technology

All posts tagged technology

Okay,

Quickly: This month has been a “lurning [sic] experience.” I am juggling multiple projects which are all related only by the fact that they’re simply making me a better designer. New tricks are being learned, etc. Sites are going up and being moved, and I’ll be updating everything and essentially leveraging what I learn in one place and using it in another.

I finally figured out I needed to buy more RAM for my laptop: sometimes there is less than 16MB of free RAM and over 700K page-outs in a few days of heavy use. The thing would slow to glacial pace during heavy loads. It’s really been holding me back. Who knew 4GB wasn’t enough!?!? So, I broke down and ordered a few more gigs. Luckily, installing is a piece of cake on my MBP. I was in and out of a friend’s machine in less than 15 minutes without cutting any safety corners. I also need to get another HD and replace the optical drive. OR I can just breakdown and backup over WiFi and offload some files. But I like the idea of having everything with me.

Another, non-web, but information related project is advancing slowly, but it is way too soon to even talk about. I am still researching to decide the best approach. Some of my closest friends know about it, and I think about it all the time. It is currently possible: all the building blocks are there, but no one has put them together yet. I should probably stop spouting off about it to people who work for huge computer companies though. But for all I know someone has already patented it? I dunno, I heard if you research a patent it is worse if you get sued. :

Anyway, my plan is to release it under a non-commercial open licensing scheme, so that pizza fueled one man ops can use it freely, and large corps that can pay may license it. But as I said, someone might have already patented the pieces, but I think this would probably fall under derivative works. I’m not sure because I am not a patent lawyer. It sucks that I have to keep the cards close to my vest because copyright: originally designed to encourage innovation, is now a club that large corporations use on each other daily. Recently I read about a patent lawsuit about emoticons in a pull down menu on Ars, It seems silly to anyone, but that’s how whacked patent law is. The funny thing is, within my circle of friends I probably have all the people I would need to start developing this thing in earnest, but first I’ll go in sideways with build-up projects.

A big thanks to those people with everything from bachelors to PhD degrees in CS and related fields that I have the greatest conversations with. I learn something new every time I get a chance to pick one of these people’s brains.

Apologies about any incorrect punctuation marks or typos. I’m typing this on the fly before heading off somewhere. Cheers!

Social Networking is the hottest property on the internet. Social Networks (SoNets) allow better targeted marketing and allow companies a glimpse into who is buying their products.

Most companies on the internet either have or are working on ways to establish  positive mindshare by encouraging customers to talk about their products and build communities based on common product interests.

It used to be that the best source for information on what people were buying was financial institutions, which tracked what each account was buying, as well as large retailers that offered a wide range of products. Getting this valuable data was expensive and not always easy. Slowly, large online retailers discovered cross-promotion and established partnerships sharing customer information.

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The guiding principle of technology is, technology is supposed to make our lives better by alleviating the drudgery from our lives and letting us have more time doing what we enjoy. But there is a dark side to technology, and I am not talking about surveillance this time. This dark side is perpetrated by people who create it and use it. I’m going to talk about two things: design/process failure and computer etiquette “netiquette” because they have the same basic root cause.

There are many failures in use of  technology by companies that should know better that I wonder how the people in charge manage to keep their jobs. Now it is easy for me to sit here atop my perch and take pot shots, insulated from all the conflicting pressures of making products that both please the management’s bottom line and customers. However, I have always been of the opinion that there is a way to do both. There are solutions that can actually deliver more satisfaction to both company and customer.

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Wow WordPress just failed me badly. I spent a good hour or more on a long post, and this is all that’s left:

Well, I planned on having the second article in the communications series out by now, but it hasn’t happened for a few reasons. None of them being procrastination. As it turns out, I wanted to refresh my memory of certain things before I started spouting off about them, so I went back and re-read some chapters and have just been letting it gel in my head. Also, I’ve been busy with life and a few recent experiences with miscommunication have made me want to include and consider them.

