The Google+ paradox

I’ve been using Google+ for almost as long as it’s been available. It has a lot going for it: excellent apps for the iOS platform, a gorgeous browser interface and interaction with other users that is missing from almost every other social media platform I’ve used.

There are some fantastic interest groups / forums and a very varied user base. The recent update, coinciding with Google I/O was just lovely.

But…there’s always a but.

It just doesn’t play nice with other platforms. With Path, I can share a photo on Facebook, Tumblr and Foursquare simultaneously. With WordPress, I can automatically post to Tumblr.

Every system on the planet seems to interface with both Facebook and Tumblr at some level.

But Google+ sits on some kind of deserted island. If I want to ensure I cross-share a photo, this is a piece of cake on the aforementioned apps. Google+ requires an additional posting.

One could argue I’m using far too many of these social media platforms, that I should just pick one and stick with it and basically get back in my box.

One could indeed.

However, Google+ has amazing potential that I think may be hampered by its lack of connectivity. I don’t think Google’s strategy on this front is gaining them additional users. But thats just anecdotal, based on the very, very few G+ users I know personally.

Why can’t I post something on this WordPress blog and have a link and summary automatically posted to my Google+ stream automatically? Why can’t I ensure my Twitter stream of Wildean banter is shared with G-plussers too?

Annoying.

So right now, my online shenanigans (using this word far too much lately…) breaks down as follows:

Friends and family, social nonsense: Facebook (e.g. “look at this photo of me with my parents”)

Angry, one-liner rants: Twitter, possibly Facebook depending on the content (e.g. “I can’t believe Ireland got no points in the Eurovision”)

Longer rants, focusing on the geekier aspects of life: WordPress, automatically shared with Tumblr (e.g. this very post)

Pictures (mostly of my meals, admittedly): Instagram, automatically shared on Facebook and Tumblr (e.g. “Marvel at how much I ate this evening. And here’s a funky filter to make this burger look arty”)

Anything not for public consumption: Path (where I have very, very few connections, all close friends) (e.g. “Do you know who’s really pissed me off today?”)

Collation of Instagram, some Foursquare and all WordPress posts: Tumblr

Complex, no? Not really – it’s all set up via IFTTT. With some manual bits.

Ideally, I’d like all of this to appear in Google+, removing the need for Tumblr. A kind of “lifestream”, where everything I’m happy to share with the world at large is available in one place.

Now what are the chances of that?

CNN’s thoughts on Macworld…

CNN have posted what they view as the Top 10 Macworld rumours. Nothing I have’t read elsewhere, and to be honest, if you list 10 or so predictions, you enhance your chances of being proved right on the day. Maybe I should list my own Top 100 rumours? I’m particularly excited about the prospect of a web-enhanced/based iWork suite and learning more about the iterative improvements to the OS coming with Snow Leopard.

If you can be bothered to click through to CNN’s site, their predictions are:

10. Snow Leopard release date. We know a lot about Mac OS X 10.6, thanks to Jobs’ June 2008 announcement that it was coming, Apple’s official description of the product and a steady stream of leaks from the developer community. What we don’t know is when it will ship.

9. Unibody 17-inch MacBook Pro. By several accounts, this machine was supposed to be released in October, along with the new unibody 13-inch MacBook and 15-inch MacBook Pro. But display issues and problems with the optical drive reportedly pushed its release back “several months” — which brings us to next week’s Expo. UPDATE: Seth Weintraub at 9to5Mac adds this twist: the new 17-inch Pro will sport a superslim longer-lasting nonremovable battery pack.

8. Revamped iWork. The big news on New Year’s Eve was the “truckload” of information dumped on various rumor sites about iWork — Apple’s homegrown answer to Microsoft (MSFT) Office.  The thrust of it was that what’s now a suite of desktop applications — Pages, Numbers and Keynote — is about to be transformed into a collection of Web-based apps like the .Mac Web Gallery, suitable for cloud computing.

7. 32 GB iPhone. Whispers that Apple was set to double the memory of the top-end iPhone have been floating around since September, but AT&T’s (T) post-Christmas $99 iPhone sale and word that Apple had sewed up the lion’s share Samsung’s flash memory production all point to a January release.

