No More Pushbullet
Something I’ve been supporting at zog.ninja and have even shared my science and tech podcast–Sovryn Tech— over for almost as long as it has been around…is Pushbullet. Pushbullet is a pretty wild animal when it comes to software as it seems that there’s little it can’t do. But to try and reign in some of its abilities, let me describe Pushbullet a bit.
Pushbullet is an app that you can install on your iOS or Android phone, and it syncs all (or most) of your notifications from your phone onto your PC (OSX, Windows, through a Firefox add-in, or even a Chrome extension). For example, if you get an Instagram notification on your phone, you’ll see it pop-up on your computer. Or when you get a text message, you can see the text on your computer. But it does more than that. You can actually respond to the text message from your PC, via the Pushbullet software (and recently, Pushbullet added the ability to respond to group texts). One of my favorite features is that when I receive an email on my phone, I can interact with the notification on my PC and “delete” or “mark read” the email that my phone receives (K-9 Mail is my favorite email client, regardless of platform, so that’s generally where I manage my email). It’s an awesome setup. Recently they added in client-side encryption of notifications between phone and PC, which makes it all the more enticing. And I’m only scratching the surface of what Pushbullet can do (I didn’t even mention the ability to transfer files back and forth between PC and phone over-the-air).
And there is one more feature that I’ve taken serious advantage of. It’s called “Pushbullet Channels”. This is an awesome RSS feed alternative that can send you notifications for whatever someone shared through the various channels available. I use it to follow the great work at Android Police and get notified of every new story, right through the Pushbullet software in whichever platform. I follow channels that push news from Humble Bundle, Origin, Steam, the NASDAQ, all kinds of things. Eventually, I was inspired to make my own Pushbullet Channels for the content that I push here on zog.ninja. There was a Dark Android channel. A ZOG Blog channel. A Sovryn Tech channel. And an overall site channel. It’s (or perhaps, was) so easy to push content through it, and as I’m already using Pushbullet on my “less secure” platforms, it’s a no-brainer for me to use.
But no longer.
I’m not using Pushbullet at all anymore. My initial reason for no longer offering and supporting the Pushbullet Channels I made is that as best as I can tell, few took advantage of them. And that’s fine. Though a recent development from Pushbullet, where they are now charging a monthly fee to be able to use Pushbullet in an unlimited fashion, is a sign to me that they are going to lose Pushbullet users overall, and thus the Channels aren’t ever going to get used. Also, Pushbullet changed the way I had to push content through those channels, and I had to use the web interface, which was slow and clumsy, in my opinion. Also–and this will be a theme throughout my explanation for no longer using Pushbullet–Telegram has done such a great job with their channels, Pushbullet Channels seems superfluous for me (as Telegram is essential software these days, in my opinion). So no need for that, and you can follow the Dark Android Channel on Telegram (@DarkAndroid) and get every update from this site on a daily basis.
As for why I’ve stopped using Pushbullet overall, it really doesn’t have to do with Pushbullet now charging a fee. It comes down to the fact that it’s not necessary anymore. Firefox and Chrome can now both send you desktop notifications from Facebook and Twitter (once you give the browser permission), so I don’t need it for that (which was a major use case). Since Signal Desktop was released, and Telegram already has a solid desktop client, there’s no need for Pushbullet for those, either. And text messages? Well, who really receives those, anyways? Yes, I’ll miss the email notifications on my desktop, but a recent update made the email notifications worthless and directs you to the Pushbullet website, so no loss there that hasn’t already been lost. As for getting the notifications from Humble Bundle, Android Police, and the others, well, “get notifications” from the Twitter app solves that issue.
So, again, there’s no more point for using Pushbullet, in my opinion. And I think that since they’re now charging for it, even less people are going to see the point in using it. Yes, I know Pushbullet needs to make money somehow, and that eventually it would be monetized, I’m not arguing about that. My point is that browser-based notifications and other services that you’re likely already going to use (Signal Desktop, Telegram desktop apps, etc.) makes Pushbullet pointless. And as I often say, the less software you need to use, and the less accounts you need to make…the better. Software minimalism is a very important thing. And not installing Pushbullet makes that even more achievable.
If you were using Pushbullet to follow content from me, please use other venues available at the top and side of the page (there’s even good ol’fashioned RSS feeds there). No more Pushbullet and it’s Channels for/from me.
DISCLAIMER: The ZOG Blog is the part of this site where Dr. Brian Sovryn can talk about anything. From pop culture, to philosophy, to just sharing updates with what’s going on at Zomia Offline Games and with other projects. Enjoy!