Friday 25 March 2011

Rise of Design

I installed Color today, yet another photo sharing app this time with the twist of being hyperlocal. The idea is (I think) that people at an event, party or a playdate (that's when you invite your kids' friends or friend's kids over to play for Europeans) and you can bang away with photos and they are shared with all the other sad people busy with their phones rather than talking.

Ignoring whether that is interesting or not, the app is gorgeous. Really nicely designed with crisp features and educated aesthetics. It is also fabulously easy to get started with no long painful sign up or banging out to another authorization site.

I'm hoping this signals a wave of raised awareness of design as there are still a lot of horrible-looking apps out there.

Monday 21 March 2011

iPod Time

One of the abiding myths of the industry is that Apple stuff doesn't go wrong. But of course it does, like any other piece of technology things will occasionally fail. However the assumption of perfection has an undesirable side effect: not much in the way of debugging help or even informative messages.

This was brought into sharp relief when I fixed a problem on an iPod Touch this weekend. It had 40 apps sitting saying Waiting... underneath the icon. Nothing would get them to install or allow them to be deleted. Nothing that I could find on the web seemed to address this problem.

I eventually discovered that the issue was that the clock had reset itself to the epoch - 1st January 1970 for those who don't speak UNIX.  This wasn't very noticeable, of course, because iPod Touches aren't normally something where you check the time regularly.

Correcting the time unblocked pending updates and lo, all the apps installed themselves properly without any further action. So there you are.

Sunday 6 March 2011

Comms bring us closer

Not that long ago it used to be that when someone moved to the other side of the planet they effectively vanished. A Scot who emigrated to Australia was gone forever - post was uncertain at best. Of course modern communications have changed all that, but on Friday I was reminded quite how far we have moved to bring family and friends together.

The occasion was a sad one, a memorial thanks giving service for my friend and colleague Mark Munro who sadly passed away after a long illness. The Minister's welcome told us that the service was being broadcast live on the internet to allow Mark's family and friends, spread across the globe, to join with us in celebrating his memory. A touching and fitting tribute to someone who had given so much to technology companies.