PDA

View Full Version : Development Team Led by John Gruber Releases New Note-Taking App Vesper




MacRumors
Jun 6, 2013, 02:33 PM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/06/06/development-team-led-by-john-gruber-releases-new-note-taking-app-vesper/)


Vesper is a new note taking app that also incorporates to-do elements, allowing users to capture thoughts, tasks, and ideas quickly and efficiently. The app comes from newly minted company Q Branch (http://vesperapp.co/), which includes Apple blogger John Gruber, developer Brent Simmons, and designer Dave Wiskus.

Vesper offers a simplistic user interface that focuses on both quick input and customizable organization, utilizing tags to group items into collections. As the app description states, Vesper allows users to organize and curate notes in "whatever way comes naturally."

http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2013/06/vesper.jpg
MacStories (http://www.macstories.net/reviews/vesper-review-collect-your-thoughts/) has published a detailed review of Vesper, comparing it to several other note taking apps available:Vesper is about collecting thoughts with minimal friction. And not about doing so with a certain specificity in the UI - say, Day One's emphasis on journaling or TaskAgent's notebook motif - but in a generalized manner that revolves around one key aspect: speed. I have pondered over the motivation behind Vesper for days, and I've concluded that Vesper doesn't want to be the new Drafts or Day One - rather, its aim is on Apple's Notes app. The way I see it, Q Branch didn't want to make an app that identified itself with one facet of note-taking: they wanted one that could scale flexibly for a more generalized use. And this, I believe, has been accomplished quite well.In addition to offering tags for organizational purposes, Vesper also incorporates drag and drop functionality to allow users to rearrange notes and older notes can be archived with a swipe for storage to create an uncluttered inbox. Both the archive and notes that have been tagged and arranged can then be accessed from the sidebar.

The app supports photos in addition to text, along with an in-app browser. It does not, however, support syncing as it is currently limited to the iPhone.

Vesper (http://appshopper.com/productivity/vesper) can be downloaded from the App Store for $4.99. [Direct Link (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/vesper/id655895325?mt=8)]

Article Link: Development Team Led by John Gruber Releases New Note-Taking App Vesper (http://www.macrumors.com/2013/06/06/development-team-led-by-john-gruber-releases-new-note-taking-app-vesper/)



applefanDrew
Jun 6, 2013, 02:36 PM
If there is anybody that knows how iOS 7 apps will look, it's Gruber. So, I think this is a good representation of iOS 7. And it's what 9to5 Mac reported, black, white, and flat all over with a single color to designate what app you're in.

DotCom2
Jun 6, 2013, 02:40 PM
If it doesn't sync with my iPad and Mini, then it's not for me! :(

CristobalHuet
Jun 6, 2013, 02:40 PM
Bought it - very clean and fast. I'm hoping for cross-platform sync so it can effectively never give me a reason to use Notes.app again.

HiRez
Jun 6, 2013, 02:42 PM
Countdown to MGM/UA lawsuit in 3...2...1...

bluespark
Jun 6, 2013, 02:43 PM
Can we please stop saying "simplistic" when we apparently mean "simple"? The two words don't mean the same thing. MacRumors, if you're going to characterize a new product like this as "simplistic," then please at least say what you think is wrong with it. And if it indeed is simplistic, why report its release?

trunten
Jun 6, 2013, 02:45 PM
That post about a $5 app not being expensive makes more sense all of a sudden.

nfl46
Jun 6, 2013, 02:46 PM
Welcome iOS 7! Of course he knows how it looks.

DavidLeblond
Jun 6, 2013, 02:47 PM
Clean designs are pretty, but my brain is begging for some dividing lines.

KALLT
Jun 6, 2013, 02:47 PM
If there is anybody that knows how iOS 7 apps will look, it's Gruber. So, I think this is a good representation of iOS 7. And it's what 9to5 Mac reported, black, white, and flat all over with a single color to designate what app your in.

Form over function and without any clear indicators as to what is clickable and what is not. I honestly hope there is more to the iOS redesign than this, otherwise it is purely a step backwards in terms of usability.

HiRez
Jun 6, 2013, 02:47 PM
That post about a $5 app not being expensive makes more sense all of a sudden.

Yes, interesting timing.

tkermit
Jun 6, 2013, 02:48 PM
I think this is a good representation of iOS 7.

I'd be sort of underwhelmed if that turned out to be true (just going by the screenshots posted here – can't say anything about the UX beyond that)

CJK
Jun 6, 2013, 02:50 PM
Form over function and without any clear indicators as to what is clickable and what is not. I honestly hope there is more to the iOS redesign than this, otherwise it is purely a step backwards in terms of usability.

Form over function is what Apple is all about these days, unfortunately. :(

ArtOfWarfare
Jun 6, 2013, 02:51 PM
Looks and sounds interesting, but if it's aiming to replace the built in Notes app, I should probably wait and see if iOS 7 changes Notes and see if this still seems as appealing next week.

