scribbles tagged ‘apple’

at the gate

Saturday, March 15th, 2014 | tags: , , , , , , , ,  |

iPads in airport by the gateInternational flights invariably mean a couple of hours at the airport. It doesn’t take long to tire of airports, expensive shopping, expensive food, controlled air, controlled people.

Minneapolis airport had a surprise for me at gate G4. Tables with IPads, even outside the bars, everywhere people using their own or the airport’s computers. I slid up to a nearby bar and found the menu.

iPad iPad in airport bar, swipe paymentKid’s under 12? I can eat them? Cool. I found myself a large glass of red wine and paid using the swipe-card slot on the bar. The bar staff talked to me about the system. She liked it, the customers liked it, I liked it. Sounds like an all around win.

iPad in airport bar - menuI’ll go straight to the gate next time I’m at Minneapolis airport. No need to unpack my surface, no need to find a power socket or go through connecting to the airport WiFi. Just use the local iPad which even supplies flight information for the anxious passenger. That wasn’t me, I’m not the anxious passenger. I’m the one who’s snoozing after a large glass of wine….


4 bits of fabulous banter »

portably challenged

Thursday, September 19th, 2013 | tags: ,  |

Dell PC (laptop?)There is a point where size and weight convert what is presented as a ‘laptop’ into an uncarriable object. Call it a desktop, a brick, wheelbarrow-fodder. With this ‘laptop’ Dell have crossed the line to deceptive advertising. Even with two unbroken arms and a reinforced wheely-bag, this laptop stretches the notion of ‘portable’.

Shame on you Dell for selling this to corporates as a portable computer. Even the charger is heavier than a combination of my 2 phones and surface with their 3 chargers with accessories. It’s laughable, literally. People laugh when they see me pull this out of my bag. Around the office I’ve reverted to using a paper notebook. Yes, reverted to paper, me! It’s almost unthinkable, but Dell managed to push me to be more inefficient by publicising thier brick as a laptop. Who’s lap? A giants lap?

Can Dell be sued under the UK ‘trades descriptions act’? I definitely feel deceived. But then I’m just a foolish user, right? That kind of attitude will loose Dell the custom of boring, established, conglomerates. My work group have already managed to persuade IT to support us using Apples (Obviously I didn’t influence the replacement choice, but I did yell about the current choice).

Dell, you messed up on a reliable, bulk-purchase, customer. Once one department have IT support for Apples the precedent is set… …more changes will come….


6 bits of fabulous banter »

iMac wars

Sunday, September 1st, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

‘ACE Design’ have grown from a sole trader on floor 6 to an open plan design studio with 6 full time employees, on floor 3, in less than 2 months.

Apple Software Update FailTheir IT guru, and financial backer has insisted they use PCs for normal office work and only use Macs when absolutely necessary. Most of the new staff are furious “but you said at my interview I’d get my own iMac!”

Arne smiles as he flicks his Dutch blonde fringe from his eyes, temporarily looking taller than his normal 6″6. He winks and clarifies for them, “I said you could make a business case for having one, and I haven’t heard a good case yet” Arne’s ordered one iMac to be shared, everyone gets their own company PC. Helen doesn’t mind, she’s never used an Apple and is comfortable with the strange workings of the PC. She’s enjoying sharing her knowledge with her new colleagues. Suddenly she’s got the ability to instantly dispel frustrations and be seen to be valuable.

“I won’t be using the Apple, so you’ll all get more time on it” Helen sings in her eagerness to make everyone happier. Arne’s fringe has only just found gravity’s natural place. He flicks it back revealing piercing periwinkle blues.  Synchronously, all eyes turn to him “We’ll get you an iMac as a birthday present“.  Like an audience at Wimbledon all eyes move to Helen. She’s  now the object of envy, no longer the supportive helpful place she likes to be. “I’ll just donate it to the most needy designer in the room, can’t see why I’d want an iMac

Chaos ensues, how could Helen turn down the offer of a free iMac? The other designers can’t begin to comprehend it. Maybe Helen isn’t really a designer? Maybe she’s joking, maybe Arne’s joking.

