Skip to main content


Showing posts from June, 2013

iOS7 Beta Impressions

As expected, at the recent Apple WWDC event, Apple announced a major revamp of iOS, with iOS7. Claiming to modernize the user interface, add updated multitasking, and overall a much more modern and elegant experience, iOS7 was released to developers in a beta at the conclusion of the event, with us unwashed masses promised the final version in the fall (most likely with a new addition to the iPhone/iPad family). But this intrepid iOS user was not to be deterred: I wanted iOS7 now.  So, armed with little more than a vague desire, I launched my quest to get. that. damned. beta. This is my story. So, my first challenge: how to get in the rarified air of Apple considering me a developer worthy of the beta. I expected to have to embark on a crash CodeAcademy course, or a torchlit ceremony of Steve Jobs worshipping. Anything Cupertino could throw at me, I was ready. I'd fool these high priests of code, and escape with the beta prize, with none the wiser. So steeled, I launched my que

iOS: Rethinking The Calendar

Apple's iOS has routinely been beat up for the user interface in the stock apps that come with the iPhone/iPad. Lately, the criticism has been on the use of "skeumorphic" design (i.e. design elements meant to resemble a real-world analog, like the use of simulated wood and green felt on Game Center or the simulated  brass casing on the compass), but lost in the noise is the real challenge: making the apps much more useful. Today, let's look at the iOS Calendar app and some of the alternative versions that may make you rethink using it. First, the standard app. Like most calendar apps, derives it's look from the classic paper DayTimer from the analog age. Decent information delivery, with the option to switch between List, Day, Week and Month views. Good separation and use of the screen real estate to display all day events vs. timed ones. A separate drawer to manage received calendar invitations. Prominent controls to go to Today, vs. whatever day you are on.

Airbnb meets rental cars: Hello, Flightcar

Would you rent your personal car out to a traveler? That's what Flightcar , a new company operating out of San Francisco and Boston, want to help you say "yes" to. What if I told you your car would be covered by a $1 million insurance policy? And that you'd get free parking at the airport? And that you'd get free valet curbside service to your flight and when you arrive? And that your car would be professionally cleaned before your arrival...for free? Not convinced? Ok, tell you what: what if I throw in a $10 gas card? OK, that answers the question of why you'd want to list your car. But what about renting a car? Would you choose Flightcar? Why? For an upcoming trip to Boston, I priced rental cars out: the least expensive for about $500 for a compact for the time I will be there. Flightcar? How about a swanky 2009 Lexus GS for less than half that? You even get to see a picture of the car, learn about its owner, its description, mileage, and they throw in

Pebble Impressions and Update

Thanks to the folks here who voted , I opted to expedite my Pebble experience, eschewing the Grey color I originally chose, and going for the Black. A couple of weeks later, and my wrist was wrapped with a Pebble. Voila! Thank you all for your encouragement; the results were overwhelming in favor of the going for it now. Good job, Internet! So, now that I finally have the smartwatch I have been waiting for, for a year, what do I think? I haven't worn a watch for nearly 15 years. I stopped wearing one because I have an innate sense of time (or have carried an electronic device at least that long that has a clock in it), and wearing a watch made me tense. So, I was a bit concerned that the old familiar tension would come back, but I'm happy to report it's not the case. Part of it seems to be that, since it is truly redundant as a timepiece for me, and 15 years of conditioning to look elsewhere for the time, I simply don't consider it as a tireless taskmaster (