Friday, February 27, 2009

Interact with computers more naturally

I am a big big fan of tablet. I have a tablet Lenovo X60. I could scroll it and fold it like a book, I could write smoothly on "Windows Journal" using the tablet pen, I could directly make notes on PPT, and I could do lots of other things. I took notes with it in class. I could write things very fast, add or delete anything very fast, and even totally rearrange the notes in a second. And my classmates love my notes. One of my favorite professor also likes to use tablet to annotate directly on his PPT, and my tablet is happy to serve him on one class when his notebook was not working right. I could draw or write on articles I read, just as what I did on a piece of paper!

I love the feeling of using a pen instead of using the mouse to draw a line, because that feels more natural!! And that's what computers should be! And I could not stop loving tablet ever since I got my first one. I got a small Nokia N810 tablet last year so that I have a tablet with me everywhere; My passion about tablet persuaded one of my office mate to buy one tablet for his mother as a gift, and invoke other office mates to start thinking about tablets; and even my brother owns a X61 tablet now~~
Yes, easier user interface! I wish one day people could use just fingers and voices to command the computer. Already, many people are beginning to use fingers to scroll on iPhone, and use the voice search on Google G1 phone. But more exciting things are awaiting!!

Are you excited also? No? Then see these videos:

Thursday, February 26, 2009

cell phone novel in US

With better network and cheaper fee, more people in the US are using cell phone to connect online. And at the same time, social network is boosting. People tend to spend more time online with their cell phones, writing short things using cell phone.

Japan is one of the most toughest cell phone market in the world. With fast technology innovation, critical users, and fierce competition. Cell phone novel market has been quite popular in Japan, such as the company named DeNa who owns Mobage-town. On Jan. 2008, DeNa opened an office in California, US. And it's expected that cell phone novel market will have a boost in the US. Waiting to see more popularity and trend in this in the US.

Monday, February 23, 2009

How technology improves our life (fun little stories)

Last Friday evening, several friends gathered together. I shared with them my surprise about finding the most popular applications for iPhone being so "simple, and sometimes naive". Yeah, how could we imagine that the most popular applications may simply be a fake picture of fire, or a fishing tank? All the people there are graduate students or MD, and we all laughed at those applications and thought that we would never need to use them.

It happened that, later that night, we had a surprise birthday party for two of our friends. Surprisingly, when the birthday cake was taken into the room, the candle is not lighted. The candles were wet, so could not be lighted!! "Oh, I wish my iPhone could show lightening candle~~"one of the friend with an iPhone shouted. All the room laughed. And at that moment, we suddenly understand why those applications are popular.

Guess how we solve the birthday candle problem at last? We turned off the light, opened a cell phone so it started blinking besides the cake. After the birthday wishes, we closed the cell phone, to simulate the blowing off of the candle light!! Clever, right? Yeah, that's how technology could improve our life :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Random thoughts about design

1. Why don't the file have a tag indicating about its reading status? We see people who read a lot having trouble manually organizing the files into different folders, such as "to be read", "already read", "read and important",..., and etc. Why can't we add some tags to the files, and then it's easier for us to sort them based on the tags besides the dates/types/names.

2. Why can't Gmail add some more user friendly features such as: what kind of emails I am expecting this week(for example, emails from some companies), what kind of emails I usually don't want to see but only want to see for a certain period(for example, when you book airplane ticket, you need their confirmation. But in other times, you may not want to see tons of ads on airplane tickets).

3. If there is a software that could detect what you're doing on your computer, and personalize several applications automatically for you, then it's great. For example, when I book a ticket, my gmail account knows that I am waiting for ticket confirmation/seat booking/boarding card printing. When I am interested in buying a product, it automatically asks me information about my need, and display most relevant product as well as user review, or even buy it for me and ship it. Um, maybe just a dream now.

4. When we want personalization, how much do we care about privacy?

5. When you find old traditional design is not good, how much risk there is to totally change it? Will it win you more new users, or drive away your old users?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

iPhone vs. G1

Things iPhone lack:
1. Do not have a keyboard
2. Cannot record video, and only 2 megapixel camera
3. Can't send Messages and forward (so no bulk messages during festivals)
4. No voice dialing
5. No cut, copy and past
6. Cannot replace battery on your own
7. Cannot view flash
8. No extensible memory card

lacking a keyboard giving iPhone some privileges -- it could be thinner and easier to carry, but some users find it uncomfortable to use the virtual keyboard.

No extensible memory card may be an issue to some users, when they need more memory. However, iPhone is offering initial 8G or 16G memory while Google only offers 1G initially. So it is your choice. Either to have a smaller memory but you could extend, but have a fixed larger memory.

Things G1 lacks:
1. T-mobile does not cover as much place as AT&T, and it's also slower
2. User interface design
3. Although the keyboard is a good feature, the phone does not have on-screen keyboard even for quick tasks. So you need to drag out the keyboard every time
4. Tightly tie to Google's online service. It doesn’t allow the use of Microsoft’s Exchange service for email, contacts or calendar items, or other companies over-the-air synchronization for contacts and appointments. This might be a strategy for keeping user loyalty for Google.

T-Mobile G1 vs. Apple iPhone 3G

Collection of user's experience:
iPhone fan: I like iPhone, it looks cool, and it's fashionable. It could satisfy my daily use, and make me feel joyful by its applications. Its user interface are easy to use.
(designers, doctors, graduate students)

G1 fan: It's really powerful. I could use ssh to connect to my Linux machine, download a lot of free softwares, and even write my own program.
(Software engineers, CS graduate students)

iPhone opponent: I don't like iPhone. It's fake, it generates fake feelings for us, we feel like we are touching a fish in the tank when we are actually just touching the screen.
(interactive designer)

G1 opponent: It does not look good, it's brick thick and dark color. I don't really the powerful computing function it offers, I just need it in my basic life. G1 does not look good enough to entertain me.
(iPhone user)

I think iPhone and G1 are targeting different users right now. iPhone are fashionable, but more limitations and higher monthly rate. G1 is powerful and gives more freedom, but less entertaining.

At first, I was quite shocked by the "top 10 iPhone apps you must have". They are so simple! Just some beautiful pictures without much real usage. And I found out that many CS students think like that.

Later on, I understand. Most users just want entertainment, and simple but well designed pictures could make them feel good. What's more, they could get it at a low price (around $0.99), a more economic way to entertain themselves than spending money for travelling or eating out in the current economy. And also, I learnt one important theory: people feel that the product is more powerful when it looks better.

top 10 must-have iphone apps (zz from CNN)

1. Crazy Disco
Crazy Disco
Price: $.99
Developer: Ezone
What it does: Revitalize the dullest of office parties with this rotating, sparkling disco ball, advertised by Ezone as a "great conversation starter." But there's more than one way to get down: developer Aaron Berk sells a rival app called "Disco Ball."