How Facebook is powering a new kind of "media outlet"

Somehow I must have missed this fascinating story by the New York Times Magazine on how Facebook — which has become the primary source of news for millions of Americans — empowers “entrepreneurs” to make a quick buck by letting a couple in the Philippines recycle partisan news stories as Facebook-friendly memes. (Ok, maybe this condenses the article a bit too much… I suggest you read it for yourself.)

Marco Arment goes with ads for Overcast

In his blog post on the matter he explains the thinking behind the move. I am interested to see how this will work out revenue-wise for him. Given his figures that only 3% of users pay the patronage fee (which is now a 9.99$/year premium subscription), he can double his money if the ads for the remaining 97% of users will bring in only 31 cents / user / year - this seems achievable to me.

A short look in the app shows me that he went with Google / AdMob for the ads (are there any others after the demise of iAd?). I’m not a big fan of ads in apps. However, I have to admit that I am also not a big fan of subscriptions - what is great about subscriptions for publishers (recurring revenue that keeps piling on and on) is awful for consumers (recurring expenses that quickly add up and require strict budgeting in order not to get out of control).

He rules out the third option - a one-off payment for the app - based on past experience of declining revenues. As a compromise, I would prefer how it was in the old times: You paid one-off for a software package and could use it for as long as you liked, but if you wanted new features you needed to pay for an upgrade. However, the App Store requires so many hoops to jump through for upgrade pricing that this model seems to disappear. A pity. (Okay, I do admit that there are other reasons for this development as well - one being that going without upgrades is a bad idea for many applications these days as any unpatched security flaws will get exploited in no time.)

"Demystifying The Regular Expression That Checks If A Number Is Prime"

I love this approach to check if a number is a prime using regular expressions. Everything marrying real math with the strange world that are regular expressions is awesome by definition. That’s the Java code:

public static boolean isPrime(int n) {
  return !new String(new char[n]).matches(".?|(..+?)\\1+");

Don’t worry. The link above explains everything.

Welcome to the new logfile

We’re still self-hosted, still generated by a static site generator (but now using Jekyll instead of Pelican) and still not sure what our topics are going to be.

So, what is new? Well, the look is new (although still trying to be as simple as possible). And the aim is to provide shorter, but more frequent commentary, especially by linking more to interesting stuff found elsewhere. The concept is borrowed from Daring Fireball, which combines links with a short commentary from John Gruber himself. In this sense, the new logfile is closer to the original idea of “weblogs”.