For me, Glassboard has proven to be a great conference attendee tool. Got a bunch of pals all in town for an event? Put together a board and you’ve got a mobile group messaging app that makes communicating with the group super easy. But for 49 weeks I’m not out of town for an event, I never had much use for this otherwise great app.

That’s why I like Gabe’s writeup of how he’s using Glassboard instead of Facebook to communicate and share with friends and family. Clever.

Glassboard: The Anti-Facebook

Jim Dalrymple:

If Samsung is forced to stop copying Apple, there is only one option left — innovate. Instead of sitting back and making their phones and tablets look exactly like the iPhone and iPad, Samsung will now have to do some work. The hardware and software will have to be different, unique and innovative.

The Innovation Argument

My thanks to Checkmark for sponsoring the RSS feed this week. I reviewed this iPhone app last month and heartily recommend it. I’ve found it to be far better than Apple’s built-in reminders app when it comes to the accuracy and reliability of location-based reminders.


Checkmark is the fastest way to create location- or time-based reminders for iPhone.

In just a few seconds you can create new reminders — it only takes 3 taps! You can watch this little movie we made to see it in action.

In only 3 taps you can remind yourself to:

  • Do laundry when you get home
  • Pick up milk next time you’re at the grocery store
  • Call your wife when you leave work
  • Remember to pick up a cake at 3 pm tomorrow
  • Make a haircut appointment on Tuesday at 10 am

You can even add a timer to location-based reminders so the alert goes off when you’re ready to get it done — like 15 minutes after you arrive home.

Checkmark is available in the App Store for $2.99.

Sponsorship by The Syndicate

Sponsor: Checkmark

When Phil Schiller introduced the new MacBook Pro with Retina display at WWDC, he said it was most beautiful computer Apple had ever made. In the promo video, Jony Ive said “it’s without doubt, the very best computer we’ve ever built.”

But I mean, they have to say that, right?

No. I think they get to say it.

When Apple compliments their products with such high praise as “this is the very best and most beautiful computer we’ve ever made” they mean it. I have yet to read a review of the Retina MacBook Pro that didn’t say something along the lines of this is the best computer ever.

When Apple says something that sounds like marketing hype, it’s usually not hype or exaggeration. Apple’s products now tend to live up to the claims Apple puts on them — if they don’t surpass those claims.

Marco Arment’s Review of the Retina MacBook Pro

Michael Mace:

This is my biggest concern about the Facebook phone idea.  The company could easily produce a phone that is just good enough to scare away its other phone partners, without being good enough to dominate the smartphone market.  The Facebook phone could call into being the exact industry structure that Facebook wants to avoid.  That’s why I see it as hideously high risk, a bet-the-company move that should be taken only when there’s no other chance to survive.

It seems to me that Facebook would be better off trying to negotiate deeper integration into iOS and Android, as well as building killer native apps. But, as Mace points out, that’s not easily monetized.

The Seductive Foolishness of a Facebook Phone

A good in-depth look at the new suite of Things apps, the Cloud Sync, and what has changed.

If you’re on the fence between Things and OmniFocus, I’d say give Things a shot. People who need OmniFocus usually know they need it. But if you’re just trying to find a simple task manager that’s in sync, why not use Simplenote and store your to-do list as a plain text document?

Lukas Hermann Reviews Things 2 With Cloud Sync

Jim Dalrymple:

A 7-inch iPad will put Apple in some very unfamiliar territory in the tablet market — it’s an area currently dominated by Android-based devices. However, Apple’s entry into that segment will also present some seemingly insurmountable challenges to those same companies.

Android tablet makers will no longer be able to compete by differentiating on price or form factor.

What a 7-inch iPad Would Do To The Competition

John Gruber on why he thinks an iPad mini (or iPad Air) won’t be announced side-by-side with the next iPhone. I think he’s right.

It’s looking like the next iPhone will be a doozy, rocking one of the most significant and dramatic updates yet. And I think Apple is very excited about the next iPhone. Even more excited than they are about the (still-as-of-now-hypothetical) iPad mini.

But if they release both of them side-by-side, a huge amount of media and public attention will go to the new iPad if only by the sheer virtue that it will be an all-new product.

The iPhone is the one device everyone always has with them no matter what. That’s what separates it from all the other Apple products. Our iPhones the are most personal gadget we own, and that’s why it’s Apple’s premier product.

