Some musings on… writing on the web

A few days ago I got into an interesting conversation with my friend Stephen Shankland on Twitter. The conversation quickly broke down with the limits of 140 characters. Stephen wrote a longer response which made sense. Especially, as it turns out, we were on the same page. 

What caught my attention is he posted his response on Medium. I remember when Medium launched as a somewhat exclusive service and as I wasn’t considered exclusive I kind of lost interest. Around that time I started work at Apple, and stopped blogging, tweeting and public writing in general. 

In the course of resurrecting my little space here, several folks have suggested I write on Medium or at least cross post there. Perhaps I’m out of touch (no argument there, I usually am) but I don’t get it. 

Is it reach? Will I have a larger audience on Medium? I’m not sure that matters to me. I write to talk to myself and if anyone else wants to listen that’s cool. There are no ads here and it’s pretty easy to subscribe to posts here (there’s a lite RSS button top) I only. care about reach and audience when I get paid to write somewhere (presumably my content is to help drive readership, so therefore I care)

I’m also hesitant about putting my stuff anywhere. I’m even a little queasy hosting everything here (but I know everything I write or post is saved offline for me automatically.) I already had one really bad experience when my company was acquired, the buyer took my blog of many years down and I lost all access to anything I wrote. Worse for me, it was all lost to anyone that had linked to me or was looking for some nice claim chowder. I like the fact that once someone posts words, photos, videos etc. it will be there for quite some time. That’s the web (at least for me). Too many places where folks out their content no longer exist. I’m also not sure I want my words driving someone elses revenue when I’m not paid. Perhaps that’s selfish, but I do think if peiple are making money from my content, one of those people should be me. 

So, what am I missing? Is this blog the wrong medium for me to speak my mind? Do I need to be on Medium? Also, if someone can explain this Snapchat thing to me, I’d appreciate it that as well.    

Gartner Briefing: The Personal Cloud, Devices, and Social Media

Please join leading Gartner Analysts from our Consumer and Electronics Research Teams for a briefing on The Personal Cloud, Consumer Devices, and Social Media. The sessions will focus on those markets Gartner believes can have the biggest impact on your revenues in the near, mid and long-term and what we believe you need to do now to plan to maximize your success. Join us for a morning of interactive presentations and learn how Gartner insight can help you innovate and grow your business.

8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.
Registration and Breakfast

8:45 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
Martin Reynolds, Managing VP, Consumer Tech & Markets
Welcome & Introduction

9:00 a.m. – 9:35 a.m.
Michael Gartenberg, Research Director, Consumer Tech & Markets
Consumer Personal Cloud, Ready to Eclipse the Personal Computer for Consumers

The Personal Cloud is the next gestation of the personal computing revolution. The personal cloud over time will displace the PC as the location where users keep their personal content, access their services, and personal preferences and center their digital lives. Consumer’s data will be available on a contextual basis flowing from device to device, screen to screen and location to location. We explore this sea change in the consumer digital experience and what it means for technology and content service providers.

9:35 a.m. – 10:10 a.m.
Carolina Milanesi, Research VP, Consumer Tech & Markets
From PCs to the Personal Cloud: Device Impact

The personal cloud era will mark a power shift from devices toward services. In this new world, the specifics of devices will become less important. Consumers and professional users will use a collection of devices, with the PC remaining one of many options, but no one device will be the primary hub. Rather, the personal cloud will take on that role. Access to the cloud and the content stored or shared from the cloud will be managed and secured, rather than focusing solely on the device. In this new era device manufacturers will have to focus on software rather than hardware with ease of use as the ultimate goal of the experience they are delivering. The intuitiveness and richness of the device user interface, the ease of sharing content between devices and to and from the cloud will be paramount in guiding the consumers into this new era.

10:10 a.m. – 10:35 a.m.
Hugues De La Vergne, Principal Research Analyst, Consumer Tech & Markets
North American Mobile Devices Outlook

Smartphone volume continues to beat records, tablets sales are exploding, E-readers are doubling YoY. How will these devices co-exist or cannibalize one another and who will be the winners? How does the all powerful operator fit into this?

10:35 a.m. – 10:50 a.m.

10:50 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Mark Hung, Research Director, Semiconductors and Electronics
The Personal Cloud: How Do You Hook It Up?

Connected devices are proliferating throughout the home, and the volume of personal data is growing by leaps and bounds in the public network, accessed through personal cloud services. We will examine the connectivity technologies that underlie this phenomenon, explore the new growth opportunities in the major platforms, and discuss which industry players stand to benefit from this emerging trend.

