Tonight, these sites and perhaps hundreds more died. At least temporarily.
The Internet was ablaze (almost ironically) tonight when a massive storm on the East Coast caused a power outage that affected Amazon’s “Amazon Web Services” cloud server system. AWS is what power so many sites and services these days. It’s their reliability, scalability, cost and speed that have so many startups jumping to their system.
Tonight became Survivor – Startup Edition
However, tonight highlights what happens when you rely on a single fail point. What’s the adage? “You’re only as strong as your weakest link.” Well tonight it was a single Amazon server location’s power outage that has many of the most popular sites offline. Amazingly, Twitter is not one of the sites shutdown.
Once the power is back on, or once Amazon starts shifting bandwidth and syncing servers, all of these sites will be back up and running. What’s disappointing is that even though Amazon has tons of servers all over the country, it only took one power outage to cripple their system. Continue reading →
When Steve Jobs hit the stage to announce all the goodness Apple was rolling out with their new iOS 5, the feature that had me most excited was iTunes Match. This service would cost you $25 each year but provide you with one of the coolest things to hit the music industry since Napster. Only this time it’s sort of on their terms.
Here’s how it works. iTunes goes through all of your music and matches it with the iTunes Music Store library. All that music you bought on CD back in 1998, Shania Twain, Paula Cole, Savage Garden (you know who you are), and ripped at 128kbps for your computer are now available for you to download from iTunes. Only now you’ll be able to replace that sad 128kbps MP3 with a 256kbps AAC audio file, far superior if you ask me.
This even works with all that ill-gotten music you might have on your computer… As long as iTunes can find its match, you are good to go! Sounds great doesn’t it? A $25 get out of jail card that also improves quality of music in your library. Worth every penny if you ask me.
Facebook is doing its best to blow the minds of developers and users today at their F8 conference. Of course, over the last few days, all they have really accomplished was upsetting their user base with dramatic and seemingly unnecessary changes to the Facebook user experience.
Today they unleashed the future of a Facebook profile. It looks slick, fun, interesting and very narcissistic. The new Facebook is the old Myspace.
Today Steve Jobs and Company announced iPhone 4.0, the future operating system for their iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad devices (don’t like the iPhone moniker throw you off. While the actual announcement came as much a surprise as did the huge number of sales for the first generation of the iPad (450,000 as of today), the predictions from John Gruber were spot on.
Here’s the short list. Multi-tasking, unified inbox, custom wallpapers, better enterprise data encryption, multiple Exchange accounts, background tasking (uploading photos to Flickr, running Pandora, SkypeSMS/calls etc) as well as nearly 100 other major and minor improvements. I recommend reading this post from TUAW for all the details.
Gruber said multi-tasking and used Pandora as his example. So did Jobs today. Gruber also predicted a unified inbox. Jobs showed that off today.
But what really caught my attention, and the attention of many others I’m sure, was the Skype news. Still no Google Voice here but get this. You will soon be able to run Skype in the background, all the time. If someone calls your Skype number you simply slide to answer, just as you do now with regular calls to your iPhone.
Obviously we’re all seeing how cool this can be. We’re on the same level with the possibilities here. But what about this. What if you are like me and love your iPhone and have an iPad 3G on the way. What does this 4.0 update mean for me? It means, for the first time in my iPhone life, I might dump my iPhone!
Do the math. If you dump the iPhone for the iPad 32gb WiFi + 3G, you will make a saving of $590 in your first year, including the cost of the iPad! The second year, and every year after that, you save $1,020! How does this happen? Simple.
Get the iPad 32 WiFi + 3G, pay $30/m for AT&T unlimited 3G coverage, pay $30 for unlimited Skype in/out calls within Canada/USA for a year (it’s on sale right now, 15% off), pay $30 for a Skype in/out number (it’s on sale for 50% off right now from its normal $60) and you’re done.
I made a handy chart that explains the savings.
My good friend Ryan @rzhale pointed out how cumbersome it would be to answer phone calls on an iPad. Remember all the jokes about people carrying around iPads as a phone? Holding them up to their faces as they would an iPhone? Well get that out of your head because the iPad allows A2DP stereo, two way bluetooth. That means the stereo headsets with microphones, the bluetooth in-car systems, or simply bluetooth headsets you’re already using with your iPhone to do handsfree phone calls will seamlessly be integrated into the iPad.
With Skype you will have unlimited calls within the USA and Canada (not offered on AT&T at this price) and unlimited SMS for $60 a year. That’s less than one month of access from AT&T.
Will I be giving up my iPhone once this comes to my iPad in the fall? Maybe, who knows. But the possibility here is pretty awesome. I can see the iPad replacing desktop office phones while you’re at work on WiFi, a nice dock and Skype interface for that. When you head out, slide the iPad in your bag, briefcase, backpack and continue your call over 3G as you drive to lunch. As long as you are within thirty feet of your iPad, you’re good to go.
For the travelling entrepreneur, you’ve just gained a new level of freedom. iPad’s 4.0 operating system will allow you to make and take calls and sms while reading email, while writing a Pages or Numbers document, or updating your Twitter status. You will no longer need your iPod, your Blackberry, your laptop. You just need your iPad. Lighter than your laptop, more powerful than your Blackberry or iPod and more functional than an iPhone.
Yeah I know, there are use cases where you need a laptop but for someone like my brother, sister-in-law, mother, father and grandmother, all professionals with corporate-type jobs that travel a lot, the iPad is all they need and something they’d all love to have. Especially if it means not having to carry so many other devices on their person.
Don’t forget, airlines are even thinking about charging for carry-on luggage, not just your checked bags. Spirit Airlines is the first to do this. Yet another reason to decrease all that gadget bloat.
