Posts Tagged ‘apps’
640K of computer memory is more memory than anyone will ever needBill Gates, Microsoft, 1987
Let me take you back. Way, way back to the early 1980’s. Here in the UK, Sir Clive Sinclair introduced the first home computers called the ZX80 and ZX81, and these computers both came with a staggering, massive, huge, 1k of memory. 1k!!! That’s 0.00009 of a megabyte!! Now with 1k of memory, there was not much you could do, other than to learn how to program very, very efficiently. With that 1k of memory, programmers created chess programs, accounts programs, spreadsheets, games and a whole lot more.
Today, we are spoilt by super fast processors and many megabytes of memory – even on handheld phones. However, this growth in power means that programmers have become lazy – as long as it runs and looks nice, programmers generally don’t care about how fast it runs, how much memory it takes, or how many human actions (mouse clicks, etc) are required to carry out a task.
One of the worst offenders is Adobe with the Acrobat PDF reader. If you want to develop bad software, then follow the Adobe example, and you too can have software which is frankly awful. Just follow the following Adobe steps:
- Have software which takes forever to start, just to view a tiny PDF document
- Because the software takes so long to load, create nice startup splash screens to show the names of the lazy programmers who can’t be bothered to speed up the application by reducing its size
- Have the software so full of bugs, that it needs to be updated every 2 or 3 days
- Now, create an auto updater routine, which runs all the time of the PC, and takes up even more computer resource
- Install the auto updater as part of the core product, but don’t tell anybody its included, just install it anyway
- Even though the software just displays documents, when the auto updater runs, make sure it demands you restart your computer at the end of the install. After all, the updater is more important than the end users other work
- Just in case the users does not want to restart their computer, have a ‘later’ button, but now have the updater remind the user every hour until they are nagged to death
- Whenever an action is required, make sure that the user has to click as many buttons, use as many menu options and press as many keys as possible to perform that action – the extra effort required will ensure they understand the complexity of the software (Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise Manager actually wins the award for the most steps to perform one action).
- Even though other developers create faster PDF viewers that load 20 times faster and are 40 times smaller, don’t ever acknowledge they exist. Just continue to make your original version slower and bigger.
We all have a limited number of attention units; things we can think about at any time. Trying to keep everything in your head robs you of attention units, which means you have less units to invest in completing your basic daily tasks.
Jack Canfield, US Self Improvement Coach
Ask my wife, she will tell you – I am a master of the lists. I create To Do for packing for holidays, To Do lists for shopping, lists for holidays, project plans with associated ToDo lists for any home projects such as new kitchens or updating the bathroom, and of course I run a To Do list for my small business activities.
Its fairly safe to say, I have tried and used most To Do lists systems around, and all have left me wanting for something more….. flexible and powerful.
A couple of months ago, I was reading a blog on Freelancer, and an item sparked my interest on a web (cloud) based To Do management system called ToodleDo (yes, the name didn’t sell it to me either). As I read more and did my own research, I found how wonderfully connected the system is. So may I present, my guide to the ultimate List and To Do tracking system…
The heart of the ToodleDo system is the web based ToodleDo To Do list manager. The web site provides two forms of membership – free (which I currently use) and premium, which allows sub-tasks and goal links. The web site allows a fairly basic setup of To Do items divided into folders (projects, customers, home areas, etc) and goals, with each To Do list items having (optionally) a title, description, notes, priority, star (favourite), folder, goal, estimated duration, start date/time, due date/time and links.
Email and Twitter Links
The ToodleDo engine allows you to create To Do items by emailing a predefined email address or forwarding tweets onto a specific twitter address. These will then be added to your To Do list. Perfect.
ToodleDo browser Plug Ins
Depending on your web browser, there are a range of web browser plug ins that let you view and work on your todo list within your browser (without having to go to the Toodledo web site), add new To Do items, and clip web site text/pictures to turn them into To Do items.
Mobile Phone Links
Because ToodleDo puts your To Do list in the cloud, mobile versions have been developed which allow you to view, update, mark as done and refine your To Do list on your mobile device, with the changes synchronised to your ToodleDo account, so everything remains in sync. For the iPhone (and iPAD), there are many such applications including the official ToodleDo app. On android (the device I use), I can recommend the Got To Do application – a free and premium version is available as per the paid and free ToodleDo account options.
