iOS vs Android – a Response to @gregmuender

@gregmuender lasted 37 days hours on Android and wrote about it here.

He makes two valid points: 1. Android is more of a mission to set up and 2. iPhones come with better charger cables. 

I agree with Greg that it would be nice to have things that “just work” out of the box. And Apple has played perfectly to the fact that the vast majority of people on the planet, when it comes to having to _learn_ anything tech, are muppets. 

But what if you’re not a muppet? What if you speak 4 languages and want a keyboard that automatically figures out, and actively learns, the language you’re texting in (I’m talking about SwiftKey)? It’s actually a feature that’s truly useful, even without dancing ninjas.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhM-DuM2WgE]

So that when you type in “moet” (Afrikaans for “must”) it doesn’t auto-correct it to “Moët”.

Every. Single. Time. 

What if you want to be able to simply drag & drop your MP3s to a folder on your phone and they will simply be found and be played? Instead of having to first do a huge iTunes import mission. 

Same goes for videos! Why the hell must I struggle converting them to a special Apple format first?

Then there’s the “Photos” app in iOS 7. I have ~800 photos in the “Camera Roll”. Many of them are 5 pictures of the same thing – parents of kids know what I’m talking about. So I pick the best one and add it to an Album (a mission unto itself). I keep doing this until I’ve taken the 100 photos I want to keep and put them into albums. So now I Select All in Camera Roll and select Delete.

*BOOM* All the photos you had meticulously copied into Albums are now also deleted! 

Yes, you get a warning… so you get a chance to, erm, … yes… try to figure out which  100 pictures you actually put in albums! So that you can be sure NOT to select those ones. (No, my dear Android users with no exposure to iOS, I’m not kidding. That’s really how the Photos app works.) 

Is iOS “easy”? Yes, maybe. Does it make anyone more productive? 

No way.

Google vs Yahoo

A week or so ago my iOS Safari browser started using Yahoo!

I’m not sure why – I suspect an iOS update – but I thought I’d give Yahoo! A shot after many years of not using it.

It’s hasn’t been great overall, but today I remembered why Google is Great. I quickly needed information about the flight Althea is on. Here’s what Yahoo! showed me when I entered “qf571”:

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And here’s Google’s:

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Responsive Design for Mobile Sites

We decided to go with Responsive for Skyrove’s WiFi Hotspot Portal pages for the following reasons: 

 

1. Many, many different screen sizes to cater for
2. We had a very small amount of layout changes and resizing to do (images didn’t even need to be resized)
3. It was definitely going to be more hassle to manage a separate site
4. We were inspired by the Responsive design of Trello.com (check it out by signing up and simply resizing your browser window)

 

Importantly, at the same time, we took the approach of designing for “Mobile First”. Design would be done for the best mobile experience and only then would the design be adopted for the desktop! (Obviously, as it was responsive, we would already have a working desktop version, albeit not optimized for the larger res)

 

Keep in mind, that all our users did pretty much the same thing: Login if registered already, Register if not, purchase credits, or login with a roaming partner account (Skype, Boingo, etc). We only had about 3 or 4 pages to worry about.

 

 

Google has a graphic that summarizes the Pros and Cons nicely:

120710_GoMo_Responsive_Table-image-2

Mate of the Week: Sprint.ly

It’s not every day I rave about a Software product or web app. Well, okay, I’ve raved before about Balsamiq Mockups, Evernote, Highrise and a few others… 

But it’s only the really good ones that get my attention. And Sprint.ly is a good one. 

Basically, Sprint.ly is web app for software developers, product managers and other stakeholders to prioritize and manage the development process for features, tasks, defects (bugs) and tests. 

Nothing new there… you can also look at JIRA, PivotalTracker, TargetProcess and many others. The difference is that Sprint.ly does it (a) right and (b) beautifully. 

It integrates well with email (JIRA doesn’t), provides a Kanban style dashboard with easy click & drag (PivotalTracker doesn’t), and automatically updates stories/items whenever developers commit to Github. 

Its ease-of-use is miles ahead of the pack, which is a crucial factor when you need to convince other team members to change systems. 

If you have a distributed software team and you’re struggling to keep up to date with what everyone is working on, Sprint.ly may just be your new best friend. 

sprintly_dashboard

 

Small Business? Throw out your file server and get Dropbox for Teams.

A few weeks ago one of the companies I work with had a file server dramatically crash after years of faithful service.??The crash cost two days of engineering time to set up a new server from scratch and restore files from backups. Even before the crash, it would take engineering time to add new users and set permissions. The permissions were never really done properly and many folders were accessible simply by using a shared username & password that made the rounds.??

There were also occasional issues with files being overwritten with older versions and work needing to be redone!??

Running their own "cheap" in-house server was actually getting expensive and introducing huge amounts of risk. Some of the employees at the company started using their personal Dropbox accounts for handling mission critical files such as accounting records. This had the benefit of giving Revision Control up to one year and rollbacks in case of files getting corrupted. Folders could also be shared, but, the file ownership was by nature "personal". If an employee left the company it would create security problems.??

Luckily, DropBox recently lauched Dropbox for Teams. It allows centralized management of users & files, unlimited revisions and huge amounts of storage.??

Although it's a Cloud Storage Service, your files are synchronized across all your devices, thus meaning fast, local access at all times without the need of an internet connection.??

At first, I thought the price came in a bit steep at $795 per year for 5 users, or $13.25 per user per month. You could buy a half-decent Ubuntu server for $795, but the cost of setting it up properly, maintaining it, security and lost productivity quickly adds up to thousands of dollars. Professional companies in Cape Town charge in the region of $500 a month for basic server monitoring & maintenance and callout fees of $100 per hour.??

I'd say it's a no brainer: Throw out the file server and get Dropbox for Teams.

(If you don't yet know Dropbox, get a free personal account)??