Browsing: Tech

The bots are coming. And they will be everywhere, like Facebook Messenger where they’ll be deployed to 900mm+ users. Some will deliver you tacos. Some will go on racist tirades. But here’s the thing: not all bots are created equal. While “bot” is a great over-arching term for a collection of happenings all boiling down to a trend, I think there needs to be a bit more clarity on what these things are and what they’re expected to do. To start, here’s how Wikipedia defines it broadly: In computer science, a software agent is a computer program that acts for a user or other program in a relationship of agency, which derives from the Latin agere (to do): an agreement to act on one’s behalf. Such “action on behalf of” implies the authority to decide which, if any, action is appropriate.[1][2] Agents are colloquially known as bots, from robot. So…

It’s no secret that Facebook has been making a big push into capturing our attention around news. A decade ago news organizations “owned” creation, distribution, monetization, and attention. One could argue that Facebook has been making a play for just about every aspect of the news business, perhaps save for creation (for now). Two days ago I noticed something that might have been easily otherwise overlooked. Do you see what’s new? A little more context… I was running through my News Feed as I do a few times a day, and happened across this post from my friend Josh. The headline grabbed me, so inevitably I clicked on it for a quick read. Upon returning to the app something new appeared below the post that wasn’t there before. Let’s look at it a little deeper: Notice the new line, a sneaky addition below the title and graphic. “See more articles…

Last week’s #RIPTwitter ruckus, sparked by the news that they may be interesting an algorithmic timeline soon, really got under my skin. Time and time again I went to the app to construct a tweet that would perfectly illustrate my thoughts on the matter, and each time canceled it before sending it out. More was needed to be said than could be written in 140 characters. First I should say that I haven’t used Twitter in any conventional capacity for about a year at this point. Despite its incredible value as the zeitgeist for literally everything in the world, it was a massive time sink, distraction, and UX nightmare (emphasizing I mean UX, not UI). While there’s immense value in the real-time nature of the network, actually staying in touch with it all is not practical unless you work in news or basically have nothing else to do. Instead of…

Hint: It’s not about thinness Last week a big rumor started swirling around the Internet about this year’s upcoming iPhone release. It seemed to send chills down spines and sent Apple doomsayers into a fervor. The headlines said it all: New iPhone 7 Leak Exposes Apple’s Achilles Heel iPhone Users Are Already Petitioning Against This Rumored Change …and my personal favorite: Stop It Already, Apple The blasphemous suggestion that Apple abandon a 100 year old port seems to have caused straight-up panic and outrage. Everywhere I look articles are referencing Apple’s obsession with thinnness to be the likely culprit. I can’t blame them really, that would be a very easy first conclusion to jump to. It’s also hard for anyone to look into Apple’s future other than themselves. But I’ll argue something completely different: Whether in this upcoming iteration or a subsequent one, the reason for Apple getting rid of the…

*ping* Ev Williams This morning I logged into Medium to read some stuff and was greeted by a bright green indicator in the top right, shouting “80.” Now I love the dopamine rush as much as the next person, but after clicking on that I was completely overwhelmed. Each individual line-item was basically saying the same thing. Either I was followed by someone, my most recent post was recommended, or it had some highlights. Of course this is a good problem to have as I’m very happy that my most recent post was enjoyable by some. As I know this isn’t the case with every post, I do understand the value of showing each individual interaction…up to a point. Maybe we could call that “point” 5, or roughly the number of times you’d see it while on a mobile browser before seeing the same thing over and over again and…

Update: according to TechCrunch it looks like Facebook may be working on a fix for this! We have heard reports of some people experiencing battery issues with our iOS app. We’re looking into this and hope to have a fix in place soon.— Facebook Spokesman These screenshots should speak for themselves, but just to be painfully clear, I’ll set it up: Over the last 7 days, Facebook is the greatest offender of battery drain on my iPhone 6s PlusIt accounted for 15% of all battery drainDespite having background app refresh disabled, because the app isn’t “sleeping” properly when I hit the home button, it continues to drainThat extraneous background usage, despite not providing any value to me at all, is keeping the app alive 2x longer than my actual usageEven the resource hog Safari drained 3% less over the last week despite being on the screen for half an hour…

A little Dropbox trick for making sure I never misplace an orphan file Most of us now have at least two computing devices that we use on a regular basis. For some it’s their laptop and mobile phone. For others like me it’s my iMac, MacBook, iPhone, and iPad. They all have their purpose and are used regularly. With the exception of my iPad everything is used regularly, which means the likelihood that a file is on one of those devices and not others is high. I needed a trick. Something foolproof that would ensure that my files wouldn’t be trapped on a device I didn’t have access to at a certain time. Dropbox is just the start While some would immediately jump to saying “just save stuff in Dropbox,” I would say in return: what about my Desktop, what about the Downloads folder? Something more was needed. The best part? It’s…

Thinking through remedies for the always-on, always-communicating world. About the author:Hi. I’m Matt Galligan, aproduct design & strategy consultant that previously co-founded three startups: Circa, SimpleGeo, and Socialthing. Author’s Note: This post is now out of date. About five months after I wrote this Slack introduced a Do Not Disturb feature that is in many ways identical to what I’d proposed in this post (save for a some design differences). But you may still find it a valuable read about thinking through product problems and solutions. Enjoy! Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last year you’ve probably heard of the rocket ship of a company called Slack. They’ve been hailed as the savior of communication within companies and often the destroyer of email. Slack replaces asynchronous communication like email with the synchronous variety, known to most as “chat.” This is a rather pared down way of describing…

This is not an official Apple graphic. I made it up. Update: In the years since I made this post, Apple has since launched Business Chat. While it’s not all that I had outlined in this post, it gets at some of the core thoughts: we don’t need an app for everything. I’m excited to see where Apple takes Business Chat from here. There’s already been a fair amount written on the subject on the future of texting and of messaging-as-an-interface. Jonathan Libov had a pretty comprehensive set of ideas that established how a lightweight texting option could replace many of the apps that we deal with today. In the post title “Futures of Text” he says: In contrast to a GUI that defines rules for each interaction — rules which, frustratingly, change from app to app — text-based, conversational interactions are liberating in their familiarity. There’s only really only one way to skin this…

Apple’s News app as seen on apple.com As someone that’s been in the business of news for a while now, I thought I’d give my quick gut-check on Apple’s new News app and some industry trends. When we launched Circa nearly three years ago much of how we thought about news at the time was that it was a commodity and it would only continue to be further commoditized. Now here we are in 2015 and it’s happening even faster than I could have predicted. Simply put, the future for most is distribution and aggregation paired with a native reading experience. Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles, Snapchat Discover are all examples of this trend. No longer will we be loyal to any one news provider, but rather, we’ll be loyal to the places that deliver us news right within the products we love. It will be a tumultuous time and a…