Has anyone come up with a way — short of moving to Sweden — that does something about that awful coating of sweat you get when you talk on the phone in the summer? I'm asking for a friend. OK, Bluetooth would be an answer, I guess, but who wants to be that guy?
Somehow, we're nearly through with June, and into July. (Yes, again.) Is it possible this has been one of the busiest years since I started doing this job full-time? Might well be, and we're not even covering things like the Xbox One (which I've preordered and will figure out why later) and the PlayStation 4. Insanity. Awesome insanity.
So, fresh off taking a break from this column for a week, some things I think I think. (With apologies to Peter King.)
Billboard won't count albums given away in Jay-Z/Samsung promotion
A couple interesting reads from Billboard regarding the Samsung/Jay-Z deal. Starting Monday, if you've got a Galaxy S3, Galaxy Note 2 or Galaxy S4, you'll be able to download an app that (among other things) at 12:01 a.m. on July 4 will get 1 million lucky fans early access to "Magna Carta Holy Grail," some three days before its retail release. Samsung purchased those 1 million copies up front, and Billboard says the entire deal (including the media buy-in) could be worth as much as $30 million, with some $7.5 million going to Jaz-Z himself.
That's before anyone walks into a record store.
(OK, I'm showing my age here. But it's such a better metaphor than "downloads from iTunes. Trust me.)
Where it gets interesting is that Billboard has decided that the 1 million albums Samsung purchased to give away won't count toward its Billboard 200 chart. Wrote editorial director Bill Were:
But our role as the chart of record is to set the rules, and hopefully even raise the level of play. It is in this spirit that I say it wasn't as simple as you might think to turn down Jay-Z when he requested that we count the million albums that Samsung "bought" as part of a much larger brand partnership, to give away to Samsung customers. True, nothing was actually for sale -- Samsung users will download a Jay-branded app for free and get the album for free a few days later after engaging with some Jay-Z content. The passionate and articulate argument by Jay's team that something was for sale and Samsung bought it also doesn't mesh with precedent.
Were also notes that once the album officially goes on sale July 7, it's still expected to debut at No. 1.
A little clarification on Twitter and Falcon Pro ...
I might not have articulated myself as well as I'd liked last week in writing about Twitter and Falcon Pro, getting a couple of the details confused in the process. (Or maybe it was the headline that was a bit much. I'll think about that some more.)
Point is, Falcon Pro is a great Twitter app from a great developer that's one of the first to run up against Twitter's Draconian API rules, locking new apps into no more than 100,000 user tokens. What's really "broken," I think, is what's happened as an app hits that token wall. Resetting tokens isn't good for users. Having to download and install another app — even if you've already purchased Falcon Pro — also isn't good for users. If I try to use an app and can't log in, for whatever reason, that's not good.
Twitter has put developers in a shitty situation here. Hit the token limit, and there's no reason to have the app on sale anymore. Folks will inadvertently buy something they might not be able to use. That's what happened last week to Falcon Pro. It's not the developer's fault. It's not Google Play's fault. And it sucks.
I also don't see Twitter changing its mind on its API rules anytime soon.
By the way, Falcon Pro is just one of the Twitter apps I use, in addition to Carbon and (gasp) the official Twitter app. At least one feature in Carbon has broken since the API v1.1 went into effect. So yeah. Twitter (as a service) remains a pretty dicey sandbox to play in, I think. It's a sad saga for what's been a great playground for developers and users alike.
That said: I'm seeing folks leave negative reviews on the official Twitter app, and that probably isn't the best way to go about things. On the other hand, I'm not sure there's a good answer for any of this, and that's a shame, too.
Talk Mobile: Two weeks down, many more to go ...
We're one-fifth of the way through Talk Mobile 2013 — we're taking this week off — and I've gotta say I'm pleasantly surprised by all the interaction. It's risen above the usual fanboy bullshit, and that's refreshing, especially given the amount of work being put into it. (And a lot of that work is being done behind the scenes.)
To those who have been commenting and sharing and asking questions and telling your own stories, you have my thanks. You're making this little project worth it.
Now we've just gotta figure out how to do more meet-ups.
A few other thoughts ...
- I'm sorely missing being able to play music through the Nexus Q. I've decided to hold out hope that Google will still come out with a living-room solution. Irrational hope on my part? Maybe. Here's to hoping that whatever black magic is in Google's streaming deal with the record labels doesn't preclude being able to stream to living-room device.
- That said, I'm absolutely in love with Google Play Music All Access.
- Battery life on the new MacBook Airs with Haswell — so, so good. I dunno about that 12-hour battery life claim, but then again I never only browse the web for 12 hours at a time with nothing else running. Who does that? I'm able to get up to 6 to 7 hours after a reboot and a fresh charge, depending on what I'm doing. For me, in this job, that's a game-changer.
- Mr. Jingles — I don't know why I smile at something so silly. Maybe I'm just due for some silliness.
- Note to self: If you live in a beach town, go to the beach more often.
So much more fun stuff coming up this week, folks. Let's get to work.