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Mobile Technology News, January 31, 2014

As developers for tablets and smartphones we like to keep abreast of the latest mobile technology developments . This is a daily digest of mobile development and related technology news gathered from the BBC, the New York Times, New Scientist and the Globe and Mail to name a few. We scour the web for articles concerning, iPhone, iPad and android development, iOS and android operating systems as well as general articles on advances in mobile technology. We hope you find this useful and that it helps to keep you up to date with the latest technology developments.

  • Amazon stock slides 10% on earnings
    Online retailer Amazon reports net profits of $239m for the quarter ending 31 December, but its stock plunges after missing analyst expectations.
  • The 50 Best Super Bowl Commercials Ever (VIDEOS)
    The most memorable moments on Super Bowl Sunday don’t always take place on the gridiron and the most complex plays aren’t always scripted by the coaches on the sidelines. Sometimes it’s a 6-year-old dressed in a Darth Vader costume rather than a 6′ 8″ behemoth in shoulder pads that has America talking on Super Monday.

    Ever since Apple ushered in the age of the blockbuster Super Bowl commercial with its epic “1984” ad during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII, the NFL’s biggest game is must-watch television from start to finish regardless of what is happening on the field. That iconic Apple commercial directed by Ridley Scott remains the most talked about aspect the Los Angeles Raiders’ 38-9 win over the Washington Redskins in Tampa (edging that 74-yard touchdown run by Marcus Allen).

    From classics like Mean Joe Greene’s legendary Super Bowl spot and the Xerox monks commercial to recent favorites like Betty White’s big hit for Snickers, here are 50 of the most unforgettable Super Bowl commercials ever aired. Which is the best? Any favorites that we forgot?

  • The Apple Impasse
    Among the number of Apple product users (I would give you the precise figure if Google didn’t require a password), I wonder how many billions have been as frustrated as I am over Apple’s password requirements. I do know my wife is one of them, since she has been on the phone with a equally frustrated Apple technician for the past four hours trying to restore a password on her iMac, iPhone, iPad, iTunes and iCloud.

    This Apple password business makes an application for Obamacare look like a waltz in the sun. And am I wrong to believe it’s a relatively new phenomenon? Yes, I know you always needed a password to open your computer, and then, of course, you always needed others to look into your bank balance, retirement pension, cable television company, hospital accounts, newspapers, and so forth. Now you need one just to get permission to blow your nose.

    I appreciate the need for a password. It protects you against all forms of fraud, scams, jams, hacking, hijacking, and fast tracking. What I don’t understand is why a passport suddenly and without any warning turns a cold shoulder on you, or why it is so nerve-wracking to establish a new one.

    Take my wife, She awoke this morning to discover that she couldn’t access her computer. The passport was invalid. “Forgot your password?” the computer asked her. “No,” she tried to answer, without any success, “The passport forgot me.”

    It should have been easy to establish a new one. But after following all the procedures with increasing impatience, she finally decided to call an Apple technician. (She’s still on the phone as you read this.) Let me tell you about the frustrations that led up to that decision. First, she waited for the email that would tell her how to create a new password. Then she followed the easy instruction: Enter Apple ID. Then she answered the following questions: Mother’s maiden name; best friend in high school; name of her date at the senior prom. And finally, she was asked to identify some extremely squiggly numbers and letters that anyone without astigmatism could not possibly interpret correctly. (It reminds one of Mel Brooks’s “Two Thousand Year Old Man” who, when told that Shakespeare was a great writer, testily replied, “He was a terrible writer — his i’s looked like j’s, his q’s looked like p’s. His handwriting was terrible.”)

    When, by some miracle, my wife got past this verbal obstacle, she was answered to enter a new password. Sounds encouraging, no? Forget about it. Her password was rejected because it didn’t have sufficient numbers or capital letters. The next one looked too much like another she had used in the past year. And the next one was considered too accessible to hackers. That was when, suppressing an impulse to defenestrate her computer, she called up Apple, which took her through even more complicated procedures regarding the serial number of her computer, the General category of her System Preferences, the extent of her Options and Data, and the date of her sister’s first menstrual period.

