Monthly Archives: January 2013

Clap for your app. Applause gives app developers a helping hand.


Do you want to know how your app stacks up against other apps?

Or even previous versions of your own app?

Then pay attention.

There’s a new app rating service called Applause, which lets you do just that.

Applause is the brainchild of a Boston-based uTest (known for getting their tech on).

To hear them describe it:

Applause is an app analytics product that crawls every rating and review from the top app stores. Applause synthesizes this mountain of user feedback into an easy-to-consume Applause Score to measure user satisfaction, app quality and how much applause an app is earning from users.

Its been compared to Klout, the social media influence ranking service.

But, in my opinion (outside of the 0-100 scale – more on that later) it’s actually more like Alexa, in that it ranks mobile applications far more objectively.

Apps are given a score (like Klout) between 0 and 100.

The greater the score, the better the app.

Scores are tabulated from the more than 50 million ratings, reviews and comments left by users in the App and Google Play stores.

The Applause score is actually comprised of ten different attributes, which include things like price, content, usability and ‘elegance’.

What are these "attributes" you speak of?

What are these “attributes” you speak of?

If you want to get an in-depth understanding of how Applause Scores are generated, check out their Behind the Scenes page, which discusses how attributes are weighted and applied.

For consumers, Applause can help you determine whether an app is worth the download.

Too often, developers send ‘ringers’ in to artificially inflate an app’s star rating.

Worse still, are the fake reviews of users lauding an app.

Applause claims that it provides a more even-handed, objective review of an app.

Kind of like the way Rotten Tomatoes provides objective, even-handed reviews of movies.

I set up a free account and took Applause for a test spin, and was fairly impressed with what I saw.

Setting up was as simple as entering an email address and choosing a password.

From there, I searched for an app, double-clicked the result which opened up a dashboard.

The Applause dashboard provide a snapshot as well as in-depth views of an app in six categories or areas:

  • Applause Score
  • Applause Attributes
  • Applause Signals
  • Review Stream
  • Tag Cloud
  • App Basics

For developers, Applause provides a bright line test of their app’s true appeal.

If your app wasn’t properly vetted or Beta tested, you might not know how crappy (or awesome) your app really is.

Applause lets you see your app’s overall rating, but also a tag cloud of the keywords most often associated with the app.

More importantly, Applause provides meaningful insight and direction about how to improve user satisfaction and overall app quality.

If you’re curious, I’d definitely recommend that you check out your app and see if it generates any Applause.

Get it?

I crack myself up.


Filed under apps, mobile

YouTube, you’re bugging. No one is paying for your videos.


I’ve been hearing the most ludicrous rumors concerning YouTube.

Apparently, someone at Google thinks it would be a good idea to start charging folks to watch certain channels.

For a small fee, say $5, users would have access to “premium” content on YouTube.


So the site that has millions of free user-generated videos is now going to switch to a pay model?


You know I’m not trying to pay for YouTube.

Or any other social media service for that matter.

And it’s not like it’s Netflix (for which I have a subscription).

Where you can dial up the movie you want to watch.

And they’re movies – not videos.

But maybe that’s where they’re going next.

YouTube aspires to be the Netflix of videos?

But which videos?

Are labels going to start charging you to watch the music videos of their artists?

Bad idea.

Maybe I’m dense, but I can’t think of any scenario where folks would be willing to come off that cash for some video (when that same content was formerly free).

Sure, the freemium model dictates that you give something of value away initially to induce a later spend.

But YouTube has been free since the word go.

They blew past that incentive point – where if they flipped to a paid model folks would be willing to pay – a while ago.

Now it just looks like they’re trying to make money by any means necessary.

Or maybe they’re trying to provide incentives to content creators to partner with Google.

If you recall, a few years ago, Google flirted with this subscription video model.

They offered content creators the opportunity to set up premium channels, where they could charge users to watch their videos.

Needless to say, the idea didn’t take.

Why they’re resuscitation this obviously flawed strategy again now is beyond me.

Maybe they’re just gluttons for punishment.

Maybe it’s the 800 million YouTube searches that are performed daily.

Or the 4 billion hours that folks watch each month.

