The Quick & Dirty:

  • 9+ years in the biz, 10 messing around
  • All the latest in HTML, CSS, JS & PHP (Sorry, no .net or Ruby skills yet)
  • Cross-browser compatible code from Photoshop or Illustrator files.. or napkins!
  • Custom Specialities in Wordpress theming & plugins, Twitter & jQuery
  • Subversion, server-log analysis, and blocking hack-attempts (of late).
  • Data/Project Geek. I ♥ timelines.

I’ve compiled some handy PHP functions I’ve had to whip up. More extensive code-samples are also available.


Wordpress-from-static HTML


Smartphones, Tablets & Dumbphones: Which are glanceable?

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m into tech, and that perhaps too much (by most reasonable standards). But what gets me about tech isn’t the tech itself (believe it or not!). I’m actually into 2 very distinct aspects of tech: it’s knowledge-utility, and the consequence for daily routine (ultimately very psychologically focused!). I’ve  recently posted on some basic UX (user experience/interation) with the latest hot-commodity (tablets).. I’m into that because for some reason I seem to care about “the market” and what it means for the daily life of consumers (of which I may be one). My latest curiosity is smartphone use vs. dumbphone use. Back in the day, everyone had their camera, gps, phone and ipod separate. As imagined, it lead to quite a pocketable mess. I’m sure the number of screens scratched in purses has never be historically higher than the pre-iPhone era. I was part of the early adopters who wanted convergence. There was a debate about the “brickphone” problem: who wants to hold a .7″ phone that’s 3×5″ to their ear? (Something no one thinks twice about anymore, btw). This early rejection of the mini-tablet phone lead to the blackberry & doomed-to-fail “Treo” –bleh–. But with the rise of Google Maps and Yelp, in the back of everyone’s mind was the nagging question: there’s got to be a better way. Information-Freedom became a value. So let’s tally up my daily life: Phone calls: there’s really only 4 people I call. 30minutes/day average, but most are around 1 min. Texts: I rarely send more than 6/day That’s my average. Most are under 50 letters, but enough are around 100. 3G: Most of my use if on wifi, with the majority of the use between “Google Services” and the Browser, generally. I’m under the 250mb average though, bottoming out around 50mb/month. And this brings me to my point: The majority of my activities on my phone are not very active. I’m not a huge caller, nor do I send a million text messages. Yet how often do I look at my phone? I feel like that number is much, much higher. Most of my activity on my phone is actually tablet-worthy activities: twitter, facebook and news. Google Reader is kind enough to track this for me too. In the past month,  I’ve “read 1,408 items, clicked 22 items, starred 4 items, shared 5 items, and emailed 2 items.” That’s an “interest-delivery rate” of 1.5%. Insanely low. But sometimes I’m happy with the excerpt, and don’t click-through. But seriously, that’s an 46 items/day, or 3/every-waking-hour. 3/hour. That sounds about right. All my daily phone-life is 1-2 calls/day, 5 txt’s/day and 50 news-updates. That’s one glance, every 20 minutes. Glance-ability is actually the best user-interaction trait I can imagine. I glance at my phone a ton. This is why I love the now-defunct Slidescreen Home: it’s a glance-able UI. I don’t have to wade from app to app. This is also the Windows Phone 7/Metro Interface UX: glance and go. There’s a culture to this too: if someone doesn’t get back with you within those 15-20 minutes, you’ve likely made other plans, or think they’ve died. So if I’m glancing all day long (and mostly about those news-bits), what happens when the fire-hose is turned off? This anti-media-consumption is being thrown about every now and then, and I get it. I’m a fan of our print magazines. My eyes enjoy not being screamed at by all these bright screens too. But what I mean is the potential to turn off the streaming-data-in, and only have a phone-that-is-a-phone. The simple and obvious question becomes, “So where am I glancing then?” Would I place my little 7″ tablet on my desk or coffee table to glance at? I might pull it out in a restaurant over lunch, if I’m eating alone. But it’s far less hide-able. Reading on a tablet becomes more of an event than a glance. And it’s this glancing which is insanely powerful. I know instantly what to talk about, or where to go. The pre-smartphone world was one of event-based computing. One would sit in front of the screen (with the tv vs. internet debates of the early 2000s), and be spatially limited. Now, with glancable (ubiquitous) computing (information-access), there’s no need to wait to read the news when you come home. In fact, there’s good reason to glance all day long, so that when I come home, I’m thinking of home. (However the 20-minute checkup habit is hard to kill!) So I guess I’m saying I’m not  sure about tablets. I’m still glance-oriented, and I’ve been trying to move away from event-oriented computing (having had enough of that awhile back). I’m tempted to throw my SIM card into my insanely old Sony-Ericsson and use my mini-tablet-phone as a wifi-only device, just to see what happens. I imagine I’d be much more bored.. that I’d still try to pocket my tablet-phone (instead of imagining it as a larger tablet), and that I’d have my dumbphone in my pocket all day long for “no reason”: If I’m stuck carrying a phone that doesn’t do quick-glance, I’m left wondering why I carry it at all. It had better have a great ringer on it, lest I never notice!

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Posted in desktop theory, Information Design, interaction design, life-of-a-geek, limited computing, mobile, psychology Comments Off

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