A song

While watching a TV show the other night I heard a song and used Shazam to find out author and title (and see real-time lyrics, isn’t that feature cool?).

The next day I tried to buy the song on iTunes store, but it was only available as part of an album. Which I did not want to buy.

At this point I was quite ready to steal it, but then I found it on another site, Italian, and I got the mp3 there (it was cheaper too).

As soon as the mp3 was downloaded, iTunes imported it and it notified iCloud of my new purchase.

Seconds later the very same file that Apple didn’t want to sell to me had been automatically downloaded to my iPhone.

We live in interesting times.

Ubuntu HUD

This is an interesting idea.

I’ve been a big fan of Quicksilver for a long time, and recently I have found myself more and more going to the Search feature of the MacOS Help menu as a shortcut to other menu options. It perfectly makes sense to me. [via Brent Simmons]

[HUD] It’s a way for you to express your intent and have the application respond appropriately. We think of it as “beyond interface”, it’s the “intenterface”. This concept of “intent-driven interface” has been a primary theme of our work in the Unity shell, with dash search as a first class experience pioneered in Unity. Now we are bringing the same vision to the application, in a way which is completely compatible with existing applications and menus.

Facebook Ghetto

For the last couple of months I have kept Safari, which is my main browser, logged off Facebook. When I want to check what’s going on there (there’s many people I care for on Facebook, mostly family), I switch to Chrome. This is actually not very different from switching to the Facebook app when I’m on my iPhone or iPad. The reason I do this is to prevent Facebook from tracking my web surfing (would be nice if they would expose who they think I am as Google does).

In this set up what I find annoying are web applications that rely exclusively on Facebook for some features. For example, I would like to look into Wavii but they only support Facebook log-in (it’s a beta). Or in the case of Pinterest, the only way to find friends is, again, connecting my Facebook account.

To use these other apps I just switch to Chrome and do whatever I need with them, it’s not very different from switching from a browser window to another, I have plenty of RAM and I always run several browser anyway. But the curious result is that Chrome is becoming the ghetto of FB-only apps.

Wonder where this will end…

Borders

On September 15, 1947, Gorizia was incorporated into Italy again, and a new border was drawn (or literally painted) with Yugoslavia. I always find old footage fascinating (click the picture to go to the British Pathé site).

The border is still there but there are no checkpoints and anybody can freely cross it.

We are working on some projects which should contribute to make these borders even less relevant.

Scotch Eggs and serendipity

We heard about Scotch Eggs for the first time last week.

Then I happened to be in London for a day, so I bought some good sausages at Allens. Quite randomly, a friend had recorded a food show where famous chef Heston Blumenthal was presenting his own version of these eggs. At the end of the long boiling + frying + baking process, the yolk should still be runny.

On Saturday, we gave it a try, with quite good results.

Don’t be stupid

Euan Semple about the Olympic communication team social networks restrictions:

Trying to control use of the social web in this way in this day and age is impractical. It makes the organisers look stupid.

They are not alone. Most people running our institutions don’t understand what is happening and don’t know what to do about it. They pay agencies to do it for them and the agencies themselves don’t understand what is going on, or find it challenging and try to retain their own form of control.

I see this every day, and even if it isn’t rocket science, it’s so distant from current corporate culture that I’m afraid that until every single member of this generation will be out of the game, we won’t see real change.

Meanwhile we should get at work figuring out new kinds of organizations.

Hate

MG Siegler:

I hate Android for the same reason that Severus Snape hates Harry Potter — the very sight reminds me of something so beautiful, that was taken. Except it’s worse. It’s as if Harry Potter has grown up to become Voldemort.

Social networks and me

I have been thinking about how I use/see different social networking tools these days.

I’m sharing here some observations.

Facebook

I have never been a huge fan of Facebook, but I do find it useful to keep up with a lot of relatives I would not hear from otherwise. I almost never post anything to Facebook (my tweets and Flickr photos are automatically pushed). From time to time I re-share something I like. I’m also managing a few pages, but that’s another story. I have 454 friends on Facebook, the vast majority is people I actually know somehow. I use a secondary browser or iPhone/iPad apps for Facebook, as I find slightly annoying being tracked around the web.

Google+

I liked Google+ a lot in the first weeks. That’s probably because there was very little people there, and conversations seemed to be meaningful. Then Robert Scoble published a circle which included my account, and suddenly I had more than 5000 followers. I like the concept of circles, and I liked the idea of keeping a circle of “Italians” to post stuff in Italian (it’s incredible how bad all social networks are when you speak more than one language and you have friends who only speak one of them), but with the large number of followers I gave up keeping my circles sorted. Today I have 6710 followers and 205 people in my circles: I add those I find interesting. I still check Google Plus a few times a day (using my regular browser… I just can’t live without letting Google know everything I do).

Twitter

I’m not very good with Twitter. I find it hard to post meaningful stuff in 140 characters. I follow 439 accounts (people, companies, queens, squirrels, etc). Have 1815 followers. Sometimes I retweet something, I use it to push links (this post is a good candidate), but I don’t check Twitter that often. I have a list named “friends” I try to follow a bit more, but they keep hiding the lists feature in every UI change and I guess I will give up on them soon.

LinkedIn

For a very long time I was super-serious about not accepting connections from people I didn’t actually know. Lately I have been a little less strict about the rule (I do accept connections from people I find interesting, even if I don’t know them). I still turn down Indian businessmen and Venezuelan PR agencies, and I’m always slightly amazed by the fact that people I know do connect with them. I don’t see what’s the point.  I have more than 500 connections on LinkedIn. From time to time it has been useful to find some information about people I knew, but it really never worked when trying to make contact with others.

Path

Like many others, recently I have been playing with Path. I like to think of it as the network of people I like. It’s too soon to say if it will last, but it’s promising and I like the design of the app. If you wake up and your dsl line is down, friends will think that you sleep for days.

Foursquare

After some pretty intense activity in the past, I’m not checking it anymore. Never accepted contacts from people I didn’t know relatively well (knowing where I am is kinda private).

Others

I also have Plancast, Friendfeed, Quora, Dopplr, Digg, Slideshare in my “social-networking-open-all-with-one-click” bookmark, but I can’t really say I find any use in my accounts on those networks.

 How about social networks and you?

Tools

Brent Simmons on comments:

I see my blog that way: it’s one place on the web, the place where I write. It’s one leaf on a tree. It doesn’t have to contain everything. These days there are so many ways and places to comment — so many other tools — that including comments here would be Emacs-like.

Time to blog

I started blogging about 10 years ago. My first posts are still there. Blogging was in the air. We were writing our posts, aggregating our feeds and updating our blogrolls.

I was still working in a nice corner office, my company was well funded, and I “had no idea what kind of shit was about to go down”. Let’s just say that few months later somebody burst my bubble.

For the following three or four years blogging is what really kept me going. It gave me contacts, business, partners, ideas. For a while also some small visibility which at times has been useful (and at times annoying).

Then it faded out. It wasn’t for the emergence of other social networking tools, I didn’t really moved elsewhere, I just stopped sharing. Partially it was because the conversation on blogging tools was pretty much over. Partially because there was a lot of smarter people with more interesting stuff to say. And also because I reached a number of reader that scared me.

Anyway, “the times they are a-changin'” (big time!), I think I will have more to share this year: it’s time to start blogging again.