Posts tagged “iphone”

Mary Ann’s War Story: Be Prepared

Ethnographer Mary Ann Sprague is forced to improvise when one slip changes her plan.

I have always taken great care and a certain amount of pride in always being on time and prepared for field sites and interviews. I thank my mentors for instilling this in me early on. I always made sure I had charged video and audio equipment, discussion guides, contact information, notebooks, extra writing implements, and power cords to carry on despite any possible problems. There have been the occasional failed battery, but I always had a spare, or my coworker had one. It’s never been a serious setback until this spring.

I was meeting my coworker at an elementary school for a teacher interview. Teacher free time is at a premium so I made a point of being on time and prepared to maximize the time we have together. On this occasion I arrived at the school parking lot a few minutes early, so I turned off my car and pulled out my iPhone to check messages. I did a mental check that I had everything in my backpack in the passenger seat. Everything was in order, so I relaxed for a couple minutes.

Just before the meeting time, I put my phone in my pocket, got out of the car, and hit the door lock. I walked around to grab my backpack and the door was locked. No problem I thought, I’ll go back to the driver’s side and unlock it. The driver’s door was locked, and the keys were still in the ignition with my equipment, questions and paper still locked in the car!

I called my husband and he agreed to drive home (luckily it wasn’t too far) to get my spare keys and deliver them (but still a good 40 minute wait). I went into the school to meet my coworker. She had relied on my previous level of preparation and had a notebook, but without the questions or any recording equipment.

Not wanting to reschedule, we met with the teacher. Luckily, the teacher had printed the list of questions I had emailed. I was frustrated because I didn’t want to miss any part of this conversation. The teacher was a wealth of information, but the information came out at warp speed and I worried about being able to keep up.

Thinking about what I had with me, I realized I had my iPhone, so I recorded the entire conversation using the voice messages app and took several pictures, as did my coworker, using our phones. I wrote my notes on the back of the question sheet from the teacher and we had a very interesting discussion. My husband met us in the parking lot just as we left our interview. Later, I was able to retrieve the audio through iTunes and convert it to listen on my PC.

Everything worked out in the end, but it was a shock to my confidence. I have since begun looking at other apps to capture audio on my iPhone so I have a better backup plan for the future, and my coworker now carries audio equipment at least so we are always prepared.

ChittahChattah Quickies

P&G gets innovative [Cincinnati.com] – The process behind Tide Pods includes lots and lots of research such as “talking” to 6,000 consumers. It appears this research was all done in simulated environments. I am bemused by the willing self-deception that if you put a couch in a lab, it makes the research contextual. I’d like to see P&G watching people do laundry in their real, non-idealized, messy, distracted, semi-functioning environment. Because then maybe you’d get takeaways richer than “Most laundry-doers are looking for a way to get it done faster.”

Inside the Beckett Ridge “home,” P&G researchers interviewed regular people as they sat in the comfortable couches of a mock family room or at the counter of a mock kitchen. They did the wash in a fully functioning laundry room. Through it all, they were videotaped and audiotaped, so P&G can capture how the wash gets done in a real-world setting…Back at Beckett Ridge, researchers worked on the packaging and the store display. Inside the “grocery store” with its six aisles, two checkout lanes and a self-scan lane, cameras are everywhere, recording how shoppers shop. The video feed can be streamed to any P&G Intranet site so questions and comments can be called in.

Never Too Early Movie Predictions – Sure, if we care at all, we’re still digesting the most recent Academy Awards. But forgot about 2012, this site has predictions through 2017. Sheesh, I haven’t seen any of these movies! Another moment where the corners of the Internet remind you that everyday life is filled with some genuine science fiction moments.

2015 Oscar Best Picture predictions
1. Noah
2. Citizen Hughes: The Power, The Money And The Madness
3. Churchill And Roosevelt
4. Avatar 2
5. The $700 Billion Man
6. The Color Of Lightening
7. Serena
8. Americana

Young Women Often Trendsetters in Vocal Patterns [NYT] – I had missed the original “vocal fry” hubbub a few months back, but I also enjoy how this article reframes young-female speech into a positive, leading-edge anthropological act.