Wayfarer
Jun 6, 2013, 02:52 PM
(In before discussion of flatness) --OH WAIT! Many people have already jumped the gun. :p

I love how this thread will become about the iOS 7 UI design and not the actual app featured here. I love it. . :rolleyes:

rneglia
Jun 6, 2013, 02:56 PM
Maybe they didn't want to launch it with the buggy iOS 6 iCloud syncing and then have to re-vamp it after WWDC. My guess is their plan is to get it out to a bunch of Fireballers this week, and then open the suggestion box to their friends next week, after they see what Apple's going to do about Core Data/iCloud syncing in iOS 7, yadda yadda.

Wayfarer
Jun 6, 2013, 03:01 PM
Can we please stop saying "simplistic" when we apparently mean "simple"? The two words don't mean the same thing. MacRumors, if you're going to characterize a new product like this as "simplistic," then please at least say what you think is wrong with it. And if it indeed is simplistic, why report its release?

I think the intended word was "minimalistic"

rwilliams
Jun 6, 2013, 03:01 PM
It looks great, but even with Gruber's name attached to it, they may find it hard to get people to spend $5 for it when there's already Simplenote that's free and organizes by tag.

applefanDrew
Jun 6, 2013, 03:02 PM
Form over function and without any clear indicators as to what is clickable and what is not. I honestly hope there is more to the iOS redesign than this, otherwise it is purely a step backwards in terms of usability.

You're thinking in 2007 terms. People today have adapted to the smartphone era. We no longer need it spelled out in such obvious ways as rich design. This simple, clean design is much better looking and does not sacrifice usability.

GoCubsGo
Jun 6, 2013, 03:07 PM
If there is anybody that knows how iOS 7 apps will look, it's Gruber. So, I think this is a good representation of iOS 7. And it's what 9to5 Mac reported, black, white, and flat all over with a single color to designate what app your in.
Winner!
If it doesn't sync with my iPad and Mini, then it's not for me! :(
Winner!
That post about a $5 app not being expensive makes more sense all of a sudden.
Chicken Dinner!

There had to be a reason for his post yesterday and this has to be it. I would also agree that this may be a good indication of iOS 7. Not sure I'm totally thrilled, but again, gotta leave some room for the actual release before I pass judgement.

Totally redundant note taking app being pimped by MR simply because it's Gruber but if I mention my app (useful app that improves AWS mobile access) in a post, I get warned for improper pimpage...

When I saw this I wondered what his thoughts were when making this. I feel like we've seen this all before and now you're asking users of things like Evernote (for example) to migrate to this when it can't sync to all iOS devices? Am I wrong about the syncing?

As for pimping your app, I don't know why you can't do that. There is a forum for it. Not defending mods, that is seriously not my forte, but I thought there was a place for that here.

sza
Jun 6, 2013, 03:13 PM
If there is anybody that knows how iOS 7 apps will look, it's Gruber. So, I think this is a good representation of iOS 7. And it's what 9to5 Mac reported, black, white, and flat all over with a single color to designate what app you're in.

If iOS 7 will look like this, I will say Apple falls behind MS (Metro). Though I think the flat design doesn't mean anything. It is just a different look, why not create couple of themes and let user pick...

Smith288
Jun 6, 2013, 03:14 PM
If iOS 7 will look like this, I will say Apple falls behind MS (Metro). Though I think the flat design doesn't mean anything. It is just a different look, why not create couple of themes and let user pick...

Not outside the realm of possibilities with the way apple has updated the API of UI objects to allow for more global appearance customizations in the more recent iOS versions... But I wouldn't bet on it.

iSee
Jun 6, 2013, 03:15 PM
No Sync? No thanks.
I hope that's temporary until they have, e.g., clients for other platforms to sync with.

Interesting, though.
With those names behind it, it will get massive exposure and piles of fawning reviews even if the app was crap (not saying it is).

I'm actually OK with Apple's note app, especially if they get rid of the yellow lined paper background and the goofy font.

GoCubsGo
Jun 6, 2013, 03:22 PM
It is overpriced if it costs more than others and doesn't sync. Not syncing is absolutely silly. By now, every app like this should sync and Gruber of all people should not release an app that I believe he would blast if not for his name on it.

People are going to forgive him because he is Gruber. I'm a fan of him, not of this BS app.

manu chao
Jun 6, 2013, 03:37 PM
Bought it - very clean and fast. I'm hoping for cross-platform sync so it can effectively never give me a reason to use Notes.app again.
What is wrong with Simplenote? It syncs with all kinds of platform, it's free, it has a quite simplistic UI?

Not that this app might not be better, but if you like this app better than Notes, I would assume, you also would like Simplenote better than Notes.

QuarterSwede
Jun 6, 2013, 03:37 PM
(In before discussion of flatness) --OH WAIT! Many people have already jumped the gun. :p

I love how this thread will become about the iOS 7 UI design and not the actual app featured here. I love it. . :rolleyes:
Discussions ebb and flow. If you don't like that go be by yourself.

CristobalHuet
Jun 6, 2013, 03:53 PM
What is wrong with Simplenote? It syncs with all kinds of platform, it's free, it has a quite simplistic UI?

Not that this app might not be better, but if you like this app better than Notes, I would assume, you also would like Simplenote better than Notes.