Maybe they’re trying to offer an alternative to the current ad-supported model.

Whatever the motivation, we’ll have to wait and see how folks respond.

Google hasn’t indicated when the first of the paid videos or channels will be available.

In fact, no one is quite sure of the exact pricing mechanism they intend to employ.

But I can tell you this: I won’t be paying a damn thing!

Who knows, maybe the second time’s a charm.

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Filed under opinion, social media

Track that App! Native Event Tracking is a must.


If you’ve got an app in the App Store or with Google Play, you’re probably fixated with how your app is performing.

You probably get some sort of report, letting you know how many downloads or purchases of your respective app occurred over some pre-defined period.

And this report represents a measure of your apps success.



There are all kinds of tools out there that help you track the performance of your mobile app.

There are basic tools, which tell you how many times your app has been downloaded (which you can typically get from the respective app stores).

And others which tell you about conversions, time on app, entry and exit points.

But these tools offer only the most basic insight into the success (or lack thereof) of your app.

More sophisticated tools let you capture details about usage and engagement.

If you want to dig a little deeper beneath the surface, you can track native events – the specific taps, swipes and scrolls that define mobile application usage.

In my humble opinion, native event tracking is the sweet spot when it comes to apps.

What exactly users are doing with my app.

If your app is a basic wrapper app or a launcher, with a simple native entry point sitting atop a complete mobile web experience, then read no further.

This post isn’t for you.

But if you’ve got a truly native application, which takes full advantage of the device’s API, then you’re going to want to know much more than you’re getting from a download report.

If you’re really interested in understanding precisely what users are doing with your app, after they’ve downloaded and installed it – beyond open, close and time spent – then read on.

If you’ve spent the kind of time that I have with apps, app developers and clients, you know that metrics are supremely important.

No reputable company would launch a website without ensuring that their Google Analytics dashboard was popping (or some other form of online data tracking).

But what about your mobile apps?

Are you paying attention to the events taking place on the device itself, beyond the mobile web entry and endpoints that may be accessed by the app?

Apps provide a deeper level of engagement than a standard mobile website.

So being able to leverage the native features and functions of a mobile device, thereby driving deeper levels of engagement, means that you can capture vitally rich information from each and every user.

Tracking usage patterns of the mobile apps you develop can aid your brand determine where to add (or withdraw) development resources to maximize user engagement.

And that’s where native event tracking come in.

As the name explains, ‘native event tracking’ refers to the tracking (=recording, capture and storage) of the native (=occurring on the mobile device) events (=interactions with the app).

And while Google is the top of the food chain when it comes to online analytics, there are a couple of other players in the native event tracking space.

For example, there’s Flurry, which provides SDKs for mobile application developers interested in tracking usage patterns.

There’s AppClix from Mobile Visions, which has a comprehensive dashboard that integrates easily with other analytics providers, like Flurry, Pinch Media or Localytics.

Omniture by Adobe, which is perhaps one of the more recognizable names in the game, also offers mobile application developers with native tracking tools.

Their native SDKs allow you to measure applications across a host of mobile platforms, including iOS, Android, PhoneGap, Windows 8, Symbian and Blackberry.

And there’s also Tracker, whose API allows you to implement usage tracking and analytics in mobile applications.

There are a host more, of both the paid and open source variety, which can all adequately track mobile application usage to a greater or lesser degree.

But for me, one stands out above the rest.

And it’s (one again) Google.

Having recently worked on a project utilizing Google’s Analytics for Mobile Apps SDK, I can say that it’s the most robust and comprehensive native events tracking application I’ve worked with.

The great thing about it, is that it’s totally customizable.

Does your app allow users to swipe, pinch, tap, scroll, press, shake, toggle?

Then you can track it all with Google.

Using a very basic methodology: _trackEvent (category, action, opt_label, opt_value, opt_noninteraction) you’re able to generate supremely in-depth user engagement data from mobile applications.

The best thing about using Google’s event tracking protocols is that it’s FREE!

In addition, if you’re already using Google for your web analytics, the dashboard and reports are virtually the same.

Now, to each, his or her respective own.

Having worked with GA for a minute, it’s my SDK of choice.