Over the next few days everyone starts demonstrating to Helen how much they need their iMacs for everyday work. They bring in their own personal Macs from home. The IT guru is not happy, but it clearly demonstrates that Arne doesn’t need to BUY everyone iMacs if they’re using their own. Looks like a bit of an own goal for the designers.

Will Helen get an iMac for her birthday?


2 bits of fabulous banter »

trying. trying. trying. trying. trying. trying. trying. success…phew

Friday, August 2nd, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

After an inordinate number of attempts I managed to connect to my home wireless and add my gmail and Hotmail accounts to the iPhone. With each attempt I paid more attention to my tapping, typing, accuracy. The phone doesn’t reveal the passwords for a full visual check, I watched each key-tap to make sure the immediate visual feedback confirmed that I’d tapped the key that I actually intended to tap. After 3 or 4 attempts I was 100% confident that I was providing the right passwords. On average I miss-typed one character in 8. Normally miss-typed characters were on the left hand edge of the keypad. I don’t have overly large fingers. But some of the failure attempts appeared to be with the right password entered. It was impossible to predict when accurate password entry would succeed or fail. Craziness!

Each success was a major relief followed by downing numerous cups of tea from a well brewed pot.  Sheer persistence together with focus on my finger movements paid-off. An unnecessarily time consuming, effort consuming and frustrating experience. Both my previous phones connected first time. If they can work effectively for me then Apple should be able to work first time too.

Problems with the iPhone:

  • Key pad character target area too small or sensitive, compared to HTC Android or Nokia Lumia 830
  • Unreliable connection technology compared to HTC and Nokia

HTC Desire, Nokia Lumia 800, iPhone 5The hardware is beautifully styled, I do like looking at it and holding it, more than the other phones. I’m so superficial that the effect of the styling is incredibly strong. Apple have got the ‘desirability’ and some ‘delight’ in use as part of the user experience beautifully executed, but they’ve seriously under-delivered on usability in so many ways. It’s interesting how forgivable the inefficient usability is, given the desirability and delight.


4 bits of fabulous banter »

you can’t go back. go home and start again

Monday, July 29th, 2013 | tags: , , , , , , , , , ,  |

<RANT WARNING – Apple fanboys, and people who love positivity should leave now>

Over the last 3 years I’ve been lucky(?) enough to have 3 different smart phones as my main phone:

HTC Desire, Nokia Lumia 800, iPhone5
HTC Desire, Nokia Lumia 800, iPhone 5

I’m very disappointed with the iPhone5. I want to revert to the Nokia. I was unimpressed by the Nokia but not to the extent that I wanted to give up using it within the week.

The reasons I dislike the iPhone would all be easily uncovered by usability testing with new users, so why do they STILL exist in version 5? Doesn’t Apple test it’s products with people switching from other smart phones? Maybe Apple doesn’t know because it doesn’t bother to test, maybe it knows but doesn’t think they’re worth fixing?

The problems I’m encountering are the sort of thing that should have been fixed by version 2, or for Microsoft – version 3. if the company prioritised input from users other than Apple fan boys who appear to live in a world that lacks perspective.  My 5 main problems were discovered within the first hour of using the iPhone:

