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Packaging & Distribution in the Digital Age: Or, Why Even Grandma Loves Apps

There's long been a raging debate going over HTML vs. Native Apps. Just Googling the debate returns over 3.7 million results.

I'm here to tell you, that's the wrong way of thinking of things.

It's like debating whether oil or water will win when mixed. You can't get the right answer if you're asking the wrong question. While oil and water don't mix well, they can co-exist in the same bottle, and there are valid times you might want to use each.

Let's dive into the right way to think about mobile, and specifically about the role native apps will play. A better analogy of the mobile landscape is from the point of view of a car manufacturer like Honda. Honda makes a lot of Honda Accords -- they're its bread & butter. But for years, Honda had a Formula One team. A Honda Accord will never compete at the Formula One level, nor was it meant to. And conversely, if Honda only had a Formula One team, it wouldn't have the massive market share in the auto market that the Accord and other bread & butter models provide it, but Honda did learn a lot about how to make really great engines from its Formula One program.

In the same way, mobile apps are the "Formula One" of mobile, and HTML is the Honda Accord. You can get wide distribution across many phones by having a mobile HTML presence, but you can't do the sexy, progressive types of things that you can do with apps, because an app is typically compiled software which can leverage the specific hardware functionality of the phone (the camera, the address book, geolocation, the microphone, and many other things).

Saving energy - two weeks in

On Happy Human

Two weeks into our saving energy challenge and we're surviving.

Saving on heating has been the toughest part of the challenge so far. The thermostat was turned down to 17˚C and put on a timer to limit the heating to just 4 hours a day from 07:00 to 09:00 and again from 19:00 to 21:00.

It seemed like it would be only a small change from the minimum 19˚C we had before, but because we had been switching on the heating and upping the temperature to 22˚C+ whenever it felt chilly, which was often, it was a bigger drop in the average temperature of the house than anticipated.

At first I really felt the November chill in the house (outside it is normally 4-10˚C). I wasn't the only one - the boys grumbled a lot! To keep warm I wore a woolly hat, 2 pairs of socks, some fleecy slippers, a thick woolly jumper, 2 long-sleeved t-shirts and sat under a fleece blanket with a hot-water bottle and warmed my hands with a cup of tea and felt quite ridiculous. I feel the cold quickly, but stubbornly refused to turn up the thermostat and - no surprise - I eventually warmed up. Let's face it 17˚C is hardly arctic conditions.

The good news is we are quickly getting used to the cooler temperature at home and by dressing warmer find it comfortable enough. I no longer use the blanket, hot water bottle and woolly hat - will save those for December-February when it's freezing outside - and the boys now remember to wear their socks and sweaters.

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