But if you’re working with an app developer, one question to ask is how they intend (or what mechanism they intend to use) to track native events.

And if you’re developing apps on your own, do not neglect native event tracking.

There’s no better way to learn about (and leverage) your users’ behavior.

Class dismissed.

Now get out there and track those apps!


Filed under apps, digital advocacy, mobile

And so it begins. Has Vine become the “in” thing?

A few days ago, I posted about Vine, the social video service launched by Twitter on Thursday.

Vine users can create short, six second videos, which can be published to their Twitter, Facebook and/or Vine profiles.

Well it seems that the world has gone Vine mad in the space of a few short days.

Over the weekend, at least two different sites have popped up, built off of the Vine phenomenon.

The first, Vinepeek, is a real time aggregator of Vine videos.

Vinepeek basically broadcasts an endless stream of these six-second Vine videos.

Since all Vine posts are public, viewers can see videos from everyone in the Vine network.

It’s really buggy, and videos frequently freeze, requiring you to reload the page often.

Another service,, lets viewers watch the last 20 videos on Vine.


The service is very simple, and offers few options beyond watching videos muted or with volume.

This service is buggy too.

If you visit the site from your iPhone, good luck with getting your browser back.

The videos launch automatically, one after the next, in an endless stream of annoyance.

I had to kill Safari to stop the madness.

Despite the limitations of these initial forays, the interweb is literally abuzz with Vine.

Every day new articles pop up about how marketers can use Vine to promote their goods and services, the abuses of Vine (aka Vine porn), and of course, the fallout between Facebook and Twitter over Vine.

Several blogs posts have been devoted to Vine etiquette, the proper way to create Vine videos, and conversely, why Vine signals the end of the world.

But whatever your perspective, Vine has clearly captured the attention of the (media) masses.

Whether Vine will be a flash in the pan or not remains to be seen.

But I suspect that Vine, like Pinterest before it, will develop a massive user community (aka eyeballs) that brands would be remiss to ignore.

One good thing about Vine is that fact this it is a video medium.

And brands can use it more effectively than long form videos, which requires a user sit through the entire thing.

Smart marketers will figure out how to sell folks in six seconds or less.

With the Superbowl coming up, I wonder whether the powers-that-be at Twitter had the foresight to buy up some of that Superbowl ad time.

Outside of the natural buzz they’re getting from the geekorati who are already up on these techie trends, the Superbowl represents an unprecedented opportunity to get Vine in front of the (tech-ignorant) masses.

But I suspect there are already several hundred thousand Vinies? Viners? out there already.

By the way, what is the appropriate verb for making Vine videos? Vining?

I’ll bet you the Crispin Porters of the world are already hard at work coming up with Vine pitches for their brands.

So what do you think?

Is Vine here to stay?

Are you planning to Vine?

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Filed under apps, digital advocacy, iPhone, mobile, technology

Do you Vine? Twitter launches micro-video sharing app


Have you heard of Vine, Twitter’s latest spinoff?

In a nutshell, it’s a micro-video sharing app that’s currently available for iPhone users.

The app launched yesterday, and it essentially allows Vine users to post short 6 second videos to Vine, Twitter and Facebook.

What’s the big friggin deal, you ask?

Well they’re not any old six second videos.

They work like GIFs letting you create clever stop-animation style videos.

And it’s easy as pie to do.

All you do is turn on your phone’s camera from within the app.

There’s a little camera icon in the header.

Then you hold your finger to the screen.

As long as your finger is touching the screen, Vine records.

Lift you finger, recording stops.

Press the screen again, recording starts again.

Lift it, it stops.

Each time you press the screen, a green progress bar shows you how much recording time you have left.

When you’ve hit your six second limit, a green check box appears on the screen.

Press it and you’re presented with the option to post to the Vine community, Twitter and Facebook.

Toggle the switches to select your preference and viola! You’re done.

Getting set up with Vine is a cinch.

You can register with your Twitter account or sign up via email.

From there, you’re prompted to confirm your profile details.

And then Vine gives you a short live tutorial to show you how to use the app.

In addition to letting you create your own short vids, you can browse through the creative contributions of other users from the ‘Explore’ option in the app.