  1. No ‘back’ control – you have to go to ‘home’ and then navigate forward to where you were. Android has a hardware back button and Windows has a software back button. All the browsers I’ve ever used have got a back button. You never have to ‘start again’.  Arrrghhhhhhh! It’s hellishly inefficient and irritating. It affects virtually everything I want to do on the phone unless the app provider has included either an ever-present software back button or easy in-App navigation. Apple has effectively offloaded the overhead of designing good navigation to App providers which will result in diverse navigation methods, more effort for the user to learn them. That’s not good.
  2. No service detected. OH MY GOODNESS! After putting in the SIM card, there was no service. I first assumed that I’d put the SIM card in the wrong way.  As soon as I removed the SIM the phone said ‘No SIM detected’. So the problem wasn’t with the SIM placement. I rebooted the phone. SIGH. No service. I showed the phone to a local, patient and peppy, Apple fanboy, who used his psychic Apple-fix-it skills and called my number. MAGIC. It wasn’t displaying that it could receive a signal, yet the phone rang and I was able to answer it! Bizarreness. The service signal strength was now showing on the phone. Unreliable OS messaging of hardware capabilities? That is, the hardware had detected a service but the Apple display hadn’t been updated to show this. What were the Apple test team doing when they set up tests that would let a product with this problem get released? Over the next few days I soon got into the habit of using my Windows Nokia phone (same service provider) to call my i-Phone so that the display would update to show the service signal.  HOW CRAP IS THAT?! More than a double face-palm. I tried a more traditional technique to get the signal to display – rebooting the phone. SIGH. The irritating thing about rebooting the phone to get a service signal is that I have to login to my iApple account again (see problem 3 below), and then the service signal isn’t always re-displayed.  I’ve tried shaking the phone and wandering around the office space. More out of desperation and frustration.CLEAN UP FOR GOODNESS SAKE!
  3. ALL CAPS LETTERS ONLY on the keyboard display, even when you’re typing in lower-case! Really poor visual feedback on what case to expect the keyboard to produce. I use a lot of passwords where there is a requirement for UPPER CASE letters and only a temporary view of the typed letter before it turns into a dot.  This meant that not being able to ‘see’, by looking at the keyboard,  which CASE the letter is going to be typed in was a pain. I had to look at the shift key, which has only a subtle ‘brightness’ contrast change and is covered by my finger that’s pressing it.  Lack of this feedback results in my having to be more careful entering passwords, and have to retype passwords more frequently.  My ‘new’ Apple ID had to be reset 3 times because I couldn’t work out if I’d miss-typed the ID or just tried to enter the wrong ID.  When creating the new password using “I-Forgot” – blame me why don’t you! - I got more “Passwords don’t match” messages than on any other phone I’ve used.  This is an easy OS software change, why haven’t Apple bothered to fix this obvious usability problem?
  4. Not connecting to my home wireless.  I’ve tried about 8 times. The phone can detect my wireless and offers me a password entry field.  I’ve retyped and retyped the network key but for some inexplicable reason the phone is unable to join this network and wont even hint at why. Just tells me it’s failed. At least it takes responsibility for this failure.
  5. No CAPS LOCK. Both Android and Windows have good simple software solutions for this behaviour, which I’d learnt. An Apple fan boy explained to me that I should keep one finger on shift and type the letters with a different finger.  No problem from his perspective. Another Apple fan boy told me a double-tap acts as shift-lock and that she only found out how to use her iPhone with multiple lessons from her daughter. This is only a miner discovery detail, but when added to the other issues for someone trying an iPhone after having used Android or Windows OS’s, it’s yet another poor design feature that implies lack of user-care by the OS development team.

HTC Desire, Nokia Lumia 800, iPhone5From my perspective the Apple iPhone OS behaviour is clearly less elegant with more user effort overhead than both Android and Windows. I’m surprised, I expected to love it.

Pish and Tush

<RANT TEMPORARILY ON HOLD- I suspect there will be more…>


5 bits of fabulous banter »

blue screen of temporary illness

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 | tags: , , , , , , , , ,  |

PC demo zone on Windows8 launch dayEver since the Cupboard’s face got smashed in I’ve been asking friends and colleagues for advice on what I should do – what sort of computer I should get and when.

My UK friends give diverse advice which naturally mirrors their own preferences. Though the IT professionals quickly get side-tracked onto talking about virtual machines - getting terribly excited at the thought. They seem to run substantial Apples with dual-boot from which they control lots of virutal machines. Not really for me.

I’ve also been popping into local shops that sell computers - Currys, PC world, Comet, John Lewis .   In these stores I get the pleasure of chatting to young handsome fellows who’re very excited about the prospect of being able to save up for an Apple iPad. Cute, but not actually too helpful for me – they aren’t good at ucovering my criteria and herding me towards one of their products. I’ve got wads of dosh in my pocket for something special, yet no-one’s selling to me. They’re selling to themselves. Most bizarre.

On the day that Windows 8 released I pootled along to Currys to play with a copy on their display machines. Everything started well:

  • No queue outside the store of people waiting to get their sticky hands on the new fancy OS. Such good fortune. I do dislike all the jostling and the lack of diversity when everyone plumps for the same thing. Even the store’s Demo stand was enticingly empty.  I felt good.
  • 5 assistants all ready to help me and the other customer in the PC section of the store. wonderful. I do like having someone on hand to spend time chatting with me – especially if I’m planning on spending more than £200.
  • A queue around the Apple stand.  Baffling.  Such ugly and expensive machines. Still not much choice – they’ve side-stepped having to make all the decisions that I’m about to take on…. which manufacturer, which processor type/size etc. More spacefor me to explore!

