Mobile messaging apps

Over the last few months I’ve become a user of multiple private messaging apps on my Android and iPhone. 

So far, I’ve got friends & family on GroupMe, Kik, and Beluga.  

While its easy to say they are all in the messaging app world, I appreciate the different approaches, e.g. 1 on 1 vs group, sms vs app, features vs simplicity. 

I like that all of these apps allow messaging across iphone and Android. That’s important to me. 

But now I have ‘buddy’ lists and groups on multiple networks.

For the most part I like when I have contacts on different services. For example, I want my Foursquare friends to be distinct from the folks I follow on Instagram or Tumblr or Twitter. These are different experiences and should be treated as such. 

Yet I wonder if messaging should be treated differently. The one thing I always hated about Blackberry Messenger (BBM) is that it only worked with other BBM users. Kik tried to change that and build a bridge to BBM but RIM shut that down

I’d love an app that lets me to push my messages to my friends regardless of their network. Maybe this already exists. If so please share. 

Best products of 2010

I just read on Techmeme about Walt Mossberg’s best and worst products of 2010.

So I thought would do the same. Here are my favorite things I picked up this year.

1. The Nexus S. I’ve written about this phone a few times. It’s excellent. Tmobile coverage ain’t Verizon and it seems to have less 3g coverage than ATT. But it doesn’t drop phone calls anywhere close to my iphone4 on att. The iPhone feels like a top 40 pop station. The Nexus feels like an awesome college radio station. 

2. Apple iPad. I agree with Walt. The iPad is a game changer. It has three killer features – touch, connectivity and long battery life. 

3. Boxee. As an investor I’m quite biased but I love my Boxee. I bought one for my dad for his birthday and I think it’s excellent. 

4. Apple 11" MacBook Air. This is the best mac portable I’ve ever owned. If you travel a lot and have a desktop computer than this is an awesome complement. 

5. Epson WorkForce 610. Great Wifi printer. Replaced our old Canon printer. Very pleased.

The Decemberists – Calamity Song

via david-noel:

Great, thanks Dave!

(via davehyndmangbabuts)

This song and Down by the Water are pre-releases from The Decemberists’ upcoming album The King is Dead. Both sound great; maybe the best the band has done.

Sweet. Just what I needed. Thx guys.  

Your Tumblr reach is likely bigger than you think

Many folks on Tumblr add Google Analytics to their page. That way they can get some useful data from Google about who is coming to your site.

I do this as well. And the data is quite interesting.

But it really doesn’t tell the whole story.

A huge (understatement) part of the traffic & engagement on Tumblr is happening inside of the Tumblr Dashboard (for those of you unfamiliar, the Dashboard is where you follow others on Tumblr).

And visits and page views to your site inside the Dashboard won’t show up on Google Analytics as far as I know. 

But that’s only one thing.

The other thing is that there are times where your post will get reblogged by others. So for example, I have something like 3k followers on Tumblr. If one of my posts get reblogged by a few folks then that post also gets to reach their followers in their dashboard. And if a reblog happens from one of their followers of my original post, then the distribution reach is even farther. 

And none of those are captured properly in Google Analytics either.

So while it’s interesting to check out Google analytics from time to time, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Your reach on Tumblr is bigger than you realize. 

Curation and distribution of content on Tumblr is one of the things that makes this place so special. It’s why I always think about Tumblr has something much different than a publishing tools service. It’s a network. And it’s a community. 

The culture of Android

I’ve been accused by friends and coworkers for being an Apple fan boy.

It likely a well deserved title.

Well, I think after my post on the Nexus S last week and my experience since then, I’m likely going to be called an Android fan boy as well.

The Android experience has issues. It’s not perfect but nothing is. Yet the more i use Android the more I appreciate it.

The culture of Android is one thing I like in addition to the platform.

Here’s a quote from Google’s Android dev blog yesterday

Unfortunately, until carriers and manufacturers provide an easy method to legitimately unlock devices, there will be a natural tension between the rooting and security communities. We can only hope that carriers and manufacturers will recognize this, and not force users to choose between device openness and security. It’s possible to design unlocking techniques that protect the integrity of the mobile network, the rights of content providers, and the rights of application developers, while at the same time giving users choice. Users should demand no less.

That’s right on target as far as I’m concerned.

Compare that with the Apple way and the contrast is obvious.

My brother sent me a link to John Gruber’s tweet last week:

@SunByrne I’d say “no select/copy” UI rather than a bad one, assuming we were waiting for a good one. Ship crap and you’re stuck with it.

John was making the point that Android’s copy and paste is lame and they would be better off not including it. Apple, if you recall, launched the original iPhone without copy and paste and then delivered a great copy/paste experience about a year later

I think the apple and google approach each has their respective merits and drawbacks. But I like the google approach better. its better for users.

And it’s a better model for startups. I like the culture of Android. A lot.