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MaxTB on Wired: Fitbit needs to watch its ‘quantified’ self

Rebooting my wristwatch

My latest for Wired UK, considering whether the iPod Nano could simply start to build in quantified self features and make life tough for Fitbit and co.

There’s another device out there that sits in that price point and has already started ticking some of the boxes that would push things forward — Apple’s iPod Nano, already a close friend to many exercise fiends. It already features a pedometer and, if you think about how even Apple has encouraged the move toward wearing this as a watch (right on top of a key pulse point…) another part of the puzzle slips into place.

Read the full article on Wired UK or find my other Wired posts here.

Articles Technology

Looking Beneath the Surface

Initial thoughts on the Microsoft Surface tablets, announced yesterday (read up at The Verge.) Warning: There are some generalisations ahead but I think they are ones we can all live with… #perksofnotbeingafulltimejourno


Firstly: you aren’t going to buy a surface alongside your iPad – until it needs upgrading. I’ve long thought Apple is running to a 2 year product cycle (if you’re on iPhone 3G, you’d upgrade to the 4/ if iPhone 3GS, it’s the 4S) but there’s a catch with this; it’s largely perpetuated by the next Apple release, not those from external vendors.

I think it’s fair to say, if you just bought a The New iPad, you likely aren’t in the market for this.

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Google Zero: the answer to the backlash

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about how Google is no longer the company it used to be – for example this ridiculous article by Danny Sullivan on paid inclusion last month.*

From its search page design to the nature of Google+ to what it’s ‘Don’t be evil’ slogan means today, it’s coming under the kind of flack that massive brands eventually always do.

But at the same time, I think it’s a company that has navigated a lot of these challenges with impressive grace. Quite apart from burying (or everything but?) it’s head in the sand like Apple, it seems to confront these threats with a powerful cultural tool: transparency.

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Email won’t send with O2 Broadband? Here’s the solution.

Image representing O2 as depicted in CrunchBase

Having spent days trying to get my work email to send after getting O2 Broadband, a solution emerged from their excellent Twitter customer service.

From a ton of internet stalking, I knew it was something to do with the SMTP service being blocked according to a load of reading but none of the solutions out there worked for me.

So I turned to Twitter and it looks like adding “” was the solution. Seeing as I didn’t see this info out there anywhere else during my search, thought I would get this up for any of you other desperate people with an outbox clogged with despair.

Hope it helps!

Articles consumer Technology

Could OAPs be Apple’s Secret Testing Team?

Saw the video below and had one of those massive “what if” moments – How ‘Steve Jobs’ would it be to test new Apple products on single, old-aged individuals who probably won’t spill the beans?

Who else are you going to sit an iPad in front to do user experience testing without the secret leaking? And how would it inform your product design versus testing with the standard man on the street? Would you end up with something more intuitive that “just works”?

Is the alternative to believe that they threw these things together without any exposure outside of the company?

See what you think, I’d say stranger things have happened…

Articles Social Media

Facebook should update its concept of ‘Friends’

With its IPO now public, Facebook is about to enter something of dark zone for announcements – a move which will no doubt leave a void for speculation and rumour among tech writers. So I thought I might jump the gun with a thought of my own: should Facebook replace “friends” with Likes?

Danny Whatmough and I were recently discussing how to balance the use of different social networks – what are they for and what do you post where? One thing that came up was Facebook and how the friends we had on there didn’t really reflect our current interests and every day any more. It had become almost a scrapbook of people from years and places past.

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Facebook wants you dead

Back in September 2010, Facebook went on a really interesting PR offensive – including a flurry of activity when The Social Network launched and the announcement of a $100m donation (of Facebook stock) to American education.

I find the latter of these especially interesting when considering Facebook’s big picture strategy for the next few years- to explain why, join me for a brief history lesson.

Articles Social Media

The Age of Digital Inhibitions

There has been a lot of conversation in the last couple of years about online privacy. But I think actually there’s a bigger theme that it all plays into – for me, these years have been just as much about shifting digital inhibitions.

What does that mean? Let’s take a step back to get the full picture – how has technology helped people overcome their inhibitions to the point where they’re almost unaware of them and what’s that going to mean over time?

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Wired Guest Post: Kindle micro-transactions for the win

A little while ago, I put a few thoughts together for this blog based on Kindle potentially becoming a platform for saving, reading and buying content web-wide – like Instapaper meets the App Store.
Only, instead of publishing it here, I pitched it into technology bible Wired and it was published over there. Which was nice.

Check out an extract below and see what you think. I’d say it’s only a matter of time before this becomes a reality…