It’s been a while…

Dear blog,

Welcome to Friday. It’s 6.41am and I am at a bus stop, waiting for the bus to the Uni. It’s 13.6F, but with the breeze, feels like 8.7F, according to WeatherAU app on my beloved iPhone 5. Running the new iOS 7, more on that later. I’ve taken my gloves off – and yep, the app is correct. Nice to verify the app;)

Why so early? Well, it’s a great chance to get work done when it is quiet at the Uni. Two solid hours of quiet. I practice Ukelele, work on my thesis, (teaser), mark assignments, work on lectures. Plus my body is most tolerant now, and I sleep so poorly that I am awake at 3 it seems nowadays.

I have not been blogging since semester 2. I only have so much time, after all. But this morning I realised I often spend twenty minutes playing in my iPhone at the bus stop – why not resume blogging (and my poor neglected journal – Day One is the must have multi platform app for that!)

Teaching two subjects is so much of a time vacuum. Rewriting one as I go makes it hugely so. So, being me (pause for bus) (now on bus) I enrolled in my Honors degree stream. I always felt bad about not finishing my B.IT (Bachelor of Information Technology), degree. With RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning), I qualify to do the four year B.IT Hons degree. And of course, being me, that’s not enough. I want a PhD. I’ve always dreamt of that. Why?

A PhD seems like a weird life goal. When I was originally at Uni 20 odd (some very odd) years ago, I longed to stay there. I looked with awe at the lecturers – even the Post Grads seemed involved in something so special, so – aspirational. A huge fan of Dorothy L Sayers, her ‘Gaudy Night‘ was a book that captured that sense that a University was a place if something higher – higher standards, loftier intentions. learning in its purest form. Now, amongst it all, I am perhaps more realistic, and my awe is also lessened, (we lecturers turn out to be just people after all!), but the passion for knowledge, scientific rigor, and the joy of collaboration and research is strengthened. While lecturers are more human than many students give us credit for, we genuinely believe in what we are doing – and everyone I work with genuinely CARES about what not only their research, but also the students, and their importance.

Anyway, here I am on an early bus heading in to work on my thesis presentation (lecturing to a hundred students is not nearly as scary as presenting to ten or fifteen people about what my thesis is covering). I will talk more about that another time:)

Oh, and iOS 7? As someone passionate about the user, about UI, and interfaces – a solid round of applause Apple. A big leap – with much of the improvement a subtle thing that many won’t notice, the big ticket items garner the attention,but from my point of view, there is much behaviour that is a huge step into a new and exciting direction.

I will be back, dear blog. I have found the corner of time needed, and after all – It’s About Time.

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Owning Social Networks (without them owning you)

twitter logo map 09

twitter logo map 09 (Photo credit: The Next Web)

A list of fixes for social networks made me start commenting with my own list, and it got longer than my one or two sentence post to a socnet alone rule. These become actual blog then socnet posts. And that is rule number 1.

2. I am not owned by my socnets. Sometimes I answer a comment. I guarantee I read every single response, but unless it merits a reply, I merely acknowledge and note whether that is someone I will follow more closely. I do not have time for anything else.

3. I try to allocate a session each day, a half to one hour postarama, with augments throughout day if I stumble across articles I find interesting. For everything I post interests me. If I miss a day due to

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

busy life, well, so be it.

4. I post only for me, and never look at viewing numbers, and only occasionally check out how many are following – for what do those numbers mean?

5. I am trying to blog once a day on longer form things that interest me – see rule one. More if something makes me want to, else one is sufficient, and see rule 3.

6. I sanity check email one big burst a day, trying for the same time each day, then allow ten minutes each two hour block to sanity check. Again, it does not own me, and I have had no complaints. Of course I am still drowning in it, but it helps!

7. If multiple socnets, post once, disseminate everywhere. Things like IFTTT.com or various extensions and plugins allow you to blog then post to many networks – Google Plus feeds through to Twitter. I have tried but failed due to Google Plus API to do blog (WordPress) to G+ then Twitter and Tumbler, but I have. WP extension to try tomorrow that may work, but I have to lower security and turn off two factor authentication, thanks Google, that sucks.

8. No, no Facebook, too hard and too socially weird for me, I tried a couple of times and ended up overwhelmed, and being friended by people who aren’t of course really friends. I prefer quality. The way G+ handles relationships just works better for me, and I despise FB rules on privacy.

9. I also handle accounts for Flinders Uni CSEM, so Hootsuite is my friend. As is having the same tools configured on every platform/tool, so I can quickly post.

