Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Giving Up on BlackBerry: iPhone vs. Android

It was one of those impromptu conversations that just took on a life of its own, covered a day, kept us from our jobs and provided some nice entertainment amongst friends.

What started as innocent banter with one of our last remaining friends still riding the Crack-Berry wave turned into a good-natured "sell me a smart phone" diatribe of facts, opinions, third-party analysis and more!

It all took place on the inauspicious date of August 5, 2010, very, very early in the morning (note: to protect real people, I've substituted real names for our nicknames... If you know our nicknames then we are SOL):

This is the original message:
------Original Message------
From: D=$$ To: Bucky Cc: Yoshi Cc: Rosco Cc: The Doc Cc: Big Red Cc: Lil' Red Subject: Give up on BB Elsom
Sent: Aug 5, 2010 12:20 AM
http://m.gizmodo.com/5604747/blackberry-torch-review (you need to read this in order to follow the immediate responses)

From Yoshi (12:59 AM)

I'm totally tweeting this.

From Bucky (7:23 am)

I already have yet there are more good reasons to be anti apple-wish att hadthe droid...Other than os memory issues the BBBold is a damn good phone.My next phone may be an iphone but I'm resisting the notion
From Rosco (8:53 am)


From Bucky (9:44 am)

Totally = although this is everywhere in the news and most techy's know it already...but if you feel the need to Tweet by all means tweet away!

From Bucky (10:01 am)

Let's make an objective opinion on 2 phones.

1 - droid - version, cellular provider option, etc.
2 - iphone - versions available (3GS, 4)

Which is better and why?

I think both are better than the BB Overall - I have not used an droid so only research will tell me.

Looks like it's between the 4, and Incredible (if it's that close I'll stick with ATT)

D, you've had your 4 for awhile now - any negatives? Heard about the antenna issue that a case fixes, etc..

From Rosco (10:22 am)

My Droid rocks. While Sean has pointed out to me that I wouldn't be able to browse while talking on the phone, it has done everything I've asked it to do with speed and ease. Verizon's network in Oregon is better than Att's so if connectivity is an issue I'd seriously take that into consideration.
I went to the Droid from a Blackberry Tour. While I really liked the BB (email in particular,) it had limitations. Primarily in browsing, but also running multiple apps, screen size and app availabiltiy.

From Yoshi (10:29 am)

iPhone 4:
- screen resolution 4x better than 3G. Very noticeable
- hd video and 5 mp camera are very responsive especially in low light.
- Flash is nice addition.
- faster, slimmer, lighter (than 3GS) of note, the htc android devices are actually bigger than 3GS which is more screen size but totally personal preference
- os 4 alleviates a lot of functional issues such as multitasking, etc but I still can't attach a photo in an existing email or store documents - needs work but to run Pandora while MapMyRun is nice
- the front forward camera is VERY cool and performs great. I never have to guess where that damn camera button is again!
- antenna issue non-existent with a case and realistically for anyone with kids you want a case to protect the investment so for me it's a non-starter.

Furthermore, Tess has one without a case and she has no reception/connectivity issues but she is a righty!

They just came out with a prediction that Android phones will outpace iphones by 2012 but I question whether they are considering iPhone release to the other service providers in those numbers. They may be but I know a lot of people that are just waiting!!!

Hope that is helpful.

From Bucky (11:24 am)

Thanks for your responses guys...

So: Verizon - does it allow google maps now? They've locked down free working apps on their networks before - and for me although the network probably is still better - it doesn't affect me when I travel or stay in PDX.

Nod goes to Android OS Phones overall but may stick with ATT regardless...

What's with the attachment issues with the 4? You can't reply to an email and attach a photo? What do they want you to do instead? Start a new email and attach photo?

Hate all the expensive proprietary cabling/docking station BS

Do you guys use Mobile me or alternately sync with Outlook another way?

Can I at least view .pdf .docx, .xlsx files on the 4? Not a big deal if I can't store them...

Anyway - good hubbub. Thanks!

Anybody have T Mobile?

From Rosco (12:30 am)

Droid has had Google Maps since the first release.
No problem attaching to a reply.
Don't use MobileMe, but CompanionLink syncs all my data with no problem.
I've never used a cable or docking station.

From Bucky (1:11 pm)

Yah, the first smart phones (BB probably) for Verizon actually blocked Google Map GPS Usage - maybe they turned that off a long time ago.

What did you pay for CompanionLink? Did you get the pro version - that goes for $130!

Thanks again for the INFO!

From Rosco (1:29 pm)

I think it was $25

From Big Red (1:39 PM)

IMO, any discussion of Smart Phones should include the software you use to get content on off the phone (e.g. iTunes for iPhone). I haven't used an Android phone so I can't comment on the comparison, but I've always thought iTunes to be an amazing software application (the main reason I started using Apple products in the first place, replacing my multitude of previous mp3 players with an iPod and never looking back).

