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Tag: Technology

Pokemon Go is already over

The speed of memes has been rising exponentially since the industrial revolution. When I was a child and a new idea or fad became popular it would take 1-2 years for the idea to spread and take a few more years for it to become officially dead. Just look at mullets from the 80’s! Last week Pokemon Go hit the world like a ton of bricks. There was literally hundreds of people roaming the streets staring at their phones while walking. Today, I visibly can see a drastic diminishment of the zombie numbers on the sidewalks. My oldest kid said he…

Analytics Design vs. Interaction Design

Interaction Design is easy for me. I can see the big picture and architect the system with all of the right patterns. When it comes to Analytics Design, I find my inner muse drags its feet. I am not talking about designing a BI tool like Tableau or Good Data. These have some interesting interactions. I am talking about the Analytics section of a workflow application. In my mind, there are two types of people. Dashboard people and analytical people. Dashboard People This is the majority of people. They don’t want to slice and dice and explore. They want to…

Social Network Connection Categories

I have Facebook friends, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections and Google contacts. If you put most of them in front of me, I would have no idea who they are. Why am I connected to all these people? I actually know about 5% of my social connections. How does that help me or anyone else? Think of the taxonomy of people in your network. There is, of course, a million variations such as “Used to be friends, but we have fallen apart” or “I worked closely with them 6 years ago.” However, that doesn’t lend itself to a coherent network. I have…

Silicon Valley Product Marketing

I am not officially trained in anything in particular. I’ve learned from practice for the past 22 years. Over the years, I have headed UX, Product Management, Training, Documentation and Product Marketing. Each area has a different set of mental models and techniques to do a good job. I have seen people who were masters of each area, but on average I find the quality level to be lacking. Maybe I have my bar set too high. For product marketing in particular, there are a few areas that I think should be done much better than what I see. For the…

The Future of Email

I have been emailing for around 25 years. It was the original killer app of the internet. Quick communication with immediate delivery. It has had a tremendous run, but I am starting to see signs of its demise. Here is a brief timeline of my email experience: Compuserve – You emailed people based on their ID. Like 23524556@compuserve.com. It was inhuman and lame. However, it was still better than sending snail mail. AOL – My cousin and I shared an account which was one of the first 1000 subscribers with the handle freeness@aol.com. It was a stupid name, but it…

Browser Extensions: The New Platform

There have been many business software platforms over the last 20 years. Usually, these things go in waves of popularity. Some examples that were very popular: Novell Windows 3.1/95 Netscape Flash (short lived) IE6 iPhone/iPad Android Facebook Salesforce I see a new platform gaining in popularity: Browser Extensions. I have been compiling more and more. They are coming out from many software vendors. The reality is that people still use their laptops. iPads and smart phones are great for gaming and light work, but they just aren’t popular as the primary business device. Go into any business office and you…

Google Inbox/Calendar vs Outlook

I have not had an easy time adjusting to Google Apps. GMail is ugly, Inbox is pretty but severely limited and Google Calendar is deeply frustrating. More and more, I have been missing the power and elegance of Microsoft Outlook. I decided to try and use Outlook on top of Google Apps. At first, I tried to configure the settings manually. This failed spectacularly. Interestingly, I got this passive aggressive email from Google. Notice the language: Someone just tried to sign in to your Google Account from an app that doesn’t meet modern security standards. We strongly recommend that you…

Product Idea: Microsoft UX Storyboards

CAVEAT: I design B2B Applications, not marketing websites. The following is specifically targeted at that kind of project. I’ve been using PowerPoint since 2007 for UI storyboard design with much success. I’ve posted several blog posts about it: Using PowerPoint for Storyboards Suggestion for MS PowerPoint PowerPoint 2007 for UX Design Storyboards or Prototypes? UX and PRDs I think Microsoft should release a good B2B UI design tool. This feels like a major gap in their development offerings. And I am not even going to acknowledge MS Expression’s existence! It’s that useless to me. Instead,  Microsoft should release a modified version…

Android N Beta Testing

I am addicted to beta testing. I saw an article about Google allowing Android N beta testing to anyone who wanted it. It warned that there are tons of bugs and that you should never try to use it on your everyday phone. I literally clicked the button to install it within 10 seconds of reading the article. There wasn’t even a question in my mind. Boom! Beta test! I haven’t been using it long enough to review properly. The notifications have changed alot. It makes me think that anyone who’s business depends on notifications being consistent are going to…

Privacy vs Value

The news today about Apple is very interesting. They were ordered by a federal judge to give prosecutors backdoor access to the San Bernadino shooter’s iPhone. Many privacy advocates are aghast. Apple has refused to comply. This is likely to go to the Supreme Court in the future. It raises a larger issue when weighing privacy vs. value. In this case, the question is asking whether expectations of privacy are more important than law enforcement ability to detect and deter crime (value). Over the last century this question has been tested against numerous technologies. Wire tapping, audio amplification, search and…

