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Evernote Celebrates Birthday by Joining the Billion Dollar Club (Really?)

Evernote has recently celebrated their third birthday. I also recently had my 21st birthday – it feels good to be able to legally grab a drink finallySmile.  (Hey, if Evernote can lie about their age, so can I…).   Joke apart, I have no idea why a company would pretend to be half as young as they really are – there are quite a few users, yours truly included who remember the early product, back from 2005-2006.

evernote scrollOK, so back then Evernote was really nothing more than a scrawny little note-taker, with a weird scrolling tape metaphor that was hard to get used to, but it already showed unusual flexibility of mixing typed and handwritten text with imaging. Still, the key benefit was price, compared to Microsoft Onenote.  It’s hard to compete with free.

I was truly surprised by the news of their first funding round. Here’s my offending post from 2006 (hm, before they even existed, if you believe the birthday news…):

EverNote – Love You and Hate You

EverNote is the last company I expected to raise venture funding: has a mature product, a mix of freeware and a $35 version, and I pretty much considered them a good candidate for safe, organic growth. GigaOM just reported it EverNote’s funding to the tune of $6M. Wow…

My Love & Hate relationship? The love part is easy to understand; it’s a handy, easy-to-use notetaker, which I prefer to the comparable Microsoft OneNote, and the $0 price is quite unbeatable. The hate part: it really does not fit into strategy of moving off the desktop into the Cloud.

In fact it’s the only application that breaks my sync efforts between two laptops using FolderShare:

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The LastNews (!) You Want to Hear is LastPass Hacked. Now What?

Password management service LastPass notified users their servers may have been hacked. I take a minute break, let it sink in.

Yes, this is the one (Last) uber-super secure system you trust with ALL your passwords.  Ouch.  But d

espite the hacking, LastPass says users who had a strong master password in the first place are still safe (and they are forcing users to change that master password now).

I’m not a security expert and don’t pretend to be one, so all you can get from me is some ramblings from a business user:

 

Most of us are at an even higher risk every day: statistics show that over 60% of Internet users

have a favorite set of login credentials …

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Conspiracy Theory: the Vista-ization of Windows 7 has Started…

I simply don’t get it: Vista is barely out, nobody seems to like it, CIO’s refuse to upgrade, analyst firms tell them to wait, individual users who tried it switch back to XP, others time their new PC purchase so they can still get an XP machine – generally speaking Vista was as poorly received as the ill-fated Windows ME.

Apple is gaining market share, the major computer manufacturers are offering Linux PC’s, the Web OS concept is getting popular, applications are already on the Web – can anyone clearly see the shape of personal computing in 2012? (Yes, I know MS plans for 2010, I’m just adding the customary delay.) Will it still matter what OS we use to get on the Internet? How can Microsoft be so out of touch?

I was right and I was wrong.  Right in the assessment, that Vista’s main competitor was Microsoft’s own solid OS, WinXP – there was simply no reason to upgrade.  Yet as buying new computers with Good Ole Vista became increasingly difficult, many of us got stuck with Vista.  I was wrong in not foreseeing that Vista would turn out to be such a disaster, that millions of Vista victims would end up paying the ransom to get out of the trap and get the version of the OS that actually works: Windows 7.

What followed was two peaceful years when Windows computers simply worked.  Yes, They Just Worked. Almost like a Mac. Smile

Then the unexpected (?) happened…

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Facebook and T-Mobile Launch Bobsled. With Huge Privacy Glitch. Or is it By Design? Skype, Google Voice and Telcos Beware, Anyway…

Out of left field, T-Mobile and Facebook launched Bobsled, a VOIP service that allows voice calls to anyone on your Facebook list for free.  At this moment the entire blogging world is busy writing about it, so I skip the basics… and just run to some funny experience while testing it.

First, here’s how you call from your Chat list: click the phone button.. then voila!:

bobslead0

As it happens, none of my contacts pick up my test call – I suppose the feature is too new, nobody knows where the funny sound comes from or how to react.  They will get used to it.  But here’s the real surprise: it has VoiceMail.  To the World.  Literally:

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Now You Can Get Your Google Apps Data Backed Up for Free. Startup Econ 101: When Giving it Away is a Good Deal.

Ouch that’s a longish title. OK, I admit, I am tired, could not decide between two messages and ended up combining them.  Well, let’s see the messages.

The Art of Pricing

The other day I got into a tweet convo with a Startup Entrepreneur whose product I found interesting, at least at first glance.  But he has a problem: the entry point for one user is $20/month – and then the price scales up.  I tried to convince him to drop the entr

y price point to either free, or $1-$2 – something that allows impulse buy.  He defended his pricing on a value basis.  In principle he is right – but there’s the small problem that nobody knows about his product.  In this case “giving away” value would become his marketing, would allow for growth, and he could scale his pricing as aggressively as he wanted. He badly needs enthusiastic users that become his marketing army.

