Owened

by Owen Williams

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

Page 4


Twitter design tweak alienates existing user base but is preparing the company for IPO

Today, Twitter made an interesting tweak to the way that the website presents conversations amongst users. The company added a new indicator and way to surface conversations across their site. Behold.

cCUkobT.png

The new view always shows the original tweet that started the conversation at the start, then it lists the replies below. The problem is, if you follow a lot of people that talk to each other frequently, you start seeing the same tweet repeating throughout your timeline. Over and over.

Every time someone you follow replies to the tweet, it’ll pop up again. At time of writing, a tweet by a friend is showing up five times on one page because everyone is engaging with him. It ultimately clutters the experience and ruins it for long time active users. Tweets are jumping all over the place through the feed and it jumbles the view very quickly when you follow just a few hundred people.

I...

Continue reading →


Nuance spills the beans on September 10 iOS 7 launch date

2013-08-26_17-38-38_applejack-2.local.jpg

We all know about the impending announcement of the iPhone 5S and 5C, the rumored date and even the colors that it’ll be available in but we still didn’t have a real confirmation from Apple that it’s actually happening.

Nuance – the company behind Siri – sent out this email earlier today to developers in their voice recognition program telling them that “as you are probably aware, iOS 7 GA (General Availability) will be released on September 10th” and that they should ensure their applications work properly with the new bits before then.

Considering Nuance’s intimate involvement with Apple in the past this is as real as it gets outside of Apple itself inviting the media to the event. Of course, there’s a chance that Nuance has no idea and is just hedging their bets that the leaks are right but given their proximity to Apple I wouldn’t be surprised if they did know the date.

...

Continue reading →


Android is better? Not if you look deeper.

A post circulated the web by a designer at Twitter yesterday – Paul Stamatiou – that made a bold claim: Android is better. The post, which covers off a range of reasons why Android is better than iOS really paints a great picture of how far Android has come since the days of Gingerbread but fails to really mention the large gaps and downfalls of the ecosystem. There’s a lot more going on than meets the eye.

Late last year after the iPhone 5 was announced I wrote a post entitled “Why I won’t be buying the iPhone 5” which spread quite a bit. I’m here today – a year on – to admit that I have actually purchased an iPhone 5. The post itself was directly about Windows Phone 8, but that was a complete disappointment. It ultimately has gone nowhere in an entire year so I never switched. The theory was good but the execution was not there.

I’ve stuck with Android for the better part of two...

Continue reading →


The incredible intangible value of Twitter

twitter.PNG

Hot on the heels of writing about how I’ve left Facebook, I want to share just how much Twitter has changed my life. The value of 140 characters is not perceived by many to add much to their life, but it’s changed my world.

I’m 22 right now and grew up for a brief moment in a world where the internet didn’t exist. A world where kids called each other on the phone to arrange play dates and parents called each other to gossip rather than texting. This same world struggled to deal with the wide array of networking possibilities that became available with the advent of the internet.

For most of my childhood – and doubtlessly for most of you who are reading this too – I was taught by both my parents and the media that there are strange people on the internet and that it’s a place to be feared rather than embraced. That we should be careful talking to people because they’re not who they...

Continue reading →


New Zealand government attempting to quickly allow spy agency to intercept communications of the public

I usually exclusively write about technology and my personal life on this blog but today I’m delving into a little bit of politics. A topic which I know nothing about but am growing gravely concerned with. Despite the fact that a very public uproar is that’s going on in the world about the NSA’s illegal spying activities, something strange is brewing in New Zealand. We’re cosying up with the US and punishing our public for it and are about to enact the same kind of draconian law that the US has been using to spy on their people.

We’re trying to copy a nation that fears its own population. and treats them like terrorists where instead the government should fear the people.

NZ is adopting US laws and attitudes towards people and behaviors within our country when it’s clear that our situation is completely different from that of theirs. There are more and more laws and behaviors...

