Multi-tasking on the iPad by Nate Westheimer


Yesterday, I ran on my treadmill and listened to John Gruber's The Talk Show for the first time. I had never listened to the show before, but since we've started sponsoring John's blog, I thought I should give his podcast a go. (Also, I've just been listening to tech podcasts more. Hosting one has always been an "owning a cafe"-like dream for me).

Anyway, he had Joanna Stern on last week and they spoke mostly about the limitations of tablets and especially multi-tasking on tablets. Joanna has just written this piece in the WSJ (paywall, so click on the top Google result here to read).

In their conversation, they tried to conceptualize what multi-tasking could look like on the iPad. A lot of attention centered on just enabling "command + tab" for connected keyboards to do Fast App Switching, and I think they are right -- that alone could be awesome.

But, another idea also came to mind as I was running into my 4th mile -- this coming from a critique they, and I, have with what Samsung has done in regard to multi-tasking, namely requiring a completely new and specialized app development framework most developers would never touch since it's not in the core OS. As an app developer it's unlikely I'll want to take valuable development cycles to build something that would only work on their devices.

So my basic idea for the next iOS takes the idea of multi-tasking and mixes it with my frustration with the relative uselessness of the Notification Center. I use the "Missed" notifications tab, but for me "Today" and "All" have been useless. On the iPad, Notification Center seems even more useless, as it's just a full screen version of what's on the iPhone, and has always seemed way, way too big for its purpose.

The idea I had is simple and could be quickly added to the next version of iOS:

  1. Make the Notification Center iPhone sized on the iPad,
  2. Allow users to take an app from the Fast App Switcher and throw it into a tab in that Notification Center pull-down. Perhaps just let me "star" or favorite an app from the Fast App Switcher to designate it as my secondary app.
  3. Most iPad developers have already built an iPhone sized app, mostly in the exact same bundle as their iPad app, so on the developer side there should be no extra work. Your iPhone app is your iPad's secondary/multi-task version.

So that's it. Simple, and not too terribly thought out. But worth writing down and sharing. The image at the top of this post is how I thought it would look, more or less. Let me know what you think.

New post... on Medium by Nate Westheimer

Twitter killed this blog. Let's face it.

If you've been reading me since 2006 (when I coined the 'innonate' moniker and bought this domain) you know I had a great few years of prolific posting. Then, in 2008, I slowly stopped writing at all.

It wasn't just me, of course. Google Reader used to be a thing back then. I used to check my Technorati score and see who visited me on my MyBlogLog.

Today, those things don't exist and I -- along with every other fair weather blogger -- have basically stopped.

In 2014 I want to change that and write more, but in 2014 I think the reality is that probably means I'll be writing in many places other than this blog.

Today I'm trying to write on Medium for the first time. Go read (and please share!) my post on why Picturelife decided to be early in accepting Bitcoin as a form of payment.

Still hacking... on the business by Nate Westheimer

Since I became CEO at Picturelife, I've gotten one question the most:

Do you still get to code?

While I've certainly had to put other priorities over coding, I am really happy to say I've still gotten to code quite a bit. Actually, what's happened, is that instead of coding substantially less, I'm coding on different aspects of the platform.

What's that mean?

With the shift in my responsibility for the company, I'm become much more focused on hacking on behalf our business success. This means that I've spent less time on our image de-duplication algorithms (good news is we hired someone who does it better than me) and more time on our email communication platform. Instead of working on optimizing our API (good news is we have two awesome people who are better at this than me) I've been hacking on tools which help high-value prospects deeper into our product faster, leading to better conversions.

No place does this shift than what my team and I hacked on yesterday: an import tool for stranded Everpix users. Early yesterday we found out what format the files would be in and less than 24 hours we built a full-featured import tool, sent out press releases, and started seeing new customers roll in.

So yes, I do still get to code, but the coding is a little different. If I didn't get to code I'd probably go nuts (and totally suck at leading the company) but instead I'm super, incredibly happy that my new role has allowed me to keep my keys clackin, gits pulling, and deploys deployin.

Excited to become Picturelife's CEO by Nate Westheimer

Blogged here with full news, so won't write much in this space. Nonetheless, I couldn't be more excited to lead the company I co-founded 2+ years ago. These next two, and beyond, are going to be quite exciting and special.

If you're in New York and would like to join me on this adventure, I'm excitedly looking for the right engineers, designers, UX leaders, and marketers to continue Picturelife's explosive growth and make Picturelife a household name.