Posts Tagged ‘Rant’

Nobody talks of “fragmentation” in the windows world. No one talks about “fragmentation” in the Mac world. Yet for some reason no one talking about mobile neglects to talk about “fragmentation” in Android.

Yes there are multiple versions of the OS out there and running on handsets, so what? There are still people – albeit a very small fraction of total users – running Windows 98 or ME. There are still people that run Tiger or Panther or even older versions of MacOS, so what? They run this because that’s what works on the hardware that they have or they need an app that won’t work on a more modern version or because they just don’t want to upgrade.

Developers programming for a desktop (and by desktop I mean, non-mobile) environment are used to dealing with multiple screen resolutions, different OS versions and all the other issues that can arise because of the choices that users make. People who develop for Linux have even more issues – there are so many variations of Linux out there that there are bound to be issues because you wrote and tested your application on Ubuntu but not on Red Hat. This is a part of the development world.

Just because Apple in its infinite wisdom has decided to create a closed system in the mobile space where only certain screen resolutions are supported and everything is very neat and tidy doesn’t mean that this is the best thing for users – or for developers. The truth of the matter is that people like being able to choose what’s best for them. The Apple system is fine – it gives a good uniform user experience and makes life a little bit easier for developers because they know exactly what they are going to be seeing on the handset. With that, it’s not right for everyone.

Android – with all of its issues – gives the user the choice of how s/he wants the phone to look and behave. The control of exactly what OS version is running. The choice of a bigger screen or a higher resolution. Yes developers have to work a little bit harder to take these things into account and yes this can lead to having an app that doesn’t work on one phone or another. Most developers, when they run into a phone specific issue go out and fix them – and usually pretty quickly.

Android is not a fragmented system. Nor is MacOS, Windows or Linux. each offers different options and capabilities to users and developers. Enough already with the F-word. Start calling it what it is – choice for developers. Choice for handset manufacturers. Most importantly, it’s choice for users.

This is the one time of year where I really hate living in Israel.  I understand that the large majority of the population is Jewish.  I understand that a fair percentage of that population keeps kosher for Passover.  But not everyone does.  I don’t understand why the sale of products that aren’t kosher for Passover are outlawed.  Shouldn’t I – as an adult – be able to buy a beer if I want?  The other 358 days of the year I can – but for this week, it’s illegal to sell one.  If I want bread, well I guess I’d better bake it myself – that’s the only way I’m really going to be able to find it.  I can understand the major supermarkets – which only sell kosher products – making the transition.  But the ones that don’t keep kosher still have to take the products off the shelf.

In this modern day of choice and freedom – why is such a basic choice – like what to eat – being regulated by the government?  I’m not saying I’m going to eat that bread (OK. I probably will but that’s besides the point.) but why, if I want to go to a non-kosher restaurant and order a BLT do I have to get it on Matzo?  It’s time to go to the supermarket and stock up on cereal, bread and flour – because next week there’ll be none to be found.

Wake Up Google

Posted: March 5, 2011 in computers
Tags: , , ,

 

While I know and appreciate that there are certain apps for Android that should only be released in certain countries, I find it hard to believe that Google feels that it’s own basic apps should be among them. As someone who lives in Israel, an app that helps me find the best pizza in New York does not appeal to me. A current version of Google Maps, GMail and the other Google apps for Android most certainly does.

On a recent trip to the US I was pleasantly surprised to see almost all of the Google apps on my phone that I couldn’t update at home – I think there were four – update almost as soon as I got off the plane.   While I’m not complaining about the update, I will say that it doesn’t make sense.  I’m using the same Google account (the same one in fact that on the Web based market shows “no device found”) and the same phone but because I landed in the US and was there for 15 minutes, now I had full access to these apps.

Dear Google – I am and Android early adopter.  I live on the bleeding edge.  I try everything I can for my Nexus One.  Don’t make me wait until I go abroad to be able to get the updates I want!  Please – be kind to the Android lovers around the world.  Don’t limit app availability for the basic Google Mobile apps and exclude us.

 

I just want to give some advice to webmasters everywhere.

1. Not everyone uses Internet Explorer – check to make your site works with other browsers as well.  It’s very annoying to have to switch browsers to use your site – and unless there’s a real reason to use it, I probably won’t.