Feature Idea for OS and Cloud Storage

The rise of randomware is terrifying. Can you imagine losing all your files unless you pay ransom? Ugh! The best protection is the backup your files to the cloud. I use a combination of services for different things. One feature I don’t see on these services or on the operating system is the ability to make a folder public but with a shared password. This is very useful for things like portfolio pieces that you don’t want to be indexed by search engines or generally available, but you want to give access to particular people.  Sharing is too complex to…

Feature Idea for Calendars

People at work often have very (VERY) busy schedules with back-to-back-to-back meetings. Of course, they are usually in different places so you end up being late to every single meeting when you just count travel. Additionally, travel isn’t the only thing you need to do. You need to prepare for the meeting. This means reviewing notes and emails. For interviews it means checking LinkedIn. For User Research it means preparing your materials and UI presentation. All of this takes time. The feature I propose is to automatically put 30 minutes before every single meeting you accept called “Meeting Prep”. This…

The UX of Google Calendar (2016)

I reviewed Google calendar previously (2007). It was quite good. I had very nice things to say. Fast forward 9 years. It’s the same damn thing. No noteworthy enhancements. What the hell is going on over there? The styling is old and crusty. Do I really need to see 12am-6am? Can’t it zoom? Free busy scheduling is clunky. When I make an all day event, it doesn’t even change the view. Microsoft Outlook/Calendar is much better. Office 365 is outpacing Google on innovation. The UI is fresher and the functions are more useful. Come on Google, pull it together! I…

DirecTV-Ready TVs are Slow

Typing lefty… For the holidays, I upgraded my TV to a fancy 4k Sony Bravia with Android TV. It was billed as DirecTV-ready. No box needed, fewer wires. I would go into detail, but typing is hard. Long story short, it sucks. Crazy slow, terrible UX. Changing the channel took 10 seconds. Fast-forward through recordings was unresponsive and skittish. If you paused a show and then god forbid pressed the wrong button on the remote, you would lose the buffer. I reverted back to the box. Lame deal guys. Not good. hand cramp.

The $200 Laptop (Jan 2016)

When I design, I get user feedback with a technique I call Beta Fish. I make designs and then show them to prospective customers. They give me feedback and help me understand the nuances of the use cases.  I do this by powering up Gotomeeting and screen-sharing my designs. I usually turn on video conference. (It’s not a revolutionary technique, I admit) So here is the catch, my current expensive Dell XPS 13 fancy pants laptop crashes every time I try to share my screen. Can you believe that? It’s driving me crazy. I think it’s a driver issue, most likely…

Account Based Marketing

For the better part of the last ten years, I have seen the world through the eyes of a demand generation marketer. Starting with Kelly Abner and working through thousands of others, my point of view was how to help them create more leads and nurture them through a funnel. Now that I have started at Engagio, I have switched my glasses from demand generation to account based marketing (ABM). Now, the world looks very different to me. I see signs of ABM everywhere I look. Some examples: A group of people in a company are discussing a particular customer.…

Open Letter to LinkedIn

Dear Mr./Mrs LinkedIn, You have the most potential and most fuckups of any site on the web. I love you and I hate you. The Good You are THE defacto social network for professionals. There are plenty of times that your user interface does the right thing. Discovery of new people is usually pretty accurate. The interface to build your resume is excellent and has replaced paper resumes in many cases. As a recruiting tool, you have become the best source out there. Craigslist has not innovated and you have become the place to get a job as well as…

My Crazy Dell Adventure

One perk of a new job is getting a new computer and monitor. I made several terrible mistakes. Here we go… The Wrong Laptop I did some research and decided on the Dell XPS 13. It has crazy high 4k resolution (3200 x 1800) and a super fast processor. Plus a touch screen. In hindsight, these were all mistakes. I really don’t need a touch screen, I don’t need the high resolution. Windows doesn’t handle high resolution perfectly, especially with a second monitor. The Wrong Port The XPS 13 comes with a USB Type-C (3.1) port. It does NOT have…

My Designer Software Kit

It’s fun to set up a new computer. I have the new Dell XPS 13 running Windows 10 (insider fast track). The resolution is a ridiculous 3200×1800. If a program doesn’t have proper scaling it looks itty bitty. So anyway, I set up my new machine. Here is a list of my desktop software: (doesn’t include any web software like WordPress, Trello, etc) Google Drive Desktop App – Great service Slack Desktop App – No more email! Photoshop Microsoft Office 2016 Icons8 – my new favorite icon system Firefox – Chrome is great, but I am trying Firefox these days…

Feeding or Slaying the Dragon

I’ve heard the expression from executives, “Let’s slay this dragon once and for all.” What they mean is “We have had complaints from customers on [topic x]. Let’s do a project that makes all of those complaints go away. The dragon in this metaphor is the complaints that customers have. I think this is the wrong way of thinking about it. You can not completely eliminate customer complaints. In fact, they are a healthy sign that people care and are actively using the product. If no one complains, that is a very bad sign.Also, when you do a project to…