I've had reliability issues with Simplenote - lost all my data once, haven't trusted it since.

manu chao
Jun 6, 2013, 04:25 PM
I've had reliability issues with Simplenote - lost all my data once, haven't trusted it since.
Don't you have local copies on your Mac? And backups of your Mac? For stuff that only exists in the cloud without local copies (of which I have multiple backups), I'am also a bit wary.

nutmac
Jun 6, 2013, 04:34 PM
I bought it earlier this morning and I like what I see so far.

Few things worth pointing out:

Considering how Gruber created Markdown, lack of support for Markdown is a bit surprising. I would love WYSIWYG Markdown editing.
Since the app is not yet available for iPad, missing sync is understandable. But email and messages-based sharing is a bit lame. At the very least, I should be able to share all the notes in a tag or individual notes to another Vesper user more directly.
I am not completely sold on the choice of font. It's a bit heavy for my taste.
I am also not too crazy about the choice of color (cerulean cyan).
There doesn't appear to be a way to rename a tag.
Archiving is easy. Deleting is not.

Tankmaze
Jun 6, 2013, 04:38 PM
Countdown to MGM/UA lawsuit in 3...2...1...

lol, the app name is Vesper and the company name is Q branch,
me think they all are fans of bond. :cool:

primalman
Jun 6, 2013, 05:09 PM
That post about a $5 app not being expensive makes more sense all of a sudden.

Beat me to it. Exactly why I was thinking. And yes, use simple and simplistic correctly please.

----------

lol, the app name is Vesper and the company name is Q branch,
me think they all are fans of bond. :cool:

Yes, gruber is. Had a whole show deconstructing one if the movies.

ValSalva
Jun 6, 2013, 05:15 PM
The new iOS 7-like look of this app makes the iOS 6 keyboard stand out like a sore thumb. I bet that gets changed/tweaked in iOS 7.

roadbloc
Jun 6, 2013, 05:26 PM
Well basically, the app stinks, especially for the price. Sorry Gruber. Never really liked you anyway. Always had your head up Apple's rectum.

lseven
Jun 6, 2013, 05:35 PM
I searched quite a bit for a good notes / to-do list / outliner solution. I landed on Workflowy. It is web-based so automatically syncs with any computer, iOS device, etc. They are pretty new so still working on a native app, offline editing, etc.

Vesper looks interesting but without desktop support and syncing it is a no-go at this time. Also I like the Evernote/Workflowy model... free for limited use to try it out, then pay once you decide you can't live without it (which I have done for both). I have contributed plenty of dollars to apps I try for a few days and then delete! :(

PM me if you want a referral link that will get both of us more free notes per month. I am not posting this to push it... I am a paid Pro user so the free notes won't help me at the moment but would help someone new.

BillPetro
Jun 6, 2013, 06:04 PM
"Simplistic" a word used by simplistic people for whom "simple" is too simple.

Can we please stop saying "simplistic" when we apparently mean "simple"? The two words don't mean the same thing. MacRumors, if you're going to characterize a new product like this as "simplistic," then please at least say what you think is wrong with it. And if it indeed is simplistic, why report its release?

theBB
Jun 6, 2013, 07:21 PM
I don't want to wade through a ton of note taking apps. The two others that got a lot of mentions were Simplenote and Evernote. I like neither enough to stop using Notes. Vesper comes closest to what I need, it looks good and price is cheap enough.

Syncing with other iOS devices and a web interface would make it perfect for me. I have a feeling iOS sync is relatively easy for them to do and it may even come along in due course, but I am not sure if this small team will ever add a web interface. I used the web interface of Notes only once or twice, but it was an awesome feature when I needed it.

Of course, my dream wishlist feature is an ability to add a one button link to a particular note from Calendar events or Reminders. That probably requires a whole new app suite that ties up reminders, calendar, notes and email. :(

springsup
Jun 6, 2013, 10:58 PM
This has definitely reduced my opinion of John Gruber.

Here are a couple of headlines from around the web:

"Vesper, a minimalist notes app from John Gruber and Brent Simmons (hands-on)" (The Verge)
"Development Team Led by John Gruber Releases New Note-Taking App Vesper" (MacRumors)
"Daring Fireball’s John Gruber and friends launch Vesper note capture app" (9to5Mac)

I think it shows an absolute lack of journalistic integrity to use your name and fame to promote a product in an area you're so intimately involved with.

It's also a slap in the face to independent developers (such as myself). Even if you have the greatest idea in the world, with the best interaction & visual design, the best programming, etc - the hardest thing about launching an App is getting the word out (promotion).

Gruber just got more promotion than any of us could ever get; and he did it by sullying his name for a not-particularly-innovative App.

Read any of the reviews I mentioned above (or even MR's own), and you'll notice they have very little to say about the app itself and much more about the people behind it. I've got to say I expected much more from Gruber and I'm shocked he would have the gall to do this.

Mactendo
Jun 6, 2013, 11:00 PM
Crap app with crappy design.

wizard
Jun 6, 2013, 11:46 PM
If it doesn't sync with my iPad and Mini, then it's not for me! :(

Yep a huge fail. I suppose they are working on IPad variants but this app is useless to me without syncing support. Oh and by the way syncing to the Mac is in order too.

