It’s been awhile since I wrote up some stuff on gear. This year I’ve picked up a few things so I thought I would share.
1. Filson Small Field Bag. I love this bag. I got the tan one with brown leather trim/straps. It fits my Leica M9, a couple Field Notes pads, and a Mophie Juice sled. It also fits a modified gorilla pod which I often bring along.
2. V-Moda Crossfade m80 headphones. I’ve gone through more headphones that I care to admidt. I tried getting into the Bose noise cancelling headphones for long airplane rides but the idea of charging yet another thing in my life wasn’t a good fit for me. The m80s work and sound great. The build quality is excellent and they don’t require batteries.
3. iPad, back to the big version. I was in the Apple Store the other day. The camera on my iphone was messed up and I was waiting for my appointment at the genius bar (apple replaced my iphone on the spot. amazing). While I was waiting I started playing around with the latest iPad Retina/4g model. It was the first time I used the “big boy” iPad since picking up my iPad mini. The screen was stunning and everything felt so much faster than the mini. I bought one at the store and I’m loving it. The Mini will likely end up as a Sonos remote in the house and a game machine for the kiddies.
4. Fuji x100s. Before my Leica, I was shooting with the original Fuji x100. That camera was quirky but a delight. I ended up selling the x100 when this Leica came into my life. Recently, Fuji updated the model to the x100s and promised to fix several quirks along with a number of improvements, notably autofocus speed. I picked it up as a way complement my rangefinder system which is all manual.
After using this system, I came away a big fan of the Fuji. It’s small, quiet.The built in 35mm glass is lovely and the controls are wonderful. The EVF and OVF combo is killer. The images are gorgeous, especially in low light. Sony and Olympus can learn a lot from Fuji.
However, I ultimately returned the x100s. I just didn’t find I was using it and that felt wasteful. But if my Leica was ever stolen or busted beyond repair, I would get the x100s in a second.
For years, many of us have imagined a world where a computer would sit in your family room and bring connectivity to your big screen, television.
I believe that is going to happen. And I’ve put my money where my mouth is with our investment in Boxee.
That computer is going to live inside of settops, blu-ray players, game consoles or connected tvs and other devices. It will have smart, social software and it’s bring the open web to our lives in new ways. All on the big screen and a remote control.
There is another way two way streams are going to come into your family room and that’s on your mobile device - either smartphone or tablets.
The reality is that second screen apps have actually been happening for a long time now. Twitter is a killer second screen application.
The horizontal axis is time. The vertical axis is a percentage: the blue line is the percentage of tweets, relative to the total worldwide tweet volume, that were about the Super Bowl each minute, while the red line is the percentage of tweets that were about brands or commercials.
Thanks to the iPad and upcoming Android powered tablets we are going to see a lot more of these second screen applications this year.
In a world where the software and user interface on our cable and telco boxes have been closed & stuck, I’m very happy to see the second screen take off.
It’s easy to kick someone when they are having trouble I guess. Ning announced a significant layoff and the critics pounced.
Just because some companies struggle with freemium doesn’t mean the model doesn’t work. In my mind that would be like writing off the entire search space because pre-google it wasn’t a big business or writing off ecommerce because a bunch of startups aren’t successful in the category or writing off any category frankly.
There are plenty of reasons companies in every category struggle or fail. Their decision to go with freemium may not have been a natural fit for their products or services. Or maybe the product struggled regardless of business model. Too many variables to blame freemium.
I believe this with all of my heart. There are just too many large companies (google, craigslist, etc) and young companies (xobni, dropbox, zynga, pandora, etc) that are nailing the freemium model along with amazing products.
But let’s not be too hasty to judge an entire category when some companies struggle. This is the startup business. Many companies won’t work out - we know that up front.
But a number will create figure it out. They will build something so special and incredibly important. Thankfully.
I was at Chirp, Twitter’s developer conference, yesterday in San Francisco.
First, let me say I fully recognize the tireless effort the folks at Twitter put into making such a great event. It showed in so many ways.
It was great to meet so many developers at once and in one place like that. The diversity of applications and creativity was inspiring. And so was the energy level.
I’m most excited about where the platform is going and all of the new capabilities of the platform, namely Places, Annotations, User Streams and @anywhere. These are all important things that will give developers a more exciting canvas to build highly differentiated applications and richer user experiences.
We have a number of portfolio companies that build stuff on the Twitter API. I’m looking forward to see what they will come up next.
I’m also looking forward to investing in new startups that have a vision for new apps based on Annotations. So drop me a line if that’s what you are doing!
My original plan was to wait and buy the 3g iPad which ships at the end of the month.
After less than a full day of usuage, here are my initial thoughts in no particular order:
1. It’s heavier than I thought. My friend Antonio sums up this point nicely:
This almost doesn’t bear mentioning, but it is nice to see that even Apple can not escape the laws of the physical world. If I had to guess, I’d say 40% of the weight is the battery, and an additional 30% is glass, which gives you an idea of what can come out of it in future versions (and what won’t)
2. Browsing the web on the iPad is a joy
3. Viewing photos is amazing. The screen is stunning.
4. I loaded my iPad up with an exact copy of music I have on my iphone. But today, I listen to music in one of three places - on the go with the iPhone, at home with Sonos, or on the web with my mac. I don’t know where the iPad fits in - especially since it doesn’t support flash and won’t stream from favorite music blogs or services like Hype Machine, We Are Hunted, Daytrotter, etc.
5. “legacy” iphone apps look awful on the ipad except for a few games that my kids enjoy. they don’t seem to mind the scaled up version. apps built for the ipad are the only way to go.
6. Speaking of ipad apps, i’m sure I’m missing some important ones. Right now, I’ve got netflix, mlb, espn, twitteriffic, and instapaper. What else should I get?
7. The ipad comes with a free copy of Winnie the Pooh which I’ll read with the kids. After a few minutes of flipping the “pages” and bookmarking, I know I’ll read a lot on this device. And it’s clear to me the textbook market is going to turn upside down.
8. I bought the Apple case but I don’t know if I’ll keep it. I don’t use a case for my iPhone. It feels like they just get in the way. Maybe there is a better case out there?
9. I like the iPad dock a lot. I have it set up next to my monitor at work. Its nice to be able to easily touch and scan something vs a mouse and keyboard.
10. When I’m not on an open wifi spot, I’ll use the iPad with the MiFi. Curious to see if this combo is good enough or if I’ll end up buying the 3g version.
11. the onscreen keyboard is very good. I can already type pretty fast even in portrait mode on a flat table or in my lap. However, typing standing up with one hand feels awkward.
That’s it for now…