11 stories
·
1 follower

★ Perfect Ten

1 Comment

In January 2007, 26 minutes into his Macworld Expo keynote address, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone with his justly-famous “three revolutionary products” framing:

This is a day I’ve been looking forward to for two-and-a-half years.

Every once in a while, a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. … One’s very fortunate if you get to work on just one of these in your career.

Apple’s been very fortunate. It’s been able to introduce a few of these into the world. In 1984, we introduced the Macintosh. It didn’t just change Apple, it changed the whole computer industry. In 2001, we introduced the first iPod, and it didn’t just change the way we all listen to music, it changed the entire music industry.

Well, today, we’re introducing three revolutionary products of this class.

The first one is a widescreen iPod with touch controls.

The second is a revolutionary mobile phone.

And the third is a breakthrough Internet communications device.

So, three things: a widescreen iPod with touch controls; a revolutionary mobile phone; and a breakthrough Internet communications device. An iPod, a phone, and an Internet communicator. An iPod, a phone … are you getting it?

These are not three separate devices, this is one device, and we are calling it iPhone.

Ten years ago today, the iPhone went on sale.

I almost never watch an Apple keynote event after it has faded from being new. But I’ve watched the iPhone introduction at least half a dozen times over the years. I still get excited. The words Jobs used, as quoted above, are perfect. But you really have to watch it, to listen to his voice, to feel his conviction. He knew then what we all know now: this was it. This was the keynote we had all been waiting for. This was the reason why people lined up overnight for Apple keynotes — in the hopes of an announcement like this one. The iPhone was the product Apple had been founded to create — the epitome of everything both of Apple’s founding Steves stood for and obsessed about. The home run of all home runs.

With hindsight, though, I think even Jobs himself underestimated what the iPhone was.

The Apple I, the Apple II, the Macintosh, the iPod — yes, these were all industry-changing products. The iPhone never would have happened without each of them. But the iPhone wasn’t merely industry-changing. It wasn’t merely multi-industry-changing. It wasn’t merely many-industry-changing.

The iPhone changed the world.

There is no way to overstate it. The iPhone was the inflection point where “personal computing” truly became personal. Apple had amazing product introductions before the iPhone, and it’s had a few good ones after. But the iPhone was the only product introduction I’ve ever experienced that felt impossible. Apple couldn’t have shrunk Mac OS X — a Unix-based workstation OS, including the Cocoa frameworks — to a point where it could run on a cell phone. Scrolling couldn’t be that smooth and fluid. A touchscreen — especially one in a phone — couldn’t be so responsive. Apple couldn’t possibly have gotten a major carrier to cede them control over every aspect of the device, both hardware and software. I can recall sitting in the hall at Moscone West, watching the keynote unfold, 90 percent excited as hell, 10 percent concerned that I was losing my goddamn mind. Literally mind-blowing.

For nearly six interminable months we waited. And then even once I had my own iPhone in my hands on the evening of Friday, 29 June 2007, I kept thinking, I can’t believe this.

The iPhone’s potential was obviously deep, but it was so deep as to be unfathomable at the time. The original iPhone didn’t even shoot video; today the iPhone and iPhone-like Android phones have largely killed the point-and-shoot camera industry. It has obviated portable music players, audio recorders, paper maps, GPS devices, flashlights, walkie-talkies, music radio (with streaming music), talk radio (with podcasts), and more. Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft wouldn’t even make sense pre-iPhone. Social media is mobile-first, and in some cases mobile-only. More people read Daring Fireball on iPhones than on desktop computers.

In just a handful of years, Nokia and BlackBerry, both seemingly impregnable in 2006, were utterly obliterated. The makers of ever-more-computer-like gadgets were simply unable to compete with ever-more-gadget-like computers.

Ten years in and the full potential of the iPhone still hasn’t been fully tapped. No product in the computing age compares to the iPhone in terms of societal or financial impact. Few products in the history of the world compare. We may never see anything like it again — from Apple or from anyone else.

Read the whole story
chattymac
169 days ago
reply
Yep. I did not experience the keynote but I felt the same way watching it for the first time. It was just so unbelievably exciting. It still is.
Share this story
Delete

NewsBlur’s Twitter support just got a whole lot better

4 Comments and 13 Shares

It was a little under a year ago that I declared Twitter back, baby on this blog. In that time, NewsBlur users have created over 80,000 Twitter feeds in NewsBlur. Since it’s such a popular feature, I decided to dive back into the code and make tweets look a whole lot better.

