Monthly Archives: May 2010

Roses! Lotus Flowers! Coy!

Lotus Flowers and Coy fish churning up the fountain
Bees at work Ladybug at work Classical inspired pergola & statue The Roses at the Huntington are going off, Blooms Ahoy! Sunlight shinging through purple & white roses Cedar trees on the edge of the Rose Garden Beautiful single petal rose Floribundi roses falling over to the ground from the weight of their blossoms Huntington Rose Garden Hats ahoy! Purple rose with yellow pistols & stamens Coy and Lotus Flower Pond Half & Half, at the entrance to the new Chinese Gardens Lotus flowers and coy in the Fountain at the end of the North Lawn Lotus flowers and coy in the Fountain at the end of the North Lawn The Fountain on the North Lawn

Photos taken by Ms. Jen with her Nokia N86.

Thurs 05.20.10 – Erika and Thomas just got back from three weeks in New Zealand, so Erika and I decided to meet up today to go for a long walk. When I arrived at her house, I suggested that since it was late May and the weather had started to warm up, that we should go to the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino to see if the Rose Garden was in full bloom.
Oh was it ever in full bloom! We came the very right week to see every rose bush in full, over the top, bloom. It was amazing. The afternoon was warm at 84F/29F, clear, and sunny. We walked purposefully around the Rose Garden, all the while sniffing the roses and taking photos.
Luckily, the Huntington was not very crowded. My suggestion is if you live in the LA area, go the Huntington in the next 3-4 days to see the roses at their first bloom peak. It is truly amazing.
And the lotus flowers in the Japanese, Chinese and North Lawn ponds/fountains are also in bloom.
Do go. It is lovely.

Mobile in 2015 and Charlie Stross on Apple and the Cloud

If you don’t already read it, I recommend putting Charlie’s Diary in your feed / RSS reader, as Mr. Stross is erudite and can pin any bug through the carapace with wit & speed.
Mr. Stross recently tackled “The real reason why Steve Jobs hates Flash” wherein he talks about how Mr. Job’s severe control addiction appears to have several strategic as well as personal reasons:

“It’s probably no exaggeration to say that Apple’s draconian security policies are among the tightest of any company operating purely in the private sector, with a focus on secrecy that rivals that of military contractors. But even so, the control freak obsessiveness which Steve Jobs is bringing to bear on the iPad — and the desperate flailing around evident among Apple’s competitors — bears some examination. What’s going on?
I’ve got a theory, and it’s this: Steve Jobs believes he’s gambling Apple’s future — the future of a corporation with a market cap well over US $200Bn — on an all-or-nothing push into a new market.”

For as much as I enjoy owning a good Apple MacBook Pro computer, as the hardware is so very nicely designed and the OS is not Microsoft (this is a theme for me, not MicroSquash, see other blog posts). But the last few years of watching what had been a potentially interesting mobile platform, the iPhone, turning into a closed cult that now involves cops, I must say I am more than turned off.
As my readers know, for my mobile devices I prefer Nokia (such lovely hardware & great camera phones) and Android (such lovely software) and I am eagerly awaiting the Meego linux based mobile platform that Nokia & Intel are currently working on. I am also excited right now for Nokia’s open Maemo and future Meego, as there is plenty of room for a web designer / photographer / developer hybrid, like me, to develop mobile applications in python.
I want great hardware and an open software architecture as well as a whole open ecosystem that welcomes a variety of creative folk to get involved. The future as Mr. Stross envisions where Apple will go in his article makes me sincerely hope that Nokia will make several more iterations of the lovely Booklet with Meego as the linux based OS rather than the current Windows 7, so that I won’t have to be stuck in a distopian Job-sian closed cloud-based future for my work and main machine.
As for mobile devices in 2015, I sincerely hope that there will be a diversity of open architectures & ecosystems that inspire creativity, connection and ease of use rather than another great computer world battle that is Apple v. Google or some other such nonsense.
As for other things I hope for in a mobile ecosystem in 2015:
1) I hope that all devices will come with their own solar battery charging array where the solar cells are on the case of the device so that you can flip it over and it will charge while it is not being used.
2) I hope that I will have a small handheld mobile device that will fit in my pocket or hand and it will have a fold out screen that will when full out will be the size of a sheet of office paper be it 8.5×11″ or A4.
3) I hope that the OS and software that will run the mobile devices of 2015 will not be a closed system, not just in concept & app store but also not in execution. I hope that Palm’s WebOS idea set will be propagated across the mobile landscape so that folks with training in web design & development will be able to code mobile apps and not just C++/Java/Cocoa/Symbian folk.
I hope this because the mobile and telecom worlds have been quite closed due to carrier strangleholds and the high barrier to entry for mobile applications, whereas the web world has had a large flowering of creativity and innovation because the barriers to entry were quite small. If the barriers to creating apps and sites for mobile are low, then in 2015 a 19 year old could create the mobile version of a future Facebook to scratch an itch in his or her community.
4) I hope that carriers will not continue to have such a vise grip on the North American market, but as I suggested in my thesis, that I can buy my mobile device from any number of stores and buy the ‘gas’ / connectivity from any number of other separate operators/carriers.
5) And then I have a ton of hopes for cameras with complete connectivity in 2015, but I won’t go there now… ;o)

Photos from a Rainy Tuesday

Local garden and sidewalk in the rain Local roses in the rain

Photos taken by Ms. Jen with a Nokia N97.

