August – Month in Review

This is my second ever monthly review and, truth be told, I feel as though I accomplished less than desired in August. I went back to university to do some courses in marketing and international business, mostly to fill in some gaps in my skillset. Unfortunately academia is time consuming, but I’ve still managed hit most of the goals I set for the month.

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Post contains 600 words and has no comments. Posted August 31, 2015 in Personal. 0

Going Ethical

I’ve been doing a bad thing for three years now. To boost profits, SingularLabs was using OpenCandy to bundle third-party software with System Ninja. Even though we didn’t allow any toolbar or search products to be bundled, this partnership was frustrating to our users. Many had to wrestle with their security products just to get our software running, while others found themselves with software on their computer that they didn’t actually want.

I wasn't going to source this image, but that would have been too ironic.

I wasn’t going to source this image, but that would have been too ironic.

This couldn’t go on any longer, so I’m happy to say that all of SingularLabs’ installers are 100% free of advertising and bundled software. The damage to our reputation and the inconvenience to the users was not worth the few thousand a year we will no longer be making.

It should be noted that this decision is not an indictment of OpenCandy or the installer bundling industry. When done correctly, it’s a valuable way for indie developers to generate much needed revenue with little harm to the end user. (For the last time, OpenCandy is not spying on you or planning to, I dunno; sell your organs to ISIS)

Post contains 201 words and has 2 comments. Posted August 15, 2015 in Projects. 1

The iPad’s sales are declining

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According to Neil Cybart, the iPad’s sales are declining as part of a wider trend in the tablet market.

The tablet market is in complete disarray. Only five short years ago, the iPad helped jumpstart the category, ushering in multi-touch computing and the modern-day app revolution to large-screen devices. Today, there has never been a time when the tablet market faces so much unknown.

A quick look at iPad and tablet shipment data would show that things have gotten bad in recent quarters. However, in reality, things are much worse than quarterly shipment data would suggest.

I would like to present my own theory on the tablet market’s decline: tablets are not very good. I’m on my third iPad; the previous two would inexplicably power down and Apple graciously replaced them citing “manufacturing issues.” The iPad can barely handle casual web browsing without crashing on JavaScript-intensive pages or forcing re-loads when changing tabs.

These quality problems don’t just affect iPads; the Galaxy Tab I own suffers many of the same performance and stability issues. I would not buy another tablet until serious improvements are made. Many others, I presume, feel exactly the same way.

Post contains 194 words and has no comments. Posted August 14, 2015 in Technology. 0

Display advertising is no longer a valid monetization strategy

Producing great content and putting a few AdSense units into the sidebar was once a decent monetization strategy. Up until very recently, one could make a pretty decent amount of money with display advertising.

Although the traffic on my blogs has grown in the last couple of years, the amount of revenue generated by AdSense has slowly declined. The is indicative of a wider industry trend, at least partially triggered by a massive increase in usage of adblocking tools such as AdBlock+.

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A recent report by PageFair claims that use of ad blockers has increased by 41% in the last year, with a total userbase exceeding 200,000,000 users and costing publishers an estimated 22 billion dollars of annual revenue.

This isn’t another plea for people to disable their adblockers en masse so that we publishers like me can continue to rake in cash. The business model is obsolete, I get it. Years of creepy tracking, bandwidth intensive, intrusive and ugly ads has rightly pissed off a lot consumers and this is the expected outcome. Users don’t need to change their behaviour or inconvenience themselves to support the websites they love; the websites they love need to come up with better ways of making money.

Though it’s incumbent upon publishers to change adapt their monetization strategies, users will inevitably need to accept that somebody must pay for the content they consume. Subscriptions, native advertising and pay-per-view microtransactions are going to grow prolifically as display advertising continued to decline. At least until someone comes up with a better solution.

Post contains 254 words and has 3 comments. Posted August 11, 2015 in Entrepreneur. 1

Goodbye MetroTextual

When MetroTextual was released in early 2012, when Microsoft’s metro design was in its infancy and Windows 8 was yet to be unveiled. The minimalist user interface was unique among text editors and it quickly grew to tens of thousands of users.

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Fast forward to 2015 and metro design in everywhere. On Microsoft’s newest operating systems, even Notepad has a clean and simple metro interface. MetroTextual’s distinguishing feature is now irrelevant and it’s little more than another mediocre code editor that simply cannot compete with GitHub’s Atom or Adobe’s Brackets.

There is very little reason to continue investing time and resources on MetroTextual’s development, so I’m officially abandoning it. It will still be available to download for users of previous OSs who want an aesthetically pleasing text editor, but there will no longer be any feature improvements or bug fixes.

I really do enjoy working on text editing programs, so parts of MetroTextual will continue to live on as a Windows Markdown editor. The other products in this market lack refinement and suitability to developers, so I feel there’s space in this market to build something great.

TL;DR Goodbye MetroTextual. Watch this space for a Markdown Editor inspired by MetroTextual.

Post contains 198 words and has no comments. Posted August 10, 2015 in Projects. 0

Elon Musk believes human drivers will eventually be outlawed

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Via The Verge:

Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk believes that cars you can control will eventually be outlawed in favor of ones that are controlled by robots. The simple explanation: Musk believes computers will do a much better job than us to the point where, statistically, humans would be a liability on roadways.

The comments section of the article is actually worth looking at. Besides the usual conspiracy theories, there’s some worthwhile discussions surrounding ethical emergency decision making and legal liability surrounding accidents. I’m reminded of Matthew Inman’s thoughts following his test-drive of Google’s autonomous vehicles.

Post contains 97 words and has no comments. Posted August 6, 2015 in Technology. 0