Tag Archives: Apple

A quick observation about Apple stores

Running around the world is always a fun activity, new people, new local customs and all around new stuff. To be honest, after a while there’s a bit too much new stuff and you just want your own bed back so you can hide under the covers where it’s warm and known.

The entrance of the Apple Store on Fifth Avenu...
Image via Wikipedia

It turns out that a lot of global brands play on this cards. While McDonalds is probably not the best idea for a place to eat, it’s still known experience and as such it feels a bit like home. That’s also a case with Wrigley‘s chewing gum, Gillette personal hygiene products and similar things.

I did notice this feeling yesterday with Apple also. While they’re just a computer store they have lots of free computers to check email on, nice couches and free wifi. While they don’t serve coffee they do kind of attract you if you’re lost and need a quick Internet fix. Maybe it’s just Apple Geek in me, but one of the first things I check is the location of Apple stores.

Anyway, it turns out to be a really handy thing in central London as you can just meet people there, suck their wifi juice and well .. buy their gadget. Giving you a bit of comfort every step of the way.

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The great OK/Cancel button dilemma

Today I created a simple web form. So simple indeed that it has only three design elements:

Turquoise Ceramic Buttons
Image by panavatar via Flickr
  • input field
  • OK button, in this case labeled “Save”
  • Cancel button

Since I’m always confused about the order of OK  – Cancel buttons (you, should it be OK / Cancel or Cancel / OK), I checked a few dialogs around my OS X and they all read Cancel / OK.

I personally prefer the second option, as I usually like to confirm my dialog boxes and it’s much easier to hit OK in down right corner vs. finding the item next to it.

Second choice it’s probably that I’m brainwashed from seeing this choice all the time on my Mac.

After showing my choices to the person in charge, I got the obvious feedback: “Reverse the Cancel / OK button”.

Fine! (I change the button order and go looking in various HIG documents).

Here are results:

Apple’s HIG states:

Always put the action button in the bottom-right corner of the alert. This is the button that completes the action that the user initiated before the alert was displayed. [ed. note: this would make it Cancel / OK]

GNOME’s HIG states:

Show a Cancel button that will prevent authentication and close the alert. Place this button to the immediate left of the OK or equivalent button. [ed. note: this would make it Cancel / OK]

Place command buttons that apply to all property pages at the bottom of the property window. Right-align the buttons and use this order (from left to right): OK, Cancel, and Apply. [ed. note: this makes it OK / Cancel]
KDE’s HIG doesn’t state anything (or at least I couldn’t find it), but it seems that it standardizes on OK / Cancel.
So here we have two camps. The OK / Cancel one is clearly bigger because of the whole Windows platform using this convention. I’ll leave out different argumentations out of this document, as it’s kind of a holy war between certain UX factions.
Interesting thing with this issue is that it doesn’t matter, as long as you standardize. Nobody managed to measure any difference as long as it was the same across the whole environment.
But what to do in case of Web applications, where you can’t standardize the whole Internet? Jakob Nielsen thinks that you should go with the option that is natural to more of your users.
At the end of the day, this translates to use OK / Cancel as majority of your users will probably be on Windows or KDE, unless you’re running some kind of OS specific niche site. Even then you should only switch if you’re working for OS X crowd as you can’t really know Window Manager usage distribution of your users.
What about you? Do you OK / Cancel or Cancel / OK things? Or are you just constantly twitching because that OK never feels right?
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Graphication on OS X (with pycairo)

I’m working on some visualizations and I want to achieve the look of Last.fm visualization lastgraph3:


The great thing about this is that Andew Godwin, author of the site open sourced the underlying library – Graphication.