Store copy of windows 8 on release dayI wandered over to the windows 8 laptops that looked about the right size and design funkiness. Oh, a small blue one with ripples on the lid (Acer Aspire One).  My first experience of Windows 8 was a message that says:

 “Automatic Repair couldn’t repair your PC

Oh how I laughed!

A young assistant noticed my standing looking at the computer, giggling,  he swooped in and offered his help.

wendy: is this manufacturer installed windows 8 or a windows 7 machine that’s been upgraded in the store?

assistant: it came from the manufacturer with windows 8 on it

wendy: it’s not working, that’s not good on a demo machine is it?

assistant: it just means it didn’t shutdown properly, that’s all, I’ll just reboot it

 

I fell over

LAUGHING

(no broken bones)


7 bits of fabulous banter »

Apple Software Update has stopped working

Saturday, February 4th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

Apple Software Update FailJust incase you thought eveything in the Cupboard was running smoothly, here is error of the day “Apple Software Update has stopped working”. This is how the story unfolded

Avoid using any Apple products or services because they:

  • are rumoured to treat their employees, vendors, contractors etc rather poorly
  • do not systematically promote and drive socially responsible behaviours – Bill gates rocks!
  • target being a monopoly. For example they undermine multiple hadware manufacturers. By contrast, companies such as Microsoft promote partnerships with other companies that sell Hardware (e.g. Dell, HP, Nokia, HTC etc). This approach enables those companies to thrive rather than competing with them. This strategy cost’s Microsoft in terms of time - the liaison and planning required and the lack of control leading to lack of consistency that introduces more potential for ‘errors’

Captured by BBC evil alliance

Unfortunately, when I started wanting to use BBC’s iplayer the only way to view the programs that my Licence had helped fund was to use Apple’s quicktime. Furious that the BBC chose to align with a company’s product rather than an industry standard. Darn, effectively the BBC was saying download Apple’s quick time or eff off.

For a while I managed without the BBC iplayer and just fumed until the lure of quality drama on-demand got the better of me. I installed Quicktime and lost a little of my self-esteem in the process.

Pompositively indignant

When I buy or use Microsoft services, part of their profit goes to causes I support. Microsoft products may not be beautiful to look at and they may be error ridden but they genuinely show social values that I respect.  They can have my money and time before Apple anyday because of how they spend my commitment

Excellent


16 bits of fabulous banter »

Apple ad hoc network

Thursday, June 15th, 2006 | tags: , ,  |

Two students using Apple computers in a coffee house with a free unsecure  wireless access point to create and ad hoc network so that one can give the other copies of her ‘Office’ programs.  

Two Apple Computer users chare foles and applications

Just the opening phrase ‘turn off your fire wall and enable file sharing’ made my gut twist.    

Setting up an ad hoc network on an Apple computer is not an  inutitive  task based experience.  

The experienced Apple user had done this before. I watched her  ‘back track’ and try different things before she successfully created the network.   She recognised when she did  the right thing but was unable to recall (big human memory load) clear steps.    There were numerous obvious usability issues,   for example, when making the connection it was unclear whose credentials were needed,   the local or remote PC login.    Anyone familiar with the necessary technical pre-requisits to set-up an ad hoc network could probably complete this task but the steps are not clearly laid out in a user task centric format.   I was able to understand and follow what the technically able Apple user was doing.   I would have had trouble working it out myself.  

After the Office programs  were installed on the newer laptop they concientiously remembered to turn-off sharing,   turn on  the firewall, and drink their coffee.   Phew….

I’m still a bit confused about how one Apple user can give another computer  a program (in this case Office) without there being any credit sent to the company that sells that program.   Why would Apple want their users to be able to ‘give’ away programs?   If I  owned a business writing quality software programs  this would deter me from writing programs for Apple computers because I would only get money from a few sales before the users were simply sharing the program for free,   leading to my business failing and  my having to go home and live with mother.      


2 bits of fabulous banter »