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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Messaging overload

Today, Facebook accidentally released and then unreleased its new Snapchat competitor, Slingshot, adding to the already crowded messaging space.

A few weeks ago, I took a look at the messaging services I had on my phone; WhatsApp, Line, Snapchat, Skype, Hangouts, Facebook Messenger and iMessage. Six apps that all serve basically the same purpose in a different way; communicating with friends.

I remember two years ago being excited for the convergence of messaging apps; when I could use Windows Live Messenger/AIM/Skype/Google talk in [one app](http://trillian.im! I remember thinking that it was exciting to have less apps, not more, to message my friends.

After all, it’s a hassle to maintain friends lists in all these different places… and you eventually have those conversations along the lines of “is it better to Snapchat you or send you a Twitter DM?”

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Better

In any career, there’s a constant need to be improving yourself. Working at your craft, refining your skills, getting better and having deeper understanding of what you do. The hunger to be better – to succeed – is vital to driving us to success.

You’ve probably read a lot about things successful people do daily to get where they are. Everything from rising early to setting lots of goals; while those particular tips may or may not be true, the key that many fail to grasp is that it’s not the method that these people used to become successful that matters.

What matters is that they set out to be better than everyone else.

That hunger to be a better at what you do is something that many fail to listen to and quickly become comfortable. What you need to realize is that there are thousands of other people that do the exact same thing as you in your city and...

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iOS 8 moves the smartphone to the centre of computing

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Apple’s WWDC this year was monumental, but not because the company redesigned OS X or released a shiny new version of iOS. It was a game-changing unveil because Apple has finally acknowledged that the centre of computing now revolves around the phone.

A new technology called Continuity provides a seamless experience when moving from the Mac to the phone/tablet. A few examples of how Continuity works are important to illustrate how powerful this is:

  • If you’re writing an email on your Mac and you need to quickly head out, you can swipe the mail icon that appears on the lower left of your iPhone or iPad and it opens in Mail where you left off
  • Working on a spreadsheet or word document? Same deal. Just swipe up on the icon.
  • Browsing an interesting website and want to move to the iPad? Again, just swipe the icon.
  • You get an incoming cellular call on your iPhone, which appears...

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I’m starting a tech newsletter, designed to save you time

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I used to blog about tech here a lot, but I’ve been thinking for a long time that I would like to do something more personal instead.

I spend almost all of my spare time reading articles online and looking into how they came about, but haven’t been passing any of that knowledge on outside of my Twitter feed.

I’ve decided to start a simple newsletter called Charged which will be a weekly ‘too long, didn’t read’ roundup and analysis of interesting happenings/trends in the tech industry. I know you’re busy, so I want to help.

The type of stories will vary wildly, but it’ll always be entertaining, easy to understand, concise and worth your time. I promise. If you’ve liked what I share on Twitter, then you’ll love this newsletter. I’m not interested in click-bait.

This is something new for me (and I’m terrified!),...

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Nike kills off wearables instead of going to war with Apple

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The news leaked today that Nike had laid off the entire FuelBand team, as the company looks to exit the wearables market. This is a strange move, especially considering the company has just released the FuelBand SE.

But it’s not that strange at all. It’s been rumored for longer than I can remember that Apple is getting into the ‘wearables’ market with a watch-like device, dubbed the ‘iWatch.’

This device is expected to be unveiled this September, alongside this year’s iPhone as Apple seeks to expand into ‘new product categories.’ Today’s Nike move, to kill off the wearables part of the company and focus on software, is surely part of that strategy.

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Nike and Apple have long been close allies, with Nike building a partnership to bring exclusive integration between the iPod/iPhone for years with its Nike+ sensor for shoes.

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The curious case of the fake Steve Ballmer

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On Twitter today, a fake Steve Ballmer quickly gained a lot of followers as people discovered the account. The account tweeted a few times, with a bunch of convincing pictures that hadn’t been posted anywhere else online, so many were lead to believe it was real.

The account quickly gained steam, with Anil Dash, Steve Sinofsky and others (including myself) tweeting the account, falling for the trick. Something seemed fishy about the account but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

I was almost convinced that the account was real (even Gizmodo wrote something about “Ballmer’s” first tweets from his iPhone!) then it tweeted this:

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How to become a Paypal millionaire

There’s a PayPal scam going around on Twitter at the moment that claims to be offering money to those that retweet a tweet:

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It’s a complete and utter joke, yet there are hundreds of replies with people saying “thanks for the money” and “wow, I can pay off my mortgage now!” Lots of people I follow are believing it too.

There’s no way this is legitimate - PayPal would shut this off almost immediately. I’ve been suspended for moving $100 around, so I doubt this person could shift $100K out of their “dad’s” account for fun. My current suspicion is that this is an elaborate scam that involves a number of this person’s friends - or a bunch of bots.

Despite what you...

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New adventures

I’ve got some sad, but happy news to share: I’m saying goodbye to Xero for a new adventure.

A few months back, I was approached by some friends about an exciting new service they were building and they mentioned that if I wanted to be a part of it, I could be. I politely declined as I was happy where I am, but it stuck in my mind for some time afterward.

I spent weeks regretting it. I thought about what I could be missing out on by not seriously considering joining the team almost daily. After reading about Jeff Bezos' Regret Minimization Framework one morning, I came to the conclusion that I would always kick myself about missing out on an opportunity to take a risk with the team later in life, so I sent an email to Owen Evans and told him I wanted to join.

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Which leads us to now. In April, I’m joining a NZ based start-up called Hoist as Manager of Marketing...

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Motorola’s brief stint as a Google company was an attempt to change the course of Android

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Earlier today, the news broke that Motorola Mobility would be acquired from Google by Lenovo for a cool $2.91 Billion. Google purchased Motorola for $12.5 billion in August 2011.

The move seemed out of character and very perplexing at first, especially considering just how recently Motorola was acquired by Google. I’m still digesting what the deal actually means.

While the original purchase of Motorola and today’s sale seems like a calculated manoeuvre by Google to simply acquire Motorola’s 17,000-odd patents, it’s really much more than that.

In 2011, Motorola was experiencing its fifth consecutive quarter of losses which obviously left the future of the company in doubt. Google swooped in and saved the day.

For a brief moment, it looked like Google really wanted to become a devices and services business, just like Apple. It spent a lot of time convincing...

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Tweetbot changed iPhone user behaviour with one simple gesture

Tweetbot is essentially the gold standard in Twitter clients for mobile phones. You won’t find anything better on iOS, Android or Windows Phone, I can promise you that. The latest update released by the company was a reimagining of an already fantastic app and was received with a lot of acclaim.

I’m not sure if the guys at Tapbots realise what they did when they released Tweetbot 3, but they basically redefined how users expect to interact with pictures on their phones. It’s perhaps the most simple gesture that you could think of, but for some reason it hadn’t been used by anyone else up until Tweetbot 3 was released.

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The gesture I’m talking about is the one displayed above. When an image is opened from the stream in ‘lightbox’ view, the user is able to throw it away by simply tossing it anywhere on the screen. It’s so simple that...

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