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Comment Migrating from visual editing to hand coding. (Score 5, Interesting) 545

I've been a web designer since 1994. As all of my training was in the arts, not scripting or programming, I stumbled along making sites using visual editors until around 2001. At that point I realized that my various transitions from one visual editor to the next (Cyberstudio > Adobe GoLive > Dreamweaver) could be avoided if I did the proper thing and learned how to hand code HTML and CSS.

So I did. I throttled down my workload and taught myself how to hand code everything. Sure that first year was miserable but I've since put together a rapid development framework that allows me to turn a custom design to a working Wordpress theme in about a business day. The end result is less headaches, a more refined workflow and sites that actually validate.

Sure, I still rely upon an IDE for my development and most of the Mac IDEs are highly imperfect and rarely updated (Looking at you Coda, Textmate and Espresso), but at least my general workflow remains unchanged. Therefore should I need to drop Espresso and move to the (perpetually) forthcoming Coda 2, I'll be able to make that migration without much trouble.

Comment Re:In related news... (Score 1) 295

Because Google's arch enemy is Apple. And for some reason, logic gets thrown out the window when Apple enters the conversation. Just yesterday I was reading comments from Android users about how great Google's new movie rental system would be. This would be the same system the borrows heavily off of the iTunes model that those same users hate. The rentals are offered at the same price point with a slightly smaller selection, similar DRM and same rental terms but the Google solution is better than, "Apples closed model."

I'd love for those same users to explain to me how $4 DRM-encumbered HD rentals that expire 24 hours after you start to watch them are even remotely open. But again, there's no logic involved here. Heck, I've even had otherwise intelligent people argue with me on whether or not Google actually earns revenue from advertising so I realize sometimes you just have to know when to back down.

Comment Re:hmm (Score 1) 368

I agree, and I think those who don't comprehend Apple's success simply may not have an appreciation for aesthetics. They're either buying products on price or spec and to that point, a pulsating glowing LED, cables that click nicely into place and well-machined, metal cases don't factor into their purchasing decisions. After all, products don't elicit a feel, they simply perform a function.

As a designer, I can't wrap my brain around that. However I appreciate the fact that to some, my own ideals are equally as ridiculous. After all, I'd buy a technically inferior product simply because it was prettier and easier to use. Nevertheless I'm thankful Apple exists because it gives consumers like myself a choice. Although I use a wide variety of tech (and currently don't even carry an Apple phone), I like that at least one tech company is providing the world with some gorgeous industrial design. And as HP looks to be jumping on the Apple bandwagon in order to differentiate themselves from all the other PC vendors, they may start doing the same with their webOS line.

In that respect, choice is great. People are free to use their technically advanced Android phones while I can use my aesthetically pleasing and easy to use webOS phone. Everyone wins.

Comment Re:Apple users... (Score 3, Insightful) 191

Let me guess, disgruntled Android user?

More seriously though, Fanboyism is a fickle thing. I currently use iOS, Android and webOS. While I consider each platform to have its inherent strengths and weaknesses, I'm very aware that liking Apple in tech circles carries a certain amount of baggage. Apparently the platform can't be good and anyone who owns an Apple product is merely a sheep buying into marketing propaganda in their quest to be cool (which brings up a question, if I place an Apple sticker on my Kia Rio, do they cancel one another out? Or do they double up into a giant ball of lameness?).

The funny thing is it goes beyond liking Apple. Criticizing Android can make you an iFan too. I offered up some fairly constructive criticism of my Archos tablet in a public forum and was essentially told to go home and spoon my iPad. However I don't own an iPad and spooning my Archos just proved to be uncomfortable for the both of us.

Thankfully I've come to realize it's just an Android thing. When webOS users recently found out that we might be getting screwed out of the 2.0 updates for our legacy gear, just about everyone in the community was universally ticked. However when the same thing happens to a Android phone not getting an update to froyo, the hive mind heckles the dissenters. Apparently phones not getting updates is a good thing on Android because you're free to root it, void your warranty and install dodgy firmware made by some kid in his spare time.

Anyway, I don't pretend to understand the hows or whys, and I've already written a book here, but there's just something about Apple and Android that doesn't mix. And it's a sad that there's not more mutual respect between the two camps because the mere existence of each platform ultimately benefits the other.

Comment Re:Disappointing (Score 1) 480

I think the iPad is a fine device. In fact, depending on what Palm announces this week and what the iPad refresh looks like, I may get one this year. However there's no doubt that it carries a stigma among the geek-crowd. As if ease of use were some mortal sin and real devices have to be hard to use. Sure, I love to tinker but when it comes to my main computing devices I just don't want to be bothered anymore. Maybe I'm getting old, but my days of installing Linux on a TC1100 are long gone. Now I just want something simple that works.

Comment Re:Disappointing (Score 1) 480

I think you may be missing the point. The iPad has been successful in part *because* it's locked down and limited. It might not make much sense to advanced users like me and you, but people like my family who don't own or use computers love the device. It's simple, easy to use and performs only a handful of functions. They've been wanting a general computing device like the iPad for years.