Continue reading →


Leaving Facebook was the best thing I’ve ever done

Almost two weeks ago after much back and forth in my head, I deleted my Facebook. It was a hard decision, despite it being easy enough to press the delete button. A handful of things I use rely on it – like Spotify – which had held me back from deleting it for a long time.

I’ve almost constantly been asked why I’m leaving Facebook so I figured I’d write a post about it. Over time, it seems that the social network has evolved from having a network of friends who all created content, statuses and shared photos to a network of friends who passively use the social network. A better word for this would be “stalking.”

While stalking doesn’t bother me in the slightest (if it didn’t I wouldn’t have a very public Twitter profile), it bothered me that I was becoming one of these passive users. My Facebook activity seemed to be along the lines of quickly popping open a tab a few times a day to...

Continue reading →


iOS 7 isn’t bad, change is just difficult

ios7.png

Over the last two weeks the internet has been an endless stream of shit throwing and increasingly negative blogs about iOS 7 and how the OS could have been designed better.

Everyone who is a designer or wanted to be a designer has been putting up either their own “fixed” iOS 7 concepts online or a blog pointing out their mistakes and gushing about how Apple has done wrong. For an example of what I’m talking about here, Gigaom collected a range of reactions from around the internet from people who were clearly upset Apple never consulted them about it.

Before WWDC, there was endless complaining that iOS had become boring and stale, that Apple had to change the entire OS to save themselves. Now, within minutes of seeing/installing the early iOS beta, many are declaring it “too confusing” and “too far in the other direction.” Both of these examples were published on June 10, the day...

Continue reading →


Why can’t Microsoft get their products right on the first try?

windows81verge1_1020_large_verge_super_wide.jpg

If you follow the news closely enough, you might notice that Microsoft tends to follow a product cycle along the lines of:

  1. Announce product
  2. Realize product isn’t catching on (or there are lots of complaints), make changes and improve product to state it should have been on day one
  3. Release fixed product after large amount of time has elapsed

When we take a look at various products across the company this seems to be quite true. For example, Windows Phone 7:

  1. Announce Windows Phone 7. No multitasking despite all competitors having it, no application fast resume. No major applications that competitors have. No turn by turn directions. No front-facing camera.
  2. Realize that customers are holding out is because many of these features are on competitors’ hardware. Announce massive update for Windows Phone that ‘solves’ the problem.
  3. Take a long time to release fixes, eventually ship them...

Continue reading →


Post-Touchscreen

I knew about the Leap Motion before today, but I hadn’t seen this advertisement. If Microsoft’s vision of the future is touch-screen based computing, then this technology has just one-upped the company.

It’s like Minority Report, without the gloves and complicated accessories. An even better direct comparison is a intensely sensitive Kinect that takes only a tenth of the space.

The Leap Motion doesn’t replace the mouse or keyboard on your computer outright, but it certainly adds a new dimension to computing that touch doesn’t. Not only does it allow real world objects to become input devices (pencils, for example), you can quickly manipulate pages or data without touching anything at all. I could see this becoming the primary way we interact with computers in the future, with the fallback for long word processing and other tasks that can’t be done like this being the keyboard

I’ve...

Continue reading →


Google Now shows up for iOS, highlights sad state of Android

chart.png

This morning, an update for the Google Search application on iOS was released by Google and along with it came Google Now. The predictive search feature has been available on Android for just under a year, but in that time, it’s only been able to reach a peak of 25% of all Android devices.

Unfortunately for Google they’ve had a fragmentation problem since the beginning of time with Android, making it hard to reach users when a new service is only available for Jellybean (4.1+). By releasing on iOS, they’ve effectively made the service available for up to 500 Million devices on day one.

Comparing that to Android shows a sad state of affairs. Eric Schmidt said late last year that there were around 480 Million Android devices out there at the time, meaning that if we assumed those numbers were current and Jellybean made up 25% of that install base, Google Now only had potential to...

Continue reading →