Also, I decided to get an iOS/OS X program so I could brainstorm and plan each article first then arrange them logically. I have a program called MindNode, that I downloaded from the AppStore when the AppStore premiered. However, I wasn’t happy with it because its intended purpose of allowing you to quickly get your ideas down was hobbled by the interface that got in your way and slowed down getting your ideas written down before they were lost. While looking for another app like it I found SimpleMind (free) while browsing there Appstore and also found out that they had an iOS version as well that was also free.

To read the reader’s digest summary of what I wrote and can remember… click onward!

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So, I’ve had Lion installed for less than a week and there’s some good/great things about it and some really frustrating changes. Now, there’s a lot of articles that cover the same ground and mention the same problems or improvements. I’m going to try to add new information about Lion’s new capabilities and steps backwards. To qualify my statements, let me give you a bit of my background. (Below the main article due to length.*)

Pros: Snappier Performance, Resume on relaunch after quit, Graphic changes/improvements, Finder Toolbar additions, Window resize from any edge, Focus shortcuts, Spelling/Thesaurus/Wikipedia popup, Mail link HTML preview/popup, iCal feature additions, Address Book feature additions, Safari downloads popup and rendering boost, Quicklook improvements.

Cons: Apple applications are immovable, App folder requires admin privileges to move applications, Launchpad not easily organizable & limited configurability, Library hidden by default. Mail lost its “bounce” feature. iCal “hard lock” crash wasn’t easily fixed.

Bottom Line: The improvements to the UI and new features and customizability make for not only a more pleasurable experience that also allows you to save time with fewer clicks and faster responses. The Cons are easily outweighed by the Pros list, and $29 or $69 makes it an even more compelling upgrade.

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Well by now those savvy tech people have already heard that HP today decided to fold its tablet device offering not long after cutting the price by $100. This doesn’t mean much in isolation, but then news comes that Galaxy Tablets will be given away with purchase of large LED HDTV at Best Buy. Is Samsung also suffering more than they can accept from the iPad’s dominance in the tablet space? Probably. I read a recent survey where about 90% of the people who were considering a tablet planning to purchase an iPad.

Just from personal hands on experience with several different tablets and their respective OSes, I can see why. Android, with its splatter painting approach to UI consistency and no quality standards is great for people who want the flexibility to customize everything and don’t want or need a walled garden approach. However, the geeks and technology hipsters are vastly outnumbered by the people that just want to get stuff done on a portable device. They, the unwashed masses, don’t care about customization beyond the very basics: wallpaper, app arrangement, alert/notification systems and what case they think looks cool or will protect their device best.

After 15 years in tech related jobs, I too am sick of the added complexity of managing aspects of eye candy the way Android and other OSes handle it. Also, most of those features the device manufacturers are touting are like greek to the average consumer. Who cares it your device runs on a 1.6GHz dual-core Atom or Snapdragon or whatever the marketing department’s “hot processor” du-jour is. What people really care about is how difficult it is to use your product, and how easy it is to learn. When you do update the OS, users expect the interface not to dramatically change and leave them lost until they relearn the GUI. Oh, and if your device crashes, you might as well count every crash as decreasing the likelihood of repeat business by 1% or 2%.

This is where Apple has the upper hand: They not only make sure things are consistent, and test the hell out of the stability and foundation of their UI standards on top of the research they put into making the UIs intuitive as possible. They also add things later that, in a way, make sense. In the rare case that a convention is changed, it is with thought and often allows the older users the option to do it the old-fashioned way. None of the other mobile platforms can claim this level of scrutiny and planning.

Sure it’d be easy to brand me an Apple Fanboy and move on. But read on. Everyone who knows me knows I’ve been an advocate of a lot of Apple products.  But what is less known is there are times I reject requests to purchase Apple hardware or software based on what’s available. This was when OS X was just getting off the ground and Apple’s product line up wasn’t nearly as focused as it is now. Newton and the first rev of the AppleTV were rejected based on their lack of focus as products or features.

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I had a huge misunderstanding with someone over text last week and it blew up into a big fight. The weaknesses of technology is that it lacks subtle cues and timeliness of face to face interactions or even the telephone. It makes me hesitant to use text or IM for that matter.

Luckily, we resolved most of the problem, but not after some damage was done. At this juncture I don’t know if this will permanently damage the relationship.

UPDATE: Nope. Everything was fine soon.