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A Candid Look at Unreads First Year – @jaredsinclair

@jaredsinclair shared his sales figures of Unread’s first year in the App Store. Sad news for the paid-up-front model.

  • The paid-up-front app market is smaller than it may appear.
  • Coverage from influential bloggers can drive more sales than an App Store feature.
  • Paid-up-front business models don’t generate sustainable revenues.
  • If you want to make “real money” from a paid-up-front app, your launch week has to be be a box-office smash.
  • Don’t launch your paid-up-front app at a reduced price. Demand for your app will likely never be higher again. Price it accordingly.
  • Sustainable revenue must come from other sources than the original app purchase, either from consumable in-app purchases, or from recurring subscriptions.

via Jared Sinclair | Blog | A Candid Look at Unreads First Year.

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The Four Freedoms

The Four Freedoms

I believe that software, and in fact entire companies, should be run in a way that assumes that the sum of the talent of people outside your walls is greater than the sum of the few you have inside. None of us are as smart as all of us. Given the right environment — one that leverages the marginal cost of distributing software and ideas — independent actors can work toward something that benefits them, while also increasing the capability of the entire community.

What will your verse be?

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering — these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love — these are what we stay alive for.

To quote from Whitman,

“O me, O life of the questions of these recurring. Of the endless trains of the faithless. Of cities filled with the foolish. What good amid these, O me, O life? Answer: that you are here. That life exists and identity. That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

“That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

What will your verse be?

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Things I Use 2013 Edition

pic for blog post

As 2013 comes to an end, I’ll write one of these posts to list the things I use.

Development

Mac

  • Dash: my favorite app right now, if you code on your Mac, in any language, just get it! It’s also free with optional donation
  • Xcode: new version is so great
  • MacVIM: I’ve been a VI user for almost 20 years, after a few years of TextMate in my early Rails days, I’m back using VIM. I’m still far more productive in VI than anything else. When I’m not hacking in Xcode I’m in VIM.
  • HipChat: my livelihood pretty much depends on HipChat, having worked remotely across the globe in Taipei this year. Really loving the native OS X client, I don’t have Flash or Air installed on my Mac after my fresh OS install post SSD
  • Coda 2: only use it for collaborative editing (such as at WWDC)
  • Ansible: simple YAML-based deployment, if you don’t need Chef, try this

iOS

  • HipChat: their revamped iOS client is decent
  • Prompt: really great to be able to SSH from anywhere. Would be better if it supported Mosh, one can only hope
  • Diet Coda: Only for emergency copy changes

Photography

Mac

  • Lightroom 5: if you’re semi-serious about your photos, just use this. I’ve recently tried the latest Aperture again, Lr is still far better 1

iOS

  • VSCO Cam: I’ve bought pretty much all the presets, it’s great
  • Camera+: this continues to be the best camera app on my phone
  • FlickStackr: if you use Flickr and have an iOS device, just get this!

Others

Mac

  • Afred 2: can’t live without this, also check my workflows. Multiple clipboard support is godsend
  • 1Password: also cannot live without this
  • Things: after so many years I still use Things a lot. I’m not a strict GTD nerd, but I do like to jot down tasks and free up my mind for more important things (such as nothing)
  • ShiftIt: opensource windows organizer for Mac, works far better than the paid alternatives currently on the Mac App Store
  • Chatology: if you use the Messages app on your Mac, you need this to make sense of your chat logs
  • Marked 2: great Markdown previewer
  • Tweetbot
  • Mailplane: I tried Sparrow and beta-tested and bought Airmail, still addicted to the gmail web interface and Rapportive integration
  • Bartender: if you use an Air with limited menubar real estate, you really should get this!

iOS

  • iSmoothRun
  • 1Password
  • Downcast: I listen to podcasts when I run, I probably used this more than any other apps in terms of number of hours spent
  • Tweetbot 3: iOS7 update for iPhone version is great, waiting for iPad app update
  • Felix: my ADN client
  • Tumblr: incredible mobile reading experience
  • Mr. Reader: my new RSS reader. I dumped Feedly as they were being shady. Mr. Reader works great with Feed Wrangler
  • Pinner: my iOS Pinboard client
  • Things (iPhone, iPad)
  • Fantastical 2: indispensable app, looking forward to its iPad version
  • Editorial: this post was written entirely in this. Check Viticci’s epic review 2
  • Screens: I used Remoter VNC for years, switched to Screens last week. I prefer paying for all features up front vs buying IAPs a la carte
  • Hangout: to receive and place Google Voice calls, my GTalk can now idle indefinitely with push. It has replaced BeejiveIM on my phone. If you use the shitty Talkatone app, please switch to this!
  • Drafts: if you still use the Notes app on your phone or iPad, try Drafts

