Blog Title, Time for a Change?

I don’t think I have ever spent more than 5 minutes thinking of a title for my blog and ‘Mobile Visionary’ somewhat speaks for itself in terms of creativity. So this time I DO want to be more creative and hopefully the title sticks around longer before I get bored again and decide to go for another change. 

Therefore, expect a new name, possibly a new theme, and a new personality for my blog very soon.

Why buy magazines?

I used to buy a couple of magazines every month a few years ago and I kind of made that a habit. Anyone who walks into my room will usually find a big stack of magazines lying next to my bed. But I noticed that I haven’t bought a magazines in months. You ask why? I’ve got one word for ya: Internet. 

All the magazines I bought are computer or mobile related. Anything that deals with both computer hardware or software was something I am interested to read about. In addition, anything that deals with mobile computing was a rising interest. But all the information and articles I read in those magazines I can find online on some blog or website. So why waste my money? All I needed was a laptop near my bed for a quick access to all computer related news on the net.

Now, you’ve got all sort of mobile optimized websites to work perfectly well with your cellphone. So technically, I don’t even need a laptop. All I need is my phone, and that’s always fully charged beside my bed.

I think magazine sales will be highly affected as everything paper is becoming digital and mobile technology is blooming. That being said, the coming years will certainly show a mobile revolution.

Musicovery – Interactive Web Radio

Musicovery 

This is a site I stumbled upon on my web surfing adventure last night. It’s called Musicovery and it’s all about online music. What’s cool about this is that you can set the type of music you want to listen to according to several factors like your mood, type of dance, and your emotional status.

I have been using it for two days now and so far I haven’t seen anything that disappoints me. The only drawback is the media rich site where the user interaction might be affected due to a slow system. But as long as your computer is fairly new then this shouldn’t be a concern.

There is no need to register or signup. It’s a free service and I hope it remains this way. So go ahead and check it out.

Deselect Features to Uninstall? Huh?

Gizmo Director Shouldn’t it be “Select features you would like to remove” instead? 

I have installed hundreds of programs through-out my entire life and whenever I try to uninstall a program I usually select what I want to remove and not the other way around.

The uninstall process should always be consistent so that we don’t end up confusing the end user. I believe displaying a message like the one shown on the left from Gizmo Director is somewhat confusing and is definitely a bad UI.

Out-of-Office Messages

 

I came across the following “out-of-the-office” messages on this site, on my free time at work of course, and I decided to share it with you:
  1. I am currently out at a job interview and will reply to you if I fail to get the position. Be prepared for my mood.
  2. You are receiving this automatic notification because I am out of the office. If I was in, chances are you wouldn’t have received anything at all.
  3. I will be unable to delete all the unread, worthless emails you send me until I return from vacation on August 31st. Please be patient and your mail will be deleted in the order it was received.
  4. Thank you for your email. Your credit card has been charged $10.99 for the first ten words and $5.99 for each additional word in your message.
  5. The e-mail server is unable to verify your server connection and is unable to deliver this message. Please restart your computer and try sending again.
  6. Thank you for your message, which has been added to a queueing system. You are currently in 352nd place, and can expect to receive a reply in approximately 19 weeks.
  7. I’ve run away to join a different circus.

Microsoft Office Live vs Google Docs

I am not sure if Microsoft Office Live is trying to compete with Google Docs, but what I know for sure is that I wasn’t totally impressed. Don’t get me wrong, having such a service is always appreciated especially when it ties in with Office 2007 in terms of syncing documents. Plus it’s free of charge. But Office Live still has a long way to go in order for me to see a competition against Google Docs.

On the other hand, Google Docs immediately impressed me right off the bat with their simple, user friendly and responsive interface. They have most, if not all, the tools I ever want to use when it comes to creating documents, spreadsheets and presentations. And it’s all available on the web free of charge. That’s when I started searching for Microsoft’s answer to Google Docs and found about Office Live.

You might think I am leaning more towards Google Docs, but those who know me know that I stand by Microsoft’s products and services. And as soon as I knew about Office Live I immediately added it to my favorites and I am confident that I will be using it often. Better yet, I even started sending feedback filled with suggestions and feature requests that in my opinion will further improve and promote the service.

But the thing that bugs me is the way the Live Services team tends to widen the gap between some of their Live services. I mean, we’re all familiar with the commonly seen Windows Live bar with the quick shortcuts to Home, Hotmail, Spaces and OneCare. But what about SkyDrive, QnA, and Office Live? And even though they were still in beta, shouldn’t they allow more people to use those new services in order to get more feedback by giving users quick shortcuts to the services?

After I visited the Office Live site, I didn’t know if it’s part of the Windows Live services or is it a standalone online service. If it’s a standalone service, then why put a "Live" label on it? And if it’s part of the Windows Live services, then why does it not have the Windows Live bar at the top, and why doesn’t it follow the same look and feel of the other Windows Live services? I don’t know why, but Microsoft got me used to leaving me confused with any new service it launches in beta.

