The latest speculations about Google's plans for world domination and what is Googly and what's not.
Ouch. Just a tiny little bit too late. On Thursday, Prada and LG sent out a release introducing their new joint collaboration on a cell phone, which looks and feels and does very similar things as, well, you know, that Apple phone.
Today I had the pleasure of attending the first of three Microsoft Expression launch events. For those who don't know, the Expression suite consists of four products: Design, Blend, Web, and Media. The event took place at Dogpatch Studios who have a great open space on the south side of the city. The morning session was essentially an overview of the suite by the product managers from Microsoft. They showed some impressive demos including a Burton Snowboards WPF application create by Beau Amber from Metalliq. It was great to see someone else from the Flash community working in WPF.
After lunch I was interviewed by InfoWorld about frog's experience using the Expression suite, particularly Blend. There seemed to be quite a bit of press there. I was happy to finally meet Ryan Stewart from ZDNet who is one of my favorite bloggers. I also got to catch up with Tim Sneath, Brad Becker, and Lynda Weinman during some of the intermissions.
Later in the afternoon, frog's own Valerie Casey took part in a panel discussion dealing with the business side of design. This was a great conversation and it was interesting to see the contrasting styles and ideas between Beau Amber and Valerie when it came to user research and testing.
In the last session of the day I had the pleasure of seeing CSS legend Eric Meyer talk about web standards and the Expression Web product. His talk was very entertaining as he is at a point in his career where he doesn't have to mince words. At one point he said "I've never used Expression Web and I never will." He actually thinks the product is very solid but apparently he still does all of his code in BBEdit. This sounds good on stage, but why would anyone want to code without Intellisense, or some other type of code completion?
On the way out the door all attendees received a nice box set of the Expression suite. Overall I thought it was a great event and there seemed to be a lot of energy in the air.
I've been playing with Adobe's latest Flex offering (Flex Builder 2) recently and have been running through the built-in lessons to familiarize myself with the platform. While working through the example on using Flex behaviors, I noticed a very familiar set of numbers used in one of the samples:
The numbers associated with the Text: label, my friends, are the very same numbers central to the mythology of ABC's Lost. Who's the bigger fanboy here, the person who actually put these in the example or me, the guy who immediately recognized them?
According to this article in the New York Times (login may be required), 51% of women are now living without spouses, probably for the first time ever. The article says,
Part of the technologistâs role here is to ensure that the technical solution delivered to the client is every bit as elegant as the visual design, research documentation, information architecture, interaction models, and any other deliverable the project calls for. Since my area of expertise is web-related, I am constantly finding myself cheerleading progressive enhancement and graceful degradation wherever possible.
So what do we do? If weâre aware of the situation (and I trust that all of you are), we create an alternate solution using standard HTML components in the event the user does not have scripting turned on. This may take some time but it is something we owe our clients. Satisfied we have done our job, we move on to the next task. Unfortunately, weâre not quite there yet. The problem with simply slapping an alternate version together is exactly that, itâs slapped together. The first model, the drag-and-drop model, is the centerpiece of our cart. The design, interaction, and information has all been designed to support the nifty dragging and dropping.
And now weâve dropped a piece in that is wholly unrelated and are trying to achieve the same goal. The interaction paradigm has complete changed but nothing else has. The probability of this being an effective solution is low.
It is at this point that we must make sacrifices. In a magic world with no budgets and tuned-in stakeholders, we would go back to the drawing board and ensure that both models are user-centric, supported by the information architecture and content, and operate as best we know how to build them. In the real world, we barely have time and budget to build the first interaction model, let alone a completely blown out alternate model. Unfortunately, at this point we usually turn to the argument of, "Itâs only a small percentage ofâ¦" and the needs of the users go down the drain.
The key to making this situation better is to start thinking about the problems early. If youâre going to hinge your application/site on the latest loopy doodad available, then you need someone there to make sure that the needs of the loopy-doodad impaired are taken into consideration and not left with a wholly unusable application. Sure, invest more time into the one that will win you awards and make jaws drop, but that doesnât mean that it canât be built on principals that translate to less fancy, more luddite-friendly means. .
