News for the ‘Mobile’ Category

I need a new camera. And a phone.

I need a new camera. And thus, a new phone.

The iPhone did this to me. Before I got an iPhone, I would bring my trusty old Sony digital camera and take really cool pictures (yes, when I remembered to bring it!). When I got back I plugged it in to my mac and transferred the pictures to iPhoto. Most of the time, that’s where it stopped.

So, I got an iPhone and at first I really didn’t care much for the camera. Sure, it was nice to have it with me and take casual pictures, but the quality just wasn’t good enough for nicer pictures. For a while. When the iPhone 4 came out, the camera was even better than my old Sony, so from that day, I used my iPhone as my only camera, and I’ve been fine with it.

Until last christmas holiday. We were visiting my sister in Dubai, and while taking some pictures in the Madinat shopping centre, I started noticing purple dots in the pictures. At first, I thought it was dust on the lens, so I tried wiping. A lot. Didn’t work.

Getting home after the holiday, the purple dots had grown bigger in size, and they’re clearly visible in every picture. So, I started googling it, only to find out that apparently, this was a known flaw in the CMOS sensor in the iPhone 5, and Apple replaced the units (See here or here).

Happily walking to the Apple Store in Stockholm, I was informed that since I had bought my iPhone in the U.S. it was only covered by 1 year warranty (In Sweden, we always have 2 years, by law). Ok, sure, was my answer, and when did that expire? “15 days ago”, was the reply. I told the rep that the problems had started before christmas (and thus, well within the 1 year warranty) and I had pictures on the phone with datestamps to prove it. That wasn’t enough, he said, I could have photoshopped that. My jaw dropped a bit on that response.

So I asked him if I would have gone to him 15 days earlier, I would have walked out with a new phone? Yep, I sure would have.

Now, I understand that there has to be limits and rules are rules etc. But for Apple to be this nitty gritty, on a hardware issue that they know is a manufacturing flaw, it just beats me.

So for another year and a half, I’ve been taking pictures (less often, though) and using Photoshop Express on the phone to try and “blemish-remove” the dots.

The moral of the story is that my phone is actually fine, and works great. But since the phone part messed up, I have to replace the whole thing. One-device-for-all dilemma.

Sometimes, I dribble this thought when developing apps. On one hand, I want to build every function I can think of inside the same app, for easy access and convenience. But on the other hand, if one major part breaks, it can cripple the rest of the app’s functionality, rendering it pretty much useless.

I’m more or less steering towards building single-function apps nowadays. Perhaps, we could then use the app interoperability (deep-links) to stitch them together inside “container apps” to group them together?

Posted: August 8th, 2015
Categories: Ideas, Mobile, Tech, Thoughts
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Introducing: Parse Browser for iOS

Ever since I signed up for Parse.com and started using it as my BaaS-provider, my app development has sped up significantly.

Needless to say, there are a lot of things I love about the service. The user-friendly API, the generous free limits and the schema-less db model to mention a few.

However, there’s one thing that has always bugged me. I’m usually on the go, and I like when I have my tools available from the comfort of my iPhone, when I need them. The Data Browser view that shows and lets you manage your classes and objects does not work from mobile Safari. Neither is there an app from Parse themselves to support this.

So I built one.

I call it “Data Browser for Parse”, and I’d like to show it to you:

This app lets you add your own apps from the Parse Dashboard that you want to manage, with your own name and keys, as given in the Parse Dashboard. And don’t worry, as I use this myself, and I’m pretty paranoid when it comes to giving out my personal keys and stuff, I made sure the keys are securely stored in the iOS keychain as recommended by Apple.

After adding the app info, and selecting which one to work with, it’s just a matter of adding the relevant classes to manage. The Parse iOS SDK isn’t really built, I guess, to extract user info about a user’s apps and classes, it’s pretty limited in that you have to know the name of the class you want to work with, so for the time being, this has to be set manually. It’s not too difficult, though :)

After adding your first class, you might find that the “name” shown in the list isn’t really what you would have chosen as an identifier for your objects. Hey, no ones data looks the same, so I figured it would be best to make this configurable. So, in the navigation bar, there’s a button where you can select which of your class columns you wish to use as a “title” column for you objects. As you can see in my screenshots above, I have a list of “Questions” where the “answer” column is what I use to know which object is which. (And as a last resort, I included the objectId in case you have a lot of objects with the same name)

Now, the fun begins. Use the app to browse around your data, tap a field to edit it, modify your arrays and objects, or go ahead and add a new column to your class!

The rest is up to you!

PS. The app is currently in the App Store Review line, but be sure to keep an eye out on this page or on my twitter when it gets approved!

EDIT: The App is now live and kicking in the App Store! Get it here

Posted: April 6th, 2014
Categories: Design, Mobile
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Misleading icons: The funnel

One day we all just have to wake up and smell the reality: when it comes to choosing a default icon to depict a filtering function, we’ve all been duped by a funnel. (Or is it a martini glass?)

There is no question about it, the funnel is indeed the default icon of choice for most when it comes to the filter function. (See for yourself!)

The question is why? Why did the funnel earn this prime spot? I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, and all I can come up with is: I don’t know!

What is a filter?

First, let’s define what a filter is and does. A filter function takes in a large amount of data and after applying a set of rules excludes a part of the data, resulting in a smaller dataset than the original. (Or as Wikipedia defines it: “a higher-order function that processes a data structure (typically a list) in some order to produce a new data structure containing exactly those elements of the original data structure for which a given predicate returns the boolean value true”)

Basically, we have a list of some sort to begin with. The problem is that us humans are limited in how much data we can handle, so we need to somehow remove everything in the list we’re not interested in. We do this by applying some rules that filter out everything else, and only leaves a list of stuff we’re interested in.

