Monday, May 11, 2015

Shot on iphone 6

On commute to office, I saw some huge adds with good photos of nature. Title at the top said: "Shot on iphone 6".  

Some what related to my earlier post on Sent from my iphone

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Sent from my iphone

Assuming that number of people who read a given mail is less that number of people who will look at the photograph...
...expecting to see "Clicked from my iphone" soon on photos..

Saturday, January 04, 2014

The Scroll Bar

The scroll bar is the universal answer to the problem of showing more content than the "window" allows you to display. Be it a webpage, pdf viewer, word document, audio/video players: scroll bar is used everywhere.

Here is the problem:
The granularity of change possible with scroll bar has nothing to with the granularity of the content it is working on, but only the size of the content relative to the "window". For example when we read a physical book, the granularity of change is page. We are either reading page 42-43 or 44-45. On a web page with all the content of a book, the "granularity of change" would simply be a function of total size of the book. If the book is too long, one pixel might map to multiple pages. For a small book, one pixel might map to half a line.

Interestingly, list views in mobile applications don't suffer from this problem. The role of scroll bar is simply to give a sense of amount of data, the scroll is controlled by length and speed of touch.

For most e-commerce sites and specifically for the product catalog pages, the "granularity of change" is simply a row of images. For text it should probably be a line of text, for airline summary of flights it could be each row of information. If "granularity of change" can be explicitly told to the scroll bar, it could be more natural for users to interact with it.

Here is a picture of how it might look:
|            |           |                           |
Start     Previous      Next                       End

Looks similar to audio players - next / previous is "song".

Friday, September 13, 2013

stuffido - the todo app

Stuffido, is a todo app for Android. Why on earth do I need a new todo app?

Long long time ago, people started forgetting to do important stuff in life. It was a world without apps and phones. And then someone invented, what we now know as a todo list. It was pretty simple. Just write down what you want to do and cross it once you are done. That worked for a while, but it had few problems.
  • It becomes too long, painful to look at.
  • It is hard to add further notes to these todos. 
  • If it is not crossed, it is not done. It didn't track progress.
  • After a while, you need to copy and create a new one.
Then someone invented calendar. The whole thing was now organised by time. Instead of making a list, people need to specify when are they going to do it and also how much time it is going to take. This worked extremely well for meetings and time bound stuff. But how do you track stuff that takes longer time? And stuff that doesn't takes much time.

So what is stuffido?
It is still a todo list, but takes cares of all the problems of todo lists.
  • Divide. You don't need to pick a time, just a time slot for a task. 
  • Focus. It will only show you tasks for the given time slot, based on current time.
  • Do. Each time slot can maximum have 7 tasks. Have more? Add it for later. It takes time to decide what to do next. It is NOW or LATER, but you don't need to do it every time.
  • Measure. Each task has a progress bar. Big things require small steps. Made some progress? Track it. Add a note, whatz next? 
  • Done. Know what you have been doing, each day.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Survival of the fittest

Adam Smith's Capitalism and Darwin's theory of evolution have some parallels. What seems more interesting to me is their differences.

When Darwin talks about survival of the fittest, he is talking about species not individuals. The strongest dinosaurs didn't survive. Species is nothing but a unit of organization of similar individuals. Bees survive by being together in a monarchy. Ants too work together. We have two extremes to work with. Individual as in a single person for Capitalism and "all members of a species" at the other end for Darwin. And then we have Bees and Ants somewhere in between.

The point I am trying to make is that "individual"  is not just something biological. It could be anything that cannot be divided - indivisible.   It is not a person that needs to be fittest, it is the organization of that set of persons, which acts as indivisible is what decides the fate of that "collective individual".  In the worst case, it is just a single biological unit - a person. In the best case, it could be everyone in the species. Or even a subset of species, including the subset all species.

Parasites won't survive without the host. Deer's won't survive without tigers, because too many deers will probably eat all the grass and die of hunger. To me, it feels like what survives is the system. Individuals are too fragile. It is systems with fault tolerance, systems with self balancing, self regulating  mechanisms, that tend to survive.  Strong kings survived. Their next generations survived longer. But what survived longest was the idea of Kingdom.

We should probably look back and figure out - What is survival? What is the time frame in which we look at survival?  And who is fighting? And with whom?  Before we use the term "survival of the fittest".