Can Dropbox fend off its competitors?

When Dropbox founder Drew Houston met with Steve Jobs in 2009 to talk about Dropbox, Houston famously shut down Jobs’ approach to buy the file-sharing service. According to a report from Forbes in 2011, Jobs let Houston know that he was making something of a mistake banking on Dropbox’s service to sustain a company, telling him that Dropbox was “a feature, not a product.”

Now, it sort of feels like Jobs was right. Dropbox doesn’t feel like it’s future trajectory is up. In fact, it kind of feels like the rain has started and the Dropbox is getting soggy. Dropbox isn’t going to get much further without becoming easier, more meaningful and high-powered. Dropbox isn’t going anywhere but down as a standalone app, but if it can find a way to make itself a part of our lives the way it began to before iCloud, Google Docs, Box and the rest, it might stand a chance. And, well, if there’s one company that’s become the leading expert on making itself an essential part of daily life, it’s Apple.

_via [It’s time to revisit Apple buying Dropbox Gigaom](

Online file storage and sync is increasingly commoditised, but regardless compared to OneDrive, iCloud Drive, Google Drive etc, Dropbox still stands out in terms of reliability and ease of use. That being said, I totally understand that the importance of Dropbox as a standalone product is less so nowadays. Hopefully Dropbox will be able to get past this, it’s still my favourite online storage and sync service.

Google ‘Customer Match’ means your email address is now for sale to the highest bidder

Computing reported on Google ‘Customer Match’.

Google is close to rolling out a tool named “Customer Match” which, it appears, will combine a logged-in Google account with any email address handed by a customer to a retailer to create lists of addresses to target specific users with marketing material.

The search giant can sit comfortably with this arrangement, as the lists of emails are anonymised through the service, meaning Google keeps hold of the specific details and the retailer doesn’t get them, but can use them to blind dump advertising into Google-based sessions in services such as YouTube, Gmail or basic search functions on the Google homepage.


It appears Customer Match is another response from Google to dwindling display advertising revenue, as companies attempt to find new ways to push adverts to users without depending on simple clicks of randomised ad banners.

While Apple is pushing for greater privacy by not tracking you, Google goes the opposite way.

iFixit violates Apple agreement

Kyle Wiens wrote about why the iFixit app was pulled from the App Store.

Not too long ago, we tore down the Apple TV and Siri Remote. The developer unit we disassembled was sent to us by Apple. Evidently, they didn’t intend for us to take it apart. But we’re a teardown and repair company; teardowns are in our DNA—and nothing makes us happier than figuring out what makes these gadgets tick. We weighed the risks, blithely tossed those risks over our shoulder, and tore down the Apple TV anyway.

The device was provided to developers for them to create apps, not to tear it down show it to the public weeks before the product is launched. They probably should read the non-disclosure agreement again.

People who are whining about Apple pulling the app as a punishment for the violation of a device NDA have comprehension problems. The developer account was banned for violating the NDA, and since the app is tied to that account, it was subsequently removed from the App Store. So put down those pitchforks and stop yelling about unfair punishment and censorship.

It is disappointing to see iFixit behave so recklessly and, instead of realising their mistake, they continue to thump their chests in defiance.

Why parents will love Apple’s Live Photos

MG Sigler wrote about Live Photos.

It’s no accident that people with children immediately realize the value in this feature. With each passing day they see their children growing up in front of their eyes in ways that those of us without children can’t quite comprehend. To you and I, time passes slowly and people age slowly. Children morph from day to day. And so having a live look-back at your child even a few days removed is immensely valuable and meaningful.


Yes, anyone could just take a video of their loved ones and it would be an actual live look back into their lives. But most people aren’t very good at taking video. They take footage that’s way too long. Or it’s staged. Or they miss things. With Live Photos, Apple figured out a rather ingenious solution to all of those things in a nice, tight picture package. It’s brilliant.

Watch Blackberry CEO demo the Blackberry Priv

CEO John Chen fumbling through the product and making vague remarks on a product he should be very familiar with. And “obviously it runs Google”.

Top analyst wrongly predicts that Apple iPhone 6S sales are weak

CNBC reported on top analyst saying early Apple iPhone 6S sales were weak.

Here’s why he believes iPhone demand is weaker…

1) Google search volume much lower than last year:

iPhone 6S search volume is 75 percent below last year’s iPhone 6 and 25 percent lower than even the iPhone 5S according to Google Trends, said Hargreaves.