Tues 05.18.10 – I know in other places it rains in May and it is not a Big Deal, but here in Southern California our rainy season, really the only times it rains, is strictly defined as late fall through early spring (Nov to March). To get any rain after April 15th and before October 15th is a rarity that only happens every couple of years.
This El Nino year with the jetstream that has left Canada and remained hovered over San Francisco & Los Angeles has meant rain that just keeps coming. Now here in the LA area, we haven’t had a ton of rain, not like in 1998 where we had over 30 inches, and while we have only had 2-3 inches over normal, what has been so surprising is just how often the storms have come through.
I don’t mind it at all. We may have a terrible fire season in the late summer and through the autumn with all of the new rain inspired growth, but it has been delightful to have almost Seattle like green and mist. I and most of the local plants will enjoy it while we have it.

Mobile UX : Resources for Forms

I have gotten some requests from a few web designers and developers on what are the best approaches for mobile forms.
My short & sweet answer is to keep it simple and make it flexible. Make sure your forms work with according to web standards best practices: clean code, strip out the extraneous that does not work towards the form’s task or goal, and use progressive enhancement when coding the javascript if you use it at all. Resize the screen, are inputs too long or hidden? Test your form: if you turn off your javascript & CSS will the form inputs work? If so, then your forms will work on almost any device out there.
But you argue, “Jen, I am designing for smart phones with good webkit/gecko browsers, so I don’t need to worry.”
Yes, you do, as you can’t guarantee on the mobile web what phone, be it smart or feature phone, what browser, and what screen size will come to visit your mobile or web site and may want to fill out a contact form or purchase something.
Here are some resources to get you started:
Luke W, the king of forms, on mobile forms:
Web Form Innovations on Mobile Devices
Better Mobile Form Design
Forms On Mobile Devices: Modern Solutions
Linda Bustos at Get Elastic on Mobile Commerce Usability: Forms and Checkout
Chris Mills in ThinkVitamin on Coding for the mobile web
WestCiv’s Complete CSS Guide, The Mobile Profile
PPK’s Mobile with links to his CSS & Javascript mobile tests
If you like the Details & Standards and a different point of view from Luke W, don’t miss:
Luca Passini’s Global Authoring Practices for the Mobile Web, under point 3.2 Usability Luca argues that one should Beware of HTML style forms and has a different approach to Managing User Input.
Finally, the W3C recommendation on Mobile User Input

Tidbits :: Monday May 17, 2010

Paul Davies in the NYTimes on The Aliens Among Us
O’Reilly Radar on Mobile operating systems and browsers are headed in opposite directions : “No single operating system has more than 50 percent marketshare. There are seven operating systems being tracked and even within operating systems there are fragmentation concerns. …By contrast, the mobile web is converging on HTML5 and WebKit.”
Bored Panda on the 50 Most Extraordinary Churches. Number 5 is in Huntington Beach, but from a Google Search I just ran, it appears that a fight between the church and the City in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has landed the church over at a Christian school rather than in the old Shell building.

Mobile UX Slides from the UX Summit

Back in April, Cindy Li & I spoke at the UX Summit on Mobile UX (aka Mobile User Experience), a subject very near & dear to me. Cindy took the first bit of the slides and concentrated on her experience in mobile app design as well as mobile web, I took the second part of the slides and focused on the principles of Mobile UX and the concepts that we need to be thinking about as we start design a mobile app or mobile web site/app.
It was surprisingly fun to sit at Cindy’s and have us both get to speak into her MacBook Pro and have the magic of Adobe Connect (or something like it) project our slides, our video and the chat area of the attendees from all over the world on one computer screen. By seeing the chat as we spoke, we were able to answer questions as they were asked or reasonably soon thereafter. Later on Twitter, we received quite a few thank yous.
Now in return, Cindy & I present to you all our slides on Mobile UX. Enjoy. And thank you!

Just for Fun, Part II : A Gerbera Daisy, Scruffy & Magnus

Click on the Thumbnail to see which camera it is Click on the Thumbnail to see which camera it is
Click on the Thumbnail to see which camera it is Click on the Thumbnail to see which camera it is

Click on the Thumbnail to see which camera it is Click on the Thumbnail to see which camera it is
Click on the Thumbnail to see which camera it is Click on the Thumbnail to see which camera it is

Sat. 05.15.10 – The Just for Fun camera phone / DSLR comparison is back. Given that the Camera Phone Fairy showed up this week with a Nokia N900 under my pillow, I decided today to shoot a local gerba daily with a water droplet in the sun, as well as Scruffy and Magnus playing with the Nokia N97, Nokia N86, Nokia N900, and Nikon D70s with a 50mm f1.8 lens.
Remember all the above photo comparisons are for fun on a lovely Saturday afternoon, and if you came over from a serious DSLR forum, please read the title, enjoy the images, and then when you go to rant about this back at the forum, the photographer & site owner here at Black Phoebe is a woman not a guy. A cheeky one at that. Just sayin’…