Owened

by Owen Williams

Perpetually in search of what’s next. Marketing + Code at Hoist Apps and Weekend Editor at The Next Web

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Lenovo Product Engineer Ashton Kutcher ‘Not Concerned’ About Upcoming iPad Launch

I chortled at this little quote from Ashton Kutcher, the token celebrity at Lenovo, when asked if he was worried about future iPads:

Not at all. I’m not concerned about it in the least bit. Maybe it will be an iPhone Plus Plus. I think Apple has their fingers in a lot of things. We are really focused on this space and this product. I will be really surprised if they launch anything that approaches what we have here.

The gold is that he thinks Apple’s got too many fingers in too many pies, when Lenovo has four tablet lines, three notebook brands, three desktop brands, a server line, its own phones and owns Motorola.

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PayPal going after Apple with a full page NYT ad shows just how big Apple Pay will be

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“We the people want our money safer than our selfies. PayPal, protecting the people economy.”

This is a sign of a company that is afraid of just how successful Apple Pay is going to be and how deeply it will cut into its core business. Apple Pay is the first mobile-phone payments solution that has a shot at the mainstream.

Paypal is known for bad security (especially its crappy two factor authentication), withholding money from its customers and generally being bad at doing payments.

Paypal is not “for the people” - I can tell you that first hand. I use the service because I essentially am forced to due to lack of other options to bill my writing clients. I don’t want to use it and they’ve previously held my money hostage and left me out of pocket.

Nobody will miss it when something better comes along and Paypal is showing just how vulnerable it is to...

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Apple Pay, the first mobile payments solution that you’ll actually use

Perhaps the most interesting thing Apple introduced this week is Apple Pay, a payment solution that uses familiar NFC technology, but skips the previous hurdles to actually making payments with your phone.

Apple is taking just 0.15% of each transaction and seems interested in little else other than making mobile payments awesome (which in turn drives iPhone sales).

Android fans seem annoyed by the notion that Apple has NFC now, claiming that they’ve had it for years. The only difference is Android’s had it for years and still failed to get anywhere with it thanks to a mess of standards and lack of co-operative banks.

Apple Pay has a strong chance that real people will be using it, in the near future. Stay tuned on this one, it won’t seem like its going anywhere at first, but it’ll eventually be everywhere. Everyone will be clamouring to copy it.

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People are reacting to Apple’s Watch the same way they did to the iPod in 2001

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“People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” ― Steve Jobs

Yesterday, Apple unveiled a Watch. It’s incredibly well designed and thought out compared to anything we’ve seen on the market so far, but people are having a hard time understanding how this is a big deal.

Lots have reacted saying they don’t believe it has a market, it doesn’t look good, it’s worse than the devices that are already out there, it doesn’t make any sense, people are “disappointed”, etc.

The reactions to the new device are eerily similar to when Apple unveiled the first iPod in 2001. Commenters were disappointed. They thought it was too expensive. And Apple went on to sell millions of iPods.

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When something that has a chance to change the way we think about devices/interactions comes along, people tend to have a hard time understanding...

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5000

Overnight, I clocked over 5000 followers on Twitter. I don’t want to brag about this – the number itself doesn’t really mean much – but I wanted to write something to reflect on how Twitter’s changed my life in positive ways.

I’m incredibly thankful for the friendships it’s forged, which I never thought possible when I joined the network. Over the last five years, it’s given me some crazy opportunities and connections I may have never had otherwise.

Some random things that couldn’t have happened without Twitter: I met my current flatmates, Samme and Charli, got a gig writing at The Next Web, made some incredible friends in San Francisco and around North America, got a tour inside Apple, got a job at Xero and more stuff that I can’t recall right now.

Despite my complaints when Twitter changes something, it’ll always be a...

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Thoughts on legality of accessing Netflix outside the USA

There’s been a lot of discussion over the last few days on the legality of accessing Netflix in New Zealand by using unblocking tools. Earlier this week, the major content license holder – SKY – stopped an ISP from advertising its services which allow region unblocking on the TV network.

There’s been lots of back and forth over the legality of doing so based on our current, vague laws and if you could be caught. It’s ridiculous.

Essentially, it’s a grey area.

Here’s my thoughts on the matter and why I’ll continue to use these tools to access things like Netflix and Hulu:

  • There’s no evidence this is actually illegal.
  • It’s extremely unlikely a case against you to actually reach the courts as it’s almost undetectable.
  • Any case against you seems to be highly unlikely to stand up in court without a law change.
  • The options...

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400+ free, beautiful, high-resolution wallpapers

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I’ve always struggled to pick wallpapers. It’s difficult, time consuming and a search for “wallpaper” on the internet inevitably returns hundreds of hideous ones.

I use a service called Splashbox to synchronize images from Unsplash for free as they’re added. Unfortunately, Splashbox is invite only at the moment so people can’t get in very easily.

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The beauty of Unsplash, is the images are 100% free and can be redistributed. I do not own these photos, but they are public domain and there isn’t an easy way to get all of them.

People are always asking me where I get my beautiful wallpapers. Now you know. There are the occasional odd ones in here, but it’s worth it to have nice pictures all the time.

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So, I present to you 400 free, high-resolution images for your wallpaper on your Mac/PC/Tablet/Whatever. I’ll update this post every...

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Why writing newsletters is awesome (and hard)

Two months ago, I started a newsletter to get myself reading more and to give back to the community since I saw a gap for a weekly, easy to read roundup of technology/startups and other interesting posts from around the web.

My thought was that it would be great to have a way to cut through all the noise and clickbait online, so I started Charged, a weekly email newsletter that’s delivered in the weekend. I’ve learnt a lot since starting it and I wanted to share some quick thoughts on what I’ve discovered so far:

Convincing people to hand over their email address

As it turns out, people are a little hesitant to hand over their email address, even if you promise that you’re going to deliver a super awesome amazing thing!

You really have to show value in a few different ways before people are willing to sign up. From what I’ve noticed, the easiest ways to...

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Misleading interface design

I had an interesting experience this week when I tried to cancel my Spotify account. When you visit the cancellation page, you’re asked to give a reason about why you’re cancelling. Fair enough, but what caught me out is Spotify trying to trick you into staying subscribed.

Spotify uses a tactic where it makes the link for “stay premium” a big obvious button and the “cancel my account” button a small link to the right. Since you’re unlikely to read the button and just click on it (because a good interface would make the action button the right thing), I clicked the big green button and assumed I had cancelled.

I didn’t actually realize I had been tricked into staying subscribed until after I came back five minutes later. Here’s the interface in question.

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This is horrible on many levels, because it’s clearly the company...

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A changing Apple

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This is a beautiful piece released by the New York Times over the weekend, I highly recommend reading it. There’s some great observations in it about how Tim Cook is shaping Apple to be different from how it historically was under Steve Jobs.

Cook is redefining the way the company operates by being approachable, compassionate and quiet/considering of all choices. It’s a shock for many outsiders who seem truly stuck on the idea that Apple can’t survive without Jobs.

The biggest thing I took away from this fantastic piece is that Apple has changed significantly and positively in many ways – you may conclude this yourself if you watch the WWDC keynote in its entirety – but perhaps most exciting is how much of a positive impact Cook wants to make on the world at large.

In response to a question earlier this year asking if Apple should avoid embracing...

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