Posts tagged Taking 5
Earlier this month Nintendo drastically cut its sales forecasts for the fiscal year after they missed their targets during Christmas. This sent everyone with an internet connection into a tizzy suggesting that Nintendo could make buckets of money releasing iOS and Android games and that they should pull a Sega and exit the hardware market (Kotaku wraps it up nicely, thanks Kotaku).
Nintendo CEO Satoru Iwata addressed this by saying, “It’s not as simple as enabling Mario to move on a smartphone.” I couldn’t agree with him more. Nintendo needs to be Nintendo. They need to make great hardware and make great games for that hardware.
So, while people are yelling for Nintendo to abandon their hardware business they’re not seeing that Nintendo has 10.1 billion dollars in the bank. That’s enough money to allow them to coast for decades.
It’s undeniable that Nintendo doesn’t have the marketshare or the mindshare they had at the start of the last generation. Their new console didn’t grab the hearts of the everyman the way the Wii did, but there is still a way for Nintendo to continue to be Nintendo and, perhaps, return to the top.
I have a four point plan:
1) Nintendo needs to pull a Microsoft and start paying developers to develop for their platform. It’s exactly what Microsoft is doing on Windows Phone, and slowly, it’s working.
Nintendo should be actively pursuing indy developers and spurring games creation for their devices. Have ‘dev days.’ Pay for companies of all sizes to release their titles on your platform. Create tools that make it easier to develop. Start earning back that developer trust.
2) Abandon the Wii U. Make it a “hobby” if you want (the way Apple made the Apple TV a hobby for a few years). Sony and Microsoft are using off the shelf parts for their new consoles. Use the same ones. Release modern hardware and price it the same as the PS4. Yes, you’re going to get called out for releasing a “me too” box. But you need to do that. If you can put an Wii / Wii U emulator (or really, all the hardware the way Sony installed an entire PS2 in the PS3 at launch) that’s a bonus. We’re expecting this console cycle to last 8-10 years again, so even if this was released in 2015 it would still sell for six years.
When Apple updated iOS from 6 to 7 worlds like “modern” and “minimalist” were thrown around in every article I read, despite the fact that the way I use the phone is largely the same. I, personally, care more about usability than looks. Function over fashion.
The new style of iOS 7 doesn’t really inhibit my every day. It’s usually fine, and in many ways makes my life easier. But one implementation inhibits my day to day, the music app.
Listening to music on my phone is very important to me. It was one of the main reasons I couldn’t commit to the Lumia 1020. As I’ve used iOS 7 I can’t help but notice the tremendous amount of wasted space in Music.
I usually sort my music by artist. In iOS 6 you can see 10 artists on a single page. In iOS 7 you only see 4. And there is a tremendous amount of space above and below the name of artist. I understand that Apple wanted to include more data, like album and song count, but even if you included that info, there is still a tremendous amount of wasted space.
You can almost fit the artist, album and song count three times in the designated area for one artist.
I’m seeing less than half the number of artists I used to see. That means more scrolling, and less time listening to music.
Album view isn’t much better. In iOS 6 you got album art, the name of the album and the artist. You also got 9 albums per screen. On iOS 7, still 4, still half the information in iOS 6.
Look, I don’t ask for much. And I actually do appreciate the additional data provided in Album and Artist view, but there is still a tremendous amount of wasted space. Shrink those albums down to the size they were on iOS 6, and really maximize the information you can present.
(Sorry for the lack of a full Album list. It was very difficult to get the screenshots of iOS 6 on a 4inch iPhone/iPod touch. Thank you to Katherine and Alex who sent me screenshots of from their iOS 6, devices.)
I was intrigued by Vine when it launched in January. But after trying several times to use it I had to put it away. It didn’t really click with me, and I’m the kind of person who doesn’t hesitate to shoot a quick video. But I understand its impact. Vine ushered in a wave of gif and video apps that use hold-to-record, something that looks good on paper, but in practice it makes the phone harder to hold and leads directly to shakier video. It also used the whole screen as the record button, breaking ‘tap to focus,’ a fundamental paradigm of iOS… but I digress.
It was obvious to me that Vine wasn’t going to get better on its own. At the rate that Vine was gaining traction it was going to take a company as big as Facebook to create some real competition, and drive innovation. So when the rumors started earlier this week about video being added to Instagram, I started to get excited.
