Noel Rappin Writes Here

June 13, 2011: The Kathy Sierra Question

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1. Annnd... We're Back



Okay, I'm trying the semi-regular daily links post again. Two changes from the last time I did this: a wider range of links beyond just Ruby, and it probably won't quite be daily, but more when I build up five things that I have a short opinion on.

Mostly, though, I need to get back in the habit of actually finishing posts, and realizing that I don't need to write a 2000 word essay on something for it to be posted here.

2. Grantland



Speaking of not linking to Ruby topics, Bill Simmons launched Grantland this week, a new site which intends to put form long-form magazine-style articles on sports and pop culture, featuring Simmons, Chuck Klosterman, Dave Eggers, and then some. I'm excited for a few reasons: not least is that there's a lot of talented staff involved, and the website doesn't look like a bunch of ads with a tiny amount of content in the middle.

Whatever else you may think of Simmons, he's always been respectful of great magazine writing of the past, and if this thing works it's going to be a constant destination. Highlights of the first week include a very long review of L.A. Noire that turns into a discussion of games, fun, and storytelling, and Charlie Pierce's' history of his time at the National Sports daily (especially interesting because Pierce and Simmons have feuded a bit in public..)

3. Kathy Sierra is Back



It's always a good thing when I'm reminded that my projects need a little more Kathy Sierra, and she dismantles unneeded social networking and gamification in a blog post this week. The takeaway is that you don't want to be the kind of product that's
dependent on gimmicks to work, and, as always, the question is "How do I help
my users be awesome."

4. iOS 5 Thoughts



Just a couple of quick thoughts on iOS 5, iCloud, and upcoming Apple things.




  • I'm already enjoying having apps and things automatically download to
    my device after I purchase them. I can't wait for the full wireless
    sync. In particular, I hope they fix iBooks, because for some reason, the
    iTunes mediated iBooks sync has a lot of trouble keeping the same books
    on two devices. Especially if they are being sideloaded, and especially if
    they get updated with a new version, like, say, a Pragmatic beta book.



  • I currently have at least four possible sources of truth for my calendars
    (three devices, plus a Google Calendar). I couldn't tell you on a bet how
    they interoperate at the moment, so some clarity there would go a very
    long way.



  • I've seen some reports about the iTunes match service that state that the
    $25 a year effectively protects you against any accusation that your
    music is pirated. But as far as I can tell, they've all been second-hand.
    I don't think we've seen an official Apple source confirm that -- at the
    actual event, they were careful to say that iTunes Match worked on CD's
    that you had ripped. (The exact statement on the website right now is
    "including music you’ve ripped from CDs or purchased somewhere other than
    iTunes".)



  • Seems like everybody is really quick to write off indy apps that overlap
    with new features announced last week (Instapaper, Due, Dropbox, Camera+,
    Sparrow just to name the first few off the top of my head). In, I guess,
    the same way that the weather app killed off all other weather apps, or
    the existing camera app killed off other camera apps or... I could do this
    for a while, the point is that some of these apps are in trouble, some
    are already providing a better experience than the official app, and some
    will appeal to a specific niche. Just like now.




5. Dream of the blue lobsters



Hey look, a blue lobster. Really.