Sadly I get the impression that this comes close to what I need in a notes app

AlbinoPigeon
Jun 6, 2013, 11:59 PM
Maybe it's just me, but the font choice is awful.

wizard
Jun 6, 2013, 11:59 PM
No Sync? No thanks.
I hope that's temporary until they have, e.g., clients for other platforms to sync with.

Interesting, though.
With those names behind it, it will get massive exposure and piles of fawning reviews even if the app was crap (not saying it is).

Well I'm going to give reviewers some credit here. As it is right now the app isn't ready for prime time! That due to syncing and companion apps on the Mac and iPad.

I'm actually OK with Apple's note app, especially if they get rid of the yellow lined paper background and the goofy font.
This thread interests me a lot due to my extensive use of Apples note app. The biggest problem with notes app is the lack of editing capability on the iOS devices. What is even more frustrating is that the newer Mac OS app is much better done and supports some of those needed editing capabilities. I'm really hoping that app parity is the battle cry for iOS devices.

By the way you can change the goofy font. More so important notes can be edited in Mac OS, strangely enough the iOS apps will display a number of different fonts even if you only have 3 to choose from when editing on iOS devices. As for yellow it doesn't bother me that much.

HiRez
Jun 7, 2013, 12:05 AM
Maybe it's just me, but the font choice is awful.
It's not just you. Which is odd, since Gruber is styles himself as a typography junkie.

mw360
Jun 7, 2013, 01:56 AM
Don't you have local copies on your Mac? And backups of your Mac? For stuff that only exists in the cloud without local copies (of which I have multiple backups), I'am also a bit wary.

One of the points of cloud computing is that it can be your back-up. Your data is supposed to be safer up there on a professional server farm than it is on your own devices.

I've had the same problems with Simplenote (losing an entire and very long document), and since there's no desktop sync (that I recall) there was no local copy to recover.

After also getting tired of their reluctance to encrypt user data on their servers I moved to Writeroom, which is more customisable, syncs very well via Dropbox, and therefore stores my data encrypted, backed-up, versioned, and duplicated on all my desktops.

theBB
Jun 7, 2013, 03:00 AM
I think it shows an absolute lack of journalistic integrity to use your name and fame to promote a product in an area you're so intimately involved with.
He is not a journalist. He expresses his opinions about certain topics, so that he can get ads on his blog, get consultancy fees etc. There is far less conflict of interest here than tech sites receiving advertising from makers of products they review or newspapers taking advertising from car companies they cover. His relationship to the product in question is clearly visible to the public. If he says something about his product, you can either take his word for it or not, fully aware of his financial stake. With the two other examples above? You cannot.

It's also a slap in the face to independent developers (such as myself). Even if you have the greatest idea in the world, with the best interaction & visual design, the best programming, etc - the hardest thing about launching an App is getting the word out (promotion).
What makes you think he owes it you and must go through the same struggle? Do you unplug all your electronics 2 hours a day in the afternoon to make sure you don't have an *unfair* advantage over developers living in India?

Gruber just got more promotion than any of us could ever get; and he did it by sullying his name for a not-particularly-innovative App.
Eh? He had an idea, he got together with his friends and he implemented it into a product. Where is the sullying? Others are covering his product, because he is known for his sharp opinions about software UI design and there are many who are genuinely curious what he would do if he was the designer. Jealous?

theBB
Jun 7, 2013, 03:30 AM
It's not just you. Which is odd, since Gruber is styles himself as a typography junkie.
What is it that you don't like? It is a calm, legible and distinct sans serif font. Maybe it is just the two of you. :)

ValSalva
Jun 7, 2013, 04:53 AM
This has definitely reduced my opinion of John Gruber.

Here are a couple of headlines from around the web:

"Vesper, a minimalist notes app from John Gruber and Brent Simmons (hands-on)" (The Verge)
"Development Team Led by John Gruber Releases New Note-Taking App Vesper" (MacRumors)
"Daring Fireballís John Gruber and friends launch Vesper note capture app" (9to5Mac)

I think it shows an absolute lack of journalistic integrity to use your name and fame to promote a product in an area you're so intimately involved with.

It's also a slap in the face to independent developers (such as myself). Even if you have the greatest idea in the world, with the best interaction & visual design, the best programming, etc - the hardest thing about launching an App is getting the word out (promotion).

Gruber just got more promotion than any of us could ever get; and he did it by sullying his name for a not-particularly-innovative App.

Read any of the reviews I mentioned above (or even MR's own), and you'll notice they have very little to say about the app itself and much more about the people behind it. I've got to say I expected much more from Gruber and I'm shocked he would have the gall to do this.

I can see your points. Maybe he isn't a journalist as others have said - which is convenient because when bloggers want to be taken seriously they call themselves journalists.

I just wonder if releasing this app makes him less credible because now John has more of a personal stake in whether Apple succeeds or fails. This feels a little as if he bought a bunch of Apple stock.

It's different when Marco Arment and other developers write and have podcasts. We listen to them specifically due to their experience as Apple developers. I believe we listen to and read John because of his skills at writing, his insider connections at Apple, and his objective insights. Now the latter is at least a little more questionable.

patent10021
Jun 7, 2013, 07:16 AM
That post about a $5 app not being expensive makes more sense all of a sudden.

lol really right? Shameless.

