Author Archive

Comfort zones, Iterations, Innovations and Product Design

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Apple iPhone = a single button menu system and one of the best mobiles ever. Yet mobile phones are out 20 years. But it’s actually a portable computer with phone properties. Not that the general consumer knows or cares. Nokia marketed their N95 phone to people as a computer in your pocket. And how many of the world did that discourage from buying it with that phrase alone? How many don’t use all the poweful features of it because it treats the menu system like a computer menu system with half a dozen clicks to do something?

Oddly it seems the iPhone takes away choice from people by just doing what it wants. With an N95 it’s menu menu rotate to turn the image sideways, the iPhone does it automatically whether you like it or not. Despite all the other phone companies having mobiles that did mobile Internet it was the iPhone that exploded use of the mobile web in the past year. On a slower connection and less powerful phone…

Look at the Wii. You turn it on. Move the Wiimote and you know exactly what happens. Point at screen, move it about and you know the rest. Yet you’re there playing a computer game with a totally new interface.

Admittedly of course like Apple, Nintendo’s ads are very much like instructional videos too so pre-training new customers is good.

mmm... ear piecing
Photo owned by lorelei (cc)

There seems to be an issue with tech that if you upset the small enough comfort zones of the general public then they won’t buy your product. It does seem to be true. Something very upsetting to the engineers and early adopters who understand the power of these new innovations yet can’t understand why the general public can’t see how great this new thing is. I mean all you have to do is press this, twist that, press this three times and we’re off. Now press this fast to stop it. There. Over time I think this is why we’re seeing so many godforsaken shit web services and pieces of techwank come out which are all clones or tiny iterations of products that we already have. Nothing new is introduced or combined. Perish the thought. So much of these new things launched are just features. That makes the consumer comfortable. And the investors. And pisses off those that remain in the company that enjoy their ingenuity. And early adopters that scream for something new.

Pat Phelan asked are we (I guess he means humanity or the tech world) over-innovating. I don’t think we are. I think we’re scarificing innovation for over-iterating and becoming far too comfortable about making consumers feel comfortable about things remaining the same when we should be innovating on new tech and innovating on ways of introducing this new tech while the customer is almost oblivious. Design a product with underlying innovation so the consumer knows all about how to use it within 5 seconds of picking it up. This is what the iPhone does, it’s what the Wii does, it is not what the N95 does or Microsoft Powerpoint. An engineer won’t like how limited an iPhone is but a consumer doesn’t want to think they will have to change the way they work for the N95. An innovation is not product design. I think too many take that to mean that we should iterate.

Here’s a very long video that eventually sees Steve Jobs introduce the iMac, 10 years ago this week:

Arseblog now part of OleOle.com football network

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Arseblog is the most successful Irish blog with on average 16k visitors per day. It’s been winning awards left right and centre for years too and is a central hub for all things Gunners. Congrats to the Arseblogger who will now work fulltime on Arseblog which is part of the OleOle.com football network and which itself wants to turn itself into a social network for football. Football fans being the obsessive kind will probably make it a massive success.

Arsenal
Photo owned by menut (cc)

Fluffy Links – 07 May 2008

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Your fridge is going to have its own social network where it will talk to other fridges. It starts with radios though.

GreenYour – a Creative Commons search engine/directory for green guides.

Good ole nerdy joke t-shirts.

Peter Gabriel’s website got stolen. Heard they got in using a sledgehammer.

Facebook nabs more senior Googlers.

CCTV doesn’t work/too costly says copper. But the terrorism card will be used to keep them in the game.

Great tune.

I’m testing one of these soon. And the envelope. Oh did I mention I have a Macbook Air?

Remember Max from Gab and Max fame? He too got trapped in an elevator:

Those that can do. Again and again – Twitterfone

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

(Disclaimer: I helped Pat out with the PR for this)

Arrington calls him a serial entrepreneur and he’s bang on. Pat and a few more folks from the Telco 2.0 world have just launched Twitterfone. Or maybe Arrington said it was launching and they had no choice? 🙂

twitterfone

What is it? It’s a voice to text message service using text message rebroadcast service Twitter. I ring a Dublin number, leave a 15 seconds (max) voicemessage. It knows who I am from my caller ID and posts to my Twitter profile with a text version of what I uttered as well as a link to the audio message. Here’s my dulcent tones. And here’s how it showed up on Twitter.

