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Month: May 2013

Embrace your inner Kirk with DashClock Stardate [Star Trek]

Embrace your inner Kirk with DashClock Stardate [Star Trek]

2013-05-29 15.19.53Pfft, you’re still rocking the Gregorian Calendar? Dude, that is sooo last millenium! Time to party like it’s 2265!

This app isn’t anything special really, but it’s got just enough “cool” to earn a place on my home and lockscreens. Makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, you know? The Dev even included different versions of the system, ranging from the original Kirk stardate to the Next Generation’s TV and movie versions and even the most recent 2009 Star Trek layout. I never realised they were different to be honest, but there ya go! Get it from the badge below, but remember: DashClock’s only available on Android devices running 4.2 and up.

Get it on Google Play

Click through the gallery for screenshots of it on my Nexus 7 and 4 using different versions!

Why does this Nexus 7 have a notification LED?

Why does this Nexus 7 have a notification LED?

Nexus 7 blinking notifications

I only ask because the Nexus 7 doesn’t. That’s the biggest quibble I have with the device, so I know what I’m saying- At first I thought it was a reflection in the camera lens (front facing) but it happens twice and looks like a blue LED.

So what is it?

My guess is that it was added in there in post to show some kind of notification, but why not just show a regular Android notification on the screen? I don’t know, this is just a little something I noticed.

Here’s the commercial:

Times Of Malta puts up a Paywall: WTF

Times Of Malta puts up a Paywall: WTF

Times of Malta Paywall

I woke up early this morning, had breakfast, and started working on assignments. After a while I wanted a short break, went on Facebook, and saw an interesting article posted by the Times of Malta Facebook page. This post’s cover photo? That’s what came up.

Look, I somewhat understand putting up a paywall for those visiting the site from abroad, but for me? A Maltese dude whose family buys the Sunday Times of Malta regularly, who clicks on interesting ads, who comments, who links to the Times? Unacceptable.

A friend of mine, a Maltese national living in the UK, sent me this screenshot. This was last week.

913062_485636391505932_1792177520_n

Clicking on the “Subscribe” button brings us to a registration page where we’re promised an as-yet unreleased Times of Malta app (on Google Play, at least). It also gives you access to premium content (which seems to be all the really important and relevant stuff), the e-paper, and International Access.

Look, I’m a University student with a blog, running to and fro from one thing to the next. Do I really have time to read through your e-paper? Nobody in my age bracket does, and do you really think it’s wise to block the generation who needs every reason to check your newspaper instead of these up-and-coming online news sites?  Finally, I wish I was a jet-setting businessman or writer or secret assassin so I can indeed make use of the International Access that €2.99 a week, every four weeks, would grant me. That’s an introductory offer too, it goes up to €3.99 soon.

Times of Malta subscription benefits

 

Interestingly enough, the Breaking News section is still available for free, but is that one thing you can get from anywhere else within a matter of minutes, if not seconds.

How to fix this

Let’s make things right. I’m a Business student and I can understand the need to generate more revenue, perhaps to fuel better content in the future. But this isn’t the way to do it. Here’s how I would fix this.

First, split Premium and Non-Premium content. Add a subdomain with premium content that is set apart from the rest. Makes it seem better, a bit more exclusive.

Make premium content worthwhile! If this is an article I can ultimately read on any other online publication in Malta not only are you losing readers but you’re handing your competitors the rope with which to hang you. Don’t do it. Make video features, more interviews, in-depth articles tackling deep-rooted issues in Maltese society. Make daily columns by Maltese writers available either in print or through an online subscription. Essentially, take a good look at what foreign newspapers are doing. And The Verge, their video team is KILLING it.

Finally, don’t make current affairs a Premium content exclusive! What’s the point of reading an online newspaper if you have to pay to get the most relevant bits? This kind of stuff isn’t written about everyday, and you may very well convince people they’re better off buying the print edition the next day, after they’ve heard the news from their friends, the radio, or TVM. Or, you know, visited one of your competitors’ websites.

For the love of God, fix this. Offering paid content is fresh, it’s modern, but it’s not done this way. If you come across more premium content that should be free, send me an email at emmanuel AT enexi DOT net.

Developing…. I will add more to this post with timed/dated updates as more information comes through.

Ad Watch: When Two Fandoms Collide – A Lumia Commercial

Ad Watch: When Two Fandoms Collide – A Lumia Commercial

Lumia 920 commerciak

I can call it that, right? A Fandom? Whatevs.

It’s fun, funny, and does away with all that Scroogled nonsense Microsoft insists on pushing down people’s throats. Seriously, Apple and Google didn’t get to the top of their respective games by trashing the others in the New York Times*.

The commercial features a wedding with a half iOS and half Samsung (Android only) congregation, that tear each other to pieces after one of the Galaxy-toting men obstructs an iPhone guy from taking clear photos of the happy couple.  Two waiters watch the melee unfold and one of them records everything on her Lumia 920, while the other guy flips through apps. He asks if they’d stop fighting if they had the 920, and the woman shooting the video says that maybe they like fighting.

There’s something good and something bad about this commercial. The good stuff? It’s good, it grabs your attention, and its memorable. You won’t be forgetting this one any time soon.

The bad stuff? It grabs your attention then….does nothing with it. Seriously. It gives you, the audience, absolutely no reason to buy a Lumia 920. And the two killer features shown are Siri and S Beam, of the iPhone and Samsung crowd respectively. Windows Phone doesn’t have a voice assistant anywhere near Siri’s caliber, and while it can send photos over NFC Windows Phone’s service is nowhere near as versatile**. In turn, Siri’s bested by Google Now on Any Android 4.1+ device, but that’s not shown in the commercial so I’ll just mention it and nothing more. Hell, they’re making their competitors look better than they are!

Microsoft, here’s how you’re going to fix this ad: add more Lumia!

*This is something Microsoft does with Outlook, it just doesn’t use the info to target commercials at you. So, moot point please meet expensive ad.

**I might be wrong, correct me if I am.