Mobile web and mobile in-app behaviour are not binary. When users are in the facebook app, they spend a tremendous amount of time accessing the mobile web through facebook’s own in-app browser. The same for twitter and others. We enter social apps for discovery and then access the mobile web while still in-app. It is a mistake to conflate time spent on the mobile web with time spent in a traditional browser.

Amen. Tony Haile of Chartbeat: A correction around the death of the mobile web.

Avis GPS

After an amazing WordCamp Scranton on Saturday I was heading to a friend’s birthday on Long Island on Sunday, a few people were surprised I had flown from New York and said driving took about the same amount of time when you factor in all the airport hassle.

I Google Mapped it and it did look like it was only 5-6 hours from Scranton to where I was going. Being a born and raised Texan, I love a good drive, and I probably haven’t had a proper road trip since my sister’s birthday a few years ago when we went up Highway 1. I’ve also never driven on the East Coast, and it seemed like there were some really pretty parks and lakes in between Scranton and Long Island so I ended up going to the airport anyway because that’s where the rental cars were.

I like Avis. They try harder. :) One thing they do that’s pretty cool is sell  decent cables, USB wall chargers, and car chargers for a cheap price right at the check-in desk. (I always carry my own car charger, this is my current pick. It’s super-handy in Ubers as well.) Amazingly though they still try to give you one of those Garmin GPS units that’s worse than your smartphone in every possible way. I’m sure it’s a money maker, otherwise the only reasonable thing to do would be provide a smartphone mount (or have one already set up in the car) rather than saddling people with an archaic, non-networked navigation device that has no idea about construction or traffic.

I ended up going to a Walmart that was nearby to pick up a car mount (price, $12) that ended up being a life-saver for the trip. I also believe that every person in tech should visit Walmart at least once a year, and spend time in their technology section. It’s good to understand and see how people who don’t live for technology every day interact with it. It’s eye-opening, and it’s handy to know what’s in stock in case you need 50 feet of ethernet at 4 AM.

Dropping the car off in Manhattan, it looks like they charged me $20 for a GPS which I don’t even have, so now going to need to sort out both the fee and the “missing” GPS system.

tl; dr: Smart car rental companies should ditch the GPS, provide smartphone mounts instead.

WordCamp USThere were amazing applications for teams and cities to host the inaugural WordCamp US, a concept originally floated at the State of the Word last year. It was very hard to make a choice, but can now announce that the birthplace of the United States, Philadelphia, will host the first WCUS on December 4th–6th. They will also host it in 2016, but no dates have been chosen yet.

Having it the same place two years in a row allows us to keep logistics a set variable and really focus on the rest of the event in the second year. I also want to use it to facilitate experience transfer: We’ll choose the 2017 + 2018 host city in between the first and second event, so that team can volunteer on the ground the second year Philadelphia hosts it to learn from their experience. Hat tip: Cool graphic by Andrew Bergeron.