It will be interesting to see if this move plays out for better or for worse. I liked Rubinstein as the face of webOS, but obviously the TouchPad reviews have been lackluster.

Maybe things will work out with a better management head at the helm, to really give webOS that “scale” HP promised, whilst Rubinstein pushes ‘product innovation’.

Or maybe not.

From Google’s perspective this is obviously a good move, they’re rebranding Blogger and Picasa as Google Blogs and Google Photos respectively, apparently as a big push to “unify its brand” ahead of the launch of Google+. I think it’s terrible though, on the same vein of Google trying to “unify its brand”: people want to be part of a brand.

Maybe not in the beginning, but now i’m sure one of the big things that brings people to Flickr is the name. It’s known as that huge beast of a photo sharing site, and if you want to share photos, you obviously go there. What Google have done by rebranding Blogger and Picasa is null the brands behind them. ‘Google Photos’ and ‘Google Blogs’ might do just fine based on their large existing user base to make people want to be part of that, but there’s less of a pull.

Having a brand like Picasa is good, there’s a name to it - you can ask “Are you on Picasa?”. Instead now people will be asking “Are you on Google Photos?”, and the average Joe will have no idea what they’re talking about, they might even assume you’re talking about image search! People want to be associated with a brand, and being associated with a search leviathan like Google doesn’t exactly tug at the heart strings.

Although I had to laugh watching the demo video which felt comical and completely rehearsed, I do think Microsoft are on to something. The idea of taking advantage of multitouch by circling words to copy them to the clipboard is really straightforward, the implementation though, still looks half baked, you have to tap a button first before dragging a marquee of an oval over the chosen words. If Microsoft manages to get it right (eventually) it could be awesome and it’d be something i’d love to see in Windows and Windows Phone which would add to the whole “get in, get out, get back to life” concept they adopted for Windows Phone 7 to make the overall experience quicker and more seamless. Right now though it isn’t doing it for me.

If there’s one thing Google seem to do really well, it’s search, that and user guides. Having got a lovely new email address at, I wasn’t loving it, the GoDaddy mail interface is the most distraught interface i’ve ever laid eyes on. To escape UX hell I signed up for a free Google Apps account and then went from there, after following the user guide to the letter and waiting for the changes to process now I can access my mail account through Gmail. Perfection.

Iain Broome:

What a lovely idea for a (guest) blog post by Lisa Rivero over at Write It Sideways:

Regardless of how often or even whether we are published or how much (if any) money we make from our writing, all of us have a love for written communication and at least some skill with words, and we can use that love and skill in valuable ways, big and small.

Lisa provides a few suggestions for how you can use your writing skills to benefit others without expecting anything in return. This is my favourite:

Write short book reviews or reading lists (with or without a byline), and ask if you can make copies for distribution at your local library.

I could do that. You could do that. What a smashing idea.

I am most definitely going to try that.

Episode 2: Poof

Episode 2: Poof

This week on the Scatterbrain podcast, I talk about my main motive for jailbreaking my iPhone: Poof. I also discuss some of the other great tweaks in Cydia, why I think people develop for Cydia and how it influences Apple and iOS.

What Safari’s Reading List means for Instapaper
HomeScreen Settings Jailbreak Tweak Enables Settings Options On The Homescreen
Click2Call: Address Book Contacts As SpringBoard Icons
Apple Has Hired MobileNotifier Developer Peter Hajas


Task Eater
Week Calendar
TextExpander Touch

Listary actually looks to be the closest to what i’ve been looking for for a long while: I really just want to make shopping list’s for books, clothes, software etc. and Listary seems to provide an elegant solution, with most shopping list apps the interfaces are garish, and almost comical - the interface the Listary really look bare-bones and clean. It inspiration obviously comes from the UI of Simplenotes, which it sync’s to as well so you can access lists as plain text from the Simplenote web interface or the app. I didn’t see the benefit myself at first, but that also means it sync’s to Notational Velocity in turn, making it a relatively capable productivity app as well, you can set up an inbox as well as lists for current projects on the go in simple list form, which is awesome since it’s all i’ve ever needed from a to-do app and nothing more.

I can’t help but link to this, Hard Graft just keep churning out classics, I would sell my soul for this bag, seriously. Handmade in Italy, made from “hand-picked hides of premium Florentine vegetable tanned leather”, the 3Fold is a thing of beauty.

I well and truly love the design direction Google are going in, since the launch of Google+, we’ve seen a reboot of the interface for Google search, GCal and now Gmail as well. What Google are producing are elegant web app’s which people will want to use, that people will get pleasure from looking at for the first time, rather than an archaic looking app thats redeemed by its functionality - anybody that has tried Gmail will tell you its a great service, better than Hotmail at least, but design like this is the icing on the cake, and it’s very much appreciated on my end.

Fascinating teardown of the new Thunderbolt cable from Apple by iFixit revealing that the true value might be closer to the $49 price tag than anyone expected. The cable contains “a total of 12 larger, inscribed chips, and tons of smaller electronic components”. I’m not an engineering type but I still find the teardown’s like this intriguing and I’d love to hear the first estimates of what the cable costs to make. People have an expectation of Apple that they overcharge for cables and peripherals, but it’s already been reported that the inclusion of Thunderbolt could cost as much as $100 to add to hardware.

I might be the only one who doesn’t think this is good for HP. It’s not that i’m against them licensing the OS, I’m all for that, and I’m a big fan of webOS, but I think they way they want to do it - wanting to have a strong relationship with a single manufacturer, rather than being “one of 5 or 6 OSs” - is short sighted and won’t pay off as they hope it will.

