Monday, February 14, 2011

Dinosaurs mating

So... Nokia and Microsoft seem to mutually feel that they need each other to survive in the mobile / smartphone world.

I guess there is some truth to that, and it will play out to some extent:
  • Microsoft needs every hardware manufacturer they can get for their Windows Phone 7.
    In that regard, Nokia is very important and helpful to them: they still do have a huge base of followers, and they do have the operator connections.
  • Microsoft will gain a lot by the uni-lateral exclusivity: every Nokia smartphone will come with Windows Phone 7. So if you want Nokia (and a smartphone) you have to go Windows.
  • Nokia needs a good OS... Symbian was OK  - years ago, but would never stand up to iOS, Android or Windows Phone.
  • On the other hand: there's a good chance that Nokia smart phones will become just another HTC/LG/... phone.
There are still good reasons to choose Nokia:
  • They have robust hardware design - even Windows can't take that away.
  • They do know a lot more about radio and the phone functionality than Apple and the Android folks combined - but lets see if this can make it into a Windows phone
  • If you only want a feature phone, Nokia (with Symbian) is still an excellent choice.
What I'm not really sure about is: Do people explicitely want an iPhone or an Android phone ... or do they "just" want a nifty smart phone, and don't really care about the OS (and app ecosystem). The lackluster 2010 sales of Windows Phone 7 (despite all the push from Microsoft and others) and the decline of Nokia Symbian smartphones indicate that it really is about the OS (iOS, Android).

Let's see.

And one more thought:
Remember that Palm with the Treo once thought the found their salvation by giving up PalmOS and being embraced by Microsoft?

Sad.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

On podcasts: Not Radio!

Yesterday I had to explain "podcast" to my in-laws, who are neither very computer nor internet savvy.
We[1] used the radio analogy, since we both are actually listening to a couple of radio shows / podcasts from Ö1 (national radio in Austria) her parents know from the radio.

Now podcasts and radio share many rules like
  • audio quality & leveling
  • pace of speech
  • structure and complexity of sentences.
Still a podcast is not a radio show.

So please:
  1. Avoid references to dates like "this Sunday" or "Tomorrow you will hear..."
    because not everyone (I'd even say hardly anyone) listens to your podcast on the day it was published.
  2. Also do not use the intro for the next episode as the outro of the one before.
    This might be OK on radio, but it is annoying when you listen to the episodes of one format in sequence.
  3. And bear in mind that the level of expertise of your audience is probably better on a podcast than on radio, at least more homogeneous.
    So, know your audience and their knowledge. Don't talk to newbies if your audience are hackers & nerds.
  4. Also remember: most (if not all) of your podcast listeners know the internet and how to use it.
    They already managed to subscribe to your podcast! So if you have additional material just mention the URL (or just the domain) where your show resides... This is where you should place all the show notes, episode list, additional presentations or documents or wikis. Your listeners will easily find it.
  5. Then again: don't assume they know your show's homepage.
    They might have found your podcast on iTunes or through other aggregating sites/tools... So be sure to mention your home base once in a while.
  6. Final one for today: There are no links in podcasts.
    So don't read out or spell long URLs. I can't write them down when listening to a podcast anyway. Consider a rather unique search term and an additional hint for finding said URL in the search results. And provide the link in the show notes.
Thanks for listening; next week on "on podcasts" you will... oops

--
[1] actually my wife did half of the explaing, since it all began by her telling how she is using her Galaxy S to listen to podcasts.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Sharing Thunderbird Address Books... some experience

This is a follow up to my post on Sharing Thunderbird Address Books Between Computers with Dropbox.
I've been using this for 3+ weeks now, and here's the experience.

Overall it works quite well, however:
  1. I noticed 2 occasions where the filesystem link from the address-book in the Thunderbird profile to the one in the "My Dropbox" folder got lost. The abook.mab in the profile folder then all of a sudden is a real file with not connection whatsoever to the dropbox file.
  2. Dropbox deteced one replication error and marked it accordingly, by renaming the "older" file as "abook (computername's conflicted copy date).mab"

In both cases replication of the file to and from other computers then fails.
The latter is easy to avoid - at least in my case: Don't have Thunderbird open at the same time on both computers.

Sometimes however, this is tricky, because you need Dropbox to replicate the file before you start Thunderbird on the other computer. So e.g. when you hibernate one PC whilst Thunderbird is still running (keeping the abook.mab file open and locked), the file will not get uploaded to Dropbox. When you then start Thunderbird on the second computer and modify the address-book... voila... replication conflict.

I still don't know what caused the link failure from problem #1. Will continue to monitor this.