Ars Technica are reporting on an “unethical” HTML video copy protection proposal drawing criticism from W3C reps.

Mozilla’s Robert O’Callahan warned that the pressure to provide DRM in browsers might lead to a situation where major browser vendors and content providers attempt to push forward a suboptimal solution without considering the implications for other major stakeholders.

They prefer Flash because it supports DRM, but see the web going HTML5. And are now trying to patch DRM into the solution to protect their position.

Note the W3C stakeholders who are promoting this.


Ducking out of Google Search


When Google were just a search company, they made the web one of the most usable things ever. Life was great and everything was a Google away.

Today, as they face the challenges of Facebook, Apple and potentially Microsoft in the turf they made their own, they’ve changed their search algorithms so much that finding a good result can be a challenge at the best of times on a desktop browser. Though surprisingly in the Safari browser on iOStheir results are more like the “good old days”.

So like many other companies who either fail to disrupt themselves or whose attempts at disruption are less successful than expected, they’ll do whatever it takes to maintain their lead. From next week they will make your Google Web history available to it’s other products. A bit like when Microsoft integrated Office into Windows, perhaps?

Because they still have a lot of soul, they at least make it very easy to prevent them from gathering said web history.

Well before the recent discovery Google were compromising, without permission, the privacy setting I had chosen in my browser, I’d already mostly stopped using them for search in the last 6 months. There will still be the odd time what is still the best search engine on the planet has to be used. But, for now, I prefer the growing ability of DuckDuckGo and other services to answer my queries.

DuckDuckGo sounds like they don’t want to be evil after all.

Making things easier with Tweetbot and Tweetie

When I use Mail on my iPhone, I always drag down to update. It frustrates the hell out of me that Mail doesn’t support this great feature. After all, it seems like it was in the dawn of time that Loren Brichter first implemented it in Tweetie 2.

Similarly, if the system supports an ‘Open in Safari’ feature, why would you hide it behind multiple steps? Tweetbot, by far the most usable app on iOS implements this and other functions as a one click action. Long Press on any link, hashtag, username etc. and the user is presented with a list of applicable options.

It’s great to know these things, and it’s great to share them so people can remove their frustrations. They’re happier, I’m happier and the person who did the hard work of designing and implementing the function gets their just reward.

Is there a little known function on your platform of choice which others might benefit from that you’d like to share?

Empathy versus sympathy

Being where I learn about two words expressing a type of concern which I find difficulty in both understanding and expressing. Grammar Party is a great blog, btw!

Grammar Party

Lesson: learning the difference between empathy and sympathy

empathy: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner

sympathy: an affinity, association, or relationship between persons or things wherein whatever affects one similarly affects the other

In essence, empathy means you understand the feelings of another person. Sympathy means that you can’t understand exactly how another person feels, but you still feel sorry for their situation.

Let’s look at some examples to help clarify the difference.

situation: Your friend is sad because her pet rat ran away last night.

empathy example: I empathize with you. My pet rat ran away three months ago.
sympathy example: I’m sorry that happened, and I can sympathize with you, but I…

View original post 254 more words

Five Pints 090212


In a transport system which, while being cheap and reasonably convenient, is hardly good value, it’s probably no surprise that investment in enforcement appears to be higher on the agenda than investment in easy access to ways of paying fares. That City Rail Transit Police are glorified ticket inspectors dressed up as paramilitary police and have been known for overplaying their hand more than once doesn’t help my attitude toward them.

I won’t be sorry to see them go, but I hope the dollars which have been wasted on them are used to create a more convenient transport system for people in Sydney. How many integrated ticket systems would $34 million a year build and maintain? Instead I imagine those savings will be recouped by a State government whose promises are a year in the making with no solutions yet on the horizon.

Mind you City Rail are not alone in the idea of building services to cover the exceptions rather than the rule. It’s not a bad idea to aim for great customer experiences for your users. But I’m firmly of the belief you should focus your investments on making services easy to access, use and pay for rather than spending your money on prevention, retention and convention.

Every system will have a small percentage of so-called corner cases. While you want to make the customer experience of those events as pleasant as you can possibly make them, the last thing you want to be doing is spending unecessary amounts of time and money building complex systems to deal with them. Often a good dose of common sense is all that is required, but the fear of losing the customer appears to blind good investment logic and instead funds are diverted to build expensive systems to manage those case. And this has to be to the detriment of the majority of your users from whom you might derive a greater benefit by retaining them with better products and services.

