When I saw the description for the Twootball iPhone App, a smile came to my face.
Twootball has one simple function – display a live stream twitter conversation about NFL teams, organized around the games for that week. The idea of sitting in front of an upcoming playoff game and easily meeting new people via conversations about the action on screen seemed like a no-brainer to me. So, even though I don’t usually interface with technology on Sundays, I downloaded the free app and waited to give it a whirl.
Selecting which game I wanted to have a conversation around was simple.
On first glance, it delivered just what I was hoping for. Unfortunately, the moment I went to reply to one of the tweets in the stream, I was disappointed. Nothing happened. I touched my finger to the screen several times. I expected a window to open giving me the ability to reply to the sender, or retweet their comment. Instead, nothing happened. I even restarted the app to make sure it hadn’t frozen in some way. No luck.
Without the ability to reply or retweet, Twootball becomes somewhat pointless. Especially since I can enter hashtags into Summizer, or even create a special football page on Tweetgrid, that would allow me to do exactly that with minimal effort. I was surprised to find that even on the Twootball.com website, replies and retweets are not possible. This seems like basic functionality to me.
I love the concept of Twootball, and the interface is nice, but I don’t want to simply watch a stream of comments. I want an easy way to engage in a conversation. In that regard, Twootball fumbles the ball.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a bigger Apple advocate than me. I know they’re out there, but they don’t get out much. So, when I dog Apple, you can bet I feel strongly about it.
In a conversation with Teresa Boardman, a Realtor® from St Paul, Minnesota, she stated very strongly, “unless the iPhone will let me access the internet via my computer, like my phone does, I’m never going to switch.” I know this is anecdotal, but when she said it my brain said, “She’s right. The iPhone should enable this.” At the time, only days after the iPhone launch, I figured someone would write an app and that would be that. And someone did.
Apparently that is not that. Apple and AT&T continue to march toward taking more and more control over the applications and services that are allowed on the iPhone. Some of that control is certainly necessary to prevent malware and other “bad stuff” from happening. But preventing truly beneficial apps from making their way onto the iPhone, while allowing dozens of ridiculous “tip calculators” to thrive, is further indication that Apple still doesn’t want to understand the needs of the business user.
It’s not like they couldn’t make money from it. I, for example, would gladly pay a bit more on the data plan to not have to have tote around the wireless card for my laptop. I can’t be alone.
My bet is that this controlling trend will continue. And that should further the Jailbreaking movement. But with iPhone production ramped to 800,000 units per week, the number of users who will opt out as a result of these shortcomings won’t even amount to a speed bump in their sales chart.
This makes no sense to me. But hey, what do I know, I think having a Flash plugin for Safari on the iPhone is a good idea too. Clearly I’m wrong.
Why? There are times when the cellular connection available at the time I would like to record is not optimal. I would like to know, for certain, that I’m getting good quality audio and that the connection will remain solid for the entire interview. And I don’t want to have to carry a second audio recording device.
But none of the audio apps available at the launch of the App Store allow you to email the audio files. So, their utility is limited. Thankfully, Evernote has stepped in to fill the gap.
Their “Audio Note” feature syncs to their web and desktop applications, allowing you to download a WAV audio file. The audio here is an example. It works fine and certainly fills the void. The quality is not contingent on AT&T’s coverage areas, so I’m a happy camper.
Now, what I’d really like is for the Utterz gang to build an iPhone app that allows me to snap a photo (or video), record the audio and upload with title, tags and description in one fell swoop.
You listening Sim?
Here is the text exactly as it was transcribed and sent to my email:
“Hi I’m leaving a message for myself so you can see the accuracy f the voicecloud service. I wasn’t convinced about this service until someone left me a very lengthy email today and the transcript came in almost perfectly. I was extremely impressed so I thought what I’d do is try and call myself from my own phone, leave a message and put this up on others so that you can see for yourself listening and reading the transcript as it came in through my email and I’ll explain more about the service when I post it, thanks for listening. .. Voice-to-Text by VoiceCloud“
VoiceCloud says it is “the premier provider of true, next-generation, real-time voice-to-text transcription services.” You can judge for yourself. http://www.voicecloud.com/
I am enjoying the service, even though I have a form of visual voicemail built into the iPhone. I like the notices sent to my email and being able to quickly read what the voicemail was about. It has come in handy when I’m not in a position to pick up the phone. Or just don’t want to!
I listen to my Utterz Circle in the car. It’s one of my forms of driving entertainment and also a way to maximize my time. I love it.
Jott just added a new feature to their service today that gives me one more way to maximize my driving time. It’s called Jott Feeds. “Jott Feeds offers you a new and easy way to get updates from your favorite websites by listening to them on your mobile phone.” I listened to Life Hacker today using Jott Feeds and it was an excellent way to get to content I might have otherwise missed. I thought I’d record it for those who aren’t on Jott yet.
I love my iPhone.
But I’ve said from the beginning that the fact it does not support an Adobe Flash plug-in is a bad decision. And it was clearly a conscious decision by Steve and his crew. Now, after a visit to a local Starbucks this evening, I can only conclude that it’s also an insane decision.
I’ve been wanting to see how Starbucks was executing their Hear Music/iTunes campaign, so I decided to just sit outside a local Starbucks for a second and log into my T-Mobile account to see it for myself.
It’s been a while since I spent any time at a Starbucks, so the screen that popped up when I fired up Safari on my iPhone was new. And it gave me options to browse around without logging into my T-Mobile account. Very cool. But right there on the front page, taking up the largest amount of real estate, was a large Hear Music/iTunes square. So I clicked on it.
The image above is the screen I received. Are you kidding me? Apple initiates a major deal with Starbucks and Hear Music, then coordinates it with the launch of the new iTunes WiFi Store and one of the first things they hit you with is a reminder of how lame it is that the iPhone doesn’t support Flash?