Category: Reviews


Trying out some new services: App.net, State, Branch, Medium, Kippt, Buffer

Over the past couple of weeks I have joined a variety of new services including App.net, State, Branch, Medium, Kippt, Buffer. App.net I recently backed my first kickstarter-ish project ever and decided to join App.net (AppDotNet or ADN). People keep asking me if I think it can ever compete with Twitter or will it ever reach critical mass or if it will stay a ghost town like Google+? For me the question is not whether ADN will be able to “replace” Twitter but rather I see it as a reflection of the current zeitgeist. ADN is not simply an ad-free alternative to Twitter. Instead, alternatives to major platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are increasingly gaining momentum. ADN is definitely not the first, think for example of Diaspora (launched as a Facebook alternative) and Identi.ca (formerly Status.Net) which calls itself “a stream oriented social network service” (FAQ). Both services never really went mainstream, maybe because they were both ahead of their time. ADN, at a first glance, seems similar to Identi.ca but there is one important distinction which also differentiates it from Twitter because with Identi.ca “You can install the StatusNet software that runs Identi.ca on your own servers, since it’s Free […]

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How Groupon hurts loyal customers

I went to the gym and I could hardly park my bike which made me wonder if there was a special event going on. As I entered the gym it was incredibly busy and the first thing that came to mind was “Oh no, not Groupon” which was immediately confirmed with a sign at the reception desk stating “We currently cannot process any more Groupon members.” There were more signs stating “Because classes are too full we are handing out entry tickets 15 minutes before the classes start. Full is full” and “We have placed extra lockers for your convenience in the hallway.” When I entered the dressingroom it was hard to find a spot to get changed and I started wondering how full the gym would be and if it would mean waiting in line for gym equipment. The place was packed. I talked to my instructor who sighed and said that they accepted 600 new members through a Groupon deal. I previously had a discussion with friends about Groupon where one friend ordered a deal and then the company was so overwhelmed they didn’t even pick up the phone anymore (Groupon refunded the deal quickly, thumbs up). Another […]

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I’ve Gone Google

Google already knows that I blog for Google but now I’ve almost completely gone Google. I recently switched from Netvibes to Google Reader, from the GTD-app Things to the online web service Remember the Milk and I moved a lot of my e-mail correspondence from Mail.app to Gmail online. While I’ve been fairly reluctant to store the main part of my data/information with one provider up in the clouds I have now been convinced. Netvibes » Google Reader I’ve been a fairly happy Netvibes reader for over a year but Google Reader has added some great features since I last tried to find a cure for my RSS exhaustion. I started using Netvibes modules as a way of keeping track of my scattered self online but after a while I got rid of the modules but I now prefer simple bookmarks in my browser. In Netvibes I managed all my subscriptions with tabs but switching between tabs and individual feed subscription items cost too much time. On top of that scrolling through all the items is not possible, only through a single subscription. The main reason I prefer Google Reader over Netvibes? The fantastic scrolling features and the “Mark Everything […]

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Review: Software Studies a Lexicon Edited by Matthew Fuller

This review of the Software Studies Lexicon was written in June 2007 after Matthew Fuller was kind enough to send me a sneak preview pre-publication copy. I sent the PDF of the Software Studies Review to Fuller to which he replied with some insightful remarks on my suggestion for a digital working environment, see update below. Fuller, Matthew. Software Studies: A Lexicon. Cambridge, USA: The MIT Press, 2008. 334 pp. $28.00 USD. ISBN-10: 0262062747 Reviewed by Anne Helmond. June 2007, University of Amsterdam Software Studies, a forthcoming lexicon edited by Matthew Fuller, consists of thirty-nine entries from mostly different authors. The title refers both to the object of study and the form of the project consisting of numerous short studies. Each of the “software studies” in the book stands on its own and Fuller celebrates the multi-disciplinary diversity of the authors. They come from different fields of study including art and design, literary theory, computation and free and open source software. Fuller has not gone as far as to attempt to start a new field of study but instead Software Studies calls for new theorizations of software from areas that “have not historically ‘owned’ software” such as media studies. The […]

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SoftWhere 2008: Software Studies Workshop

The University of California in San Diego (UCSD) organized a two day event in order to pioneer the emerging field of Software Studies. The first day was a public event titled SoftWhere 2008 which consisted of over fifteen short presentation in Pecha Kucha style. The second day consisted of a closed strategic session that dealt with more formal questions on the shaping of a new field of studies and will be discussed in a follow-up blog post. SoftWhere 2008 The title of the workshop ‘SoftWhere’ embodies the question of demarcating an area of study. Our current society is penetrated by and shaped by software and should thus be subject to appropriate critique. The ubiquity of software has led to a software culture and we are now living in a software society. What does it mean to live in such a software society instead of an industrial society? A world which is created by software is opaque and that is why we need to study software. We should question the streams behind, embedded in and woven through our society and look at what is happening behind the screens. SoftWhere? SoftEverywhere! The Software Studies workshop was organized by UCSD and most of […]

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Book presentation Hyves by Eva Kol

Eva Kol – Hyves. ISBN: 9789021526232. €9,95 Hyves is the biggest social networking site in the Netherlands with five million members. It could be described as Myspace meets Facebook covered in with what looks like an exploded emoticon set folder. Whether or not you like an abundance of smileys, Hyves is actively used by millions of people. Hyves is a popular object of study in research on (Dutch) social networking sites. Recent research includes: Schouten, Alexander. Adolescents. Online Self-Disclosure and Self-Presentation (dissertation in English) Antheunis, Marjolijn en Schouten, Alexander. Hyves draait om contact met virtuele- én echte vrienden (Dutch) Antheunis, Marjolijn. Hyves goed voor offline vriendschap (Dutch Cowboys article) Rietdijk, Liselotte. Wat is jouw Hyves? Het communicatiemiddel van NU (Dutch) Vos, Hanneke. Over Hyvers en ‘the networked individual’ (Dutch) One of Hyves’ founders, Raymond Spanjar, said they applaud research on Hyves because it allows them to get to know things about the site they might not have known before. The bibliography of the Hyves book includes more research done on Hyves and social networks in general. The author of the book, Eva Kol wrote her MA thesis on Hyves at the University of Amsterdam and turned it into the first […]

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