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Walt Mossberg: ‘Lousy Ads Are Ruining the Online Experience’

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Walt Mossberg:

Last Saturday, as the New England Patriots were sloppily beating the Houston Texans 34–16 in a playoff game, I wanted to look at the highlight video of a play using the NFL app on my iPad. To watch that 14-second clip, I had to suffer through a 30-second ad for something so irrelevant to me that I can’t even recall what it was.

A preroll ad twice as along as the actual video clip is absurd.

Here’s Mossberg, on his experience after launching Recode:

About a week after our launch, I was seated at a dinner next to a major advertising executive. He complimented me on our new site’s quality and on that of a predecessor site we had created and run, AllThingsD.com. I asked him if that meant he’d be placing ads on our fledgling site. He said yes, he’d do that for a little while. And then, after the cookies he placed on Recode helped him to track our desirable audience around the web, his agency would begin removing the ads and placing them on cheaper sites our readers also happened to visit. In other words, our quality journalism was, to him, nothing more than a lead generator for target-rich readers, and would ultimately benefit sites that might care less about quality.

So backwards, so shortsighted. User tracking is a plague that benefits no one.

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jdguitard
155 days ago
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1Blocker does a remarkable job on iOS. You should check it out.
Knoxville, TN
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gglockner
155 days ago
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Remarketing is a scourge of the web. It's what motivated me to buy and use Cookie on my Mac. Sadly, iOS does not give this same control to the user.
Bellevue, WA

Microsoft says MacBook Pro disappointment leads to best holiday ever

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More people are switching from Macs to Surface than ever before. Our trade-in program for MacBooks was our best ever, and the combination of excitement for the innovation of Surface coupled with the disappointment of the new MacBook Pro – especially among professionals – is leading more and more people to make the switch to Surface, like this. It seems like a new review recommending Surface over MacBook comes out daily. This makes our team so proud, because it means we’re doing good work.

Microsoft has come out with things like this in the past for products competing with Apple, including a mock funeral for the iPod years ago—the number of times they’ve done that makes it hard for me to believe them. However, if this is true, Apple has a problem.

∞ Read this on The Loop

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jdguitard
194 days ago
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Last time I checked, you can't iMessage on Windows or Linux. And you don't have Safari either. Not willing to give any of that up anytime soon.
Knoxville, TN
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Play music from Spotify straight to Sonos

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We’ve teamed up with Sonos to make it easier than ever to keep the music going strong. Now Spotify Premium users can control their Sonos straight from the Spotify app using Spotify Connect. Use all the features you love about Spotify: the curation, discovery, and sharing and hear it all throughout your home in crystal clear sound. You can also access the multiroom power of the Sonos home sound system directly in the Spotify app. We’ve brought out the best of both worlds to give you the smartest and most seamless home sound system yet.

This is huge. I love Sonos, but using their app is a real pain.

∞ Read this on The Loop

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jdguitard
199 days ago
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Problem is, the Spotify app is a royal pain too. These guys either don't care, or don't know how to create elegant UIs...
Knoxville, TN
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Design to Bring About the Future

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Marco Arment, “Design for the Present”:

A pro laptop released today should definitely have USB-C ports — mostly USB-C ports, even — but it should also have at least one USB-A port.

Including a port that’s still in extremely widespread use isn’t an admission of failure or holding onto the past — it’s making a pragmatic tradeoff for customers’ real-world needs. I worry when Apple falls on the wrong side of decisions like that, because it’s putting form (and profitability) over function.

This is perfectly sensible, and this is how every other computer maker thinks about transitions to new ports. Does anyone else make a notebook today that doesn’t have at least one USB-A port? Will anyone else make one next year that doesn’t?

But this is not how Apple thinks about transitions like this. They design for the future, and in doing so, they bring the future here faster. In the alternate universe where the new MacBook Pros ship with one USB-A port, the transition to ubiquitous USB-C peripherals and cables will happen at least a little slower.

Just the other day I wanted to move a really big file to my MacBook Pro review unit. I figured I’d use a USB memory stick. I was halfway up the stairs to my office before I realized that it wouldn’t work, because all my USB memory sticks are USB-A, and I don’t yet have any USB-A to C adapters. What a pain the ass. But soon enough, all my shit will be USB-C. I’ve already bought a USB-C to Lightning cable from Apple. I just today ordered couple of these USB-A to C adapters from Monoprice. I’m not sure I’d have bought any of those things if the new MacBook Pro had a USB-A port.

I’m not saying Marco is wrong. I’m just saying Apple’s not wrong either. It’s the same trade-off with the iPhone 7 headphone jack.

