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How Franz Became a 'Go To' App for Me

I used Trillian ( as a desktop messaging app for years, like 10 years. It saw accounts from AIM, to Yahoo!, to IRC, and then gChat come and go; finally it was simply down to Facebook and Google Hangouts, but there was a problem:

SMS Integration.

Most people with an Android device should be using Hangouts for their all encompassing, on-device, messaging app. Not Allo, not Messenger (either Google's or Facebooks), not WhateverApp... Is it encrypted? Yes, actually.

Seamless integration with communication services is pretty paramount, but when it came to SMS integration and Google Chat via Trillian/Adium/Pidgin, etc, the protocols weren't in place. So, out with Trillian, et al, and in with - right? Well; only so much that you get access to SMS and IM in one tab and that's handy, but there's something missing from that.

Accidental tab closure, passive notifications with an icon or title text change in the window, the potential for cross-over distractions when you're trying to focus on something in your browser... whatever the case may be for some, it just wasn't quite right for the way I wanted to use text-based communications on my system. Enter Franz.

This thing is a laser-focused browser, basically, but here's where it gets interesting:

It supports a boat-load of services and unifies them into a single tab-based interface, and it supports multiple accounts. Personal email vs. Work email in two tabs under one app signed in simultaneously? Check. WhatsApp, Facebook, Hangouts integration? Check. Subtle desktop notifications and/or a sound trigger on new messages? Check. Customization for labels and order of tabs? Check.

There's even Slack integration, which allows you to dump the Slack Desktop app all together and get the same, exact experience from Franz, with your email and IM's in one, tidy stack of horizontal tabby goodness.

Pretty neat.

If you're looking for a way to group your communications under one roof, not have it take up tabs in your "workspace" browser areas, and potentially be less distracting during your day-to-day:

Not affiliated with these guys, it's just useful to me, thought I'd share

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What a $2400 laptop should look like... for those of you in the market, as it were.

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Apple vs. Google - an oversimplified, yet effective breakdown of the Google product offering compared to the all-mighty Apple, and what the future could look like, if Google can keep their heads screwed on straight between now and 2020...


I was curious this afternoon, dug into the market cap of Google (Alphabet) and Apple today, and found Google closing the cap on Apple, then the thought occurred to me, "At this stage, what is it with the investment in Apple that keeps it higher than the all powerful Alphabet?"

The answer is obviously perception, since it's definitely not product offering (especially after today):

Assistant vs. Siri
The race for useful, intuitive, accurate AI will be won by the smartest engineers on the planet, not the designers of the prettiest app-icons the world has to offer. That said, Siri isn't all that bad in a niche/neat fashion. Assistant, on the other hand, just from the last week of use - is insane.

Pixel vs. iPhone
The latest from Apple is easily the best iPhone to date, sans headphone jack, but the Pixel is (on paper) the best handset the industry has to offer from the looks of it. Reviews will tell us a better story; but from here... my eyes are already on an XL.

Fiber vs. __
Apple doesn't have an ISP, and even though Google has yet to saturate enough market to be truly disruptive, they have yet to stop rolling it out... here's hoping Los Angeles happens at some point in the next decade.

Chromecast vs. Apple TV
AppleTV wins easily with the iTunes integration and fluid user experience, but Amazon FireTV beats both in my eyes; the FireTV is beast mode AppleTV, basically.

Google WiFi vs
Apple doesn't have a WiFi mesh network device, and I doubt they ever will. I'm looking forward to trying this out; since mesh network access points is pretty awesome conceptually on the in-home scale. Can't wait.

Google Home vs. _
Google wins, since again, Apple doesn't have a home box, yet. Homekit is neat, but it's not a standard, and to me, Alexa wrecked Apple's hopes of being "the one" Home device that's all smart and powerful. Google's competition here is with Echo, a different blend of Android, basically.

Project Fi vs. __
Apple doesn't have a cell service provider

Drive vs. iCloud
Negligible, I've never used iCloud, and have yet to be asked to by any client. Drive is ubiquitous and only in the ring with Dropbox, which, let's face it, lacks. OneDrive and Office365 are neat, but they have a long way to go in the consumer space for marketshare to be worth noting.

Google Search vs. ___
Apple doesn't have search, Google owns it. Sorry, Bing, no one cares.

YouTube vs. __
Apple doesn't have a video network, perhaps iTunes counts, but at this stage of the game - the only competition YouTube really has is Twitch TV.