You know something, sometimes I wish I was part of the Live team in order to share and work with them on some of my ideas which I am confident will help improve the commonly used and new Windows Live services. But all I can do in the meantime is wish.

What does today’s software lack?

What gets people’s attention in the beginning is the interface and the overall look and feel of any software (either a client or web application). But after that first impression, what comes next? Does the experience end there?

Currently most software development companies focus on a couple of areas which includes the application’s features and ease of use. But what’s unfortunate is that’s where the development ends. And once a user gets used to the software’s interface and features, the wow factor ends. So what’s missing here? How can the software development companies keep that wow factor and make users coming back for their products and not just that but also keep the company name in their minds?

What software lacks is the seamless and fluid interaction between the user and the software.

Applications needs to reflect what people experience in real life in order for the user to feel connected to it. For instance, when you change a view on a current window by clicking on a different tab, the window immediately changes and gives you the options available for tab selected without giving the user the feel that he/she are changing views. Now in real life, when a person wants to look at another direction he moves his head from one position to another. We need to implement what happens during that head movement into our software. Therefore, when changing views to another tab, for instance, we can slide the window from one side to another.

What we need is proper transitioning from any instance to another.

Windows Vista has added a couple of these transitions into the operating system (minimizing and restoring a window, tabbing or switching between open windows/applications, opening and closing windows/applications). But it still doesn’t cover all aspects of the operating system’s core functions especially when you open up certain options like the Display Properties or the Mouse Properties under the Control Panel.

When it comes to human interaction with computers, it deserves to pay a lot attention to what humans naturally want to see or experiencein real life.

Upgrading to NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT

It wasn’t as simple as swapping video cards, but I managed to get it done right without a single glitch.

Yesterday I bought a new Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT from FutureShop at a good price (which by the way was on sale). When I got home and opened up my Intel Core 2 Quad PC to install the new card into the PCI Express slot, I noticed that there wasn’t any connectors left from the power supply. Furthermore, the video card recommends at least a 400 watts power supply and the one I have gave a total of 300 watts only. So in other words it was time to upgrade the power supply as well.

FutureShop and BestBuy has a couple of overpriced power supplies so I decided to grab one from a small computer shop near my house. I managed to find a good 580 watts power supply at a reasonable price.

So I went back home, removed the old 300 watts and replaced it with a beafier 580 watts. Then I installed the massive Nvidia GeForce 8800 GT and fired it up. Now, I failed to mention that I didn’t have a video card prior to this. The whole time I was using the integrated piece of crap graphics chipset that came built into the motherboard. So you can imagine the difference that I will experience.

I have to admit, playing Team Fortress 2 now seems like I have never played it before. Everything seemed to come to life. It’s certainly a day and night difference. Finally, I am experiencing the game as it should be.

Now that my video card is up to date, I can finally grab a game that will definitely run smooth on my PC. I always wanted to try out either Assassin Creed or Crysis. Who knows, I might even grab them both. Both seem to get a lot of good reviews and I have seen numerous gameplays on YouTube and they got me a lot more excited to try them out.

So what’s next on the upgrade list? Nothing crucial really. But it would be nice to get a large widescreen monitor and maybe upgrading the RAM from 2Gb to 4Gb. But in the meantime, I am certainly quite satisfied with my PC’s performance.

Intersoft’s Web UI 2008 Package

I downloaded Intersoft’s new Web.UI Visual Studio 2008 beta package and started to play around with their slick Silverlight controls on the weekend. The controls look quite promissing and very intuitive.

I concentrated entirely on two specific controls called the WebCoverFlow and WebFishEye. They were mostly inspired by the Apple’s iTunes application and Leopard in general. But nevertheless, they definitely add a very cool user friendly interface and/or navigation to any website or web application and they seem fairly straightforward to work with.

While I was trying to customize the controls and dynamically add items to their collections, it seemed and felt more and more to me like the package is still in its early Alpha stage instead of the claimed Beta. And that’s based on the numerous bugs and errors I constantly encountered. Not to mention the inability to use the designer tool available on most of the control’s smart tag options. The designer would open but wouldn’t save nor apply any changes you make. Which makes it quite difficult to fully experience all the control’s features.

That being said, I still think there is something solid behind those controls and I will keep checking for any updates available soon, hopefully, from Intersoft. In the meantime, I will continue experimenting and playing around with it.

Ebay Item Issue Resolved

It turns out the ebay user who bought my HTC Advantage is a decent fellow. He gave me a positive feedback even before he receives the missing CD. Wouldn’t be great if all issues were resolved that easily and without a sweat?

So as I said yesterday, I went to Canada Post immediately after work and sent the ‘Getting Started’ CD for shipping. I even sent it through xpresspost so that hopefully it arrives by the end of the week. And of course all on my expense. It’s certainly the least I could do.