At this early stage, Ello offers a clean, modernist design with a bare-bones feature set. Its users post a motley assemblage of photos, one-liners, and disjointed conversations among early adopters. But really, Ello is a dream of starting over — a blank slate where you can create the network that has so far eluded you. Ad-free and pseudonym-friendly, it’s a place where you can easily toggle between your real friends and everyone else — "Noise," as Ello calls them — and where your sharing and messaging are never interrupted by the sight of an unwanted brand.
After following the weird story of Selfie.com for a year — I tweeted sarcastically about it 14 times — the app emerged as a video conversation app:
A year passed. An entire year! Enough time for Shots, a still-photo selfie app backed by Justin Bieber, to launch and encourage endless posing in front of the inferior of your phone’s cameras. In April, they opened Selfie to beta testers. "Really, we’ve just been working every day on it to get it where it is today," Dornbush says. "With these apps, to be successful they need to be very simple, very intuitive, and they just need to work. A lot of different types of talent and disciplines need to come together for an idea to come together."
It’s available on every major platform, it has an elegant design, and it has a robust feature set that’s easy to learn. Wunderlist is also free — and while a paid option will get you a handful more features, like unlimited task delegation and file uploads, Wunderlist is a powerful solution even if you never pay for it.
Also check out the accompanying video.
I wrote about my time at XOXO, a conference that pushes the web forward.
Portland is at ease with its own strangeness, and XOXO happily took it up a level. Andy McMillan, one of two Andys who organizes the event, calls it "a beautiful catastrophe"; the other, Andy Baio, prefers "consensual hallucination." It took place at the Redd, an abandoned iron works in east-central Portland recently converted into an events space. The Andys had the exterior painted with murals, then surrounded it with food carts, rental drones, and a library of old photography equipment. Nearby blocks played host to rock concerts, a film and animation series, an evening of storytelling, and an indie arcade. During the conference portion of the event, mostly independent writers, artists, and other makers of web culture step forward to confess their biggest problems. Between talks, everyone hugged.
I also wrote a separate piece about Anita Sarkeesian's great talk at the conference.
I wrote about the inescapable sense of dread occasioned by Celebgate:
Above all there is the inescapable sense that when it comes to your data, disaster is always one step ahead of you. From the theft of 40 million credit cards at Target, to the Heartbleed bug that enabled the easy hacking of half a million "secure" web servers, to the two-factor authentication system that (turns out!) won’t help you in a case like this, the question isn’t if your data will be stolen but when. And the corporations you’ve entrusted with your data, well, They Take Your Security Very Seriously, though naturally the terms of service deny you any legal recourse. Best of luck explaining all those stolen sexts to your future employers.