From Big Red (1:48 PM)

Also, I am able to sync with work Exchange server out of the box (no additional software). One feature I would have liked in this area is the ability to Sync with more than one provider. Once I started syncing with my Exchange server, I could only sync mail, contacts, and calendar with my work account (or disable sync for one or more of these items).
I would have liked to sync mail/calendar with my work account and contacts with my Gmail account, but this isn't possible.
Ideally I would like to sync mail with work, sync both Outlook and Google calendar events in a single unified calendar UI and contacts with Gmail. Regardless, more powerful/flexible Exchange sync functionality would be nice.

From Big Red (1:50 pm)

Can you at least view contact information while still talking on the phone? I don't find myself browsing much while talking, but many times, I've looked up someone's number or email and provided it to the person I was talking to.

From Bucky (1:54 PM)

I was just typing you an email on this subject – so apropos. Thankfully I don’t have to worry about an exchange server and do everything in house but have multiple accounts I want to sync at ONCE. Dustin/Sean – any issues syncing with Work/Home/Outlook anything regarding this subject?
Also, Chris just asked a good question, can you from your 4 look up a contact while talking on the phone? Ie 3 way calling feature?
Adding DustinWorkEmail & Brett (probably a bad idea on this one)

From Big Red (1:58 pm)

I know you can do this with iPhone (I have one, and do this a lot), but I don't know about Droid. Also, conference calling functionality iPhone has is pretty awesome. Speaker phone could/should be louder IMO.

From Yoshi (2:22pm)

The other day I looked up the fire situation for Jim while he babbled hysterically until I confirmed he should start running so that was nice.

And by no means is that a deal killer but more of a nice to have.

I've heard nice things about the android but my favorite comment was last year on a flight I sat next to a Google employee and noted her playing with an iPhone. I asked her if she had a chance to use Android and she pulled an Android phone out of her bag and simply said "everyone at google uses this." (pointing to the iPhone). Granted, Android devices have come a long way but the open source OS does provide some obstacles as Intel supports the iPhone but not any Android-based device.
There is also the flash issue which is a plus for the Android but there is too much weight behind 62 million iPhones (+ 4 million ipads) for that to continue unresolved.

From Big Red (2:28 pm)

Also, you can fix the iPhone 4 antenna issue with one of these:

From: Yoshi (2:27 PM)

I think chris' question was to Ross. There isn't an issue on the iPhone.
I have multiple email accounts and just sync calendars/contacts through outlook but I do know that I've had multiple calendars on there.
I keep waiting for the next OS update to include the camera icon in the email mode. This is a pain as you must start in photo/video in order to create an email with the attached file. A pain we live with.
From Bucky (2:52 pm)

So, is everybody doing the right thing by supporting Apple or will open source need our support now more than ever! – I’m with John Conner and supporting the resistance, Yet I may dabble in the enemy’s territory a bit…

Last year Google developers could have Microsoft Software on their PC’s – This year they can’t which is directly related to security.

LOLS on Jim

From Bucky (2:52PM)

Question redirected where intended as the Android OS Supports this – but thanks for the clarification. I need more reasons why I shouldn’t get the iPhone and it’s limitations so that is my current focus as I would rather. Really don’t want to switch to Verizon but haven’t ruled it out.
So far the only thing bothering me is the Multiple Account Sync functionality brought up by Red – I’m guessing Chris’s problem lies within Exchange. Chris, in the next few nights can you test this with your Comcast and gmail accounts?

From Big Red (3:05 PM)

Ok, I just re-acquainted myself with what I was trying to do and the current state of affairs on iPhone. It looks like they have improved this functionality with the iPhone 4 OS (I'm glad for this thread and glad I checked!!!):

Previous Problem (iPhone 3 OS): I wanted to sync with two Exchange accounts (Google also offers sync via Exchange); Google and my Outlook account via work. Previously, iPhone would only allow you to sync with one Exchange account. I can not comment on other use cases, this is what I wanted to do.

Current Functionality: Essentially, I just verified that I can do everything from my previous "ideal functionality" statement: I'm syncing Email with my work Exchange account, Contacts with my Google Exchange account, and Calendar with both (the two accounts appear as different colors in the unified Calendar UI).

Lovin it!

From: Bucky (3:24 PM)

Damn, I have no reason not to get an iPhone!

From Bucky (3:42 pm)

Here’s a way to fix the Gay rights issue:

From D-$$ (4:10 pm)


What Gough said! Work (exchange) and personal e-mail (Comcast)synch without any problems. Calendars too. I was holding out as long as I could hoping AT&T would have a decent Android phone to compete, but so far they only have 2 (and on old Android OS and not all functions capabilities of top Android phones). If AT&T would finally release the HTC Desire as rumored (Basically Google Nexus One) then they would have an option as good as the iPhone4.

