Posts tagged tech
When Apple updated iOS from 6 to 7 worlds like “modern” and “minimalist” were thrown around in every article I read, despite the fact that the way I use the phone is largely the same. I, personally, care more about usability than looks. Function over fashion.
The new style of iOS 7 doesn’t really inhibit my every day. It’s usually fine, and in many ways makes my life easier. But one implementation inhibits my day to day, the music app.
Listening to music on my phone is very important to me. It was one of the main reasons I couldn’t commit to the Lumia 1020. As I’ve used iOS 7 I can’t help but notice the tremendous amount of wasted space in Music.
I usually sort my music by artist. In iOS 6 you can see 10 artists on a single page. In iOS 7 you only see 4. And there is a tremendous amount of space above and below the name of artist. I understand that Apple wanted to include more data, like album and song count, but even if you included that info, there is still a tremendous amount of wasted space.
You can almost fit the artist, album and song count three times in the designated area for one artist.
I’m seeing less than half the number of artists I used to see. That means more scrolling, and less time listening to music.
Album view isn’t much better. In iOS 6 you got album art, the name of the album and the artist. You also got 9 albums per screen. On iOS 7, still 4, still half the information in iOS 6.
Look, I don’t ask for much. And I actually do appreciate the additional data provided in Album and Artist view, but there is still a tremendous amount of wasted space. Shrink those albums down to the size they were on iOS 6, and really maximize the information you can present.
(Sorry for the lack of a full Album list. It was very difficult to get the screenshots of iOS 6 on a 4inch iPhone/iPod touch. Thank you to Katherine and Alex who sent me screenshots of from their iOS 6, devices.)
Nokia Lumia 2520 - Tablet
Tom Warren got hands on time with Nokia’s first tablet. It’s built like the other Lumia devices and it’s very thin. The only downer is that it’s running Windows RT.
The 1920 x 1080 display is perhaps one of the best I’ve seen on a tablet. Viewing angles are great and the brightness is equally impressive. Color reproduction is incredibly accurate, and it’s clear Nokia has really aimed high with the display on its first tablet.
[via The Verge]
TWO WEEKS WITH THE LUMIA 1020
Recently I ran an experiment. I would try Windows Phone 8 and the Lumia 1020 for 14 days. If I hated it, I could return it (for a 30 dollar restocking fee at an ATT store). If I was able to accomplish work and life I’d keep it.
I chose a specific 14 days (August 24 - Sept 6) because it overlapped with a shoot day that I already did most of the prep for, and a weekend trip to a city I’m not familiar with (Boston).
I’ve been intrigued by Windows Phone, and specifically the Lumia line, since it launched. And when the 1020 launched with it’s 41 megapixel camera, I kind of fell in love. It’s always tough switching operating systems (I’ve been on iOS since 2007) so I’ve been hesitant to make a
2 year (who am I kidding I buy a new phone every year) 1 year commitment.
I started this experiment far more enthusiastic than skeptical. I have been sold pretty hard on the idea of Windows 8 and Windows Phone. I get what they’re trying to do, and I want to be part of it. I am way into the idea of ditching my iPhone, and using something new.
I spent much of the first two days downloading apps. I’d use the phone, realize something was missing, download an app. I would say half the time there was an official app for something I wanted, and half the time there was some bootlegged app that (actually) works just as well. There was a lot of “I’ll pull that up on dropbox, oh I need a dropbox app.” And then I’d try a couple before settling on one.
It took some time to understand the UI language and decide on a home screen layout that worked best. At first I didn’t have any people on my home screen, but discovered how much faster keeping your most texted, emailed, called contacts on your home screen is. It’s something I wish my iPhone had. At a glance it can tell you who has contacted you. You can see in the picture that Matt has sent me two messages and Steve has sent me one. I don’t know if they are texts or emails or a combination, but knowing who is trying to get in touch with me, can be valuable.
Strongly considering getting this for myself and my little cousin for Christmas this year. Definitely a fun thing to put together.
One year I got an AM radio kit (these were in the dark ages when I still received music on cassette tapes…) and it lead to a trend of me taking things apart just so I could put them back together. My parents started getting me car model kits so I wouldn’t take the phone apart again…
The Verge has the story. But I think it’s really interesting that in 16 months we’ve seen Facebook, Tumblr (by way of Yahoo), and Twitter all go public. Social media companies being owned by the people makes sense.
