The Beauty of the Automagical
I once worked for a CIO who liked to call certain things “Automagical.” Obviously not original, but his point, really, was that software should strive to feel to the end-user as if it happens by magic. It just works.. You don’t want users complaining about having to go through 25 steps to submit a form.
Just today, I abandoned a shopping cart with $100 of product in it because I clicked “register” instead of “proceed as guest” and there was no way to back out. And there I was presented with a form that was going to add 10 minutes to my purchase time. I just effing wanted my stuff. I closed the tab.
Which brings me to Pushbullet
Pushbullet is an app I downloaded ages ago and found — not very useful. So, like so many apps on my iThings, I let it sit there. To be honest, I was annoyed that the app basically didn’t do anything it promised — which was make it easy to share content between all my devices. In fact, I almost deleted it from my phone since it didn’t do anything helpful.
About two weeks ago I got a notification that the app had been updated so, sure. I updated, why not? Then I read the update text and realized the app now solves a problem I actually have AND it solved it in an easy way. I have since used it multiple times.
Visit the Pushbullet website.
I’d have a note, reminder, or file or note-to-self on the iMac but I was in another room using the laptop or other iThing. Or I’d be at work and come across something I knew I’d want on my desktop at home.
Example: I needed to order dinner for 12 people and arrange to pick it up. The night before this event, I remembered that the event was, in fact, the next day. I knew what restaurant I wanted to use. I also knew I would have to call them early in the day and that by afternoon when I was ready to pick it up, all the information would be on my desktop and I would have to repeat the search on my phone. Instead, I fired up Pushbullet, pasted in the information, and sent it to my phone. The next day when I needed to make the call, the information was on my phone. In one handy place, 1 swipe required.
Example: I am at the job coding the shit out of stuff. Then I remembered something I needed to do when I get home. Pushbullet made it easy to send a note to my desktop. And there it was when I got home.
Things like that. I need to share things between the desktop, the laptop, and various iThings. There are lots of ways to do this, most of which involve multiple applications, file sharing and more than one step: find and open app or file, copy out content created in Context A for use in Context B.
Pushbullet makes this just about seamless.
You can subscribe to channels — xkcd has a channel, just saying, so potentially this could be an interesting solution to the loss of Google Reader, because, sadly, all of the replacements so far have been completely inadequate to what I want in an RSS feed reader.
I considered making a channel for DearAuthor, but since only the owner of a channel can push content, I decided it would be impolite of me to own a DearAuthor channel. Because you can limit the feed by a tag, it would be possible to create a curated feed from an RSS feed and have that pushed to you. Example: An author could create a channel for new releases, and any items tagged “new book” (or whatever) would be pushed to people who subscribe to that pushbullet channel. (That is, a blog post about a new release would be tagged with “new release” and that could be pushed to subscribers.)
This is functionality that needs to be offered to places that take RSS feed content. Facebook, for example. Twitter, even. I hate the all-or-nothing approach. Why can’t I feed only a certain type of post to certain applications?
A reader of DA could create a channel for all A and F reviews — and get notifications of books considered excellent and WTF. Suppose, just for kicks, there is a reviewer at DA with the exact opposite of your book tastes. That reviewer’s F reviews might well be autobuys for you.
My worry, of course, is that Pushbullet doesn’t gain enough traction…. But for now, I’m in and I’m playing around with it and finding it quite useful.
Pushbullet works for just about all OS’s, devices, and browsers.