Tag Archive for ‘Brent Simmons’

What It Was Like to Sell Apps Online in 2003 ➝

Brent Simmons:

Apple likes to claim that the App Store replaced the system of selling software in physical boxes in stores and over the mail.

But it’s not true.

My experience selling apps before the App Store was not unique or new — it’s only interesting now because people may have forgotten this history, and younger people may never have heard it.

His setup for selling NetNewsWire online in 2003 seems pretty simple. And I’m sure it’s even easier now with an additional 18 years of development on software for online sales.

The App Store still has value. Having a place where you can get software that has been “sanctioned” by Apple seems great for novice users. But it shouldn’t be the only way to install apps on iOS. Apple needs to open the platform.

➝ Source: inessential.com

You Choose ➝

Brent Simmons, on the idea that weblogs are dead:

You choose the web you want. But you have to do the work.

A lot of people are doing the work. You could keep telling them, discouragingly, that what they’re doing is dead. Or you could join in the fun.

Again: you choose.

The only reason that so many people believe weblogs are dead is because they believe weblogs are dead. But the web is what you make it — we all have the ability to create websites and publish our thoughts, after all. The web is us.

And if we choose to continue sharing our best work on Twitter, Instagram, and Medium then those will be the services that hold all the power. But if we start publishing on our own domains and syndicating that content with RSS readers, we’ll be able to take that power back and build a web that’s more akin to what we all enthusiastically imagined it would be 10–15 years ago. We can make it that way, but we have to consciously choose to do so.

➝ Source: inessential.com

No Algorithms ➝

Brent Simmons:

These kinds of algorithms optimize for engagement, and the quickest path to engagement is via the drugs outrage and anger — which require, and generate, bigger and bigger hits.

This is what Twitter and Facebook are about — but it’s not right for NetNewsWire. The app puts you in control. You choose the sites and blogs you want to read, and the app reliably shows you their articles sorted by time. That’s it.

The world would be a much better place if all of these social networks stuck to their reverse-chronological roots. Perhaps that wouldn’t have lead to the most engagement, and I say that with the most exaggerated air quotes I can muster. But is it really worth all the anger, divisiveness, and distrust in the platforms that it has created?

(Via Michael Tsai.)

Mentions ➝

Brent Simmons, with a brilliant app idea:

Ten years ago or more we had several blog-specific search engines and services: Technorati, BlogBridge, and others.

One of the great things about these services was not just being able to search for something but being able to set up _persistent* searches: that is, you’d get a search as an RSS feed, and in your feed reader you’d get results from all over the place on the thing you’re searching for.

In the obvious and common cases, you’d set up searches for people linking to your blog, writing about the apps you work on, mentioning the place where you work, and mentioning you.

I’d like to see something like this for today, but where the scope is just the Apple/Mac/iOS community. It would crawl the obvious sites (such as Daring Fireball and Loop Insight) and it would crawl the many blogs and microblogs that make up the community.

I would absolutely love a service like this. I’d like to see it in the form of an iOS app, but that might not be the right fit — after all, it is designed to notifying you when websites mention your search term. Building it as a web service would be more than suitable, though, and it could offer integration with IFTTT or Zapier to give it more reach and allow users to bend the service to their will.

Open Floor Plans ➝

Brent Simmons:

Here’s why I work in an office: when I’m around other people — it doesn’t matter who they are — I feel a constant low-simmering level of anxiety. And I find it extremely difficult to be productive when I feel any level of anxiety at all.

Same. I find it incredibly difficult to work while other people are milling about in the same room as me.

Open Source Plans for Vesper ➝

Brent Simmons:

Q Branch’s existing open source code — DB5 and QSKit — will be moved to my personal GitHub account. I will continue to maintain DB5 (I continue to use it). QSKit will not be maintained, but will be made available as historical artifact.

We will make Vesper for iOS, Vesper for Mac, and Vesper’s JavaScript sync service open source on my personal GitHub account. This code will also be provided as historical artifacts: they’re not intended as active projects. They’re also not intended as examples of how to write apps these days.

It’s incredibly sad that the folks at Q Branch weren’t able to find success with Vesper. But I have hope that someone will pick up where they left off and build something great with the open sourced code.

Brent Simmons Resigns From Q Branch ➝

John Gruber, on Brent Simmons’ departure from Q Branch:

For Q Branch and Vesper, life goes on. We don’t have anything to announce today, other than that this is not the end. In the meantime, I simply want to publicly wish Brent well. He’s still full-time at The Omni Group, which means Q Branch work had been relegated to nights-and-weekends time. Nights-and-weekends time is for your passions, not for obligations.

I’m excited to see what Brent is able to work on with his newly found free time. And, I’m not at all worried about the future of Q Branch — they make the best notes app for iOS and I don’t think that’ll change any time soon.

Vesper. Collect your thoughts. ➝

A new notes application by Brent Simmons, Dave Wiskus, and John Gruber. It’s a beautiful application that’s very snappy but doesn’t quite have the most important feature for me — syncing. If I was able to access Vesper notes from my Mac I’d immediately switch. But for now, I’ll patiently await a future update that adds some sort of syncing support.

Vesper – $4.99