Music vs. iTunes
Apple's grip on music distribution is strong, but slipping. It'll be interesting to see how this diversifies over the next 3 to 5 years, but chances of iTunes being majority marketshare by 2020 are slim to none at this point.

Chromebook vs. MacBook
Apple wins, easily, but marketshare indicates OSX has a LONG way to go (and will never get where it needs to be) before it compares to the likes of the mighty Microsoft, and if Windows 10 is any indication, OSX is pretty much slipping back to that "oh, yeah, Apple computer, they sound familiar" level of status in the PC market.

Android vs. iOS
Android marketshare stomps iOS, has been all year, and looks like it will continue that trend - especially in Asia.

Duo vs. Facetime
Google jacked this one up... Hangouts would have been a better platform to simply rebrand into whatever else here; but Facetime is used a lot more than Duo, obviously - so "yay", Apple wins here (for now, as Duo is multi-platform).

Android Pay vs. Apple Pay
Draw. They work at Walgreens. Neat.

Other stuff
Ad network - duh, Google wins (see Adwords, DFP, Adsense)
VR - Apple's late to class on this one, and might not show up
Self-driving cars - Google's in the game, but still too early to tell, Apple - nope, not yet anyway
Office Suite - Google Apps/Suite wins this one, easily.
Cloud Services - Google's in this market, dominated by AWS in my opinion... Apple? crickets
Maps - Apple loses at Maps, hands down. Google/Waze means winning.

... granted, this is two California companies sitting on over 1.1 Trillion in combined market cap, and still - to each their own, but if i had to bet a long game for investment, my money would be with Google.

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Google Trips

I swear, this isn't going to become some routine post-after-post about Google shit, but I just introduced Google Trips to my wife, +Danya Gutierrez as we're both going to Rome in November for our anniversary (yay, us!), anyway - if you're about to travel

Download Google Trips

Just do it. You can lay out a plan, easily, house your reservations, get contact information for local "stuff" including transportation (outside of hailing a cab); find a place to rent a bike, discover random stuff to do, etc.

This is great use a large amounts of data (#hashtag #bigdata), and put right into your phone.

Really good stuff.

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Here's what I wish: Google, merge Duo, Hangouts, and Allo -- and forget you ever launched Messenger. Maintain all comms on mobile in a single app, and keep functionality under a new name... perhaps instead.

Google Assistant

The only feature in Allo worth mentioning, in my opinion. Google Assistant is a great augmentation to communications, and opens the door in group chats to be able to make plans around locations and activities, check the weather, etc a lot easier. This is pretty much what makes Allo worth anything.

Predictive Responses

Neat, but disingenuous. Yeah, it's a nice way to tack on "thumbs up" responses with more perceived substance, but shrug whatever.

Text Size Change

Another "neat" feature, but whichever messaging platform releases an indicator for sarcasm, nothing like this matters.

Drawing on Pictures

Neat. Barely.

Incognito / Encryption

I don't really give a shit, either way, but at the same time, it's nice to know these things exist. It's unfortunate the encryption isn't truly end-to-end, but I guess with Google Assistant hanging out in the app, it's a necessary evil.

All in all, if Google doesn't combine all these ways to communicate with the half dozen people I text routinely, I'll easily forget Allo and the neat single feature about it, and continue to use Hangouts for IM / SMS / and rare Video Calls.

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Nougat Impressions

Split Screen: This is actually more useful than I thought it would be.

UI updates: The notification bar's lightly, but greatly improved. The App Switcher with the larger preview windows is awesome. The lock screen's look & feel is cleaner, as are the notification cards. It just feels more "polished".

Faster: It feels faster; definitely a lot of optimization happening here, somewhere.

Running on a Project Fi, Nexus 6P

No complaints.

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Nintendo... you missed an opportunity.

Awesome news coming from Nintendo today with a throwback machine mini-box akin to those $10 joysticks featuring Atari classics... the set top NES with 30 pre-packed games. All with the ability to rock a classic controller, connected over WiFi, and HDMI capable.


Nintendo, it's 2016. We live in the age Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV. Both of which support apps. We live in the age of Netflix, HBO Go, CNN Go, and NFL whatever it's called. You missed out, buddy.