Today Microsoft released Xbox Music on iOS and Android. Man, talk about too little too late. Forget that fact that it doesn’t have offline support (even though Spotify and Rdio do (and have for years). Bringing Xbox Music to other platforms is something Microsoft should have done years ago. I wrote this in 2010:
It’s just that Microsoft has an opportunity to make software (and cash in) on every platform, not just their own, and in doing so this early in the space they’ll have created a massive foot hold for wherever the mobile computing space goes. Having Office on the iPad or an Android tablet makes the device far more appealing than it is right now.
I understand the mobile operating system game is all about what you can exclusively bring to the table. And Microsoft would argue that people who want Zune, Xbox and Office should just buy Windows Phones. That’s fine, except people aren’t switching. They’re dealing with Pages on iOS and they’ll soon be using PlayStation Suite on Android. Windows Phone doesn’t have the market share to play keep away, they should, instead, realize they can still win by creating mobile software that everyone want’s on every device that’s sold.
Happy your here, but now you have to make compelling software, something that can actually compete with Spotify and Rdio. And feel free to bring the rest of your software over as well. People will pay good money for Office.
Maybe I can be up for CEO at Microsoft.
This weekend as I accidentally hit the voice command button instead of the space bar (as I frequently do) while I was texting a friend. I’ve always noticed how cramped the buttons on the bottom row of the keyboard are and thought ‘there’s got to be a way to solve this’.
As I sat looking at the keyboard my initial thought was “the space bar has gotten laughably small”. There has to be a way to get rid of some of the buttons on the bottom.
But you can’t just get rid of them, they are useful. Swapping to numbers and alt characters (important), international keyboard (emoji’s, duh) and voice command (introduced in iOS 5… occasionally useful).
So, the keyboard couldn’t lose any functionality. And it hit me. Tapping a button to change the keyboard is actually a little archaic. It harkens back to the days of physical keyboards with different shift keys for different button functions. The chat pad on the Xbox has orange and green shift buttons allowing each key to do triple duty.
We swipe all over our phones to get to different pages of apps why not swipe our keyboards to get to the next button layout? Doing that you can remove two buttons from the bottom, and really free up some much needed space on the keyboard - at least for my giant thumbs.
You can swipe either way, right or left to get to the numbers and symbols keyboards. And if you keep swiping you will eventually loop back around.
For global keyboards just swipe down.
I don’t think this is a new idea, by any means. But it certainly hasn’t caught on. I just think we may be locked onto the idea that a keyboard has to operate the way it always had. I understand that 6 years ago people might not have understood. But iOS 7 different. It’s about taking the training wheels off. And I think building a better keyboard is part of that.
(NOTE: I’m bummed I couldn’t get the images to upload on to Tumblr as a picture post. Kept getting error messages.)
I was intrigued by Vine when it launched in January. But after trying several times to use it I had to put it away. It didn’t really click with me, and I’m the kind of person who doesn’t hesitate to shoot a quick video. But I understand its impact. Vine ushered in a wave of gif and video apps that use hold-to-record, something that looks good on paper, but in practice it makes the phone harder to hold and leads directly to shakier video. It also used the whole screen as the record button, breaking ‘tap to focus,’ a fundamental paradigm of iOS… but I digress.
It was obvious to me that Vine wasn’t going to get better on its own. At the rate that Vine was gaining traction it was going to take a company as big as Facebook to create some real competition, and drive innovation. So when the rumors started earlier this week about video being added to Instagram, I started to get excited.
Having now used both, I’m a little bummed. I think Instagram video is better than Vine, but only marginally. It’s really just Vine 2.0. You can delete a clip if you don’t like it. It has tap to focus, and you press (and hold) somewhere else to record. It feels more like a camera (and, as you know, I’m an expert in iPhone cameras). You can add filters. And, yes, videos are longer (15 seconds in stead of 6 but that doesn’t matter to me).
It’s basically everything I would change in Vine, if someone approached me saying “here’s our app, help us clean up some things.” There isn’t really anything new that Instagram is bringing to the table.
Here’s my hangup. What I think makes Instagram great, and the thing that I think made it catch on, is sharing. Instagram allows you to take a photo, that you’ve taken anywhere, and and quickly share it across multiple platforms; Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Instagram itself. It is the one app you can use to get your 1:1 photo everywhere. It made it easy to fire off some photos and then share them quickly. Sharing was the secret sauce to Instagram, not it’s ability to take a picture.