There’s also an ‘Activity’ option in the menu, which stores all of your activity within the Vine community (likes, shares, comments, etc.).

Posting micro-videos to Vine is the video equivalent of Tweeting.

You’re posting short bursts of content that followers consume like potato chips.

It’s so super easy to use that I can see this thing taking off.

But what do I know?

There’s already a bit of controversy surrounding Vine’s release.

Apparently, unlike most other apps being introduced nowadays, you can’t sign up for Vine with your Facebook account.

And there is some question as to whether you can actually post to Facebook via the app.

When I tried, there appeared to be a glitch in the matrix.

Although I was presented with the standard access screen, the app crashed when I elected to allow the app to post activity to my profile.


Anyway, if you’re interested in yet another social sharing app that’s a monumental waste if time, Vine is right up your alley.

From my short time with it, I foresee it being quite addictive.

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Filed under apps, iPhone, mobile, social media

AAA Roadside Assistance? There’s an app for that!

Ever since I’ve had a license, I’ve had AAA (or Triple A, as it’s more commonly known).

Growing up, every car we ever owned had the silver lame (that’s lame as in a thin plate of metal) Triple A stickers in the window.

Although I don’t recall even one instance when we actually broke down, and had to avail ourselves of it’s protection, my dad kept his membership up to date.

So when I became a car owner myself, I made a point of copping my Triple A membership.

Over the years, there have been a few occasions when I made that call.

A few winters ago, my Jeep just stopped working.

I was in NY and when I got back into old girl to head home, she simply wouldn’t turn over.

I whipped out my phone, called Triple A, and then had to run the gauntlet to actually get a live operator on the phone.

First there was the automated attendant who wanted my member number, eye color and middle name of the nun who taught me in first grade.

Then, when I finally got a warm body, I was told that I needed to be transferred to another Triple A office, that handled the borough I was stranded in.

And then I was transferred to another operator who told me that I had been transferred to the wrong location.

After about 30 minutes of musical chairs, I was finally told that someone would be there within “30 to 45 minutes”.

I thought that was an inordinately long time (considering how long it took just to get the initial request put in), but was prepared to wait.

Two and a half hours (several irate phone calls and lots of hold time) later, someone actually showed up.

Two and a half friggin hours!

Grateful to have been rescued from my predicament, I didn’t bend dude’s ear or put Triple A on full blast.

But I was hot.

On another occasion, my rental conked out at the mall.

Whipped out the phone.

Placed the call for roadside assistance.

Got the same run around as the last time.

“Oh you’re not with the right office, let me transfer you. Please hold.”

Next operator takes my info.

Gives me the standard “30-45 minutes” spiel.

A deuce later, a Triple A truck shows up.

Two hours? For a jump?


A month ago, I had a flat tire.


As in, “you be easy.”

I can change a flat tire.

But in the process of removing my lug nuts, I stripped it and it would not come off.

Placed a call to Triple A.

You know the drill.

Two hours later, someone showed up.

In each instance, Triple A got me right.

So I definitely think that it’s worth having a membership.

But that wait….

You can imagine my chagrin this morning, when I was driving to work, and old girl started to sputter.

I was driving my lil’ brother’s 1991 Mercedes Benz 300E.

I’ve been driving it for a minute (he parked it at my house in Montclair when he got a spot in Manhattan).

So I thought I knew her pretty well.

The gas light had been on for a couple of days.

But that only means that the gas is low, not empty.

I knew, from experience, that whenever I saw that light, I had a good twenty more miles before I actually had to get gas.

So I was completely thrown when she just stopped.

I was not looking forward to another two hour wait.

I whipped out my phone and started to dial.

But then it hit me, maybe Triple A had an app!

So I switched up and opened up the App Store instead of dialing.

Lo and behold!

Not only did they have an app (they had four), but there was a Roadside Assistance App!


I quickly downloaded that joint, fired it up and plugged in my info.


15 minutes later, I spied a Triple A truck pulling up behind me.

I shit you not.

15 minutes later.

Dude popped out of his truck, grabbed a 3 gallon gas can and funnel, and poured life-giving petrol into my disabled ride.

