Thursday, April 24, 2014

My favourite newsletter ever!

All these years of receiving newsletters via email, and sometimes Twitter, it just surprises me that most people forget that the whole point of a newsletter, is that it should be readable.

Case in point, look at a typical newsletter by a leading newspaper.
Now just think how this will show up on my mobile phone email application. Just URL garbage.

Case study, so that you know , my favourite newsletter, is the one I get from Quartz

Notice the difference? This one actually has text to read, even if I don't go to the website.

What people usually forget, is that the whole point of a newsletter, is to be updated regarding content on your portal, even when your portal is not available.

What do you think?

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Why Whatsapp sucks!

Whatsapp claims to protect privacy, but damn, did they get it all WRONG!
I mean, which privacy is worth keeping:
  1. The safety from advertisements in your messaging application which might potentially make your application free for you to use.
  2. The sharing of your number with potential stalkers within your workgroup or friend circle. It's like your phone number today, is some kind of public property where anyone can get access to your phone number just by being on the same group as you.
The next problem is continuing the conversation, especially since once you change your phone number, and use a phone which doesn't have all your old contacts, it essentially means that you need to start using Whatsapp again, from the beginning.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Carplay needs to get more serious! Introducing the Clever Car.

It's great that Apple is finally waking up to integrating the iPhone with the car. Ironic that the codename for the project was Stark, definitely there's a lot to learn from Ironman.

Here are my thoughts on what they really need to do, for the car to turn into a Clever Car are:
  1. Focus on combining internet and GPS towards creating a traffic flow detector, which will enable the driver of the car to take routes which have the least congestion on a real-time basis.
  2. In cars which have multiple traction and suspension settings, use GPS combined with roughness settings, to automatically select the mode, whether Race, Performance, Normal or Off-Road.
  3. Convert the phone, into a keyless remote, so that the doors automatically open, when the driver comes near the car, through detection of the phone.
  4. Create a seamless music experience, by automagically playing the last song from the music player on the phone.
  5. Detect friends in cars passing by and create an easy information exchange setting, so that contact information can easily be shared, and then the friend can be contacted directly over phone, chat or email, as per preference.
  6.  Like Ironman, what we need is a front camera integrated with the phone, which can easily recognise objects and read/record license plates for easy reference in case of any accident or incident.
 What would you like your clever car to do?

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Language is the biggest bane of usability and advertising

I find it surprising, that after years of talking and building user interfaces for computers and digital devices today, we still haven't figured out ways to make our user intercaces totally language free.

I mean, Apple started trying, with icon based menus for the personal computer with the Mac operating system, and then taking this forward with the Operating systems used on the iPhones, but today, where the option to open a new page in Safari had an icon with the "+" sign, today it says "New Tab".

This is the same problem with advertising today, especially on TV channels. The biggest irony, is that while TV channels in India are available in different languages(like English and Tamil for Discovery) as the touch of a button, the advertisement itself stays in the same language.

That may not look like a big problem in a country like England or America, where English is the language of choice, even for the programmer, but here in India, we need at least five languages to suitably communicate in our respective environments.

The problem is that programming as a concept, started in the developed, English speaking countries, whether it be C++, BASIC or Unix.

Today, this trend has moved to countries like Russia and India(where the programming language may be English, office language is British English, but the spoken language is either Hindi or the local language, like Tamil or Kannada).

So yes, you might agree that programming itself needs to change, but before that, we need to really work on the user interface and the marketing materials currently used.

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Sunday, April 06, 2014

Golden rules of Social Media from my Grandfather

For me, social media is a conversation you can have with anyone.
The two basic rules of social media for me,from something my grandfather said, are:
  1. Never discuss religion.
  2. Never discuss politics.
Atleast in the beginning directly discussing about race is a no no too.

That's why this whole deal about people getting arrested for making the wrong kind of comments about political parties on Facebook, seems all wrong.

Politics on social media, is not even a conversation. It's just various people with a agenda, trying to push it through.

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