Ice Cream Sandwich Means One Less Android OS Fork

Now that the new android OS, Ice Cream Sandwich, has arrived, many people (especially developers) are breathing a sigh of relief. There are many different devices and carriers out there and each have their own devices. Each hardware company has their own bloatware *ahem* I mean, dynamic interface, laid on top of the OS.

Take all that and the fact that when the tablets were introduced, they all got Honeycomb; a fairly different operating system and interface from Gingerbread on the smart phones and it made transitioning between the two somewhat difficult as the interface paradigms were different enough to baffle some users.

The hope is that with the re-merging of the fork between these OSs where both handsets and tablets are run with the same program, there will be an improved android ecosystem.

It sounds great, but the problem is that there are still too many fragmented projects with android. Open source is great for innovative development and free market ideas, but it is difficult for programmers, let alone us lowly end users, to understand what is happening and which one would really be a better solution for our needs.

Ice Cream Sandwich is a step in the right direction. Now there needs to be additional progress towards a more unified release cycle across all devices, carriers and OS upgrades. While you are at it, lets remove things like blur or other carrier and hardware UI skins. They just get in the way and generally provide very little value to most users. Make them applications that people can download if they choose.

Please leave your thoughts below about android development and what it means for end users.

Why Don’t Usability Problems Get Fixed?

There are various reasons why usability problems exist in the first place—some simple and some complex. Identifying problems and recommending solutions is not always enough. Unfortunately, the same factors that cause problems in the first place also hinder their getting fixed. The following are some of the most common reasons why usability problems don’t get fixed.

  • Lack of Resources

o   No One Has the Skills to Fix Them
o   There Is a Lack of Time, Money, or Resources

  • Technical Limitations

o   Technical Limitations Make Changes Difficult
o   Vendor Software Is Difficult to Change Continue reading

How to Become Better at Your Profession

Some ideas on professional development, learning and growing within your area of expertise, or even expanding your horizons to include those skills that are associated with your field.

This list was taken from an article on UX Matters about Career Alternatives to Management

These are generally good for all professions, but are applied here to the UX field.

  • read—Create a routine for reading that ensures you keep up on the latest industry knowledge.
  • follow—Use tools like Twitter and discussion lists, which are handy for following people with UX knowledge.
  • network—Connect with the UX community.
  • debate—Engage in spirited discussions—not for the sake of debating, but to see whether there are better ways of doing something.
  • contribute—Write articles, submit papers to UX conferences, and present your ideas. Put yourself out there and test your own thinking.
  • meet—Take the time to meet fellow practitioners.
  • lead—Facilitate a workshop, walk through a design, moderate user research, or find your own way of taking ownership of a piece of something.
  • interview—Get out of your comfort zone and interview for a challenging job—you may learn something along the way.
  • be open—Always be open to other roles you might be able to play. Don’t confine yourself to one UX specialty, skill, or discipline.

iTunes 8.2 and iPhone 3.0 Updates

As a technology consultant at Achieve Kids, I am often the GO-TO Guy for technology outside the scope of the workplace. Sometimes this can be annoying, but when its about mobile phones, touch and gestural interfaces like the exciting Microsoft Xbox Natal gaming idea,

and Apple products, I am happy to oblige and “geek out” for a minute.

Just yesterday, there were questions to me,

“When is the new iPhone 3.0 update supposed to happen?”

“When can I cut & paste on my iPod Touch?”

“Is this new iTunes update for 3.0? Why is it numbered wrong?”

The iTunes 8.2 update gives support to iPhones and iPod Touches that have the iPhone 3.0 update……But the 3.0 update has not been released yet. Its an interesting order of events, but for those of us who are anxiously awaiting the new APIs coming with the iPhone update, this is like a teaser trailer.

In addition, the iTunes 8.2 has improved security. Apparently there is also improved bounds checking in the upgrade to prevent a stack buffer overflow problem that could lead to unexpected app termination or arbitrary code execution.

There is still not a specific hard date given for when the iPhone update will be but, but it’s expected to take center stage at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), which takes place June 8 – 12, 2009 in San Francisco.

Several articles have come out over the last 3 days about the iTunes 8.2 update

The official Apple details
iPhone Mobility Blog