And just like that, I was off!

Now I can’t say that it was the app that got them there so quickly this morning.

If Triple A hasn’t received a slew of complaints, or if it wasn’t a light day, or if it wasn’t my (new) premium membership, then (aside from my using the app today) I can’t account for the speed with which they responded to my call for aid.

But I can say that if you ever find yourself stranded on the side of the road, don’t bother calling Triple A.

Whip out your smartphone.

Dial up the Triple A app.

Request assistance.

And watch the magic happen.

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Filed under apps, Smack talking

Spin class sucks (and forty five reasons why I hate Rodney Cummins)

Violence must be my theme this week.

While I’ve only been in one real fight in my life – with Darrell Cabbel when I was sixteen – I’ve had to suppress these urges.

I kicked his ass.

But that’s another story for another time.

Right now, we’re talking about why I’m plotting on taking out one of my colleagues.

Several months ago, when I started working at Usablenet, one of my team members, Rodney Cummins and I, started going to the gym down the block from the office.

Two or three times a week, we made it our business to get money.

For my urban vernacular challenged, get money = work out vigorously.

And get money we did.

Religiously, each week we’d get money.

We got so much money together, that our co-workers nicknamed us Chukummins.

Chukumba + Cummins.

I know, they’re juvenile.


The Red Barron, another one of our colleagues invited Rodney to spin class, also at the gym, and he went.

The Red Barron = a red-headed Irishman.

I mocked them mercilessly for going to an obviously sad excuse for money getting.

He came back from that class, bitching and moaning about how hard it was.

But remarking about what a great workout he got that day.

Spin class?


Great workout?

The Red Barron?

I found the whole thing ludicrous.

The next time we went to get money, I had Rodney take me to the spin class.

So I could get my spin on.

And debunk the myth that spin class was in any way comparable to the money we were getting on the man side of the gym.

That day, there was no class being offered, but I decided to just jump on a bike and see what it was like.

I had Rodney play instructor and simulate a few minutes of the class.

He ran through a short warm-up of pedaling with slight resistance, before ratcheting it up.

“Pedal seated for a four count.”


“Now up for a four count.”


“Back down for a four count.”


“And up again for a four count.”


This is spin?

This ain’t shit!

Spin is for sissies, I thought.

Until he said, “now hold it for another four count.”

By this point, I was quite used to the simple rhythm we had going.

And I was totally ready for my “now sit 3-2-1.”

I needed to sit.

But when he told me I had that four count to go, I felt the burn in my thighs.

I started to sweat.

Mind you, we had been spinning for less than a minute.

My mind raced frantically.

WTF Rodney!

Hold it for another four count.


Right then, I decided that spin was the devil and promptly dismounted from the bike.

Nearly pitching myself over the handle bars in the process.

Spin bikes don’t coast and have no brakes.

The only way to stop is by gradually decreasing your rate of pedaling.

No one told me.

So not only were my thighs burning, but I nearly died too.

Curses flowed from my mouth like I was possessed by Beezlebub.

I cursed him like he stole from me.

Like he violated my mother.

Like the soulless bastard he was.

Eventually, as feeling returned to my thighs, and the burning subsided, I felt less hatred towards him.

And as time passed, so did my memory of that unfortunate 60 seconds of spin.

Until today, that is.

You see, for months, he and the Red Barron have been attending spin.

The running joke is the invitation they extend to me each time they go.

Knowing I’ll decline.

Rodney is cursed afresh with each invitation.

But today, another one of my coworkers was going with them.

And – against my better judgment – I was compelled to attend.

Pride is a motherfucker!

Despite the single digit temperatures in NY today, I was sweating on the (not long enough) walk from our office down the block to the gym.

Fear gripped me as I entered the spin class and took my assigned bike.

No. 20 mocked me as I sat upon it, strapping my feet into its toe harnesses.

As the class started, my hatred of Rodney renewed.

The whole time, mind you, he was clapping and uttering ‘motivational’ catch-phrases at me.

If I had a machete handy, a headless torso would have been pedaling astride me, instead of this bloody happy fool.

But no machete was handy.