Girls and women in their teens and 20s deserve credit for pioneering vocal trends and popular slang, adding that young women use these embellishments in much more sophisticated ways than people tend to realize. “A lot of these really flamboyant things you hear are cute, and girls are supposed to be cute,” said Penny Eckert, a professor of linguistics at Stanford. “But they’re not just using them because they’re girls. They’re using them to achieve some kind of interactional and stylistic end.” The latest linguistic curiosity to emerge from the petri dish of girl culture gained recognition in December, when researchers from Long Island University published a paper in The Journal of Voice. Working with what they acknowledged was a very small sample – recorded speech from 34 women ages 18 to 25 – the professors said they had found evidence of a new trend among female college students: a guttural fluttering of the vocal cords they called “vocal fry.” A classic example of vocal fry, best described as a raspy or croaking sound injected (usually) at the end of a sentence, can be heard when Mae West says, “Why don’t you come up sometime and see me,” or when Maya Rudolph mimics Maya Angelou on SNL.

Plastic Surgeons See iPhones Increase Demand for Cosmetic Procedures [Austin-Weston Center for Cosmetic Surgery] – It’s hard not to be cynical about this “press release” in which plastic surgeons tie the need for their services to a particularly hot tech brand. If you do this (the wrong way, at least) in China, you can get into trouble!

“Patients come in with their iPhones and show me how they look on [Apple’s video calling application] FaceTime,” says Dr. Sigal. “The angle at which the phone is held, with the caller looking downward into the camera, really captures any heaviness, fullness and sagging of the face and neck. People say ‘I never knew I looked like that! I need to do something!’ I’ve started calling it the ‘FaceTime Facelift’ effect. And we’ve developed procedures to specifically address it.” (via Kottke)

draw me in – Jeff Johnson’s quest to become a comic book extra. The best summary of the project – yet another example of the collapsing gulf between producer and consumer comes from this Wired article (quoted below).

Popping up in nearly 30 comic books, he has become the industry’s Waldo-a lurking stowaway who has managed to hijack the unlikeliest panels. “It’s the ultimate bragging right to go into a comic store and pick up a book you’re in,” says Johnson, a 30-year-old Kmart electronics clerk from Leavenworth, Kansas. His infamous glasses-and-goatee mug has been zombiefied (The Walking Dead), digitized (Tron: Betrayal), and placed alongside Sinestro (Green Lantern Corps), thanks to his ceaseless lobbying and the cooperation of artists. The idea sprang from a 2006 FHM contest in which entrants sent pictures of themselves in homemade costumes of villains; the winner (if you want to call it that) was drawn into Ultimate X-Men. Johnson didn’t want to dress up, so instead he handed out DrawMeIn flyers at Comic-Con, after which penciler Ryan Ottley worked him into Invincible.

From Us, To Steve: The techno present

For the Omni project we are exploring the impact of technology on people’s everyday lives. This has involved a lot of “looking out” into the world. Of course we are also “looking in” and paying attention to how technology is impacting our own lives, i.e. when it comes to tolerating traffic and making consensual decisions about birthday gifts.

Julie and I had the best of intentions: Head up to the Ferry Plaza building after a meeting in the city to pick up a gift for Steve for his birthday. We knew (more or less) that we wanted to get he and Anne some sort of serving dish from Heath Ceramics to complement the new tableware they purchased last month. Unfortunately traffic was not in our favor that day. As Julie practiced her patience at the wheel we noticed in the sunroof that a helicopter circled above- definitely not a good sign.

By the time we got to the Ferry building, Julie’s patience had run out.

JN: I do not want to deal with parking. Why don’t I just drop you off here and you can run in?

TC: Okay. Wait a minute. I thought we were gonna pick something out together?

JN: It’s fine. We talked about it. I’m sure you can pick something out.

TC: I want us to choose together! Okay, I will text you! Stay tuned!

I got to the shop and met Monica and Michael (whom I had already spoken with on the phone about our mission). They were ready to help and set to showing me exactly what Steve and Anne had purchased. I found myself in a race against time and battery when I saw the dreaded red percentage in the upper right corner of my iPhone. As a gift-giver I was focused on figuring out the present, but I also felt a bit frantic about making sure I had power enough left to find Julie once the shopping was done. The tingling butterflies in my stomach sang a tune of “you are new to this city, never been to this ‘hood before… if you get to 10% better run for the door…”

Julie assuages my fears of never finding her should my battery die before I get back outside to her car.

Monica showed me a bunch of serving platter options that would complement Steve and Anne’s new set. I texted these images to Julie with my suggestion. She agreed and we arrived quickly at a decision. The whole process, including gift wrapping, took less than 15 minutes. I walked out the door directly over to Julie’s car with a perfect present, selected in consensus, and a teeny tiny bit of battery to spare.