The UX of Podcasts

Sometimes I am early to the party. For example, I was an early user of HTML (1994), CSS (1997) and jQuery (2006). However, one technology I never got into was podcasts. (Until last week.) I listen to NPR alot and always liked This American Life, Public Radio International and Freakonomics Radio. However, I kept noticing that I had to get out of the car before the program was over. I kept missing 50% or more of the broadcast. Of course, I have had an iPod in my car for music, but I just never adopted podcasting as a way to listen…

Streaming Video Services Compared 2015

Recently, I have turned out Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix and DirecTV. They all have certain benefits and different UX. This isn’t a comprehensive review, but hopefully is helpful to you. There are so many ways to use these services. The xBox, native TV apps, DirecTV, Roku, Amazon Fire stick, WDTV, iPad, Android Phone, desktop PC, etc etc. It’s staggering how many different modes of delivery there are. This must be a business development professionals dream come true. For example, Amazon allowed Hulu Plus on their Fire TV. It’s hard to tell which is better on which platform. Amazon Prime Amazon…

The UX of Windows 10 (Part 1)

I’ve been using Windows 10 for a couple of months now. I have been a beta tester of every windows operating system since Windows 95. I am not an Apple Fanboy by any stretch. I have been a fan of Microsoft products include Office for decades. I think I can be fairly objective here. In a nutshell, Windows 10 is an unfinished piece of shit operating system that is completely off base for the majority of its users. I say this with all due respect. It’s a massive piece of software and the platform of choice for most businesses. It’s…

Google Drive vs. Microsoft OneDrive

I have been using OneDrive for a while now as our cloud service. However, complaints have forced me to reconsider. Here is a quick summary of my thoughts on the subject. Pricing OneDrive pricing. 15 GB Free 100 GB $1.99/month 200 GB $3.99/month 1 TB $6.99/month (includes Office 365) Google Drive Pricing. 15 GB Free 100 GB $1.99/month 1 TB $9.99/month (includes Google Apps) They both offer office apps, but the full Microsoft Office suite is much more powerful and has both online and offline versions. With that said, Google is still 50% more expensive at the 1TB level. Price…

My First Patent

I actually hate patents. I think they undermine the creativity and progress of technology and startups. There is a great radio program on how software patents are awful and have lost all modern meaning they once held. (Produced by This American Life in 2011) However, when I was told that there was a bonus involved, I quickly threw my morals to the curb and signed the documents. Yes, I see the dilemma here. How can I be proud of having a thing that I think is terrible? I have no answer other than plain vanilla greed for money. I won’t justify the…

The UX of the Nexus 6

I recently traded in my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 for a Nexus 6.  I wanted the latest greatest OS from Google.  I could have gotten an iPhone 6 Plus or a Galaxy S6 (or Note 3) or other device, but I chose the Nexus mainly because I wanted to get the latest OS quicker. (Current version is 5.1 Lollipop)  It is the software, not the hardware that interests me the most. One thing to note, I wear a Asus Zenwatch (and love it). Hardware The screen is big, duh. 6″. I like having a big phone and 6″ is just about…

The UX of Windows 10 beta

Let’s get something out of the way.  I appreciate Apple, but I don’t like MacOS X.  I have many different kinds of devices, iPods, iPads, Laptops, Wearables, Mac Minis and desktops.  They have a wide array of operating systems.  I think iOS is brilliant for the iPad/iPod/iPhone family.  However, I think MacOS X is inferior to  the latest versions of Windows. I could spend the whole post explaining why, but here is the short list: I hate the way windows maximize.  Aero Snap on Windows is a million times better and anyone who disagrees has never used Aero Snap. The…

Size Matters

Contrary to what you have heard, size matters. However, bigger isn’t always better.  Here is the rundown: Taller In business, if you are taller, you are more likely to be promoted.  Also, in SmartPhones, a taller screen is helpful.  Especially if you are scrolling down.  In fact, I have three screens on my desk. See below. Notice how the middle monitor is turned sideways?  That is because It allows me to read more of the email.  Wider isn’t useful for that, taller is.  I like my smart phone’s to be tall for the same reason.  I can see more text…

Passwords still suck

I hate passwords in general.  The weird Cr@zyPa$$w0rd style that people ask for today ensures that users will never remember them and just write them down at their desk.  They are also difficult to type. The worst offenders are like Dell below.  They demand that you use only a few special characters $?=.,  Seriously?? You can’t use ! or %. WTF?     For a long time, LinkedIn wouldn’t accept ANY special characters.  Some people disallow spaces. It’s all nonsense. We have been promised a better system for ages.  Nothing seems to show up. I believe that Smart Phones are…

CES and buying a Chromebook

Apparently CES, the big electronics show is happening today.  This means there are announcements all day about new great laptops.  I can’t buy one now.  I need to wait until they ship in February. In the meantime, I need to get something to replace the broken Samsung Series 9 that I bought in June 2011. (Which we loved for a long time) I decided to try out a Chromebook.  Specifically, I chose the Toshiba CB35-B3340 13.3-Inch Chromebook 2. It won’t run Windows software like Word or Excel, but should run Google apps fine and possibly run Microsoft cloud apps as…