User Experience: it’s features all the way down

Last weekend – 3rd July 2010 – TechCrunch published an article entitled “FaceTime and Why Apple’s Massive Integration Advantage is Just Beginning“. To my mind it is one of the most appallingly fan-boy biased, poorly argued, articles that TechCrunch have published. Yet bizarrely others seem to describe it as an insightful post that argues why endlessly adding new features to products is not a good thing. Continue reading “User Experience: it’s features all the way down”

HTML5 must not become the future of the web

HTML 5 LogoIn the beginning there there was simple HTML, which sought to define documents in an abstract way, leaving the browser free to render it as it saw fit. Whilst a great idea in theory, it didn’t work in practice as designers of web sites wanted their sites to look the same on every browser, rather than be at the mercy of the browser’s rendering engine.

Fast forward twenty years and things are very different. These days the humble HTML page has been pummelled into submission and supplies the designer with pixel-perfect rendering via CSS, JavaScript and a range of ACID-tests that encourage all browsers to behave the same. Yet beneath all this, the HTML at the heart of the page remains largely unchanged. Even the near-mythical HTML5 – which will likely take twelve years to become fully adopted – seeks to add just a few tags to the HTML specification. Continue reading “HTML5 must not become the future of the web”

Don’t blame Vista; blame OEMs for filling machines with bloatware

I discovered today that my new laptop has arrived at my new job, which I start in a couple of weeks. The machines were ordered with XP on them I think, but which operating system is installed is a moot point. Before the machine is put to use, it’ll be wiped and a clean install of Vista will be put on it. Why? Well much of what will be on the machine will be pointless “bloatware” that OEMs seem hell-bent on filling new computers up with these days. That bloatware then slows the machine down and makes Vista seem such an unpleasant experience.

Ed Bott posted an article on this very topic yesterday. He cites a friend who bought a Sony Vaio and found it so  unusable, he dumped it in a cupboard and bought a Mac instead. When Ed wiped the machine and freshly installed Vista, it turned from a hideously slow machine into a fast, desirable, joy to use bit of kit. So why do these companies insist on turning powerful laptops into horrible-to-use slow monstrosities? Perhaps they all have shares in Apple?

Will the good guy win a format war for a change?

blu-ray.pngThere seems to be a thing with “format wars”, that the weaker of the two always seems to win out. Examples are PCs with DOS/ Windows beating all other computer/OS combos in the 90s, IE beating Netscape and VHS beating Betamax. However it looks like the latest battle of the formats, between HD DVD and Blu-ray, may go the other way. Last Friday Warner Brothers announced that it was to start distributing films solely on Blu-ray as of May this year. Whilst the geek blog reaction was inevitable, even the Financial Times is today reporting that this could be the tipping point that signals the end of HD DVD.

What the conspiracy theorists will make of this is unclear. A popular conspiracy theory has Microsoft using its financial weight behind the scenes to drag out the battle between the to disc formats in a hope that more people will opt for internet-download scheme for films next time around (with Microsoft controlling the download format of course). So watch out for a swing back in HD DVD’s favour in the next couple of months if this really is the case…