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Interactive design (IxD) is study the interaction between the user and the designed target. Nowadays, it is most about the computer user interface, device specific screen elements… In its broadest sense, it also includes the artificial environment in which human interacts with its compounds. 

However, people does not usually think data presentation is IxD. The reason is obvious that human readable data has been presented in tabular printed page or webpage. Yet, the presentation is fixed in time. It is not so much the case with computer power increases, computer applications or webpage. The very simple example is that a list of item sorted by its attributes by simply a click of its attribute name. The items can be viewed in terms of date created or alphabetical order or so on. Another example is visualizing data in map. It was very powerful presentation.

iPad is out. I have not touch the physical object yet. Any comment on its success or failure is premature. One thing really worry me is iPad lacks an open file system – some inherent from iPhone. At this moment, I’m think the phase “a compter is not an island”, used many years ago when ethernet as a standard feature in a Mac. How is a iPad going to be a truely useful computer when file (data) is only considered as a property of an app. It is marginally workable in iPhone or itouch. I am truely dubious it will work in iPad. I may ponder this problem a bit more and get back to you.

The talks of Apple upcoming Apple’s Tablet is everywhere and everyday. I enjoy their opinions. Here is a few good one:

Hours before, I like to have my part. One post interest me is that the fuse between multitouch mouse shell and iPhone. It suggested that the next iPhone’s back is a multitouch surface like that of a multitouch mouse. So some suggest the upcoming tablet should work like that. In fact, Apple patterned that back touching idea.

Here is my idea. the back area could act as the chording keyboard. That is, playing chords on the back of the tablet, you input text.

You can treat DropBox as a regular folder for any file. Then the program does the rest- sync all the content with the server – hence the files are accessible everywhere, by different browser, any platforms including iPhone.

The biggest difference conceptually is that Dropbox is a folder and iDisk is an connected disk. Hence, there is no copying to create a new copy and no extra effort to take care multiple copies. iDisk in the old Mac is the pain in the ass. Even Copy small files leave the progress bar windows stay open for while, the larger the file the longer it stay open. Dropbox is no different than any moving action in the Finder. You move a file to Dropbox folder. It syncs in the background and he folder or file displayed with a small syncing arrows on the lower left corner. A blue tick when complete, very clear.

Most importantly, iDisk has left me too many times without a file when accessing the file in different computer. The syncing sucks in iDisk but it never happens in Dropbox, at least not yet. Best of all, Dropbox is free for the first 2 GB. Apple should seriously consider to buy the company and replace with it’s aging and annoying iDisk.

Recently, I came across a desktop replacement app for MacOS, called BumpTop. Using for a few days, I concluded that it is an good implementation of some existing ideas which has been around since early 90s. The good part is an almost flat learning curve. BumpTop takes the pile onto a 3D desktop which allows different sized document. Also the 3D environment allows 3 walls for pinning up files. It is a multiple desktops with animated transition. The best part is the installation, an excellent Mac experience, drag and drop to Application folder, no password required, easily quit the apps. I enjoy the free version but to pay for 30-US dollar  pro version is not what I want to do at this moment.

A few technologies is and will be interesting. Attention should be on them:

  • Augmented reality mobile apps
  • Multitouch/gesture device
  • New hardware using flexible OLED for content
  • New battery technology

These hardware will make a difference. How? I am not able put my finger on one PRODUCT that may make a big difference. Will it have the effect of iPod/iTunes/iPhone/AppStore software-hardware combination that transforms the status quo. Will see.

The media has been fixated on the would-be netbook and Kindle killer. Apple table / slate. If history is anything, this piece really help you to put yourself in a new perspective.

The Speculative Prehistory of the iPhone by Technologizer.


What are the ‘big’ things in the very near future?

  • Magazine in digital form
  • Publishing ‘industry’ in iTunes market style
  • Web productive apps in free/subscription mode (Google, MS, Apple)
  • Educational web apps and portal
  • Music Album

Simply put – reorganization of the old in the not-too-new.

Great apps for mobile device should be operating on one page. What is the need for second page anyway? Use old and simple computer model – input and output – unlike common webpage/app – is done on one page.

The second page is for setting and help. No more – even help is unnecessary. If a user don’t get the app instantly, it is either the app is too complicate or too complex for a mobile platform. Extremely smaller percentage dump users? Should we spend hours write and design help – only very small number of people used? If many users need to read the help, your app is a failure – go back the drawing board and rethink!

Very impressive gesture applications. However, organization is too literal of everyday life lacks the metaphorical aspects. Yes, this is way we organize our desktop everyday. In the computer environment, do we really want to organize everything physically (with gestures)? Do not the computer do the tedious jobs for us, and show it to me when I want it.