Sharing the Stage

Thoughts and Impressions of the iPhone 3GS From Three Years Ago

A few days ago I came across the unordered list of notes below. These are the notes I took shortly after upgrading my original iPhone to an iPhone 3GS in June of 2009 (I skipped the iPhone 3G because I disliked the new look so much I refused to give up my original):

  • My first 3GS had a dead pixel; the Genius Bar replaced it. My second 3GS had some sort of massive screen line-fuzz issue when the screen was showing mostly dark colors; the Genius Bar replaced it as well. Now on my third one already.

  • I’ve gotten used to the bigger bezel around the side of the screen, but I wish I didn’t have to.

  • 3G is great. Frequently AT&T is faster than whatever random public wi-fi I’m connected to.

  • The camera is fantastic. Also: video!

  • Battery life is great; I rarely run out. In fact, I’ve only run the battery dead once so far. It was at Anna’s cousin’s wedding — I was shooting video and taking pictures all starting in the morning until evening.

  • I’ve been using the landscape keyboard more frequently, if for any reason but to get a break from the norm.

  • The curved back and plastic definitely feels more comfortable in the hand. Though it’s not as heavy and sturdy feeling, it does offer a better grip.

  • The seal between the glass edge and the chrome edge is not sealed very well.

  • I’m using no case or screen cover, which is as it should be.

  • I love the oleophobic screen. Compared to my original iPhone, this one seems to be constantly clean and smudge free.

  • Spotlight is my most-used iPhone OS 3.0 feature.

  • I haven’t yet needed tethering, though I have tried it. It was a bit difficult to get my MacBook and my iPhone paired, but once I got it working the internet connection wasn’t half bad.

  • The black plastic that makes up the back scratches much more easily than the aluminum on my original iPhone did.

  • The build quality of this phone doesn’t seem as good as my original. I’m not a fan of the more sunken lock button and am certainly not a fan of the plastic backing. Even my silent toggle switch is loose and it buzzes when the phone vibrates for an incoming call.

  • Love that new apps install on the 2nd Home screen.

Reading through that list is such a blast from the past — I forgot the first two iPhones didn’t have an oleophobic fingerprint-resistant screen — yet the 3GS is only a few years old. It’s still for sale, I still see people using it, and heck, it’s the 3rd-most popular camera phone on Flickr.

Apple has pushed the iPhone forward extremely fast over the past five years. They’ve taken care of nearly all the low-hanging fruit, and every version of the iPhone seems to be the best possible version. Yet here we are again. It’s Fall, a new iPhone is just a few weeks away, and this next one will probably be a doozy.

Thoughts and Impressions of the iPhone 3GS From Three Years Ago

A lot of what I’ve been linking to on the site lately goes hand in hand with what I’ve been talking about on Shawn Today.

Members who listen to the podcast on a regular basis already know I’ve been processing through topics like time management, email management attitudes, resting, working, and the like.

If you’re a member who doesn’t listen to the show regularly, this a friendly announcement in case you’re interested. The info you need to dive into the reruns and/or start listening to future shows can be found by logging in to your membership info page or via the membership info email you received when you first subscribed.

If you’re not a member, you can sign up today. It’s $3/month and gets you access to the podcast plus some.

On ‘Shawn Today’ Lately: Time Management, Email Attitude, and the Like

A 43F oldie and a goodie (h/t Bill Nalen), this is Merlin writing about Neal Stephenson’s decision to be a poor correspondent so he can make time to be a good novelist:

As I read all this, I hear a man saying (at least in my words), “I can either be a guy who writes novels, or I can be a guy who answers email. Realizing I cannot be both, I’ve made the decision, and now I live with it.”

Like it or hate it, Neal Stephenson’s position is clear and well-articulated. If a bit pitched, it’s a stance I admire, and frankly I think it’s an only slightly more extreme version of a position every maker needs to define if he or she expects to create the time to keep making anything.

Myke Hurley and I talked about this topic last week while I was a guest on his new show, CMD+SPACE. I shared about why choosing to be poor at email correspondence has been one of the most painful decisions I’ve had to make in my career as a full-time writer for this website.

Making Time to Make: Bad Correspondence

Greg McKeown:

Why don’t successful people and organizations automatically become very successful? One important explanation is due to what I call “the clarity paradox,” which can be summed up in four predictable phases:

Phase 1: When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success.

Phase 2: When we have success, it leads to more options and opportunities.

Phase 3: When we have increased options and opportunities, it leads to diffused efforts.

Phase 4: Diffused efforts undermine the very clarity that led to our success in the first place.

And, per the aforelinked E.B. White example, Phase 2 above should also include that when we have public success, it leads to more external demands on our time and attention (though perhaps that’s what is meant by “more options”).

(Via Kottke.)

How Success Can be a Catalyst for Failure