iOS 6 is now officially available for downloading to your favourite iOS device, and for the most part it’s a worthy upgrade to Apple’s mobile operating system.
I’m still a little peeved by the elimination of the Google-powered Maps app, especially the super-convenient Street View option which, for now, remains a Google exclusive.
But what Apple takes away on the one hand, they also give with the other. Case in point: Inserting photos and videos into emails.
In past revisions of iOS, adding a photo or video to an email required you to know that you wanted to include one first – before composing your message. You needed to start in the Photos app, and then select the appropriate photos or video from your collection and then choose to share them via email.
The files would “fly” into a new email window and you could begin the somewhat tedious task of trying to arrange your text around these inline elements.
It wasn’t a bad system if all you wanted was to blast off a few pics to a friend, but if you actually wanted to describe a situation using multiple photos, with text in between, it lacked the kind of flexibility that other email systems offer.
But with iOS 6, all this has changed – and for the better.
Now, when you want to include photos or video, you don’t have to pre-plan.
Simply start composing a new email, then, when you get to the spot where you want to insert your file, simply tap-and-hold on the screen – the same way you would if you were going to copy/paste some text, and look at the dialog box that pops up.
You’ll notice that there is a small arrow to the right of the displayed options. Tap that arrow once, and you’ll see the brand new “Insert Photo or Video” option.
Tapping it takes you straight to your Photos app, where you can select your item (just one – no multi-select is available). Once chosen, the item gets dropped into your message, exactly where you tapped.
Though it may not always be apparent from my occasionally incoherent ravings on this blog, I am an English major.
And like many English majors, I tend to be a bit of (a) stickler when it comes to the evolution of our language. I wrinkle my nose at terms like “mixtape”, “staycation” and “frenemy.” I resent it when people use words that have had long-held meanings in a new context e.g. “voluptuous” now means “overweight” in certain circles.
And for a very long time I insisted that it was “e-mail”, not “email.” We even debated the word here in the office with most of the twenty-somethings doing a very poor job of hiding their amusement that
us we old-timers could cling so firmly to our precious hyphen.
For years however, I had the power of the press behind me. Every traditional publication at least, was consistently using “e-mail” so I certainly wasn’t going to abandon it.
Today however, the hook that I had been hanging my e-mail hat on, was unexpectedly taken away in the form – of all things – a tweet.
Not just any tweet. An official tweet from the folks who run the AP Style Book twitter account, in which they said:
There we have it. Not that the Associated Press is necessarily the last word on spelling, but if they have now moved to a world of hyphen-less emails, it’s only a matter of time before it makes its way into more official records such as the Oxford English Dictionary.
So long e-mail. We had a good ride, but I think our time to part ways has come. I’ll miss you old friend. I’ll always remember with great fondness the time you entered my life and all of the promise and excitement that you brought with you. I will especially miss your hyphen. It suited you.
An email account that is available from anywhere on any device and that has effectively unlimited storage sounds like a good idea, but what happens when the provider of that service accidentally wipes out your emails? All of them?
That is apparently what happened to about .08% of all Gmail users over the weekend. Now that’s a tiny fraction of all Gmail users, but if you’re one of them you likely don’t care how many others were impacted.
So what to do? Should you stick with the free service or move to another provider?
While moving is always an option, you’re probably pretty fond of Gmail and would prefer to stay. That being the case, the Lee Mathews over at downloadsquad.com have created a handy guide to backing up your Gmail inbox, something that should probably be done monthly to avoid headaches.
Readers, have you been affected by the glitch? Are you a happy Gmailer or do use another email platform and if so, why? Do you ever back up your email?
I love blogging.
It’s the immediacy of having your words appear on your site the moment you hit the publish button and the immediacy of the feedback when readers leave comments. It’s the dialogue that then becomes possible in a way that other mediums simply can’t deliver. It’s the freedom of writing online.
But some take this freedom too far. Yesterday, Robin Wauters, a blogger for TechCrunch.com crossed a line when he blogged and subsequently tweeted:
I think very highly of TechCrunch. They are unsurpassed as a source of information in their area of focus – Silicon Valley startups – and they’re often ahead of other publications and blogs on general tech stories too. If you’re a regular TechCrunch reader, you know they tend to colour their commentary with a heavy dose of opinion and analysis, both of which make for a unique and valuable experience. Now and then, however, the daggers really come out and they will aggressively attack someone who they feel has it coming. Often it’s the blog’s founder, Michael Arrington who dishes up the rhetoric. When he recently went after fellow blogger and AOL colleague Joshua Topolsky from Engadget, it was quite a show. I happily read the back and forth that ensued because it was a clash of titans. Each one railed against the other from their respective soapboxes in a rare show of blog vs. blog animosity.
So when I saw their tweet above, I eagerly clicked on the link expecting to read about a truly heinous action on the part of the PR person who had been singled out so viciously.
