iPhone stops people

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How important is conversationality to a product’s future? Well, we just went on a photo walk.

Not a single person stopped me to talk about my $750 Nokia N95 which has a superior camera.

But all along the walk people stopped to praise Patrick for his iPhone. Not to mention wanting to get a look at it the way these people did.

Has Apple changed the cell phone market? You tell me!

Going on an iPhoto walk

It’s stunningly beautiful here in Half Moon Bay, so Patrick and I are going for a photo walk. Why? To compare the cameras in the iPhone with the Nokia N95. We’ll shoot each subject twice, once with each camera.

Watch Patrick’s Flickr feed for iPhone photos.
Watch my Flickr feed for Nokia N95 photos. We’ll start at about 4:15 p.m. Pacific Time today and keep walking for the next hour or so.

It will be fun to take Thomas Hawk out on a similar walk, but he’s having lots of trouble getting his iPhone activated. He’s live streaming all his troubles with AT&T.

Liking iLike on Facebook

iLike is that app that got super popular, what, three weeks ago? Seems so long ago. It was “BI.” Or, “Before iPhone.”

Anyway, I found out that Tracy Chapman lives right up the street from me, so have been listening to her music lately and putting some of it up on my Facebook home page. If you’re one of the 1900+ people who’ve friended me on Facebook, you can listen along. If not, oh well.

Either way, iLike is a great music service. Just search for someone’s name and you can find music by them and add it to your Facebook profile too.

Oh, and did you know that everytime you write something on my wall my phone makes a noise thanks to inbound SMS? Everytime my phone does that I say “Facebook.” It drives Maryam nuts. Ahh, the fun we have in the Scoblehousehold.

Corporate blogging lessons, Google style

Michael Arrington is right. Google’s bloggers are learning an important lesson today.

When you speak in public and everyone knows who you work for you ARE representing your company. Even if you think you aren’t.

I know lots of you disagree, but you’re wrong. I’ve seen people get fired for things they’ve done on their own time, at a bar. Or a party after a conference.

Yeah, you can put some distance between you and your employer and keep things a little calmer if you write a disclaimer at the top of your posts. Something like “I am speaking for myself, not for my employer.”

But even then I still am building a mental model of your employer based on what you’re writing.

If you are a jerk, I’m going to assume your employer hires jerks.

I’ve noticed that people respond to ME differently because of how someone else at PodTech treated them. And I definitely hear it when I’ve been a jerk to someone else, or when I say something that reflects poorly on PodTech. There’s more than 30 people working at PodTech now and many of them don’t appreciate it when I write something idiotic (which is often).

I’m human, I make mistakes. So do employees at Google.

But those of us who work for corporations need to recognize that every word we write is seen as coming from the company in some way. It might not be right, but that’s the way it is.

If you don’t like it go work for yourself. Of course then you won’t get the flow that comes with being able to say “I’m a doctor working at Google.”

The worst iPhone Web page: Google Reader (UPDATED)

OK, Patrick and me have visited hundreds of Web pages on the iPhone. You should have seen us at Target today where we were buying new jeans cause Patrick ripped his waiting in line for the iPhone. “Can I visit Facebook?” “Hey, give me my iPhone back.” Generally I like reading on this device. It’s a lot better than my Nokia on most Web pages. Most people will recognize instantly why when they first get shown an iPhone: it’s the same Web that you see on your desktop Web browser, not a colorless text-focused “mobile version.”

There ARE problems with the iPhone and the Web, to be sure. For instance when you first visit a Web page it’s totally unreadable so you need to double-tap on a part of the page to get it zoomed in enough to read it. When showing people the device yesterday many people didn’t understand how to double-tap. So the iCult reeducation begins.

I notice that both Patrick and me also do the “manual zoom” too. You know, put both of your fingers onto the Web page, er iPhone’s screen, and spread them apart which will zoom in even more.

There’s a few problems, though. When you double-tap it takes you into the column you’re double-tapping on. That’s great. But then you start using your finger to drag down the column so you can read it. But it’s way too sensitive. Going up and down is fun, but it’s very easy to move off of the column so that the screen shows half of one column of text and half of another. That slows down reading time.

Also we’re now back to all the readability problems that plague the “normal Web.” Someone put dark text on a dark background? Ala MySpace pages? Even harder to read on the iPhone, particularly if you’re in bright sunlight trying to read Web pages.

Anyway, there’s one kind of page that REALLY sucks: one that forces you to see its mobile version.

Google Reader is the worst offender here. The Google Reader that you’ll see on your iPhone really, really, really sucks.

Can I detail how much it sucks?

1) Can’t see full text of anything. What the f***?!? On a computer this is really frustrating. On an iPhone? Unusable. Especially if you have Edge network. Why? Cause to read anything I have to poke and wait and wait and wait then back and wait and wait and wait.
2) No river of news. Not like on the desktop. The desktop version of Google News shows an infinite number of items. You just keep scrolling down to see more items. The phone version forces you to see 10 items and then click next. Really interferes with reading speed.
3) No sharing of items. Um, the #1 reason I switched to Google Reader from NewsGator is its sharing capabilities.
4) No way to see a folder view of your feeds. Just a “lame view.”

Google, please fix this ASAP. It’s an embarrassment. Please allow me to view the full Google Reader on my iPhone. Stop trying to guess what version would be best for me. Stop removing features from your mobile apps without giving your customers some choices. I haven’t come across any Web page that’s nearly as bad as Google Reader.

Keep in mind I LOVE Google Reader on the desktop.

How about you? What about surfing the Web on the iPhone is frustrating you?

Oh, and I have verified. No Flash, no Java, no Silverlight, no Adobe PDF. UPDATE: PDFs are supported, don’t know why I thought I couldn’t look at those.

UPDATE: I was visiting http://reader.google.com which was redirecting to the Mobile Version. But George said I just needed to visit http://www.google.com/reader/view/ , which works great!

So, I take it all back. Weird.

My first Fast Company magazine column is up

I’m now writing a column for Fast Company magazine and my first column, along with a video interview and a version of my link blog is now up. It’s really different writing for a magazine because of the size constraints. They asked me to stay to about 750 words. That’s really tough when you’re asked to teach the readers something about what’s happening in technology and how that’s going to affect companies. I enjoyed doing the video interview a lot more because we could get into a bit more depth.