    Aha, she’s back! Success! She has finally broken through her Apple Impasse and established an Apple Password. It is “Iam123PissedoffAshell.”

  • CIRP: Apple regains US smartphone lead thanks to new iPhones
    The latest report from the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) panel shows Apple retook its lead in US smartphone marketshare against the combined forces of Android competitors following the release of new iPhone models in October. The figures, which cover the last quarter of 2013, show that iOS outsold Android by 48 percent to 46 percent, Apple outsold rival Samsung 48 to 31 percent, and that BlackBerry has officially fallen to zero percent marketshare.

        



  • Windows 8.1 update may default to desktop on startup
    An expected update to Windows 8.1 could reportedly boot directly to the traditional Windows desktop, bypassing the tiled “Metro” start screen.
  • Samsung, Apple argue in court over product sales injunctions
    Apple and Samsung were in court on Thursday in front of US District Court Judge Lucy Koh, with the former arguing that its successful verdicts against Samsung entitles it to sales bans on the affected products (even though none of them are still offered for sale). Samsung, meanwhile, protested that the injunctions would “create fear and uncertainty” among suppliers, since Apple could seek bans on current and future products as well.

        



  • Social media transforms lessons
    Is social media set to kill schoolbooks?
  • Box said to have secretly filed for an IPO
    The cloud-storage service has confidentially filed paperwork for an initial public offering, reports Quartz.
  • VIDEO: Inside the mind of an inventor
    Colin Furze is a plumber, inventor and holder of numerous Guinness World Records
  • VIDEO: Close up look at solar-powered home
    Keith Eggington lives with his wife Joan in a solar-powered house in Rotherham. He explains the huge benefits to being powered by the sun.
  • Zynga buys game-maker NaturalMotion
    Social gaming firm Zynga announces the purchase of UK gamemaker Natural Motion as it posts a loss of $25m for the fourth quarter.
  • Illinois Lawmaker Takes Aim At 'Revenge Porn' Posters And Peddlers With New Proposal
    Revenge porn” could become a felony crime in Illinois with hefty fines and jail time under a new proposal filed in Springfield Wednesday.

    If passed, the legislation sponsored by state Sen. Michael Hastings (D–Orland Park) would also make it a felony to host any website that forces victims to pay a fee to have their images taken down.

    “It’s extortion, it’s wrong and it’s a growing problem,” Hastings said in a statement. “Unfortunately, this happens daily to unsuspecting people who often times use technology without fully realizing the consequences.”

    The posting of so-called “revenge porn” or “involuntary porn” is done so without the subject’s permission — often by a bitter ex — with accompanying information like address, workplace or social media accounts that identifies the victim.

    In still more instances — like the case a California woman whose computer was hacked for personal photos of herself that showed her topless — the images are stolen outright.

    “Despite what is advertised, ‘Revenge Porn’ is not pornography. When it all comes down, Revenge Porn is simply harassment,” states a Change.org petition calling for Illinois to amend its cyberstalking laws.

    Currently, victims can’t go after web hosts directly due to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

    If passed, Hastings’ proposal would make revenge porn a felony punishable by up to a $25,000 fine and three years in jail.

    New Jersey and California already have laws on the books criminalizing revenge porn. The Tribune reports similar bills are pending in 13 other states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

    Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have urged caution when crafting laws against revenge porn.

    “We generally don’t think that finding more ways to put people in prison for speech is a good thing,” said Adi Kamdar, an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the Boston Globe in November. “A lot of times, these laws — if they aren’t narrowly focused enough — they can be interpreted too broadly.”

  • The Price Of Amazon Prime May Go Up For First Time — By A Lot
    Enjoy that $79 Amazon Prime while you can.

    The price of Prime, the $79 yearly subscription that includes free two-day shipping, may increase between $20 and $40 in the U.S., the company said late Thursday in a call with investors and analysts.