The techno-interventions into our gifting ritual did not end there. We planned to meet at Ho Wing’s General Store in the Mission for dinner on Sunday night (which, sadly, is so new it has no website or relevant hyperlinks as of yet). En route to the restaurant¬† the texts started flying among the three of us. *Nota bene: I typically comply with California hands free laws and do not text while driving. I have, however, trained my 8 year-old to masterfully multi-task between giving me directions via Google Maps and reading/replying to text messages.

iMéssage ?† trois illustrating communication of¬† our location, our confusion, our emotions and our search for why.

During our hunt for a birthday gift for Steve, I was reminded of the simple daily interventions of technology. I take for granted that the ways that technology enables me (and my 8¬† year-old) to find and communicate with friends, learn more about friends, stay connected, pass time, navigate, keep anxiety at bay (or not), and share decision making in a way that ensures we both have the same ‘data’. It’s hard to imagine that less than 10 years ago none of this experience would have been possible or, for what it’s worth, noteworthy.

Happy ending! Steve and Anne with their new tray (images courtesy of Steve and Anne…and technology)

 

 

Siri’s rising star

Siri, the scene-stealing voice-activated command center of the new iPhone 4S, has created quite a stir, inspiring at least one love song and a Tumblr documenting her pointed witticisms. She is certainly gaining on Autocorrect in popularity and possibly in perceived utility, if not hilarity.

Conceptually, voice interface holds great appeal. In our research, when we talk to people about their gadgets, voice is frequently suggested as the imagined ideal interface. People picture immediate interactions that eliminate pesky thumb typing and don’t distract from critical tasks, such as driving. But when we think a little more deeply about the concept of voice-command with people, it’s clear that this kind of out-loud interface is not the interface for all times and places. Even the voice interactions that have been around for awhile are out of favor. People prefer texting over voice-calls for privacy and expediency, and despise talking to automated systems.

While attending a conference over this past weekend, I personally overheard a man tersely exclaim, “Not NOW, Siri!” in the middle of a presentation. This suggests that relationships being formed with Siri are progressing beyond infatuation at an accelerated pace. We’ll be keeping an eye on how Siri’s use plays out in real-life situations over time and where the real value lies, as her undeniable charms wear off.

A couple of recent articles with interesting perspectives on Siri’s limits and potential impact:

Is Siri artificially intelligent or just a robot? [macleans.ca] – How does Siri come by her pithy attitude? This article suggests that it’s much the same way that Crispin Porter + Bogusky set up the hilarious Burger King marketing campaign 10 years ago, Subservient Chicken, in which a man dressed in a chicken suit seemed to respond to even the most ludicrous typed commands via a “live” interactive webcam set up in a shady-looking apartment. This was accomplished by staging clips with pre-programmed responses to a large enough number of imagined inquiries that verisimilitude was achieved.

The key to AI is the ability to creatively solve a problem. There’s no denying that Siri’s ability to recognize and translate voice plus grammar into usable data or actions qualifies. In that sense, Siri possesses what seems to be a good level of artificial intelligence. However, with the sort of stuff showing up on the websites…a good portion of Siri’s capabilities are likely simple programmed responses. It’s doubtful that even IBM’s Watson supercomputer, which not too long ago whupped human butt on Jeopardy, could construct such creative and funny responses as, “No comment, douche bag” to questions such as “Are you menstruating?” In such regards, Siri is more of a programmed robot than a thinking entity. Somebody somewhere-or more likely, many people somewhere-have spent a good deal of time anticipating and then programming Siri with potential questions and their respective answers, humourous or otherwise.

How Siri, the Apple iPhone 4S’s ‘Virtual Personal Assistant,’ Could Transform Music [billboard.biz] – Apps are just solutions to problems; this article suggests that, if uptake is significant, Siri might potentially eliminate the need to access specifically branded apps to get stuff done. Implications go well beyond music, obviously.

