Reviewing Twitter's Revamped Profile Look

Twitter has once again overhauled the way Twitter profiles look and feel around the website. Starting today, you will be given the option of enabling this new user interface, but whether you like it or not, it's probably here to stay. Personally, I have mixed feelings over the vast majority of new features it brings, so I'll lay them all out in a review. 

The Good

 

It's clean and stylish

Make no mistake about it, Twitter knows design as far as making things work and putting things where they belong. From its inception it hasn't really radicalized the positioning of where things go - your profile, your tweets, your favorites, etc. But over the years, it has become a lot cleaner, and this new UI does a good job of cleaning up what was a bit rushed web re-design last year, which was mostly based off of the mobile app versions. As for the tweets themselves - those are an abomination, but I'll get to that later.

Pinned Tweets are useful

Especially for companies or people who tweet out things that want to be seen by many for a while, the idea of pinning tweets - setting any tweet you've posted all the way to the top - is useful. It shows a larger font and lets the user know exactly which tweet is pinned. I like it.

The Bad

 

Even though as a whole I like the redesign, there are some questionable decisions Twitter made with how they laid certain things out.  

The banner is way too big

No other way of putting it, quite frankly. The 1500x500 monstrosity of a banner you're pretty much forced to put on your profile page (it will nag you consistently if you don't) makes for reading tweets not so useful. It only shows about 4-5 tweets (less if they have a pinned tweet) on a page before needing to scroll down.

The font variations are awful

This is a gaping hole in the overall user interface of this new design. Twitter has decided to have more popular tweets show up bigger, but still keeps them in chronological order. 

 

Above is what I'm referring to. Since the tweet on the bottom has two favorites, it shows up in a bigger font for anyone viewing it than the tweet with zero favorites or retweets. Additionally, it looks completely different on every profile, because it depends on the popularity of the tweet.As "useful" as this might be, it looks awful from a design standpoint, and I really hope Twitter changes this soon.

Final Verdict

I like the actual design of how it looks, but the unnecessarily big banner and the font variations from tweet to tweet make it look weird. This is a much bigger improvement from last year's redesign, but the changes done to the actual timeline on the profile makes this a step back. Until Twitter forces this onto all users, I'd stay away. 

HTC One (M8)

HTC is trying once more to release a flagship phone, the HTC One (M8).

It may not outsell Samsung and the relentless marketing sure to follow the feature-rich Galaxy S5, but HTC executives say they don’t care. They say they just want to build a phone for people who like nice things.

I can still remember sitting at a red light, revving the A4’s engine and just listening to the car purr. I felt powerful. Invincible. I don’t know if my smartphone can ever make me feel quite that way, but the One’s a full step closer than any other Android phone out there.

I can't wait for next year's model.

The new One is great. Feels good in the hands. Works like a charm. HTC sense is better than ever, but still ridiculous compared to stock Android. In a nutshell, it's the best not-stock-Android phone you can buy on the market right now.

And... it still won't be enough. HTC still did not make the perfect Android phone for release to the market, and that's essentially what's going to kill them. 

It seems like HTC did not improve the camera that much in this new model, which is a real shame. It's still a 4 Megapixel camera with all its bells and whistles, with a second lens up top for better optimization of photos after the fact. But compared to even the Nexus 5, the camera is still pretty lackluster. Battery life has improved, which is a big plus, but that camera seems to be a big deal breaker for many people (including me, if I were in the market for a new phone). HTC has come so far, so close, to creating a perfect Android phone - it just seems like they come up short every time they make a new phone. They cannot even try to outsell - much less compete with - the S5 without doing so.

Pierce mentions in the end of a great One (M8) review that he "can't wait until next year's model", but at this point in the game, will there even be a next year for HTC? All of their financial woes and lackluster sales are certainly not going to get them into the black anytime soon. 

A shame that HTC will eventually, undoubtedly fail if they don't get acquired in a way. I sincerely doubt they're making money off of this new flagship model. For a company struggling financially, it's not a good sign. And even then, it's still not safe for them. Just look at what happened to Palm and the Pre. 

 

App.net Early Developer Accounts Are Expiring. Will They Pay Again?

If you are like me and joined the site in the first few weeks, you probably got an email a little while ago warning you that your account is soon expiring. I joined in August of 2012, but ADN gave me and many others six extra months for being early adopters. Thus, my account expired in March rather than August of last year.

I won't be one of those who will renew the service. I had forgotten about App.net for the most part; I'd post the occasional blog post or anything I would find worthy of posting, but after less than six months I stopped using the service on a daily basis, and haven't posted since November.

The majority of people who have heard of App.net probably aren't surprised to see that the service is on the decline. No one had realistic expectations that the service would overtake Twitter or Facebook, but with the amount of funding it got, many believed it could turn out to be something good.

So, what went wrong? Did anything go wrong? Is App.net a failure?

Apple's iPhone 5c 'failure flop' outsold Blackberry, Windows Phone and every Android flagship in Q4

So, about that iPhone 5c being a failure...

From the constant harping about the supposed “failure” of Apple’s iPhone 5c, you’d think the phone is selling poorly. The reality is that middle tier model, while dramatically less popular than Apple’s top of the line iPhone 5s, still managed to outsell every Blackberry, every Windows Phone and every Android flagship in the winter quarter, including Samsung’s Galaxy S4.

There have been plenty of rumblings in the past few months indicating that the iPhone 5c may not be selling as well as Apple intended it to be - but the thing is, since the 5s is selling so well, people believe the 5c to be a failure. But in fact, it's selling just fine. I've probably seen more 5c phones around than the 5s. 

Amazon Prime Is Still A Steal At $99/year

Amazon has confirmed what has been speculated for a while: Amazon Prime is going up in price from $79 a year to $99 a year. A lot of people are up in arms due to this price change, and some are even threatening not to renew their Prime account. 

My family and I use Amazon extensively, so one could say that $100 a year would cover our two-day shipping costs pretty well, as seen below:

A lot of people have taken Amazon's $79 pricetag for granted, and Amazon noted this in their email to all Prime customers earlier today. Shipping prices have gone up since they introduced the service in 2005, but the price has remained at $79 the entire time.

For some people, $100 might be too much. For some it's still a bargain. It all depends on how much you buy from Amazon. For my family and I, $99 alone would be enough to cover just one month of orders in terms of shipping costs. For many things on Amazon, two-day shipping costs are pretty steep without Prime, so you not only get free shipping, you get it quick. A lot of people don't realize the cost of shipping (that is, the gouging that companies do with it - not its intrinsic value).

Amazon Prime was a steal at $79/year. At $99, it's still a steal for the vast majority of Prime subscribers already using it. The free two-day shipping, the video streaming service which may come of actual value eventually, the music storage service, and the rumored music subscription service. All for 99 bucks a year.