There's been a lot of talk lately of AT&T customers--especially iPhone users--getting fed up with the quality of service they're getting with AT&T. Issues include dropped calls, shoddy coverage, and slow data speeds. People are upset that they have a fancy device that loses much of its usefulness when the network drops out. I can feel their pain.
Indeed, I saw the effect myself this last weekend. The Penny Arcade Expo (PAX), one of the world's largest gaming conventions, took place in Seattle, where I live. Thousands of the world's nerdiest nerds were here, and, as you'd expect, many were using iPhones, meaning many were using AT&T's 3G service.
PAX, which opened Friday, also had a handy guide on expojunkie.com for convention goers made especially for the iPhone. It featured maps, agendas, and other quick reference information to make PAX a better experience. The side effect was thousands of visitors using Seattle's 3G coverage at the same time--in addition to the thousands of locals who already use it. Service slowed to a crawl.
By Saturday, the service was back up-to-speed for most of Seattle. AT&T may have hit a switch and turned on more towers. It has a team that monitors areas with major events and tweaks the network when one causes problems. Whatever the company did fixed it.
The blessing and the curse But here's the question: what are we to expect from AT&T when Apple sells millions of units of a revolutionary product that depends on its network and then provides millions of apps that put a huge burden on the same network? Do we really expect AT&T to be able to handle that much data?… Read more
I can't think of a worse place to look for editorial than YouTube comments. Historically, they've been so bad that YouTube was forced to create a comment playback feature so users could hear what they had typed before sharing it with the rest of the world.
That hasn't stopped two Firefox developers from coming up with OpinionCloud. This small Firefox add-on will give a video's comments a quick once-over and show you which words are most often used, and the general user sentiment based on a percentage of keywords that are either positive or negative. Clicking … Read more
Now live, from the team behind Twitter: a site for tracking "tweets" pertaining to the fast-approaching U.S. presidential elections. Enter an election-related post on the page and it will appear in the continually-updating feed, which also aggregates other Twitter posts that contain election-related terms like the candidates' names.
In July, Twitter announced that it had acquired Summize, a popular search tool based on the Twitter application program interface (API). Now called Twitter Search, the Summize technology appears to be behind the filters on the election site.
If the 2004 elections hailed the debut of bloggers and the … Read more
Earlier this week, The New York Times had a nostalgic little piece about the Princeton Record Exchange, a music store in the eponymous New Jersey college town.
It was, as one might expect, the sort of narrative that could be written about any beloved indie-music haven these days: it's a quirky anachronism in a world that really doesn't need it anymore, but it keeps on trucking.
It was a story that hit close to home for me. I lived in Princeton, which lies roughly halfway between New York and Philadelphia, for roughly 15 years, from preadolescence into my … Read more
On Monday night, social-news site Digg took a new approach to its famously clamorous users: CEO Jay Adelson and founder Kevin Rose sat down in front of a Ustream-connected camera with their MacBook Pros and a couple of beers and answered questions that had been submitted by Diggers.
As a relative outsider to Digg culture, I was fairly dissatisfied.
All in all, the session highlighted quite a few of Digg's strengths as well as troubles going forward--and additionally reflected a few common criticisms about the site as a whole. But in the process, the questions were inward-focused, dealing … Read more
Here's yet another way to harness the wisdom of the crowd for your personal gain: TrustedOpinion, a recommendation engine that creates product ratings based on reviews that are weighted by the writers' proximity to you in your social network.
Your friends' opinions carry the most weight. The opinions of their friends (your friends-of-friends) carry less. Your friends-of-friends-of-friends still less, and so on. The thinking being that you're more likely to trust your friends' takes on product reviews than those of people you don't know. If you want, you can control the weightings even more, individually scoring people … Read more
Like many of you, I have my own theory as to Fake Steve Jobs' real-life identity. But I'm not going to discuss it here. At this point, bloggers' rabid attempts to lay bare the face behind the anonymous writer have grown a bit tiresome, and for all we know, The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs will turn out to be a corporate travail staffed by a team of six writers nabbed from The Office. But that's not to say that Fake Steve isn't newsworthy. The blog, I'm willing to argue, has more to say about the state of the media today than a thousand "purple cows," noisy disruptors, viral-buzz ecosystems, and whatever other business clich?s you'd like me to throw in your face.
More than a few people would agree that the blogger behind Fake Steve, underneath his exaggerated Jobsian obnoxiousness, ranks right up there with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert as one of the most spot-on social critics we have. But because nobody knows who he is, he can get away with more: Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman is a " sociopathic nouveau riche lady-killer," Gawker Media founder Nick Denton is almost never mentioned without the epithet "macrocephalic," and his Valleywag successor Owen Thomas is constantly referred to as "Mr. Bigglesworth." Former vice president and current global warming figurehead Al Gore is depicted as emotionally fragile and tormented by marriage problems that lead him to frequently call up the faux Jobs and ask for a couch to crash on (which tends to infuriate Mrs. Jobs). Rockers turned social crusaders Bono and The Edge, according to Fake Steve, are prone to bar fights. ("Bono says it's an Irish thing," the satirist asserts flippantly.)… Read more