The Friday List at #neato


A few interesting articles I’ve bumped into this week, curated from my Pocket and shared for your enjoyment. This week was full of good reads on growth strategies, the health benefits of standing desks in elementary schools, and why some men lie about working so much. Happy Friday!

Should Your Kids’ School Have Standing Desks? These CrossFitters Think So

I’ve had a standing desk for eight years and love it. My back, legs, and overall body has felt better compared to when I sat in a chair. Have you ever tried it?

“Why Some Men Pretend to Work 80-Hour Weeks”

This was a really interesting study. I often feel compelled to work as much as possible (read = I enjoy working), but it needs to be my choice. Corporate cultures that prevent you from making that choice can be really damning to overall employee health and productivity.

Google will reportedly let Android developers A/B test apps on Google Play

At Contactive we tried to test our Google Play descriptions but had to do it manually (and sequentially). This will be really helpful for app developers as they can quickly test pricing or description content.

A Founder of Secret, the Anonymous Social App, Is Shutting It Down

I don’t think it’s wrong that the founders took $3M each and bounced out. Isn’t that better than running a company into the ground?


We mean it’s literally a fake security app: the only thing that it does is change from an “X” image to a “check” image after a single tap. That’s it. That’s all there is, there isn’t any more.

New #1 paid app in Google Play store is a total scam” via Android Police.

Open is great until folks fall for a $4 scam like this. Thankfully it does nothing harmful but its a bit scary how quickly it was able to skyrocket to #1.


It’s the longer term view that is more worrying. Once a manufacturer is on board with an Android Wear device there is every chance they will be restricted to Android Wear for any ‘wearable’ that they release, or they lose Android support across the range – the same deal as the Open Handset Alliance with Google Play. That leaves Google in the driving seat for this new-found market.

This Is How Google Can Dominate The Smartwatch Industry For Years To Come” via Forbes

Just like an new hardware platform, wearables will benefit from a decent level of hardware standardization to encourage early adopters (both consumers and developers).  


I’m really, really not enjoying the Hangouts app on my Android device. Since it’s a Nexus 5 I have no choice but to use it for SMS; it’s slow, sometimes crashes, and makes me miss iMessage (one of the few iOS things I really miss, a lot). 

It is good, however, to see the convergence Google is doing (as a consumer). I can’t wait to see how big of a lid the big carriers are going to flip when Google allows you to drop your normal carrier and map your number to Hangouts.

Google plans to kill Google Voice in coming months, integrate features into Hangouts

Taking the plunge…

I really, really didn’t want to. And it’s basically a trial run right now. But I had to switch to using Gmail for my personal email.

For the last five years my personal email site and email ( has been running on Office 365. I have always loved it for a few main reasons:

(1) You get to run Outlook and OWA against it.

(2) Working at a company that uses the Office 365 stack for work (Microsoft) made it easy to do side-by-side things like overlay Work and Personal calendars.

(3) Windows Phone + Office 365 is the best way to do email and calendaring.

Since leaving Microsoft and joining Contactive I’ve had to take a very large technology plunge and immerse myself in the world of Macs, Google Apps, and my shiny new Android phone.

Why doesn’t Office 365 fit well with my new technology life?

(1) Office 365 email on Android sucks: no Conversation view in the native client and bad syncing (I’ve had two emails in my inbox that I can’t delete stuck there since December).

(2) No overlays: It’s way easier to overlay another Gmail calendar, in this case my Personal into my Work view, than trying to get my Office 365 calendar viewed in Gmail. 

After only three days I already miss a lot from Office 365: the UX and awesomeness of Outlook Web App, all the cool features that I love (and in some cases helped build) in Outlook 2013 like flagging, custom actions, and the calendar, and the general idea of staying within a single stack (I still love and use OneDrive, XBox Live, etc.).

I’m currently redirecting my email from Office 365 to my personal Gmail account. Like I said, it’s a trial. Seamless email and calendaring is critical for me (as with most folks) and so far the gains are outweighing the pains (and losses) of switching. 

I’ll update my feedback periodically as things progress.


Google Plus may not be much of a competitor to Facebook as a social network, but it is central to Google’s future — a lens that allows the company to peer more broadly into people’s digital life, and to gather an ever-richer trove of the personal information that advertisers covet. Some analysts even say that Google understands more about people’s social activity than Facebook does.

The Plus in Google Plus? It’s Mostly for Google” via The New York Times.

I am mostly pleased (although sometimes caught off guard) whenever Google’s services help me out in a way I didn’t expect. My favorite scenario is a simple one: when I map an address on my Mac at work, and then 15 minutes after leaving the office I pull out Google Maps on my phone when I (inevitably) get lost getting to my destination. One tap in the search field and it pre-populates with the last search destination from my desktop, saving me a step. Again, nothing revolutionary but very helpful. 

As a technologist and someone who wants to understand and make the most use of anything I sign up for, Google+ frustrates me because I don’t feel like I use it at all. This article is a good reminder that although many of us feel that way, G+ is becoming the key to Google’s service fabric and will likely have a big impact on the way you use their services (if it hasn’t already).


According to psychologist Barbara L. Fredrickson, it takes three positive emotions to outweigh every negative one. Based on this, the Google design team set up two jars of marble to examine the costs and benefits. For every positive emotion that the design makes, they put a marble in the good emotion jar. However, if the design causes a negative emotion, they’ll put 3 marbles in the bad emotion jar. Their goal is to get an empty negative jar and a full positive jar.

Google Android’s 3 UX Design Principles and 2 Jars of Marbles” via Keira Bui on Medium

Very cool of Google to share these. I like the approach of thinking about positive/negative experiences as it can be a simple but powerful way to create emotionally engaging experiences. This is definitely true for apps like Contactive as we focus on improving productivity for our users.


“Next, take a look at the app’s zero state again. If the app has to do some processing before it starts surfacing content, then ensure that your zero states can keep the user interested with feature introductions, tips or dummy content.”

We think about this a lot with Contactive since we need to “supercharge” your address book, and that can take a bit of time. 

Lessons we learned from being featured on Google Play