Where does one begin when introducing Gina Trapani? She is the founding editor of and contributor to Lifehacker.com and has authored two books based on the site, “Lifehacker: 88 Tech Tricks To Turbocharge Your Day” and “Upgrade Your Life: The Lifehacker Guide To Working Smarter, Faster, Better”. Her writing has also appeared in Macworld, PC World, Popular Science, Wired and Women’s Health magazines. She is also a software developer. Some of her works include the Better Firefox Extensions and Twitalytic, a Twitter data crawler. She also blogs about tech stuff at her site, Smarterware as well as co-hosts the podcast “This Week In Google” with Leo Laporte and Jeff Jarvis. Her latest creation is “The Complete Guide To Google Wave”, but more on that later. Most importantly to our audience, Gina is an Android proselytizer. I asked Gina some questions about her ever growing list of accomplishments and the future of Android as she sees it.
Androidandme: You are an author, blogger, podcaster, tech expert, and programmer. You have learned to fly a plane, appeared on Fox News, and have been named one of Fast Company’s “Most Influential Women In Technology.” It’s no wonder you are also a productivity expert. Is there anything you want to do or accomplish that you haven’t been able to at least try yet?
Gina Trapani: Space travel! Got a spare $200k laying around so I can get myself a Virgin Galactic ticket on SpaceShipTwo?
Androidandme: Lifehacker’s motto is “tips and tricks for getting things done” with “getting things done” in lowercase. The site was obviously influenced by “Getting Things Done” by David Allen, yet GTD has an anti-tech, anti-gadget approach. Was starting Lifehacker sort of your tech-centric answer to “Getting Things Done”?
Gina Trapani: Definitely. Getting Things Done is a fantastic book I recommend to anyone interested in a solid personal productivity system. But, it feels written for executives who wear suits to a big office and have administrative assistants. My original conception of Lifehacker was that it would cover GTD techniques for t-shirt wearing, tech-savvy internet junkies who wanted to re-engineer the way they worked on a computer for maximum efficiency.
Androidandme: Do you still have the cloud comforter from your iconic Wired profile?
Gina Trapani: It’s my sister’s comforter, and yes! She still has it at her apartment in New York. I was just cuddled up under it when I stayed with her over the holidays.
Androidandme: One of your latest endeavors is “The Complete Guide To Google Wave”. Can you tell our readers a bit about it?
Gina Trapani: The Complete Guide to Google Wave is a book that comes in three forms: a web site at completewaveguide.com, an e-book, and in March of this year, a print book. All the contents of the book are free to read and share at the web site (which happens to be run by wiki software; all its contents are licensed under Creative Commons). The PDF is available for purchase for $6, and the print book will also be
available to purchase.
Androidandme: People seem to be really excited about Google Wave… until they actually try it. Do you think it is going to become the new paradigm that Google is pushing it as or is it going to be the next amazing technology no one uses (ie: Segway)?
Gina Trapani: I think Wave is similar to Android in that it holds a deep appeal to a certain kind of savvy user who appreciates what it can do once he or she spends some time using it. I don’t think Google Wave will upend email any time soon; but I don’t think it’s the Segway of webapps either. If all goes well with Wave (i.e., the team makes it fast, reliable, available to all, and fills in some holes in its feature set) I believe it will capture a very desirable, knowledgeable segment of the market who collaborate on the web. It’s a power tool for power users who work together remotely.
Androidandme: Do you think we will eventually see Google Wave go mobile?
Gina Trapani: No doubt.
Androidandme: Google seems to be slowly getting the public used to cloud computing. Do you think cloud computing will gain acceptance among the general public?
Gina Trapani: Definitely. Between smartphones, ubiquitous broadband, and three/four/five computer households, it will only make sense to even the most average user to store information in web applications, and access it from anywhere.
Androidandme: Google’s “theme” for 2009 was speed. What do you think they will focus on for 2010? What do you think they should focus on?
Gina Trapani: I’m not sure what they plan to focus on, but in my opinion they need to focus on trust. In order to push their cloud business ahead, Google has to earn and keep their users’ trust. They have to prove that trusting them with your information is a smart move with more benefits than drawbacks. To do this, I think Google has to focus on customer service, transparency, and openness about what exactly they do with the information they store and what the implications of that is.
Androidandme: What is your current phone?
Gina Trapani: I am currently very much enjoying the Nexus One.
Androidandme: Can you tell our readers what Android devices you have used and what you have thought about them?
Gina Trapani: I’ve only had the G1 and the Nexus One. The only thing I liked about the G1 was the keyboard and the trackball (well, and Android itself). I didn’t like the form factor, the lack of a true headphone jack, the battery life.
The Nexus One is fantastic; slim, huge screen, really fast, great battery life, and I’m really digging Android 2.1. I’m using the trackball less than I did on the G1. I think the trackball and the flipout keyboard on the G1 worked well together, but now, without a physical keyboard on the N1, I could take the trackball or leave it (even though it lights up).
Androidandme: You have praised Cyanogen and his ROM on both Lifehacker and TWiG. How important do you think 3rd party ROMs are for the success of Android?
Gina Trapani: Third party ROMs are very important to Android in a few ways. First, they encourage a loyalty and sense of ownership amongst “superusers” who will evangelize the platform and its openness. Attracting developers is a critical component to Android’s success, both for the OS itself and in the Android Market. Secondly, third-party ROMs encourage innovation and push the boundaries of what’s possible. ROMs give a small but key group of Android users options, privileges, and possibilities they don’t get out of the box; they demonstrate the true value of an open OS.
Androidandme: The Nexus One: Smart move by Google to gain market-share or will it backfire and alienate other hardware manufacturers?
Gina Trapani: Smart move, I think. From the get-go Google’s strategy has been to get Android on many different devices, and the N1 is a great phone but it’s just one of many. Hopefully hardware manufacturers are out there trying to build an even better one, rather than spend their time being offended.
Androidandme: What gadgets/technology can you not live without?
Gina Trapani: The N1 is my constant companion. Other than that, I’ve got a Fisher Space pen and spiral notebook I hardly go anywhere without. (Typing on my phone just isn’t the same as the amazing feeling of pen on paper.) Other than that, I’ve got the standard-issue MacBook Pro, a PC I built from parts, and the first-gen Kindle which I also enjoy very much.
Androidandme: What can we look forward to you doing in the near future?
Gina Trapani: I’m a bit of a Twitter addict so I’ve been working on an open source web application that archives and organize your status updates and the replies you get to them on Twitter, which is called ThinkTank. Other than that, I’m working on expanding “The Complete Guide to Google Wave”; the first edition (a step up from the preview edition) will be out in March. And every week you can hear Leo Laporte, Jeff Jarvis and myself chat about Google and cloud-related tech news on This Week in Google.
Androidandme: Any chance of a Gina Trapani authored Android app any time soon?
Gina Trapani: Maybe someday! But not soon. My dance card is pretty full these days. Then again, if I wake up in the middle of the night with an app idea that won’t let me rest until I code it….
A big thanks to Gina Trapani for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions.
Do you know of a Celebrity Android User and would like to have us interview them? Let us know.
Article photo by Dan Tentler.