« Back to home

Android 5.0 thoughts

Having upgraded my tablet and phone to Android 5.0 — they’re both Nexus devices, so it was a fairly simple process to get the upgrade without waiting — here are my thoughts. Many of the improvements in the new version of Android are related to security. I don’t know whether this is driven by Apple’s (often erroneously) perceived leadership in this area, by the ongoing revelations about surveillance and law enforcement misbehavior, or by some combination of the two, but it’s welcome all the same.…

Read more »

Wave goodbye

So, farewell then, Google Wave, perhaps the ultimate example (for now) of what happens when you let a bunch of software engineers design a product. Good product design starts with a single problem. The product becomes a way to solve that problem. Technologies are developed and added strictly as needed to solve the core problem. Keeping that focus is perhaps the hardest part of product design; it’s always tempting to add one more feature or option, often simply because it’s technically easy to do so.…

Read more »

More Buzz buzz [updated]

Someone on Slashdot said something that led me to come up with a clearer explanation for why Buzz doesn’t belong in Gmail, but belongs in Reader: Google Reader is about blogs. It’s all about stuff that’s public, and commenting on stuff that’s public. It doesn’t even support authenticated web feeds. Gmail, on the other hand, is typically about private communication. In many cases, it’s exclusively about private communication; I get mailing list traffic, but many people use their Gmail accounts purely for private e-mail.…

Read more »

Google Buzz

The sad thing about Google Buzz is that it marks a complete failure of user-centered design. Logically, the added Buzz functionality belongs in Google Reader. That’s where I read blogs, subscribe to friend feeds, comment on posted links, and share items. However, Google added Buzz to Gmail — not because it belongs there, but because Gmail has more users than Reader, and Google’s goal is to push as many people as possible into using Buzz.…

Read more »

Wolfram Alpha

When Wolfram Alpha was made public, like everyone else I went to the site to see what it could do. The demonstration queries produced pages which looked really useful. I could instantly imagine how I might find the site invaluable. Then I hit a wall. I thought of things I would like to see displayed by Wolfram Alpha, and for each, I wondered: how would I persuade it to show such a thing?…

Read more »