Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays from Mobilitics

I wish Happy Holidays and very mobile next year to all of you. I will be back next time at 2009 (unless something very exiting happens).


Usability problem with E71 calendar

Beware: it seems that the improved calendar in Nokia's E71 has an usability problem that will effectively delete your calendar history. This has been reported to me by a couple of independent users and it seems that there is a need for an application that would allow user to recover his lost calendar data. Worse enough, if you don't understand immediately what has happened and you sync your calendar account to your calendar server, data will be lost there, too.

What happens?

You have calendar open with a month view, looking like this:

Then you decide that the visible event should be deleted and you select Options->Delete

Because you have used calendar a lot, you don't look at the options very closely. Normally the first selection item will delete the selected entry and you select that. Unfortunately this time it will delete your calendar history.

Who reads confirmation prompts anyway - yes, I want to delete this entry!

At this point you might get an uncomfortable feeling that things aren't as they should be. Now you'd need an undo-command but that's not available.

Unlike other S60 devices the widescreen E71 displays individual calendar entries also in month view and user gets a wrong idea what he is about to delete. Users are also so bored with confirmation prompts that more experienced people just hit automatically OK without reading the prompt. Either the UI should be changed in E71 or user should have access to undo-command that could recover the lost data.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Last minute travel tip

Here's a last-minute travel tip for those who can visit Helsinki before 6th of January: visit the fine exhibition by Samuli Heimonen, Young Artist of the Year 2008. Exhibition details here. Small pictures of the work from his website cannot reproduce the feeling of the originals. 

Perhaps you are a programmer-minded engineer and don't quite like modern art - why should you care? Because Samuli's works are easy to approach and his works will stimulate your mind. Works are layered in such a way that the longer you watch those, the more you will see new images. First impression is certainly not the last one. In his recent interview he spoke about his working methods and that resembled the way I like to do programming: you must do painting/programming frequently no to loose the touch and no matter how short a time you will be doing it, you never know beforehand what kind of a magic will happen. In fact, programming is very close to art when it comes to expressing your idea in some form. You have an idea and you can make it alive by painting, singing, programming, writing and so on. 

Interesting book to read is Donald E. Knuths Literate Programming where he compares programming to writing a book. Make a test: give a topic and plot to a couple of writers and read the result - every book will tell the same story but in a very different way. Some are better than the others. Give a specification to a couple of programmers and study the result - all programs execute the same task, but some implementations are better than the others. And finally: ask some painters to paint a picture of a bear, and the winner is Samuli Heimonen.