All I had was Rihanna to get me through.

And my unwavering desire to save face in front of my colleagues.

So I pedaled.

Thighs burning.

Sweating like a slave.


Cursing Rodney with each new hill – or sprint – or eight count.

45 minutes later (and only having almost pitched myself over the handle bars of my bike twice) I emerged.

Ass sore.

Broken, but unbowed.

I will never attend spin class again.

And if they ever find the headless torso of a Black man in gym clothes near the New York Health & Racquetball club…


Filed under rant, Smack talking

The difference between an app and a mobile site is…

The other day, I nearly smacked the sh*t out of my wife.

Or rather, I had the urge to smack the sh*t out of my wife.

Now, I’m not a violent person.

Nor do I support domestic violence of any kind.

But she asked me a question…

So vile…

So base….

That it took every sinew in my body to restrain myself.

What, pray tell, did she ask to create such an impassioned emotional response?

“What’s the difference (between an app and a mobile site)?”

Can you believe it?

The nerve of this heifer.

I’ve been married to this broad for almost 13 years.

I’ve been in the mobile app/technology space for over a decade.

Over this period, I regaled her with stories of my exploits in cyberspace.

I converted her from a cave dwelling savage to a member of civilized society.

Where once stood a technophobe, now exists a technophile.

I brought her from a clamshell to a smartphone.

Raised her from the ignorance of PCs to the enlightenment of Apple.

Brought her from the dark of online social isolation to the light of social media and networking.

But, I digress.

Why did I want to inflict bodily harm?

Well, she was “pinning” on her Droid II and remarked how fluid the Pinterest mobile website was.

I casually remarked that if the mobile site worked so well, that the app would probably work better.

Following my advice, she fumbled around trying to locate the link to the Google Play Store on her device before realizing that the app was already installed.

Apparently, months ago, when she became the Pinterest-junkie she is today, I had installed the app to feed her voracious pinning appetite.

She had been using the app for a hot minute, thinking she was on their mobile site.

It was then, that she uttered those three dreaded words: what’s the difference.

They cut me like a knife.

She was looking down at her phone and didn’t see the murderous rage in my eyes.

We were in a public place (Ruby Tuesday) with the kids, so I channeled my inner Shaolin monk to avoid lunging across the table and throttling her.

Could she really not know the difference?

Maybe all the times she feigned sleep as I recounted my days’ work, she was really dozing off and not paying attention.

I should have known, with all those Help Desk moments, assisting her to remotely recover a file she thought she had deleted or locate a download on her computer.

Perhaps she was…daft?

My rage was quickly replaced by pity for my poor ignorant spouse, who continually failed to avail herself of her husband’s brilliance.

And it dawned on me.

If my bottom bitch didn’t know the difference between an app and a mobile site, perhaps my thirteen readers didn’t either.

I must right this wrong.

First, let’s start with definitions.

An app is a software application that’s written in the language of the mobile platform upon which it operates.

A mobile site is a website that has been optimized for browsing on mobile devices.

Now lets look at the primary differences between them, in the areas of: access, connectivity, content and compatibility.


Apps are usually accessed directly from the mobile device. Typically, there is an icon for the particular app you wish to utilize, which launches the app. Click it and you’re off!

Mobile sites, on the other hand are usually accessed from within the mobile web browser. In order to access a mobile site, you’ve got to open up your browser, plug in the URL and hit enter. On many smartphones, though, you can now create a shortcut, which allows you to save the location of the web page as an icon on your device, which then opens up like an app.


Apps are usually available whether you’re online or offline. While many apps require an Internet or wifi connection to update their content, most are built to be used regardless of whether a connection exists. Typically, if a user is offline they can continue to use their app, and it will update once they’re in range of a signal.

Mobile sites require a cellular or wifi connection to be used. If you’re not in range of a wifi signal or rocking a device with a robust 3G or 4G, then connecting to a mobile site will be slightly…problematic.


When you’re on an app, the content in the app can be stored on the device, pulled from the web and downloaded to the device, or both. Most game apps usually have content stored on the device. They user isn’t required to be online in order to play. Many games in the Apple app store, however, are now adding Game Center capabilities, which allow you to play against other users remotely. Game center content requires an Internet or wifi connection.

