When Free Data Ain’t Free

Wired has a smart take on an idea that sounds good at first: unlimited data usage on your phone for certain apps.

T-Mobile has announced plans that allow access to Twitter, Instagram, and others for free. (Well, included with your monthly charges.)

Virgin Mobile has plans with unlimited access to just Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest for a flat monthly fee.

But like net neutrality, this bundling/unbundling (depending on how you look at it) could stifle innovation:

In [Fred] Wilson’s comparison, zero rating makes apps more like TV by effectively turning specific services into channels. Under the Sprint deal, you get the Facebook channel, the Twitter channel, and so on. To get the full-on open internet—which we used to simply call the internet—you must pay more. For Wilson, this amounts to a kind of front-end discrimination analogous to efforts to undermine net neutrality on the back-end. Some apps or services get preferential treatment, while others are left to wither through lack of equal access.

As Wilson explains, this makes zero rating an existential threat to what he sees as a period of more egalitarian access that allowed the internet economy to flourish. “There was a brief moment in the tech market from 1995 to now where anyone could simply attach a server to the internet and be in business,” Wilson writes in response to a commenter. “That moment is coming to an end.”

Free Mobile Data Plans Are Going to Crush the Startup Economy {by marcus wohlsen; wired}.

Mug Shots on Pinterest?

Finally, some mug shots to spice up my Pinterest account.

Pinterest Mugshots

From NPR:

A crime reporter at The Mercury in Pottstown had the idea to start a [Pinterest] gallery of mug shots of people wanted by the police. Pottstown Police Capt. F. Richard Drumheller says calls came in to his tip line right away.

“We’ve actually seen a 57 percent increase in our warrant services, and we actually got more people based on our tips and our calls,” Drumheller says.

Springpad Review

springpad mobile screenshot 2

This is my review of Springpad, an online/mobile personal notebook service.

I’m into the concept/social/design of Pinterest, but I don’t like how it’s heavily biased in favor of consuming rather than creating. Sure, you can take a pic of something you fancy at the local mom & pop store, but that hasn’t been my impression of how most people use the service. And as a writer, the lack of text/note support renders the site all but useless to me.

Further, I’m into taking notes, organizing stuff, making lists, and other assorted acts of geekery. I used to use personal wiki software Voodoopad, but started looking for an alternative using since they don’t have a viable mobile app. I tried Evernote, but found it limiting, counter intuitive, and a chore to use.

Enter Springpad. Springpad does it all. You can collaborate with friends on notebooks, make lists, set reminders, organize projects, file recipes, keep track of  restaurants you want to try… and do it all in an intuitive way.

Have a book you want to save for later? Click New Spring, Book, and search for the book you want to add. All the pertinent info like author, publisher, and options for purchase is entered for you to come back to later.

Springpad can also scan barcodes & record audio right from your smartphone.

What you can add to Springpad

My one critique would be that it may be too ambitious. The beauty of Pinterest is its simplicity: It’s an easy concept to pick up; you know right away what you’re supposed to do with it. Springpad doesn’t neatly fit in to any one category. It can be your Pinterest, Evernote, Amazon wishlist, reminder service… all-in-one. I mostly use it to archive things, and ignore the reminders/task functions. I already have services and apps I use for those sorts of things.

To get an idea of how I use Springpad, check out my coffee, beer, and great sentences notebooks.

This service will only get more useful as more people use it, so check it out and sign up today.


Friday link list

1. Lessons Learned from the Lance Armstrong Scandal {talk of the nation}.

He specifically said many times, I’m doing this clean. No one else can do this. They have to be on drugs. And he exploited his cancer to get people’s sympathy. He said, I would never hurt my body by putting drugs in it. I overcame cancer. It’s just so crass, what he did. It’s so crass and arrogant and self-centered. It’s – to me, it’s really shocking that he could pull the wool over everyone’s eyes, including himself, as to what a good person he seemed to be. —from call-in listener Christine.

2. Why K-Pop is Taking over the World {planet money}.

Music is an export, just like anything else. And, as with other exports, businesses in lots of other countries are fighting for their share of the global market. They want people all around to world to be listening to their music. And they’re figuring out how to make it happen.

3. Pinning Your Emotions {andrew sullivan}.

Therapists often run into a curious problem during treatment: Clients aren’t very good at describing their emotions. How exactly do you express the nature of your depression? So this spring, relationship counselor Crystal Rice hit upon a clever idea. She had her clients use Pinterest, the popular picture-pinning social network, to create arrays of images that map out their feelings. It’s a brilliant epiphany: While emotions can be devilishly difficult to convey in words, they’re often very accessible via pictures.

Much Ado About Pinning

Pinterest, the visual bookmarking site, blew up this month. I’ve had an account for a while, but became an active user only recently. And I think that’s because I started thinking like a woman.

As NPR reports, anywhere from “58 percent to 97 percent of Pinterest users are female.” (Related: Interest Spikes in Pinterest, Notably From Women {npr/ap}.)

Some of my womany pinboards are Retail, Home Retail, Home Inspiration and Kitchen Inspiration. No, I’m not planning to buy a house. Yes, I do love to cook. But that’s besides the point, because as the writer for QVC’s “Home & Garden” and “Kitchen & Food” pages, I use my boards as a repository for good copy I find on the web.

In other words, I’m using Pinterest to help me shop. It’s that aimless process of exploring, discovering and purchasing—something that’s so foreign to me—and is (I can only assume) what makes the site more appealing to the female class.

Katie Newport thinks it is what we make it:

If users approach Pinterest with a Girls Only mentality, then that’s what it’ll be. But, if users approach Pinterest like they do Twitter – where it’s acceptable to follow people with interesting perspectives and/or similar interests, then Pinterest could be much more.

As the interest in Pinterest grows, I’m curious to see if more media/journalism organizations will give it a go. One of the firsts is Propublica, who just launched a Pinterest page. In a blog post announcing the move, they said they saw Pinterest as an

easy-to-use bookmarking tool, [and] a place to collect things you’d like to do in the future. That’s why we’ve arranged most of our boards according to medium, rather than topic.

And for the record, I’m not saying any of this is a bad thing. It just so happens that women are the early adopters on this one.