If you want to change carriers then you should look at the current Android phones from Motorola and HTC. I think HTC might have the edge. Here site is great to compare current phones, and future releases. Detailed side by side comparisons. Here is a comparison of iPhone4, HTC Desire, and Droid X.

I never wanted to be an iPhone Homer like Yoshi, but it has been an awesome phone. No problems so far. No antenna issues at all and I didn’t have a case for the first month or so.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

World Cup 2010 - Week 1 Review

So in the midst of what has so far been a fairly predictable World Cup, today's Mexico-France result presented us with a good idea of how things will turn out for Group A (c'est la vis!) and Group B. It’s good to see smiles and laughs when it comes to the water cooler chat around the World Cup.

We have created a SideTweet of World Cup twitter feeds including CNN, FIFA, World Cup Bloggers and Team USA (surprisingly, not a lot of teams have officially adopted Twitter as a communications tool). You can visit this World Cup digest here.

For those of you who are relatively unsure of what the group play means to your chances of your team winning it all is, here is a quick run-down and with my predictions on how things will play out for those groups who are at least two games in (note, in group play the first tie-breaker is goal differential, goals scored vs. goals allowed):

Group A (Sean’s prediction – Mexico & Uruguay):
Mexico – Tie or win vs. Uruguay they are through
Uruguay – Tie or win vs. Mexico they are through
France – If Mexico vs. Uruguay is a tie, they are out, must beat South Africa by at least two goals and hope that Uruguay loses by 3 or more or Mexico loses by 2 or more
South Africa – Thanks for hosting…

Group B (Sean’s prediction – Argentina & South Korea):
Argentina – In It To Win It. Messi could take over the tourney…
South Korea – A win or tie against Nigeria should get them through…
Greece – Does anyone really think they are going to beat Argentina? Well, actually, they may if Argentina rests some of its stars. If Greece does pull it off, pressure is on South Korea!
Nigeria – Silly, silly red card. Another African nation’s hopes dashed…

Group C (Sean's prediction - still early but England and the USA):
USA PLAYS AT 7 AM PST TOMORROW MORNING, BE A FAN!!!!!! If you are interested in joining a small viewing party, email or call me!
And Algeria is totally going to dominate the rest of the tournament!!!

The rest of the groups only have one game on the books but more to come.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Sticky Widget

Six Minutes.

Now if I told you that someone would spend six minutes on a single page within your web site you might think you were eBay and they were simply watching for the auction to end.

Think about it, six minutes would be a coup for spending time on your entire site, but a single page? What "sticky widget" is holding the audience captive for so long? (and no, it's not Facebook or Twitter)

A map.

That simple, it's that which allowed Columbus to sail through the flatness (yes, that is Columbus' map to the right), that has allowed generals in warfare understand where to place the bait for their enemy to attack, that allows a simple traveler the most basic of insight and context of what they are getting into.

Keep it Simple SideStreet (K.I.S.S. Theory). Simplicity lies in the map. It provides context such as landmarks, distance, relationships, terrain, probably includes major attractions and possibly key services a traveler can use.

So where is the map on your web site? Do a quick audit and find out how many clicks to determine "where" you are. Are you Portland, Maine, Portland, Oregon or Portland, Oklahoma?

No map? Lots of easy to implement, relatively budget-friendly solutions out there. Get one on your site and get any brochure-based maps at least available for download (don't "protect" this resource from consumer use!).

Think about how ubiquitous Google Maps has become as a utility. People like maps, they are visual and "touchy-feely." Just the way we humans like things.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How Facebook Forgot About Web 2.0

If I gave you the acronym "WWF" what would you think it stood for?

If I gave you the acronym "WWW" and you figured it out and the same first two letters were exactly the same as in the first example, what would your guess be then?

Yes, that is right, the World Wide Facebook. All content can be seen by anybody else, but they have to be your friend first, which means they need to find you or you need to find them... And you can create FAN pages and GROUP pages that anyone can become a fan of or join, unless they don't have a Facebook account in which case they need to join Facebook in order to, well, I think you get it...

So step back, let's think about this. We went from a world where static information on the Internet became dynamic information. It became sortable, sharable and down right convenient. The RSS phenomenon meant any content could become ubiquitous - accessible anytime, anywhere, by anyone... No credentials, no creating a profile, no establishment of yet another channel that had to be managed. This was Web 2.0. As you note from this post's title, I think Facebook missed that page in the Internet's history.

Now I am completely sold on the value of Facebook as a tool to manage personal relationships, but where I find Facebook lacking is in its endeavour to become a B2C and B2B channel friendly resource. Again, try "fan"-ing a Fan page in Facebook and while you can read the front page, you are "blocked" from becoming an actual Fan or browsing through additional content.

