Recently I have noticed that more and more smartphone apps offer you the option to automatically back up the photos (and in some cases videos) that you take (or save) on your Android or iOS powered smartphone. Being a fan of backing things up I like the option to have the same file in multiple places…just in case. One added bonus is that fact that since the services behind the apps are competing to be your go to photo storage and sharing solution they each offer a generous amount of storage for free. There’s something of a space race going on with respect to offering free storage so I can see the limits to free storage continuing to increase as time goes on. Another added bonus is the fact that you can access and share your photos on via a computer as well.
While free and automatic are the two benefits of apps that back up your photos there is still a downside to using multiple apps. Backing up your photos takes bandwidth that you may or may not want to part with at any given time. Thankfully the apps have settings that allow you to: a) opt-in to whether or not you want to auto save photos; and if you choose to opt-in b) choose between uploads on wifi only or wifi and wireless data (4G, LTE, etc.). So you do have choices. The other potential downside involves the drawing down of your phone battery that takes place when files are uploaded. You can mitigate this problem by selecting to upload over wifi only. This works for me because typically when I’m near wifi I’m also near a power outlet.
The recent guidance by the FAA that allowed fewer restrictions on the use of portable electronic devices during takeoff and landing has lead to speedy changes in the policies of (most, but unfortunately not yet all) major airlines in the United States. In short this means that smart phones and tablets can be used in airplane mode (i.e. no data connection) for the entire flight. I fly quite a bit and my rough estimate is that this gives each traveler at least an extra hour of possible device time per flight.
This photo was taken, edited and published using Pressgram, a new (and free) iOS app that offers Instagram-like features but publishes directly to your WordPress blog. Find out more by going to http://pressgr.am.
Within the last few years a pair of startups, 12seconds.tv and Seesmic, attempted to popularize short videos as a method of communication on the web. Both of them ultimately failed. Seesmic pivoted (multiple times) away from video (and was eventually sold at a loss) while 12seconds.tv opted to shut down their operation. The founders and investors in both of those companies must be feeling a bit nostalgic (to put it mildly) as they watch short video sharing take off via Twitter ‘s Vine service and Facebook’s new Instagram video feature.
Earlier this year Twitter launched Vine, which has a six second video limit, as a separate service but also a complimentary service that made it easy to share videos on Twitter. Vine was starting to catch on and for the moment it appeared that Twitter had one upped Facebook on the media sharing front after Facebook had one upped Twitter by acquiring Instagram. Then in mid-June Facebook announced an video feature for Instagram with a fifteen second limit and some other nifty features including filters and very basic clip editing. Advantage Facebook.
After digesting Apple’s recent iOS 7 event it became clear to me that now more than ever the internet ecosystem that a particular mobile device is connected to is becoming almost as important as the hardware and software on the device. It’s true that sales of mobile devices make Apple a lot of money but it’s the lock-in effect of Apple’s ecosystem that ensures a continuing stream of revenue and future device purchases.
A case in point as far as Apple is concerned is FaceTime video chat. At first FaceTime seemed like a folly in the face of Skype’s dominance. But now that Apple has sold hundreds of millions of iOS devices and Macs that support FaceTime it has become the default video chat client for many iPhone and iPad users. The same goes for Apple’s iMessage service. When I know that someone has an iPhone I’m more likely to iMessage them than send an email when I’m on the go. The lack of the 160 character text message limit is incredibly helpful. And the ability to send and receive on my iPad and Mac make iMessage much more useful than standard texting. I’m seeing iCloud photo streams getting used more within my family too.
In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent manhunt for the perpetrators I had some thoughts about how the Internet has affected the flow of news in the dozen years since the 9/11 attacks. I think it’s important to point out that I always bristle when people make grand pronouncements about the impact of a particular service or technology directly on the heels of a major catastrophe so that’s not what I’m trying to do here. Rather, I wanted to highlight the differences between my approach to keeping up with the news following each of those major stories.
On 9/11 I was sitting in an office with my my Internet Explorer browser showing my My Yahoo portal page when a headline appeared that said something like “Plane Strikes World Trade Center.” When I clicked the link it went to a page with just a title and no content. On April 15, 2013 I had just started to walk from my car to an airport terminal when I received a push notification on my iPhone from the Seeking Alpha app. I clicked through the push notification to read the update, which linked to a post on Twitter (by a non-news reporter) with a picture that clearly showed a smoky scene and blood on the ground. So while I was initially confused on 9/11 as to the nature of the incident, I was more aware right away on April 15 that something nefarious had occurred.
As someone who loves to consume media via podcasting I have seen a marked change in my approach to managing the various shows that I listen to (I only subscribe to audio podcasts) over the last few years. From what I have been hearing from people with similar tastes there are many other people who have gone through the same evolution and arrived at the place I’m at now. Below I briefly list the periods that show how my podcast audio discovery and management process has evolved.