How can anyone not love this: a set of blinds with designs based on retro game stuff, like Pacman and Space Invaders. Just the thing for your retro gaming den. You do have a retro gaming den, right? Right?
I'm pretty tempted never to write anything about the iOS maps app again, but there's already starting to be a backlash against the backlash, so ill write one more thing.
I've seen a few comments out there to the effect that actually people should remember this is the first release, that mapping is hard, that it's not their fault Google wouldn't give them maps, and therefore Apple should be cut some slack. To my mind, this is nonsense. It's effectively grading Apple on a curve, giving them a pass to create something sub-standard because doing good maps is really tough.
But, as John Gruber puts it:
Anil is right about the bottom line though: the maps experience in iOS 6 is a downgrade. Users shouldn't (and won't) give a rip about behind the scenes negotiations.
And that's the thing: as an Apple customer and user, I don't care about the issues behind the scenes. Maps is now a poorer experience than it was a few days ago, and I want Apple to fix it fast because that's what I expect from them. As a tech writer, of course, I do care, because he behind-the-scenes machinations are where the real story is. But right now, it should be the customers who matter.
Miguel De Icanza on the Linux desktop and why it failed:
When faced with "this does not work", the community response was usually "you are doing it wrong".
That's been my experience of hanging out on open source forums looking for help and advice, too.
“This is an enormous challenge for ARM-based tablets running on Windows RT. because as of now, Metro Mail (sorry, I’m going to call it Metro until Microsoft gives us a real alternative) is the only mail client available for RT.
Unless some third party comes up with a more capable Metro mail client soon, I think RT tablets will effectively be disqualified for enterprise use. Yes, the Metro Mail app is an Exchange client, but it’s a wretched one, far worse than iPad Mail.”
So in other words, Microsoft has hobbled RT for use in enterprises, probably so business users will “upgrade” to the Intel version. Which means their tablet experience is likely to suck, thanks the Intel version’s inferior battery life.
Microsoft really never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.
In common with everyone else, I spent Wednesday night attempting to DDoS Apple’s servers by hammering them with update requests for all my iOS devices, plus all the applications, plus the odd Mac system update too. iOS 6 is, by and large, brilliant. I love shared Photo Streams. iMessage finally works how I expected it would. Panoramas are great.
But there’s one little problem: Maps. In short, it’s the most half-cooked piece of software that Apple has released in my memory, which goes back far longer than I’d care to admit. Worse than Ping? I think so: Ping was, after all, easy to ignore. Maps, on the other hand, is one of the core features of any mobile phone, and Apple has completely fluffed it.
Putting it bluntly, the maps on iOS are now so second rate that they’re a key advantage for Android, and one that I would expect Google to exploit as ruthlessly as possible. If you live in a major US city, I’m sure Apple’s maps are OK. You now get turn-by-turn navigation, which is great, and while Flyover looks like a novelty at first, it’s actually a pretty smart way of orienting yourself.
Outside the US, though, things are a little different. In London, the satellite images are decent enough, but weirdly the names of places are often slightly archaic. Step outside the M25, and the satellite images become blurry, pixellated, useless nonsense. The place names get worse (calling Daventry “Leamington” won’t win many friends in the Midlands). Businesses placed on the map seem to have been drawn from out of date data, in some cases fifteen years out of date.
Weirdly, it even incorporates trap streets that Google got rid of years ago. Search for Woodland Way in Canterbury. See Newark Street at the end? Doesn’t exist. If the satellite images were any good, you could see it going through two houses.
iOS Maps looks like what it is: something cobbled together fast from multiple sources of variable quality. And the problem is that for a core part of a mobile operating system, that’s nowhere near good enough.
Andy Rubin’s definition of “open”, October 2010:
the definition of open: “mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make”
“Aliyun uses the Android runtime, framework and tools. And your app store contains Android apps (including pirated Google apps). So there’s really no disputing that Aliyun is based on the Android platform and takes advantage of all the hard work that’s gone into that platform by the OHA.”
From “open to everyone to use” to castigating people for “[taking] advantage of all the hard work that’s gone into that platform by the OHA.”
Either it’s open, in which case everyone gets to take advantage of the work, or it isn’t, in which case Rubin needs to say it.
If Rubin believes, as he say, that Aliyun “contains pirated Google apps”, then they should sue, rather than pressuring partners not to work with them.
“The ‘re-imagined’ Windows isn’t about what the end user needs, it’s about what Microsoft needs. The end user needs a great user experience. Microsoft needs to have Windows 8 running on every form factor. When the two come into conflict, Microsoft has sacrificed the former in the hopes of achieving the latter.
Achieving a great user experience is hard enough when you’re really, really trying. It’s nigh on impossible to achieve when it is not your primary objective.”
Microsoft has always thrown users under the bus when it suits them – witness Windows Me…
“What the Fire has taught us before and will teach us again this week is that the biggest threat to Android tablets isn’t necessarily the iPad — it’s that the companies which make the devices aren’t totally invested in ensuring the Android platform succeeds.”
I’ve argued before that other companies in the Android eco-system aren’t Android’s best friends – this post makes that point well.
“Humans are creatures of habit. Keeping a number of credit cards in a wallet or purse and pulling out the correct one to make a purchase is not a massive inconvenience for many. The challenge with NFC is that its value proposition is only to replace credit cards in a commerce market. That is the only process it is addressing in a retail environment. Retailers have much more pressing problems to worry about. Like consumers using their stores to showroom and then go and buy online. Or other retailers rigorously competing to steal loyal customers, etc.
I am more interesting in technologies or opportunities to completely revolutionize the shopping experience. This is something NFC does not address.”
NFC is a solution in search of a problem.