Roger Cohen, The Quest to Belong
Next year’s Thanksgiving grace.
I hate to say I told you so, but it’s clear now that instead of trying to make a new piece of iron Blackberry should have turned itself into a secure, real-time communication service that would run on any smartphone (as I predicted in Jan 2012).
Ian Austin, BlackBerry Posts Loss, Despite New Phone
Thorsten Heins, the president and chief executive of BlackBerry, recalled Friday that when he announced a delay in the introduction of a new line of phones a year ago, he was told his company was “finished.” Not so, he argued then, give us time to get this thing right.
The phones, known as BlackBerry 10s, are now here. But from the results the company announced Friday, BlackBerry has not turned around its fortunes. Just the opposite.
In the first full quarter of sales of the make-or-break BlackBerry 10s,BlackBerry reported that it shipped 6.8 million phones, of which only about 2.7 million were the new models.
Or, to put it another way, Apple sells as many iPhones in a week as BlackBerry 10s were shipped over three months.
“For many, going into these earnings, it was seen as the end of the new beginning,” said Anil Doradla, an analyst with William Blair & Company in Chicago. “Now, coming out of the earnings, it looks like the beginning of the end.”
BlackBerry’s share price plummeted nearly 28 percent after it reported an unexpected $84 million loss on Friday and revealed the early shipping figures of its new phone.
Someone (Microsoft? Google? Nokia?) might be buying this company for 1 penny on the dollar in a few weeks, or it’s headed for the deadpool
Wow, it’s even worse of an idea than I thought.
The HTC First, or “Facebook phone” as many prefer to call it, is officially a flop. It certainly wasn’t a good sign when AT&T dropped the price of HTC’s First to $0.99 just one month after its debut, and now BGR has confirmed that HTC and Facebook’s little experiment is nearing its end. BGR has learned from a trusted source that sales of the HTC First have been shockingly bad. So bad, in fact, that AT&T has already decided to discontinue the phone.
Our source at AT&T has confirmed that the HTC First, which is the first smartphone to ship with Facebook Home pre-installed, will soon be discontinued and unsold inventory will be returned to HTC. How much unsold inventory is there? We don’t have an exact figure, but things aren’t looking good. According to our source, AT&T sold fewer than 15,000 units nationwide through last week when the phone’s price was slashed to $0.99.
I wonder if that’s the end of Facebook Home, or just this variant?
Google has announced the deadpooling of Google Reader:
Urs Hölzle, Official Blog: A second spring of cleaning
We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.
Google Reader established — along with Bloglines, shut down in 2010 — the paradigm of ‘blog post inbox’.
I never liked being a ‘RSS readerer’, stuck in an always overfilled inbox of posts shouting ‘Read me!’ As a result, although I have a Google Reader account, I haven’t been there in years.
The biggest alternatives that have pulled me away from any consideration or active use of RSS have been Twitter and Tumblr.
“Twitter ushered in the shift to our social networks as ‘engines of meaning’ and a rejection of the mechanistic, steampunk, media plumbing model.”
Twitter has become my primary source of linkage. The big shift here has been the transition to following people as curators, instead of following blogs. Twitter ushered in the shift to our social networks as ‘engines of meaning’ and a rejection of the mechanistic, steampunk, media plumbing model. And RSS is going, along with it.
For a long time I intentionally limited my Twitter follows to under 500, then under 1000, and I tried to step into the stream frequently to keep my feet wet. I adopted the ‘let it stream’ mindset, which means that I never felt it necessary to read all tweets, anymore than its necessary to look out of all the windows in my house.
Flipboard has shifted my Twitter use drastically. I now rely on a Flipboarded experience of Twitter, and hardly ever directly read my incoming Twitter stream, and so I can let the number of folks that I follow rise past the point of productively ‘following’. I respond to stuff that floats to the surface at Flipboard’s Twitter experience, but not the stuff below that. I also use the meager 20 lists that Twitter allows me for topical searching for things from the inner circle of contacts. And my Twitter client is open on ‘interactions’ all day.
[Why doesn’t Twitter buy Flipboard, by the way?]
The second — and just as profound — transition away from RSS and from the archaic ‘blogosphere’ for me has been Tumblr. Tumblr’s open follower model creates a user experience that is at least ten times better — maybe 100 times better — than reading blog posts in an RSS reader. While I don’t agree with all the user experience decisions of Tumblr, the overall experience is awesome. The addition in recent years of curated ‘topics’ has ratcheted up the value to me, considerably. I just wish that there was a general mechanism for ‘following’ non-Tumblr information sources in Tumblr. Tumblr had — once upon a time — an RSS import capability, but it just doesn’t work reliably (see Fossilized Tumblr Feature: Importing Via RSS). Still, most media companies have taken it upon themselves to create a Tumblr account and to post abridged ’tumbles’ of stories on their official sites, so an informal, tumbled social fabric covers most everything I care to connect to.
So, RSS is being phased out through disuse, and the dominance of the open follower motif embedded in social networks. The old RSS steampunk model is going away, and feels as old as the pneumatic tubes in Terry Gilliams’ Brazil.
So, I was trying to track down a promising to-do app I had looked at last year (see HQ is a slick to do app with a gorgeous sci-fi look)
But today, I went to the Sleeping Giants website and found this:
If only websites like TheNextWeb and Techcrunch would actually update their old stories when sites shut down. Or maybe if Crunchbase was reliable: I found no entry for Sleeping Giant apps there at all. There must be a better way to deadpool things.
