2014/11/25 1:46 pm

We’re taking the week off from the Core Intuition podcast. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Lots to talk about when we record next week.

Twitter in 2 years

Marco predicts that third-party Twitter apps will lose half of their users within the next 2 years:

“We won’t even be angry at Twitter — we’ll move to the official apps voluntarily, and we’ll look back on all third-party clients like we look back on Tweetie, vanity link shorteners, and third-party image hosts today: as relics of a quickly abandoned past before we all started using Twitter’s better, newer features.”

During WWDC this year, Buzz Andersen gave a great talk at a small venue outside the conference. With the hindsight of several years, he talked about building Birdfeed, the challenges of competing with Tweetie, with his own struggle at perfection, and many more insights on the rise and fall of third-party Twitter apps.

It left me with a lot to think about, and I loved the old stories, screenshots, and related nostalgia. But in closing out the questions & answers, one statement in particular struck me as a nail in the coffin for third-party developers: Buzz revealed that even he now uses the official Twitter app.

Mailing list for new project

I’ve been working on something new around microblogging. Some people have guessed at what it is based on discussions Daniel and I have had on Core Intuition, but only a handful of people have seen it. Soon I want to open it up to more beta testers.

If you’re interested in the project, you can now sign up on the announcement mailing list for more information. I’ll send an email when the beta launches, as well as occasional updates for major new features. Hope you like it!

Winding down my Twitter apps

I’m the guest on this week’s Mac Power Users podcast. In addition to workflow and apps I use, the discussion went off the rails a little into the Twitter app ecosystem, especially the fact that I no longer post to Twitter yet still have apps like Tweet Library, Watermark, and the Tweet Marker API that depend on Twitter. For the last 2 years this has been an odd decision on my part; I want to do the right thing for my customers, but I’m increasingly frustrated with life as a third-party Twitter developer.

Last week, Twitter announced that they’ve expanded their search index to include the full history of tweets going back to 2006. I was thrilled by this upgrade to the Twitter service. That the search was so limited for so long was the primary reason I built Tweet Library and Watermark to begin with. Unfortunately, this functionality is only for the official Twitter apps. It will not be made available to third-party developers.

It’s time for me to wind down development on my Twitter-related apps. I’ll continue to sell Tweet Library through the end of 2014, then remove it from the App Store. Watermark will also shut down at that time. Because all the tweets stored in Watermark are public tweets (by design it never supported DMs or protected accounts), I will attempt to make the entire Watermark database archive of millions of tweets available publicly. Existing customers can also sync tweets and collections to Dropbox for personal archiving.

Published collections from Tweet Library or Watermark will be maintained indefinitely. No URLs will break, ever. Updating published collections will also continue to work for anyone who already owns Tweet Library.

I will also continue to host the Tweet Marker API, but starting in January I will be more strict about requiring developers to pay for the service. Many developers have been paying for API access for a year (thank you!), but others have missed or ignored my requests to move to a paid plan. It’s not fair to the Twitter developers who have been paying for Tweet Marker access if some continue get the API for free.

Many friends have told me over the years that I have too many products. But letting any one product go is not easy. There’s an implicit promise when shipping software that the developer should maintain and improve it for customers. Stopping development on these apps is the right decision and possibly long overdue, but it’s still difficult. What gives me hope is that it will let me focus on new projects currently in development, which I couldn’t be more excited about.

2014/11/20 1:29 pm

Because of Thanksgiving next week, NSDrinking is tonight! 8pm at The Ginger Man. Consider it a special WatchKit edition of the informal developer meet-up for iOS and Mac devs.

My new electric car

10 years ago, when everyone else had cable, we were sick of the monthly bill and the mindlessly infinite channel list and cancelled it. I was happy to never have to deal with Time Warner again. But a couple years ago, we subscribed again to keep up with some of our favorite shows. Finally things are changing, and I expect we’ll cancel again before too long.

This on-again, off-again relationship with cable is also how we treat having a second car. Working at home for the last 13 years, even with taking the kids to school and various errands, my wife and I rarely need to be in two places at once. So we downsized to one car long ago, then got a second car for a few years, then downsized again a couple years ago. With my daughters to high school, I knew we’d need another car soon, but it was nice not having an extra car payment and even better to have an excuse to bike to coffee shops.

I promised myself and my son, who is already living in the future, that our next car would be 100% electric. I kept up with new Tesla models and their growing Supercharger infrastructure, but realistically Tesla is out of reach. There’s no way to justify the price for just driving to the elementary school a mile away, a nearby coffee shop, or around town every couple days.

So three weeks ago we picked up a Nissan Leaf. Because our needs (and battery technology) keep changing, we’re leasing it and we’ll decide at the end whether to pay the difference and keep it. It’s a fun little car, so quiet and effortless to drive, and the kids love it.

Obviously our “normal” gas-powered car will remain the primary family car and the one that we take on road trips. The Leaf goes about 85 miles fully charged and plugs into the normal outlet in our garage, as if we were just plugging in Christmas lights. I’ve also used the charging stations at Whole Foods, where I usually go for coffee and work once or twice a week. (We skipped the recommended 240V home charging kit for now, which charges significantly faster. For comparison, Tesla’s range is closer to 250 miles.)

While I’ve always been pretty good at hypermiling, the Leaf has made me even more conscious of it. I drove to my daughter’s basketball game in Georgetown last week, 30 miles away on the toll road. Sustaining 75mph is the worst and dragged my miles/kWh down a notch. On the way back, I drove the more direct, non-toll route and got significantly more efficiency at respectable speeds with some breaking.

But cruising down the highway it’s easy to see that this is the way the world should be, in time. Good new tech always reminds me of that first feeling we got when using the original iPhone, how it felt like the whole thing was from 5 years in the future. It’s not that extreme with the Leaf, but I still see a little of that, a glimpse that it’s more advanced than it should be. I think this may be the best car I’ve ever owned.

2014/11/19 11:33 am

Made a difficult decision about the future of my Twitter-related products today. Full blog post and email to go out early next week.