s the fact that the gestures are the same, but merely in opposite directions.

Some other aspects I’m unconvinced by are the double/triple tap feature. Double tapping a tweet is the same as tapping once, waiting for the action bar and hitting the little eye icon to see tweet details. Triple-tapping is customizable, but triple-tapping as a gesture is remarkably fault-prone. Did it register that third tap? Did I properly lift my finger enough the second time? Should I quickly try to tap once more? I run into these kinds of uncertainties a lot, and it makes me wish I could just customize the double tap and disable triple tap behavior.

The last complaint is something I think Tapbots can fix quite easily: there’s no way to quickly go to a user profile unless you have a tweet or DM of theirs at hand and double-tap their avatar. Want to manually enter a username? Well, you can’t. You can only execute a search for their name, which returns results for everyone whose name includes that string, but not in a smart order. And don’t even try going to any of your friends whose Twitter handles are a single letter; Tweetbot simply won’t find them.

1.0 is not 2.0

Whenever a 1.0 app comes out that does the same core thing as another app that’s already at version 2.x or 3.x, you’re bound to miss features you got used to and/or see bugs that were long ironed out in the other app. Tweetbot is very clearly a 1.0, but these are permissable issues. No Notifications? Give them time, it’s 1.0. Occasional hanging or crashing? Give them time, it’s 1.0.

The design of the elements in the stream, however, is not a “bug” or missing feature in any way. It’s far too polished and refined for them to not have spent the better part of the year on it. It is simply my personal experience with it that wants a much, much more simplified and cleaned up stream than what they designed Tweetbot to have.

Perhaps a future update will offer a cleaner theme as an option, or perhaps the Tapbots team take some of my criticisms to heart and simplify the current theme. Who knows. For now Tweetbot offers enough fantastic other, innovative features that keep me using it just the same. The Timeline/Lists integration, the configurable tab bar, the customizable triple-tap feature and the attention to detail… all of these are things I’ve not seen in any other Twitter app, and all of them are things I’m constantly using already.

All things considered, Tweetbot already shows tremendous polish and promise, and is a fantastic Twitter client for the iPhone. I look forward to where the Tapbots team takes it.

HTML5 gurus on Twitter

Bruce Lawson put together a great list of people on Twitter you should follow if you want to keep up with what’s going on in HTML5 and CSS3 and what people are doing with these technologies.

Apture Highlights

When I started at Apture a few weeks ago, I was immediately put to task on the project the team here had been working on for some time already. Today, I’m very pleased to see this project go live for all of Apture’s publishers and browser plugin users. The new Apture Highlights experience is a significant redesign featuring a much cleaner interface and more streamlined user experience, and it’s a sign of the many more great things to come from all of us here at Apture.

HP WebOS in Action

Video demo of the HP WebOS tablet in action. I’m much more interested in giving this a try than, say, the Xoom or the Playbook. Touchstone information sharing seems like a particularly useful feature, but it only works if you have a Pre 3 phone which makes me wonder how many people will actually benefit from it. If anything, HP should make iPhone and Android “touchstone sharing” apps to make their tablet more functionally appealing to the majority of today’s smartphone owners.

The Cicada Principle

Alex Walker explains a fantastic web design technique for creating natural-feeling background patterns. Must-read.

Startup America Just a Giant Press Release?

In a previous post I wrote, I briefly touched upon the gargantuan cost gap between forming a new startup as a U.S. citizen and as a non-citizen. The Startup Visa proposal by Senators Kerry and Lugar aimed to reduce this gap somewhat, but still fell short. However, now it seems this proposal may not even see the light of day for a number of years. This is unfortunate and concerning, because it means the U.S. is effectively shooting itself in the foot when it comes to useful spending reduction and job creation.

Upcoming talks

Here on My own website

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