Well done to Sean O’Sullivan and Ivan McDonald from Dial2Do who were involved in making this. It’s some of their core tech that powers Twitterfone. Sabrina’s design work at play too which is really fun I have to say. Love it.

Great to see yet another project from Pat launched and the same from Sean and Ivan. I can’t see young Phelan ever stopping.

Perlico sending out deceptive flyers to try and win new customers

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

Got the below flyer in the letterbox this morning. It was only when I got to the very end that I realised it was a Perlico flyer. It was designed like it was some kind of service announcement from eircom which got me to read it thinking my service would be going down or something. I don’t think it is very wise to try and trick potentially new customers and I really think using eircom colours and branding too like eircom’s is in any way kosher. Complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority and ComReg lodged. Win my business with pricing and service not fraud.

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Fluffy Links – Tuesday May 6th 2008

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

The people of Cuba are allowed to purchase PCs at long last. I’m sure many played around with homemade ones anyway and nicked ones. I’d love to see what they created themselves, it’s amazing what they have done with their cars from the 1950s. Ingenuity, it seems, thrives in environment where there’s scarcity.

This Niall McElwee thing is full of twists isn’t it?

Loving the new and free Nine Inch Nails album. Loving the way they are marketing this even more. Pay attention record industry.

Read this piece about Gary Vaynerchuk. Fascinating guy. A total energy bunny and a very rich man thanks to blogs and videos.

Not a sitcom a SATcom. A comedy you download to your GPS device set on a motorway journey. A really interesting blend of technology and art.

So someone already made an open source of Microsoft Photosynth and it looks like an open source version of their surface table thing is available too. Imagine if Microsoft themselves open sourced their model? Better yet, the Zen, it might sell more than a million!

Uh gawd. Barbie’s makers try and spin a “green” campaign from leftovers of the most eco-unfriendly toys in the world. This will not end well.

New Irish blog called Scumberculosis. Pithy political and cultural commentary?

The “Bertie, Take Enda With You” Facebook group now has almost 400 members. There are 50 people around the country sporting the badges too.

Meanwhile another tribute to Bertie.

Via You Ain’t No Picasso, Tom Waits announces some US tour dates. Ireland to follow?

Jesus

Death Cab for Cutie – All is full of love

Family Guy

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Well that seemed to be a prank vid so here’s a real one:

Defrosting a fridge chez Mulley

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

Defrosting a fridge takes too long. So bring in a hairdryer. But standing around with a hairdryer is not efficient when you can be doing other things while that’s happening. So tie the hairdryer to a chair and set it off. Today’s OCD moment is brought to you by carbon footprints and rising sea levels:

Ain – Sunday

Sunday, May 4th, 2008

Aindriú Conroy aka Ain is a young lad from Kildare with a nice folky sound to his music. Sounds much older than he is. He plays Whelan’s on the 7th, 13th and 22nd of May as part of their residency series.

You can listen to his tunes on his mySpace. Check out Sunday. Great tune.

The Ocean, The Sun, and The Sky
Photo owned by Chance Gardener (cc)

Fluffy Links – Friday May 2nd 2008

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

Eamon Ryan’s biggest fan (not me) has her own blog now. Yay.

Maybe it was herself then that paid for this statue of Eamon.

Pre-experience design. Fantastic post from Russell Davies.

This is interesting. A house from IBM’s master inventor that Twitters its energy usage.

FatFreeCart – free embeddable shopping cart for your website or blog

April and May seem to be some kind of season of data breaches. Hospital records now.

While in Italy a pissy Govt published everyone’s income levels before they left Govt.

Via Jazz Biscuit, the new Carlsberg ad: