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All posts for the month November, 2014

Most tech savvy people have a wish list floating around on NewEgg or Thinkgeek or some other site — I have 4 I can think of without effort. Some of us even keep a private list of gift ideas for others at various sites and occasionally make a note of something we see in a store only to forget about it or be unable to find it among the many notes me make — whether within an app or on paper — when it is around gift giving time. The problem is most people do not have 1 convenient place they can keep track of all the items from across the web that they find for themselves or others. I have various want lists I have forgotten about as well and from time to time I go back and remove things that would have been impulse purchases had I bought them instead of wish-listed them. So, the utility of a gift list minder app that is not tied to a single retailer is a necessity—especially at this time of year. However, after using his a few years, I realized that this app fills that void of when you see something perfect no where near their birthday or a gift giving occasion.

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If you want to solve a problem people have been banging at for a long time, the last thing you do is look at it from the same angle as everyone else, and that is exactly what tech pundits are guilty of doing. Microsoft in its latest round of Windows 8 updates, seems to have further muddied its interface trying to be all things to all people.

Long ago, I wrote that paradigm awareness is paramount in designing a good UI. However, Microsoft, being blind to both accommodating and leveraging environmental differences decided that slapping the exact same UX on products for 2 completely different use paradigms would be easier for users to learn and more efficient. Based on my experience and user feedback, nothing can be further from the truth.

Finally the tech pundits are waking up to the fact that Windows 8 should not be all things to all people. But they are stopping short of the logical solution I mentioned years ago because they are still looking at computer users using the wrong categorization scheme: business/“productivity” and home/consumer/“casual”/“consumption.”

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SmartTVs have a tendency to collect information without allowing end users to control or even know what is being collected and transmitted. UPDATE: Recently, Samsung’s legal disclaimer about its voice controlled SmartTV had to include a warning (buried in the legal section) that the TV is always relaying what the user’s near the TV are saying, and mentioning that sensitive information should not be said near the TV.

This is an example of the invasiveness of these devices. On top of this, the technology is so new, that there are no regulations concerning what information can & cannot be collected with smart devices, nor how that information is transmitted. The article below from the BBC explains how LG’s SmartTV sends the names of his family members in clear text across the internet— something that most people would be uncomfortable having publicly available. These are just 2 examples of how buying into the convenience of a Smart TV is not worth the cost in terms of privacy.

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