Good ideas rarely come in bunches

One of the more common problems which tends to create doubt and confusion is caused by the inexperienced and anxious executive who innocently expects, or even demands, to see not one but many solutions to a problem. These may include a number of visual and/or verbal concepts, an assortment of layouts, a variety of pictures and color schemes, as well as a choice of type styles. He needs the reassurance of numbers and the opportunity to exercise his personal preferences. He is also most likely to be the one to insist on endless revisions with unrealistic deadlines, adding to an already wasteful and time-consuming ritual. Theoretically, a great number of ideas assures a great number of choices, but such choices are essentially quantitative. This practice is as bewildering as it is wasteful. It discourages spontaneity, encourages indifference, and more often than not produces results which are neither distinguished, interesting, nor effective. In short, good ideas rarely come in bunches. :: The Politics of Design (via)


A resolution for the rest of 2009: get back to the bottom of my Instapaper account and read all the articles that have been lingering there for more than a week. With two weeks left in the old year, this should be doable.

Android fragmentation

It seems that Android is at risk to turn into the same kind of development nightmare that J2ME is.

Android’s Rapid Growth Has Some Developers Worried:

A slew of problems have made managing Android apps a “nightmare,” they say, including three versions of the OS (Android 1.5, 1.6 and 2.0), custom firmware on many phones, and hardware differences between different models.

Android is splintering, just not how you think it is…:

Can you write an .apk application that runs on all devices? Theoretically, yes. But not without testing on an ever-increasing number of gadgets. This is the problem that Symbian and J2ME phones have, and the road that Android is headed down if Google doesn’t reign in control and quickly. Differing OS versions, different manufacturer and carrier customizations, and various app stores are going to hobble the OS before too long.

Android Splintering:

Hardware manufactuers and carriers need to keep in line with latest, which should be pushed to the Android Open Source Project repository. If that doesn’t happen early, and often, it’s going to keep frustrating developers.

What does Android fragmentation look like?

Android fragmentation is real and it is not going away. Ask any developer and they will tell you about the difficulties of supporting multiple versions of Android and their different screen sizes.

Maybe a Google Phone is just the right thing to establish a common platform?

Later: John Hermann at Gizmodo thinks that the Google Phone might be Google’s bid to reclaim control of Android as a platform.

Facebook Privacy

Between this and this and this i’m torn on whether to spend hours locking down privacy controls on my facebook account or deleting it altogether. It’s not that i subscribe to the popular notion that facebook has suddenly turned evil (i never trusted them to begin with), but rather that i don’t want to waste my time fixing something that wasn’t really broken so i can continue using a service that i find mostly irritating. I don’t suppose there’s a simple “lock down my account with the most stringent privacy settings available” switch somewhere hidden in the midst of this transition? Cause there should be.

Open source hardware 2009

Welcome to definitive guide to open source hardware projects in 2009. First up – What is open source hardware? These are projects in which the creators have decided to completely publish all the source, schematics, firmware, software, bill of materials, parts list, drawings and “board” files to recreate the hardware – they also allow any use, including commercial. Similar to open source software like Linux, but this hardware centric.

Make: Online : Open source hardware 2009 – The definitive guide to open source hardware projects in 2009

Screenshot from a checkout terminal at Target (Milford MA).  They use game mechanics (scoring / personal leaderboad) to encourage faster checkout times

Screenshot from a checkout terminal at Target (Milford MA). They use game mechanics (scoring / personal leaderboad) to encourage faster checkout times