6. 64 GB iPod touch. Rumors of this memory upgrade go back even further. It was supposed to happen in August, then in September, and then before Christmas. With memory prices falling, time is more than ripe.

5. New Mac mini. Rumors of the most affordable Mac’s imminent demise have given way to a flood of new specs, among them  2.0 or 2.3 GHz Core 2 Duo processors, NVIDIA graphics platform, dual display outputs and dual drives that can be configured every which way.

4. New iMac. Some inspired sleuthing in the extension files that shipped with the new MacBooks found references to NVIDIA chipsets for both a Mac mini and a new iMac — along with hints that the reconfigured all-in-one desktop was supposed to ship in November but got pushed into 2009 by unexpected delays. DigiTimes now reports that Apple has ordered shipments of 800,000 per month.

3. New iPod shuffle. FBR Capital Markets’ Craig Berger, whose track record AppleInsider describes as “questionable,” expects Apple to release a new and smaller version of the iPod shuffle sometime in the first calendar quarter — which started on Thursday. AppleInsider adds that it has picked up chatter of a new shuffle that would be flat as a credit card but thick enough at one end to fit a headphone jack.

2. New Apple TV/Time Capsule. This one also comes from an analyst. Shaw Wu, a veteran Apple watcher newly ensconsed at Kaufman Bros., wrote last week about the possibility that Apple will introduce a new consumer device — “an enhanced version of Apple TV and/or Time Capsule” — that would give users access to their media content, SlingBox style, from anywhere on the Internet.

1. Steve Jobs. Show or no-show, Apple’s CEO is both Macworld 2009’s No. 1 rumor and No. 1 source of rumors — whether it be that he’s stepping down, that his health is failing, that he doesn’t feel there’s enough news in Nos. 1-9 to justify a Steve Jobs keynote, or that he just doesn’t feel like playing in Macworld’s sandbox anymore. We favor the theory that he’s set the stage brilliantly for a surprise cameo appearance.

Unlike last year, I’ll be able to read the live-blogs in real time and not frantically try to catch-up after coming home from a late meeting in town. Tick tock. We’re almost there… To add to the almost unbearable sense of anticipation, Andy Ihnatko tweeted about some Macworld-related news he’s privvy to, but wouldn’t elaborate…. he sounds very excited though, and if he’s excited, well… shiver of anticipation etc.

Another Macworld Rumour…

ZDNet is also talking about the potential for Apple to turn iWork into a suite of web applications. However, rather than invest a lot of effort into making changes to the existing iWork suite, they may just tie in the service with Google:

If Apple re-brands Google Docs and Spreadsheets (Eric Schmidt is on the Apple board, Hello!) I’m all for it. Google’s Web office apps are mature, stable and I’m fluent with them. Apple shouldn’t re-invent the wheel on this one because Google’s already done all of the heavy lifting. But if the new Web apps have the ability to read and edit spreadsheets and word processing documents on the iPhone and iPod touch, they’ll be an unmitigated success. You can’t do that currently without third-party software.

Yep, I’d go for that. Google docs works well, and the ability to access it easily via my iPhone would be great.

Tracking my (planned) weight loss…

Like many others, my mind turns to weight loss at this time of year. Somehow, I managed to put on a kilo and a half just over the Christmas break! Somehow? Who am I kidding? It was most definitely the week of champagne for breakfast, three heart-stopping meals a day and every other drink in between.

I’m now on a mini-detox (thankfully involving neither Carol Vorderman nor that slopey-faced oompa-loompa Gillian McKeith), which means no booze, no junk-food and a return to the gym. I’m also staring down the barrel of a gun Triathlon in August, so I really need to get back in shape. All good things, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Today, I found a great little app in the iTunes app store: Weightbot. Essentially, it helps you track your weight loss, calculates your BMI (I, unsurprisingly, am ‘Overweight’) and displays your progress against whatever weight-loss target you choose to enter. “Yes!”, I hear you cry, “but that could easily be accomplished using a spreadsheet and a lovely graph, courtesy of Excel!”