Are you excited about this prospect? Would this get you to drop your iPhone and contract? Would this get you to get an iPad now or in the fall?
UPDATE: So how about this? You don’t want the iPad but still want to take advantage of some sort of savings with this iPhone OS 4.0 release. Check this out. Did you know AT&T has a Data for the Deaf plan? Unlimited data and SMS for $40/m. Now, this might not be as ethical as the above option but it is certainly an option for the penny pincher who wants all the latest gadgets!
How would that break down for you? Pretty sweet actually. Here’s the chart.
It only seemed appropriate that I made my 1,600th post on the blog something relevant, important and fun. And that would be #GeekLunch, a phenomenon not unique to Columbia but still kick ass.
Several weeks ago I joined my new, social-media-addict friends Colby (@ColbyWG) and Sam (@SJOgborn) at Main Squeeze Cafe (@MainSqueezed) for a nerd lunch. We chit chatted about social media, new media, media media, technology, marketing, etc etc. It’s been something I have wanted to do for the last couple of years and I finally have friends here that are as obsessed as I am.
Oh and now that Colby has a sweet new digital camera, we have yet another thing to nerd out over.
There, I got to touch, and play with, my very first Google Nexus One, thanks Adam!
Conversation ranged from Colby nearly face planting on Elm Street to the, at the time, upcoming SXSW in Austin to Google, the iPad and who knows what else anymore. I do remember that the pizza was great and the company awesome.
It’s simple events like this that make living in Columbia feel not quite as isolating, especially compared to when I lived in the new media mecca of San Francisco. I look forward to the next #GeekLunch, hoping to expand not only the number of people who join but also how often we meet up.
If you live in Columbia and want to join in on the fun, send me a message on twitter or leave a comment on the blog. We’d love to have ya!
Seems anyone who visits my social media landing page, That’s Justin, asks me, how they hell do you manage it all. Honestly, I don’t know. It’s a bit distressing at time but I wouldn’t give it up for the world. I’ve made so many wonderful connections, received job offers, sold prints, purchased goods, gotten better service and more all simply by using social media sites.
Here’s one of the newest. Google Wave. It seems the biggest question around Google Wave is, what is it, followed by, how do you use it.
Google Wave is essentially online collaboration, email, bulletin board, instant messaging and more all wrapped into one. Right now I think we’re all still figuring out how to best use the service but I have a handful of ideas in my head!
I admit the service is pretty overwhelming but here are a few tips that make it usable for me.
The first thing you might want to do create a few saved searches, these are three I couldn’t live without.
This search shows all the notes/waves I created
This search shows all the notes/waves that are to me and are still unread.
This search shows all the notes/waves that I am a direct participant in and are unread
Another quick tip, to end an input session, instead of clicking the “Done” button, try this keyboard shortcut
Shift + Enter
You can use the same shortcut to enter a reply to the last post in the wave.
Control + E will edit a post.
Save a lot of time, speed up collaboration!
That’s about it for now. As I come across really helpful Google Wave tricks/tips, I’ll share them. Maybe I’ll just embed a wave into my blog, that sounds like a great idea!
Over the last few weeks, Verizon has subjected anyone in front of a television with some pretty interesting commercials. Kind of… Clovererfield/Transformers-esque.
I’ll go ahead and post one here for your enjoyment.
And then of course, the original advertisement. Anti-Apple much? I’m definitely an Apple Fanboy at this point and you might expect that I would be pissed that Verizon would put out such a commercial. Not really though because it seems to me that it’s about time Apple’s iPhone got some real competition and if that’s the Droid, then bring on the ads.
So there you go, Verizon + Motorola + Google Android = DROID = iPhone Killer. Fantastic. Competition is good! Apple will again begin pushing the limits on what a phone can do. Maybe go after those attacks about no flash, only 2mp camera, etc etc. Meanwhile, since the DROID phone is so closely tied to Verizon and the iPhone to AT&T, maybe we’ll see some benefits there too right?
AT&T has horrendous 3G coverage around the nation, especially when compared to Verizon. That’s an obvious first step on AT&T’s part. How about cost? I pay my iPhone bill every month and every month I think… wow that’s a lot of money. I bet with the DROID phone, Verizon will go after AT&T’s bottom line. Make their DROID plans significantly cheaper than the iPhone. Any amount over $10 is a dramatic difference, if they were $30 a month cheaper I might even be tempted to switch! Better 3G coverage and cheaper monthly plans?!
Well, unfortunately, Ronald Reagan was wrong. Competition doesn’t fuel the benefits he and other “Reaganomics” economists promised. For the most part, the DROID cost of ownership is exactly the same as the iPhone with only one plan cheaper. By how much? By a massive $0.01!
Chart created by Nicole Lee from CNet.com
Wow that’s disappointing. When you break down the differences in price which is only in the text message options, it becomes a total wash. The DROID is cheaper for the small text message plan (250 vs 200 messages) but for the high end the iPhone is better (5000 vs unlimited). Guess I’ll stick to my iPhone.
UPDATE: Turns out Verizon plans to charge $15/month for access to Exchange on the DROID, something A&T doesn’t charge for on the iPhone. So if you, like me, use Exchange on your phone, turns out the iPhone is $180 a year cheaper, $360 for the length of the contract which is around or more than than the price of getting out of your contract with either carrier!
Let’s get a bit political. The Republicans are saying that natural competition between insurance companies will decrease the price of premiums and increase the availability of coverage. Well, not so true as seen here. When companies are in collusion with each other to keep prices at a certain point, they have no real reason to undercut the competition. Ugh.