Posts tagged Technology

Now that’s how you do an iPad app for a newspaper NZ Herald (and how not to do it AirNZ!)

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The NZ Herald released its iPad app a few weeks back.  And I have to say, it rocks.

They got so much right, where others screw up, such as:

  • Easy to use interface.  It fully uses the iPad and its screen.
  • Formatting is consistent – all articles are in a small box, with categories at the top.  When you click on the story it opens up a window, which starts with a pic then scrolls through page(s) of the text.
  • No premium/free distinction – it’s all just there
  • It’s all FREE (so many get this wrong – I will no longer pay for simple access to info that others provide for free)
  • Even the ads are cool – check out the Merc at at the start – it makes you WANT to watch it

The even get this bit right, and have a YouTube version of their add so people like me can post it:

Another good News iPad app is the USA today App (I think you need a US based iTunes account to install it).  Not QUITE as good as the NZ Herald one – but still free, and easy to navigate.

Where newspapers go wrong

Where MOST newspapers go wrong is they try to bring their old business model online. Their model USED to be write stuff people want to read, mix in some ads and then sell the product to the readers. The online mindset says I want the stuff for free, and if you won’t give it to me I will get it somewhere else, or just download it for free anyway. Their old model had high set up cost (the article writing and production) PLUS a variable cost of production (printing, postage etc).  Their new model has a high(ish) fixed cost (although a lot of it is setting up the template/look) and then an almost zero variable cost (the cost of 10,000 people reading an online version is almost the same as 10 people).  But newspapers keep trying to change for content, where the rationale for doing so (the variable cost of each reader) is no longer there.  They can get HEAPS of readers by getting REAL good content, and as a result of more readers, charge even more for advertising, all while having no extra costs each time someone reads/downloads it.  Simple really, so why do so many Newspapers get this so wrong?  No idea really, I think they are just a dead technology waiting to die, and just don’t get the opportunity that’s there.  I actually think their window is closing here.  Right now they still have lots of customers, they can leavergae off this by marketing their online offering (the free one – like NZ Herald) and build a new business online.   However, as time goes on they will have less and less readers, and their will be more (competitors) alternatives online.  In time the window off opportunity will have closed, and they wont have any leaverage to use.

Another ‘how not to do it’ story

While on the subject of how to do it (or in this case NOT) – I see AIrNZ made their Kiaora Magazine (the one you get on the plane) as an iPhone/iPad app.  Cool I think, novel even.  But where they screwed up is they went and charged for it.  The App is free, but each issue need to be paid for ($NZ 5.29 I think).  What were they thinking? Here’s my thoughts on this:

  • The mag is free when you fly (they say Take me, I am free)
  • The cost of putting it online in any form has a (moderately high) fixed cost only (no variable cost for each copy, unlike printed copies)
  • The mag is full of advertising
  • I think few people will pay for the app
  • They COULD have had a premium for advertising coz of increased readers, but instead will unlikely even get back their fixed cost investment
  • They could have even had online only adds, targeting say technology or higher end travel (these people have more disposable money)
  • Such a lost opportunity for AirNZ
  • They will probably pull the plug in a year or less saying “not enough readers”

Looks like I am not alone here, most people think the fee from AIrNZ is a joke.

Black and White Version: Some people get how to use new technology, some don’t.  Well done NZ Herald, silly billy AirNZ.

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2degrees logo

2Degrees goes 3G

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2 Degrees  (the third mobile company in NZ with a network) announced their 3G network is ready in the NZ Herlad.

Mobile phone company 2degrees will start using its 3G network next week, putting it on a par with rivals Telecom and Vodafone.

Specialists are completing the final network testing, so it will be available only to a select group of customers.

But company spokeswoman Bryony Hilless said the 3G network would be available to all “sooner rather than later”.

While at present the data plans on 2Degrees aren’t that appealing for any moderate to heavy users.

What’s quite interesting here is 2Degrees are doing a very soft launch, with this 3G Launch news just slipping in, rather than Vodafone that announces things with a big song and dance, but actually says nothing (see post here).

For iPhone 4, and iPad users, this will mean a 3rd network can now offer an alternative, but for iPhone 3g and 3Gs users, XT is still the only option (IMHO) due to the frequency issues (as explained in this post about the iPad).  While there are other providers in NZ (like Slingshot, Orcon etc) these are just resellers of others networks – 2Degrees actually has its own infrastructure and network, albeit that it only covers 50% of the country for now.

Black and White Version: Competition hotting up in the 3G space in New Zealand, hopefully prices will start to fall soon (esp for data).

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grindr

Grindr – the ultimate gay iPhone app?

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Any gay man with an iPhone will have heard of Grindr.  But since not everyone is gay, and not everyone has an iPhone (although based on my observations of San Francisco, everyone who is gay has one), here’s the run down for you:

  • Grindr is an app for the iPhone (although Grindr for Blackberry is coming soon).
  • It is a simple app that allows users to locate (using the iPhones GPS) other nearby users of Grindr.  It shows people in order of distance, with the closest first, as well as showing who is online now.
  • It allows the user to have one profile picture, and a few lines of text as a profile, as well as location details (it shows how far away the person is, not their actual location, but this can be sent by the other user they want to).
  • You can message the other people.
  • You can tag users, so you can re-message them more easily later.
  • And, most importantly, it can (and is) used by guys to meet other gay guys (hook up even?)

(more…)

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cellphone

Telecos may rip us off at times, but where is the user responsibility?

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A NZ Herald headline today was Salesman ‘crippled’ by internet charges.

This was due to what NZ mobile teco’s charge when roaming- $30 per MB in most countries.  So that’s $30,000 per GB – which compares to around $10-$20  per GB if on a plan in NZ (and no, that’s not a mis-print – $30,000 per GB).  (Btw, OZ is one of the few cheaper countries, and ‘only’ $8 or $10 per MB depending if you are on XT ($8) or Voda($10)).

Now I agree with DPF on Kiwiblog here that this is a rip off, but I think some serious points are overlooked in the media analysis: (more…)

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iPhone Vodafone latest rip off

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Yes the iPhone 3Gs plans for Vodafone NZ are out. And yes, they are a total rip off! The cost of the phone is $200 to $400 more than the old 3G models. By comparison in the US the new models were cheaper!

The “we don’t have the same economy of scale” crap line that NZ suppliers often use doesn’t wash here.

Out of principle I will not give voda my money here. I will buy the phone overseas and put it on the telecom XT network. I may be only one person but companies like this just piss me off.

Black and white version: voda is yet again fleecing its NZ customers.

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iPhone post

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One of my personal goals I recently set was to blog at least 5 times a week both here and on my professional blog www.richardbeddie.co.nz.

Like any task having the right (best?) tools helps, so I set up wordpress on my iPhone* This is my first post from it, and time will tell how useful it is, but I do have one less excuse now.

(* thank god for OS 3.0 and cut and paste!)

Btw, I aim to have at least one significant blog each week, where I discuss my views on a key topic or idea and the others will range in depth, seriousness and length.

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