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We, the users (part 1)

With great market share comes great responsibility

Buy an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, and you get to choose from thousands and thousands of "apps": software that ranges from full-blown business applications to games to novelty items. But before an app can make it to your iPhone, it has to make it onto the virtual shelves of the App Store... and that means convincing Apple that the app is worthy of inclusion.

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I just blogged to say I love you

Inviting positive customer feedback

Apple Survey Thank-you

I had a great customer care experience yesterday.  I had entrusted my MacBook Pro to the wonderful folks at Mac Station, our favourite Apple retailer and service center. But the drive replacement wasn't covered by warranty -- because Mac Station couldn't find a record of my AppleCare coverage. We quickly realized that my warranty hadn't transferred from a previous Mac, and that Apple would need to step in to complete the transfer. Mac Station gave me the Apple number to call, and I set to work.


iToaster(Steve Jobs at a microphone) And, not that it's any of your business, but I'm also the fifth Cylon.
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Customers throwing themselves at you? Might be nice to get their names.

Well, that took long enough.

But at last, the Rogers Wireless home page is updated to at least hint at the biggest news they've had all year:

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These week's vendetta: OS X 10.5 Leopard's imperfections

Like so much that comes from Apple, OS X 10.5 is a thing of beauty. Really and truly.

Oh, there are glitches like the way transluscent menu bar works... but on the whole, it's very nice.

Vendetta of the Week


After about a month of Leopardy goodness, here are a few of the spots I'm not enjoying so much. In fact, they're so thoroughly on my nerves that they've qualified as my Vendetta of the Week:

  • Spaces. That virtual desktop feature looked so promising at the outset, so wonderfully and thoughtfully implemented. But once you start launching documents and finding them turning up in seemingly arbitrary locations, and switching applications only to be taken to entirely unexpected desktops, the frustration mounts. I don't mind learning how a feature's quirks and foibles, and I'm prepared to put up with arbitrary behaviors... but not capricious, inconsistent ones. Kindly pick a system and stick to it, Apple.
  • My keyboard freezing. I'm not the only one with this problem: the system suddenly stops recognizing the keyboard for about a minute at a time. (Just the laptop keyboard; a USB keyboard still works fine.) Once it starts happening, the only way to stop it is to restart the computer. (Actually, I just noticed a forum post that suggests toggling Num Lock. By god, it worked. It's a pain, but it worked.) ...but only temporarily. I restarted. Update: Apple has released a fix.
  • The firewall. It's a colossal step backward from a place that wasn't that far forward to begin with. Yes, it's certainly simpler and easier to use; stripping out most of the useful features will do that for you.
  • Time Machine. As backup software, it couldn't be simpler, and bravo. But why can't I easily set my own preferred interval for backups... or force a backup right now?

Those are my beefs with Leopard. What are yours?

Added: How could I have forgotten? Clicking the "Save" button for attachments used to launch a handy dialog box allowing you to pick a destination folder. Now, it just dumps those files into a single pre-defined location – which I never, ever want to do. (To get around this, hold the button down and choose from the menu that appears.)

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The kid inside you may be Apple's secret weapon

Kelly Goto has a post suggesting the iPhone may be the breakthrough product in a category where promise has been tantalizing but success has been elusive: the ultra-mobile personal computer.

The success of the gesture-based touch screen interface is almost so fluid and easy to use it goes unnoticed. Even a 1-year old baby can use it. Since its release, many individuals formerly tethered to their laptops have admitted being able to switch to the iPhone for email and browsing when traveling. In many ways, the iPhone is the first ‘ultra mobile’ consumer device to give us a taste of tomorrow we can use today.

Go check out that video she links to. It's exactly as billed: a baby (okay... at 20 months, maybe a toddler) successfully navigating an iPhone app. It ain't exactly pivot tables in Excel, but this is still amazing to watch.

I left a comment on Kelly's blog. Here's the gist of it:

I don’t think that attractiveness of Mac technology to kids is an accident. The iPhone in particular has a vividness to it that’s only the latest in a line of recent design advances from the folks at Apple (remember OS X’s “lickable” interface?). From the little animation touches to the gorgeous, saturated, high-contrast graphics, Apple’s appealing not just to our inner efficiency expert, but also our inner child.

Maybe that’s part of the appeal of iPods, OS X and even the original Mac. Apple’s design aesthetic doesn’t just say “let’s work”, “let’s connect” or “let’s create” - it also says “let’s play.” That may be part of the reason some folks still find it hard to take Macs seriously in the workplace… but it’s also a big part of what makes using them so compelling...

Most projects don't have nearly the number of dollars available that Apple can throw at user experience, of course. But it's worth looking at your site, software, product or service, and asking if a little injection of playfulness wouldn't make a big difference.

By the way, we're going to see the latest iteration of Apple's come-out-and-play approach to interface design later this month when OS X 10.5, Leopard, is unleashed. We'll try to contain our sense of panting anticipation in our blog posts between now and then... but no promises.

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