Articles in the ‘Off-topic’ Category

My 2012

It’s been an amazing year, getting married, the olympics, doing my first public speaking gig, so many highlights. Here’s just a few in pictures

2013 is already shaping up to be a landmark year, I’m hugely excited about it already and can’t wait to share the first bit of news in the next few weeks (no, my wife isn’t pregnant – see this:

Why would Twitter close the door on 3rd party apps?

Last night, Twitter blogged about upcoming changes to its API in version 1.1. It’s not the most communicative of posts, goes on for quite a bit and has incensed quite a lot of developers.

The fury is all about this diagram and paragraph:

Twitter dev quadrant

In the upper right-hand quadrant are services that enable users to interact with Tweets, like the Tweet curation service Storify or the Tweet discovery site
That upper-right quadrant also includes, of course, “traditional” Twitter clients like Tweetbot andEchofon. Nearly eighteen months ago, we gave developers guidance that they should not build client apps that mimic or reproduce the mainstream Twitter consumer client experience.” And to reiterate what I wrote in my last post, that guidance continues to apply today.

So, apps like Tweetbot, Echofon and Tweetdeck are no longer wanted. But why would they do this, and what are the alternatives?


Because Twitter is changing, and it’s going to change rapidly. Twitter’s 1.0 API has been around for 6 years, which is an eternity in API terms. They need to move on and they want their applications to come with them in the same way that Apple wants to control their app ecosystem and user experience. The problem is that these rules haven’t existed before and the way it’s all been phrased is pretty hideous and very negative.


Well, they could have phrased it better. Anil Dash does a great job of re-writing the post and making the world seem right again.

Joe Stump makes some great suggestions as to how to control third party clients:

Why not run API like the App Store? 1. Require they use Twitter ads 2. Require they follow design rules 3. Require all clients be approved

I really like those ideas, and they seem implementable, but it will require a lot of effort on Twitter’s side to set up this ecosystem and encourage third party apps again.

But, from the blog post, it seems Twitter doesn’t want to encourage third party apps.

What next?

There’ll still be 6 months between v1.1 being turned on and 1.0 being turned off, which is plenty of time for developers to bring themselves into line with the new rules. Twitter will be listening to this discussion, and will probably respond in time. Hopefully this will clear up the confusion, and I hope they work directly with the developers that are affected by this, instead of just dictating the rules. We can always hope!

Just remember, it’s still a great service (via Jason Snell)

As the Twitter angst burns bright, let me say this: I think Twitter is the single best thing ever made on the Internet. Seriously.


Retrospective: Apple product prediction

Well over a year ago, I wrote an article on the regulated rigidness that is Apple’s product release cycle. I mapped out the next two years of Apple’s product launches down to the month, and it has been the most viewed post on my blog for the entirety of last year, even eclipsing Smashing Mag calling my bookshelf “rough”. nearly 40% of all page views were for that and over 80% of searches led to that page

So, looking back on what I wrote, was I right? Does it even matter?

Was I right?

Yes, most. Of the time. I predicted the iPhone, iPad, new iPods and 10.7 announcements very well. The iPhone 4 sdk announcement was spot on, but the ipad launch date was a bit off, as was the iPad 2 and iPhone 5 as well. I didn’t see OS X 10.7 Lion coming so soon after it’s announcement, given how long 10.6 took to release.

It seems that Apple have switched to an 18 month release cycle with it’s more mature products like the iPhone. The iPad is still new so innovation and new features are simple, the iPhone is more difficult as there’s very few extra sensors that they could add, so software and CPU/GPU components as well as the design of the device itself are the updates to be made. Significant changes like that take longer, so the 18 month cycle seems more reasonable.

What I got wrong or missed completely was more telling: I didn’t get the iMac refresh or te MacBook pro or air updates. I also got iWork 2011 out by 6 months. Not brilliant form, but let me explain why they’re out: Apple don’t control them, Intel do.

Intel’s processors are the main reason to get a new MacBook, they’re certainly the biggest update in every generation. The recent addition of Thunderbolt ports and a bit more RAM isn’t really a good reason to upgrade. Major design changes I.e. the unibody MacBook pro change or the nee design MacBook Air are harder to predict, but Intel makes it’s roadmaps very clear. They go in an annual tick-tock pattern, new architecture on the tick then tweaks and enhancements to that architecture on the tock. Then it continues (like clockwork) with a new micro-architecture every 2 years. This means you get an updated MacBook every year, at almost the same time of year. The only time it misses is if Intel miss a deadline, and they’ve not done that for years.

So, what’s the future? Pretty much the same as when I last wrote. Expect updates, regularly. As products mature, expect their release cycles to extend. New products get 12 months updates, then after a few years get 18 months updates until they are eventually discontinued. MacBook updates will continue to be in line with Intel processor updates.

And that is how Apple’s release cycle works. Any questions, Tweet me or write a comment below.

Interesting North #IntNorth

On my way to see some friends in Sheffield, tweeting away on the train, Chris Murray offered me a ticket for Interesting North as a way out of going shopping with the missus and her friends.

Jumping at the chance, I had a great time, learned a lot and laughed a lot. I made some notes and sketches, so take a look. Have a laugh at the “daft novels about nazis” (morning sketch at the bottom), they were brilliant.