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Quick Hands On With OSX Lion

Messing around with Lion. So far so good.

Mission control might actually get me to use spaces and dashboard more than I currently do.

I’m going to reserve judgement on Launchpad since I am a huge fan of LaunchBar. That said I could see using it for apps I don’t use on a day to day basis since I can’t remember them all by name. Maybe as a multiple dock replacement

Finder has received some love with AirDrop integration and file arrangements in views (types, modified dates, app creators, size, labels,et al)

Full screen view feels odd as it’s a kiosk or windows paradigm, but I could easily see using it to stay focused. One thing at a time right?

Looking forward to upgrading in about a month once the dust has settled, all the upgrade woes are known, and all my apps are Lion friendly.

Hardware sidenote, I’d never played with the Bluetooth Magic Trackpad and I do like it more than a mouse – it needs more gestures though.

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A Knitted Bike? Only in Brooklyn…

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Lowest Common Denominator User Experiences

There are a two UX trends happening now that are absolutely infuriating and cause me to waste precious time every day: awful Mobile versions of sites, and popup login boxes that don’t respect browser password managers.

These atrocious mobile versions of sites are replicating like cells because the publishers seem to think I have a circa 2000 era cellphone and want to force a lowest common denominator experience upon us. Between iOS and Android devices, there are probably about 200M users whose devices can render the real experience, so let us choose how we want to experience it. And while you’re at it, please stop disabling pinch and zoom…

The other huge gripe is that they have “full site” links, always at the bottom of an incredibly long scrolling page, which when clicked does one of two things: it doesn’t work whatsoever, or if it does, it loads the full site at the root level (ie the homepage) of the site and not the page you were viewing. Neither of these are solutions by any definition of the word.

As for the modal login boxes, they too are replicating because they’re perceived to be an acceptable UX design pattern, which they’re not. By ignoring browser password managers, they too cause a negative experience. I have my laptop locked down, but if for some reason someone gets in, I am not going to be too worried about whether the intruder has access to your blog or SaaS, so stop coming up with new ways to make me waste cycles. Just honor our choices and settings…

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Kindle: There Ain’t No Stoppin’ It Now

Kindle will win and the reasons why are plentiful.  It may have to share the pie with other players but those will only be small slices. 

I’ve posted before on a platform based reason why Kindle will win but if you missed it, here it is:

Then there’s the obvious advantage that Amazon has due to its status as the premier online retailer for reading materials. 

The thing that sealed it for me is the genius of the product team and how they keep rolling out incremental features or UX that actually makes the core product better and not more cluttered of confusing.  If you’ve ever made anything you know just how hard that can be. 

Sure having it available on all desktop and mobile platforms makes all the sense in the world. 

Making the text reflow nicely across those devices? Great.

Having your reading library and current position in each of your books automatically sync across all of your devices?  Pure magic.  

Adding bookmark/dogears, highlights and notes and having those sync too? Awesome. 

This morning while reading Brad Feld’s “Do More Faster” I went back to reread a couple paragraphs and noticed a line that was underlined/hyperlinked.  I didn’t remember the link being there last week when I originally read that chunk nor did I highlight it myself. I also figured that I was on the subway and not online so it couldn’t work right?  Turns out it was a sentence highlighted  by most readers of the book.  In essence they’re passively crowdsourcing potentially important bits of the book I was reading. Genius. 

The sentence in question?:
“It is said that with knowledge workers, the best employee is 10 times more productive and impactful than the average employee.”. Amen to that.

Oh, and yes, you can turn off the feature. 

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Cutting through Inbox noise with Apple Mail & Addressbook Smart Folders & Groups

Even taking into account the weird IMAP/Exchange refreshing bugĀ¹ , Apple Mail’s smart folders are a great way to quickly filter your inbox.  That said, there’s one option missing that’s always irked me: if the sender is in your Address Book.  Believe it or not, it exists as a mail rule option but not in smart folders. Go figure.

So, here’s a quick fix: 

Open Address Book and create a new smart group – I called mine “In Address Book”.  Then as criteria set it to “Card”  ”created after” and select a date in the past that predates your oldest entry, January 1st 1990 worked for me.  You can confirm that it worked if the total contacts in both your All Contacts and “In Address Book” group are the same.

Now, the smart group will auto update whenever you add new contacts and always reflect the most current subset.

Then in Mail, create a new Smart Folder, I called mine “In Addressbook”, and as criteria, select “Sender is Member of Group” and choose “In Addressbook” group.  Make sure it matches messages that match all of the following conditions.

Now that smart folder will display only the emails from people in your addressbook.  Helpful to quickly get a lay of the Inbox land.

I would also suggest adding additional rules to not display Sent mail, spam, or known entities that generate a lot of mail but aren’t that critical.

Note 1:
The bug I have noticed is that my Mail Smart Folders sometimes don’t update properly until I go back and select the actual inbox which triggers a refresh.  That’s as well as I can describe it, and why I use my Smart Mailboxes for focusing on groups of email rather than living in them.