    The price of Prime hasn’t changed in the nine years since it first launched. The company said the increases were the result of rising fuel and shipping costs over the past near-decade.

    Tom Szkutak, Amazon’s CFO, said that Amazon was “considering” a price increase, but didn’t give a timeline as to when it would go in effect. He also declined to answer an analyst’s question about how the price increase would be implemented, so it’s unclear if existing Prime members would be grandfathered in at $79.

    Amazon Prime initially gave customers free two-day shipping on over 1 million items. It has since grown to include 19 million items, Szkutak said, as well as access to Amazon Prime Instant Video and a digital library for Kindle owners. Szkutak said that the potential price increase wasn’t to cover costs associated with Amazon’s subscription video service or the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, though he acknowledged that “those are certainly costly.”

    The service automatically re-enrolls people after a year.

    Amazon has refused to disclose exactly how many Prime members exist, but in December said that it was “tens of millions.”

    A Morningstar report from last year said that Prime members spend “approximately twice as much” as their non-Prime counterparts each year, shop more frequently and buy pricier items.

  • Closer Together or Further Apart? Digital Devices and the New Generation Gap
    Angry Birds: 1, Grandparents: 0

    Last week Chuck and Janet Bloom gave their only daughter a night off by taking their grandchildren out for dinner at a local pizza parlor. Both were looking forward to a playful evening with the kids. But as soon as they sat at the table, even before the menus appeared, they noted with dismay that their beloved grandkids were more engaged with and attentive to their holiday-acquired digital devices than to their loving, pizza-partying grandparents. Miriam, their sweet 14-year-old granddaughter, had her eyes intently focused on the contents of her iPad Facebook page. Briana, the 11-year-old, was posting her whereabouts on Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare. And at the far end of the table, 7-year-old Sam’s lips pursed in silent focus as he furiously engaged in a PlayStation cowboy shootout. Feeling frustrated, hurt, and angry — like they might as well have dined alone — Chuck and Janet quietly launched into an oft-held discussion about how these devices are ruining not just their three grandkids, but young people in general.

    At the very same moment and just one table over, half a dozen 20-something work friends were seated, also preparing to order pizza. And just one look over at that crowd affirmed Chuck and Janet’s worries about a “lost generation.” At that table, two of the diners amicably swapped office gossip, but the others were as engaged with their digital devices as the aforementioned grandkids. What the clucking Chuck and Janet failed to notice was that no one at this second table seemed even remotely concerned or bothered by the fact that technology held as much sway as actual people.

    So, why were Chuck and Janet seething about the “digital snub” from their grandchildren, while everyone at the other table managed to enjoy themselves, completely unruffled by the ever-shifting sands of live conversation, texting, tweeting and posting? In great part this difference stems from the fact that Chuck and Janet are digital immigrants, while their grandkids and the 20-somethings one table over are all digital natives — different generations divided by different definitions of personal respect, attentiveness, interpersonal communication and what constitutes a meaningful relationship.

    Digital Natives vs. Digital Immigrants

    Generally speaking, people born before 1980 are digital immigrants, and those born after are digital natives. This somewhat arbitrary dividing line attempts to separate those who grew up actively using the Internet and those who did not. Another, and perhaps better, way of looking at things is to say that digital natives unquestioningly value and appreciate the role that digital technology plays in their lives, whereas digital immigrants hold mixed views on the subject. Not surprisingly, thanks to continual advances in digital technology (such as the introduction of Internet-enabled smartphones a few years ago), the separation between digital natives and digital immigrants is widening almost by the day, resulting not so much in a generation gap as a generation chasm.

    This new generation gap is evident in practically every facet of modern life. For instance, there are extreme differences in the ways digital natives and digital immigrants conduct business, gather news and information and spend their paychecks. They also differ significantly in the ways they define personal privacy, experience entertainment and socially engage (as evidenced in the pizza restaurant scenario above). Simply put, in a mere 25 years our basic forms of interpersonal communication and interaction have been drastically reformatted, and those who prefer the old ways of mostly face-to-face contact often feel left out and unappreciated.