James Craner
Jun 7, 2013, 08:00 AM
Another notetaking App for iOS, just what iOS needs, as we have so few great choices already.:rolleyes:

CristobalHuet
Jun 7, 2013, 08:23 AM
Don't you have local copies on your Mac? And backups of your Mac? For stuff that only exists in the cloud without local copies (of which I have multiple backups), I'am also a bit wary.

When I started using Simplenote, it was on my iPad (1) and iPhone at the time only. My usage only lasted a couple of weeks.

----------

I bought it earlier this morning and I like what I see so far.

Few things worth pointing out:

Considering how Gruber created Markdown, lack of support for Markdown is a bit surprising. I would love WYSIWYG Markdown editing.
Since the app is not yet available for iPad, missing sync is understandable. But email and messages-based sharing is a bit lame. At the very least, I should be able to share all the notes in a tag or individual notes to another Vesper user more directly.
I am not completely sold on the choice of font. It's a bit heavy for my taste.
I am also not too crazy about the choice of color (cerulean cyan).
There doesn't appear to be a way to rename a tag.
Archiving is easy. Deleting is not.


Deleting is actually very easy. It's in the share (counterintuitive) menu in note view.

springsup
Jun 7, 2013, 08:54 AM
He is not a journalist. He expresses his opinions about certain topics, so that he can get ads on his blog, get consultancy fees etc. There is far less conflict of interest here than tech sites receiving advertising from makers of products they review or newspapers taking advertising from car companies they cover. His relationship to the product in question is clearly visible to the public. If he says something about his product, you can either take his word for it or not, fully aware of his financial stake. With the two other examples above? You cannot.

He's quick enough to lecture others on professional ethics!

He's quick enough, for example, when others fail to correctly attribute a source, to start failing to attribute the Wall Street Journal. In a recent example, he linked (http://daringfireball.net/linked/2013/05/21/wikipedia-corruption) to criticism of a Wikipedia editor who had conflicts of interest. He clearly thinks of himself as a journalist and as a reader I expected him to follow some ethics on this.

As for the magnitude of the conflict, he could not have a bigger conflict of interest if he was Elon Musk writing the motoring column. Is he failing to report on great apps because it might threaten his personal gain? Can he even objectively judge what a great app is anymore, or are they now held to some greater standard because he wants to protect his personal profit?

What makes you think he owes it you and must go through the same struggle? Do you unplug all your electronics 2 hours a day in the afternoon to make sure you don't have an *unfair* advantage over developers living in India?

Eh? He had an idea, he got together with his friends and he implemented it into a product. Where is the sullying? Others are covering his product, because he is known for his sharp opinions about software UI design and there are many who are genuinely curious what he would do if he was the designer. Jealous?

My electricity supply is totally irrelevant; Gruber's fame has been built as a journalist/blogger (the line is blurry) and he continues to do that to this day (AFAIK, DaringFireball isn't shutting down). Take a look at NPR's ethics handbook (http://ethics.npr.org/category/e-independence/); they make it clear that you must avoid both real and apparent conflicts of interests (after all, you must remain trustworthy to your readers).

Journalists regularly recuse themselves from coverage on topics where they have a potential conflict (such as the political journalist whose spouse is an advisor to a particular campaign). Similarly, John Gruber would not have been the first journalist in history to forgo a business opportunity because it would have tainted his journalism or independence.

As a reader, I'm upset because it's a major, major ethical lapse from somebody I know should know better. It has absolutely reduced Gruber's trustworthiness in my eyes.

As an app developer, I think firstly that it's wrong for products to be promoted based on celebrity rather than merit, although I don't blame the outlets for covering it - I blame Gruber for getting himself in to this mess. Even that wouldn't be so bad, though, if it wasn't a journalist; that adds gross unprofessionalism to the mix.

Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_of_interest) defines conflicts of interest:

More generally, conflicts of interest can be defined as any situation in which an individual or corporation (either private or governmental) is in a position to exploit a professional or official capacity in some way for their personal or corporate benefit.

If he just wanted to make an app for creative reasons, he could have donated the money to charity, for example, to stop himself (in reality or in appearance) personally financially benefitting from his professional responsibilities as a journalist. Now that he's playing the App game for personal profits, his position has shifted enormously.

celavato
Jun 7, 2013, 09:32 AM
[QUOTE=springsup;17364449]This has definitely reduced my opinion of John Gruber.... Gruber just got more promotion than any of us could ever get; and he did it by sullying his name for a not-particularly-innovative App./QUOTE]

It seems like you're experiencing sour grapes. Gruber is an opinion columnist. He built a large following over a decade or more. Now you begrudge him for leveraging his fame? It's no different than an athlete creating a line of sneakers. To the extent that true neutral journalism ever existed (which I doubt), that golden era ended last century. But even if such journalism exists, Gruber never claimed membership. His site contains no rules by which he abides. He doesn't work for a large media company or belong to any unions (to my knowledge). For all we know, he owns Apple stock. In no way has he he behaved unethically. You're free to not read his opinions or buy his app after all.

slu
Jun 7, 2013, 09:51 AM
Unless Gruber pays this site, it is amazing how much coverage he gets here. Big deal - another note taking app (with limited functionality). Replace Gruber's name with Joe Smith and nobody cares. Frankly I am surprised this didn't make the front page of this site.