Notice that NewsBlur now natively supports expanding truncated URLs (no more t.co links).

And NewsBlur also supports native quoted tweets, where a user links to a tweet in their own tweet. NewsBlur expands the quoted tweet and blockquotes it for convenience.

Plus retweets now show both the original tweet author and the retweeting author. This means that you can quickly scan tweets and see where the retweet originated from. And retweeted tweets that quote their own tweets also get expanded.

It’s almost as if NewsBlur is inching closer and closer to becoming its own full fledged Twitter client. While NewsBlur already hit Zawinski’s Law (“Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.”) by supporting email-newsletters-to-rss, Twitter is coming up fast.

Speaking of which, I have this idea I’ve been noodling about better supporting Twitter habits that need to become less of a habit. I want to be able to automatically follow people from my Twitter tweetstream in NewsBlur based the frequency of their posting. I want to be able to infrequently dip into Twitter but still read the tweets from people who only post once a week or once a day.

In other words, I want Twitter, the RSS killer, to better integrate with an RSS reader so that I can pull out the good stuff from the unending flow of tweets. RSS means never missing anything, but Twitter’s main use case is anathema to how we use RSS. I don’t like to preannounce features, but this one intrigues me and if you agree, please share this story to let me know or to give me feedback on how you would like to see NewsBlur be a better Twitter client.

Read the whole story
chattymac
220 days ago
reply
popular
220 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
4 public comments
Groxx
220 days ago
reply
I read every tweet, and twitter makes that very hard to do (which is why I'm a happy user of Talon), so that sounds great :) Infrequent tweeters are often my favorites.

Personally, I'd be happy with a twitter folder, with a "feed" for each follow. With a bit of thumbs-training (and a per-folder focus setting? or something) I'd probably never go back to twitter.com at all.
Silicon Valley, CA
TheRomit
220 days ago
reply
I like the last idea (I current have some users as columns in Tweetdeck but RSS may be a cleaner solution).

How about Yahoo Pipes-like combination of some users' Twitter feeds that make one RSS subscription?
santa clara, CA
samuel
218 days ago
Well you can read multiple twitter feeds in a folder, and with Focus mode, you can already filter them. And folders have RSS feeds, so you could then pipe that out somewhere else.
TheRomit
215 days ago
Ah! That's a good idea. Thanks for the tip!
samuel
220 days ago
reply
I'm thinking something more automatic than post freq as training. A slider or segmented control and you are subscribed to users who post at the frequency or below. Possibly even multiple sub folders with different frequencies: 1 week, 1 day, and then all the rest.
The Haight in San Francisco
eldritchconundrum
220 days ago
You say "RSS means never missing anything", but to me that isn't true. Posts more than 30 days old cannot be in an "unread" state. The marking as read that occurs automatically after 30 days is literally "missing something". I can't find it anymore among the rest, once it's been marked as read.
samuel
220 days ago
I think a month is a fine line to draw. Everything on the Internet, at a high enough level, is measured in monthly usage. If you're not using NewsBlur once a month then you're not really using NewsBlur.
eldritchconundrum
220 days ago
Certainly one month is fine, for news items. But if I want to e.g. accumulate one hundred of updates of an ongoing story-intense webcomic, then read them all in one go, then I have to track manually where I last stopped, because unread doesn't mean unread. In other words, NewsBlur is not a general-purpose RSS reader, it is specialized for reading recent news. Well, the name says it upfront, so I guess I can't complain. News... And Blur.
samuel
220 days ago
To be fair, those stories aren't gone, they just aren't unread. That's why the default is "All Stories" and not just "Unread Stories".
superlopuh
219 days ago
The unread stories effectively disappear into the void though. I've definitely lost posts that I would have liked to read at some point this way. It would be cool if there was some sort of banner for recently/soon-to-be autoread posts. Automatically sending them to pocket would also be a useful feature.
eldritchconundrum
218 days ago
They are not gone, they are lost in the haystack. If I can't find them, that's the same thing.
tingham
220 days ago
reply
I think I'd like to have my entire feed in a separate drawer here and then be able to use training to push users I follow down (or up) in the visibility stack. Right now NB and TW are the only two pinned tabs in my browser. Getting this down to one would be fantastic. Post frequency as a function of training would be a really nice feature compression.
Cary, NC

Premium fonts, comment-less shares, in-app Safari, and way, way more in version 5.0 of the NewsBlur iOS app

10 Comments and 12 Shares

Holy geez, this is a whopper of a release. Version 5.0 of the NewsBlur iOS app has lots and lots of new features, fixes for some long standing issues, and major performance improvements for reading stories.

