Wow! I love my iPhone…

blogging, good design, google, review, user interface design

What an amazing tool. The iPhone is such an enabler. I am writing this blog right now from my iPhone. I never would have thought that something like this would be this easy. At this point I can check email, write my blog, keep in touch through IM, social networks, oh and make phone calls.

The one thing I’m learning to appreciate is good design and development. Some of the applications I’m looking at are just not not very well thought out.

The real consideration needs to be me, the end user. What does the customer have to do to accomplish their job? If the developer can’t walk in the user’s shoes more likely than not the product will not do it’s best to aid the user in their task… Doing their job. So does that mean that the developer has not done theirs?

I think this is the challenge that all developers must accept. Their success or failure is in how well the product accomplishes it’s goals. My first goal as a user interface designer is meeting the user where they are, not where I want them to be. Know the task, understand the user, and always strive for the elegant solution.

Where is web design today?

bad design, Flash, good design, google, Graphic Design, review, SEO, user interface design, web design, web development

Many people now rely on the web as a source for their lifestyles; research, maps, gossip, movie rentals, shopping. Now that this tool is so heavily used I thought it would be good to think about where it started, and where it is today from a design perspective. In the early days websites were pretty horrible to look at, lots of blinking, flashing things, dancing hamsters, BIG FONTS, red text on black backgrounds etc… (I could go on, but I know some of you are already getting nauseous. Thankfully most of the world wide web has moved past designs like these:

Motorcycle Safety Gear

bicycling, commuting, education, google, Motorcycle, Road Rash

I am constantly surprised by the attire that I see fellow motorcyclists riding around in. Early on I had a very strong opinion that more protection is better than less. As a longtime bicyclist I was well aware of the results of laying down a bicycle on the road, and these crashes didn’t even involve cars, 350lbs motorcycles, or speeds over 50 MPH. Let me illustrate why I think protection for motorcyclists is highly underrated.

RIP Windows 2000, Hello again to Linux

google, Linux, reliability, review, Vista

I started out using computers a long time ago. Here is a brief re-cap: My first computer was a Commodore PET, simple and fun. I moved form platform to platform as different options became available for me to experience: Apple II’s at school, a Mac SE that my parents bought, PCs running DOS for Autocad. From that point on I stuck with DOS/Windows based machines because I had invested in software for that platform.

As most people know, Windows is a double edged sword, it seems easy at first but there are lots of potholes on this road. Windows 3.1 seemed to become corrupted almost weekly, and I was constantly re-installing it. Windows 95 was more stable, but you always had to exit into DOS to get some applications to run. Windows NT 4 suffered a similar problem as 95, and was drastically different in terms of system administration. Windows 98, and ME were really only patches to 95 to support USB and a few other technologies. And then finally windows 2000. Stable and robust like NT 4, but more inline with the workstation user than NT 4 which really felt like a server environment. I really liked Win2K. Even after XP came out, Win2K was better because it was just as stable as XP, but could be run on half the computer that XP required. Half the RAM, drive space, and video card. Eventually XP’s bells and whistles won me over and I switched. It made some tasks really easy, and the improvements from day to day were enough to convince me to switch. When I built my new PC I wanted to move XP onto it, so I had to decide whether I wanted to shell out for another license of XP, or try something more daring. I settled on trying Linux.

Spam Arrest, Are they still spammers?

google, Marketing, spam

I just got an unsolicited email this morning from Spam Arrest. The email was from joelt@spamarrest.com.

I wasn’t aware of Spam Arrest so I did a Google search to see what I could find out. I discovered quite a few pages detailing the poor practices of the company. I would think it would be in bad taste to spam people to use your anti-spam product. No worse I suppose than installing malware on people’s computers and extorting them to pay you to remove other malware applications.

According to this email I emailed some guy at www.joel.net. For kicks I followed the rabbit hole to see what was at the other end. Joel Thomas seems to be a web developer, but at no point do I recall emailing him. I just submitted an email via his form mail on his site to see if he can shed some light on the subject. We’ll see what happens.

I will update this as details arrive.

UPDATE: I did hear back from the gentleman that uses Spam Arrest, but he didn’t conform what the first emails was that I supposedly sent to him. It’s a tricky system. He can’t see my email until I reply to his. His email was from some automated bot so I have no intention of replying to it. So now neither of us will ever know what that initial email was. Probably spam made to look like it was from me…

Google Analytics Beta

good design, google, user interface design, web design, web development

google-analytics-beta
I was just visiting Google Analytics and noticed a fresh new interface. The graphs are bolder, and the data seems to be better organized. All good news for everyone using this free Google service. Oh, pay no attention to the dismal traffic that my pitiful excuse for a web site is currently drawing…unless you want to spread the word to bring me all kinds of traffic.

SEO and Google

google, SEO, white hat

This article started off as a simple premise, I would use the experience I had gained while at InsWeb to write an article describing the ins and outs of trying to push a site to the top of Google’s organic search engine rankings. This of course was to be an example based on pushing the InsWeb site to the top of the charts, but now that I no longer work there this presents a bit of a challenge. So I switched angles and thought, why not work towards pushing my own site to the top of the rankings, or at least as far as I could… So here goes.