If an iPhone user asks Siri what the lyrics to “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey are, many people won’t care much whether TuneWiki or any other app fulfills the request. All that matters to them is that their request gets fulfilled in a timely manner, and that they’re soon happily singing, “Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world.” Similarly, if a user is seeking concert listings for the night, which match up to the songs on their iPhone, they’re unconcerned whether Songkick, Bandsintown, or Ticketmaster produces the results as long as they get them fast and accurately. Siri fundamentally changes how iPhone users think of apps, which is the point…Shazam and Pandora aren’t just apps; they’re features. To use them, a person should only need to know that they want to identify a song or listen to a custom radio station and-like magic-the desired process should occur. Siri can be the genie who makes it happen.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] An iPhone App Helps the Blind Identify Currency [NYTimes.com] – [Feature Evolution: Clever use of built-in iPhone camera and speaker to provide a critical service to the blind.] For the millions of blind people living in the United States, paying for something in cash can pose major challenges because there is no difference between the size and shape of a $1 or $100 bill. To tackle this problem, many blind people set up systems to identify a bill’s value by folding the notes into different sizes and shapes, which then make them easily identifiable later. A new application, the LookTel Money Reader, available for $2 on the Apple iOS platform, hopes to help solve this problem by taking advantage of the devices camera to “read money” and speak the value of the currency out loud.
  • [from julienorvaisas] How Designer Marc Ecko Is Using Foursquare to Spank School Spankers | Fast Company – [App Evolution: Foursquare is being employed as an tool of activism – a check-in at a school gets you user-generated reports of the school's record of corporal punishment. An interesting evolution of the application, potentially turning regular users/consumers/players into citizen-heroes, broadcasting more than just location.] Beyond the Foursquare integration, there's a larger game element at play. "Think of Unlimited Justice as a game, where you're the hero. But, instead of saving some far away, imaginary land, you're doing good, right here, in America," Ecko says in his promotional YouTube video. Users of the service not only find out about school that practice spanking, they rack up points on a leader board as they watch videos, connect over social networks, and voice their discontent over the practice to leaders. "Go viral, spread the word, and build your credibility as the ultimate activist."
  • [from steve_portigal] Core77 Design Awards – [Bring distributed collaboration to the awards game, Core enters the game just as the game is changing. Well done!] Instead of bringing everyone to one location, we took a new approach to assembling the jury, distributing the field globally. No plane fuel, more legroom. Our Jury Captains are based in 13 cities spread around eight countries. Each will recruit four people from their area to form a locally-based multidisciplinary Jury Team. They get to do the judging in their own location, and we’ll provide the snacks. Once their results are finalized and validated, the teams will reconvene for a live web broadcast revealing their Winners, Runners-up and Notables, and the reasoning behind their choices. And they’ll do it all without jet lag.

A trip to MacWorld: Going mobile

A relative newcomer to the Bay Area, I decided it was mandatory to attend MacWorld. I was not as much on the look-out for the latest whiz-bang technological innovations, as I was interested in where small-scale entrepreneurs were putting their energy. Where are people are going with this whole iThing?

Focus was squarely on the iPad and iPhone, with Macs getting little attention. They chould call it iWorld. Let’s go mobile!

The now-iconic iPad billboards always made me laugh because I thought, “No one sits like that!”

But I was wrong. This guy does!

Of all the many, many (many) stands and cases at the show, the product he’s demonstrating, PadPivot, was actually among the most inventive, folding up into a tight little package. It’s a versatile combo stand/lapstand/pivot that can help you orient the iPad to an angle that is comfortable to use no matter where, or how, you’re sitting. Bonus points for not having an “i” in their product name. Of all the wonders that the iPad has unleashed, it possible that one of them is an altogether new way to sit?

iFusion must think that we have very short memories. This iPhone docking-station that strongly resembles an old-school phone is being marketed as “revolutionary.” Useful? Yes. A good idea? Probably. But revolutionary? Complete with “i.”

Your wife is tired of kicking and nudging you when you snore.This app will now do it for her.

Act quickly! iGrill is perfect for the big game, enabling you to check out various SuperBowl-related marketing gimmicks, watch highlight videos and keep tabs on the turkey, which is, against all logic, talking to your grill and your iPad. It took the spokesman a while to explain the concept to an interested couple, who nodded agreeably. iTurkey?

With the TVHat you can enjoy “adult entertainment” whenever you want, and your friends, colleagues and wife will be none-the-wiser. Careful with your hands though – they are not covered by the privacy shield. It’s worth checking out the flyer they were distributing, which is remarkable for the both implications of the photos and the fearless copy (“Privacy and watching what you want where you want is a basic right! Enjoy adult content anywhere.”). The TVHat has been around; curious why they chose to market it for it’s adult-entertainment-enjoying potential at this particular event. Are they in possession of some revealing market research data on MacWorld attendees?