The biggest new feature to hit the iOS app is the introduction of premium fonts from type foundry Hoefler & Co. Whitney, Gotham Narrow, and Chronicle have been added to give NewsBlur a more pleasurable reading experience. Take a look for yourself.

Comment-less shares have also been added to the iOS app. You can now share a story and your friends can now reply without you having to write anything first, just like on the web and on the Android app.

Here’s the full list of new features and improvements. Make a cup of tea first because this list is a doozy.

  • The app has been iOS 9-ified.
  • The iOS app now has the same great fonts from the web: Whitney, Gotham Narrow, and Chronicle. These each look fantastic.
  • The Text view is now sticky based on the last view you used. It’s per feed but it also respects individual feeds when reading by folder. This is unlike the web, where the Text view matches the feed or folder. Now it’s sticky to the feed, which makes it much easier to read through a folder of stories.
  • When switching between the Text view and Story view, the loading indicator is now at the bottom of the screen instead of directly on top of the story.
  • Stories now remember your last scroll position. When you go back to a story, you are taken back to the same place you left off.
  • New Safari-based browser for the original story. These views are faster and support content blockers on iOS 9 and use your browser’s cookies. However, they look like Safari and not NewsBlur, so the default in-app browser is the original browser. The new in-app Safari browser is a preference, along with Chrome, Opera, and the full Safari app.
  • A new option to mark stories as read when they are scrolled past. Defaults to off.
  • Sending stories to third-party services now uses full Text if available. Useful for storing full story text in Evernote or Pocket.
  • Comment-less shares are now supported, allowing you to reply to shared stories that have no comment.
  • The feed trainer now shows trained titles.
  • 1Password integration on login.
  • iPad Pro is now supported.
  • Date and times of stories now uses the system locale, so everybody who isn’t in the U.S. will see dates as they should be.
  • 3D Touch actions: Add site, all site stories, search stories.
  • Voiceover support.
  • iOS 8 is the minimum supported version for this release.

Hot dog that’s a lot in one release. Version 5.0 is now ready for you. Download it for free on the App Store.

Read the whole story
chattymac
757 days ago
reply
Dark theme please!
popular
758 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
8 public comments
udolfo
756 days ago
reply
+1 for this. I run on the iPhone's "Invert colours" setting, but it screws up photos. It would be the cherry on top of this very fine cake if a night-mode were available.
JayM
757 days ago
reply
Woot.
Atlanta, GA
gradualepiphany
757 days ago
reply
Oh dang. That is a whole lot of work, Samuel. Thanks for your continued dedication!
Los Angeles, California, USA
skittone
757 days ago
reply
But can I make the text even bigger (XXL or XXXL) for a "more pleasurable reading experience"?
jqlive
758 days ago
reply
I hate to be the broken record in the room. But will "mark newer/older stories read" be added in a near future update? ... Aside from that feature, I'm really loving the update 😀. The fonts man, the fonts; Awesome.
Beijing/Hong Kong
samuel
758 days ago
Yes, it's slated to come very soon now.
BLueSS
758 days ago
reply
Exciting updates! Here's to hoping the Android version gets some of these updates soon too!
samuel
758 days ago
Android already had a few of these features. I seesaw between the two platforms in terms of priority.
spiffylogic
758 days ago
reply
Fabulous, fabulous, fabulous.
Philadelphia, PA
samuel
758 days ago
reply
From the feedback I've received, the next big feature folks want is a night/dark theme.
The Haight in San Francisco
brs165
758 days ago
agreed!
emdot
758 days ago
Thanks for all you do, Samuel.
Dcacace8
758 days ago
Sure but this is a huge release, you should be proud! Congrats!
korg250
758 days ago
Is dark theme available on the web?
Cafeine
758 days ago
I don't care much about the dark theme but awesome release 😎
Splike
758 days ago
Dark theme for the web please! (:
leonick
757 days ago
Said before but lets say it again, web too please.