As I'm sure most of you know, last week was the famed MacWorld conferenceÂ in San Francisco. Being a long-time PC user I've never really had the desire to go before. But when a free expo hall pass presented itself I decided to go and check it out. The big buzz of the conferenceÂ was the new iPhone that Apple will be releasing later this year. I have to admit that the device looks veryÂ slick and theÂ UI is very clean. The only problemÂ was that it was encased in glass during the conferenceÂ so nobodyÂ could actually getÂ their hands on the actual device. The first thought that pops in my head is how the screen will hold up against the greasy, sweaty fingersÂ of its users. Secondly, do I actually want a single device that does everything? Starting at around $600 with a 2 year cellphone contract, this is not a device that you will want to lose. There's something to be said for that $60 Shuffle that I don't have to worry too much about.Â Â
So put aside the iPhone hype and this was just like most other expo halls at other conferences. Lots of vendors selling lots of crap. I must have seen at least 20 different booths offering iPod skins and rubber cases. A couple of highlights to note were the Lynda.com and Adobe booths. It's always great to see the folks from Lynda.com and they had a big presence at this conference. I got to chat with Lynda, Bruce, Garo, and Michael for a bit and they said they had been getting a great response so far. The Adobe booth was running demos of the upcoming CS3 suite which was nice to see. Russel Brown, Adobe's resident madman, was delivering an entertaining tour of the some of the cool new features in Photoshop CS3.
Overall it was fun to see how the "other half" lives,
While the connection between violent behavior and games is still being debated, there's little question that games do teach us, if nothing else, how to play games. I've spoken with educators who feel that games engender a kind of "game mentality" in children - a trait that probably used to be known simply as being manipulative. With this in mind, I was amazed to see the following headline: "Script For Escaping Cingular Contracts Without Fee, Based On New Arbitration Clause."
What you'll find there is a step-by-step walkthrough of how to get out of a cellphone contract, complete with everything from the CEO of Cingular's phone number, to legal citations ("In Cunningham vs. Fleetwood Homes of Georgia... the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that..."). All the arguments are structured there with relevant citations. Presumably all you'd have to do is call up Cingular and, well, run the script.
In a way, this is just a more edited, practical version of the old self-help step-by-step program. It would be interesting to see if this broadens though. I could see an entire collection of such scripts - everything from lowering your car insurance to breaking up with your significant other. Do you ever get the feeling we're adapting to computers faster than they are adapting to us?
Southwest airlines just launched a brand new southwest.com. Er, wait, no they didn't. Southwest airlines just launched a brand new southwest.com homepage.
But why only the homepage?
Southwest must really believe heavily that the homepage is the only page that matters to go forward with such an implementation. Having separate designs and interaction models that are so distinctly different can be very disconcerting and may come back to bite them. Your thoughts?
I went to check out Apple Inc.'s latest product, the iPhone. How could I not? It will be the most talked about product till it's launched, then it will be further scrutinized with people standing on line to buy it, videos of its un-boxing, critics of it's design and interface (already happening) and people buying it, using it, disecting it, hacking it and modding it.
My viewing reminded me (and others in my office) of viewing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre (both the iPhone and the Mona Lisa are displayed under glass.)
Apple clearly had to do this because they likely only have a few working prototypes but I can't help but think that by doing so, they elevate the product to the level of art and as a byproduct, create more desire for it. The oooing, awwing and general speculation of the crowd surrounding the glass drowned out my thoughts. There was literally drool on the glass (which I apologized for - specially to the guard who had to clean up my spittle.) In the end, is the iPhone just an MP3 playing, Internet connected phone device or is it art? I plan on buying one and using it and when Apple comes out with a new one, buying that and putting the first one my shelf with all the other Apple products I have displayed there.
If it is art, what role does Steve Jobs play? Is he to be considered Leonardo? Those of us in the know understand that it takes a huge team of people to develop a product like the iPhone. Jonathan Ive and his Industrial Design team designed the physical phone, an unnamed User Interface Design team designed the interface and a third team engineered the product. A team this size is more akin to a movie in terms of coordination than anything else. Did da Vinci have apprentices to help him with the Mona Lisa? He certainly had patrons, but most people remember only da Vinci.
Will history portray Jobs as da Vinci, de Medici or Demille?