Good for auto workers, good for environment

June 1st, 2009 by ua

A great new tool for auto assembly lines… the iPhone!

Seriously, that’s a use I never would have thought of.  Very cool way to think about your users and how best to help them.

TimeWarner Behaving Badly

April 28th, 2009 by ua

I’m not aware of anyone who loves their cable company, and yet we put up with a lot of the baloney service deficits in order to get our favorite TV shows.  They’re definitely not corporations organized to make the user experience better, but now TimeWarner has taken the lead in abusing their customers.

Their arrogance began with attempting to impose bandwidth caps on internet usage, set so low that anyone wanting to play online games or download movies would hit them.  Now, they’re trying to legislate local fiber out of existence in North Carolina, even though they refused to provide it themselves when asked.  Moderately interesting, if predictably tech-head, discussion on Slashdot.

Medical Records mimic iPhone?

March 31st, 2009 by ua

So I ranted about the lack of options on the iPhone originally, and then Apple responded and fixed most of the issues.  Now there’s a set of physicians who are advocating that the new Electronic Health Records (EHR) systems try and learn from the iPhone’s mistakes.  That’s a great idea.

Single-vendor systems, whether phone, EHR, or ERP, all suffer from the issues described in the article.  I haven’t heard a single person proclaim how wonderful it is to work with the customization teams or how they had a choice of what apps would work for their businesses.  And I work with plenty of IT types, who share their opinions freely.  None.

Wait, I have heard tell of one good system… NetSuite.  They apparently are becoming the same kind of platform.  I’ve never worked with them – anyone have experience and can corroborate the mutterings?

Vacation’s over

December 26th, 2008 by admin

So I finally have come back, and my post of a year ago is thankfully dead history.  Apple has released the iPhone developer kit, and the iPhone App Store is now making them money hand over fist.   There are plenty of critiques of the App Store, but the key is that it exists and so we’re moving into the future.  Apple is paying attention and we’ll have to see what happens next.

Next step – get them to release the Apple TV developer kit…  there’s already a flourishing mod community and pretty public companies taking advantage of the hardware, so why not make it official instead of fighting it?

In other news, I’m going to try and post more often – I’m getting in better control at work, so should have more time.  At least that’s the theory…

Apple’s iPhone-iPod missteps

October 12th, 2007 by ua

Wil Shipley writes an excellent examination of the challenges Apple faces with a fully-locked-in platform such as the iPhone/iPod.  The key point is that this recent situation of increasing lock-in diverges significantly from where Apple generated its tremendous prior success — empowering its customers:

  • The first Macintosh made it easy for users to create. 
  • The first iPod made it easy for people to purchase and listen to music. 
  • The first iPhone made it easy for users to get upset that they can’t add applications like every other phone in the known universe.

Which of these things is not like the other?

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BBC for only Windows users

August 21st, 2007 by ua

The BBC’s iPlayer controversy, neatly summarized in the BBCorrupted and iPlayer Protest Defective By Design columns.  With the BBC’s mission of serving the public, choosing a Windows-only solution clearly is not user-friendly.

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Picking the right tool for the job

August 7th, 2007 by ua

A great series of articles about John Halamka and his testing of different operating systems.  Looking at different systems for different users seems awfully logical, but most organizations balk in the name of standardization.  Unfortunately, that slows people who could be helped by using another kind of system…

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FCC Net Neutrality commentary ends today

June 15th, 2007 by ua

From Wired via Slashdot, the FCC’s Net Neutrality commentary period ends today.  Here’s my comment:

As a founder of several small companies, all dependent on the
Internet, I am concerned that allowing a duopoly (local phone carrier and local cable carrier) will restrict and fetter access to my target consumers.  We have seen the effects of allowing a small group to impose unilateral data access restrictions in the mobile telephone space, where innovative services are completely lacking, data plans are overpriced, and development is restricted to those who pay extortionate rates to be promoted on the mobile carriers’ networks.

These are some of the same companies who now protest innocently that they will not stifle future development but who have a record of doing precisely that in the past.  See for additional details.

Ensure that all traffic of a given type is handled identically on any connection, regardless of the owner of the originating system.  Sole proprietors, Google, AT&T, or Verizon – their websites, phone service, and video should all behave exactly the same way, whether the traffic is handled by AT&T, Verizon, another ILEC or CLEC, or any independent ISP.

Head on over and post your own!

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Ubuntu as primary user system

June 8th, 2007 by ua

I think this article about using Ubuntu as a desktop system is significant because it highlights the unseen cost of utilizing Windows. The person in the article is not a standard computer user — his use of rsync shows that — but his point about an integrated system to install and update software highlights the major failure of Windows.

My last Windows installation started Monday and has taken 5 days, and I keep discovering software I haven’t installed as I’m using the machine. The next steps are:

  • Go to Google
  • Locate download file
  • Download
  • Install
  • Add license key
  • Configure

…and don’t even think about updates.

Mac OS X at least deals with Apple updates – but what kind of a killer app would it be if Apple Software Update checked all the installed applications, shareware, and other goodies on your machine and coordinated installations for you as well?

Fun with Fraud

May 25th, 2007 by ua

A great column on the vulnerability of credit cards and a simple way to protect customers from fraud.