Friday, November 20, 2015

One Feature I Could Use

You know what would be a great feature? If you could test and evaluate different licenses. Sure, you can get a free 30-day trial if you're not a customer. But what happens if you want to evaluate a "Chatter Plus" seat, or an "Unlimited Edition Seat"? How can you tell if the seat will meet your requirements and work within your existing environment?

Me, I want to be able to implement a test -- to see what seat would look like -- before I commit to changing my contract. Is it too much to ask?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Wired Looks at iTunes Alienation of Music Lovers

I've written about it a number of times before, Apple has taken a design and product strategy that is alienating and abandoning many of their most passionate users. In Apple’s iTunes Is Alienating Its Most Music-Obsessed Users, Jesse Jarnow explores how iTunes has evolved into a platform that sucks for people with giant music libraries. Earlier this year, I'd come across an article with related complaints held by classical music fans.

Essentially, all of the crap that they've added into iTunes, plus this overwhelming requirement for iTunes to phone home to Apple, really sucks if you've built a music library. In that way, the core functionality of iTunes has been superseded by stuff that doesn't really relate to music library at all.

If you think about that on an abstract level, this product that used to cater to a very specific set of requirements -- typically the most demanding, passionate users of an application -- has evolved into a giant business engine shaped around promoting selling you crap that they want to sell you. This is less aligned with Steve Jobs, the guy that took days and weeks to decide on the right washing machine, and more aligned with the fluff and seasonality of the fashion industry.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A nice post on the lack of Age Diversity in Silicon Valley

Here's a nice post on age diversity that I came across this morning. One thing that struck me as funny though. For all of the lack of age diversity in Silicon Valley, if you look at the companies that actually make silicon and the semiconductor manufacturing industry, you'll see a different landscape.

How Can We Achieve Age Diversity in Silicon Valley?

Apple's iPhone 6s Plus is Not the best phone I've ever owned

One of the phrases that always makes me laugh -- particularly after a new iPhone launch -- is when they get somebody and quote them as saying, "this is the best phone ever." With iPhone generations past, that was sometimes true for me, I was sometimes that guy. You think about some of those phones and how amazing that they were at the time, and they really were some of the best phones ever.

Unfortunately, I can't say the same about the iPhone 6s Plus. It is not the best. It is not the worst. For me, the overall phone enclosure is an inferior design wrapper around a pretty basic set of predictable feature enhancements. The iPhone 5 style of enclosure was better. Sure aspects like the bigger display wouldn't fit into the iPhone 5/5s enclosure, but for everything that this device gained in terms of enhancements, it has given up a lot.

Hardware Design Elements that Suck on the iPhone 6s Plus
First of all, let me start by saying that the iPhone 6s Plus is way too damned big. Yes, the large size is nice for watching Netflix videos and the "Zoom" feature actually transforms the proportions in the on-screen display to be something much more like the far more readable pre-iOS 7 operating system. Zoom is almost enough to overcome some of the crappy aspects of the iOS7/8 UI. But I'm not going to focus on the "too damned big" aspect. Let's assume for a minute that that is a choice. In this case, what I'm going to reference is how that oversized design impacts other usage aspects.

Which brings me to the worst aspect of the iPhone 6s and the Plus, the decision to move the power button to the right side of the device. This is, for me, one of the biggest functional blunders that Apple has made in the history of the hardware. While the button the top has it's limitations and issues, moving it to the side opposite the volume up button means that when you squeeze the power button, your natural leverage point is opposite that point. It's why you see things with two little grippy handles on opposite sides of a grab point. Squeezing both probably happens more often on the 6s Plus because it's so large, too damned big. But seriously, who puts two buttons on the opposite poles of a gripping point unless they are meant to be squeezed together?

Next, and I think I've written about this before, the protruding lens on the back also screams mistake. The protruding lens is kind of like saying you must use a case. Otherwise, when you lay the phone down on it's back, one of the resting points is always going to be the lens. It may be made of super scratch resistant material, but it doesn't remove the dumb from this design issue.

This phone. This feels like one of those times when somebody brings you a design and says, "Isn't it great?" and then all of the designer's friends all say, "I love it" and everyone tries to tell you that it's great. But it's not. For me, the worst part is, if there's a trend line, I don't like the way that Apple is going. They seem to have lost their way. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

New Winter'16 Data/Lead Import Engine FAIL!

I just got done hacking my way through the new data import wizard in's recently released Winter16 update. It's mind-boggling. What a piece of crap this thing is. They have attempted to make it more "Lightning" like, but in doing so, they've managed to add a tremendous overhead to the process. So let's talk about the stupid stuff that they've done:
  • Added a "gamefied" progress bar at the top of the screen to let you know where you are in the process. 
  • Field mapping is graphically enhanced, but if you happened to leave an empty column in your spreadsheet, forget about ignoring it. The idiotic tool stands like a moronic Gandalf -- "no mapping for Department? You shall not pass!"
  • So you update the file and then you discover that, "Lead Status" is a required field. Sure every lead you've ever imported assigns "Open" to new leads, but not Salesforce's brilliant new lead import engine. Instead, you need to add a field or you get the moronic Gandalf again. 
It took me nearly four passes just to import one lead. So far, my observations -- Winter16, you suck! New data import engine, EPIC FAIL!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Confirmed at Apple Store: iPhone 6s Reservation System Sucks

With all of the frustration that I've been having with Apple's terrible online reservation system, I was a little worried that I might be complaining a lot while being stupid -- that if I just went over to the store, I could wait in a line that would give me access to a separate lot of inventory that was different that the online reservation system inventory.

However, any optimism on my part was quickly squashed with a visit to the Apple Store. What I learned / confirmed:
  • The only inventory available in the store each day is through the online reservation system.
  • There is no line at the store. The reservation system is supposed to help save you a trip to the store
  • There is no way to do the leasing / upgrade program without purchasing in the store.
  • There was virtually no surprise at my frustration with the online reservation system from the clerk at the store working the door.
But probably the number one thing that I confirmed with a trip to the Apple Store is that the online reservation system SUCKS.

It really is kind of astonishing to me how a brand that I used to value so highly could become one that generates such anger in me now.