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Simplifying the distance filter

I don’t know when it happened, but I recently noticed a change Foursquare made that totally simplified what once required thought.

I remember using an early version of the app that had an explicit distance filter. As in, if you’re searching for coffee, choose or enter a numerical value for the area you want covered. OK, it’s not THAT complex a load for your mind to handle, it was just kind of annoying to be that precise, or give the perception that you needed to be. Don’t make me think, and all that jazz.

Now I get a much more tangible distance filter. A map.

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Goodbye Posterous, Hello WordPress

Moving blogs is more painful than moving homes. Note, I did very little in the one home move I was involved in.

I really did love the simplicity of the Posterous default theme. Sadly, the writing was on the wall when Twitter acquired them. Twitter as a service is my favourite social network ever, but they’re quite the scumbags to third party developers, and I might as well blame them for the pain endured in migrating my blog over.

I tried JustMigrate and it completely fell apart. Images in posts transformed themselves into individual posts on Tumblr, everything was made public by default, random images started getting reblogged; I felt totally out of control, ultimately deleting every single post. A terrible experience.

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Double tap to like and Discoverability

instagram screenshot

One day, a few months ago, I was watching @jymmysim use Instagram and he double-tapped a photo  to “like” it. I asked why he double-tapped instead of tapping the heart, but I can’t remember what he said. I’ve been subconsciously doing it ever since.

It’s easier, really. There’s a gigantic image, nicely filtered, so why wouldn’t you double tap it? Why would you try and pinpoint a finger towards that tiny button instead?

Today I was wandering aimlessly and I finally asked myself, how the hell did he discover it?

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Android niceties: One year on

It’s been a year and two days since I started Android niceties. What a year it’s been!

The site began as an experiment in Tumblr, and got going with this rather misguided post on /r/Android. Considering some of the apps I chose to initially include and the lack of customisation I put into the base theme, it’s little wonder that I got slammed in the comments. There was more than enough encouragement there though.

I plodded on, and woke up to a flurry of emails on December 2, 2011 when Matias Duarte, the head of Android Design shared it on Google+. Then The Next Web a couple of days later, and Gizmodo Brazil a week after that.

The introduction of the official Android Design site by Google earlier this year has really helped Android apps to begin forging their own direction and visual identity. The action bar, the typography, the minimalism. I think it’s safe to say apps look uniquely Android now. Even scrolling through the site in the last five months, you see that coming through loud and clear. 

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Rear Window in the age of oversharing

‘Rear Window’. The master of suspense in perfect control of his craft, focusing the lens on a subject that has been taken to the extreme today, and will only go further; voyeurism.

“We’ve become a race of Peeping Toms” – Readers Digest, April 1939.

Watching people when they feel they’re safe, alone, in the comforts of their home, where they can be themselves. It’s a perverted concept. It’s also a darn intriguing one. “Mind your own business” doesn’t really work too well against the curiosity of human nature, especially when the concept has essentially been flipped on its head in today’s world of oversharing every little aspect of your life. Imagine someone looking at a Facebook feed for hours on end every day. Oh, wait…

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One travel service to rule them all? If only.

I was working in London the past five weeks, and with that over, I’ve been travelling a bit across Europe. 

In this last six weeks, the realisation has dawned on me that 95% of the travel-related research and purchases I’ve made have been online. Local transport is one I just wasn’t comfortable purchasing online, and wanted the assurance of going to a station and buying that first ticket, getting any stupid questions out of the way with a person. Quickly. It’s fine buying a ticket, but essentially not knowing how to use it, and getting lost is not a prospect that’s fun.

Back to that 95%.

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Trialling NetBank Vault for Android – #NetBankLab

Commonwealth Bank are piloting their NetBank Vault app on Android. I got to try it this weekend.

Oh, what is it?

It’s a secure online storage service where you can upload, organise and manage all of your files and documents. Think of it like a personal virtual safe deposit box; store receipts, payslips, photos, you get the idea.

I’ve become a heavy Dropbox user lately, and I’m using Google Drive too, for the extra storage space. They’re both pretty similar in their functionality, and both their Android apps are slick.

tl;dr Vault has a long way to go.

The login screen

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The labels above the fields really aren’t needed, and unnecessarily clutter the screen. Tumblr and Pocket are two examples of apps I’ve seen recently that do it cleanly.

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