Thursday, December 04, 2008

Pownce goes Bownce

I gues it's been a little more than a year now since I happily blogged the arrival of Pownce, a flashy new microblogging tool that would heat up competition for Twitter and Jaiku (before it got assimilated by Google).

I was quite excited when I got my invitation to the alpha version on the 1st of July last year and reviewed:

In my twittergroup it kinda hyped and everyone was screaming for invites. Why?
I think two reasons:

  1. One of the makers of Pownce is KevinRose (from Digg) and
  2. Robert Scoble (Scobleizer) is on it as well.

The early signs were promising, but over the weekend Pownce saw an onrush of new users resulting in scalability and stability problems. The slick looking Adobe AIR driven client crashed several times.

We're a year and a half onward now, and the curtain falls for Pownce. From December 15 on you'll get bounced on Pownce according to the short email notification I received:

We are sad to announce that Pownce is shutting down on December 15,2008. As of today, Pownce will no longer be accepting new users or newpro accounts.

To help with your transition, we have built an export tool so you cansave your content. You can find the export tool at Settings > Export. Please export your content by December 15, 2008, as the site will not be accessible after this date.

Please visit our new home to find out more:

Our thanks go out to everyone who contributed to the Pownce community,

The Pownce Crew

I still think it wins 99 out of a 100 times over Twitter when it comes to presentation and when it comes to functionality, I guess it may still beat the crap out of Twitter.

So when it tops Twitter, why did Six Apart tear it apart? Why did the curtain fall? Did the Credit Crunch, or Techcrunch, or whatever you want to call it dry up the wells of green and caused the bailout? Perhaps that may have been the final pushover, but let's face it. It lost competition to an inferior platform, just like Philips' Video 2000 and Sony's Betamax lost to the lousy VHS back in the 80's in a fierce format war.

Pownce wasn't stable yet, as the initial review showed. It crashed. But that isn't uncommon. I regularly get the message that the "Technorati monster escaped" or twitter hiccups. Seems like it comes as a standard feature of services like these. That didn't kill Pownce. It's the buzz that did, rather the lack off. I liked it better than Twitter, but rarely used Pownce simply because all my friends were on Twitter.

Twitter aleady had the crowd, and though better, it wasn't good enough to start another tiresome tribal migration from one community to the other and rebuild your contact list. Twitter is sustainable by sheer numbers only. Pownce would have needed an ecosystem to support it, a tie in with social networking sites in which is messaging capacities could be leveraged. It could have been done, as Six Apart is one of the prime ecosystem contributors for LinkedIn for example.

I guess that's settled than, one less account to worry about, one place that holds yet another part of my digital identity, my humoungous digital footprint down. Just hope they'll do erase their databases thoroughly and not use it for a new startup.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Kaneva Expedition

Who thought Second Life was just a hype at the start of 2007 has to rethink. Yes, perhaps Second Life is a little hyped with an absurd amount of media attention, but 2007 looks to be the year that Virtual Worlds are going mainstream in the Western World (emphasizing Western, since Cyworld already seems to be a bare necessity in Korea)

Among the many Metaverses there's Kaneva, which I visited today.

Registration was quite easy and since there are no family names, like in Second Life, I was able to register myself as VeeJayBurns.

After the registration it's time to download. The first download, the install wizard is just 2Mb, but then the full engine is downloaded, 250 Mb, after installation about 500Mb.
One of the great features of Kaneva is the personal homepage that you get as a resident - a good start to integrate Web 2.0 and Web 3D into one environment. Think of the power of integrating Second Life with Flickr, Blogger, YouTube, Twitter/pownce and Facebook all in one!
Character creation is very limited, compared to Second Life, same pretty much goes for content creation.
Uploading textures, or patters works from webpages, which is actually a better interface than the inworld upload that Second Life offers.
Another great thing about Kaneva is, besides you getting your own 'homepage', you also get your own 'home'. That does bring back memories of First Land in Second Life (which I missed out on :-( )
A thing that surprised - in a good way - was the speed of Kaneva. Movement was quite fast. On the downside, as in SpaceStage I did not meet any people or found an easy way to wander around the world.

Kaneva does have some benefits to offer, some addons that may help to create a Metaversal identity, but is lacking in other parts compared to Second Life. For instance, Second Life really has the upper hand when it comes to content creation and the openness of the world. Also the 'mandatory' orientation island exerecises may seem to be a bit overdone, but when entering a world for the first time - without any practise, does leave you at a loss sometimes.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Pownce Review

Here's a short review on Pownce, the new IM social networking thing from the States. We've had Twitter and Jaiku and suddenly there is Pownce.

