Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Archive for October 27th, 2011


Marco Arment:

As I was flipping through it, when I saw the first of many full-page ads, I was offended. I thought, “I paid good money for this and it’s full of ads?”

This is, hands-down, my biggest problem with my Wired subscription. It’s $20/year, but I’d be willing to pay more (and a fair amount more, at that) for an ad-free version, especially since Wired puts the same stories online for free and also with ads.

Minimal Names

For example if I tell you there is a program called Buoh, do you know what its purpose is? What it does? Well, Buoh is a reader for online strips comics. Now, if I tell you there is a program called Rip It, would you venture to guess what it does? Yes, you were right, it rips stuff. Rip It rips DVD’s so you can watch movies everywhere.

I would agree, with a caveat. There are good application names that abstract their concept further, such as Yojimbo or Safari. It might be difficult to guess what each does without knowing anything beyond the name, but they’re memorable names.

RIM’s Look at the Future

In RIM’s future, devices get thicker, data becomes meaningless and power gets lost. In the future, white shapes can be projected onto a wooden surface like a smear of paint. In the future, light doesn’t reflect. Ever. In the future, people never talk face-to-face, they just use augmented reality. In RIM’s future world, everyone looks great, but phones look like they were made in the late 1990s. Everyone is employed as a mid-level businessperson.

To kickstart this trend, they outsourced the design of their new phone to a car company, and it looks like it wants to kill you. This is their vision.

I think I’ve found the source of RIM’s problems.

Subtle UI Tweaks in iOS 5

Everyone noticed the updated toggle switches, but there are a few other tiny tweaks that went unnoticed for most. I didn’t realise the icon spacing was altered ever so slightly.

Productivity Future Vision

There are overwhelmingly great ideas in here, such as the “5 Minute Focus” section on a phone, but they are overshadowed by the fake impression of touch screens on every surface and transparent, borderless phones. From the perspective of usability, an awful lot of these concepts have horribly inefficient interfaces. Per Gruber, “we’ve all seen Minority Report already.”

Android Orphans

There are a number of statistics here that warrant caution to potential buyers, but this one is especially striking:

7 of the 18 Android phones never ran a current version of the OS.

Nearly 50% of the major Android devices sold in the US were never running the contemporary version of the US. This is crappy for users and crappy for developers.