To The Accessory Crap Heap

Tuesday June 23, 07.53.59

Yes, an old original iPhone car charger and…what’s this? The iPhone 3Gs cannot take the same charging accessories as the iPhone original!? So..basically the introduction of something new forces something old to be tossed out? Maybe there’s something that can be done with the old charger, but, I mean…really? Is this “Good Design” or adhering to those Green sensibilities that Apple is so often associated?

Think not.

Epic Fail. Epic, epic fail. I’m slack jawed. Shocking.

Why do I blog this? Something is always wrong. The whole smash barely works, seriously. It’s not uncommon to get Apple fetishists asking me why Nokia does not do things as cool. There are all kinds of good and bad reasons. But, one of the good ones that makes the most sense to me is that Nokia has to design compatibility (which it does not always do well, to be honest) across hundreds of its factories’ products, and with so much stuff out in the world that, every year if you put them all end-to-end? They’d wrap around the world more than once. But, if you make three or so phones and you can’t get them all to use the same charging specifications? That’s just really bad. Imagine, every upgrade has someone tossing some entirely opaque hunk of plastic and electronics into a bin.

(Oh yeah. Rem Koolhaus’ wonderful Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan is about the only happy thing in this photo.)

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iCal Interface Fail

iCal Consistent Fail

You’d think that scheduling would be one of the easier problems to work out, but clearly there are these simple little constant fails. Here’s a scheduling event for a conference call I will have in a couple of weeks. The call will likely happen when I’m in Helsinki, but the invite is for some other time zone. But, I can’t seem to assign a time zone to the appointment. That’s a hole, but, wait..there’s more. My computer won’t know what timezone it will be in — I guess it could check Dopplr or something — but it won’t just know based on context, or the orientation of the stars. I’d have to set the clock when I get there, but then I won’t know what time it is back home, which I like to know for staying in touch and not calling home at weird times or just to have some sort of lightweight affinity relationship back home.

But, here’s the real perplexing thing. What the f**k is up with iCal always giving me ridiculous numbers of minutes-prior-to.. alarm selections? I mean..really. I’m not being asshole-y, I actually really want to know why that is there? If it’s a bug, why is it still there after, like..years of iCal?


Design for Cardinality

Interface fail. Evidently, the ordering of the apartments inside here is different from the screwed-on doorbells so one of the tenants improvised a new user interface. Hysterical.

The implied cardinality here of apartments — top to bottom? alphabetical? — must have been poorly communicated. But the question is — why not take the more robust and fault-tolerant solution to swap the order of the paper signs taped to the inside of the door’s glass? A passing prankster might find a small bit of amusement in putting up a new post-it, perhaps with “C” and “D” instead of “A” and “B”..(ahem..)

Why would Nicolas blog this? To consider when cardinal ordering schemas do or do not imply specific interface templates. Is it a design principle that letters lower in the cardinal alphabetical “scale” go on top? Or, do they go on the bottom, as in the heuristic that basement, underground apartments always have letters, such as the dingy Apt. B, next to the boiler room?

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When Engineers Design

When Engineers Design

..respectfully. I’m an engineer, too, who is learning Design. But these sorts of things — not done on purpose of course — reveal the seams between purely functional and designed-with-love. This isn’t fun. It works. It gets the job done. But it’s robotron to the point of disrespectfully, especially nowadays. I could understand this if we were in the good old Univac or VAX days. But, ‘cmon.

Anyway. Off to reboot 10 for a day or two of decompiling..

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