Gruber can do what he wants. He has his platform and his followers. I don't consider him a journalist either. I consider him an Apple mouthpiece. If he want to sell crap apps to his loyal followers, more power to him. I just don't understand why anyone falls for it or why anyone cares.

theBB
Jun 7, 2013, 10:15 AM
As for the magnitude of the conflict, he could not have a bigger conflict of interest if he was Elon Musk writing the motoring column. Is he failing to report on great apps because it might threaten his personal gain? Can he even objectively judge what a great app is anymore, or are they now held to some greater standard because he wants to protect his personal profit?
I get your point better now, but I still think you are too harsh. If Musk were to write a regular column for a magazine, I would still read it because it would be entertaining to read his perspective. He is famous enough that his conflict of interest is very visible.

For other run of the mill journalists who might be working for NYT the standard changes, unfortunately. I cannot possibly keep track of the possible conflicts of interests of hundred or thousands who write for NYT, so I'd like them to have none and NYT to pay them enough to buy that loyalty. Either that or disclose each and every possible conflict at the top of each article. Daring Fireball or marco.org or Asymco are sites with only one writer and I go there to get the opinions of designers or indie developers or whomever, aware that they primarily earn their money through means other than blogging. This might make their opinions biased, but it also makes them have a unique perspective.

springsup
Jun 7, 2013, 11:32 AM
I get your point better now, but I still think you are too harsh. If Musk were to write a regular column for a magazine, I would still read it because it would be entertaining to read his perspective. He is famous enough that his conflict of interest is very visible.

For other run of the mill journalists who might be working for NYT the standard changes, unfortunately. I cannot possibly keep track of the possible conflicts of interests of hundred or thousands who write for NYT, so I'd like them to have none and NYT to pay them enough to buy that loyalty. Either that or disclose each and every possible conflict at the top of each article. Daring Fireball or marco.org or Asymco are sites with only one writer and I go there to get the opinions of designers or indie developers or whomever, aware that they primarily earn their money through means other than blogging. This might make their opinions biased, but it also makes them have a unique perspective.

The difference would be if Musk was writing a column that reviewed potentially competitive products. If he was writing a column about his business, that's fair enough (although he'd have to make it very explicit). No news organisation would allow him to write a more general column on motoring or the environment, where he was potentially covering competitive products. It would have no credibility.

Does Gruber not make his primary income from blogging? His RSS feed sponsorship rates alone are $8,500 per month ($442,000 per year). That's on top of advertising income (a single, exclusive ad on a site with 4-5 million pageviews/month according to him), membership income ($19/year, no word on how many members), and T-shirt sales. There are certainly no sour grapes there; I don't think the amount you earn has any bearing on the standard of professionalism you are expected to adhere to. That said, he earns more than any journalist working for the NYT, so I don't understand why you'd hold him to a lower standard because of it. If I were a paying member, I'd also be demanding a refund. Paying readers presume independence.

Gruber doesn't work for any organisation so he doesn't have a boss to keep him in check or a formal ethics policy that he has to subscribe to; I'm not saying he's broken any laws by doing this. I'm saying that there are standards of professionalism which are expected in this industry and which have also been breached.

I know professional journalists who have forgone very lucrative deals (consulting contracts and the like) to protect their independence. It's disrespectful to the profession for somebody like Gruber to be earning millions of dollars from this App, especially because it's his name that's clearly driving the promotion, while he pertains to be a journalist and tries to call others out for failing to adhere to professionalism standards. Read interviews with him and he clearly likes to think of himself as a journalist; I don't think it's right that you get to romantically act like one but then shirk one of the biggest responsibilities that comes with the territory.

That's all I'm going to say on the subject. I'm not going to be reading DF any more. I know the loss of me as an individual isn't going to have any financial consequence to him, but I think the loss of trust in general is going to hurt. This is a big opening for somebody else to step in.

CristobalHuet
Jun 7, 2013, 11:47 AM
Unless Gruber pays this site, it is amazing how much coverage he gets here. Big deal - another note taking app (with limited functionality). Replace Gruber's name with Joe Smith and nobody cares. Frankly I am surprised this didn't make the front page of this site.

Gruber can do what he wants. He has his platform and his followers. I don't consider him a journalist either. I consider him an Apple mouthpiece. If he want to sell crap apps to his loyal followers, more power to him. I just don't understand why anyone falls for it or why anyone cares.

Awful amount of words in this thread for someone who doesn't care, don't you think? :confused:

nutmac
Jun 7, 2013, 12:09 PM
Unless Gruber pays this site, it is amazing how much coverage he gets here. Big deal - another note taking app (with limited functionality). Replace Gruber's name with Joe Smith and nobody cares. Frankly I am surprised this didn't make the front page of this site.

That is the exactly the point though. Gruber is a personality that has a large following (4-5 million page views/month). Having used Vesper for better part of yesterday, the app isn't perfect (missing sync and export, strange font choice, cannot rename tags), but it is very deliberately designed.

