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

February 2009

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Facebook is Killing Productivity

February 27, 2009

Hi, my name is Scott Bouchard, and I have a Facebook account.  So do most people plugged in these days. Actually, this morning on the TODAY Show, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, claimed that the social networking giant has surpassed 175 million users and is gaining approximately 1 million US users alone every week.  Even TMCnet is on Facebook now.

I'm pretty good about my usage though.  I log in on average once a day (usually right before bed) to browse through updates, and sometimes more frequently if I have messages coming in that require a response.  But, there are people in my life that almost need an intervention regarding their Facebook habits.

When I check updates at the end of a long day of work, it seems everyone else I know spent their entire day inside Facebook.  There are people updating their status every 5 minutes, commenting on the status of every friend, tagging photos, retagging photos, sending gifts, poking, posting notes on 100 question surveys, and becoming fans of some frankly ridiculous junk.  I barely find enough time in the day to read what everyone changed on their account.  I mean... what do these people do when their boss asks why a report isn't getting done, or a client asks why a job is late?

"Sorry that I'm so far behind, Rick changed his status to say he was eating a tuna fish sandwich, and I had to comment on his status to tell him that I had one yesterday.  Then I posted a picture of a tuna fish sandwich and tagged myself and Rick in it, and then I became a fan of tuna fish and wrote a note about it.  Then other people commented about my comment so I had to reply to those comments.  Then I created a note about the 10 things I love about tuna fish and tagged 15 people in it, and told them to fill it out and tag 15 more people if they like tune fish as much as I do.  I'm really quite tired. I'll try to get to it tomorrow."

I mean...

Google Latitude is Just a Bad Idea

February 19, 2009

For those of you not on the up and up with Google Latitude, it's a free application that works with Google Maps and basically allows mobile users with GPS to upload their exact location to friends, family, and anyone else they allow.

Google has recently released a new version of Google Maps that now supports GPS for BlackBerry which includes the Google Latitude application.  I decided to try it out with my Verizon BlackBerry Storm and after about 30 seconds of letting everyone know where I was, I freaked out and turned it back off.

I'm addicted to my BlackBerry now, but it took a lot for me to finally upgrade to a smartphone.  I like being accommodating but not instantly and entirely accessible.  Even with those feelings, I can currently be found with my BlackBerry Storm by calling, text, AIM, Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger, BlackBerry Messenger, Google Talk, Facebook, and E-mail me at 4 different accounts.  I admit, it's a bit much, and I find myself living in this phone.

The times I don't want to be found... I ignore that flashing red LED.  But, with Google Latitude I won't have that luxury.  If I don't pick up, I could potentially find that persistent (and now forever creepy) person tapping me on the shoulder minutes later.  I've got enough common sense to not allow questionable people to have my GPS fix in the first place, but sometimes you don't realize who the creeps are until they do something pretty creepy.  What's that quote you always hear on the news from the old lady who lived next to the mass murderer?  Something like, "He was such a nice man. Very normal...

Slacker Radio Beats Pandora to the Punch

February 9, 2009

I'm a Pandora addict.  It's always playing in the background on just about every computer I sit down at.  I have been dying for Pandora to release an app for my BlackBerry Storm because I've recently gotten myself back in gear and into the gym 4 or 5 nights a week.  It'd be nice to just bring my Storm and some headphones while I work out, and get a nice variety of music that I didn't have to purchase or spend hours organizing into "perfect" playlists.

Well Pandora dropped the ball, even after myself and others have repeatedly harassed them over the past month or two. Slacker Radio beat them to the punch and is now available for the BlackBerry Storm.  It's a sweet little application for streaming internet radio, and even has a function to cache a song to listen to later offline.  You can get artist bios, album reviews, can ban artists from your stations, and the music continues to run while you use other applications on your phone.  It also has a nice landscape design that works well with the touch screen functionality of the Storm.

Honestly, I'm very impressed, and have even switched my computer over to Slacker Radio to really test what it has to offer.  Who knows, the switch may be permanent.  It really appeals to me when a company tries to stay on top of new technology, and makes sure it's accessible across all formats.

Who's the slacker now Pandora?

How Do You Not Review That Last Play?

February 1, 2009

First and foremost, congratulations to the Pittsburgh Steelers for their 27-23 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl 43.

But, the NFL better be ready for the hell they are going to get about the officiating tomorrow.  It's one thing if a bad call is made, or if something gets missed, especially during the regular season.  However, this is the Super Bowl, and the technology surrounding instant replay almost borders on obscene.  6+ high definition camera angles locked onto each play, all able to be played back instantly at insanely slow speeds...

I'm not saying the call would have been overturned, but the replay official Bob McGrath should have issued a challenge to make sure Kurt Warner's arm wasn't moving forward on that forced fumble call.  It was that close.

It's not like the NFL had anything to lose by reviewing the play. If the ruling on the field was overturned, the last play had the potential to be one of the most exciting finishes to a Super Bowl. The Arizona Cardinals - the underdogs - down by 4 - one play left in the game - a bomb thrown by Kurt Warner - to a wide receiver core consisting of Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, and Steve Breaston - against Troy Polamalu and the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers defense...

Man, it had so much potential.

It's one thing to blow it on the big stage because you didn't have the resources or technology to help you make the right call.  It's another thing all together to have them at your fingertips and then choose to ignore them.