Category: Tech

Three years later, Tidal is still waiting for its big wave

Micah Singleton, for The Verge:

From everyone that I’ve spoken to, it’s pretty unanimous that Tidal has notably improved its service over the years. But with no new marketing strategy, the lack of awareness around Tidal in the US, and the seemingly continued disdain from those who do know the service and remember that tone deaf launch, the odds of Tidal turning up the growth and becoming a legitimate music streaming competitor to Spotify and Apple are shrinking by the day.

I’ve used a bunch of streaming services: Rdio (RIP), Mog (RIP), Spotify, and Apple Music. I’ve used Tidal for the last couple of years because they’re the only service that has high-bitrate/lossless audio options, but this article is right: they don’t really have a marketing presence to help them stand out against their competitors. Whether it can survive as an audiophile niche option is doubtful.

Robin Rendle on RSS

Robin Rendle has a nice piece on RSS, reading, and writing on the web1. Robin covers some of the ways RSS helped writers find community, and writes about the current state of the RSS ecosystem. He also writes about the benefits to publishing on your own site instead of a platform:

Folks now seem to recognize the value of having your own little plot of land on the web and, although it’s still pretty complex to make your own website and control all that content, it’s worth it in the long run. No one can run ads against your thing. No one can mess with the styles. No one can censor or sunset your writing.

That brought to mind a short blog post from a few years ago by Frank Chimero, “Homesteading”. The original is no longer linked on his site, but Internet Archive has a snapshot. Frank writes:

I’m returning to a personal site, which flips everything on its head. Rather than teasing things apart into silos, I can fuse together different kinds of content. Instead of having fewer sections to attend to distracted and busy individuals, I’ll add more (and hopefully introduce some friction, complexity, and depth) to reward those who want to invest their time. I won’t use analytics—actually, I won’t measure at all. What would I do with that data anyway? In this case, it’s just more noise. The singular thread that runs through everything is only “because I like it.”

I’ve found it useful to have a little of both as part of my daily reading: it’s nice to interact with folks on-the-fly via Twitter, but that’s a different mode than the leisurely exploration of a personal site that feels akin to browsing someone’s bookshelf and sensing the history behind each item. My own RSS habits took a dip a few years ago as my Twitter use peaked, but lately I find myself drawn more and more to RSS, a quieter space that seems to give a better return for my time.

  1. It seems wholly appropriate that I ended up reading Robin’s post because of RSS — I had missed it in the Twitter stream, but I subscribe to Susan J. Robertson’s RSS feed, and she linked to it a few days ago. (I realized that I only followed Robin on Twitter, not via RSS. That’s all fixed now.) 

Susan J. Robertson on “Aging Out” of Tech

I’ve been thinking about tech and aging lately. It feels so much like a young person’s place to be, with the emphasis on spending all of your time learning and working, be it paid work or side projects. I’ve been the oldest person, or one of the oldest, at most places I’ve worked the past few years. And recently a friend talked about aging out, specifically in regards to being a woman in tech, making plans for what to do next since she knows so few older women in tech. It got me thinking, a lot. I realized that I hardly know any women over 45 who are still working in tech. It’s less than the fingers on one hand.

Susan writes about her particular experience of being a woman in tech, but over the break I found myself thinking about many of the same things. I quite enjoy learning new skills, but I also find myself rejecting the implicit assumption that by participating in tech culture I must devote all my free time to learning and staying on the cutting edge.

I feel that tension more often these days as I move deeper into a role that is weighted heavily towards management (as opposed to writing code). I worry that the further I get from day-to-day coding, the less portable I become in the tech economy. I also wonder how much tolerance I have left for an industry that overwhelmingly values novelty and aesthetics over accessibility and usefulness.

Post to Instagram from the Web

I’ve been wanting this for a while—I like browsing Instagram via the web on my laptop, simply because the images are bigger (I have an iPhone 5, and Instagram doesn’t have an official iPad app).

I had to change my user agent to be Safari on iOS, but once I did that I got the “+” button to start the upload process.

Matt Gemmell on GoodNotes

Matt Gemmell with some, uh, notes on GoodNotes:

GoodNotes does an alarmingly capable job of recognising handwriting. It also does it in a very unfussy way: you don’t have to tell it to do anything; it just recognises handwriting all the time, and updates its recognised text whenever you edit pages. There’s no separate view or special interface. You just write stuff, and then you can search for it later, complete with on-page highlighting. When you export a PDF, you also get the recognised text embedded in it, so it’s searchable and highlightable there too.

I’ve written about the iPad and handwriting recognition before. I am very curious to see what iPad/Pencil announcements show up in March—I use my iPad Mini Retina daily and I wish it supported the Pencil just so I could properly evaluate some of these apps. (My current stylus is a Pencil by FiftyThree, which I find good for sketching but terrible for writing notes.)

(Via Ben Brooks.)