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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Don't Cry For Me Cupertino

What if, for the next version of your Software, you put in no new features? What!?! You might call me crazy! Why would people buy to upgrade? How are we going to sell software, if we don't put in new features?

Software technology has reached a point where we complain about bugs and bloat. We pack in SO many features that quite frankly, no one uses or few people do. Just look at Microsoft Word. How many of you use anything beyond Spell Check, Grammar and Thesaurus? Or the occasional bullet points. My point exactly.

The truth is, our world is filled with mediocre software design. I made this case in my post: "Will you Enlist", that Windows makes everyone an idiot for not trusting enough to let Users know what their IP address is as opposed to the open and frankness of Mac OSX. By-the-way, Linux's Gnome and KDE makes the same mistake. David Pogue in his TEDTalk makes a better case when he asked: "Why do you shut down a Windows PC, by clicking on 'Start'?"

A few months back, the Linux kernel boys and girls had this idea: one release to clean up all the mess in the Linux kernel. That was a bright idea: cut the fat.

Sadly, for Windows, everyone agrees that cutting the fat out is a good thing, but can't because you have this huge ecosystem that exist around it.

Simplicity sells and software designers shouldn't make users stupid. If any task takes too many clicks of the mouse, then it is too complicated and must be redesigned.

New York Times technology columnist David Pogue had this story: A woman called Apple to complain that her mouse was making a squeaking noise. And the technician on the other end asked: what do you mean, ma'am, that your mouse is squeaking? The Woman replied: "well, all i can tell you is that it squeaks louder the faster i move it across the screen." Shocked, the technician exclaimed, "Ma'am you've got the mouse on the screen?!" She replied: "Well the message said: Click here to continue".

The truth of the matter is that, we should make current software better by not adding in new features but making sure the software we have right now works the way they should. David Pogue's Simplicity Sells TEDTalk is hilarious, and filled with myriad insights in the State of Software. Hearing Pogue's spoofs: "The Sound of Silence", "The Bill Gates Song" and "Don't Cry for Me Cupertino"--- simply well worth the price of admission, so go ahead and play it and enjoy.

Jeff Han, one of the pioneers of Multi-Touch who was one of those guys we blogged when we "Search(ed) for the Holy Grail" for his TEDTalk, unveiled "the genius of multi-touch interface design". This new way of interacting with our computer will help revolutionize the way we interface with the multitude of data that is bombarding us daily.

Over at the invisiblethings blog, understanding stealth malware is up, so if you've ever wondered if Blue Pill was a stunt or not and/or if you wanna know more about how to be good hackers, go over there and read security researcher joanna's entry.

Speaking of hacks, lock-down your systems boys and girls, our shields are down! "The Mac has been hacked!" (locking down is kinda over the top, don't you think?) US$10,000 and a Macbook was all it took for a Safari-Client side hack to work:
You were wondering if your MacBook was vulnerable even after you applied that last batch of Apple patches? Sean Comeau confirms, “Currently, every copy of OS X out there now is vulnerable to this”. You are. So, uh, switch to Firefox until the patch comes out? Or live dangerously like me.
I've decided to live dangerously then they updated saying:

The vulnerability affects Firefox as well as Safari. More details, momentarily

Oh, NO! I'm on Camino! (probably, shouldn't have said that out loud, the guy in the white shirt out back didn't quite hear me).

Anyway, go over their blog where they have some suggestions on staying safe while the boys and girls over at Cupertino mull things over. So "Don't Cry for us Cupertino!" (that song just won't go away) just go to work and make all Macs safe!

At the end of the day, Technology should work for us and not the other way around. It should be simple, it should be intelligent and designers should make interfaces that do not make us idiotic or think of us as one (And i'm looking you straight in the eye, Microsoft, Friendster, Nokia and Yahoo on that last one. Your interfaces are such royal pain to use). It's time to join the cult of doing things right and make that the default setting.