Services

  • GitHub: Really great for distributed team, definitely made my life a lot easier having worked from Taipei this year
  • BitBucket: I really like their pricing structure. Charging based on number of users is far better IMO. I was using Dropbox to archive my old git repos and also to host repos when working with just one other developer. After getting tired of fixing repo conflicts when we both pushed while Dropbox was catching up, I looked for viable alternatives and I’m glad BitBucket now works with git in addition to hg
  • Pinboard
  • Spotify: We each have our own subscription. The iOS apps could use some design and development love, but it works great in general, the ability to sync offline playlists is great when cellular service is spotty to nonexistent in central Taipei. At our wedding reception we played hours of music from a synced offline playlist on Sherry’s iPad Mini, turned on Airplane mode to prevent getting notifications, worked amazingly well
  • Feed Wrangler: my RSS service, smart feeds are pretty damn useful, and support a great indie developer
  • Crashplan: just do it, you should have a cloud backup service
  • Copy: great Dropbox alternative, I now have over 100GB of free space (thanks everyone!)
  • Private Internet Access: my new VPN provider, they allow up to 5 simultaneous devices, which is useful when we have 3 Macs and 4 iOS devices together
  • App.net
  • Flickr: still a loyal user after almost a decade

Hardware

Finally

  • Samsung 500GB SSD: best $300 I spent in 2013, my MBP is so fast now, night and day from spinning disk. Samsung released updates on their SSD line, check the great Wirecutter
  • Early 2011 15″ MBP: my trusty 2-year-old MBP is kicking strong after installing an SSD. Been holding out for a 11″ rMBA
  • Thunderbolt Display: just great, I have my FW800 drive, GigE, USB headphone amp, Elevation Dock all plugged into the back of it, only Thunderbolt and power goes to my Mac. Xcode is so much better on a 27″ display
  • iPhone 5s, 64GB, Verizon: can’t wait to move back to get LTE, hopefully VZW service degradation reports have been exaggerated. 64GB not really needed after reclaiming my Messages attachments. My phone has also been my main camera. Hugely improved battery life and the M7 made the upgrade from the 5 worth it
  • iPad rMini, 32GB, Verizon: just incredible, glad I waited. Far more useful than our original Mini
  • Mac mini: my media computer
  • UE Boom: this is amazing, I use it in the shower and next to the tub when I do ice-baths (and I did a lot of that in 2013). We bring it when we travel
  • Synology DS213 (D214 is out now) with 2x 3TB WD Red: decent entry-level NAS, but not enough RAM to run CrashPlan headless, and not fast enough to move my NZB workflow (SAB, SickBeard, CouchPotato) on it. The DS213 is still great with its array of iOS apps, being able to add torrents from my phone or iPad and get emailed when they’re done is great
  • UE900: my Sensaphonics broke again, picked these up for cheap from Ruten as a stop-gap, decent universal cans
  • Audio-Technica A900: the most underrated cans IMO, better sounds than most more popular and expensive cans
  • Plantronics Backbeat Go: walk-around-the-house cans, small and wireless, version 2 looks even better
  • 5D Mark II: still going strong. Still amazed by its outputs every time I use it. My 3 primes have served me well and I’m very happy with my setup: 50/1.2L, 85/1.2L II, 100L. I sort of want the OM-D E-M1 with the 17/1.8, but it’s hard to justify the cost
  • Polar H7 HRM: great tool to judge your effort when exercising, connects to your phone via Bluetooth LE

  1. Seriously Apple, no graduated filter? 

  2. You might not want to open this on your iOS devices, it’s so long that it crashes mobile Safari. Opening this review in Editorial’s browser also crashed the app 

Samsung’s new Galaxy Gear ad

The iPhone dramatically tore down our understanding of everything that preceded it: phones; computers; software; the Internet; how we consume information; how we communicate; how we are (not) beholden to gigantic infrastructure companies that basically hate us. It’s all done differently now. The Way Things Are was about to become The Way Things Were. So, “Hello.”

The Galaxy Gear ad, and the Galaxy Gear itself, convey none of this. The ad primes us with decades of fantastic expectations — expectations which just about any review of the product you can find will tell you have not been met. It also implicitly, and very ironically, shows just how lacking in vision the product itself is. The iPhone ad says, “We’re starting over.” The Gear ad says, “We tried to make that exact thing you’ve seen on TV all these years.”

via Apple Outsider

Reclaiming storage used by Messages on iOS devices

12GB of messages much better

For a while now I’ve noticed that Messages on my phone was using 12GB of space. That seems like a lot, even Messages.app on my Mac doesn’t use nearly as much space. After a bit of research, I learned that there was a bug in Messages that attachments didn’t get deleted when the conversations were. Somewhere around iOS 6.0 or 6.1, this bug was fixed, but the stale attachments that were saved prior to this fix never got cleaned up. Deleting all the conversations doesn’t fix this as that won’t delete the stale attachments. There are 2 ways to fix this. Obviously, erasing and setting up your phone from scratch is one way. Another way is as follow:

  • Backup the device to iTunes, I recommend encrypting the backup so you won’t have to re-enter passwords
  • Open up the backup archive with a tool such as iBackupBot
  • Duplicate the backup just to be safe
  • Locate and delete the SMS data from backup archive (HomeDomain/Library/SMS and MediaDomain/Library/SMS)
  • Restore device from said backup
  • Enjoy re-claimed space on your iDevice

iBackupBot

ref: Stratus Fear‘s post at MacRumors.

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