Weekend read: Why a lack of photography killed Google+

It’s not as if Google+ is dead, but you log on there and it seems like it is. Here’s one idea of why:

The internet is not a place of fierce loyalty. Create a transformational product or build a better service and people will use it. Thus Hotmail gave way to Gmail, and MySpace to Facebook. So you can understand why Google thought it could build a better social network in Google+. But that’s not what happened. Or at least, it wasn’t able to build a more popular social network. But why not?

The answer to the question of why Google+ failed is simple. It’s the reason why any social network succeeds or fails. The answer is photos. Google+ now has one of the best photo management tools there is, period. It finds your best pictures for you, it’s amazingly searchable, it auto-generates highlight films and cool photos albums, and it even turns your burst shots into animated GIFs. Fancy! But all of that came far too late in its history. The big mistake Google+ made was in starting out as a place for people to have meaty in-depth discussions.

Why Photos Rule The Internet – Charlie Warzel, BuzzFeed (19 March 2015)

It could be true. I’m not convinced because actually I like a meaty read and I’ve never had that from Google+. Still, read the full piece and see where he’s going with all this.

Weekend read: Autocorrect apocalypse

There was the time I was concerned about a friend’s dog, but ended up asking about my former boyfriend (“How’s the Pete?”). (My iPhone remembered, whereas I wanted to forget.) There was the friend, a cocktail lover, who texted her pediatrician to inquire if she should switch her 2-year-old from “1 percent milk to ‘whiskey.” (He said yes, definitely, she should.) And Allyson Downey, a New York entrepreneur whose frequent response to something she liked — “Love ‘em!” — always seemed to read “Love me.”

“It makes me look horribly needy,” Ms. Downey said.

When Autocorrect Goes Wrong (and So, So Right) – Jessica Bennett, NYTimes.com (9 January 2015)

Read the full piece.

PDFpen for iPad tutorial

Shush now, this is possibly more for me than it is you. PDFpen for iPad has been out for ages and I believe out for Mac for even longer. Ages plus. But I got the iPad one this week because I needed to redact some information from a PDF and in theory you can dive right in and edit the text of these things. You don’t have to find the original Word document or whatever it is, you can just right straight into the PDF.

In theory.

In practice, yes, you can. Easily. Readily. All the time.

Almost all the time. The PDF I needed to redact was actually a PDF made up of thirty-odd JPEG photographs of documents. Just slightly out of alignment, sometimes only slightly in focus. There was nothing for PDFpen or any other tool to grab hold of.

So I chucked PDFpen and my iPad aside, did the redaction in Photoshop and saved the JPEGS back into their PDF.

And wondered why I’d spent the money on PDFpen for this job that couldn’t use it. I’m now convinced that it was a good buy but it is specifically this tutorial video that did the convincing. I watched it curious to see how to do redacting and curious to see if there was anything else useful here and now I know and now I know yes, there is.

But here’s the video.

New Android switchers: solve the iMessage black hole

Instead of texts, iPhones default to using iMessage: same thing but more, better, free. If you switch to an Android phone, though, this causes problems. Most of us keep the same phone number and from now on that rings your Android phone but nobody tells iMessage to shut up.

So if someone on an iPhone sends you a text message, it goes via iMessage and simply never reaches your Android phone. It can’t. And until now that’s been tough luck: there was no way to say oi, iMessage, I’m outta here.

Now there is a tool to say oi, iMessage, I’m outta here. It’s called the Deregister iMessage tool and is available free from Apple. Details on the official site.

Apple’s iOS 8.1 is out and adds some goodies

I’ve a friend I like a lot who doesn’t have an iPhone. I know. But when she texts me, I can be knee deep in my Mac or on my iPad and I’ve got to get out my phone and send her a reply from there. I know, crazy.

As of now, in fact as of about midnight last night, that ends.

With iOS 8.1, when she texts me in her ordinary texting way, my iPhone will get it in its ordinary way but will automatically, unthinkingly, un-setting-up-ily pass that text on to my Mac and iPad. She’ll be there in amongst everyone else I exchange iMessages with.

And I’ll be able to reply to her from there.

So, yes, I’ll type at my Mac and it will pass the text over iMessage to my iPhone and my iPhone will text it out to her but you are reading the only time I will ever have to spend even this long thinking about it. It’ll just be what happens.

You can get iOS 8.1 on your iPhone and iPad now. Open Settings, General and tap on Software Update.