Aha, but that wouldn’t involve my iPhone, would it? I have realised that any fitness regime in which I may involve myself must have some form of technology component merely to keep my attention and address my flagging interest. Weightbot will fulfil this by getting me to enter my (hopefully) decreasing weight daily and marveling at my ability to shed the pounds.

And no, I’m not nearly brave enough to blog about my own actual weight and provide you with a daily update. That’s between me and my iPhone.

Predictions for Macworld

I can’t believe it’s come around again… it seems like only yesterday I was wading knee-deep through outlandish claims and rumours regarding what new products Apple would announce at Macworld. Hands up: I’m a Mac geek. A “fanboi”, if you will. I’ve been using Macs for over 10 years now (so not a recent convert) and am now using a Macbook and a 3G iPhone. So what has caught my eye among the maelstrom of rumours this time round?

I’ve heard mention of a possible “iPhone Nano“, which would be some sort of small-form iPhone, possibly lacking 3G connectivity. Not interested. Seriously. 3G is something thay turns the iPhone into a multi-purpose tool – I find having to use it outside of 3G range a chore. In any case, I don’t think Apple would release a new model so soon after the last – they’re not Nokia, after all.

TUAW report that Apple might be taking iWork online, just like Goole Docs. This is very interesting. I use iWork quite regularly, and have recently started using Google docs (to cope with working across multiple computers for work, home and everything in between). This is something I’d buy into. iWork is an excellent package, and to be able to access your docs via the web (as part of Mobile Me?) would be great. Fingers crossed this appears.

They also mention the possibility of a refreshed Mac Mini. I’d only be interested in this if it took the form of a sort of home media server, with a link to Mobile Me so the content was accessibly remotely via either another computer or my iPhone. A big ask, I know, but let’s see what gets announced on the day.

Finally, Techcrunch are talking about the possibility of a large-screen iPod Touch – announced at Macworld, but launched in the flesh later in the year. This would almost scratch the Apple Table itch that may people (myself included) have been suffering from for a long time. I see hoe it could accomplish lots of the functionality of a netbook, but be a lot smaller and lighter. Throw in the possibility of a physical bluetooth keyboard and I’m sold. Imagine how this could link up with Mobile Me-enabled iWork!

Only a few days to go… let’s see how things pan out. Aside from the products/services announced, I’ll be interested to see how Phil Schiller fills Steve Jobs’ boots on the day. Big boots indeed.

Cyber-skiving today?

Cyber-skiving today? You’re not alone | News | guardian.co.uk.

Ah good. Glad it’s not just me, then. Various social netwrking sites have been calling at my attention since sitting down at my laptop this morning. And, since work is rather quiet today, their voices seem all the louder. According to the Guardian,

Those of us who are working today, and in the days leading up to 12th night, are more likely to be contributing to the economy than the workplace by indulging in a hefty bout of cyber-skiving: browsing, booking, shopping and surreptitiously entering bank account details while making sure the gaze of your boss is averted (the official site of cyber-skiving seems to be only partly working today – perhaps its authors had some real work to do).

According to one survey released today, around 71% of those working over the next three days will spend an average of two hours of office time per day on the internet. This equates to 134 million hours of work being lost.

I’m sold…

Yes, I know… you were possibly expecting a post-WWDC post on Monday, but it was late by the time I’d finished frothing at the mouth, and I still hadn’t cooked dinner.

In a word, it was superb. Not the iPhone (though that looks fantastic), I’m talking about the new MobileMe service that’s replacing .Mac. I’ve been a .Mac subscriber since the service started and I’ve never felt it’s lived up to its enormous potential. I think MobileMe (despite the fact that the name sucks) is what .Mac should always have been.

My service will be automatically upgraded next month and I can’t wait. To have the same iCal entires (and categories!!) appear on my Macbook, iPhone and any other computer with an connection to the net…to have the changes appear almost instantly… simply superb. And this is all topped off by a complete re-working of the web-based interface, something I use on daily basis. Thank you Apple, this is the happiest you’ve made me in a long time.

In other news, I am now definitely going to buy an iPhone. Admit it – you saw that one coming. The price reduction and the O2 tarrifs suit me fine, the App Store is incredibly exciting, and… dammit, I think I deserve it!