Now go to YouTube, Flickr, Twitter, Wikipedia and see if you have trouble accessing content... No? That is the entire point! Hello, McFly, Hello!!!!

Why is that such a sensitive issue for us here at SideStreet? Well, again, Web 2.0 was a movement all about information access. Facebook has developed barriers. So just create a free profile, log in and there is no barrier you say? Well, in one direction yes, but Web 2.0 was about creating a flow of information that was multi-directional - left, right, up, down, northest, southwest, z-axis, etc.

True social media should be portable. We believe this is a fundamental tenet from the era of Web 2.0, particularly when enabling businesses. So while, yes, I can get in to view Facebook content by joining Facebook, I can't view Facebook content outside of Facebook, and this is where our gripe truly lies.

The posting or "wall" of Facebook is a perfect kernel of information to shoehorn into a business's web site or blog to get an "inside" look at what social dynamic is occuring. We can pull a Twitter feed, a YouTube channel feed, every blog has an RSS feed, even Flickr figured it out by adapting their slideshow technology to any browser window, but Facebook????

So I will end this long-winded whine (yes, I have the "whine" flu) with a plea to Facebook to get with the game. All it will do is shove the Facebook brand and the unique content in front of more eyes which will bring in more users which will bring in more revenue which will, at the end of Web 4.0, most likely displace the WWW with the WWF.

For an example of the argument above, follow this link and click on Kansas or Virginia to see Facebook content (and compare that to the other sources of content):

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Side-Whatever: A Lexicon of Labor


Easy enough, nothing fancy, but, then, we developed a function called the SideNote. Y'know, a "Cliff Note" type of function to aggregate and pull summaries of basic info together.

And then there was the SideTrack, which would lead to the SideNote and to the SideLink (hyperlink) and to the SideStop (gateway to nothing). Not to mention the SideBar, our rollover function.

And all of a sudden we saw a trend going and so kept on going. We introduced the SideView, a navigable thumbnail of the map and, most recently, possibly our coup de gras, the SideTweet (see the screenshot), an aggregation of all Twitter feeds associated with a map presented through a ticker-type presentation.

And don't worry, we are sure there will be more to come as we develop new functionality or just find a better term for existing functionality. Feel free to offer any suggestions below, some we've already identified as potential additions to SideStreet's lexicon:
  • SideCar
  • SideSwipe
  • SideDoor
  • SideStep
A little bit of fun amongst the grind...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Year Resolutions

So we all hate them, but here in the life of the startup I figure every chance I have to set some goals and actually achieve them is a good thing. And everyone loves a Top 10 list and in blending the two I figure not only will I make this more fun for you to read, but also more fun for me to write!

Without further ado, here we go:

1) Invoice. It's amazing what cash in the bank can do for the corporate ego!
2) Invoice. Did I say that already?
3) Launch targeted PR & marketing within the vertical industries of some of our initial (and hopefully satisfied) clients.
4) Get Jason an iPhone. I'm pretty sure it kills Jason every time we get together and I wing out my mobile Mac platform and start buzzing away on it.
5) Get more clients (I'm pretty sure this will be a regular on this list every year).
6) Start an advisory board.
7) Develop an iPhone application (and if Jason doesn't have an iPhone by then I will really be in trouble).
8) Have a board meeting in some remote, exotic location at the expense of the taxpayers (oh, sorry, letting my cynicism get to me).
9) Leverage Brian's presence in the Bay area to strike a strategic relationship with a number of venture capitalists, Google and Yahoo.
10) Have fun and continue to never let go of the dream.

Poke fun, have at it, but that is what my brain told my fingers to write and I'm sticking by whatever I just wrote (I promise to read them later).

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Life In Leavenworth

No, I'm not talking about the federal penitentiary in the heartland of the US. I'm talking about a town that, in 1968, on the cusp of an implosion of the local timber industry, decided to take a different tack and focus on tourism and the creation of a unique destination.

And so we are here again. All told, I think this is my 5th trip to this sleepy town that hosts 17 major festivals a year and whose building code is pure Bavarian, literally. You can not tell from the Starbucks from the local pizza parlor from the McDonalds. Their brand trumps everyone else's and that is in writing.

So imagine my response as I open their brochure to look at their maps and what I see is something that is not unique, not distinguishable from any other destination and just not consistent with the level of thought and effort that they have seemingly put into every other aspect of this town.

Furthermore, take a look at their web site at http://www.leavenworth.org/ and they are a classic example of being a destination but not showing their customers where they are until they go to the "how to get here" page. Geographic context is again completely under-utilized and under-appreciated.

I am hopeful that someday they will get it as they (the people of Leavenworth) deserve it. And I think that SideStreet may play some part for, as I was reminded again today driving through the old downtown of Monroe, yesterday's Main Street is today's Side Street.