10. GOTO 1 ;)

Top 10 Facebook, Twitter And Other Social Annoyances You Can Fix Now | Lifehacker Australia.

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Google – can it compete with Facebook? Or anyone besides search engines?


Image via Wikipedia

Farhad Manjoo has this article running atm : Google+ had a chance to compete with Facebook. Not anymore. – Slate Magazine.

It got me thinking. Look, i love Google+. It is the same rush of intense gratitude for a service I had when first using Facebook, before it becoame so big and monstrous (all things to all people works for some, not me, and that’s ok). Google+ combines that with the integration of its other services. Wonderful. And blessed shock, for once, the interface is good. Not great, but good. Damning with faint praise.

I have written often on how, from a developer pov (and a user who wants so much to embrace their products), their UI is woeful, and they could benefit hugely from feedback from both developers and users there. I have an iPhone4. My husband has the Samsung Galaxy 2. I look at it, and admire it, but I wouldn’t swap for the world, and he is NOT enjoying Android – but I can see how much the iOS would suit him. I have tried living in Android world, I have had Android handsets, and always gone back to iOS. And I WANT to live in a Googleverse. But Apple UI beats them hands down – and I know of others working in Android who regretfully feel the same way. (Often they are people who care about UI and the user experience too).

But being a developer in Android, I know how hard it is to get Google to take feedback. By hard, I mean damn impossible. They are like a black box – feedback goes in, their own ideas come out. And we at the Serval Project want to work with them – they have teams working on similar ideas to us in mesh networking.It has been interesting at the IEEE 802 PLenary how many people say the same thing about Google being hard to connect to, to work with. And that is a pity. Because we get technical genius that misses the need – Wave, Buzz. They brush it off as learning, and integrate useful bits. But that is expensive, and alienates users. The more they do that, the more cynical people are about their products, and the further behind they are.

So in reading Farhad’s article, I so want to disagree with him, I really do. But he is probably right, because Google hasn’t learned that lesson yet.

But if you ever are Google – let’s talk.

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A site about Siri responses:)

STSS, aka Shit That Siri Says, is rather fun, and shows what a deep understanding Apple has of their market. They knew people would push the envelope, and have shown a lot of style in being ready for it.

But this is for me to enjoy later – right now, i must work on a better understanding of IEEE procedures, not enjoy this site – oh what fun though! must…resist..

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Cult of personality: a reflection on coverage of Steve Jobs – The Drum Opinion (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

I mourn the loss of a visionary, but like many, i am alarmed at how much the media is attributing to his ‘amazing unique talent’. Yes, it was amazing, he was the Henry Ford of our time, but he was a deeply flawed and contradictory man. Like all geniuses. Like all people. He surrounded himself with genius such as Jonny Ives, and the brilliance of Steve Wozniak. And, Apple has cases to anser in manufacturing (the FoxConn factory suicide rate remains an ugly testament to first world malfeasance and greed – and i am no innocent there). So, balance people. That is all i ask. But i will continue to post any clever tribute – i think they deserve kudos in and of themselves.

Jobs (at least in his later life from about 1995) was a very clever businessman, able to spot a market trend and to profit from it. He made a fortune out of developing the cast-off computer animated design business of George Lucas of Star Wars fame, which became Pixar, the producer of the Toy Story movies.

He then moved on to exploiting the rise of the internet and smartphone technology, for which the iPod can be seen to be the pre-cursor. All very clever stuff and worthy of high praise, but not a cult of personality that has been fostered around him, and now is asserted as the proper basis for his memory.

Indeed, Jobs was just as ruthless a businessman in his success as, say, Henry Ford. The exploitation of his business partner, Steve Wozniak, is quite inexplicable. The denial (for a time) of the existence of a daughter, Lisa, quite bizarre.

There must, therefore, be balance in the historical record that marks out Steve Jobs‘s greatness.

It is to be hoped that the silly expressions of emotion on his passing will be replaced by more nuanced and sober assessments, and the sooner the better, before there is a clamour for the beatification of the blessed Jobs of Silicon Valley.

It was, after all, the apple that was the cause of all the initial fuss, was it not?

via The modern cult of personality: a reflection on the death of Steve Jobs – The Drum Opinion (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

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The secret numerology behind the iPhone event invitation | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog

It’s been announced.

