One of the things that's been missing from FriendFeed has been a native iPhone client. Sure, there's the iPhone version of the website, and there's FFToGo, but they both miss a lot of administrative features of FriendFeed and don't provide the lustery UI of a native app. Recently, a third-party FriendFeed iPhone app came out called BuddyFeed.
Recently, Facebook released a feature in its newsfeed that allows people to "like" newsfeed items. As it's described by Facebook's program manager Leah Pearlman, the feature allows you to tell your friends you approve of what they posted:
This is similar to how you might rate a restaurant on a reviews site. If you go to the restaurant and have a great time, you may want to rate it 5 stars. But if you had a particularly delicious dish there and want to rave about it, you can write a review detailing what you liked about the restaurant. We think of the new "Like" feature to be the stars, and the comments to be the review.
This feature prima face copies FriendFeed's "like" functionality, right down to the interaction and the verbage. Not surprisingly, FriendFeed's supporters were outraged and appalled at Facebook's Machievellian drive to copy FriendFeed. But I think it's important to take a step back and talk about the value of a "like".
Yesterday, Joshua Schachter had an excellent piece on the perils of the URL shortener: it's clear, concise, and scathing. Jason Kottke and Dave Winer had a few suggestions on how to mitigate the problem, or get us on the right track to eventually deprecating the use of URL shorteners.
I agree with Schachter's assessment, and I think Kottke and Winer are on the right track, but I think the URL shortener problem is far greater than what Schachter enumerates: no longer satisfied with controlling the initial click, URL shorteners have decided to add toolbars to promote ther content or to sell adspace: the most notable and recent addition to this group is Digg's toolbar, DiggBar. Dubious utility aside, they are trampling in the garden of an angry god.
Or: How I learned to stop worrying and love the web
Today, Alexander Van Elsas had a sort of 95 Thesis/20 Questions amalgam about a host of issues involving the state of the internet today. One set of questions provoked a couple points of discussion from Rob Diana and John Bredehoft:
One of the projects I've been working on instead of updating this blog has been a set of modules for Drupal that allow FriendFeed users do all sorts of interesting things. While I'm not ready to release the details of those projects, one of the biggest mind-benders I've experienced in my work has been OAuth, a technology FriendFeed uses as its preferred authentication mechanism in the latest version of its API.
You may not be able to use a shiny application for Google Voice on your iPhone, but you can use relatively new or unknown features of AT&T and Google together and against them and wind up saving a nice chunk of change in the process. This is for all phones, not just the iPhone, but if you’re an iPhone user, I’d say it’s not a bad consolation prize. I’m going to talk about two features: Google Voice’s outbound calling and your wireless carrier’s calling circle feature.
The big buzz in the social media world lately revolves around Twitter's rollout of its "list" feature, which allows you and others to create lists of your followers: easily tagging them so you can share those lists with others. Robert Scoble thinks it's a game changer, and is pushing the value proposition for them hard. But I think lists, because they have no consent mechanism and because they can be made public, are boneheaded, broken, and ultimately make Twitter a dangerous tool to use for anyone who values their reputation.
This morning, I checked TechMeme and saw the big news: AT&T decided to restructure its data plans to remove the option for unlimited data. This disappoints me greatly: I, like I'm sure thousands of other customers, bought the iPad WiFi + 3G based on the deal Apple struck with AT&T to offer a no-contract, $30/month, cancel-and-activate any time you need it plan. Like Gizmodo said, the purchase was insurance in case I ever needed to be on 3G exclusively for a while.
The new plans, I believe, are a total bait-and-switch. I don't begrudge AT&T's right to change their prices, but I do find it disappointing that they did it no more than a month after the iPad WiFi + 3G launched, and a couple weeks after the return window ended. So, I decided to write to Steve Jobs in what I thought would be a vain release of my frustration: