This device will self destruct in…

August 23, 2010

Remember the classic scene in each Mission Impossible episode when the “device” carrying the mission assignment would self destruct in 5 seconds? So many of us loved that gag, because, from the average consumer’s perspective, it was absurd to imagine such a fancy device intended to destroy itself by design. Of course, it seems plausible for the equipment of a top secret team of elite agents. It’s a stretch to think we, as simple civilians, would have self-destroying equipment. (This tamper-proof USB storage device is the only one I’ve heard about in recent years.) Other than my old PC’s power supply*, I don’t recall the last time a piece of my electronics blew itself to smithereens.

This was all brought to mind when I was recently shopping for Read the rest of this entry »

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Fancy interfaces still aren’t enough

December 15, 2008

With all the fancy new touch-interfaces being introduced these days, I’ve noticed that many still require users to understand the system the interface is running in. In other words, while touch interfaces are billed as more “human” and “organic,” the user must still learn how to use them. To me, that’s not organic enough. Existing Personal Computer interfaces are why I felt I had to write The Ultimate PC Primer. A new “touch” interface that requires explanation and training, especially those that are simply touch interfaces to traditional software menus, don’t provide much improvement. An intuitive and organic interface is one that allows the human to be human, not to have to understand how to interact like a machine.

Think about an MP3 player. It doesn’t matter how neat the menu system is. That’s not the point of the device. I don’t want an MP3 player with nifty menus; I just want to listen to music. Read the rest of this entry »