Josh Topolsky on Leaving Bloomberg

4 Comments and 5 Shares

Josh Topolsky:

The reality in media right now is that there is an enormous amount of noise. There are countless outlets (both old and new) vying for your attention, desperate not just to capture some audience, but all the audience. And in doing that, it feels like there’s a tremendous watering down of the quality and uniqueness of what is being made. Everything looks the same, reads the same, and seems to be competing for the same eyeballs. In both execution and content, I find myself increasingly frustrated with the rat race for maximum audience at any expense. It’s cynical and it’s cyclical — which makes for an exhausting and frankly boring experience.

I think people want something better, something more meaningful. Something a lot less noisy.

Sounds good to me.

Read the whole story
chattymac
878 days ago
reply
Sign me up
Share this story
Delete
3 public comments
jhamill
877 days ago
reply
That was what The Verge was supposed to be.
California
trekkie
868 days ago
it was, for a bit, but now I've stopped reading it because they put a ton of fluff and crap from every other site in there. It's weird to me that one service wants to be 'all the things'. I hope Ars stays where it is.
laza
878 days ago
reply
Amin!
Belgrade, Serbia
AaronLMGoodwin
878 days ago
reply
Yup.
Apple Valley, CA

Chad Kroeger's 'medical emergency' forces Nickelback to cancel North American tour

2 Comments
UUU

Canadian rock band Nickelback has scrapped its tour after lead singer Chad Kroeger was diagnosed with an operable cyst on his "voice box," the band announces.

Read the whole story
chattymac
906 days ago
reply
This is great news!
Share this story
Delete
1 public comment
dreadhead
906 days ago
reply
RIP
Vancouver Island, Canada

A real solution to the deprecated YouTube API

17 Comments and 32 Shares

YouTube, owned by Google, deprecated their v2 APIs on April 20th, 2015, which means that RSS news readers can no longer watch for new videos. What a bummer!

Except it’s not at all a big deal because here at NewsBlur we’re making sure that your videos keep coming in. Previously enterprising users setup hacks and workarounds for the API, which was a somewhat tedious solution as you had to update each feed and prone to breaking in the future.

But there’s good news today because NewsBlur now has a custom-built solution for YouTube videos. All of your existing YouTube RSS feeds are automatically ported over to the new YouTube video fetcher.

And that’s not all. The improved YouTube video fetcher now displays a big embedded video so you can watch the video right in NewsBlur.

To subscribe to new YouTube channels, just enter in the URL of the channel in the Add Site popover.

When Google takes away your tools, NewsBlur builds them better than before.

Read the whole story
chattymac
960 days ago
reply
Ya same here. Very cool
popular
960 days ago
reply
Share this story
Delete
14 public comments
sirshannon
924 days ago
reply
When Google takes away your tools, NewsBlur builds them better than before.
sarcozona
957 days ago
reply
<3
stavrosg
959 days ago
reply
...And this is why I'm subscribed since basically the beginning :D
Rodos, Greece
jimwise
959 days ago
reply
Heh.
jlvanderzwan
960 days ago
reply
.
redheadedfemme
960 days ago
reply
How cool! Thank you Samuel.
aaronwe
960 days ago
reply
I don't even subscribe to YouTube videos in NewsBlur, but I'm going to now, just because Samuel's so awesome.
Denver
nevergirl
960 days ago
Ditto! I had no idea this was even a thing.. subscribing immediately!
gazuga
960 days ago
I subscribe to several, and thought I'd have to delete them all. Now they're not only usable again, they're an improved experience. Down with Google, up with NewsBlur!
levenzhang
952 days ago
I subscrib
levenzhang
950 days ago
test reply
Jashugan
960 days ago
reply
You win Newsblur
eldritchconundrum
960 days ago
Excellent!
Cthulhux
960 days ago
reply
InoReader had it before. :p

No, seriously, one more reason to love NewsBlur. Good job!
Fledermausland
lelandpaul
960 days ago
reply
Newsblur: The killer app for YouTube, apparently.
San Francisco, CA
digdoug
960 days ago
reply
"When Google takes away your tools, NewsBlur builds them better than before."

Thanks for considering US the customers and not random ad-buying robots.
Louisville, KY
Brstrk
960 days ago
reply
Now that's how you solve all the things.
AineLindae
960 days ago
reply
That's awesome.
denubis
960 days ago
reply
woot.
Sydney, Australia
Next Page of Stories