April 8th, 2013
Most people know about deactivating Facebook (and my experience without it). What they don’t know is how to permanently delete it. On a help page, hidden away, they provide a link to delete all of your Facebook data if it’s been deactivated for a few weeks. The other day I decided to take that plunge and totally get off Facebook. I started by downloading all of my data with their archiving tool, and then using a third party tool to download all the photos I’m tagged in. Everything was all squared away, then, several things happened, making me almost forgetting why I was there.
I have a friend studying abroad in London and having not talked to her for a while I struck up a small chat with her. The value of spontaneously communicating with a far off friend is invigorating, needless to say it was probably the last thing I expected to do when I woke up that morning. Suddenly I never wanted to leave Facebook again, the interaction was invaluable. While chatting away and browsing idly between messages something else happened.
I was bombarded by dozens of statuses and posted pictures on the Facebook wall. Not necessarily just from people I haven’t seen in a long time, but people I recently broke up with, and even people I saw just yesterday. All this struck up a totally different flurry of emotions; not good feelings, a feeling that my life was not as great as theirs. The statuses were written in a voice that did not sound like the friend I actually associate with, there’s more bragging and facaded voices, never negative. Then, in the pictures everyone was smiling and having fun parties, which I would never have been aware of otherwise. I didn’t like any of it.
Again, the only thing saving this experience was the conversation with the friend I was involved with. It was still the best set of words I have exchanged recently. As the conversation was coming to a close I decided not to permanently delete my data, just deactivate my account again (redeactivate?). I definitely still do not like Facebook, there will hopefully be a day when I can delete everything, by that time Facebook will be yesterday’s MySpace and I won’t lose too many contacts. Today even though I’m not on Facebook, it’s where at a moment’s notice, all my friends are available for conversation, among other things.
March 26th, 2013
I’ve been using a Nexus 7 and an iPad on and off for the last two months. I was never against Android, but after using it on a tablet I’m seeing some major holes in iOS. Here are some critical things Android has and iOS totally lacks.
- Fast typing. I have to look at the keyboard more, but in portrait mode swipe typing is the unrivaled native keyboard. In contrast the split keyboard in iOS is really nice in any orientation, and I wish that was in Android. Swipe typing is really nice because you only need one hand, any iOS keyboard always takes two hands to be effective split or not.
- Widgets. In iOS I suffer from “What should I do next on my black rectangle?”. I somehow end up opening every app and checking the status of everything from Evernote to Wunderlist. This wastes time. Android abbreviates that process with widgets. I have a little window on any of my home screens for all the quick info I need. For example I have a Wunderlist window for everything I need to do this week and recent notes I’ve written in Evernote. iOS has something close to these widgets, but it’s hidden away in the notification center, it’s really just for stocks and weather too. When was the last time you actually opened the weather app in iOS? I never do, the “widget” in the notification center tells me what I need to know much quicker and easier. Other issues with the notification center lead to my next point.
- A useful swipe down menu. What do you actually use the notification center in iOS for? Besides the weather, emails, and text, when was the last time you intentionally swiped down from the top of the screen to get some notifications? I practically never do. Perhaps if there was more functionality in that little menu. Let’s look at Android’s swipe down menus for a second. Yeah menus, plural, there’s more than one and does it save time. On Android tablets, swipe down on the left half of the screen and you get notifications. You can get rid of all of them with a single tap too, as opposed to several clicks of a tiny “x” button in iOS. Swipe down on the right half and you get some quick settings buttons. WHOA, I don’t even have to open the settings app to turn on Airplane mode? Turning on and off any of my antennae are aways a click away.
In short Android’s workflow is just quicker. When I use my Nexus 7 I usually manage to get some stuff out of the way work wise. I would conjecture the iPad offers me more distractions because it lacks these little bits that make everything flow together. iOS 7 is going to be announced sometime in the next six months. Based on this list I would like to request two things of Apple.
- Widgets. How do the weather and stock apps in the notification center work? Make it so developers have access to that pipe, and I’ll intentionally swipe down much more. Badges are a short form of this already but they only tell me the quantity of work I have, not what the work is. The settings swipe-down menu in Android is nice, but too much to throw in iOS right now. The design language would have to change a bit in iOS before that could happen. The settings swipe-down fits Android’s holo, or Windows Phone’s live tiles themes much better.
- Faster typing. Our descendants will laugh at us because we hunt and peck on our digital keyboards so much. Apple already changed the perception of a functional touch screen keyboard when they unveiled the iPhone. They should try to do it again. Fixing how the split keyboard affects content at the bottom of the page would be nice too but that’s another post.
February 6th, 2013
Enigmachine has always been a strange pet project of mine. While the free version (when it was offered) was actually my most popular app, I didn’t like having it out there because it was so inferior to the full version and what I wanted the app to be. I deleted it recently and decided to put more effort into imroving Enigmachine. The paid version itself also sold approximately a dozen and a half in the time that I offered it. Something had to change.
- Better interface the split text views got uglier and uglier everytime I looked at it. It hit me a few weeks ago that it was redundant, so were the tabs at the bottom, so I unified it all. The copy and paste buttons were upfront in 1.0 and could obscure longer bits of text, they ultimately contributed to clutter so I unified those too in an action bar that goes with the key input.
- Name Change I was going to call this release “Salata” the Finnish word for encryption. When showing this to someone they noted how the name means nothing to every non-Finnish user browsing the AppStore. I decided keep the original name and to just make the “M” lower case, the arguement there is that it’s Instagram not InstaGram.
- Sharing I really want people to use this to communicate in code between each other. It’s oddly fun receiving a message of seemingly random characters and then decrypting it to find some hidden meaning. Now it’s even easier with Twitter and Email integration, you can send your hidden messages right from the app. No more highlight, copy, paste required.
I definitely like 1.1 a lot more when testing it, and I hope that it will be seen as an overall better app than 1.0 and used more frequently. It can be downloaded here. (99¢ usually but It’s free for the first week of release, you have nothing to lose!)