This man and his friends had the most “Off Tha Chain” idea at MacWorld, though they weren’t eligible for a statuette claiming such a prize as they were handing out flyers and marketing their incredible product unsanctioned. The kits they promote through their Dallas-based company Digital Trend Setters turn your iPad/iPhone around to face the world. With flair. The group was proudly broadcasting their favorite music videos and personal graffiti-esque art. While everyone else in the hall had the devices turned onto themselves, using them to create and enchance their own personal world, these guys literally turned it around.

I saw a lot of good, bad and ugly in my spin around MacWorld, but running into this crew at the end rendered the rest of what the show offered rather drab and dull by comparison. Their relatively simple, low-tech spin on the technology really is revolutionary. It may not be for everyone, but for some, it can fundamentally change motivations for purchasing, as well as the way the product is used and perceived. In their own words, here’s what Digital Trendsetters is all about:

This group of highly-motivated individuals insist on working together to inspire the world through creative works of art and talent using the latest high-tech gadgets as part of fashion. Our main objective is to offer outstanding ideas and styles to secure cell phones, iPods, and other mobile devices while on the go. The skills we have obtained are utilized through these devices to show, express, or promote media as an inexpensive way to create awareness. Our mission is to constantly be innovative & expand our products into different markets to create a cycle for generations to follow. The products we sell provide the best marketing solution for promotional use & enjoyable moments during events, ad campaigns, workouts, and performances as a fashionable idea.

And all with nary an “i.” Rock on!

Check out the end of Steve’s post from last year’s SXSW festival, Cutting through Clutter at SXSW for another iPad-wearing observation!

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] A gadget’s life: From gee-whiz to junk [WaPo] – [An interactive graphic that shows the price-adjusted adoption curves of consumer electronics (TVs, phones, fax machines, mobile phones, printers, computers, modems, VCRs, camcorders, digital cameras, DVD players, boomboxes, radios, CD players, MP3 players). Via @Waxy]
  • [from julienorvaisas] Boredom Enthusiasts Discover the Pleasures of Understimulation [WSJ.com] – [Kindred spirits celebrate the benefits and glory of all-things boring! For the researcher not much actually qualifies as boring.] For seven hours, 20 speakers held forth on a range of seemingly dreary diversions, from "The Intangible Beauty of Car Park Roofs" and "Personal Reflections on the English Breakfast," to "The Draw in Test Match Cricket" and "My Relationship With Bus Routes." Meanwhile, some of the 200 audience members—each of whom had paid £15 (about $24) for a ticket—tried not to nod off. Karen Christopher of Chicago, who now lives in London, found at least one presentation so wearisome that she stopped paying attention. "I started thinking about Swedish police procedurals instead," she said. The organizers did their best to keep the audience alert. Many viewers brought coffee, and each received a goodie bag containing an energy bar. After a much-needed break, a drawing was held. Some of the winners got a DVD called "Helvetica," a 2007 documentary about typography.
  • [from steve_portigal] Verizon iPhone Won’t Fit Many Existing iPhone 4 Cases [Technologizer] – [Technology designers giveth, and they taketh away. The process of shopping for accessories just got more complex; Yes, you have an iPhone but what KIND of iPhone?] It appears the Verizon iPhone uses a slightly different antenna design that repositions the gaps between the phone’s multiple external antennas (found in the metal ring around the phone’s outer edge). Along with this change, the phone’s Ring/Silent switch has been moved ever-so-slightly closer to the bottom of the phone. While the difference between the switch positions may seem small, it’s enough that a protective iPhone case made for the original iPhone 4—the version sold by AT&T here in the U.S.—may not work with the Verizon iPhone 4. Specifically, if a case covers the edges of the phone, providing separate precision openings for the Ring/Silent switch and the volume buttons, there’s a good chance that the switch opening will be in the wrong location—in other words, the case will block access to the Ring/Silent switch.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from steve_portigal] NoseDial iPhone app – [The craziest workaround I've seen. Also reveals the cost of producing WTF solutions is falling to near zero] Whether you're at the Christmas market, taking a winter walk or out skiing – you don't have to take off your gloves when you want to call your friends on your iPhone anymore. Now you can dial using your nose. NoseDial isn't just a favorites list you can style individually. The app also shows you pictures of your friends and allows you to navigate through your contacts by tilting your iPhone and to then call them using your nose. Forget special touchscreen gloves and iPhone input pens, just call using your nose. This saves money and is a lot more fun.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] Yes Men Attack Apple, Advertising Special "Conflict-Free" iPhone [Fast Company] – [I blogged earlier this month about the increasing but not-always-pleasant transparency emerging around the ingredients and manufacturing practices that enable our beloved gadgets. Well, the Yes Men have taken hold of the idea. Their fake web site raises some good questions. What do we do, now that we know?] The Yes Men, the group of clever activist/designer pranksters, struck again this week–or tried to. Their target this time? Apple. They launched a website that was a spitting image for Apple's, and professed to be announcing a new product: the iPhone4CF. 'CF' stood for conflict-free, and the site promised that the new phone was exactly like the normal iPhone 4, only it didn't source its minerals from conflict-ridden regions like the Democratic Republic of Congo, thereby fueling atrocities there. The Yes Men has taken on some very big targets in the past–Chevron, the US Chamber of Commerce–but they seem to have met their match in Apple.

