Naughty Sony Steals Microsoft’s Thunder

Just when you thought that Bill Gates’ fancy new video game system, the
XBox 360, was going to steal every available headline from here to
XBox-mas, Sony moved in with a nasty smoke screen: they hacked their
customers’ computers.

Tuesday came and went with a lukewarm response to what is probably
Microsoft’s biggest product launch in years. The XBox 360 represents
the beginning of the next major battle in the War of the Video Game
Consoles. The two major combatants are Microsoft and Sony, though
Nintendo is a dark horse and shouldn’t be counted out.

Microsoft so wanted to be first to market. They so wanted everybody to be talking about them. They so wanted to be loved.

Instead, as the XBox 360 hit the market, a lot of people were pissed.
There weren’t enough boxes to go around, the available games are just
so-so, and rumours suggest that the XBox system crashes as often as,
well, Windows.

Continue reading

Do You Dream in HD?

Back in the day when dinosaurs roamed the earth the question was: “Do
we dream in black and white or colour?” Pondering the advent of colour
television and film, this question wondered if it was really all that
big a deal.

Well, of course it was, as the Wizard of Oz amply demonstrated. But the
question must now be rephrased to suit advances in technology: “Do we
dream in SD or HD?”

Continue reading

Customer Analysts

One final thought on my recent experience with Air Canada and Bell Expressvu: do these companies every approach problems from the customers’ perspective?

Obviously their web sites and their service structure are ivory tower creations, built by desk jockies using ideas generated at corporate boardroom idea sessions. Speaking from experience, it can be the hardest thing to do, get into the customer’s head. I’m not just talking about thinking “outside the box”. I’m saying get up and go outside the building.

Furthermore, I’m not just talking about usability in regards to a web site or a telephone support system. That’s a bit late in the process to solve the problems I’ve identified. I’m talking about customer-ability. Go into peoples’ homes, find out how they live, discover how they want to engage with the machine that is your company.

I’ve revealed a wide chasm between the corporations that are Bell and Air Canada and the experience of the customer. Really, I should be on their payrolls, and they should have other regular, home-oriented folks on there from across Canada. We shouldn’t have to go through any structure or planned process of evaluation with their services and communications. We should just live and engage, then report back to them on our experiences. I would call these positions “Customer Analysts” and truly believe they would be beneficial to large corporations who just can’t seem to see past their cubicle dividers.

Why Firefox Sucks

Firefox is great in a lot of ways. I mean, it did shake down IE pretty nice. And it’s got a cool icon. Not to mention the fact that it’s making everybody think about web standards again.

But, truth is, it’s a lame browser. Oh, quit yer whinging. You know it’s true. It’s a piece of software written by a huge collection of largely nameless geeks hell-bent on bitch-slapping Bill Gates. That’s cool and all, but there’s more to life. Like users. Here’s my list of why Firefox sucks. Fix this shit, geekboys, and you have my blessing.

  1. It’s slow. Like molasses in January. In the Yukon. In a record cold year. Start up time is in the achingly-painfully-mindnumbingly-long range of 10 seconds. If you have to wait that long for a mere web browser to get it’s act together, you know something’s wrong.
  2. It’s looks, acts and smells like a PC. Okay, there, now you know. I’m a Mac user. And that’s the problem. Firefox doesn’t conform to standard Mac OS behaviour. Which is ironic, I guess, considering it’s such a standards-bearing piece of software. It begs the question: where does the browser end and the OS begin? Take form elements as one example: they look like form elements from a Windoze box. It’s nasty. Those things are ugly.
  3. It doesn’t play nice with its host OS. Like, I wanna use the Mac OS keychain to store my passwords. I don’t want my web browser, which is as disposable piece of software as there is, to store important information for me. Why does Firefox want to store my passwords for me? Why are the geeks wasting their time writing yet-another-piece-of-software that already does what something I use and live by does, and does well. Don’t they have a PSP to play? Somebody get those Firefox coders a PSP so they can go get a life.
  4. You can alter the user experience. It’s like, come on, build a new plugin for my house so that every time I get up in the night to piss, the can’s in a different spot in the bathroom. What a great idea. A customizable web browser. Not. (Unless you’re a sado masochistic nerd.)
  5. Here’s the big one: it’s unstable. Yes it is. Yes it is. YES IT IS. If I had a dollar for every time this software locked me up and lost me data. I only use it as a browser because the host of my weblog (TypePad) makes me — why can’t they support other browsers? It’s as bad as Air Canada’s web site whinging about the fact I use Safari. Sheesh. Tonight I lost 20 minutes of blog entry typing to Firefox. Stabilize your software, Mozilla folk.
  6. It’s Netscape in disguise. Netscape lost. They suck. Don’t try to fool me with all the “Mozilla” silliness. Firefox is an attempt to legitimize the painful legacy of failure that is Netscape. I mean, come on, how could they let Mosaic come back under the guise of Microsoft and kick their ass? It’s a joke. And all you coders working for the common good of standards, give it up. It’s a joke. Go work for Microsoft and make some money.

Well, you can’t fix that last one, but there you have it. Some reasons why Firefox sucks. Now let’s see if I can get the locked up Firefox to regurgitate the post I was originally working on… (I’m using ecto for this one, by the way)

The Explosive Future of Mobile Power

You’d think scientists had learned a lesson or two from the Hindenburg.I mean, it was full of hydrogen and blew up.

One day soon, though, you’ll probably find yourself feeling rather awkward in an airport security line with a tube of this gas in your pocket.

The variety of power-hungry devices we find ourselves surrounded by these days is proving that the l’il ol’ Li battery (Lithium-Ion) just doesn’t cut the muster anymore.

Recent studies have demonstrated that battery life is the number one improvement consumers demand of mobile devices. 48 hours of active use is apparently the average minimum we all seek.

Continue reading