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User Experience

How to enable real-time collaboration in Google Docs word-processor

Posted in Google, Hacks, User Experience on April 22nd, 2010 by leodirac – 1 Comment

Google recently launched some major improvements to their online document-editing suite.  The spreadsheets are faster and more powerful.  But IMHO the most interesting change is an update to the word-processor (originally known as Writely) which allows for real-time collaboration.  Now the text documents act like the spreadsheets do. You can see where in the document […]

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iSlate’s amazing tactile feedback keyboard

Posted in Analysis, Apple, Gadgets, User Experience on January 15th, 2010 by leodirac – 1 Comment

There’s lots of hubbub about Apple’s upcoming tablet device, but the stuff people are talking about I’m not actually all that excited about.  A giant iPhone?  Sure, that’ll be nice.  A color e-reader that can run apps.  Okay, I guess that’s better than kindle.  A super-thin netbook without a real keyboard.  Meh.  Actually, I don’t […]

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Covers for Kindles

Posted in Amazon, Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, Marketing, Social Computing, User Experience on August 26th, 2008 by leodirac – 2 Comments

My girlfriend has a kindle that she very much enjoys. One of the biggest benefits from it she gets is having a large amount of content in a very small device. She is a scientist who is very much an information worker. Having access to a great many research papers in searchable form is very useful for her. (If only the PDF import worked on multi-column papers!) She also tends to live out of a backpack, so being able to have several interesting things to read at any give time is very appealing. So she’s often reading her kindle on…

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Stupid Prius Tricks – Traction Control Distractions

Posted in Hacks, Prius, User Experience on July 27th, 2008 by leodirac – 2 Comments

I love my Toyota Prius. I’m very grateful to Google for giving me a financial incentive to buy a brand new car which does everything I want. It’s totally big and practical, it’s very high-tech, it both supports and projects my values, etc. I could sing its virtues for pages. But for now, I want to share some non-obvious things about it in a series I’m calling “Stupid Prius Tricks.” (With a tip of a hat to David Letterman.) Several of these articles (like this one) are complaints, but this must be taken in the context that overall I love…

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Why Amazon Kindle might succeed where others have failed

Posted in Amazon, Analysis, Business, Technology, User Experience on February 27th, 2008 by leodirac – Comments Off on Why Amazon Kindle might succeed where others have failed

Amazon has a history of facilitating disruptive change. First by selling books online, they demonstrated the advantages of a well-run online store. Then with music, movies and just about everything else, they have shown that centralizing inventory and customer experience allows for reduced costs and an improved experience over a traditional distributed retail model. Today, Amazon Web Services is starting to disrupt IT operations similarly by providing a higher quality service at lower cost than most companies can manage themselves. They achieve these scale economies through centralization. With Kindle Amazon is attempting another disruptive change, this time in the way…

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Sonos finally adds search!

Posted in Consumer Electronics, Gadgets, Geek, Music, User Experience on October 23rd, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on Sonos finally adds search!

At long last, the world’s best digital music system has fixed a glaring UI hole. With today’s release of v2.5 of their software, Sonos controllers (both hardware remotes and PC/Mac based software) can search for music by artist, composer, album, or track. This feature works within your own local library or within music services such as Rhapsody. Up until now if you wanted to listen to an artist in Rhapsody that you hadn’t previously bookmarked, you would need to guess what top-level genre they were categorized under and then scroll through an enormous list to try to find the artist….

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Web UI Platforms through Javascript sandboxes

Posted in Democratization of Information, Facebook, Geek, Google, Microsoft, Tech Industry, User Experience on October 8th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on Web UI Platforms through Javascript sandboxes

I see a trend of how we’re approaching Tim O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 ideal in a way that he didn’t really identify. But I think the trend is important, and growing, although still in its infancy. The trend is towards richer web APIs that enable people to build value on top of existing websites. I’ll give some history on how we got here, and talk about the current trend-leaders that I see: Facebook and Google Maps. I’ll also explain why I think Microsoft is in the best position to build the required enabling technology. Original Web 1.0 Universal access to massive…

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Can’t Gmail just POP my Inbox?

Posted in Google, Infoglut, User Experience on October 4th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on Can’t Gmail just POP my Inbox?

I access my gmail accounts through POP3 from my phone. The problem with doing this is that all messages get exposed through POP, even the ones that are filtered out of the inbox. This means that my phone which has much lower HCI bandwidth gets cluttered with all this list-mail that is less useful to me. I’ve configured gmail to filter this stuff out to be lower priority I’m using the web interfaces, but when I’m using a POP client, this filtering is lost. What I’d really like is the ability to configure the POP3 access with a checkbox saying…

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Why Desktop Computers Matter as Laptops Speed Up

Posted in Analysis, Gadgets, Transhumanism, Uploading, User Experience on September 27th, 2007 by leodirac – 12 Comments

I just got a new MacBook Pro of my very own which is undoubtedly the fastest computer I’ve ever owned. I hear a lot of people saying things like “I don’t think I’ll ever get another desktop computer again.” But to me there is one very good reason to own and use a desktop computer: Desktop computers can provide greater bandwidth connections between your brain and the net than laptop computers can. I’ll explain what this means. We’re quickly approaching a world where we’re always connected to the net in some manner or another. As we all know, the bandwidth…

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Gmail Slowing Down: Why and how to fix it

Posted in Computer Science, Geek, Google, User Experience on September 20th, 2007 by leodirac – Comments Off on Gmail Slowing Down: Why and how to fix it

Gmail feels like it is slowing down to me. Maybe my standards are going up. Or maybe gmail’s user base has grown to the point where the servers to run it cost real money to Google, and they’ve throttled the computing resources to an “acceptable level of performance.” But it bothers me when I hit the “archive” button and I have to wait half a second for the UI to respond. Sometimes even a couple of seconds. Why does it take so long? Just to get that line off my inbox screen? The answer lies in computer science. Gmail is…

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