Cupcake Take: Julie

We believe in the power of transparency at many different levels. We regularly advise our clients to leverage transparency as a design strategy. Over the years, our research repeatedly shows that people are more comfortable when they know where their stuff comes from, what’s in it, and who’s making it, and that this comfort leads to good things like loyalty, brand affinity, adoption.

Transparency around gadgets is getting some attention these days. Some of the spotlight has been focused on

While our shiny devices have made our individual worlds more transparent through features such as GPS, augmented reality and user reviews, the devices themselves still feel magical. Their origins and inner workings are utterly mysterious. As our relationships with these devices deepen, as a culture we are becoming more interested in what we’re consuming.

Take a look at how transparency feels in this much lower-tech analog: gourmet cupcakes. At a cupcake shop in San Diego, ingredients were featured rather than hidden because of a refrigerator malfunction. The backstage became front-and-center, as Steve talks about here.

As a customer, it felt great to have a window into the process, in a kind of “Stars: They’re Just Like Us!” way. Gourmet cupcakes are made of the same things we use at home! Wholesome! Recognizable! Comforting! Trustworthy. When I took a bite of the finished product my enjoyment was subtly enhanced by knowing what I was sinking my teeth into.

Transparency as a policy is risky in some cases, of course. Knowing more about my cupcake felt good; finding out about what’s inside my iPhone is not producing those same reassuring feelings!

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] Six scientists tell us about the most accurate science fiction in their fields [Mad Science io9] – [Brief interviews with scientists discussing where some of the real science resides in our science fiction. Great comments thread, including this one: "The other side of the coin is how has science benefited from science fiction stories."] Ronald Arkin, director of the Mobile Robotics Lab, Georgia Tech: "Realistic depictions of robots are pretty boring, so there's not much to say on what is accurate or not. No positronic brains, no running amok killing everyone and everything. I guess that's the fiction in science fiction. You watch enough videos of robots at real research conferences and it's hard to stay awake… Anyway, [one] comes to mind that is a bit more accurate than most: Hal 9000, in 2001, apart from his apparent psychotic episode, is a robotic system that people live inside. Current research agendas, in human-robot interaction, task planning, command and control, etc., could conceivably lead to such an intelligent system."
  • [from steve_portigal] Will You Try My Paper iPhone App? [Techcrunch] – [Stanford HCI student gets soundly criticized for seeking feedback on paper prototype with actual users! The drama – as often on the web – really takes off in the comments.] When I looked down at his hands, however, instead of an iPhone, he held a few pieces of paper with wireframe drawings in pencil. This was his app. I was supposed to pretend the paper was an iPhone screen and press the hand-drawn buttons as I shuffled through the flow. The idea is that you could point your camera at a magazine rack and get digital versions of the magazines, which you could preview on your iPhone and then purchase individual articles or the entire magazine. It made a lot more sense when he did it (see video). Now, there is nothing wrong with getting your ideas down on paper or paper prototypes to work out the kinks before you start coding. But you might want to wait until you have an actual working app on an iPhone before testing it out in the wild and asking for feedback from normal people.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from Dan_Soltzberg] The Media Equation – The Antenna Uproar – No Hair Shirt for Jobs [NYTimes.com] – [In the case of the missing iPhone signal, traditional publication Consumer Reports had more impact than younger, leading-edge media sources] How did Consumer Reports make Apple blink? In large measure, the article in Consumer Reports was devastating precisely because the magazine (and its Web site) are not part of the hotheaded digital press. Although Gizmodo and other techie blogs had reached the same conclusions earlier, Consumer Reports made a noise that was heard beyond the Valley because it has a widely respected protocol of testing and old-world credibility.
  • [from Dan_Soltzberg] Pop-Up Magazine [website] – [The return of the variety show? Media channel-bending experiment marries a magazine-esque approach to content with the ephemeral nature of live performance.]
  • [from steve_portigal] Concern for Those Who Screen the Web for Barbarity [NYTimes.com] – [Mind you, these consequences serve to reinforce the value of the service] With the rise of Web sites built around material submitted by users, the surge in Internet screening services has brought a growing awareness that the jobs can have mental health consequences for the reviewers. One major outsourcing firm hired a local psychologist to assess how it was affecting its 500 content moderators. The psychologist developed a screening test so the company could evaluate potential employees, and helped its supervisors identify signals that the work was taking a toll on employees. Ms. Laperal also reached some unsettling conclusions in her interviews with content moderators. She said they were likely to become depressed or angry, have trouble forming relationships and suffer from decreased sexual appetites. Small percentages said they had reacted to unpleasant images by vomiting or crying. “The images interfere with their thinking processes. It messes up the way you react to your partner.