    In some ways this new generation gap sounds a lot like every other generation gap in history. However, previous generation gaps have mostly centered on young people vocally, visually and in-real-time challenging the beliefs and experiences of their elders. Today, the divide is more about the fact that young people neither see nor hear their elders because, from a communications standpoint, the two generations are not in the same room. For instance, in the pizza restaurant Chuck and Janet are “present” and interacting at the dinner table, while their grandkids are “present” and interacting in a completely different, entirely digital universe. In some ways, this means that Chuck and Janet are dinosaurs. Basically, because they’re not texting, tweeting or posting to social media, they’re not effectively communicating with their grandkids. Thus it seems the 1960s mantra that Chuck and Janet used to utter, “Don’t trust anyone over 30,” has for their grandkids morphed into, “We don’t care about anyone over 30 because we can’t see or hear them.”

    Connection/Disconnection

    Interestingly, many digital natives think that young people are isolated and disconnected — more interested in machines than people. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, no generation in history has been more interconnected than Generations Y and Z. Statistics readily back this up. One study found that in 2009 more than half of American teens logged on to a social media site at least once per day, and nearly a quarter logged on 10 or more times per day. In the same year, a study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project found that more than three-quarters of U.S. teens owned a cellphone, with 88 percent texting regularly. Boys were sending and receiving 30 texts per day, with girls averaging 80. A more recent Pew study, this one conducted in 2012, finds these numbers are rising rapidly among every Gen Y and Z demographic. In fact, the first sentence of the 2012 study’s overview reads: “Teens are fervent communicators.” Indeed!

    This same survey also reveals (to the chagrin of many digital immigrants) that texting is now the primary mode of communication between teens and their friends and family, far surpassing phone calls, emails, and face-to-face interactions. Depending on your age and point of view, of course, this may or may not be a bad thing.

    Consider Brad, a tech-savvy digital immigrant who recently flew home from the West Coast to visit his family in Chicago. One evening at dinner there were three generations — his parents, him and his sister, and his sister’s kids. During dinner the oldest child, 17, asked him via text:

    “Are you going to marry that girl you brought home last year?”

    He texted back: “Yes, but no one else knows yet. Is that OK?”

    In response, she typed: “I’m so excited. I know you don’t want your mom and dad to know yet, but they are really hoping you will. They liked her. So just between us, can I be a bridesmaid?”

    He texted: “I know my secret would be safe with you, and of course you will be a bridesmaid!”

    For Brad, this poignant conversation with his niece was one of the more meaningful exchanges of his entire five-day visit. And it is possible that without the privacy shield provided by texting, his 17-year-old niece may not have had the courage to broach the subject, even if she’d been able to find a moment alone with him. For her, the digital buffer of texting made this sweet and intimate exchange possible. And the conversation was no less meaningful for either person just because it was conducted via text.

    Talk Versus Text: Does It Matter?

    It is possible that human interactions are no less meaningful or productive simply because they are digital rather than face-to-face. It is also possible the exact opposite is true. Frankly, it depends more on those doing the communicating than anything else. Most often, digital immigrants (Baby Boomer and Gen X types) tend to want/need/prefer in-person, live interactions or at least telephone conversations where they can hear the other person’s voice.

    Digital natives, on the other hand, seem to feel that communication is communication, no matter the venue. To them, it seems silly to wait until they run into someone when they can text that person right now and get an instant response. They ask: “Why would I be disconnected when I can post, tweet and text to let my family and friends known what I’m doing and what I need, and they can do the same with me?” This, of course, is the crux of the current generation gap — shifting from a fully analog world to one that is increasingly digital.

    In my recently released book Closer Together, Further Apart, my coauthor Jennifer Schneider and I note that in today’s world the best communicators are those who are willing and able to engage other people in whatever venue is most appropriate and useful at the time. They neither avoid nor insist on a particular mode of interaction. Instead, they work hard to make sure their message is fully understood by the intended audience no matter what. In other words, they embrace the idea that they need to live and communicate fluently in both the digital and analog worlds. As technology evolves, so do good communicators, and they do so without forgetting or discounting what has worked in the past, remaining constantly aware of the fact that some people may prefer the older methodology, while others prefer the new.

