How to Fix iCloud Message Problems Between iPhone, iPad and iTouch (Dec. 2013)

The lifeless corpse of Steve Jobs has risen to resolve iCloud message synching problems between iPhones, iPads and iPods.
The lifeless corpse of Steve Jobs has risen to resolve iCloud message synching problems between iPhones, iPads and iPods.

For the past month, adults everywhere have found their text messages going to their children’s iPads. And the kids, if they’re old enough, are sending messages to their friends, which in turn go to the parents’ iPhones. So guys like me are at the office getting bombarded with texts from kids, and our own texts aren’t going through.

These are the symptoms of Apple’s changes to iCloud synching, and I’m pretty sure Steve Jobs is turning in his grave. The tech folks at Cupertino should be glad he’s dead, but still fear his wrath in the afterlife.

Here’s how to fix your iCloud problem:

  1. This is not caused by the fact that your kids are using your me.com or mac.com account to buy apps on their iPads. Giving them their own account for the iTunes and App stores will not solve your problem.
  2. The beginning of both the problem and solution lies in the settings > iCloud menu. Your iPad and iPod devices are probably logged on to the same iCloud account you use for your iPhone. That means all your text messages go to them. And vice versa. This is something that changed in mid November 2013.
  3. Once you’ve deleted your iCloud account from the iPod/iPad, you will need to set up another if they still plan to message other devices. This requires a credit card.
  4. Next you need to grab their iPad/iPod and go to settings > message. Turn that off iMessage off. Good, now turn it on again. And off.
  5. Theoretically you should be fine. But the bug makes iCloud link these devices even when you delete the account on them. The iPods, iPads and iPhones remember the iCloud account even after you delete them entirely… So you need to delete it. Turn it off. Turn it on.
  6. Do you see the insanity? There’s no pattern here. You just need to keep turning iCloud and iMessage off and on and eventually you will get lucky. It’s a bug. Eventually you’ll do things in the correct sequence and it will resolve.
  7. Once it seems to work, test it by sending a message from each device to a different phone. Then start shopping for a Samsung. This isn’t the beginning or end of Apple’s decline.
i hate apple
i hate apple

While you’re experiencing this, it’s best to scream like a maniac. Threaten never to buy another Apple device again. Tell your kids if they ever login to your iCloud account you’ll take away their pad. Belt out that you will not spend an entire Sunday being the damned tech support desk for the entire family. Tell your wife and kids that if they have another problem with their iPhone, iPad or iPod that they are forbidden from even TELLING you about the problem much less asking for your help.

And here’s the dirty little secret. Apple knows damned well that families share many Apple devices. And families were getting by quite fine without needing synchronized messaging between devices. Apple has allowed this bug to exist, primarily to irritate us into establishing separate iCloud accounts for each device. When we’ve set up separate accounts, we’re more likely to buy songs more than once. We’ll likely buy apps more than once. It’s a conspiracy, man. This is a deliberate attempt to squeeze out “lazy money” from loyal Apple customers, and I’m sure it’s working. This reminds me of when Apple decided to make it impossible for me to shop Audible from my phone. Really, you greedy dick?

I was on the fence about jumping to Android, and the past few weeks have knocked me right over. Apple has been “pulling a Blackberry” in the past few years — it’s been absolutely lazy about feature upgrades since iPhone 3 and 4. Siri? A fingerprint reader? Please. Meanwhile, the Samsung has overtaken iPhone in 2013… it’s awkwardly large, but that’s a sacrifice I’ll need to make.

Who’s up for an Apple exodus? Did the company ever make you feel like it gives a shit if you switch?

apple eats bloody apple

“No Camera” is No Excuse to Skip YouTube Anymore

Sure we’ve heard all of the excuses why you’re watching YouTube but not creating your own videos:

  1. I have nothing interesting to add
  2. I don’t have a camera
  3. I don’t want my life online
Now YouTube has eliminated one of those excuses, giving people without cameras the ability to build videos via animation of existing clips. See more at YouTube Create. So now you simply need a web connection, a pulse, and some free time. Got those?
In other news, YouTube founders Steve Chen and Chad Hurley may be cooking up another startup. They’re a bit cash strap given the $340 million they pocketed when YouTube was acquired by Google. To celebrate that possibility, let’s reflect back on their announcement, and my not-so-positive thoughts on the deal in October 2006.

What Will Matter About Online Video in 2011: Top 10 List

The space called “online video” is as broad as its players: online-advertisers, mobile technology, content creators, media properties, networks, cable-television providers, startups and individual YouTube “weblebrities.” But let’s not miss the fact that while I’ve been writing about “online video” for 5 plus years, I don’t likely have 5 more to go. As I mentioned in Beyond Viral’s chapter 18 (The Future of Online Video), we’ll soon return to calling video simply “video,” whether it’s on our computer, HDTV, mobile device or whatever else comes along.