HP already have a huge amount of reach, and if they can’t make webOS succeed on their own, getting one other company distributing webOS with them won’t make a difference. They would be relinquishing control: for a deal like that of Microsoft and Nokia to be made in the first place they would have to hand over a lot, and although it sounds like HP actually want another company to shape webOS with them, too many cooks spoil the broth. Having two companies controlling the vision and progress of the OS I feel could really damage it.

It’s been proven by RIM that going it alone in this market now is a hard slog, Apple contradict the rule, but the reason for that is that they have an ecosystem, something which HP have in terms of hardware big time: they’ve got phones, tablets, with netbooks, printers on the way. They simply haven’t gained the traction (or the cool apps) to make people buy into that ecosystem though. For HP to maintain complete control of the OSs progress but hand it over to manufactures for the distribution side would be a great thing for consumers, manufactures would really have to compete on hardware.

If HP were to licence webOS though, i’d like to see them mimic what Microsoft did with Windows Phone 7 - finding a middle ground between Apple and iOS and Google with Android. Having several manufactures working with them to push the OS could do wonders to put traction and numbers behind it, so that webOS is something people want to own and developers want to build for. Of course, Windows Phone 7 hasn’t gained a huge amount of traction from doing this but webOS is a really phenomenal experience, people really do like it, it’s just that the scarce lack of hardware is hard to love. Because that’s where they’re hitting a brick wall. webOS is awesome, and once people use it they love it, getting it in the hands of those people is the hard part, and the only way to get past that is with multiple manufacturers.

Episode 1: Beginnings

This week, I talk about my plans for the podcast - its release schedule, its subject, and its aim. I also talk about my beautiful iPhone 4.

Credits to Myke Hurley of Enough, The Bro Show, 11 Minutes and The Hurley Bird - all under the umbrella of 70 Decibels and Ian Broome who does a podcast called Chat Broome for inspiring me to start doing this.

Just want to say hello

I’d like to announce my fun new project, the Scatterbrain podcast - a short form podcast about technology. It’s got a temperary home over at

This is something I’ve wanted to do for a really long time and now, I’ve finally got my hands on a beautiful new iPhone 4 and I thought now would be a good time to just go ahead and do it. I’m currently using the built in voice memos app so I apologize if the sound quality isn’t completely satisfactory.

There’s no clear release schedule for the show, the plan is to record whenever I have something to say. I’m intending to cover a lot of technology stuff, but also design and advertising amongst other things.

The podcast is hopefully going to act as a portal to just get thoughts and opinions out of my head, just like the blog, but like I discuss briefly in episode 1 of the podcast, I think some of that could be done better with spoken word.

Since i’ve now found the knack to hosting the podcast using a combination of Dropbox and Tumblr1 it’s up and online, you can follow here and simply click the link at the start of each episode to listen, you can also subscribe via RSS or in iTunes, apologies for the lack of artwork and other metadata, something has gone amiss on the Feedburner end and it will hopefully be sorted soon. If you’re the type who likes to have the artwork, for the time being you can download it here, it should be easy to add by going to Get Info > Artwork.

If you’re one of those cool guys like myself who uses Instacast though, the feed seems to be working perfectly through them, so if you’re wanting the full monty with metadata and all, add the feed: pcast:// and try to enjoy.

Once again, I have to thank Myke Hurley of Enough, The Bro Show, App Orchard, 11 Minutes and The Hurley Bird, all under the umbrella of 70 Decibels, and Ian Broome who does a great podcast called Chat Broome, they don’t know who I am but both of them inspired me to get started and do this, for better or for worse!

  1. I’m going to try and get a post up about just that as well, since it’s hard to figure out initially but is obviously a good way to get started with a podcast on the cheap.

shawn blanc:

Weird to think that a year ago today I was standing in line waiting to upgrade from my old, crappy, slow, iPhone 3GS.

Weird to think I only got mine four days ago, I guess i’m behind with the times I am behind with the times.

Twitter is looking to start placing ads into users timelines, reports the Financial Times. The publication cites ‘people with direct knowledge’ of Twitter’s plans that the company will begin placing “promoted tweets” into the main stream of user’s Twitter accounts.

In addition to placing ads right into the stream, other options that are being considered include a local deals option that would rival Groupon. This would pull information from user conversations and trends to offer limited-time offers. Twitter is also looking at introducing enhanced profile pages for brands and giving advertisers the ability to pre-schedule Tweets, a feature that many Twitter clients already feature.

Adam Bain, Twitter’s head of revenue, and other executives, have been meeting with potential client firms at the Cannes Lions event this week.

Hopefully Twitter have finally figured stuff out, and it sounds like they’re doing it in a fresh new way by integrating deals right into the service, leveraging all the geo-tags and information we post about ourselves every day to provide relevant offers and valuable information. Not only will it help pay for the service, but I think it might actually improve upon it. It’s also rumored Twitter will start adding sponsored tweets into the timeline, probably the most popular suggested method of monetization from people. It does feel slightly hypocritical to start including sponsored tweets in the timeline when they made the move last year to ban app’s from injecting paid tweets into a timeline on any service that leverages the Twitter API, although they did say from the start that promoted tweets were to be included right in the timeline eventually and of course they have to make money somehow.

We have announced Promoted Tweets. These tweets will exist primarily in search and then in the timeline, but in a manner that preserves the integrity and relevance of the timeline. As we have announced, we will use innovative metrics like Resonance so that Promoted Tweets are only shown when they make sense for users and enhance the user experience.

The mention of Resonance is also interesting, I think it would be interesting and conceivable for the aforementioned ‘local deals’ to be the sole ad’s featured in the timeline as they’re about as relevant as you could get and would actually build on the user experience rather than being an annoyance. I’m actually interested to see what Twitter come up with as their big monetization plan, because damn it they need one. If all else fails I guess they could try a lemonade stand.