Tag Archives: thetalkshow

Siri’s slow pace

It’s WWDC week. I’m back home after a short week in San Jose. Monday’s keynote was a big event, with great news for Mac and iPad users, but I keep coming back to the most surprising “miss” in all of the announcements, and the one thing that I thought was surely a lock for the conference: SiriKit.

When I was on The Talk Show last week with Brent Simmons, John Gruber wrapped up the episode by asking about expectations for WWDC. I’m a big fan of the Amazon Echo, and I think Siri is behind in responsiveness and extensibility. I predicted at least 20 new domains and intents for SiriKit, if not a more open architecture that could grow into as big a platform as Alexa’s thousands of skills.

This week should’ve been a great one for Siri. Instead, we got not the hoped for 20 new domains but literally only 2, for taking notes and managing to-do lists. HomePod will have no support for apps at all, and it will initially ship only into a few English-speaking countries, erasing the traditional advantage Siri had over Alexa for localization.

There are good ideas in SiriKit. I’m excited about experimenting with creating “notes” in my app, and I like that in session 214 and session 228 they highlighted some of the new tweaks such as alternative app names and vocabulary. But there has to be more. Siri deserves several sessions at WWDC and much more attention from Apple.

Voice assistants represent the first real change in years to how we interact with computers, perhaps as important as the original graphical user interface. The company that created the Knowledge Navigator concept video should be firmly in the lead today. A year from now, at WWDC 2018, the lack of significant improvements to Siri will have stretched to 2 years, and that delay is going to look like a mistake even to Siri’s most vocal defenders.

Me and Brent on The Talk Show

Brent Simmons and I were guests on The Talk Show this week. We talk about JSON Feed, Userland Frontier, Micro.blog, and much more.

Brent also announced Evergreen for the first time on the show. Evergreen is a new open source feed reader for the Mac. I’m really looking forward to where this app could go.

One quick correction as I’m re-listening to the episode. For some reason I said that I became interested in Frontier when it pivoted to be open source software. I meant free, not open source. I worked with Frontier in the mid-90s, around the 4.0 release that Brent mentioned, and as I blogged about back in 2004 when Frontier’s kernel was actually open-sourced.

It was fun to revisit this era of Mac scripting on The Talk Show, and I hope that when we look back on the origin of JSON Feed we have similar good memories. There were a bunch of people who made the format what it is, participating in debates about field names and scope. It all contributes to the traction that JSON Feed is getting now.

Core Intuition 6

I’ve really been neglecting this blog. I’m not sure what it is — I have plenty of posts in draft form and it’s not particularly hard to hit the “Send to Weblog” button.

Speaking of people who wrote MarsEdit, our sixth episode of “Core Intuition”:http://www.coreint.org/ is out. Daniel and I spend a good chunk of the show on bug tracking, thoughts on running a software business while preparing for a new baby, staying inspired and getting distracted, and a bunch more. Plus we put out a call for good artists to contact us.

We had a lot of fun with the show and I hope you enjoy listening to it. If you have feedback, send an email or “post a comment on Daniel’s blog”:http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/544/core_intuition_6.

The Talk Show ad and porting to Windows

Episode 11 of “The Talk Show”:http://www.thetalkshow.net/ is up, and I’m happy to say that “Wii Transfer”:http://www.riverfold.com/software/wiitransfer/ is this week’s sponsor. Even if you’ve been subscribed since the first show, click over to see the new site design by “Airbag Industries”:http://airbagindustries.com/. It’s beautifully done and I tried to create an ad graphic that feels at home there.

For the Wii Transfer ad text I included “Only for Mac”, partly to discourage any Windows listeners from clicking and to set expectations that Wii Transfer is not a web site, but also because after a decade of being ignored I think Mac users like to be reminded that there is a bunch of great software just for them.

Earlier this month “Daniel Jalkut wrote about the unlikelihood of MarsEdit for Windows”:http://www.red-sweater.com/blog/394/blogging-from-windows:

“I love writing software for the Mac. If I had to write software for another platform, I probably wouldn’t be nearly as interested in doing it. Heck, I might work more on becoming a musician, or a designer, or one of the other many trades that I have an interest in. For that reason, the chances of MarsEdit for Windows are almost nil.”

I love that Mac indies are receiving so many “what about a Windows version?” requests. I get similar emails every couple weeks about Wii Transfer for Windows, and luckily there are a couple Windows or open source alternatives that I can point people to. (Some of them are even cross-platform and available for Mac, but they are of the “double click this Java .jar file” variety, so I don’t generally consider them direct competition.)

It used to feel strange getting these requests. I would respond with “maybe” and “unlikely”, suggesting that it’s probably not going to happen but leaving open the possibility, as Daniel did when he said “almost nil”. Then I realized — who am I kidding? — I’m never going to port this to Windows regardless of demand. Never. “With the right team”:http://www.vitalsource.com/ I enjoy working on cross-platform apps, just as I appreciate meetings, planning, and the other formalities (in moderation) that come with a more corporate environment. But Wii Transfer isn’t about any of that; it’s my vacation from the real world, and on my time I use and build for Macs.

Also read the Airfoil for Windows section of “Ars Technica’s interview with Paul Kafasis”:http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2007/2/2/6863 from February.