Pownce launched on june 26th into Alpha testing. So after barely one week of existence it is a little short to draw conclusions. Too early to tell if Pownce will be the next killer app or will be doomed before it leaves alpha or beta testing.

In my twittergroup it kinda hyped and everyone was screaming for invites. Why? I think two reasons:

  1. One of the makers of Pownce is KevinRose (from Digg) and
  2. Robert Scoble (Scobleizer) is on it as well.
The early signs were promising, but over the weekend Pownce saw an onrush of new users resulting in scalability and stability problems. The slick looking Adobe AIR driven client crashed several times.
There are a number of features on Pownce which I really like.
The screen below is the webinterface. Pownce has a number of very nice features, when compared to Twitter or Jaiku.
  1. You can reply to messages (and rate them)
  2. You can send files and plan events
  3. You can divide your friends in various subsets (see last pic)
Off course, there's always a downside. The first two "weak points" may not be that bad at all though, depends on how you look at the world of Ol' Bill's Crap.
  1. Not every setting works when changed in IE, works fine in Firefox though ;)
  2. My current templates works with alphachannels and transparency. Doesn't work in IE6, so the background of white text becoms white, ergo non readable.
  3. After the sudden onrush of new twitter-seasoned folks it seems as if Pownce is experiencing some problems with scalability.
  4. There's no support for mobile messaging

Finally there's some points that the lot of them (Pownce, Jaiku and Twitter) could take notice of: In this day and age of social networks and metaverses we all know eachother by different names, our real name, our social name, our metaverse name and what have you got. An extensive addressbook would come in handy.

Anyway, here's a few other blogposts

Worth mentioning is Tao Takashi's notes on the lack of mobile support and RSS:

"What Pownce is missing is the mobile side of things. You cannot yet send or receive posts via SMS and additionally only one RSS feed is there right now which is the feed of your and your friend’s posts but not the one of the main timeline. Moreover an API seems to be there as they created an external application using AIR themselves and somebody made a Facebook application but it’s not open or documented it seems."

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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Pownce, Facebook and iPhone

Okay, here's a non SL post again. I've finally gotten into POWNCE!
Thanks to Vincent Shore of Squawknest.

Pownce is still in Alpha, but looks like it's gonna be the next big thing.

Pownce is a way to send stuff to your friends. What kind of stuff? You can send just about anything: music, photos, messages, links, events, and more. You can do it all through the web site, or install the desktop software that lets you get out of the browserbox.

The past weeks there's been a lively discussion at twitter on Pownce, which is seen by many as an enormous improvement to twitter (or as someone said: "if Twitter upgraded the things that users wanted, you'd kinda have pownce ")

(sorry couldn't grabcapture the client, but trust me, it looks slick)

The other thing that's taking up some of my time is Facebook. It's originally a Harvard Who's Who but is rapidly expanding and replacing myspace in some ways.

"Facebook isn't about college stuff anymore. I have no college network and enjoy the software as an organizational tool. "

If you'd like to know more, Danah Boyd wrote an excellent article on Facebook.

Finally, it seems like every US based friend I have on twitter has been suckered into the iPhone craze. Again, I'd have to admit it looks slick but I wouldn't buy one immediately --luckily it isn't available in Europe yet, so I'll have time to see how it develops.
It seems heavily overhyped at the moment in my opinion, though Steve did a good Job on fuelling it by stating that there might not be enough iPhone's available.
Here's a little reader question:
If you're reading this blog, could you tell me if you've bought one?

Finally, if you'd like to know more on iPhone or Pownce I'd recommend you'd visit Scobleizer's page at FastCompany magazine. Todays bloglinks give you an excellent overview on these apps / sites.
His current column is titled The New Web War.
"Perhaps the hottest debate in my circle today centers around the technologies we'll use inside, or outside, the browser to build a new kind of rich Internet application. We're talking mostly about video, because that's where the action is."
Part of his column is on Adobe's Apollo platform which is used for Pownce as well.
Robert Scoble is one of the leading ubergeek bloggers. Scoble is best known for his popular blog, Scobleizer, which came to prominence during his tenure as a technical evangelist at Microsoft.
So, again Web 2.0 which should be about integration is getting diversificated again.

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