    Unfortunately, as has always been the case when changes in technology have swiftly and profoundly affected our day-to-day lives, many people, young and old alike, become entrenched in the belief that “the way we do it is the best way.” The simple truth is that cultural/technological assimilation is rarely an easy task. Sometimes it can feel easier to judge and avoid, rather than to embrace and evolve. Thus we have the current communications-driven generation gap. That said, the effort of reaching out beyond our generational comfort zone is usually well worth the effort. Brad found that to be true with his niece, and Chuck and Janet might also find it to be the case if they were only willing to give it a shot.

    _____

    Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S is Senior Vice President of Clinical Development with Elements Behavioral Health. He has developed clinical programs for The Ranch outside Nashville, Tennessee, Promises Treatment Centers in Malibu, and The Sexual Recovery Institute in Los Angeles. An author and subject expert on the relationship between digital technology and human sexuality, Mr. Weiss has served as a media specialist for CNN, The Oprah Winfrey Network, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Today Show, among many others. He has also provided clinical multi-addiction training and behavioral health program development for the US military and treatment centers throughout the United States, Europe and Asia.

  • Microsoft ready to name Satya Nadella new CEO, report says
    After months of searching, Microsoft’s board is said to be close to naming Steve Ballmer’s replacement. Bill Gates also may be out as chairman.
  • 7 Uses for the iPhone 5s Fingerprint Scanner
    2014-01-30-iphonetouchid.jpg

    With Apple’s launch of the iPhone 5s fingerprint scanner, biometrics have gone mainstream. Many consumers are focused on the so-called “end of the password,” but the impact of TouchID is reframing how we think about access, security, and integration between virtual apps and real world actions. While top Apple execs are saying that developers won’t get direct access to TouchID in the short-term, an eventual release of the technology via API is likely. Here are 7 uses for the iPhone 5s fingerprint scanner we expect to see in the future that go way beyond simply unlocking your phone.

    1. Authorize iTunes Purchases

    Consumers are now able to verify iTunes store purchases with a tap of the scanner. The mechanics are simple, and mirror iOS’s current approach to storing passwords. Your passwords are stored in your iPhone keychain, and your fingerprint will serve as authorization. An approach like this backs up Apple’s position that your fingerprint (or more specifically, an algorithmic interpretation of your fingerprint) is only stored locally on your phone, versus in the cloud – thus allaying security concerns.

    2. Integrate with Home Security Systems

    Touch ID has interesting implications for integration with the growing phone-controlled home security market. Functions such as arming your system, unlocking your door, starting your car, and accessing your home cameras could be triggered by a touch. The major appeal here is security. If your phone is lost or stolen, remote control of your home and vehicle is protected. This additional level of security could help spur adoption of the technology, and further personalize security options based on who is accessing the system.

    3. Increase Security and Integration with Token-Based Services

    TouchID doesn’t just change security in a world of bad passwords and no passwords; it dramatically increases security as well. The iPhone 5S’ fingerprint scanner creates a physical barrier that makes it much harder to hack. As we strive for better security, many institutions such as banks have implemented security tokens to control access. TouchID could add another layer of authentication to these services.

    4. Change the Way Other Apps Conceptualize Security

    As the iPod changed our concept of accessing music, it’s possible that TouchID will lead a revolution in the way that apps and other devices handle security. Other devices will be looking at the adoption and success rates of TouchID to combat fraud and security risks. Apps that currently rely on passwords will begin to explore whether a TouchID API could be the solution in our world of no passwords, bad passwords, and aggressive hackers. Since many services already use OAuth to verify usernames and passwords without exposing them on the server, it’s a conceivably simple step forward to add two-factor fingerprint verification.

