June 1, 2023

Snippet: Google Wallet Adds Support for QR-Based Cards and Insurance Cards ☇

Ivan Mehta for TechCrunch:

The company said that users will soon be able to quickly scan barcodes or QR codes from things like gym passes or loyalty cards and save them to Google Wallet. The feature also supports scanning these codes from an existing image of an e-commerce return QR code or a digital parking ticket.

While Google is adding support for government-issued IDs to catch up with Apple’s effort, adding your own passes from existing barcodes and QR codes is a great idea and something Apple should have done years ago. As so many merchants are trying to push you to their apps, the ability to added loyalty passes to Wallet have been disappearing a bit, so being able to scan and save your own pass either from a physical item or a screenshot would be a welcome addition.

May 31, 2023

Snippet: Reddit Drank Some of the Twitter Kool-Aid ☇

Christian Selig, developer of the wonderful Apollo app for Reddit:

I’ll cut to the chase: 50 million requests costs $12,000, a figure far more than I ever could have imagined.

Apollo made 7 billion requests last month, which would put it at about 1.7 million dollars per month, or 20 million US dollars per year. Even if I only kept subscription users, the average Apollo user uses 344 requests per day, which would cost $2.50 per month, which is over double what the subscription currently costs, so I’d be in the red every month.

I’m deeply disappointed in this price. Reddit iterated that the price would be A) reasonable and based in reality, and B) they would not operate like Twitter. Twitter’s pricing was publicly ridiculed for its obscene price of $42,000 for 50 million tweets. Reddit’s is still $12,000. For reference, I pay Imgur (a site similar to Reddit in user base and media) $166 for the same 50 million API calls.

At this point, if you’re developing a third-party client for any closed social network, it may be time to start thinking of something new. Unlike Twitter, which had an abrupt shut down of third-party clients with no communication, Reddit is giving some notice, but the pricing is making it where most clients will be unsustainable. Like Twitter, the native app for Reddit is also terrible, making this change an even more disappointing.

May 30, 2023

Snippet: Two Texas Indie Developers Made It Big on Twitter a Decade Ago. Now They’re Fighting It ☇

Andrew Logan for TexasMonthly:

When Paul Haddad unfolded his laptop to start working after dinner on a Thursday evening in mid-January, he didn’t realize his life was about to be turned upside down. Haddad, the brainy cofounder of Tapbots, an award-winning software company that develops apps for the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, clacked away writing lines of code in the living room of his home in Flower Mound. A text message interrupted him. “I’m having problems logging in,” wrote Mark Jardine, Haddad’s mild-mannered business partner, referring to Tapbots’ flagship product, Tweetbot. As a third-party Twitter app, Tweetbot provided a more personalized and curated experience by allowing users to customize their timelines with robust filters and view their feeds in reverse chronological order.

Most of this is a review for anyone following the decline of Twitter and the rather abrupt end of third-party app support, but there are quite a few fascinating data points.

Snippet: Lisa’s Final Act: How Apple Invented Its Future by Burying Its Past ☇

William Poor for The Verge:

Last December, along with a Verge video crew, I found myself wandering across a snowy mountain of garbage in Logan, Utah. Everyone we’d talked to told us that Logan was a gorgeous place to visit pretty much anytime except the dead of winter. They also told us the landfill wasn’t the most pleasant place to explore at any time of year. The landfill in the dead of winter was a real one-two punch — though the cold probably helped with the smell a little.

This is a fantastic half hour documentary and while that whole chapter in Apple history took place before I was even using computers, I do have fond memories of Sun Remarketing for old Mac things in the late-’90s.

May 24, 2023

Snippet: Happy Hour vs. Wine Lists ☇

Joe Rosensteel:

Companies are way ahead of people here. Part of the reason cable has been so slow to address cord cutting in any meaningful way is because they knew they still had people who did not want to cut the cord, despite high prices, and ads. Invariably this comes down to how we use television to adjust the balance of chemicals in our brains.

Not everyone wants on demand content that they specifically select from a menu like they’re looking through the wine list at a restaurant. Some people just want whatever the happy hour specials are. That’s not an indictment of the consumers, or the restaurant/streamer, but simply a function of preference. Sometimes people go back and forth in their behavior based on their mood. Stop the presses: People have moods!

This is a great analysis of where the streaming world is going—yours truly much prefers the “wine list” side of things, but it does feel that we’re moving more and more toward cheap, ad-supported disposable content.