Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I think the iPad is f#@%ing awesome. But I probably don't want one - I want all my friends who come to me for help to get one!

If you're not a developer of some sort, computers shouldn't be this hard (even you, Mac OS X)! I've been thinking for ages (I'm 40!!!) that computer interfaces have barely advanced since the Mac went mainstream. Really, OSX doesn't look that different to my Atari ST!?!?! As for Windows!

Usability has been dreadful and I think computers have just been wrong. The idea of having a machine that can do anything (and thus can do almost nothing well) is stupid. I think the iPad and the devices that follow (and the iPad won't be truly hardware great until competition comes along, but again, the average user shouldn't care!) will redefine how people interact with computers.

In fact, people shouldn't know they are interacting with a computer. Eventually, they shouldn't even know the difference between a local app and surfing the web, or that there is a difference!

[edit] then moments later, I read this: On iPads, Grandmas and Game-changing

Thursday, January 7, 2010

iPhone Software

I'm still waiting for the iPhone application that changes my life. My wife would say the iPhone has changed my life as I'm always distracted when we're out (I'd argue not ALWAYS)!

Since my last iPhone posting, I've moved on a lot. Jailbreaking a 32GB phone, requiring a full restore every time a new version comes out, got painful, so I have a totally legit phone at the moment. There are a few things I miss.

Cell coverage is very bad at home, so I leave Wi-Fi on a lot and when I go out and don't turn it off, the battery dies about twice as fast. Biggest thing I miss from jailbreaking is the SBSettings app (review), where from Springboard or any app you can turn WiFi on and off and adjust the brightness (so those geo-tracking apps don't kill your battery when you leave them running!). I'm going to jailbreak again soon just to get these!

Now I've got heaps of (mostly free) apps. Use a few regularly, but it's a pain to find them and arrange them in any order that makes sense. Bruce Tognazzini (Original Apple UI Guru) has a great post on how apple should fix springboard. I'd love to see some of these get implemented.

There's no immediately obvious task list app that syncs accross machines/the cloud. Remember the Milk is good, but expensive at $25USD/year. There are others, but most seem over the top (open to sugestions!). I end up using a web link to google tasks. And waiting for the GData API to be released, so someone makes a nice iPhone front end to it.

For controlling the mac mini/TV set up at home, I have:
  • EyeTV: for watching live and recorded TV
  • IceTV: For remote controlling TV recording scheduling
  • TouchPad: Use iPhone as a mouse/trackpad/keyboard
  • Keymote: Use iPhone as a remote
  • Remote: Control iTunes.
Others I use a fair bit:
  • The Amazon App is very handy now Kindle for iPhone is released in Australia, preview the first chapter of books you're interested in!
  • PocketMoney for tracking cash expenditures and uploading to GNUCash/MoneyWell (this is a paid feature)
  • BOMRadar: For seeing when I should cycle home to avoid the rain
  • Surf Report: check swell and tides
  • SportyPal: Count Calories burnt while tracking where/how far/how fast I went on my bike (or feet or ...)
  • iTrailMap 3D - worth paying for: 3D map of ski resorts with GPS tracking - detects when you're on a lift and doesn't count it in the distance boarded. Can download kml's for google earth etc.
  • Oh, and foursquare, for, umm, what is this for??? I'm not sure yet...