Another Google summer

I heart Google

Need I say more?

I love Google.  They’re not perfect, but they’re one of the best companies out there.  And, I’d note, though they pay careful attention to what people say about them and their products, it seems that their primary source of direction and innovation is their own expertise.  This may fly in the face of some basic tenets of design, but it’s working for Google.  Indeed, this summer looks to be another fascinating googletime.

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Calvetica: weird name – sweeeet calendar

the calvetica logo

calvetica: simplicity and style in spades.

Rarely do I find software that is so wonderfully balanced between form and function that it becomes an instant favorite of mine. Recently, I’ve found three. Dropbox, which I’ve already written about, was first.  The second was Burstn.  Calvetica, an iPhone calendar, is the third such app.  If you use an iPhone and you’re looking for an amazing calendar, I think you’re search ends with calvetica.

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Burstn: a cool photo-stream app

burstn photo-sharing service

burstn helps you see the world as others do.

Not that I’m the most social person in the world, but once in a while even I am impressed by social networking apps.  Burstn, a twitteresque photo-sharing service, is such an app.

Burstn runs on iOS (and, soon, on Android).  When you start the app, you’re presented with a camera app.  Once you take a picture, or pull one from your device’s album, you’re offered the chance to add a caption and some #tags. You’re also offered a set of popular #tags that you can just choose, which is nice because it’s rather hard to get to the # sign on the iPhone keyboard.

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Why Google Wave failed

Wave goodbye to Wave

Google has reported that they will no longer continue to develop its highly innovative Wave product, and that it will likely take the system down within a year.  Touted as a revolution in web-based software, Wave just never caught on.  There’s no shortage of opinions on the reasons for Wave’s demise, but none of them (that I’ve seen) looked at it from a designerly point of view.  Hence this post.

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FocusTodo: AutoFocus for the iPhone

FocusTodoIcon

FocusTodo is for those who dislike GTD.

AutoFocus is a minimalist time management system by Mark Forster.  It certainly has its merits, especially if you find that time management systems like Getting Things Done (GTD) are too complicated.  While there’s all kinds of GTD apps for the iPhone, only recently have apps based on AutoFocus started to appear.  A very interesting AutoFocus app is FocusTodo (n.b. the website seems nearly entirely in Japanese) by Syncreticworks.

I’m going to do a short review of FocusTodo and suggest some possible improvements.  It’s a pretty cool app anyways, and I think that AutoFocus purists in particular will really appreciate it.

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Decision making on the iPhone

iDecide+ Logo

iDecide how to decide

Sometimes it’s hard to make decisions. In my experience, a hard decision is one that involves multiple criteria the relative importance of which aren’t particularly clear. There exist methods to help you make such decisions. One of them has been implemented in an iPhone app called iDecide+. So I thought I would write about decision making, and briefly review the app, at the same time.

Consider a simple example: taking a vacation. You would probably want to spend as little money while having as much fun (however you define “fun”) as possible. But there’s more to it. You might want to go somewhere you’ve never been. You might prefer to distinguish between the costs of travel versus the costs of activities (beer, sightseeing, souvenirs, nightclubs, whatever). You might want to go somewhere with a particular climate. These are some of the criteria that would help you decide which vacation is probably the best for you.  And these are just some of the possibilities; there are many others.

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