Having now used both, I’m a little bummed. I think Instagram video is better than Vine, but only marginally. It’s really just Vine 2.0. You can delete a clip if you don’t like it. It has tap to focus, and you press (and hold) somewhere else to record. It feels more like a camera (and, as you know, I’m an expert in iPhone cameras). You can add filters. And, yes, videos are longer (15 seconds in stead of 6 but that doesn’t matter to me).
It’s basically everything I would change in Vine, if someone approached me saying “here’s our app, help us clean up some things.” There isn’t really anything new that Instagram is bringing to the table.
Here’s my hangup. What I think makes Instagram great, and the thing that I think made it catch on, is sharing. Instagram allows you to take a photo, that you’ve taken anywhere, and and quickly share it across multiple platforms; Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram itself. It is the one app you can use to get your 1:1 photo everywhere. It made it easy to fire off some photos and then share them quickly. Sharing was the secret sauce to Instagram, not it’s ability to take a picture.
I love Star Wars. I have been watching since I was 5 years old. And like any upstanding, long time Star Wars fan I was upset about the newest round of changes to my favorite movies.
Then I went to dinner with my friend Jesse. We started talking about the release of Star Wars on Blu-ray and I mentioned that this would be the 5th version of the trilogy I have owned. Each time I have purchased it (save one - 2006 DVD) George Lucas has changed the films in some way.
It has gotten to the point where there is very little record of the original films. I’d bet that most people probably own either the 1997 VHS version or the 2004 DVD version. Neither of which contain the version I watched, on repeat, as a child. (the 2006 DVD release contains both the 2004 SE and the theatrical releases but it was never sold as a trilogy so it didn’t sell nearly as many copies)
In the midst of talking about versions and changes Jesse said something that totally blew my mind. “Lucas is this commercial director, who is inadvertently taking a hugely progressive and modern art take on these giant commercial movies. Star Wars is still in progress! It’s become modern art. It’s not about the movie anymore, the production is the art now.”
Just over a year ago I wrote an article titled “Taking 5: Facebook Platform”. It was right after Facebook launched their Like button and their universal log in. Both services have been adopted at incredible rates, to the point where I find it odd if I don’t see the Like button on a page. I have even updated Nerdology to add that functionality (you have to be on the actual site not on the dashboard to see it).
In that post I said “Facebook is targeting Digg. … The difference is audience. 400 million people are on Facebook so clicking Like on an article has the potential to reach more people." Since writing that Digg is more or less dead and I’ve been able to read a ton of articles and watch videos because my friends have clicked the LIKE button. But there is still one problem. Volume.
Facebook is the largest agrogate I look at, and often times I see content on Facebook that I already saw in other places (Twitter, Tumblr, etc). I’m guilty of that as well. Everything posted to my personal Tumblr also gets kicked out to my Facebook page and Twitter. It’s just how things work. And because everyone is pushing their content to Facebook my feed is updated at an incredible rate and I just don’t have time to go back and sift through all the stuff I’ve already seen elsewhere to find the new stuff.
Facebook is missing a way to sort Likes. And it’s inhibiting the growth of that service.
Last year I wrote, “If I am already checking Facebook it would be great to have a separate news feed to see what things people are liking outside of Facebook… don’t think that isn’t coming. I also will expect (like digg) to be able to see a list of the most liked things of the day/week/month.” But we still don’t have that.
I want to like the Like button. I do. It has such great potential but it’s been over a year now and while websites are adopting it en-masse Facebook isn’t supporting it.
Last Wednesday the PlayStation Network went down. 7 day’s later it’s still down and information is scarce. This. Shouldn’t. Happen.
On Monday, the Japanese electronics giant said it is keeping its PlayStation Network videogame service offline indefinitely following a hacking attack it now says may have compromised user’s information.
To ensure the network’s integrity, Sony said it is currently rebuilding the service, which connects more than 75 million PlayStation customers over the Internet, letting them play videogames and chat together. “This is a time intensive process and we’re working to get them back online quickly,” Sony spokesman Patrick Seybold said in a blog post. - Wall Street Journal
There are so many things to talk about from those two paragraphs alone, though it’s worth it to read the entire article. First of all, if my personal information has been compromised why hasn’t Sony put out a press release about it? Why haven’t they emailed the users of their service to tell them that their information has been compromised? And why are there only 4 sentences about it on the Playstation Blog?
