My daily readings 06/03/2010

  • tags: no_tag

    • About a year into TypeFrag, as Ventrilo began to become really popular, they raised rates on us and everyone else. That sucked. We had no control over its development and little to no influence on new features, and that left us with very few options. When a new version did come out, we were not given any advance notice and had to quickly re-write our control panel code and re-deploy the new server code to our dozens of remote servers around the world.
  • tags: no_tag

    • The medium/high caffeine consumers who received the placebo reported a decrease in alertness and an increase in headache, neither of which were reported by those who received caffeine. However, their post-caffeine levels of alertness were no higher than the non/low consumers who received a placebo, suggesting caffeine only brings coffee drinkers back up to ‘normal’.
  • tags: psychology, change

  • tags: Apple, People

    • Which makes the language he used during his public interview with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher at D8 particularly fascinating. We edited a transcript to carve out the usual fill-in words in English, and then used the huge text feed to drive the creation of the word cloud up at the top, and it reveals right off the bat that the most important word Steve used during the hour and a half of interview was “people.” Fabulous, isn’t it? Not “Apple,” or “technology” or even “iPad,” which is the gadget that’s selling like hotcakes around the world right now. Nope–“people.” While he used the word in all sorts of contexts, it’s a sign that Steve is acutely aware of people’s opinions, wants, requests, desires and even failings. Perhaps this sensitivity to the human condition is behind the passionate Apple fan world, and even a factor in why consumers seem to love Apple products.
    • The other thing to note is that the word “going” is the second most prominent in that list: Apple’s boss seems highly future-focused. Meanwhile keywords like “iPhone” and “apps” and “HTML5” were used much less, and that’s a surprise. You’d expect Jobs to be compelled to big-up his company’s strong technology points. Clearly he’s so supremely confident that Apple’s gear will sell itself on its merits that he doesn’t need to waste time referring to them.

      Of course, all of the tech world’s eyes will be on Steve again on Monday, for his keynote at the WWDC where we expect to learn about new Apple gear. I wonder if a wordcloud of that speech will include a trademark “boom!” or two?

  • tags: iPad, APP, video

  • tags: iPhone, Android

    • The iPhone / iPad version is 300% more profitable.

      Nope, no trials or free versions. Although every app on the Android Market has a 24 hour trial period. Which sucks for the developer.

    • Since you say that the trial period sucks, I assume that you see a large percentage of returns. How large of a percentage is this?
    • The tricky part is identifying who actually hate the app and who are just pirating it. On Android you can easily “backup” any app to your SD Card, request a refund on the purchase and then move it back to the phone main storage. Grrrr.
    • The Android version is much better than the iPhone version given the higher resolution and multi tasking capabilities. I know most of the Android apps look like crap but I assure you that’s not the case here.

      My main phone is a Nexus One and I would never use an app that is not eye appealing. Not even one I coded myself.

    • If you target the iPhone platform, go download and install XCode and the SDK. Check the included sample projects and tutorials. If you get stuck browse Stack Overflow. ALWAYS and I mean, ALWAYS make your app look good. Eye candy on the iPhone is 50% of the battle.
    • Once you know a little bit of C/C++, try doing the basic tutorials Apple provides for Obj-C (The Mac ones. Trying to debug a native app is easier, and Mac apps log exceptions and keep going, while iPhone apps dump a log and crash.). The Currency Converter project does a good job of showing the basic Obj-C style of coding. After that, try making something simple. For example, when I was teaching myself Obj-C a year ago I made a simple Tic-Tac-Toe game. Used interface elements, some basic logic. After that, the tutorials are somewhat specialized, delving into specific technologies. One specific tutorial I recommend doing sooner rather than later is the Currency Converter with Bindings one. While bindings aren’t supported on iPhones, all of the underlying concepts (Key-Value Coding, properties, Key-Value Observation) are present in the iPhone SDK and it gives you an idea of some of the fun you can have with the Obj-C runtime.
      • Yes, you get daily and monthly CSV reports which show aggregated purchase data, by store. You really dont get anything else from Apple. On the Android Market you do get even the name of the customer but you have no way to tie that info to the device where the app is running. ~70% are US users. ~10% UK.
      • English only.
      • The sales have normalized at around ~$10k per month. The first 2 weeks when I just released the app I was making between $1000 and $2000 per day.
      • If you can fulfill a need of your own, most likely someone else will find that solution useful too. That’s how it always begins.
    • AppStore: ~$7.5K/month

      Android Market: ~$2-2.5k/ month

    • It’s related to a personal hobby of mine and noticed that related apps on the AppStore were, mediocre, at bests. So I build my own, added a lot of eye candy, functionality and voila!

      Viral marketing. I managed to get my app reviewed / mentioned on almost all of the largest blogs out there related to what the app does. That worked out pretty well.