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jdguitard
234 days ago
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I just wish they also let go of the analog horror that is the 3.5mm audio jack. Now my new laptop does not have symmetrical ports on each side... keeps me up at night.
Knoxville, TN
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leonick
229 days ago
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"Will anyone else make one next year that doesn’t?"

Considering just how many laptops you can buy today that come with 1x USB-C, 1x USB-A 3.x, and 1x USB-A 2.0 I'm gonna go with yes...
Sweden

Cliff? What Cliff? I Don’t See Any Cliff.

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Then Co-CEO of BlackBerry-maker RIM, in 2010, responding to Steve Jobs’s claim that the iPhone had passed BlackBerry in sales and he didn’t see them ever catching up:

For those of us who live outside of Apple’s distortion field, we know that 7-inch tablets will actually be a big portion of the market and we know that Adobe Flash support actually matters to customers who want a real web experience. We also know that while Apple’s attempt to control the ecosystem and maintain a closed platform may be good for Apple, developers want more options and customers want to fully access the overwhelming majority of web sites that use Flash. We think many customers are getting tired of being told what to think by Apple. And by the way, RIM has achieved record shipments for five consecutive quarters and recently shared guidance of 13.8 — 14.4 million BlackBerry smartphones for the current quarter.

This is what happens when a technology company is run by executives who don’t understand the underlying technology. Every single thing Balsillie wrote here was either wrong or shortsighted. Everything. Smaller tablets? Apple came out with the iPad Mini in 2012. Apple wasn’t first but they didn’t have to be. Adobe Flash is now dead on all mobile platforms, and it’s dying on the desktop. And worst of all, equating then-current sales strength with a bright future.

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jdguitard
267 days ago
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I remember being mocked for supporting Apple's stance on Flash. It took a while for people to finally come to their senses. LOL
Knoxville, TN
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nrizcalla
266 days ago
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Haha It was the same with me! Now who's laughing ? :)
mxm23
267 days ago
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An interesting exercise is to think about how Apple today is like RIM / Blackberry in 2010. What are they missing? What do they misunderstand or underestimate?
San Rafael, CA
gradualepiphany
267 days ago
mmmmhm. What about their current success is blinding them to the future?
martinbaum
267 days ago
Perhaps it'll turn out that Apple's contrast to Google/Facebook/etc's attitude towards harvesting massive amounts of personal data is a bad thing? I hope not, but there are those who think that AI will need to be fed personal data to be relevant at the level of a personal device.
wreichard
267 days ago
Classic innovator's dilemma. I'd say what they're missing is all the cheap connected "junk" that's about to take over our lives. They're really already a niche player...they're just not thought of that way. Whatever will win will appear to be a joke right now--cheap and nearly useless. Maybe a Xiaomi fitness tracker or something like that?
gazuga
266 days ago
It's a great question because they can continue to lap up half or more of the profits in the global phone market for another decade. This success probably hides a bunch of problems. Suppose Apple gets left in the dust on cloud intelligence and remains too stubborn to let Apple hardware play nice with the winners. So by 2021 people might have built up a raft of habitual dependencies on the Amazon Alexa ecosystem, driving them to less beautiful but more capable alternatives Watches and AirPods. The way Apple executives talk about their Siri strategy is like how BlackBerry executives talked about their keyboards. Maybe not that deluded, but close.

From the DF Archive: ‘BlackBerry vs. iPhone’ in 2008

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In light of BlackBerry’s decision this week to stop making hardware, it’s worth revisiting what is probably the best long-term prediction I’ve ever made on Daring Fireball:’ calling BlackBerry “doomed” in May 2008. Hindsight is 20-20, but this wasn’t a popular call in early 2008. At the time, the original iPhone was only 10 months old, and we were still a few months away from the iPhone 3G. Based on sales alone, BlackBerry looked very strong in 2008 — BlackBerry would more than triple their 2008 revenue in 2011. But their eventual decline and demise was inevitable.

BlackBerry was good at making computer-like gadgets; the iPhone was a gadget-like computer. If you could see that difference, and had a sense for just how difficult it would be for BlackBerry to gain expertise in computing hardware and software (in particular, creating a platform for apps), you could see just how much trouble they were in even though they had a handful of go-go sales years ahead of them.

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jdguitard
267 days ago
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Totally agree. I remember talking to my IT buddy back in 2008 - the night the App Store was unveiled - and he was under the impression Apple was soon to be doomed to failure, all thanks to Microsoft's Silverlight vision for mobile devices... We all know what came out of that!
Knoxville, TN
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wim_s
266 days ago
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Seems comparable to the competition between the apple watch and fitness trackers/gps watches. Now the apple watch is a wrist computer with fitness abilities and the fitness trackers are sportwatches that have some smart features. But I think apple will be able to clear the gap with the fitness trackers faster than vice versa.
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