The New York Times showed just how misguided the print industry is when announced that it was switching to a pay digital subscription model starting March 28th. Switching to a pay model isn’t the problem (I support paying for things) their tiered plans is the misguided part. Let’s take a look:
There are two glaring problems here. The first problem is that they have tiered access to the same content. There is no more content on the tablet over your smart phone or actual computer. It’s the same, yet they have deemed that you should pay depending on what kind of device you are using. I just don’t understand the logic here. The New York Times has to decide what they think their content is worth and charge me that amount.
The second problem is mathematical. Let’s look at the break down:
- 15 dollars for access to the website and smartphone app.
- 20 dollars for the website and tablet app.
- 35 dollars for website, smartphone app, and tablet app.
Based on the first two they have deemed that the tablet application is worth 5 dollars more than the smartphone application since we can use the website as a constant here. I don’t agree with it, but for the sake of this argument let’s pretend that tablet content is worth 5 dollars more. But look at that last bullet point, 35 dollars. It’s the sum of the 15 dollar package and the 20 dollar package.
15 + 20 = 35 dollars
(website + smartphone) + (website + tablet) = 35 dollars
You’re paying for the website twice if you want access on all your devices. And that problem is even worse than charging me different prices for the same content. Hopefully someone in accounting read their article and pointed this out, but somehow I doubt it.
I just read that headline on Engadget. My brain instinctively said “finally”. But not for the reasons you’d think. Not because I think the Zune is a bad product. Yes, it has become kind of a joke in the industry, but really, ANY media player that isn’t an iPod has kind of become a joke. The way smart phones have been selling and as more people carry only one device, the iPod is destined to become the same.
The reason why I thought “finally” is because Microsoft is a software company, they should me making software.
It kills me that they are trying to keeping things like Office, Zune Market, Xbox Live gaming to themselves in the mobile market. If they put Office on the iPad it would sell like crazy and they would make tons of money. Instead, people are buying Pages and Numbers, not because they want them, because Word and Excel are absent. Microsoft should be leading the tablet market in software sales, and not because they’ve been trying to make tablets for over a decade.
Microsoft needs to bring its software to every device. I bet the Microsoft could sell Office (or at least Word) to 50% of people who buy iPads. They wouldn’t even have to undersell Pages, just make it the same price. There is so much brand recognition there I bet it’s the first application most people buy (or second, to Angry Birds).
I have been thinking about writing abut a game called The Club for a few months but haven’t found an inroad. Then I got this email from Weston.
I played the Bulletstorm demo, not the full game. But as I was playing it, and as the timer was counting up and I scored a ton of points for kicking a guy into a void, I realized that Bulletstorm was just a worse version of The Club.
The Club, developed by the unfortunately/recently dissolved Bizarre Creations, is a really great game. It was completely misunderstood when it was published by Sega in 2008 because everyone thought it was a shooter. It’s true you are a guy running around with a gun, and while the game has the face of a shooter it has the soul of a racing game.
If you haven’t played it, and based on the poor sales the chances are you haven’t, in The Club you move around a predetermined path (a track if you will), be it a cargo ship, jail or an abandoned factory. Sometimes the path (track) loops around and you have to complete 3 laps and sometimes you just have to run from point A to point B.
While you are moving as fast as possible around the level there are enemies shooting at you with weapons ranging from hand guns to rocket launchers. As you kill enemies you build up a multiplier. The faster you get kills and move through the levels the more points you score. And you unlock more levels as you reach certain score thresholds.
Yesterday was the 10 year anniversary of iTunes. 10 years. I’ve been using it for about 8.5. The only program I have been using longer is Word. But unlike Word, iTunes is a program that is constantly being maintained, managed and updated by me. There really isn’t any other program like it. It’s been around so long I think people are forgetting how important it has become, and that it is the program on which Apple has built it’s current empire.
iTunes was released in January of 2001, 10 months before the iPod was even announced. By the time the iPod was a phenomenon (2004) iTunes was more than a place to store and organize your music; it was a place where you could purchase music. iTunes is what made it easier to buy music than to steal it, and, one could argue, it saved the music industry.