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Whether on the Vine?

Vine in the News
Twitter’s new service, called Vine and found at (that’s “dot company”), is already making headlines today. It seems that they allowed an explicit video to be promoted into their “Editor’s Choice” list which is automatically placed into every users feed. Fortunately, it was stopped before I experienced that shocker.
I hope they figure out quick how to eliminate that possibility cause that’s a deal-breaker for me and my family. Especially since there doesn’t seem to be a great reason to invest time on Vine other than amusement (not that fun is bad).
The Vine blog introduced the service last week as follows:
Posts on Vine are about abbreviation — the shortened form of something larger. They’re little windows into the people, settings, ideas and objects that make up your life. They’re quirky, and we think that’s part of what makes them so special.
I hope that some more “people, settings, ideas, and objects” emerge beyond the focus on quirky and humorous that is the current trend. Not that i don’t enjoy shoes walking themselves or cats disappearing, but I think the service deserves to be more than that and needs to be to hold my attention long-term.
Experience on the Vine
From an experience perspective, they did some things very well. I really like the way that new videos are created. Like Instagram for photos, Vine succeeds in making video-creation accessible to the masses. To create a video, you simply hit the camcorder icon and are presented with the viewfinder. The camera records while you are touching the viewfinder and pauses if you let go. This continues until you fill 6 seconds (or quit sooner). So, you can easily catch small chunks and form something in moments. Then you see a preview of your video looping as it will on the service. At that point you can post or discard it. The only complaint here is that if you choose not to post, it won’t be saved to your phone gallery either. I took a short clip of my daughter at lunch that she didn’t want me to post, amd it’s gone forever.
Also, I like that you can scroll through a feed and the videos just start playing. Scroll down and another one loads quickly and starts playing. Vine did 3 things that really make the browsing snappy:
  1. Short, looping video = loads quickly and keeps playing
  2. No play button = the videos play immediately, draws you in immediately
  3. Endless page feed = scroll down and find another video
These design decisions work together to make the browsing pretty effortless and tends to make you scroll down for ‘just one more’ clip.
I think Vine will find an audience. I hope that there are some artistic, content, and community values that develop over time.

Find me on Vine as @DrewWilken or check my twitter feed. It’ll probably continue to have some Vine’s crawling about.


Finally Found Evernote, My Cloud of Words

I’m a frequent victim of the ‘cult of the new’. I’m constantly on the lookout for new apps or services that will make my life better (or at least seem so). I just discovered the value of Evernote this past week. I have seen Evernote mentioned countless times, and have even checked into it a couple of times, but was never sure how I’d make real use of it.

My understanding of Evernote in my previous looks was more aligned with the productivity and organization aspects. I resisted adding another productivity ‘tool’ that would ‘help’ me organize and track better. I have found that those apps tend to create rules that don’t mesh with my dynamic way of getting it done. Also, I really don’t want the chore of filing, distraction of more reminders, or overhead of checking things off the list. I got it wrong.

Along with starting this blog, I realized that I needed a way to really track my research, reading, and writing. So, I set out to find the ‘Dropbox’ of words. I am a fan of Dropbox and have used it with my family for a couple of years. It’s a great way to keep all of the files on different computers in sync and make sure they are available wherever you need to access them, including phones and tablets. Dropbox was my first real glimpse into the value of cloud services.

I checked evernote again and realized that it seems to be the cloud of words, with some organization and media capabilities added on. So, I’ve signed on, connected Zite, my favorite news reader, and started dropping articles into my Ever-notebook. I’ve also started keeping my list of blog ideas, and used it to author my blog entries.

So far, it seems to be the cloud of words that I was seeking. I have had to work out how to get the full articles into the notebook when sending from Zite and it takes a few extra steps, but otherwise it has been quite easy to work, has a simple way to organize into notebooks, and the tagging and search will hopefully help me find things long from now when I just want to refer back to something I know I saved somewhere.

I would love to hear from others that are using Evernote and please offer some tips for where and how to make the best use of it. Also, I’m using the free version, so I’m curious if others can share why they have chosen to upgrade or not.


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