Presumably my blog will migrate too, just as it has in the past. First it was “Revverberation” focusing strictly on the only 2005 revenue-sharing video property (Revver) to a site for amateur video creators looking to make a buck. Now it’s a blog I hope is relevant to a wider audience, such as online-video networks, digital agencies, online-advertising buyers and fellow marketers.

We “futurists” (dare I call myself one) typically fail by overestimating short-term changes but underestimating long-term ones. For instance most of my 2006 predictions came true… just not in 2007. I’ll crack out my annual crystal ball without reading Alex Rowland’s 2011 online-video predictions or any others. But when I’m done, I’ll add their links at the bottom and perhaps to substantiate or evolve my countdown of 2011 game changers.

So here’s not just what will happen in 2011, but what it means and why it matters.

1) Here Comes the Money. Until 2009, marketers were concerned about placing ads anywhere near “consumer generated content.” In 2010, online-video advertising was the fastest-growing portion of a marketer’s mix. Advertisers are still scrutinizing reach (scale), targeting, and impact. But online-video ad spending forecasts are very positive, and it remains a “buyer’s market” for those media buyers willing to divert ad budgets into online video units. YouTube commands a ridiculously small CPM (cost per thousand views) relative to most properties, and demo-accuracy aside, is driving ROI for most brand pioneers (as measured by attention scores, direct response or “CPC,” recall, intent-to-purchase lifts and ultimately sales, where accurately tracked). Advertisers took many years to migrate dollars from offline to online, but most analyst reports are bullish on ad spending moving to online video (at the expense of offline media and lower-performing banners). So content creators (and media sites) who hold constant on monthly views will receive bigger checks. As an example, when I reluctantly turned on “pre-rolls” to my Nalts videos I saw my income increase significantly with no change to total views (still 4-6 million per month).

2) Bold New Online-Video Advertising Models: InStream or InVideo formats (small overlays on the bottom 20% of the online-video screen) was certainly more effective than adjacent banners, and a smart compromise to avoid charging for content. But the market is artificially depressed for these ads, and pre-rolls have become dangerously pervasive alternatives. I hope and trust that creators, advertisers and (quite importantly) video platforms will provide new formats that a) respect the viewer, b) complement the content, and c) ensure that ad message gets sufficient attention to command a fair price. Most importantly, the most innovative approaches will weave ad messages into the creative, and target with greater precision for a better return on advertising investments.

3) Experimentation With Ad-Free, Microcharge Pay-Per-View: Given how little ad-revenue generates per active view, I would expect some online-video creators (if platforms cooperate) to experiment with a token fee-based subscription models. If it was easy, I’d pay a small fixed or variable fee to avoid cursed pre-rolls before viewing online-videos by YouTube Partners. As long as an annoying preroll generates a fraction of a penny to YouTube and the Partner, it wouldn’t cost a viewer much to purchase immunity from them (while still keep the platform and creator “whole” on income). Imagine if YouTube offered viewers the ability to effectively self fund the content he/she consumes for a modest monthly fee based on the quantity of videos consumed. I realize 70-90% of online-video viewers would resent whipping out their wallets because they feel entitled to free content. So I wouldn’t expect this to explode, nor would I propose an “either/or” scenario. That said, I trust I’m not alone in saying that I’d rather pay $5 a month to enjoy all of my YouTube videos without interruption, and that’s all it would take to offset the ad revenue YouTube and its partners might otherwise generate. This has been proven on certain websites and apps (free with ads, small fee for ad-free) and could work in this medium… but it does require a PayPal or Google Checkouts to make this incredibly easy. Mac cracked the code with me and others by simply making the purchase/rent option so incredibly easy that pirating content is no longer worth it.

4) The Video “Screen” Becomes Less Important: For years we’ve anticipated the great collision of “lean forward” (computer) and “lean back” (television). It was going to fundamentally change the ecosystem and democratize content creation. Finally in 2010 you didn’t need an MIT PhD to enjoy digital video content without an antenna or a cable-television subscription. Of course this convergence, despite dramatic improvements in the past year, is still being enjoyed by fewer than 10% of Americans. Now we have three discreet segments of video consumers:

  • Early adopters (we’re using home-rigged media centers, TiVo, GoogleTV, Roku, Boxee, AppleTV, and clumsy ethernet-enabled televisions.
  • The lagging but vibrant “cable snipping” generation, which had a sudden epiphany during the past solar orbit, and believes Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner are “The Walking Dead” because content will forever remain free.
  • The laggards who will enjoy subscribed, licensed, stolen or ala cart (on demand) video content via television, computer and mobile… only when their cable-TV provider makes it incredibly easy.