      • How long does your app updates usually take to work itself through the approval process?
      • What marketing have you done?
      • Did you develop the app by yourself or did you outsource it to someone else?
      • Updates: AppStore 3 days, Android Market instantly.
      • Basically I sent a “tip” to some of the largest blogs of the industry. One picked the story and reviewed the app. By next day all the the major blogs wrote about it.
      • All by myself 🙂
    • No! Stop doing that please 😦 Updating apps on the G1 takes fucking forever. The constant updates makes me want to slaughter kittens. I’ve actually dropped a couple apps because they were updating 2-3 times a week.

      On the iPhone, no biggie. Download them in iTunes, sync it up later, all is well in life. On my G1 it’s just annoying. Trying to remember what app it was, but I literally applied an update every day of one particular week. That’s when I finally removed it.

      • Straightforward.
      • I’m a professional developer. The whole mobile development is just a hobby. A very lucrative hobby, that is.
      • Your best bet would be to find a broad niche and study your competitors. If you see room for substantial improvements, go for it. You’ll make money.
      • Server side. Runs on ASP.NET. That was the easy part.
  • tags: no_tag

    • There is no intellectual conversation on Digg. The commenting design is too one dimensional and the users don’t contribute. Yes, even on reddit there are ‘stupid’ comments but within specific subreddit there is definitely some good conversation.
    • The problem with Digg is that the community is terrible and that it’s a miracle whenever something remotely intellectual makes it to the front page.

      I found HN through StackOverflow about a year ago and haven’t looked back.

  • tags: Startup, community

    • But Digg is in a deadly, unrecoverable tail spin. The fact is, people — real people — are beginning to tire. Submit this, upload that, vote on this, “like” that, be my “friend”, check in here, suggest this, retweet that … there’s already so much to do. The only thing left to “Digg” is a grave.

      It is, precisely, the simplicity and minimalism of Hacker News’ feature set that keeps it usable for everyday, busy, — real people –. Obviously, the culture on Hacker News keeps submissions and comments in check, but that culture would not exist if HN were trying to become a social network for entrepreneurs.

      Your continued interaction and consistent fine-tuning makes this a place that I like to come back to. There is a certain social satisfaction with knowing that one is a part of a community in which the creator is still a participant.

      I know you are cognizant of what makes this community tick; I also realize it wouldn’t be what it is today if your intentions hadn’t been clear (and they obviously are) – so I didn’t need to say this, but I did want to say this: thank you.

    • Thanks very much. I don’t think it’s really HN’s features or lack of them is the attraction for most users though, but the quality of the submissions and comments. So thank you guys.

      Ironically I’ve been thinking of adding some variant of following as a way to deal with the increasing volume of comments. I just haven’t had time to yet.

      I did recently (about 3 weeks ago) tweak the algorithm for ranking comments, and that has had a noticeable effect. Previously it was the same as the one for ranking frontpage stories. Now it also considers among other things the average comment score of the submitter. With any luck this will keep HN poised in its usual position mid-way over the shark for another 6 months.

    • I imagine hn owes a lot of success to its simplicity.

      I was always confused by slashdot’s filters and the threads in almost every other forum, with Post #18 replying to Post #7 and Post #27 replying to Post #3, but only 10 posts visible per page. Busy people don’t have the time to wade through stuff like that, so all you’re left with are the trolls.

      hn’s nested threads built with <table> are so simple that they’re brilliant. No horizontal scrolling, no flipping between pages, just click “reply” and you’re good to go.

      I have no idea how much time and effort pg puts into hn, but I’m sure it’s nontrivial. Something as good as hn doesn’t get that way purely organically. Also, I would guess that more of his energy goes into the software, not the site’s output. Why deal with an issue once when you can build something that will deal with it forever?

      It goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: thank you pg!

    • hn owes a lot of it’s success to it’s small audience. simply put, this site would go down in flames fast if it attracted a larger crowd. all of the complex facilities of a site like digg or slashdot come from trying bubble up relevant content to a wide audience
    • To be fair, it’s possible to build a fairly good community in a smaller subreddit. The larger ones have those problems, but it seems like most small sized subreddits actually work out pretty well.

      Still, I find myself gradually spending more and more time here and less and less time and reddit. I think if I didn’t mod a few subreddits there, I’d pretty much have solely switched to HN.

  • tags: Server, performance

  • tags: Startup

  • tags: Startup

    • I prefer second time (or more) entrepreneurs. Sure, I would love to work with people who have had multiple successes. But I’m not afraid of entrepreneurs that didn’t succeed the first time. I want to work with talented people with good judgment. And so I’m out to spread the word, “Good Judgment Comes from Experience, but Experience Comes from Bad Judgment.” Go out and learn.
  • tags: Android

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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