Case example: We want to find a picture of a dog. We go to google and search for “dog”. The result is way too big and contains both sites and images. Thanks to the filtering function, we can easily click “Images” which filters out any result that is not an image.

What is a funnel?

“A funnel is a pipe with a wide, often conical mouth and a narrow stem. It is used to channel liquid or fine-grained substances into containers with a small opening. Without a funnel, spillage would occur.” [Wikipedia]

The funnel is designed to aid in getting stuff from containers with large openings into containers with small openings, reducing the messiness of spillage.

It doesn’t exclude anything. The whole point of the funnel is to NOT exclude (spill) anything!

The problem:

So, we have a function designed to make a dataset smaller by excluding stuff. Somehow we decided that it was convenient to depict this with an item that is designed NOT to exclude anything.

The solution:

As it seems, I’m not the only one who have started to wake up from this bad dream. (There’s even a survey on LinkedIn where more people hate this icon than love it)

Some people are also trying to create alternatives to the current standard. Here are a few I’ve found:

New Filter Icon

New Filter Icon

I can see the basic idea behind this icon, even if I agree with some of the dribbble commenters saying that it could be visualized more clearly.

Filter icon

Filter icon

The simplicity of this one is interesting, but also hides its intention. What does a upside down pyramid of dots have to do with filtering?

Filter icon

Filter icon

This one is a bit unclear, I think. Two dots become one, or is it the one dot that is split up into two? Or is it three nodes connected in a network?

Filter

Filter

This one is based on the same idea that there’s some kind of “wall” that lets through one arrow but not another. I like this concept, but I feel that the reason why one arrow is bounced (aka the filter) isn’t immediately recognised, which makes it hard to immediately form an idea of what is depicted.

One of the newer alternatives I found in TweetDeck (It’s the icon in the top right of each column):

TweetDeck Filter

TweetDeck Filter

And a variant of this I found in the swedish news app, Omni [http://omni.se/]:

Omni

Omni

I can understand where this icon comes from, since one of the common controls in a filter function is a slider, to define a range fo two values. But, really, does this depict a filter function? I’m not convinced.

One common flaw I see in these examples is that to understand them, the user needs to know that they’re trying to depict a filter. Once you know that, it’s easy to see the basic idea “many -> few” or the idea of “exclusion”. But what about someone who doesn’t know that, or if there isn’t a label next to it to tell? Then all we’re seeing is lines and arrows or dots.

There has to be a better way to depict a filter. I’ll dedicate my soul to finding it.

PS:

I know, there is something called a “filter funnel”.[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filter_funnel] It wouldn’t be fair of me not to mention it. Basically, it’s a funnel that you put a filter paper in and separates particles out of liquids. And really, do any of the currently used funnel icons show any filter paper?! Nope.

Posted: January 17th, 2014
Categories: Design, Ideas, Mobile, Thoughts, UX, Webdesign
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TV Guide for Status Board

Note: This Status Board panel displays the tv guide for swedish channels, and is mostly intended for swedish Status Board users. That said, I’m switching to swedish.

tv-panel

Status Board för iPad kan användas för att visa en mängd oliks orters data. När jag är hemma vill jag ofta snabbt kunna se vad som går på tv (att slå på tv:n bara för att bläddra igenom kanalerna för att sedan se att ingenting av intresse visades är ju alldeles för jobbigt!), så jag byggde denna panel som visar vad som går nu på tv, samt vad som kommer efter nuvarande programmet. Panelen använder sig av omtv.se :s javascript för att hämta programmen.

Ingen konfiguration behövs, så det är bara att klicka på knappen nedan från den iPad där du har Status Board installerat.

Klicka här från din iPad!

 

Posted: May 2nd, 2013
Categories: Design, Mobile, Status Board, TV, Webdesign, Widgets
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State of Mobile

Min första @HaikuDeck. Blev rejält inspirerad av #webbdagarna och kände att jag var tvungen att sammanställa lite fakta om hur mobilmarknaden faktiskt ser ut idag!

Kul verktyg att använda, kan rekommendera det för snabba presentationer som inte kräver massa snazzy effects. (Dvs alla…)


http://www.haikudeck.com/p/4dOzv0Snl7

Posted: March 15th, 2013
Categories: Ideas, Mobile, Mobile Web, Stats, Thoughts
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My sons

IMG_0085

My sons. Can’t live without each other.

Posted: March 8th, 2013
Categories: Cornelis, Melker, Mobile
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My sons

Click to continue reading “My sons”

Posted: March 8th, 2013
Categories: Mobile
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Åldersskillnad

Idag, vid middagen, berättade för killarna om vårt förslag för att de
ska lära sig att somna utan en förälder i rummet. Efter tre intjänade
guldstjärnor får de en överraskning från en leksaksaffär.

Melkers reaktion: “NÄÄÄÄ!!!! Jag vill ha fler Lego-gubbar!!!!

Corres reaktion: *tittar drömmande upp mot taket* “Då vill jag ha en
stjärna från himmelen…”

Det säger en del om vilken åldersfas de befinner sig i just nu!

Posted: November 6th, 2012
Categories: Mobile
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I just lost my AppStore-ginity!

Ok, on three:

One
Two
Three
Download!

Posted: October 27th, 2012
Categories: Mobile
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Kvällspromenad

Bild

Posted: October 14th, 2012
Categories: Mobile
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