2. Flash doesn’t work on mobile devices – I can understand that you don’t want to have a special “mobile” website, but remember that in this day and age a lot of surfing is done from mobile devices.  Especially if your site is for a place that people might want to go to like a restaurant or a store, make sure there is a way to have your address and phone number accessible.

3. Google and other search engines only look at text – if you have a Flash only site, it’s not going to do well in search engines and you’ll end up spending a fortune to some SEO person to tell you this.

Thank you.

Among other things, I subscribe to a mailing list for the people who live in my city.  Every day I see e-mails on that list asking people to take things to one location or another.  As I see all these mails I can’t help but think to myself – are these people idiots?

If you hadn’t caught on by now, I live in Israel.  In order to check in for a flight you have to go through a security process which includes being asked, by people who are very well trained to detect lies, “Has anyone given you something to take on the plane with you?”  Anyone asking a random stranger – and let’s face it the people on the list are doing just that – to take an item to a foreign country must be out of his/her mind!  Anyone offering to take something for a stranger is clearly not thinking straight.  So I keep asking myself, every time I see one of these e-mails, how stupid can you be?

So I finally got to use Hulu while I was in the US for business. I loved it. It made me think about all of the great things that are available – just not in Israel. Here is a (incomplete) list of some of the great things that you can’t use on the internet if you’re not in the US:

  • Hulu
  • Pandora
  • NetFlix
  • Rhapsody
  • You can’t even buy music on the iTunes store or Amazon if you’re not in one of the “select” countries that has the streaming rights. I don’t understand what the problem is. It’s in the content creator’s interest – more people having PAID access to the content means more money for them. It’s in the provider’s interest – they take a cut off the top. It’s obviously in the consumer’s interest because they get easier and faster access to the content that they want.

    If anyone can explain to me why the various parties don’t all work something out I would be very happy to hear about it. In the mean time, maybe I’ll use eMule to download that TV show I’ve been wanting to watch but still hasn’t gotten to Israel.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’ve lived in Israel for almost 15 years now and I’m somewhat used to it. I’ve gotten the “they’re not rude…you’re too polite” down pat. I know how to deal with obnoxious cab drivers. I know how to deal with people smoking at the table next to me in the restaurant (although this doesn’t happen much anymore thankfully). I know how to deal with the day-to-day things you run into when living in a country of people wo can be, shall we say, less tolerant or more brusque in their attitudes. I know many Israelis and have many friends who were born and raised here. My wife was born and raised here so I get it. With all that said and done, I’m going to have myself a little rant on the issue of customer service in Israel.

    First – the company where I work has a deal with 10bis. For those of you who don’t know they are a restaurant site which gives a card that you can swipe at many restaurants or you can order from the web site for delivery. Personally, I don’t like going out too much, especially given that there are almost no restaurants near where I work and the selection is very limited. This being said, we very often order food in. Most of the places that we order from have a minimum order – legitimate, they don’t need to lose money on the deliveries. Many of them say you can order by 10:30 or 11 AM for a lunchtime delivery – annoying but also legitimate and they tend to be flexible. We ordered today from a restaurant at 11:00 AM specifically asking that the food be brought at 13:00 knowing that that usually means between 12:30 and 13:30. Having placed the order, I went into a conference call at 11:30. At 11:40 the food arrived. While I wish I could say hat this was a one time issue, yesterday we ordered bagel sandwiches with the same 13:00 request. The food got here at noon. All I’m saying here is when there is no human taking the order you have to look at and, within the realm of possibility, honor customer requests and comments.

    My wife and I ordered the top half of a bunk bed for our kids (we only bought the bottom bunk originally because our daughter was still in the womb at the time.) We placed the order in late October. We were told we were going to get it within 90 days (or by this past Sunday). About 6 weeks ago I get a call from the company asking us if we want the ladder on the short side of the bed, to which I responded “No.” About a week or two after that we got a letter saying that delivery of the bed would be delayed and we should expect it in mid-February. Today I get a call saying they’re coming tomorrow. The problem is I can’t tomorrow (well now I can but that’s another story) and so they tell me – the end of next week. It took me 15 minutes of arguing with them on the phone before they agreed to come on Sunday to put the bed together. I find it hard to believe the service of a company that’s already late not being able to go out of their way a little bit and help the customer out after they’ve made him/her wait for this long.

    As I said, I love Israel. I love Israelis. I just hate the lack of customer service awareness we’re shown each and every day by the companies that we have to do business with.