Invitations to Apple’s iPhone event on October 4th have been sent out, and we asked famed numerology expert Helmut Weltschmertz (see photo at right) of the Koblenz Institute of Numerology and Used Car Sales to tell us exactly what the numbers and symbols on the invitation meant. Here’s what Dr. Weltschmertz was able to surmise for TUAW:

via The secret numerology behind the iPhone event invitation | TUAW – The Unofficial Apple Weblog.


Oh, this made me snigger.

The difference between Design and Development matters.

Android robot logo.

Image via Wikipedia

A post from me in my incarnation as serious developer type in my project mode: The Difference between Design vs Development

One in which i grumble about the state of Android development, in particular, UI design which is finally being recognised as a actually a different thing to development – which iOS has known form the beginning. Also contains a link to the first set of Guidelines to designing for Android that treats it as proper design (well, that i have found).

Android, i love you to bits and all, but honestly, iOS has everything in one set of documents because they recognise how vital both elements are.

And until you get it, dear Android, iOS will continue to offer a (mostly) superior user experience (notifications suck, iOS, you can’t boast yet).

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Leaving the walled garden

Google Nexus One vs Apple iPhone
Image by Yang and Yun’s Album via Flickr

I did something contraindicated by statistics, (those who know me are rarely surprised by this).

I voluntarily gave up my beloved iPhone 3Gs – for a Google Nexus One. Yes, I have given up the phone that I have cherished, since release, that has persuaded so many people to change their ways due to my usage of it (and every one of them has loved their own iPhone in turn). Me, Apple fangirl.

You see, I have not always been just an Apple fangirl. Just about all my tech life, I have been in love with Linux – the principles, the way of crowd sourcing development. I still think you could easily stack Ubuntu up against Windows and wonder why you would bother with the proprietary costly Windows. I never got the whole Cult of Mac.

Then, I got my iPhone. There was no other phone like it, then. It rocked. Shortly, I had moved into a shiny Macbook Pro, a 24″ Mac screen, and then – the iPad. Apple saturation, and I still love those products to death.

But now, here I am happily using a Nexus One. Not an intuitive leap. Why go (what many would regard as) backwards, given the shiny new iPhone 4?

It started as a result of Serval. Dr Paul got one for the project, (we had been using HT Dreams, nice enough, but, not a patch on the iPhone). Then, playing with is Nexus One, I found myself liking the plucky little underdog. It felt more real. More phone like, less computer.

Lately i had been feeling like having the iPad and iPhone were a tad overkill, too duplicating of services. Also, since this project started, and my involvement with it has exponentially increased to the point where i am now doing pre study for Masters, to swap into PhD territory, the direction I wanted to go has been clearer. I had been thinking of Apple development. I may still develop a version of the Serval software for the iPhone – I would dearly like to, in fact.

But, it is time to immerse myself in the cleaner world of Open Source. Stop living in the perfumed walled garden of Apple delights, and become more grounded in reality, in all it’s kludgy inconvenience (mourning my beloved speaker dock system atm).

I thought I might blog my progress in this. I am not sure if it will last. I have given myself two weeks to conduct the experiment. The fate of my old friend, my first Apple foray, is assured no matter what. There is a willing home waiting for him with my middle daughter, who has been not so secretly (subtle is not a strong point of this family, and her in particular – so like her mother) lusting after one…

So, later today, I will write about days one and two. The change.

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Translation From Apple’s Unique Dialect of PR-Speak to English of the ‘Letter From Apple Regarding iPhone 4′

Apple Iphone and Apple Iphone 3G
Image by Ninja M. via Flickr

Translation From Apple’s Unique Dialect of PR-Speak to English of the ‘Letter From Apple Regarding iPhone 4’

Friday, 2 July 2010

Source: “Letter From Apple Regarding iPhone 4”.

The iPhone 4 has been the most successful product launch in Apple’s history. It has been judged by reviewers around the world to be the best smartphone ever, and users have told us that they love it. So we were surprised when we read reports of reception problems, and we immediately began investigating them. Here is what we have learned.

We cannot believe we had to write this fucking letter.

To start with, gripping almost any mobile phone in certain ways will reduce its reception by 1 or more bars. This is true of iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, as well as many Droid, Nokia and RIM phones.

We cannot believe we’re getting shit for this.

But some users have reported that iPhone 4 can drop 4 or 5 bars when tightly held in a way which covers the black strip in the lower left corner of the metal band. This is a far bigger drop than normal, and as a result some have accused the iPhone 4 of having a faulty antenna design.

(No translation necessary.)

At the same time, we continue to read articles and receive hundreds of emails from users saying that iPhone 4 reception is better than the iPhone 3GS. They are delighted. This matches our own experience and testing. What can explain all of this?