Yes, yes, I know, Pokemon GO changed the world this month. I get it, you've redefined augmented reality and reset customer expectations, but with this, you're basically mall kiosk toy level consumer product... super weak. Here's what you should have done, and to the 12 of you reading this, comment if you think this idea is stupid:

Amazon Fire TV app
Android App
Apple TV App
iPad App

Nintendo Go!

For just $2.99 per month, get unlimited access to thirty of the most popular Nintendo NES 8-bit gaming classics, streamed on-demand, directly to you. Save your progress to the cloud. Play with friends at home, or over the Nintendo Go multiplayer network. Enjoy beating ass in Bubble Bobble with friends on a different continent!

Also; you have unlimited access to the entire NES library, unlock access to additional games for just $0.99 per title* (certain restrictions apply).

Throws money at screen

This would be how I'd go broke.

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How I iPhone...

Sorry, not sorry, I've tried the whole Camp "Doesn't matter what you pick for a phone platform, it's all good and great for technology and blah blah blah -- to each their own"... but the iPhone is utter shit.

I've been using an iPhone 5s for a while. The "omg so fucking incredible" flagship Apple product pre-iPhone 6 that Apple themselves had such a hard-on for they re-released it as an iPhone SE or whatever recently. Nice.

Hardware Cons:
- Off-screen swipe ranges for the notification areas top & bottom
- Feels like a glass toy
- The side ridges suck
- The home button thing... wtf, "press for this, double tap for that"
- This thing looooves to vibrate for fucking everything

Software Cons:
- Keyboard size
- Predictive Text
- Autocorrect is deplorable and doesn't understand what an "email address" looks like - stop capitalizing my name & adding a space between the @ symbol, idiot!"
- Where the fuck's the ".com" button? No room for punctuation... lame
- User Experience for closing apps
- Everything looks so fucking frilly
- iTunes, who the fuck designed this shit?
- The App Store experience is horrid
- TestFlight experience confuses every. single. client. No matter what.

App publishing
- 10 day queue times for approval
- Ridiculous restrictions that actually hinder innovative business models
- Can't remove old projects / test projects from iTunes Connect, ever
- Transferring app ownership is a bitch
- No APK style file transfer to offload apps? Ever hear of an agency, Apple? fuck.

The whole thing is a joke that plays up the "we're Apple, we do not compromise, we do not sell cheap shit, expect us" - bullshit. Apple sells marketing, they sell "glass" and "wrappings" on a shit sandwich.

I get it; they appeal to people cause "it just works"; unless you need to actually "do" something. I wish I didn't have to devops this crap platform.

xCode is quite lovely.
The standby time lasts for weeks - I touch it three times a week for testing (about as much as I can stomach) and charge it twice, maybe three times, a month.
It fits in a drawer where I can forget I have it.


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No joke, can't stand Zack Snyder films. I enjoyed 300. It slowed action sequences down and was over-dramatic, but the fun stops there - have you tried rewatching that lately? The movie's pretty terrible.

Sad to see he's also going to be directing Justice League (I & II). This guy gave us the Watchmen film, Suckerpunch, and the latest nose dive fiasco - Batman v. Superman. DC Films in general are short. The only person to do any justice to the league of DC movies thus far was Christopher Nolan, and even then, he only got two decent films from a 3 part mini-franchise with the Dark Knight movies.

Sucks, because DC has a lot of potential to provide solid "grown up" context in an otherwise rollercoaster filled comic movie market. Marvel's doing a kick ass job at keeping things fun, edgy, adventurous, and dark (on Netflix). DC does okay on TV, but man, when it comes to the theater, it's just a shit sandwich - and definitely with no thanks to Snyder.

Ok, Google+, wtf

So... let me get this straight; aside from liking the new interface, I'm pretty much hating the shit out of the limited functionality presented within the new Google+

1. Public view of Albums, organized over years of sharing... gone
2. Seeding collections from past works.. spams everyone
3. Profiles are pretty hideous actually
4. Collections are basically Pinterest. If I wanted to use Pinterest, guess what I'd do?

Bring back Albums. Let me organize them accordingly, without "creating" bullshit content streams for the 40,000+ users following me... even though I'm certainly only 12 of them still stomach Google+.

I really wish Google would pay closer attention to use-case shit. They've been on a tirade of new UI behaviors, which is experimental and awesome, sure - but drastic alterations to UX and burying key functionality for people at the same time is ludicrous bullshit, and amateur at best.
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