So far, this combination of Free tools is the best To Do management system I have used. RECOMMENDED!
One of the various techniques for web site promotion that people talk about in blogs and podcasts is self promotion through content. This includes blog posts, forum discussions, and electronic value add documents. Documents can be cut down specifications, guides (Top 50 reasons why….), reviews, and other type of document which promotes you as a subject matter expert. And lets not forget, a document can act as a bait to prospect customers, providing enough information to gain their interest or start them on a path, but not enough to complete the journey – if you details are then at hand when they reach their limit, that’s where you step in.
But presenting the information and documents can be a tricky business. Some people say that you should provide a download link (after prompting the user for their contact details), and some say you should email them out again after capturing contact details.
However, I have found in the past that capturing contact details via web forms and pop-ups can be very hit or miss – with lots of gmail and hotmail email addresses registered, and names such as “kdsh” (random swipe of the keyboard). I prefer to just make the information generally available, in a somewhat protected form, but with my contact information included as the last page – this seems to build more trust, and for me, generates more interest than email addresses which are from throw away email services.
For presenting documents to a user, I would like to suggest the use of a new web presentation service – Issuu. Issuu is a free service, and allows you to present your documents in a nice page turn style as shown below (note the left and right arrows on the edges of the page to turn the pages). The example below is one of my HL7 health integration ADT specifications – but note the last page with my contact details.
Issuu allows you to do the small page turn view as shown below, or you can click on the document to zoom in, and change the way that the pages are displayed. It supports most file formats including PDF, word, graphic files etc. It also has a professional version (paid) which allows for more options for display, and integration.
Most people who dabble in web site development have heard of Alexa. But in case you are one of the few who have never heard or used it, you are missing a trick. Alexa is generally referred to through its web site ranking system – the Alexa ranking. This ranking is very much like the Google PR (page rank) system in that it tells you how good your web site is in terms of inward links, use in discussions, content etc.
But in addition to the Alexa ranking system, tools are available for web site owners to boost the profile of their sites using a variety of FREE tools:
Site Claim – This allows you to claim your site, and enter details of your company. Not only does this provide a good PR link into your site, but it also gets your site listed in another set of search engines.
General Searches – Alexa provides a running index of the top sites, the top search terms, the top feeds by different countries, topics and uses. It’s always useful to see what people are searching for, and what sites the traffic is going towards.
Competitor Analysis – Whilst there is not actually a menu option for competition, Alexa allows you to use the site info to enter any URL and see its rankings, links in and out, traffic over a period of time, and the search terms people use to find the site. This is a very useful tool to use to boost your own traffic – simply enter the URL of a similar company or competitor, and it will give you an idea of web sites you should list your own site in, keywords you may want to target, and lots of other useful information.
Did I mention, Alexa is free?
Let me run some names past you…… Hoover – what do you think of? Cleaning the floor? What about Frisbee? Are you thinking about playing catch in the park? How about a nice Coke? Ready for a drink? Kleenex? What do you think about? If I was to ask you to Google it – what would you do?
All of these are classic examples of products which are or were brand leaders, which we now view as the name for the generic product – regardless of the manufacturer. There are lots of Hoovers, even if they are manufactured by Dyson or Panasonic. A pepsi is viewed as a Coke. You can google things in Microsoft Bling, and Frisbee is no longer making Frisbees – a company in china is.
It’s important to be first – first is where the money is, where the recognition is, and where the returns of more sales over time are. When the original hoover came out, there was no competition, so everybody bought their hoover from… Hoover.
Now what has this to do with the iPhone App store? Well, when the app store was first introduced, lots of people reported making thousands and even millions from applications that people downloaded and paid for. Why? Well the app store was new, and the content was limited. But now, the app store has thousands upon thousands of applications covering every possible handheld application use. Think of a possible use, and there will be an application to cover it – and most of them are now free.
I know 5 or 6 people who are still gazing into the stars, and dreaming of the day when they place their iPhone app on the store, and it starts generating money for them. Yes, it may happen, but the people who got there first have already got the downloads, so their apps appear at the top of the list, and the new products are right at the bottom, not selling or at least not selling sufficient numbers to cover the cost of the initial development. The story is going to be the same with the iPAD – anybody thinking they will be developing the killer money making life changing app is going to be disappointed.
Being 1st with a new product, service or benefit is so important. But trying to do it via the iPhone app store is not the way to go.