Timothy Johnson must have done something crazy like insulting the TechCrunch team, or perhaps badly misrepresented his clients’ products or services. Maybe he committed a career-ending tech blunder. Or maybe he called out the author, Robin Wauters in a public forum, like Twitter and was about to receive an equally public thrashing for his misdeeds.
No. Nothing like that had happened.
It turns out Mr. Johnson made the mistake of taking an attitude with one of TechCrunch’s writers – Leena Rao.
In an email exchange, Johnson suggests a story idea to Rao, who politely declines and is then met with a surprised and somewhat sarcastic response from Johnson who questions TechCrunch’s commitment to covering Asian tech start-ups.
According to Wauters, this sort of thing happens from time to time but that “Most of the time (but not always), we keep our peace when PR flacks go off on us with or without a shred of reason”.
Hmm. Sounds pretty bad. Let’s see how Johnson went off on TechCrunch:
– You wrote about platforms that move maybe $40 million in 2009. Platforms. Not communities. Not much since.
– Even if mig33’s virtual goods averaged 50 cents USD – and that’s a HUGE if – that’d mean about $20 million in rev, which is over twice mig33’s recent round
– You guys devote little coverage to SE Asian/Asian sites – don’t you think it’s time, or is FB all that matters?
Really? Wait for a product announcement? Is that a joke, Leena?
You can read the full exchange (which amounts to little more than three emails) on Wauters’ post, but as far as I can tell, the most inflammatory thing Johnson says is “Seriously?” “Is that a joke?” and the clearly provocative “Just wow” which he throws in at the end of his last note.
Given the “thousands” of pitches TechCrunch receives daily, and the hundreds of email threads that probably result, Wauters would have us believe that Johnson’s comments are indicative of a PR person who has gone “off the deep end.” Or maybe Wauters was simply trying to impress Rao, who he describes as “extremely sweet and mild-mannered”, by teaching her tormentor a lesson.
So what started out as an email thread between a PR professional and a journalist has now become justification for public humiliation, at least as far as Wauters is concerned. Not only does he present the email thread in full, he goes on to offer Johnson’s client – the previously unknown mig33 – some unsolicited advice:
“And by the way, mig33, you might want to reconsider who you work with. Seriously.”
Wauters defends his attack as “a public service we do for the PR industry to show them the error of their ways.”
I think it’s the height of hubris and and shocking display of unprofessional behaviour.
Before I go any further, I need to point out some facts that non-TechCrunch readers may not know:
– TechCrunch is engaged in something of a war with the PR profession, or at least the members of that profession they feel are especially worthy of contempt.
– TechCrunch has a habit of treating all communication as non-confidential. They have in the past published emails and snail mail of a legal nature, and have shown they have little respect for journalism standards such as the embargo.
If Johnson wasn’t aware of this, he should have been. As a PR professional it’s his job to know the players.
So was it foolish of Johnson to get snippy with a TechCrunch writer? Yes. He should have known better than to let his frustration with Rao show so transparently. Do all journalists get frustrated by the various bad habits of PR people at some point or another? Absolutely. Was Johnson’s email so out of line as to deserve the disproportionate response (from a different journalist than the one he was corresponding with) that he received? No way. Not even close.
TechCrunch is a giant in the technology news space. According to Compete, their average audience size is around 1.7 million unique viewers a month and that’s just their U.S. audience. Their posts are required reading for every executive in the tech industry. That is a ton of power and influence by any measure. To use this platform to attack an individual for what can best be described as poor choice of words and to do so in such a way that his very livelihood is threatened is an appalling misuse of that power.
Just how bad is it? Try Googling “Timothy Johnson”. Result #4 as of today is TechCrunch’s article. Johnson’s own LinkedIn profile is #8. Unfortunately the post you are reading right now is likely going to perpetuate that reality as Google ups TechCrunch a little bit more for the link we’ve given them.
Now I know some might argue that Johnson ended up the winner in this situation. After all, his purpose was to get TechCrunch to write an article mentioning his client. If you buy into the belief that any press is good press, Johnson and his client both win. I suspect that any minor lift in awareness of mig33 that Wauters’ article created was more than offset by the damage done to Johnson. Will present and future clients look upon this incident and reward him for the success of a guerrilla PR strategy, or take their business elsewhere for fear of working with someone who elicits this kind of reaction with his PR pitches?
I hope for Timothy Johnson that the fallout from this episode is negligible. He was attacked without warning by someone with whom he hadn’t been emailing, on a site that is widely read by his clients and peers and wasn’t given the opportunity to defend himself, or at the very least, apologize.
Robin Wauters wanted to show Johnson the error of attacking a journalist via email. Judging by a few comments on Wauters’ Twitter page, he has some support for his goal. But instead of contacting Johnson privately and letting him know how he messed up he chose to publicly humiliate him. There’s no question in my mind that an apology is owed. Robin, perhaps you should go first.