It’s been available for a while now, but every time I use the new Android calendar app’s time controls, I’m so impressed by their elegance.
Previously, setting the time for a calendar event involved some simple numeric up/down spinners. Setting the hour worked reasonably well, but if your event happened to be on the half hour, you’d have to spin and spin and spin the minutes to get to 30. My first thought was that maybe they should constrain appointments to start on 5 minute intervals rather than being able to pick any arbitrary minute. Who has appointments at 3:27 PM after all? The fewer available intervals (3:25 or 3:30, for example) would mean less spinning.
Instead, the Android UI designers introduced a clock control that looks like this:
After picking the hour, you’re moved automatically to pick the minute:
This interaction has three huge benefits:
- It’s very natural to pick a time using a clock.
- It’s really fast to pick the desired time regardless of when it is.
- You can still pick an exact minute, so there’s no sacrifice of time “resolution”.
Sure, you can schlep a camera around looking for beautiful things to photograph, or you can just let your security camera do the work and get some serendipitous art.
Color Variance Triptisch
Darn Suction Cups
I found this sticker inside one of a pair of new shoes:
I didn’t have any idea what this was saying. My wife suggested it meant that I ought to watch out for diamonds… and maybe nets.
I found this sticker in the other shoe. I think it means the same thing:
Offsite backup for critical files
This task has been lingering undone on my to-do list for months. I imagined that I’d figure out some way to use Dropbox, Google Drive, Sky Drive, or something to keep my data safe in case something catastrophic happened at the house. All those solutions seem so expensive, though. When Amazon Web Services announced Amazon Glacier not long ago, with storage rates at 1 cent per gigabyte per month, I figured I’d found my storage location, but it is just an API. Finding CloudBerry Backup completed the solution.
1. Two reminders
I want a reminder at the specified reminder time, and another one at the appointment start time. This is how it typically goes for me:
ME: Oh yeah, I’ve got that meeting in 10 minutes. Let me just finish this little bit of code in the meantime…
(15 minutes later)
CO-WORKER VIA IM: Hey, you coming to this meeting?
ME: Shoot! Sorry! Be right there.
The lack of this feature has created a market for tons of reminder “nag” apps that try to make up for it. I don’t really want a whole other app that piles on inane features in an attempt to justify its existence, though.
2. Current month is white
OK, this is kind of picky, but shouldn’t the current month be white while the previous and next months are gray? The current scheme is opposite that and my brain struggled with it.
3. Combined day and agenda view
The webOS calendar has a brilliant combination of an agenda and day view. It lets you see all of your appointments without huge swaths of blank screen pushing them out of view, but still makes it easy to add a new appointment at any time of day by tapping the accordion section.
I was using my Galaxy Nexus for some turn-by-turn navigation today and it was an odd experience. Half the instructions spoken by the Navigation app were in a typical synthesized voice, while the other half were in a chipper, natural sounding voice.
It is true that I’m a fan of Orson Scott Card — Ender’s Game is one of my favorite books. The relationship to professional wrestling generated by Amazon’s recommendation engine is… puzzling.
Kind of off-topic for this blog, but since it is tax day, I thought I’d share this handy tax tip that I found at the IRS website in a document titled “How long should I keep records?”
For all of you folks out there that file fraudulent returns — if you want to do it strictly by the book, you ought to hang on to that return indefinitely. You know, just to comply with IRS recommendations:
The National Security Agency (NSA) has a video about their polygraph testing, which was critiqued by AntiPolygraph.org, and recently reported about on Slashdot. In 1991, while still a college student, I applied for a summer internship with the NSA, so I got to take one of these tests myself. The official results were “inconclusive”, but I think they suspected that I was secretly gay.
Despite the fact that I earn a living with technology, and that even many of my leisure hours are spent in front of a computer, I’m feeling especially consumed by technology lately. By “consumed” I mean more of the “waste or burn away” sense.