If you’re on a mobile site, the content is only available online. If you can’t get online, you can’t get to the content of the mobile site you’re trying to reach. Period. If you’ve got cached web pages, they’ll appear when you open up your browser, but once you try to load/reload that page, you’re screwed.


Apps are designed specifically for the devices they operate upon. An iOS app will not work on an Android device. An Android app will not work on an IOS device. And nothing works on Blackberries. Compatibility is not really the forte of apps.

Mobile sites, on the other hand, are compatible across devices and browsers. With the exception of Flash (which still does not work on iOS devices) most features and functions on mobile sites work on virtually all mobile devices.

My sweet ignorant wife got the abridged version of this breakdown.

Hopefully it stuck.

In my pity, I no longer harbored the desire to smack the shit out of her.

While my pimp hand is strong, so is my compassion for the enfeebled.

Hopefully my explanation of the differences between apps and mobile sites are too.

Note to my wife: If you’re reading this blog, these are just jokes. I never want to smack the shit out of you…except when you’re talking to me while sports are on the tele…or when you prattle on endlessly about inane topics you know I could give a fuck about…or when you get on me for being on my phone. But aside from that, you know I loves you.


Filed under apps, iPhone, mobile

i-Blason iPhone 5 Rechargeable Battery Case. Fail.


So my Secret Santa got me the i-Blason PowerSlider iPhone 5 Rechargeable External Battery Case with the new Apple 8 Pin Lightning Charging Connectors.

And I thought I had it made.

One of my chief complaints with the iPhone, indeed any smartphone, is how quickly the battery drains.

I find myself constantly tethered to a power cord to re-up my charge.

Which I find quite annoying.

And the antithesis of a portable device.

So you can imagine my utter joy and excitement to be able to rock out with my iPhone, without having to worry if my phone is going to die at some inopportune point during the day, if I’m not hooked up to a charger.

Since I’ve only had the charging case for a short while, I hadn’t availed myself of its inherent utility.

Despite my shiny new gadget coup, I was still connecting my iPhone to my laptop whenever I noticed my juice waning.

But one day I remember I had my phone in the case and decided to take it for a spin.

No matter what happened, I wasn’t going to plug my phone into the lightning charger.

If my battery got low, I was going to flip on my handy dandy charger case and suck that precious life-giving nectar from my new case.

So when I found myself precariously close to a dead phone, I put the i-Blason case to the test.

My battery was at 10% (as I had ignored the 20% warning), and I pressed the small silver power button on the lower left corner of the case, fully expecting it to save the day.

Immediately, four blue lights flashed…

And just as quickly disappeared.

Confused, I pressed my silver savior again.

Again the flash of the small blue lights.

And again, nothing.

Frantic now, I pressed the button repeatedly.

And repeatedly got the same result.

Apparently, my back-up was dead.

It had no charge to give.

I was pissed.

What good is a battery backup that’s got no backup?!

From that point on I decided to pay a little more attention to the case.

And I noticed a few things.

First, if you’re charging your iPhone in the case, you’ve got to make sure of what you’re charging.

Apparently, sometimes when your phone is tethered and you think you’re charging your phone, you’re actually charging the case.

And when you think you’re charging the case, you’re actually charging your phone.

How to tell the difference?

If you’ve got a lightning icon on the battery indicator of your iPhone, your phone is charging.

If you’ve got a blinking light on your i-Blason case and three illuminated blue lights (and no lightning symbol) you’re charging your case.

But it doesn’t stop there.

If you’re not tethered to your lightning cord, and you see blue lights on your case, that means the case is charging your phone.

If you ever see that happening (and you don’t mean to be charging it at the moment) turn that shit off!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pulled out my phone only to see those four blue lights illuminated.

Ever since that incident, I’ve become paranoid about checking the status of those little blue lights.

Manically checking every so often to be sure I haven’t accidentally depressed the silver button and discharged my precious juice unknowingly.

But yesterday, I found myself, once again, with a dying phone.

I had been meticulous about ensuring I hadn’t squandered the charge on the case.