I suspect if the app was priced more according to current feature set, it probably won't have as many critics. But as 1.0 product, it is very polished. But knowing Gruber and Brent Simmons (I am not familiar with Dave Wiskus), I am quite certain the app will evolve.

Chalkperson
Jun 7, 2013, 12:31 PM
I received a Tweet reply from Gruber regarding the features we all want, they will come in time and when they are ready to release them they will, in case nobody noticed they released the App just ahead of WWDC, it takes advantage of that conference, waiting until all the other features were ready would surely have delayed it's release.

And whats wrong with him making an App in conjunction with two others, he gave us all markdown for free.

roar08
Jun 7, 2013, 01:30 PM
This is America, which is for now, a liberal democracy (note to the unintelligent: don't read that as being Democrat). The idea people successful in any industry shouldn't trade on that in other forms is asinine. If Gruber isn't out there claiming the value of the app is based on his merit as a blogger, then why is he being vilified for it?

I like reading Daring Fireball. I think Gruber writes well. I own two DF t-shirts.

My response to Vesper is simple: who cares?

Why does the world need another note-taking app, and for $4.99 at that?

100% uninteresting.

gatearray
Jun 7, 2013, 01:47 PM
Seriously? No universal support, no sync of any kind, and no way to export your data from the app aside from emailing it to yourself?!?

This would be a great app in 2009, but it's 2013 and I won't pay 99 cents let alone $5 for a redundant lazy effort like this, particularly with all the self-serving conflicts of interest inherent in the whole venture. If the iOS Notes app supported images like the Mac version does, why the hell would I ever need a device-dependent app like this? Maybe it'll be one of the new features in iOS 7...

__________

With all that said, I think the worst part is that he chose to use a photo of his own child in the app description pictures. Give me a break, man...

theBB
Jun 7, 2013, 04:20 PM
The difference would be if Musk was writing a column that reviewed potentially competitive products. [...] It would have no credibility.
Somebody who is not familiar with a topic does not become automatically more credible, just because he is examining from the outside. Unfortunately, if you are familiar with a topic biases and conflicts become inevitable. Better to disclose them and let in many such writers than limit it to those whose knowledge, sources and biases are unknown...

I would still want to know about Musk's take on BMW-e or Mercedes B-class electric vehicles. As people know who he is and what his financial stakes are, it would not be a conflict of interest. Even if you take his words with a grain of salt, he would still have a lot of credibility. I'd rather hear from him than somebody who has never started a company or never had to trade off car features against time, space & cost or never tried to take a car design into manufacturing or never had to deal with battery issues.

Could he lie to hide something? Sure. On the other hand, an outsider without any bias and therefore not intimately familiar with a topic can easily be manipulated by the insiders into printing misleading or incorrect information. For example, take Isaacson and his Jobs biography. He wrote fairly incorrect claims about the relationship between OSX and Jobs' old company NEXT. Well, either the source he trusted did not give him the full picture or he misunderstood. The articles do not have to be about technology, either. You can follow qz.com, with high quality articles about mostly economic and social topics. The same set of journalists sometimes end up misleading their readers, such as when I saw two stories regarding legal issues surrounding visas for foreign technical employees. What they wrote might have been technically correct at a superficial level, but completely incorrect in practical terms. Most likely, they are being manipulated by those they trusted as sources.

slu
Jun 7, 2013, 06:14 PM
Awful amount of words in this thread for someone who doesn't care, don't you think? :confused:

Not at all. I am trying to figure out the appeal. I went to his site because of the posts in this thread about $5 being cheap for an app and now I am convinced he is certainly not a journalist. Every recent post was basically just a quote from someone else with one line of commentary or description. And anything he does actually write is just the Apple company line. So no real conflict of interest to me. If he can make money off his fans, it is no different than a band selling their fans a t-shirt. I just don't get why he has any fans. It is possible to not care about the app, but be interested by the situation and discussion.

Mckoder
Jun 7, 2013, 07:56 PM
... without any clear indicators as to what is clickable and what is not. I honestly hope there is more to the iOS redesign than this, otherwise it is purely a step backwards in terms of usability.

Totally agree. With flat design as embraced by this app, you have to run a background process in your brain, to scan the screen and spot items that may potentially be interactive. Often you are wrong. Some things you thought might be interactive turn out to be not, and other things that are in fact interactive you miss. The only way to be sure is to try to interact with it and see what happens. Major fail. It should be blatantly obvious what is amenable to interaction and what is not.

manu chao
Jun 7, 2013, 08:54 PM
One of the points of cloud computing is that it can be your back-up. Your data is supposed to be safer up there on a professional server farm than it is on your own devices.

I've had the same problems with Simplenote (losing an entire and very long document), and since there's no desktop sync (that I recall) there was no local copy to recover.

There are multiple desktop clients for Simplenote. They list ten for the Mac and four for Windows on their own website: http://simplenote.com/downloads/
I don't understand where that 'no desktop sync' notion comes from.