Could this be a sign that less people are using Google search?

For those who are unaware, iPhone opening sales broke records and are up 30 percent over last year.

What it means to be great

Horace Dediu wrote about what it means to be great.

What makes a product great? I struggle with this question because being great is not just being better than good. Greatness is to goodness as wisdom is to smarts. Just like getting smarter and smarter may never make you wise, getting better and better does not mean ever becoming great.

Greatness is transcendental. It’s hard to pin down. It inspires debate. It divides as much as it unites. It creates emotions as much as thoughts. It builds legends. It engages and persists. It lives in memory and penetrates culture. It implants itself in our consciousness persistently, to linger and dwell in our minds while we are bombarded with stimuli.


In the absence of any measurement of greatness, how do we spot it?
It may just be down to “knowing when we see it”. But not everybody does.

This quandary came to mind when looking at the performance of the latest iPhone, the 6S. Observing it closely, we lose sight of it. We see only minute changes between versions; marginal changes which can’t be weighed. And yet these changes have a more important attribute: they are absorbable. A change that is ignored is not only valueless, it may actually destroy perception of value. It creates clutter and confusion. A change that is absorbable is valuable. It is meaningful.


Paradoxically, the improvements are not usually things that users ask for. Surveys always show that consumers want “better battery life” or a “bigger screen” but delivering something else entirely which nevertheless leads to mass adoption shows an uncanny insight into what really matters. Indeed, those who deliver only what customers ask for end up marginalized and bereft of profit.

Great piece by Horace Dediu. Not everyone can recognise and appreciate greatness when it first appears.

The state of JavaScript on Android in 2015 is… poor

Jeff Atwood wrote about The state of Javascript on Android in 2015.

It seems the Android manufacturers are more interested in slapping n slow CPU cores on a die than they are in producing very fast CPU cores. And this is quite punishing when it comes to JavaScript.

This is becoming more and more of a systemic problem in the Android ecosystem, one that will not go away in the next few years, and it may affect the future of Discourse, since we bet heavily on near-desktop JavaScript performance on mobile devices. That is clearly happening on iOS but it is quite disastrously the opposite on Android.

The iPhone 5S from two generations ago outperforms the latest Samsung Galaxy devices.

Seth Godin on Ad blocking

Seth Godin wrote about ad blocking.

This reinforces the fundamental building blocks of growth today:

  • The best marketing isn’t advertising, it’s a well-designed and remarkable product.
  • The best way to contact your users is by earning the privilege to contact them, over time.
  • Making products for your customers is far more efficient than finding customers for your products.
  • Horizontally spread ideas (person to person) are far more effective than top-down vertical advertising.
  • More data isn’t the point. Data to serve explicit promises is the point.
  • Commodity products can’t expect to easily build a profitable ‘brand’ with nothing but repetitive jingles and noise.
  • Media properties that celebrate their ads (like Vogue) will continue to thrive, because the best advertising is the advertising we would miss if it was gone.

We have become so numb to advertising that most of us unconsciously ignore the ads when we browse website. Ad blockers just help us save bandwidth by not loading the ads and protects our privacy by blocking tracking by ad networks.

The iPhone S years

John Gruber on the Daring Fireball about the iPhones 6S.

The glaring downside to this tick-tock schedule is that we as a culture — and particularly the media, both on the tech/gadgetry side and the business side — are obsessed with “new”. And, well, the S-model iPhones don’t look new. This year there is a new rose gold aluminum finish, but at a glance, the iPhones 6S look like last year’s iPhones 6. Every year is an iterative improvement over the previous one, whether it’s an S year or not. But it’s hard not to see the S years as more iterative, less impressive, updates, simply because they look the same.

I think that’s a trap — a way to be fooled by your eyes. If you put aside what the phones look like, the S model years have brought some of the biggest changes to the platform. The display changes came in non-S years, of course — the iPhone 4 going retina; the iPhone 5 expanding from 3.5 to 4 inches diagonally and changing the aspect ratio; and of course last year’s 6/6 Plus expanding to 4.7 and 5.5 inches and higher display resolutions. But it was the 3GS that first improved on CPU performance and gave us the first improvements to the camera. The 4S ushered in Siri integration and a much faster camera. The 5S was Apple’s first 64-bit ARM device, years ahead of the competition, and was the first device with Touch ID. For a typical iPhone user on a two-year upgrade cycle, I think the S years are the better phones, historically.

Something that Matt and I agree with and often talk about.