    5. Pay for Groceries

    The day may not be far away when TouchID could allow you to authorize an in-person purchase at your local grocery store. A store with a payment system connected to iBeacons technology could ostensibly have purchases authorized through the fingerprint scanner. All communication would happen via Bluetooth. The register would transfer the bill to your phone, and you’d authorize your purchase by scanning your fingerprint. This would help reduce instances of credit card fraud, and forgetting or losing your credit card.

    6. Enable Multiple User Profiles on a Single Mobile Device

    Having multiple profiles on a computer makes it easier to share; everything can be configured to your preferences. But sharing on mobile devices has proven harder. TouchID could open the way for businesses that share tablets (assuming it migrates to other iDevices) or families that share phones. One tap of a wife’s finger could open her profile, configured with her work mail and productivity apps. Handing over the phone to her husband could then access his gaming apps. One user could even configure different profiles – for example, a work profile and a personal one – that could be accessed by different digits, making the phone a truly responsive tool.

    7. Increase Adoption and Possibilities of Passbook

    Die-hard iPhone users already know about Passbook: the native iPhone app that allows users to store coupons, passes, and event tickets in a single place. But, for a native app, its adoption rate is disappointing, according to zdnet.com.

    Passbook is a channel for acquiring and retaining customers. TouchID could add a layer of security to the system, but it also opens up the possibilities of expanding Passbook’s capabilities. Passbook has the potential to become a fully functioning digital wallet, storing payment details and other sensitive information. Fingerprint authentication will help late adopters feel more secure, and willing to give the app a try.

    Touch ID is likely an inflection point in technology: the first step that sets off a chain reaction that changes how technology manufacturers and app developers think about security and build checks and balances into their products. While much in the short-term will be determined by the level of access that Apple provides, it’s clear: our notion of security and device authentication is about to be turned on its head.

    Image credit: Senate.gov (public domain)

  • Microsoft Will Likely Name Satya Nadella As Its Next CEO: Reports
    Microsoft has decided that its next CEO will be Satya Nadella, an executive vice president at Microsoft and longtime employee at the ailing software maker, Bloomberg News is reporting.

    Microsoft cast a wide net for its next chief executive, both within and outside the company. Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s CEO for a decade, said he planned to step down from the position in August. Microsoft ran through a slew of corporate stars, including Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Ericsson CEO Hans Vestberg, before choosing Nadella, an internal candidate with less name recognition.

    Bloomberg News hedged its report, saying Microsoft’s “plans aren’t finished,” according to its sources.

    The intervening months of uncertainty over who would lead Microsoft took its toll on employees’ morale, reports Re/code’s well-sourced Kara Swisher, who also confirmed that Nadella is the “likeliest internal candidate to prevail” as CEO. Nevertheless, Microsoft workers “seem to love him,” reports Fortune’s Dan Primack.

    Bill Gates may step back to an even smaller role at Microsoft since ending his run as CEO in 2000. Again according to Bloomberg, the board is discussing having someone replace Gates as chairman of the board, a position from which Gates gently steered Microsoft during Ballmer’s rocky tenure through the last decade. Since 2000, Gates has directed most of his energy to philanthropic efforts.

    Moving from Sun Microsystems to Microsoft in 1992, Nadella is currently in charge of cloud computing and enterprise software — a side of Microsoft’s business that primarily sells to other businesses, not regular customers. Over the past several years, Microsoft has struggled to sell consumer products like Windows Phone or Microsoft Surface while its enterprise business has remained healthy.

  • Google earnings climb on ad revenue
    Search giant Google reports fourth quarter profits of $3.38bn, up 17% from a year earlier, buoyed by strong advertising revenue.
  • Image Disruptor: Flag Looks To Upend Photo Printing Through The Magic of Free
    By Noah J. Nelson (@noahjnelson)

    Flag, a photo printing start-up that is holding a barnstorming 14-day Kickstarter campaign right now, turned up on my radar this week thanks to John Gruber’s Daring Fireball. The pitch video for the app is slick, featuring go-to start-up pitchman Adam Lisagor–you might recognize him from ads for Coin, Square, or countless others–in a supporting role.

