Software, Slowly, Gets Better

Is it just me, or are software developers beginning to get their users? For a long time I’ve felt the only real innovation in software has been in online applications, Web 2.0 non-apps—simple services that exist in your browser—but now it seems that ordinary apps are getting better too. Evernote, I feel, is one that’s …

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Word Processing: Still in the Dark Ages

I’m amazed by how word processing is still in the dark ages, considering it’s what we spend most of our day doing. Case in point is Microsoft Word 2007, which throws all sorts of weirdness—artefacts, I guess we’d call them—in text. Try scrolling through a longish document—anything over 5,000 words—and you get this kind of …

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What Your Product Does You Might Not Know About

Empty vodka bottles used for selling petrol, Bali Tools often serve purposes the designers didn’t necessarily intend — increasing their stickiness for users but in a way not clearly understood by the creator. Take the System Tray in Windows for example (and in the bar, whatever it’s called, in Macs.) And this array currently sitting …

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Software’s Opportunity Cost

I’ve never seen this properly studied, and only rarely taken into account by software developers: the opportunity cost of committing to one service or program over another. In a word: Why is it software that’s in charge, not the data itself? An obvious one is Twitter vs Jaiku. Which one to embrace? Jaiku actually has …

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It’s Not Always About Online

Software developers used to write programs that looked and worked great on their big-monitored, big-powered, big-hard drived computers, forgetting that most of us have small screens, weak computers and no disk space. Now, with Web 2.0, they’re writing programs that assume we’re always online. Well, we’re not. Cameron Reilly of The Podcast Network, trying to …

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A Lesson From the Underground

Security is as much about giving people information as it is about building security systems. That’s the message from the managing director of the London Undergound, Tim O’Toole, but it could as easily apply to personal computer security. Don Phillips’ piece in today’s International Herald Tribune could offer useful lessons to software developers and anyone trying …

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The Art of the Uninstall

I’ve just spent an hour removing programs from my Windows XP machine. I have far too many programs anyway, but removing them is not made any easier by a lack of basic standards among software developers, who seem to consider software removal as a chance for some creative licence and a last-gasp effort to suck …

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Wikipedians, And Why They Do It

For Wikipedians, and folk wanting to understand why they do what they do, here’s a survey that aims to explore  the motivation of contributors to Wikipedia: Joachim Schroer writes “We are a research team at the University of Wuerzburg (Germany) interested in the reasons and motives why participants are involved in Wikipedia as authors, administrators, …

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Loose Wire — Click Here

Loose Wire — Click Here to Read Summary By Jeremy Wagstaff from the 21 February 2002 edition of the Far Eastern Economic Review, (c) 2003, Dow Jones & Company, Inc. If you work for a corporation, institution or any set-up which considers a vision statement to be worthy of its resources, chances are you’ll be …

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