None of this matters terribly by itself. Sure our content via YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, Cable “On Demand,” Amazon and other providers) is increasingly portable, and we’ll eventually carry our subscriptions on our primary mobile device (aka phone). Hooray! We’ll have the luxury of watching rented, purchased or “borrowed” Avatar film or Modern Family episodes continuously whether we’re on the couch, commuter train or our desktop (example: Xfinity or Dish Network’s “TV Everywhere“).

More importantly, we’ll prefer to consume different types of content via different screens, and that poses a challenge to content creators. For the most part, we’ll subscribe (free or paid) to most content that’s popular within our social networks (real or virtual). But we’ll search (usually in laptop-like mode) for “just in time” content, which may include quick “how to” videos or a clip we’ve heard is “going viral.” Demographics (age, region) and psychographics (behavioral) will dictate viewer preferences, so Paw Paw may watch Fox and CNN on her cable box, mom may surf her cable lineup, young urban adults may binge The Onion and College Humor on computers using HDTV as a monitor, and the teens and tweens can gorge semi-pro content like Barely Political and Annoying Orange from the privacy of their Smart Phones.

So what does this mean to the people who depend on audiences? Creators and advertisers will need to know their audiences better, and leverage different mediums and form factors (length of content and distribution strategy) to reach and satisfy them. We won’t see the end of niche creators with niche audiences whose needs can’t be met via more mainstream content (hot music, top comedy, the quirky clip that taps our collective consciousness). However these creators should take caution in mimicking the habits of the top talent, and instead focus on depth not breadth.

5) Transmedia Storytelling Grows Up: At September’s New York Television Festival (NYTVF) Digital Day, panelists discussed the challenge of “transmedia” storytelling. For these media executives, directors, creative types and writers, “online video” was one element of a storyline. Their challenge, unlike a web series like The Guild, is to leverage online-video to complement a story that is powered by a television show, but offers short-form web video as an optional “add on” to the experience. Previous television “webisodes” (like those of The Office, which were well promoted during the weekly television episodes) were largely isolated events. One could enjoy The Office without the webisodes, but hardcore viewers enjoyed the extra, independent plots. As more people are conveniently able to dive into a webisode from their television, it’s likely these previously “stand-alone” pieces of entertainment will serve a richer role in the narrative.

6) Independent Webisodes Get Second Chance. In the early days of online-video, there wasn’t a sufficient revenue model for well-produced webisodes that were fairly expensive to produce, but had trouble attracting audiences. Look for aggregators snatching some of the quality content at a low cost, and forging distribution deals to give them new life. Currently there are dozens of popular YouTube channels that meet the definition of “webisodes” (see a Mashable list of popular ones in 2010). But what about all the Streamy nominees featuring well-produced but sometimes starving comedic, drama or reality-show “webisodes”? Could the mercurial content from “Funny or Die” find a new and broader audience via well-promoted subscriptions via new devices? This provides new income to the show owners, unique content for audiences, and a powerful differentiator for the distribution platform. Roku, by example, provides easy access to Revision3 content, and that’s a free “value add” for Roku users that gives Revision3 shows (Film Riot, Scam School) a larger audience to attract advertisers.

7) The Amateur-Creator “Thinning of the Hurd.” The “amateur” talent pyramid has transformed from flat to tall, and almost no YouTube star has jolted into mainstream. Still, hundreds of lean amateurs have developed comfortable full-time jobs (six figures plus) as YouTube Partners in the past 18 months. The “weblebrity” lifecycle is shrinking (rapid rise and fall), with just a few dozen channels dominating the vast majority of views. This is no different from the maturing of any previous medium (radio, television, blogs, Indie music) because society can’t handle radical fragmentation of content. Shared media/entertainment is a social glue that forgets a common vocabulary, so it’s “survival of the fittest.” Even with occasional “overnight successes” (from Justin Bieber to the relatively small Shaycarls, iJustines and Wheezywaiters), we collective viewers struggle focusing on more than 20-50 different webstars or channels, and eventually the best 10% will own 90% of the views on YouTube — or emerging “democratic” mediums with relatively low barriers to entry. It happened with music, and it’s happening on YouTube, where the same 7-20 people are routinely dominating the daily “most popular” charts, and the “one-hit wonder” viral videos are celebrated and forgotten like a fad.