It really is a better antenna and gets better reception, overall, than any previous iPhone. That’s really the hell of this whole goddamn situation. It’s like a two steps forward, one step back design, except maybe more like three steps forward, because this thing is faster at downloading, 10 times faster at uploading, and most importantly is better at not dropping calls with a weak signal. But, yes, there’s that one step back, wherein it can suffer from unintended attenuation when you bridge the lower-left antenna gap with your skin, and frankly, we’re a little pissed that this one step back is getting all the attention.

We have discovered the cause of this dramatic drop in bars, and it is both simple and surprising.

We are going to blame AT&T.

Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong. Our formula, in many instances, mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength. For example, we sometimes display 4 bars when we should be displaying as few as 2 bars.

We decided from the outset to set the formula for our bars-of-signal strength indicator to make the iPhone look good — to make it look as if it “gets more bars”. That decision has now bitten us on our ass.

Users observing a drop of several bars when they grip their iPhone in a certain way are most likely in an area with very weak signal strength, but they don’t know it because we are erroneously displaying 4 or 5 bars. Their big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place.

Yes, with no case on the phone, your signal strength can drop by about 20 or even 30 percent depending how you hold the phone. We’re going to change the bar algorithm so that you’ll only lose one bar (maybe two, if you’re holding the phone obnoxiously tight or have gross sweaty palms) if you’re holding it that way.

To fix this, we are adopting AT&T’s recently recommended formula for calculating how many bars to display for a given signal strength. The real signal strength remains the same, but the iPhone’s bars will report it far more accurately, providing users a much better indication of the reception they will get in a given area. We are also making bars 1, 2 and 3 a bit taller so they will be easier to see.

We are braced for the backlash when, after installing this update, people who weren’t experiencing any problems at all with their iPhones start complaining, loudly, that their phones which used to get five bars now only get three or two or whatever from the same locations, and we all know — us and everyone reading this — that Gizmodo will immediately declare that the update has made iPhone 4 reception worse, even though we’ve just explained that we’re not changing anything related to actual reception, but rather only to how we indicate signal strength.

We will issue a free software update within a few weeks that incorporates the corrected formula. Since this mistake has been present since the original iPhone, this software update will also be available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G.

(No translation necessary.)

We have gone back to our labs and retested everything, and the results are the same — the iPhone 4’s wireless performance is the best we have ever shipped. For the vast majority of users who have not been troubled by this issue, this software update will only make your bars more accurate. For those who have had concerns, we apologize for any anxiety we may have caused.

Don’t fuck this thing up for us. We mean, have you seen the Retina Display?

As a reminder, if you are not fully satisfied, you can return your undamaged iPhone to any Apple Retail Store or the online Apple Store within 30 days of purchase for a full refund.

We dare you.

And take your class action suits filed four days after we released the goddamn thing and stick them up your fucking asses.

We hope you love the iPhone 4 as much as we do.

Seriously, have you seen it?

Thank you for your patience and support.

Don’t hold it that way, or buy a case.

Brilliantly funny – nsfw language, but oh so cleverly used:)
The Daring Fireball site is ALWAYS clever, witty, and laugh out loud genius.
Scary insightful, too…

Posted via email from timelady’s posterous

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Last bits of the day

Apple I at the Smithsonian Museum
Image via Wikipedia

Apple Carves Out A Special App Store Area For “Awesome iOS 4 Apps”. So, developers, lesson is get in early!

Infographic of the Day: The Rise of User-Generated Porn – oh wow. There is no comment i want to make on this one:)

Wanted: A Bike Basket Perfect for Eames Freaks – i love these! I wonder if could adapt for wheelchair?

This is a really insightful issue. I do struggle a bit with enthusiasm with the products i use that work, and atm, every damn Apple thing I have bought just works beautifully – and everyone who i have shown them to, (who has ended up getting them based on their enthusiasm more than my recommendation), has loved them too. iPad, iPhone, Macbook & Macbook Pro, and the screens, gorgeous screens – no, i love their stuff. My kids like Windows and Linux, and are also comfortable with my Mac.

Would not hesitate to sing praises of latest Ubuntu install either, mind you, and have told friends if you MUST use Windows, Windows 7 is pretty good – finally a Windows product I could use. I just really like the Apple products, the finish, the software.

Does that make me a fangirl? Possibly. I just can only recommend things that work well for me. Anyway : The Art of Being Pragmatic In a World of Fanboys.

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