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Archive for December, 2007

I love Apple products – and I’ve converted many PC users to Macs. But I often find some glaring things that I wish were’nt so about Apple hardware, software and service. So  here are some suggestions for things that Apple could do to make their products better and also some things that would make them more developer friendly – lot more developer friendly.

 

  1. Make the laptop surfaces not slippery – this is a major design flaw – provide easy grip matt surface patches where the user is likely to hold the laptop about 2 – 3 inches in from the edge – less repairs due to dropping – better for Apple.
  2. Provide a short 2″ adapter cable so that older laptops can be retrofitted to use the new magsafe power supplies – better for Apple – no need to keep making the older one’s. Users get the no-yank benefit of magsafe. 
  3. Allow easily replaceable and upgradeable hard drives in laptops please.  I don’t mind paying for a hard drive upgrade at an Apple store – they just won’t do it.
  4. Move all major ISV’s to native Intel this year – that way we don’t lose performance going through the Universal emulation layer.
  5. Have an advanced mode on OSX which is developer friendly and allows  backup and restore including all developer tools and settings etc  This could also allow an optional unified view of all /Applications directories on all mounted bootable drives;  same for /Users and ~/Desktop, /usr and /usr/local. This makes carrying your  environment on a bootable external drive seamless – you can now plug into any machine and not necessarily have to boot from one drive or the other.
  6. Java is not dead – please talk to your loyal developers about your Java plans – keep the lines of communication open and don’t yank important software after you have released it in your developer editions.  At least tell us why.  Developers are your biggest evangelists, don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
  7. Allow self-service at your stores where a pro-care customer gets access to diagnostic tools, bootable external drive, restore discs etc. so we don’t have to wait in line just to have something done we could do ourselves if we had the tools available.
  8. When you say you’ll give pro care users quicker service please mean it. I am tired of whiny iPod users being given preference even when I have procare, just because mine is “probably not a 5 min problem”.
  9. Take as much pride in your service as you do your product design.  Influencers are beginning to notice that Apple service needs attention.

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I have been rather gung-ho about AWS and the great people behind it.  So why would I complain?
I am not – it’s just that I’d like a good thing be even better. So here goes. 
  1. A combination of Amazon Flexible Payment System and SimpleDB that is a user account subsystem with payments, pluggable into any web app.  This would be called something like Amazon Web Accounts Management .  It would have skeleton web pages for a user to signup, would automatically validate via email and would then set up a user account.  The user would pick a subscription model or one time payment or …  Just one more scalable infrastructure service I wouldn’t have to build.  Final part of this would be a layer so that users signed up by my app would use my AWS account for access without needing their own AWS account, but I would get periodic billing reports broken down by user and app.
  2. A suite of slick Ajaxy web apps running locally on my desktop/laptop to manage all my AWS services.  The key is to make them local, so I can use my AWS keys without having to upload them to every web service.
  3.  Alternately, an extension to OAuth that uses my AWS keys off my local machine and can login to 3rd party services that keep asking for my keys.
  4. Sorting and grouping on SimpleDB result sets. Sadly currently missing.
  5. Amazon should work with 37signals (Bezos funded them didn’t he?) to create a full fledged set of Rails plug-ins that provide no-compromises support for AWS.
  6. A uniform RESTful approach across all the apps, have some internal standards for consistency across S3, EC2, SimpleDB, SQS API’s at least.  All the confusion around why SimpleDB API is not RESTful and all the noise around that detracts from the bigger issues of what SimpleDB is and how to use it.  Commit to the RESTafarian religion, do your API-tithing, say your GET/PUT/POST/DELETE mantra daily and move on.
  7. A secure data API, so that service providers who use AWS can let enterprise customers know their data is secure.
  8. “Telegraphing” of intentions when you are about to meter something previously not metered – e.g. per-request charges on S3.  This prevents  people’s business models from getting whipsawed – typically for a major change like this a 6 month warning would be really great.
  9. Finally,  bulk pricing of S3 storage and transfer for people willing to buy in Terabytes.  There are data warehousing and business intelligence use cases for social data which work very well on Ec2 extra large images, along with S3, except that storage and transfer charges,  for say 10Tb,  get prohibitive.  Desktops now have TB’s – the age of the GB disk is passing – please have steeply discounted charges for the TB user.

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    Maybe some of these exist already – I don’t know but I’m sure I’ll hear about it if they do.
     
    Twitter
    1)  The ability to pull a shorturl out of a twitter and directly place into del.icio.us or another bookmarking service in one click – a browser plugin that does this would be great.
    2) An RSS feed of the favorites of people I am following.
    3) Random suggestion of “related” people to follow based on my current “following” list.
     
    Open Data
    1)  A clear definition of what it means for a web app to have “open data” ( I have some ideas about this ).
    2) Implementations of “open data” – I don’t expect these from the big names, rather new disruptive players will create applications based on  “open data” from the ground up and the big guys will have a hard time following these.
    3) Simple and easy ways to integrate data on S3-like and SimpleDB-like repositories into blog posts – i.e. being able to “#include” arbitrary URL’s and have them rendered in place – this will make  it possible to maintain data independent of the app and maintain one definitive copy of the data rendered in multiple apps and different visual wrappers.
     
    Mobile Data
    1) A simple way to upload and back up my mobile phone content in a portable way.
    2) Ability to restore backed up data to different phone when I move carriers and/or phones.
    3) Ability to sync phone, web and desktop versions of data seamlessly.
     
     

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