Since I’m an OS X user, I decided to make the whole thing work on my system – Leopard 10.5.6 at the time of this writing. Here are the notes, mostly for my reference and because it might be also useful to others:

Get free XCode from Apple: http://developer.apple.com/

First build and install pkg-config from: http://pkgconfig.freedesktop.org/releases/pkg-config-0.23.tar.gz

Then install libpng and libjpeg libraries: http://ethan.tira-thompson.com/Mac%20OS%20X%20Ports.html

Build and install pixman from: http://www.cairographics.org/releases/

Build and install cairo from: http://cairographics.org/releases/

Build and install pycairo from: http://cairographics.org/releases/

– you’ll need to edit cairo/Makefile.in file by modifying parameter _cairo_la_LDFLAGS (around line 215) to remove ‘-export-symbols-regex init_cairo’
(thanks Michael Dales)

Build instructions:
– just follow INSTALL file. Essential running:
./configure –prefix=/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework/Versions/2.5 (sys.path for my system)
and then make && sudo make install

Now you can finally build and install Graphication package 🙂

All the installations steps are just ./configure && make && sudo make install and just work out of the box. I already have Python PIL installed from sources and I think you need this for one of the steps, but I’m not sure anymore for which one.

After you go through all the steps, you can start drawing something like that:

Simple visualization
Simple visualization

Now to figure out how to create something meaningful with it.

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Is Nike Apple of running?

Brands are something that in today’s modern world give us meaning and legitimize a lot of our actions. Well, technically is our outlook, as in it’s strange to be out on a street alone in neighborhood, just walking around, but it becomes perfectly fine when you have a baby cart (with baby in of course), dog on a leash or you’re slowly jogging with white iPod headphones.

Dressing like runners dress on TV, with big logo’s and spandex, just adds another layer of acceptance to your character. Which then brings us on to second question, what’s my brand of choice?

It’s important to choose your brand wisely in the beginning as you’re going to buy mostly that and it’s going to say a lot about your lifestyle and what you want to convey to the world.

(I know it’s shallow and all that, but you can’t really escape this. You can just decide to go anti-brand and run alternative branding look based on that.)

Lets talk about Nike for a bit

If you’re owning Apple, Nike positioned themselves to be perfect matching brand. They make shoes that talk to your iPod while at the same time, their hardware uses iTunes (if you want) to upload your personal data to mother base.

It also has great inspirational advertising, public events (10K human run) and at actually makes enough stuff to fully dress you. It also has Apple Store like Nike Town where they can take full care of you.

As such it’s a great brand to deep into. It’s not cheap, so it’s showing your social status, but it also represents some sort of quality over pure luxury, so you can at least partly justify it to your significant other and your own wallet.

With such positioning on a market, I can confidently say that Nike has almost reached level of Apple. What’s just missing are 6-month keynotes with charismatic CEO and a bit bigger show for its fans.

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Why Slovenia won’t get iPhone anytime soon

The short answer to Why Slovenia won’t get iPhone anytime soon is that it wouldn’t make sense.

When Apple failed to bring iPhone 3G to Slovenia earlier this year, a thousand fanboy voices cried in frustration. Yet when analyzing the ecosystem around iPhone, it makes complete sense.

SAN FRANCISCO - JUNE 09:  Apple CEO Steve Jobs watches a video of the new iPhone 3G as he delivers the keynote address at the Apple Worldwide Web Developers Conference June 9, 2008 in San Francisco, California. Jobs kicked off the 2008 WWDC conference with a keynote where he announced an upgraded version of the popular iPhone called the iPhone 3G.
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

iPhone is not just a fancy smart phone. It’s also a way to:

  • buy ITunes music store
  • figure out where you are (Google Maps)
  • Get the best localized experience333

This means that when bringing iPhone 3G to Slovenia, Apple would have to not only localize the iPhone itself, but also introduce iTunes music store, make sure Google Maps are good enough (they aren’t precise enough yet) and localize a number of services like MobileMe that are often subscribed to by users to provide even better iPhone/Mac integration.

There’s also a neat trick that Apple does in other countries for iPhone subscribers – free WiFi hotspots/cloud access for iPhone. This greatly increases experience as you’re not limited to the spotty 3G coverage if you’re in correct urban areas. Slovenia has only one true WiFi cloud that’s well known enough – Neo Wlan, operated by the Telekom group.

Without all these domino pieces falling  together, it’s hard to believe Apple would want to enter Slovenian market with iPhone and deliver worse experience than in other countries. Above facts also mean that just buying an unlocked iPhone will not provide you with the true spirit of iPhone experience.

[There’s always a chance I’m just bitter that I don’t have one] 😉

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