ChittahChattah Quickies

Make it work!

I put one of the new iPhones in my hand the other day after reading about the “iPhone Death Grip.” Sure enough, holding the phone naturally in either my left or right hand covered up at least two of the antenna bars that have been at the center of the recent Jobs vs. Users fracas.

According to an email published on MacRumors, Jobs’ take on the problem was: “Non issue. Just avoid holding it in that way.”

How is it that a company like Apple that is lauded for its focus on design puts out a handheld device that doesn’t work in the hand? Whether this is a cynical ploy to sell cases or just bad design, it points to a lack of respect for fundamentals.

What a year it’s been – cars that won’t stop, an oil spill deja vu that reveals an absolute lack of learning from past mistakes, phones that don’t make calls.

Mies van der Rohe said, “God is in the details,” I say survival is in getting the basics right.

ChittahChattah Quickies

  • [from julienorvaisas] App Creep and the Case for the Mobile Browser [www.gigaom.com] – [Interesting blog post observing that apps, as they are all at the same level, create confusion and navigation issues when they start to pile up into the 100s, and wondering how app-creep will affect behavior and choices both for consumers and providers.] Contrary to what some are predicting will be a stronger movement toward native apps and a marginalization of the browser in the age of the mobile web, I see something different: an eventual balancing out. Native apps will always be on mobile phones, but as a kind of premier gallery of a person’s most beloved ones. Sooner than later, most companies seeking our attention will do so through a browser.
  • [from julienorvaisas] Doodle Jump Reaches Five Million Downloads [Bits Blog – NYTimes.com] – [Doodle Jump continues to leap into cultural relevance one little, tiny platform at a time.] Doodle the Doodler has appeared on the Jimmy Fallon “Late Night” show and has shown up in fashion accessories for Lady Gaga, among others. Meanwhile, Doodle Jump constantly updates with new designs to give the game a new look. The brothers recently released a soccer theme and plan to release an underwater theme in the coming months. The brothers are also looking into creating an animated series based on Doodle the Doodler and the monsters in the game. As my colleague Jenna Wortham reported in April in The Times, Doodle Jump fans can also expect an iPad application.
  • [from Dan_Soltzberg] Perpetual Storytelling Apparatus [Julius von Bismarck & Benjamin Maus] – [This automated drawing machine provides a new way to synthesize and examine cultural trends. The machine uses a visual language derived from patent drawings to translate the text from best-selling books into illustrations] Seven million patents — linked by over 22 million references — form the vocabulary. By using references to earlier patents, it is possible to find paths between arbitrary patents. They form a kind of subtext. New visual connections and narrative layers emerge through the interweaving of the story with the depiction of technical developments.
  • [from Dan_Soltzberg] Stop-Motion Papercraft Storytelling [trendhunter.com] – [The Inventor of Onitsuka Tiger and Asics athletic footwear recounts with an origami-based video how he got started and how Asics develops new ideas. The narration is a little out of sequence with the visual, but it's still a great piece of storytelling]

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