Marc Gingras announced that the Tungle.me calendaring service is shutting down.
As of Monday, December 3rd, 2012 we will shut down the standalone Tungle service. You will continue to be able to use your Tungle.me page until then to schedule meetings and share calendars.
Tungle.me was acquired by Blackberry last year, and now it looks that it was an acq-hire-sition after all, since the team is working on all sorts of RIM projects.
[I think this also speaks volumes about a failure of the ‘poll the group’ model of meeting scheduling, which has never caught on. People continue to use email or direct communication to schedule meetings, even though it entails back-and-forth communications, primarily because they are already communicating that was when the issue of meeting scheduling arises. While I’d like to believe that a better mousetrap could be devised for meeting scheduling, it will have to be tied to something grander than polling to see what is a good time for a group of people to meet. More to follow.]
I received an email today from Amplify, a Gimme Bar like service that has been around a few years (and a former client of mine), saying that the service was shutting down immediately, which is a bit ungracious. Usually a service will give users a month or two to export or transition. I tried to open my old account but access seems to be closed.
There is the hope that the closed-beta alternative Clipboard might allow transition, but it sounds iffy:
via Clipboard BlogI am a Clipmarks / Amplify user and I want my clips preserved. What do I do?
We can’t guarantee that all of your clips will be preserved. But if you want all of your clips preserved, you’ll want to look for an email from the Amplify and Clipmarks teams, which contains an invitation to Clipboard. From the registration page, you will be able to request that your clips be migrated from Amplify or Clipmarks into Clipboard.
The Clipboard team will assess the demand for having old clips preserved. If it is sufficiently high and technically feasible, they will build a custom tool to automate the clip migration process. In the event that they have decided that there is not sufficient demand or other complicating issues, they will notify users of that outcome as well.
I found Amplify interesting, but annoying. For example, the tool enforced a 1000 character limit on text clips, which was arbitrary and painful.
Back in the first half of the year I wrote some fairly disparaging comments about Empire Avenue, which is a social network modeled like a stock market so that all users’ reputaiton or popularity is indicated by a stock price.
I thought this was sort of dumb:
Jeremiah Owyang does a serious writeup, implicitly advocating that brands should get involved, but I think he’s way too premature with this plaything. David Armano takes a more playful and questioning viewpoint, and suggests it’s ‘more fun in many regards than Facebook’.
But I don’t think it is. It will be a useful proxy for popularity, which is only loosely linked with influence. And meanwhile, eye candy like Empire Avenue will lead people to once again reinforce the wrongheaded blurring of popularity and influence.
Here’s what I wrote at Quora when asked if Empire Avenue is a fad:Like most systems based on gaming, it will turn out to be a fad, unless there are complex strategic elements of the game (like chess, go, bridge, or WoW). A stock market based on some derivative of popularity is what we hoped to leave behind when we graduated high school. At least most of us.
Just for laughs — and partly because the trolls really came after me for that post and a follow-on — I took a look at Empire Ave’s stats:
I compared Empire Avenue to Klout, and it is certainly not on a par with that service, which is another way to look at people’s online reputation, at least as related to Twitter and other services. More importantly, EA page views have fallen by over 40% in the past six months. So, no matter what all the fans said back in the spring, Empire Avenue is not catching on as a new and hip social experience. It’s just another hunk of junk that didn’t catch on, and probably headed for the trash heap in short order.
Google’s Sidewiki goes into the deadpool, along with a list of other experiments:
Alan Eustace via Official Google Blog
Sidewiki: Over the past few years, we’ve seen extraordinary innovation in terms of making the web collaborative. So we’ve decided to discontinue Sidewiki and focus instead on our broader social initiatives. Sidewiki authors will be given more details about this closure in the weeks ahead, and they’ll have a number of months to download their content.
Got email today saying that it’s shutting down 5 December. I don’t remember using it, but I looked and I had one bookmark there.
Smallthought was acquired by Twitter in June 2010, and is pulling the plug on Dabble DB.
March 17, 2011
Smallthought Systems Inc.
300-422 Richards Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 2Z4
You are receiving this letter because you have been a user of
We are writing to notify you that we will be shutting down the
Dabble DB service on May 18, 2011. After exploring other options
including finding another home for Dabble DB or continuing to
try to support it ourselves, we’ve come to this difficult
decision. We deeply regret any inconvenience this may cause you.
Your data will remain available for export by you through
May 18, 2011. After May 18, your data will become unavailable,
so it is important to complete your data export no later than
May 18. After May 18, we will begin the process of purging all
user data stored on our hardware. To assist you with your data
export, we have prepared data export instructions, which you
can find at http://dabbledb.com/help/index/backup.
If you are a month-to-month Dabble DB service customer, we will
have stopped billing your credit card as of the date of this
letter, March 17, 2011. If you are an annual or semi-annual
pre-paid customer, we will credit the card we have on file for
you with a prorated refund from March 17, 2011 to the end of
your pre-paid billing term. If you are a cheque-paying customer,
we will be issuing you a pro-rated refund by cheque and mailing
it out to the invoicing address we have on file.
If you have any questions related to exporting your data or the
closure of your account, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and
we will do our best to assist.
Thank you for having been a Dabble DB customer.
The Dabble DB Team