Now let’s look at some other online-video 2011 predictions to nail the final 3:

8) Social-Viewing and Curation. VidCompare invited some industry experts and platform owners to speculate on some coming trends. It’s a beefy list of predictions, but I’m summarizing two related predictions I found especially important (where italics are my own reactions to the assertions).

  • Dramatic increase in social viewership drives innovation in social sharing techniques and measurement (Jeff Whatcott – SVP Marketing, Brightcove). An absolute in my opinion. Look no further than how Daneboe has used Annoying Orange’s popular Facebook identity to increase views on his YouTube videos.
  • 2011 is the year we curate. The result of this massive explosion of content creation is that we are increasingly overwhelmed with choice. Too much content makes finding useful and relevant material increasingly difficult. In a world of unlimited choice, search fails. What we’ll see is a growing category of content curators – individuals, brands, and publishers. (Steve Rosenbaum – CEO, Magnify.net). Steve has always been ahead of the market, and curation is logical and desirable. I became introduced to the concept of video curation while writing my book, and see it as a natural and healthy progression of the medium.
  • See more technology-oriented predictions on VidCompare, as well as observations on what geographic markets will drive growth, what major players (Amazon, NBC) will dominate, and how ad networks will face a squeeze.

9) Cost Per Engagements: Speaking of ad networks, see what the leading providers are anticipating in 2011 (AdExchanger), including some interesting thoughts on CPE (cost per engagement) by Tremor Media’s CEO Bill Day. I like CPE better than CPM because I feel that impressions is a poor judge of online-video performance. What matters is how the viewer engaged, and what they did as a result of the video… even though that’s often missed by CPE.

10) Standard Wars, and Everyone’s a Media Company: Brightcove’s Jeremy Allaire wrote a nice TechCrunch article about standard wars, connected TVs and social recommendations.Well worth a read, as Allaire is standing in the middle of a separate part of this ecosystem that I don’t see first-hand.

Okay now your turn. What’d I miss? What did I call wrong? Let’s crowd-source our psychic powers and make the first 100% accurate technology predictions, shall we?

    Google Chrome Engineers: Step Away from the Camera

    This is a real Google Chrome operating system promotion created by engineers and posted on YouTube. The good news? They set a low bar for consumers to create their own YouTube commercials. And maybe that thankless job of being a Google marketer will improve, as the product and engineer-driven company may finally recognize marketing as a non-trivial function. Sadly Google’s high GPA requirement means no great marketer or sales person can ever work for the software company.

    As of this writing, Steve Hall (AdRants) has not yet attacked this video.

    Free Web Seminar: Online-Video Secrets from Steve Garfield

    Steve Garfield,  the “Paul Revere of video blogging,” will join Pixability CEO Bettina Hein in a free 1-hour webinar on December 1, featuring latest trends in online video and related media. Topics include:

    • The benefits of marketing with online video
    • How to shoot video like a pro (recording, editing, exporting, etc)
    • How to build presence with video on the social web
    • How to increase views for your video

    Garfield also is raffling off ten copies of “Get Seen: Online Video Secrets.” Space is limited, so register now for the free webinar, held December 1, 2010 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

    Garfield’s book is part of David M. Scott’s “New Rules of Social Media,” which also includes my book (Beyond Viral).

    See You at Blogworld in Vegas

    As I mentioned in a recent video (“Advertising Doesn’t Have to Suck,” I’m off to Blogworld. It’s the “South by Southwest” of social media, and packed with bloggers, vloggers, and even stupid people. Steve Garfield (fellow video enthusiast) is leading a session, and we’re both doing book signings on Friday. On Friday, he signs “Get Seen” at 2:00 and I sign “Beyond Viral” at 2:30. I plan to stalk his fans holding a sign that says, “if you liked Get Seen, you might also like Beyond Viral.”

    Sadly Samsung’s Galaxy never came through, so I won’t be smashing my iPad. I tried. However I will be stalking Kent Nichols and Jim Louderback (cheesy photo below). You can bet on that.

    Jim Louderback Likes Geeky Computer Magazines

    Friends, don’t be anti-social media… come hang. (See “anti-social media” below):

    iPhone4G Press Conference Parody

    Oh hush. What it lacks in humor it makes up for in timeliness. Let’s see you put an iPhone4G in your butt for the Internet. Or drive into the backyard of some crazy person so you can get near a cell phone tower.

    My favorite quote of Steve Jobs: .55 percent of iPhone4G users complained. Seriously? Common C’mon. I had prooblems (despite the video statement) but knew better than to sit on hold. Besides- I’m guessing the other 99% just dropped their call before Apple answered.