11:15 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Brian Blau, Research Director, Consumer Tech & Markets
Consumer Apps Drive Social, Game and Cloud Ecosystems

Smartphone and tablet experiences continues to captivate consumers by delivering compelling features such as social networking, television and movies, video games and entertainment as well as many other useful and fun services all through the convenience of a mobile device. Brands who have or are considering deploying mobile apps need to understand the mobile app economy, how it’s being personalized, its inclusion of core social functionality, and how app design and easy access to syncing and storing your data are key components.

Wednesday, January 18 2012
8:00 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Sofitel Hotel
223 Twin Dolphin Drive
Redwood City, California 94065
Phone: 650-598-9000

Thursday, January 19 2012
8:00 a.m. – 11:40 a.m.
Hilton San Diego Mission Valley
901 Camino del Rio South
San Diego, California 92108
Phone: 619-543-9000

Register with

iPod Refresh 2010 – My Hands On

It’s become an fall ritual as surely as the leaves changing color on trees. Apple’s refresh of the iPod line at their fall music event. I’ve spent some time using the latest models. Here’s what i think. Some wonder whether a refresh is needed. To me that’s a non question. It’s like asking car companies why they introduce new models every few years. This years lineup makes a lot of sense, features are segmented more clearly and there’s some new innovation in style And form.

iPod shuffle. This years shuffle takes design cues from the last two generations. The control buttons from two generations ago and the voice over from lasted generation. While the new form factor is evocative of the older one, it’s actually somewhat smaller. With a price of $49 for 2gb this is the value model. While the price is cheap, there’s nothing cheap about the device. The colors this year are a bit more pastel than we’ve seen in the past and the build quality is excellent with no visible seams. The shuffle makes for a nice entry level device with basic features.

iPod nano. This years nano takes a few steps forward and a half step back. What’s missing? There’s no camera for video recording, no games, no video playback. What you do get is a small multi-touch screen with iOS like icons (although it’s not an iOS device). It’s small enough to be wearable, clip included and paired with a wristband it’s even a watch replacement. (there’s a cool watch app built in). The touch features are a little different than we’ve seen before but take only a moment to learn. While I normally don’t like to see devices lose features in the case of the nano I’ll make an exception. My old nano has some games as well as videos on it ms I’ve never used either. Likewise, the camera on last years model has rarely been used. By keeping the focus on music features first and foremost and driving the design forward Apple likely has another hit on it’s hands.

iPod Touch. The iPod touch adds the most features and it’s now the flagship of the line. Think all the great stuff Apple added to iPhone 4 minus the phone. It’s almost all here. Retina display, FaceTime, A4 processor and gyro. Plus it comes in capacities up tp 64gb. The secondary camera takes 720p video but only sub megapixel images. Good enough for facebook as snapshots not photographs. As expected you’ve got the full catalog of iOS apps. Games in particular are excellent. With WiFi and Skype you can actually use the iPod touch as a great IP phone. In short, this is Apple’s best iPod. Ever.

It’s been nine years since Apple introduced iPod and a lot has changed over the years. While many consumers have supplanted a media player with a smartphone, for many users iPod os the way to go. With a lineup from $49 to $399 Apple has the most diverse product line that scales well. (for those with large media collections, Apple’s kept the iPod classic around with 120gb and last years price). The new models represent a decade of learning, technology advances and design expertise. For those looking for the gold standard in portable media or want to join on the iPhone app revolution without the phone, Apple has a device that just might be right for you.

A tale of two TVs from Apple and Google

Last week, Apple unveiled the newest version of Apple TV. It’s a stark contrast to what Google’s attempting to create. That’s the topic of this week’s Engadget column.

Apple’s shown the ability to do the two things that will make Apple TV a success over time: engineer content deals once thought impossible and evangelize developers. What we saw this week is likely just the next step in the larger iOS platform play — although the TV is the next battleground for connected screens and applications, the platform is what matters in the long term, and Apple should treat the battle for the living room as a marathon, not a sprint.

When less beats Moore

One of the more fun parts of my job is that I get to look at a lot of different devices. Recently, the Sony Ericsson Xperia X-10 Mini-Pro (which is quite a name) captured my attention. It isn’t the largest screen or fastest phone you can buy but it may mark the beginning of a trend of a new breen of devices. That’s the subject of my latest Engadget column.

As platforms mature, they tend to fragment into products that can meet specific needs. That’s true of everything from cars to toothpaste. It’s going to be true of smartphones as well. The X10 Mini Pro shows what the future of feature phones will look like. A device like this, optimized for communication, loaded with social media applications and running with a $15 dollar date plan would have tremendous appeal to younger audiences. In many ways, it may be devices like this that deliver on the vision Microsoft tried to establish with Kin — but with the platform flexibility and data pricing that Kin lacked. Long term, the X10 Mini Pro isn’t the phone for me, but I suspect it and devices like it could very well be in the sweet spot for some segments of the market. It’s nice to see that when it comes to phones at least, less can beat Moore.