Ivory for Mastodon Brings Out the Cheers!

Toot the Horns!

iOS and Mac developer Tapbots gladdened the hearts of many today with the iPhone and iPad release of Ivory, a new app for using the social network Mastodon.

I won’t go into much detail about the app itself because Frederico Viticci has covered it brilliantly on Macstories.net. Here’s a sample of that review from the opening paragraph.

There’s an intangible, permeating quality about Tapbots apps that trascends features and specs: craftsmanship. With Ivory, launching today on the App Store for iPhone and iPad, you can instantly appreciate that level of care and refinement that the Texas-based duo is well known for after more than a decade on the App Store. But there’s something else, too: for the first time in a few years, it feels like Mark and Paul are having fun again.

He covers the ins and outs of the features of the app well, so if you’re interested check out that review.

What I will spend a few mintues on is the rich journey the developers Paul and Mark have gifted all of us interested in the app and its development.

CleanShot 2023 01 24 at 12 08 59 2x

Tapbots is a premium app developer for Apple devices. Its Twitter client Tweetbot set many a standard along with the other great apps that have come out of that company. (I’ve used them all.) When things began going sideways with Twitter after Elon Musk’s purchase many became concerned about the longevity of the third-party Twitter apps that we used to access that social network. (Twitter’s own app has never been liked, only tolerated.)

Sure enough, Musk and his minions unceremoniously cut off access for Tapbots, IconFactory, and other 3rd-party app developers for his newly acquired plaything. When I say unceremonius-think kicked to the curb without so much as a fare thee well.

As Paul and Mark (and other developers for other apps) began working on apps to access Mastodon, they all created quite a bit of excitement along the way. But the Tapbots team not only treated us to a beautiful first beta version of the app, but with wonderful glimpses into some of their process along the way.

I can tell you that the journey was keenly followed, supported and encouraged. As will be the new Ivory app. I can speak for myself and only speculate for others, but their efforts in sharing the journey add an intangible yet very real extra-special value to the lovely finished product that exceeds anything I’ve ever felt or seen surrounding the release of a piece of sofware.

Let me just say this. Tapbots has long been a favorite developer of software for Apple devices. Paul and Mark capitalized on that hard won and much deserved loyalty and took what could have been a crushing blow and turned it into what I believe will be an extraordinary success story by letting their users participate along the way.

Any company, regardless of product, should take note.

Tech Predictions for 2023

I thought I’d jot down a few tech predictions for 2023. So here we go.

There will be tech news in 2023. There will be grand promises and grander failures. It will be entertaining, a bit crazy, and ultimately meh as the latest in a round of bad bets come due or come closer to being so.

Apple will make a ton of money in 2023 even though some governments want to design products for them. Apple won’t have as easy a time of it as it has in recent years for a number of reasons including some self-inflicted wounds.

Artificial Intelligence will continue to be a dominant story until chat bots start writing most of the tech stories.

The Metaverse will further try to wriggle out of the pond with or without legs. With other companies jumping into the “let’s put an expensive, goofy-looking, headache inducing gizmo on your head” it will be one of the comic tech highlights of the next few years before this whole thing ends where it was always destined to: an enterprise play.

Cyrpto will continue to falter as the denizens of the latest refuge of scammers discover that they’ve sucked all the money they can from the available suckers. There certainly won’t be any Super Bowl commercials.

Streaming Entertainment will continue to figure out that they haven’t figured it out yet. Consolidation will begin in earnest, hopefully before the streamers cancel all of the shows.

Twitter. Who the hell knows. It’s owner sure doesn’t.

Mastodon and federated social networking will continue growing pains as it continues to grow and becomes less of a pain for new users to gain entry.

Humans. Humans will be the biggest tech story behind the stories that capture the headlines. The humans who create tech will continue to be in some form of tension with the humans who use it. Humans who do use tech will continue to look less and less for tech to solve their problems, understanding before tech creators that all tech solutions aren’t necessarily going to change the world.  At least until the tech creators understand that they need humans to talk to humans to help them solve the problems with the products they create. Or until the robots show up.

Where the Mastodons Roam

So I’m hanging out on Mastodon these days. It’s the social networking site that quite a few folks have found to continue their social networking addiction, thanks to Elon Musk’s behavior as the new owner of Twitter. So far I’m liking it quite a bit. Scratch that. I’m liking it a lot. So do many of the folks I’m hanging out with.

If you’ve come to this blog post from Mastodon you’ll recognize most of the things folks are saying in my thoughts. Yes, it’s more civil. Yes, the Mastodonians are working hard to keep it that way in reacton to the Musk melon’s mucking up the joint. Yes, it’s not Twitter. Yes, the engagement is richer. And yes, it’s fun.

I’m here to tell you that I haven’t had as much fun with an Internet thingie since, well… since Twitter first came along.

While Mastodon has existed for awhile (I first staked out a piece of turf in May of last year), it picked up a fast blossoming head of steam once Musk’s purchase of Twitter went through. That momentum seems to be continuing. And those who’ve set up shop in these recent waves of refugees seem to be enjoying themselves as much as I am.

In addition to hanging out there it led to this blog. I stopped blogging and writing on the Internet primarily due to Twitter’s existence. I’m not alone in that. But as Mastodon is gaining in popularity, there appears to be a parallel resurgence in personal blogging. That urge hit me as well and here we are.

Twitter may have turned into the place of “owning” someone with a witty response, but “being owned” accelerated into a whole new nasty meaning in the last few months. So, Mastodon or no, it was time for a change.

For those who don’t know, Mastodon is set up as a decentralized network where no one person has control or ownership. It exists in a place(?) called the Fediverse. There are many Instances (or servers) where folks can find a home, and those Instances are interconnected through the Internet. If you’re not paying attention to that structural distinction Mastodon feels like a similar experience to Twitter. I’m reasonably certain that Mastodon will run into some issues down the road given its structure and philosophy. But that’s for another day.

There are other types of services in the Fediverse as well. Pixelfed is an Instagram-like service Yes, I’ve staked out a spot there as well, though I’m not that active currently. And if you’re starting to sense that these services on the Fediverse sound reactionary, then you’re correct. I’ll probably spew out some words on that in the future.

But for the moment I’m enjoying that fun I referred to earlier. Not only is the service new (we all like new things and self-validate our new choices) but the energy in the eco-system surrounding Mastodon feels very much like the days when mobile tech exploded after the launch of the iPhone. I’ve tried out more new apps in recent months than I have in the last couple of years. I’m re-discovering folks who I followed but somehow lost sight of on Twitter while discovering new folks in abundance.

So, if you choose to visit this blog you’ll be hearing more about Mastodon in the future. If you choose to find your way there you can check me out at this link.