over 9 years on 2008-04-01

DROP.IO, DATA PORTABILITY, LESSONS FROM MY MACBOOK AIR, AND BLOGGING


i have already failed to keep up blogging at the pace i initially intended. but one early failure is not going to deter me, just refocus the activity. entries and points will be shorter, and i will role several topics into single posts. here is the new format:

drop.io, proceeding towards simple private exchange.

the buildout of drop.io continues at breakneck pace. since last posting we have integrated voicemail (phone) (http://drop.io/voice), fax (in and out) (http://drop.io/fax), and a conference system (http://drop.io/confcall) into the platform. again, all without the need to register or signup. we are liberating all of these digital 'input/output' channels from their historical ego-centric bounds and freeing them as fully flexible simple private communications channels.

in our march to be ever more flexible we integrated a 'zip download' function as well, which let's you take any drop and archive all the pictures, videos, docs, etc together so that they can all be downloaded in original quality in one click. one might argue that this makes drop.io less 'sticky' in the traditional sense, but it makes it way more flat/open/and flexible.

we are very excited about next week, as we are launching two new awesome features (which makes us cry they are so sweet) and are going down to sxsw for some fun, and also to talk about drop.io (we were one of 5 nominees for the technical achievement award and are speaking at the facebook developer conference). .. and our launch party last week at le royale was also a ton of fun (http://drop.io/launchparty)

last.fm and data portability:

went to a nice session a few days ago with the last.fm guys at the glasshouse. they spoke a lot about data portability, which i am very into these days (i feel bad saying it, because it is so 'trendy' in certain worlds, but i can't help it - i really believe in it, drop.io is an expression of it).

i signed up for last.fm a really really long time ago, but never really used it - i was originally more of a fan of pandora when i just want to have my music tastes guided rather than play a specific artist, and more recently jango.... but i am playing with last.fm again now.

stuff i like: nice interface, i actually love the concept of them tracking and recommending music to me cross platform (even i am ok with the itunes integration). i also like playing weird stuff in my itunes collection and seeing that nonetheless 2000 other people played it with last.fm open as well.

stuff i really dislike: it is too expansive/hard to navigate around. i hate downloads. but most importantly, i can't for the life of me figure out how to 'export' my play history to either keep for myself or give to other services. i don't consider it really portable if it isn't immediately apparent how to export it.

my macbook air, data portability, and why microsoft is in trouble:

i have been waiting literally for years for the mac ultra portable - so i bought it on the phone the minute it was announced. there are certainly issues (my biggest one is that the angles are actually so sharp on it it cuts up my wrists), but overall i love it. i have not by any means abandoned my thinkpad.... i am just carrying both these days.

so, what have i learned from using both my thinkpad and my air at the same time. a. syncing calendars through google is amazing. i have my blackberry, air, outlook, etc. all drafting off of 3 interwoven systems. updating google calendar from within proprietary systems (read, outlook) is a bit more troublesome but works. b. i still need to use outlook as my central platform - gmail's interface just doesn't cut it for me. c. excel for mac just doesn't work - the shortcuts are all screwy and it is way way too slow.

overall, data portability such that you really can be set up on multiple machines and use them interchangeably is almost there. it really is just my mail foldering structure and the fact that i can't really sync contacts fully across boxes which is preventing me from being air/thinkpad agnostic.

this means microsoft is in trouble - i am still very dependent on the office suite, but working between my air and my thinkpad and exploring google's full platform (especially in the context of apps for small biz) i cut my microsoft dependencies down to excel and outlook mail. that is why microsoft is at all threatened, when people start switching around systems (especially between os) they start to get creative and explore non-microsoft options... and that is the opening for companies like 'the google'...


original swl blogposts and letters 2007-2010