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

PC

Dell Makes an Attempt at Style

October 7, 2008

Everyone I know used to owned a Dell.  I think I've owned 3 or 4 in the past 10 years.  But Dell took a tumble a few years back, and lost their commanding grasp on the market.   I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that they were the ugliest option on the market for a while.

In the computer world, features and performance should be the most important things to consider when purchasing a new machine...

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.

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.







GEDC Sets a New Wireless Standard

January 23, 2009

I personally get very excited when I read about new steps in wireless technology.  I own a lot of gadgets, a lot of media hardware, and a lot of computers. With all of that comes a large electric bill and worse yet... a lot of wires. They're everywhere, they're a pain to keep organized and to hide, and they keep my gadgets confined to restricted areas.  I dream of the day when every gadget I own is wireless.  According to a report from ScienceDaily, my dreams may be approaching reality.

The Georgia Electronic Design Center (GEDC) at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has developed a new chip design that promises wireless functionality for ultra-fast media applications.  The new Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) chip is capable of transmitting 60 GHz digital Radio Frequency (RF) signals.  The chip "represents the highest level of integration for 60GHz wireless single-chip solutions."

What does this mean?  Multi-gigabit wireless technology is the next step for new wireless applications.  Consumers and IT markets alike will benefit from this new technology.