And the competition just doesn't get it. Froyo was a passible solution (I owned two froyo tablets) and arguably suffered more from bad apps and bad hardware than a bad interface. However honeycomb is incredibly complex, bordering even on the features of a desktop OS. While that might appeal to advanced users, it's certainly not going to appeal to the general end user. Heck, I consider myself an advanced user and I don't even like honeycomb. For that level of complexity, I might as well just use a laptop.

Comment Re:You have to learn to crawl, before you can walk (Score 1) 480

I've been through two Android tablets so far and while I can see the appeal of the tablet form factor as a casual web browsing environment, there really isn't much of a draw for technical users. This is likely why so many people in the know keep claiming that tablets are fads. That said, most of the people I know with iPads are real consumers not technophiles. And they absolutely love their iPads because they rely on them as a primary method of computing.

In that respect, I think Android's got it all wrong. The honeycomb UI may be more advanced than anything found in iOS but it totally misses the point. Real end users don't want advanced and complicated. They can use a laptop for that. They want something simple and easy to use. And for that reason I think Apple will dominate the tablet market for some time.

Comment Re:The real question... (Score 2) 96

Android is most open to the manufacturers, not necessarily the end users. The manufacturers are free to do whatever they like with the OS. While this openness might be seen as a bad thing (no consistency between devices, no OS updates, tons of pre-installed unremovable junkware) it's also a huge part of Android's market dominance.

Of course end users are always free to install their own homebrew firmware. So they're not entirely left out in the cold.

Comment Re:In MOST ways you don't need Flash (Score 2, Insightful) 541

Don't just blame the designers, plenty of times it's the clients too. I've been a web designer for the last decade and to this point I've never once built a "Flash website". However I get asked to do this several times a week. In fact I just walked out of a meeting where the client wants one of those live video gimmicks where the spokesperson walks onto the screen and starts speaking, "Hello and welcome to our website." Because everyone loves talking websites, am I right?

As a developer this leaves me with two options. I can roll over, take the extra cash and add in the bells and whistles or I can try to keep the project grounded and focused on things like content, usability and SEO. The problem is you can only argue the point so much and, I'm sorry, but usability, just isn't sexy. Moreover when I refuse to give the customer the giant animated American Flag with their favorite Toby Keith song playing in the background, they'll shop around until they find a developer who will.

So the next time you come across an obnoxious website, curse not only the developer who built it, but also the client who approved it. :-)

Comment Re:Come to Australia... (Score 1) 373

I relocated to Florida a few years ago (near Tampa Bay) and my property is infested with Hunstman spiders. As someone from the Northeast of the US, prior to moving to Florida my definition of a big spider was on the order of about 3 inches. However the Huntsmans here are nearly as big as my hand (easily). So far I've killed three large adults, over five inches, and about a half dozen juveniles no bigger than a fifty cent piece. Most of the kills were in my house though I've currently got one in my storage shed that has to be close to six inches but I just can't catch it. These things can see you coming from about ten feet away and they move like lightning.

Sadly pest control can do nothing about them (they call them Australian Tarantula, for what it's worth) so I've got to kill them manually.

Comment Consider me impressed. (Score 5, Informative) 871

I have to admit this is the first smooth Ubuntu install I've ever had. It actually detected my wireless adapter right out of the box. No fiddling, no CLI hackery, no sacrifices to the pagan gods of open source (which is good because my lease forbids livestock and the downstairs neighbors frown upon blood dripping through the ceiling.)

Not bad, not bad at all.

Comment Re:Lowered Expectations (Score 1) 1316

I own a small web development studio and a few years back I was on the hunt for a web programmer. Being fairly new to business myself (the company was about 3 years old back then) I filtered through all of the applications, keeping the college grads and tossing all of those without a degree.

The subsequent interviews were interesting to say the least. None of the college grads had any experience in PHP or Javascript, the two baseline skills required for the job. This was despite the fact that PHP and Javascript were among the many different languages showcased on their resumes. When questioned, just about every candidate said the same thing - they were quick learners and felt that if I'd take the time out to teach them the languages they'd surely be able to pick them up. Of course this wouldn't be free training, most wanted to be paid anywhere from $75 to $100 an hour to take on the continuing education.

Needless to say, these people were appalled when I ultimately turned them down. On one occasion the applicant's mother actually called me to find out why her little snowflake didn't get the job. And it was with that event in mind that I decided to toss all of the college grads and went back to those without degrees. To my surprise, the interviews were much more productive. The applicants showed up on time and with portfolios. They were professional, qualified and had realistic expectations. No doubt these expectations were a result of people like me tossing out their resumes before they even had the chance to interview.

In the end I found a good compromise in the "under educated" group. He was a first year college student who had the misfortune of paying his way through school. He was smart, self-taught and most of all humble. He hadn't been corrupted yet with unrealistic expectations.

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