    Well there are many things Apple does well, but damage control or issue management is not among them.

    Yey free 2 cent bumper iPhone condoms and they’ll even honor that 30-day money back guarantee! Weeks later Jobs will be reporting that fewer than .55 percent of people felt like he didn’t do a perfect job handling this issue, so if you thought otherwise, you’d better log your complaint.

    “If You Don’t Quit, You Can’t Fail” -NickyNik

    We Gotta Get Buscemi,” a film by YouTube legacy NickyNik, will be debuted June 4, 2010, at the Dances With Films festival. NickyNik’s trailer is the first video he’s posted since the days before YouTube had high definition or Spotlighted videos. You youngsters may recall those days where names like Boeheem, Emalina and Renetto drew mouths agape like the name LonelyGirl15 would years later.

    Congratulations, NickyNik, who I met at YouTube’s NYC 777 event and who also appeared in “I Want My Three Minutes Back.” You, sir, are the definition of unyielding persistence (see also NickyNik2). You may remember a script floating around called “The Dead Man.”

    The cast includes LisaNova, Renetto, Jason Acuna (Wee Man), and Danny Trejo. Not sure if Charles Trippy made it, but I thank him for help getting me some part… I can’t remember if I dropped the ball, or NickyNik gave up on me. In fact I can’t remember the part or the script, but I do recall a person wearing a hot dog outfit. I was hoping for that part because… hey who doesn’t want to wear a hotdog outfit?

    Still, what a motley crew, wouldn’t you say?

    Make Your Videos Suck Less

    Mkay I’ll provide some recently discovered, cool resources to make your videos suck less in a minute. First I’m going to rant, and you’ll either skip it or find it more insightful than the how-to-make video resources.

    I once asked a voiceover professional how he got to where he was, and if he had any advice. “Well, you know Kevin,” he said, “it’s really an innate ability that can’t be learned.” I hadn’t heard something so ridiculous since my mom’s friend said, “Kevin I hear you want to make a career in radio or television. Don’t worry you’ll outgrow that.”

    If you have nappy hair and zombie eyes you might want to consider an alternative passion than making videos. Otherwise, you're probably capable of improving.
    If you have nappy hair and zombie eyes, find another hobby than making videos. Otherwise, you're probably capable of improving.

    Yes I’m an unwitting optimist who believes a) people are inherently good, b) people can change for the better, and c) that most of us would be more successful if we focused on what we enjoy instead of “well rounding” ourselves. Schools would do well to help us figure out what we’re innately good at (and passionate about), and direct us that way. Likewise employers, instead of trying to “round everyone out” for the corporate ladder, ought to determine what gets a person excited, and hone that passion. We’ll all still have to perform some mundane tasks to accompany our thrills, but why turn a great engineer into a lousy manager of engineers? Go read Strengths Finder if you don’t understand what I’m talking about (you wouldn’t be the first or last). Last night I was reading Emotional Intelligence, and was reminded that IQ may correlate with life/career success, but is only about 20% predictable.

    Don’t get me wrong- getting a well rounded education isn’t a mistake. I’m glad my dad talked me out of going to a school for video and film (I remember drooling over the Emerson brochure and loathing the idea of taking more biology, math and stats courses) instead of getting an undergraduate degree. He later urged me to pursue business school, when I discovered that my passion for writing wouldn’t likely cover rent much less a mortgage and kids. Two years of misery, but it certainly has since saved me from a lot of stupid mistakes.

    Now where was I? Oh yeah- some video tips.

    1. If you haven’t read Steve Garfield’s book, “Get Seen,” check it out. Or visit SteveGarfield.com which looks like a suitcase from a well-travelled carpetbagger in the Great Depression… smacked full of widgets, stickers, callouts and labels.
    2. The Shirtless Apprentice remains a favorite collection that makes learning fun.
    3. Just discovered an ad for New York Video School via the web. Thinking about it, but that virtual commute might kill me.
    4. Nice website for royalty free sound effects is Fxhome. You gotta weed through some expensive software to find it because my bookmark vanished. Schwing.
    5. Watch any YouTube video not in the top 100 most popular. Tee hee.

    Get Seen: Online Video Resource by Steve Garfield

    Steve Garfield was vlogging before there were video cameras or the Internet. I’m not sure what that looked like, but perhaps he just stood in front of Boston houses and talked.

    getseen steve garfield online video secrets

    So it’s worth noting that his new book has a companion website… check out Get Seen: Online Video Secrets. I’m planning on copying his whole book and changing the cover… and hoping Wiley doesn’t notice when I submit my first manuscript for “Beyond Viral Video.”