About four weeks ago, I went for an annual physical and had standard blood work done. I was told to call back in a week, and of course I forgot. Today I had a message that said: "Hello, this is Dr. XX's office, please call us back at xxx-xxx-xxxx." That was it--the person didn't identify herself and also didn't say what the call was for. When I dialed the number, I was expecting to be told that I owed them money. But actually, the woman on the phone had no idea why she had called … Read more
These days, in this world of IKEA and Target and "Project Runway," we like to think we know about design. We also like to think that the biggest names in Silicon Valley know what they're doing design-wise.
Yet recently, we saw two of the Web's most prominent players hit by design-related snafus: first, the continuing brouhaha over Facebook's latest home page redesign, which many users claim makes the service more difficult to use; and second, the departure of Douglas Bowman, a high-ranking Google designer who accompanied his resignation with a blog post detailing his frustration … Read more
The tizzy created by Facebook's page design changes point out some valuable lessons that we should keep in mind as we head more into a SaaS and cloud-based world.1. Choosing when to change
There are many differences between how shrink-wrapped applications and software as a service (SaaS) work, but one of them is that customers of shrink-wrapped software choose when, and if, they upgrade. They kick the tires to look around at the changes beforehand, download a trial, poll other users, wait for the .1 rev and the kinks to get worked out.
With SaaS, changes get pushed … Read more
So there's a new Facebook app out there, designed to poll users on the social network's latest redesign. The results? Hundreds of thousands have responded. 94 percent give it a thumbs-down. Ouch.
Comments range from "WHY FIX IT, WHEN IT WASN'T BROKE, you will be SORRYYYYYYYYYYY" to "It feels counterintuitive and less technologically advanced than the last layout."
Now, this is clearly not an official vote. Chances are, you're not going to install a third-party polling application with the sole purpose of voicing an opinion on the new Facebook design unless you'… Read more
President Obama's stimulus package is putting aside roughly $21 billion for healthcare technology and the development of electronic health records (EHRs). At this point when we say "billion" or even "trillion" it doesn’t have much of an effect. So let’s try that again – Obama's stimulus package is putting aside $21,000,000,000 for healthcare technology. It is a ridiculous amount of money.But, where will it all go? Most of it is earmarked for the creation and utilization of electronic health records, which is essentially a digitized … Read more
An article in the New York Times says customers are being more attracted to "simple" products:
And, as it turns out, the buyers of consumer electronics could very well have been a leading economic indicator. Over the last year, they chose to buy two inexpensive and simple products, the Wii and the Flip, over competing gadgets bristling with more features.
But the article conflates two different definitions of "simple"Doing a focused function or small number of functions (i.e. it's "simple in what it does") Being easy and intuitive to use (i.… Read more
Though the iPhone offers one of the best Mobile Web browsers around, surfing through full HTML pages can be a little tedious if you have a slow connection. So for those Goldilocks moments when a full HTML site is too much and a WAP site is just not enough, there's the new CNET iPhone experience.
Optimized for the iPhone classic and the iPhone 3G, the CNET iPhone experience offers all the content you'd find on the regular site, including product reviews, stories, and blogs from CNET News and Crave and videos from CNET TV. But unlike the standard … Read more
As I write this, the temperature in the City of New York hovers around freezing, though it's expected to be warmer and wetter by the time this post gets published. Not the right conditions for high-performance driving, to be sure, but that won't stop enthusiasts from planning for better weather.
Eager drivers in the area have several new options since this time last year. The Monticello Motor Club, for example, is a 4.1-mile racetrack (a road course, of course, not a mere oval track) that opened last July in Monticello, NY. It's just 90 minutes by … Read more
We discover a fun new tautology on today's show (you know, competition...for the win?), have a fun time goofing off with Brian Tong, rail against Apple's decision to include HDCP restrictions in its new MacBooks, and rejoice at the arrival of Netflix streaming on the Xbox 360 (minus a few select Sony movies, ahem). Also: India takes on Google in the Earth-spying department. Yeah, India! Go, India!Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 856
Apple’s new MacBooks have built-in copy protection measures (thanks Mager!) http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/08/11/18/apples_new_macbooks_have_built_in_copy_protection_measures.html http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2008/11/17/apple-brings-hdcp-to-a-new-aluminum-macbook-near-you… Read more
On November 19, Microsoft is rolling out its most ambitious Xbox 360 system update yet -- an entirely new dashboard that bears little resemblance to the series of panels users currently use to navigate the gaming console.
Dubbed "The New Xbox Experience," this ground-up overhaul of the system's front-end interface also introduces several new features--most notably an avatar system to represent users online and the addition of streaming video content from Netflix, similar to that offered by the Roku Netflix settop box.
Others have gone into great detail about all the design and functionality changes, so having lived with the new dashboard update for the past week, we'll instead present some initial impressions--the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The new dashboard divides content, settings, and functions into eight categories, each represented by a horizontal row of boxes. The new look is clean, easy to navigate, and aesthetically pleasing, although it all seems designed to push the maximum in Xbox marketing materials and advertising come-ons to the user. … Read more