April 22nd 2014

A mapmaker plays God

I’ve known that mapmakers and others often create dummy records to detect when their work has been copied. I once worked at a newspaper that laboriously scanned its maps out of the phone book. It’s funnier yet when the creation of a fake town turns into a real place, as NPR reports.

I’m not a lawyer, but I’ve always found the inclusion of fake places to be a questionable invocation of copyright law. American law demands a certain threshold of authorship and original thought. Facts by themselves cannot be protected. Neither is graphic design, including most forms of maps.

Tagged: ux

 

 

April 22nd 2014

#hashtag hazards

The lede from this NY Observer story says it all:

Following in the successful footprints of #McDStories and #ILoveWalgreens, the New York Police Department created a hashtag to commemorate our love for New York’s finest: #mynypd.

Tagged: nyc ux

 

 

April 10th 2014

Google #Glass for restaurant inspections

The NY Post reports that the Department of Health is mulling over Google Glass as a potential way to document restaurant inspections.

Tagged: google glass nyc

 

 

March 27th 2014

#Office for #ipad probably too late to capture hearts and minds

The New York Times quotes formed Microsoft executive Brad Silverberg on the late launch of Office for IOS, “the company’s hesitation around bringing Office to the iPad is reminiscent of the early 1990s, when the makers of WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3, successful word-processing and spreadsheet applications, balked at making Windows versions of their products.”

I’ve had my iPhone since 2007 and my iPad since 2010. I can’t say that I’ve missed having office on either, although it occasionally would have been nice to use the iPhone as a remote for PowerPoint as Keynote allows.

I’m still not as worried about their absence on IOS as their lack of innovation for user experience. The article is one among many that point out the failure of Office to support touch fluently, even on Windows 8 devices. I still get lost in the 2007 and beyond versions of Word and Excel — where the reorganization of key features into tabs was sloppy.

Tagged: office

 

 

25th March 2014

wnyc:

Yesterday, we mused that it would be nice if there were a notification system for close NCAA games. Well, lo and behold, the WNYC Data team has built @NailBiterBot — which tweets anytime a March Madness game is under 3:00 within 8 points; under 1:30 within 6 points; or under 0:30 within 4 points. Here’s our experiment:
1) Follow @NailBiterBot
2) Turn on notifications for that account.
3) You’ll get a push notification when a game is close, telling you to tab over or turn on the TV and catch the action.
We hope it works!
-Jody, BL Show-

wnyc:

Yesterday, we mused that it would be nice if there were a notification system for close NCAA games. Well, lo and behold, the WNYC Data team has built @NailBiterBot — which tweets anytime a March Madness game is under 3:00 within 8 points; under 1:30 within 6 points; or under 0:30 within 4 points. Here’s our experiment:

1) Follow @NailBiterBot

2) Turn on notifications for that account.

3) You’ll get a push notification when a game is close, telling you to tab over or turn on the TV and catch the action.

We hope it works!

-Jody, BL Show-

Source: wnyc

March 14th 2014

Secure wipe Windows 7

While changing computers at work, I deleted a handful of personal files that had gotten downloaded. I was able to securely overwrite the free space by using the command line prompt cipher /w:C:\ Remarkably, it does not require an administrator password and allows me to leave behind a clean computer for the next person to use.

Tagged: windows7

 

 

March 13th 2014

Thank you, MTA

I’m not sure how long it’ll last, but I’m happy to see the MTA buying banner ads to announce Fast Track closures. While infrequent, they still have the ability to strand someone in an inconvenient location at night.

Tagged: mta nyc

 

 

March 12th 2014

#Apple to wait 24 months until #IOS8 to fix #maps.

Apple has leaked information suggesting that IOS8, to be released this fall, will finally contain public transportation directions. If proven true, it’ll have taken nearly two years and two major IOS revisions to fix one of the major functions of the iPhone. One that was working flawlessly until it was ejected over a spat with a radioactive partner.

Out of all the companies in tech, I’m surprised that this behavior is coming from Apple. And I’m skeptical that it would have happened under Steve Jobs. His firm did not ship products until they were ready. It did not confuse design with novelty. Attention to the smallest detail mattered.

Given all this, it’s hard to believe that Apple knowingly released an inferior product and let it languish for two product cycles. Two years was typical for updating software in the 90’s, when 3.5” disks were the primary form of distribution. When Office ‘97 would replace Office ‘95.

The maps application still has problems parsing street addresses around New York City, giving wildly inaccurate results. The design and icons are garish, a throwback to circa 1999 MapBlast.

Even the open source community has caught up. Anyone can download the official maps and geocoding systems for NYC (or most of the United States) and create a professional quality map interactive with PostGIS and TileMill. The City of New York even makes the raw data and a web service available for geocoding; simiarly, the MTA does the same thing for transportation around the city.

Until Apple gets things right, I wish they would let me choose a default maps provider, much like the way it lets me choose a search engine.

Tagged: apple

 

 

March 11th 2014

Y400 Removable HDD F450 part #0C22228

Inexplicably, the removable hard drive caddy for the Lenovo Y410P notebook does not advertise that it actually comes with a hard drive. Not on the Lenovo website or the box itself. Nonetheless, it comes with an unformatted 750GB Western Digital 3.5” 5200 RPM drive. I was actually planning on reinstalling the factory hard drive having pulled it previously to swap with an SSD.

Tagged: Y410p lenovo