Smith288
Jun 7, 2013, 09:55 PM
This is America, which is for now, a liberal democracy

Supposedly a representative republic. For now anyways.

numlock
Jun 8, 2013, 08:25 AM
I can see your points. Maybe he isn't a journalist as others have said - which is convenient because when bloggers want to be taken seriously they call themselves journalists.

I just wonder if releasing this app makes him less credible because now John has more of a personal stake in whether Apple succeeds or fails. This feels a little as if he bought a bunch of Apple stock.

It's different when Marco Arment and other developers write and have podcasts. We listen to them specifically due to their experience as Apple developers. I believe we listen to and read John because of his skills at writing, his insider connections at Apple, and his objective insights. Now the latter is at least a little more questionable.

ive followed him for a few years and have never once felt he was objective. i feel his posts are sometimes on the same embarrassing levels as some of the "fanboys" on here when it comes to google. he often ignores whole topics where apple dosent come of well and gives similar stories regarding apple and google quite different treatment.

hes a smart guy with good connections which i find wasted when he is nothing but a apple mouthpiece

i think the criticism of the his recent post about app prices and the way this app is being reviewed/reported on is fair.

ValSalva
Jun 8, 2013, 08:40 AM
ive followed him for a few years and have never once felt he was objective. i feel his posts are sometimes on the same embarrassing levels as some of the "fanboys" on here when it comes to google. he often ignores whole topics where apple dosent come of well and gives similar stories regarding apple and google quite different treatment.

hes a smart guy with good connections which i find wasted when he is nothing but a apple mouthpiece

i think the criticism of the his recent post about app prices and the way this app is being reviewed/reported on is fair.

I agree that Gruber is not completely objective. He is more objective than many other Apple pundits though.

He is an excellent writer but is far from humble and occasionally does things that are rather self-serving, like his app price post, that rightly put a lot of people off.

Gruber is an interesting guy. He seems to live in a fantasy world where he is a combination of James Bond and Dean Martin. His last live podcast was in a bar and sounded like he was hanging out with the Rat Pack :D And the name of his new app? Named after an obscure cocktail. Gruber is just too cool ;)

I listen to multiple podcasts too. I find Jim Dalrymple to be the most overtly pro-Apple biased pundit around. But they are both entertaining. I just take Dalrymple's comments with a larger grain of salt.

numlock
Jun 8, 2013, 10:36 AM
I agree that Gruber is not completely objective. He is more objective than many other Apple pundits though.

He is an excellent writer but is far from humble and occasionally does things that are rather self-serving, like his app price post, that rightly put a lot of people off.

Gruber is an interesting guy. He seems to live in a fantasy world where he is a combination of James Bond and Dean Martin. His last live podcast was in a bar and sounded like he was hanging out with the Rat Pack :D And the name of his new app? Named after an obscure cocktail. Gruber is just too cool ;)

I listen to multiple podcasts too. I find Jim Dalrymple to be the most overtly pro-Apple biased pundit around. But they are both entertaining. I just take Dalrymple's comments with a larger grain of salt.

dont even get me started on dalrymple and his 1 word answers/reporting.

these are writers/reporters/bloggers who through some contacts get some info, try things before its available etc. however they are not steve jobs or someone of that stature which i feel they think are closer to than the average tech buying joe schmo.

as i said in my post i read grubers blog and check it often and find him informative and when he does what he does best there is a lot of info ive gotten from his work so i wish he and his kind would do more of that otherwise they are just as sad as the entourage #87 for the flavor of the month.

Evoken
Jun 8, 2013, 11:34 AM
ive followed him for a few years and have never once felt he was objective. i feel his posts are sometimes on the same embarrassing levels as some of the "fanboys" on here when it comes to google. he often ignores whole topics where apple dosent come of well and gives similar stories regarding apple and google quite different treatment.

I keep an eye on his blog too and I feel the same way as you. He seems to enter into fanboy mode most of the time he covers anything related to Google, which is a shame because he is clearly a very smart guy. Hopefully he doesn't continues this trend or else I'll just stop following like I did with AppleInsider.

fermat-au
Jun 8, 2013, 05:39 PM
That post about a $5 app not being expensive makes more sense all of a sudden.

Vesper will sell reasonably well, mostly due to the fame of Gruber and the other developers. I would not be at all surprised to see in a few weeks Gruber writing on DF about how '$5 apps can be successful' and using Vesper as evident of this.

Vesper's success as an app will have far more to do with Gruber's personal brand than the quality and features of the app.

nexusrule
Jun 9, 2013, 05:01 AM
Read any of the reviews I mentioned above (or even MR's own), and you'll notice they have very little to say about the app itself and much more about the people behind it. I've got to say I expected much more from Gruber and I'm shocked he would have the gall to do this.


Gruber was a mac developer at BareBones software, then started a blog that had (and has) lot of success and it became his primary job. Now he is releasing an app for iOS.

This dynamic is called "Talent plus Capitalism Effect" and had nothing to do with journalism ethics or conflict of interests. Are you able to create a blog that has the same following? Do it. You will get the rewards. Are you not? Don't be jealous, it's a really pathetic show.

metsjetsfan
Jun 11, 2013, 02:27 PM
There should be an easter egg for this app. Every time you write the word "Pavlovian" or "canonical" something happens, those are probably the two words gruber uses most often.