My friend and fellow Enterprise Irregular Charlie Wood (that was my bias disclosure…) understands this…

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GOutlook. Gmail Back to Earth… in Search of Revenue.

Image credit: LifeHacker I’ve been long-time Gmail fan, having used it from the very early days, for almost 5 years now. The key reasons why I switched and have stuck with the service ever since were the productivity boosters, first of all:

  • Threaded conversations
  • Labels
  • Search

Google did to email what all new product teams should: throw away all known concepts, start from fresh, figure our what the system should really do, instead of delivering a customary system with minor improvements.  Instant success. Instant Customers.  No, correct that: instant users.  There is a difference.  Apparently not everyone likes “radically new”.

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Microsoft Word is Desktop Software. Supposedly. Then Why Does it Fail to Load Offline?

word1.png

Dave Michels’ recent post, I thought I Was So Cloud resonated well with me, since I’m experiencing the same pain regularly, even without the dramatic experience of a cashed harddisk.   I’m now using 4 computers, not counting the iPad, and like Dave, "I am so Cloud", so moving between them should be seamless. It almost is. My data is always there and always up-to-date. But if I turn on a laptop I have not touched for a while, there is a painful process of Windows updates, Firefox updates, FFox plugin updates, Adobe or Java updates – just to name a few. Sometimes the popup windows from these suckers interfere with each other, the crazier ones want to reboot while others still install … yes, we still have too much stuff on the local computers. :-(

Little did I know my saga would continue this afternoon. Since I planned to spend some time in a medical office, with no wi-fi (Why is it that the smallest little dirthole garage, tire shop you-name-it services privide free wi-fi, but medical offices where you likely spend 10x as much don’t?  Oh, well…) I synced up a few Word documents to my thin little  Vostro 13, and was ready to stay productive offline.

If only the Gods in Redmond had agreed… Booting up in the waiting room.  Installing 4xxx 5xxx finally 6237 of 6237 updates.   WTF?  Even I’m not dumb enough to believe it actually installed 6k updates, but that’s what the display said. Oh, well, finally Windows boots… then spends a few minutes configuring updates. Done.  So now we can work.   Click the file, see Word load, then wait. Wait. Wait.

word1

Something’s not right.  I have the free Office 2010 beta version which downloads components on initial load, but this is taking forever. Oh, no:

word2

Abort.  Internet connection lost, Word cannot be opened.  Oops.  No, the connection has never been lost, there’s none at this place, which is why I keep Office and local documents on this laptop in the first place.  I understand it wants to update, but it should be able to start without anyway.  MS Office is a desktop, “offline” package, after all.

If I can’t use it without being online, I just lost the very reason to use it at all.

(Cross-posted @ CloudAve)

 

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When Real-time is Too Much – Can You Handle the Firehose?

FireHoseStreams

This morning I’ve been testing TweetDeck’s new super-fast version, based on the new Twitter User Streams API. TweetDeck provides fair warning:

This is a VERY experimental version of TweetDeck

I saw a few small glitches, but nothing major.  Yet I am in trouble, and it’s not because of the product.  It’s me.  My brain…

The new TweetDeck (and I suspect soon all clients adapting the User Streams API) is fast. Bloody fast. As close to real-time as it gets. Here’s a quick comparison of Seesmic Desktop 2 and the new TweetDeck:

Seesmic in the left, white column, TweetDeck in the right, black one.   Tweetdeck wins the race hands-down (note: this is not a comparison of the applications, but the API-s they use).  It gets everything first.  And therein lies the rub. I’m not sure real-time is always what we need.   This is like drinking from a huge firehose, without taking a break. It can be suffocating – unless monitoring Twitter is what you do full time.  Here’s my computer screen, while I am typing this very post:

I have a single column for Twitter on the right edge, but my eyes are not glued to it. I can focus on work, but notice the periodic screen updates in my peripheral vision, can quickly glance over to see if there’s anything noteworthy, and continue working.  That’s how far my continuously divided attention can spread.  The new TweetDeck does not give me that 30-second to a minute break to focus on work.  It’s in constant motion, updates come in tweet by tweet, not in batches, and I find my eyes glued to it.  It’s a productivity killer.

If I am live-tweeting during a conference, the firehose is what I want: set up TweetDeck with multiple columns, allow it to occupy the entire screen – in that environment I want absolute real-time.  But for most of my productive life, I need those split minutes undisturbed.  I turned off the firehose.

Update: The video does not fully support my point. As luck would have it I recorded a slower minute or so.  But it can become dizzying under heavy Twitter traffic:-)

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This Reminds Me of My Old Boss (Dilbert)

Dilbert.com

At least the ‘write down part’.  His process for dealing with email was:

  • Have Assistant print and fax email to whichever hotel he was staying in
  • Make handwritten notations on fax, ask hotel to fax it back to his Assistant
  • Assistant would then type it as email using his account

The whole process would take only 3 days or so …except when the fax had to be forwarded to another hotel since he had already moved on.

Oh, btw, he was a VP at a very big, very hi-tech company :-)