Drew Rattray : Design vs. Functionality
Drew Rattray
| News and views on design vs. functionality balance across the communications and technology space.

December 2008

You are browsing the archive for December 2008.

YouTube Client Offers Richer Experience for BlackBerry Storm Users

December 31, 2008

The BlackBerry Storm's built-in web browser is capable of browsing YouTube, but it was a little depressing that my new toy did not come with a YouTube application out of the box like the iPhone does.  The experience worked well enough for my purposes, but a dedicated client is usually much more user friendly and offers more on a mobile device.

Google answered the call and has now released a YouTube client for the BlackBerry Storm (Version 1.6.10).  According to Google this dedicated client will offer Stormies a much richer mobile video experience.

I downloaded the 520.1KB client to my Storm this morning and I fully agree.  This is a much better mobile YouTube experience. 

Features included in this client:
  • Browse through millions of videos through different criteria on your phone
  • Access favorites and playlists from your YouTube account
  • Upload videos directly from your Storm to YouTube
  • Share and rate videos
  • Keyword search for videos
  • Related video suggestions to videos you watch
If you own a Blackberry Storm and you use YouTube semi-frequently...  I highly suggest downloading this client.

Download YouTube Mobile for the BlackBerry Storm.









Bloggers dream of a perfect iPhone

December 29, 2008

Earlier this week Gizmodo posted a concept design of what they vision should be the next generation of the popular iPhone.  The design was originally developed by blogger Matt Brady and named the iPhone Elite.  Gizmodo took his concept and tweaked it with some added features of their own and named it the iPhone Pro.

Their basic complaints about the current iPhone follows that of many in the blogosphere.  No physical keyboard, lack of storage, and a sub-par camera.  The iPhone Pro concept features 60 GB of storage, a slide-out keyboard, true 16:9 aspect ratio, and a better all around camera.

While Matt's original concept is incredible, I think Gizmodo made one very impressive addition.  A D-Pad and two buttons.  iPhone games are becoming increasingly popular and by adding easier and more recognizable controls, I think it could really begin to compete with handhelds like the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP.

The only problem that I can see with all of this is the risk of adding too much size.  With an added keyboard and a better camera with zoom capabilities, you could potentially get close to doubling the 4.7 ounces that the iPhone 3G currently weighs.  There's also the potential that the depth would increase to well over a half inch (currently at 0.48 inches).  Features are great, but no one wants to talk to a brick.





Even Santa needs Tech

December 22, 2008

On a recent trip to the local shopping mall I caught a glimpse of technology helping out Ole Kris Kringle himself.  During a lull in the line of children waiting to tell the big man what they wanted this year, Santa got up from his chair to take a call (from Mrs. Claus I'm sure) on what looked to be an iPhone.

While I wasn't quick enough to snap a photo of Santa on an iPhone, I was able to catch him returning to the electric back massage upgrade he had installed on his chair for the long days of posing for pictures with the children of Connecticut.

It's nice to know that even Santa appreciates technology.

Netflix on Xbox 360 Frustrating

December 20, 2008

I haven't had much time until yesterday to actually play with some of the new features of the improved Xbox 360 interface that was released a few weeks ago.  One of these improvements is the ability to now stream Netflix movies right to your console for your viewing pleasure (once you have an account of course).  Seeing as I'm on vacation, I figured it would be a decent time to check out the two week free trial.

So...  I log into my Xbox 360 and search for the Netflix area.  I click through a few menu options and supply my email address and password, and then end up on a screen that tells me to "go to netflix.com/xbox to create my account".   So now I have to get up off the couch, stroll over to the computer and punch in a url.  I do so and go through the regular hoops of setting up one of these trial accounts, including choosing a service that I can cancel anytime over the next 2 weeks for no charge (of course), and giving them a credit card number.

But now... it sends me back to the Xbox.  I go back to the couch, ready to watch a movie, press a few buttons and then my Xbox gives me an activation code and tells me to go to netflix.com/activate to activate my streaming account. Again I get up and go back to the computer, plug in the code, and boom, I'm ready to watch movies on my Xbox, Right?

Wrong.

Maybe I was a little too eager, or maybe the frustration was already kicking in and I had ignored a direction somewhere, but I went back to the couch assuming I could browse through lists of movies on my Xbox, hit a button, and spend the next few hours watching something I wouldn't cough up 11 dollars for at the theaters a few months ago. What greeted me at the couch was nothing.







Get Poetic for a Lubix Bluetooth

December 15, 2008

Yanko Design is running a Christmas campaign this week sponsored by Lubix.  Leave a creative Christmas Haiku comment here and you could win one of seven Lubix Bluetooth Headsets.

The Lubix NC1 Stereo Bluetooth Headset has a unique pendant style design so that your Bluetooth is constantly close at hand but not always in your ear.  The two earpieces snap together magnetically so that the pendant can be worn around the neck.  I think it's one of the more clever designs out there for Bluetooth headsets.

I tend to feel like Lobot from Cloud City when I walk around all day with a Bluetooth in my ear.

Oh and for those of you that forgot... a Haiku goes 5 syllables - 7 syllables - 5 syllables.





The computer mouse goes over the hill

December 10, 2008

The computer mouse had its 40th anniversary on Tuesday.  It's come a long way since it was first displayed to the public in 1968, but personally I think it may go the way of the Dodo in the coming years due to the increased implementation of touch screens and speech recognition.

While it is currently an indispensable tool for most computer users, I still feel all instances available out there are poorly designed for my purposes and lack the type of functionality I need on a daily basis.  I'm still a trackball fan.

Read more about notable moments in mouse history here.

Christmas Technology versus Tradition

December 10, 2008

I just got a Christmas Card.  Right this second... at work... in my e-mail box.  While I should be filled with holiday cheer as the penguins on my screen sing "Jingle Bells" and feel the warmth of brotherly love from the friends who sent it, instead I'm rather sad.

Songbird 1.0 puts media playing innovation in your hands

December 2, 2008

Songbird is a highly customizable alternative to traditional desktop media players.  This open source application is powered by Mozilla, and launched today with "dozens of integrated services, hundreds of add-ons, and a growing developer platform."

Although I was just fine using iTunes, I have to admit that Songbird has some interesting features that add a lot more to the functionality of a desktop media player.  The new mashTape service allows you to discover Flickr photos, YouTube videos, last.fm biographies, Google news, and more for the artist currently playing.  It also provides SHOUTcast radio for streaming music, and event listings powered by Songkick  that shows you when your bands are on tour while you listen to them.

The initial layout is very similar to iTunes (at least to me), but with all of the customizable add-ons I could see how this application could become a very personal extension of ones self, much like my Firefox browser.

Although this app certainly has potential, I don't think iTunes has anything to worry about just yet.