And I was giddy about the prospect of testing the i-Blason’s true recharge capabilities.

When I saw the dreaded 10% battery life warning, I once again depressed the little silver power button on the lower left corner of the case.

It sprang to life!

This time all four lights illuminated and stayed lit.

Gratifyingly, the lightning icon appeared on my battery indicator graphically verifying that life force was flowing into my phone.




C’mon baby! Gimme the juice!

Little by little, my iPhone came back from the abyss.



But then, it stopped.

It hovered at 15% for a minute.

Then, one by one, my blue lights started to disappear.


Now three.

Now two.

Five minutes into it, there was one lone blue light on my case.

And then there were none.

A few minutes later, that blasted 10% warning message flashed across my screen again.

And I, without my charger, resigned myself to my fate.

I knew, right then, that my little experiment had come to an end.

Dejected, I turned my phone off, preserving what little battery life I had left.

And now, I’ve got to call a spade a spade.

The i-Blason PowerSlider iPhone 5 Rechargeable External Battery Glider Case with the new 8 Pin Lightning Charging Connectors is a piece of crap.

An expensive piece of crap.

But a piece of crap no less.

I haven’t tried other chargers on the market.

But if I had to give this case a grade, it would be a solid D.

It’s got a nice aesthetic, and as a case offers some protection for your phone.

But, since I’m being critical, the little kickstand, which lets you prop up your phone is oriented the wrong way, so that your volume controls face down (instead of up where you can reach them).

And your iPhone’s face is completely unprotected.

If you drop it, pray that it lands face-side up – or you’re fucked.

So if you’re in the market for a rechargeable battery case, save your money and leave i-Blason alone.


Filed under digital advocacy, iPhone, mobile

‘Splainin’ Part Deux. Mayor Jackson is a repeat offender

I don’t know how Robert D. Jackson considers himself a mayor.

Sure, he was elected (I didn’t vote for him), but an election alone does not a mayor make.

I would think – and correct me if I’m wrong – that a mayor earns the title when he (or she) is of service to the community which elected him.

So you’ll forgive my taking issue with this so-called mayor, when he fails to attend a public hearing, not once but twice.

For a project he supports.

That’s going to cost Montclair taxpayers $2.6 million.

And remove precious green space from public use.

How this dude sleeps at night is beyond me.

Maybe he wraps himself in a cozy blanket of ignorance, blissfully unaware that his neighbors are gathering with torches and pitchforks at his doorstep.

If only that were true.

You see Jackson was told about the massive turnout Wednesday night for the public comment phase of the Green Acres diversion request.

Renee Baskerville told him directly.

She also told Jackson and the rest of his council cronies that they should attend last night’s DEP hearing.

Hear for themselves the concerns of the community.

The residents of Montclair who this project will affect.

Did Jackson or his cronies show?

I’ll give you two guesses.

No. And no.

Once again, we were talking to hired guns.

Who, once again, took the brunt of the community’s ire.

Only this time, the room was less full.

The anger had tapered off.

And few in the room were competent to address the environmental impact assessments document in the report prepared by Jackson’s consultants.

No one was surprised by the light turnout.

That’s what happens when you put two meetings on the same topic on back to back evenings.

And if the so-called Mayor doesn’t deem it fit to attend, why should lowly residents.

Moreover, if you think (as many outwardly expressed) that the whole thing is a charade, a rubber stamping process, then why waste your time?

That’s clearly what Jackson and his cronies are hoping thinking.

Oh it’s just the 4th Ward.

They may take issue, but it just sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Let them have their meetings and we’ll just push it through.

Right, Jackson?


You’re blatant disregard of us shall be your undoing.

Maybe that’s how things went down when you were mayor in 1987.

Or maybe this is how you run Lorterdan Properties.

But shit done changed!

Just watch and see what happens.

You’re probably unaware that there are no less than four attorneys on High Street.

And cats well versed in the NJDEP approval process.

Motivated to watch you and your cronies kick rocks.

You will not get that Green Acres diversion.

And you can quote me on that.

Oh, by the way.

You’re going to see us Tuesday at the next Council meeting.

You can’t avoid us forever.

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Filed under advocacy