Day: 28 December 2011

I’ve spent the past week with friends and family, enjoying some great baking and coffee while playing Scattergories and giving Acquire a try. It’s a comfortable environment worthy of contemplation. As I was drifting into a deep slumber in the wee hours of this morning, this atmosphere paid off with a couple of short pieces of writing. One will be published next year, but the other follows.

I’m not embarrassed to admit that I’ve never made a New Year’s resolution. As the clock strikes midnight on Saturday night, I will not be thinking of a single, specific way to change the life I’ve built. Where I am at is not nirvana, but it is a fossil layer in my constant evolution.

If you’ve made a however-small change to your life in the last few months, you are proof that the change of a date means nothing in the big scope. It is an arbitrary time in which many make the choice to give up smoking while improving family relations. The page is flipped in your Gregorian, but aside from being inebriated, you are no different than you were the day prior.

The priorities that are most valuable to you are those which you will act upon. You don’t need numerical change to motivate yourself. The changes to your life you will be making on January 1 don’t have greater significance then than they do now.

Alex Madrigal, for The Atlantic:

We tend to think of social networks in terms of lifecycles. One rises and flourishes, then it is killed off by an insurgent competitor. We draw neat diagrams showing MySpace started to die as Facebook sprang to life, etc.

But the reality is more complex. The social applications out there now build atop each other and tens of millions of people belong to several networks, even if they don’t really notice.

Different social networks can exist at the same time, just like different operating systems. The trick is what the user gains from each.

Tim Carmody for Wired:

Not every Android app will work or work perfectly on every Android device or OS flavor, but the vast majority will; others still can be easily tailored to work well or even better.

This is why I say that we have a huge number of Android-compatible devices. We’ve never really had anything quite like this before in mobile. That compatibility is incredibly powerful.

This is true, but the flip-side of it is equally true: consumers can’t be sure to what extent the device they’re buying is Android. It’s not black and white, but a gradient of devices that work as Google wrote, to those that barely work at all. This problem exists not just for app compatibility, but for system updates as well.

Whereas in the past software updates were important, on Android devices they’re seen by manufacturers as unnecessary and burdensome. It doesn’t matter that they may include significant new features or security patches because it’s just too much work to implement.

Carmody concludes by pointing out that this approach has been good in the short term, because it’s allowed Android’s user base to grow rapidly, but that it presents a long-term problem. I think we’re already seeing those long-term consequences with the Ice Cream Sandwich update imbroglio, and it will only get worse as the code drifts farther away from Google’s control.