    Front and center is Flag’s founder and UX designer Samuel Agboola, who makes the pitch for the service: get 20 free photo prints a month from your smartphone. Printing and shipping are free, thanks to an ad on the back of the print. Paid upgrades, be it for more prints or postcards, are an option.

    As of this writing, with just 11 days left, Flag has raised just under $40,000 of the $100,000 campaign goal. I caught up with Flag’s Agboola via the magic of email to have him answer a few questions I had about the project.

    TURNSTYLE: Flag looks like it is targeted at those who would like to have prints but don’t need to have them right away, is that accurate? Will the “buy as many as you need” photos be available on-demand or as ad-free options?

    Samuel Agboola: I’d not put it that way. Flag is aimed at people who want prints but aren’t happy with the options that exist. Making prints at home is expensive and a hassle. Ordering prints online is expensive and the quality is wildly variable. Getting prints at the pharmacy? An act of desperation. The quality is laughable thanks to neglected equipment and unskilled staff.

    Flag can deliver as fast, or faster, than any online printer, we can beat the quality of home printers and offer capabilities you’d need a laser-die cutter—which you don’t have—to match. If you use Flag to make simple rectangular prints you’re going to get the best quality you’ve experienced and enjoy excellent service and convenience. If you use the app and explore any of our special features you’re going to produce prints unlike anything anyone else is capable of.

    TS: Why just a 14 day campaign?

    Confidence, experience and a little madness. If you study Kickstarter campaigns, and we have (as you’ll discover if you listen to the podcasts we produced last year at greenlighter.com) you’ll be familiar with the smashed camel effect. If you graph the responses to Kickstarter campaigns you see a peak at the start, then a big dip and a peak at the end. One reason for the dip is a lack of urgency. It’s hard to maintain excitement over 30 days. We hope to avoid that and get the same results without a break in the middle. If it works we’ll look really smart. If not…

    TS: Did the Daring Fireball post cause a big bump?

    SA: Yes.

    TS: In the comments section of the campaign you note that part of the reason for going to Kickstarter is to prove there is interest to potential advertising partners. Was trying a Mailbox.app style launch–gathering beta requests before a limited launch–ever on the table?

    SA: We considered many avenues. The downside to gathering requests is that it’s easy to say “I want that” with nothing on the line. The upside is a potentially huge response. By using Kickstarter people are self-selecting as our best possible customers. They’re paying for a free app. It makes them a very impressive group.

    TS: For those who have never printed out a picture from an iPhone 5, for example, how does a 4×6 print compare to a 4×6 print from 35mm film?

    SA: Wow. You’ll get me killed. Regardless, I’ll wade in. The truth is for a small print an iPhone will produce a print that looks better than 35mm film the way most of us use it. I’m not talking about my father’s Nikon F4 with a great lens and good light. I mean a fixed 28mm lens being handled by someone who’s not a serious enthusiast. We also have the advantage of being able to use filters and effects to correct and enhance our images. The 8MP an iPhone captures will produce a flawless 6×4 print. The things it can’t do as well as 35 mm film are action, depth-of-field control and low-light. iPhones also have an issue with purple but that’s another conversation.

    TS: You’re situated in Venice, what start-ups in the Silicon Beach scene are you getting inspired by?

    SA: I chose to live in Venice because I love the area, I love to walk and I like great coffee. For a couple of years the best coffee-shop in the world was Intelligentsia on Abbot Kinney, thanks to a crew of baristas of uncommon talent and friendliness. It made that coffee-shop the hub of the community and became its own little tech scene. In the rest of LA everyone’s working on a screenplay. In Venice people are as likely to be working on code. I’ve lived in the South Bay, on and off, since the late ’90s. I predate Silicon Beach but find the city itself inspiring.

    *****************

    Flag’s Kickstarter sprint ends on February 11th.

    Public media’s TurnstyleNews.com, covers tech and digital culture from the West Coast.

    Go to Turnstylenews.com | Like us on Facebook | Follow us on Tumblr

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