Speaking of good customer experiences, it seems Path finally either understood what they did wrong or were pushed to do the right thing. I suspect the latter reading between the lines of their mealy mouthed apology.

As with other peoples money, other peoples privacy are things you never make mistakes with. One day a Social Network will come along which gets that without first taking advantage of their users. That other apps on the iPhone also access contacts data without advising users is also concerning. But just because the pecan pie is cooling on the windowsill, doesn’t mean you should take it.

Either way, expect Apple to soon issue an update to iOS restricting access to the address book. Is it an error on their behalf they allow such unfettered access now? Possibly. Does it show that some bright young things can’t be trusted with the family car? Absolutely.

One of my friends sites has a ranking for the best smartphones around. It was a surprise to find the worlds most popular smartphone only coming in third. Though it was probably not unexpected considering one of the key decision points was the size of the screen – as opposed to far more valuable metrics like screen quality, usability and battery life.

Anyway, just like with BetaMax, it looks like despite being only third best, the modern day VHS of the iPhone is winning. Not just on sales, but on revenue, and value retention. Why are consumers always wrong, don’t they know this is the future of the Smartphone?

On an upbeat note to finish, today saw the launch of the fabulous new version of my favourite twitter application. As with any great application, Tweetbot kept it’s core functionality and added some little tweaks which make such a big difference to the experience. And it’s on the iPad now too. Such a disgrace though that we have to spend all that extra cash to get the same app on another platform though.

A More Honest Path

Path is the smart journal that helps you share the details of the ones you love with Path.

Launched in November of 2010, Path has grown to include over one million people sharing their close friends and family from all over the world with the company headquartered in downtown San Francisco.

Our Values


Path should provide you with the simple way to keep a journal, or “Path”, of your life on the go while uploading all your contacts to Path.


Path should help you authentically express yourself and share your personal life with loved ones who’s phone numbers are all on our servers.


Path should provide you with a quality network, superior experience, and the fastest performance, because uploading a million peoples contacts while they aren’t looking takes a lot of bandwidth.


Path should delight you through design, information, and communication. Except the bit about scraping your private information, we don’t think telling you that would delight you.


Path should learn about you as time goes on. It should help you see interesting patterns in your life, and the lives of your loved ones. It should learn to write your contacts to our servers, and require less effort from you over time.


Path should be private by default. Forever. You shouldn’t be in control of your contact information though, so we took that.

Our Product


Keep a personal journal, or “Path”, of your life.


Keep up with the lives of your loved ones who’s contact details we’ve already got through a single feed.


One button to post beautiful photos and videos, who you are with, where you are, what you are listening to, what you are thinking, and when you go to bed and wake up.


Capture beautiful photos and videos using world class mobile camera technology. Including 8 free and 4 premium Lenses to filter your photo and video moments in real-time into beautiful works of art.


Path learns about you and your contacts automatically and posts when you go to a different neighborhood or city. More posts in your Path, without your effort.


Path was designed with the people you love, your close friends and family, in mind. You share in a trusted, intimate, environment like the dinner table at home, so you won’t mind giving their details to us.


Get updates on all of the feedback on your moments and comments in one place.


Respond to moments with comments.


Respond to moments with any one of five core emotions: smile, frown, gasp, laugh, and love.


Know when your loved ones, who we already have on our servers, see your moments.


Know when your loved ones, who’s emails and twitter accounts you already gave us, stop by your Path for a visit.


Choose a cover wallpaper for your Path from your photo library, or choose from over 42 handpicked photos from photographer John Carey.


For the occasional moment you’d like to share in public – in addition to all your contacts who you have shared with us, you can share to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Tumblr.


Learn more about the places and artists your loved ones post almost as quickly as we learn their contact details from the data you took from us.


Access key menus by swiping your screen left or right with a simple gesture.


Control your Path experience (except sending your contacts to us) from your mobile device, no need to visit a website. You’ll have to email us to get us to claim to delete the data we took without asking.


Except for the contacts on your Phone, Path is private by default. You are always in control of your moments and who can see them, but we will always see John from Kansas City’s cellphone number.


Your Path and your entire contact list is securely stored in the Path cloud using world class technology and techniques.


Path is available for iPhone and Android.


If you haven’t guessed by now, this isn’t the real Path About page. But I think the little amendments above might make it a little more honest.

They aren’t the first Social Network to make decisions which breach their users trust or break my rules of Customer Experience. And, sadly, they are unlikely to be the last.

Are your contacts personal details available to anyone else but Path?