Tag Archives: android

Why the unread flag is becoming really important


William Hague responds to my request for information on our Libyan strategy...

Yes, it’s end-of-the-week bug-bear time. Today I’m going to express a slight irritation over the handling of unread flags for social media inboxes by my various smart devices.

Let’s take the example of a simple twitter @ response. In this case one I received from William Hague (good in itself) to a simple question I posed to him about Libya on twitter (‘Why are we there?’) during a demonstration of the power of social media. I saw his response appear on my Blackberry and I retweeted it proudly. That all went well.

However, what is less satisfactory, is that I was also notified about this tweet mention on my android phone (ok so maybe I’m on odd in having two phones) despite already having ‘read’ it on my blackberry. I also was notified when I opened my Ipad by the twitter app that sits on there.

I don’t want to have to read things twice or even three times to flag that I read it. It’s a complete waste of time.

The problem is that the unread / read flag (as so often used by email inboxes) is not shared by the API or is not handled correctly by the various client software.

This isn’t a problem limited to Twitter – I get frustrated having to ‘mark as read’ LinkedIn emails online that I’ve responded to via my phone, via email or on the Ipad, it’s also a problem with Facebook messages and notifications – the Facebook for blackberry app currently shows 23 unread messages yet when I look online I’m all up to date.

It’s a problem that unless addressed is only set to get worse as we get more platforms and more devices – I like the convenience of accessing social messages from various devices but this is an issue I just wish would go away.

So, if you’re implementing a social media platform then please make sure the unread/read flag is part of your messaging API. If you’re implementing a social media client application then make sure you take account of the unread/read flag (thank you Flipboard who are quite good at this!) and you’ll make the information stream a better, less frustrating place to be.

End of bug-bear. Have a great Royal Wedding weekend!

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Why Android rocks

So, I’ve dived in and grabbed a T-mobile G2 (also known as the HTC Hero) that runs Android and I’m completely addicted.

It’s all designed around the idea of real time – twitter suddenly makes more sense, Facebook status updates appear next to the person’s phone number, their latest profile photo appears when they phone. Friends in Singapore who start a google chat come straight through to the phone, all makes me wonder when I will have time to turn it off.

You only have to try the awesome layar app or even just the ‘stars at night’ to realise augmented reality is super cool. A kind of ‘sat nav meets the Wii’ interface to hyper local data.

Android will win over iPhone in the end for the same reason Windows beat Apple last time round. It’s cross platform stupid.

Now to make some apps. If only I could put the phone down long enough to do so!

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