Manoj M

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Passionate about domains, business, social issues, technology. learning, causes, connecting + collecting information + Loves WordPress!

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Today, only 2.7 billion people are online — a little more than one third of the world. That is growing by less than 9% each year, but that’s slow considering how early we are in the internet’s development. Even though projections show most people will get smartphones in the next decade, most people still won’t have data access because the cost of data remains much more expensive than the price of a smartphone.

— Mark Zuckerberg

iOS 7 Went Way Too Far

I just watched the 2013 WWDC Keynote where iOS 7 was unveiled and these are my raw, first opinions.

If there is a gamut of interface design execution and symbolism where rich, detailed, skeuomorphic design is on the left and flat, robotic, sparse design is on the right, iOS 7 is solidly planted on the right. It’s the anti-iOS 6 and everything before it. Hell, it’s anti-Apple and everything before it.

Pure text-based buttons with no visual indication of buttonness, that is, no shape around them, really don’t look right to me. They look unfinished, naked, unclear and raw. And what makes a text label look different from a tappable label? Just color? Well I hope no one is using color in their interfaces unless everything that’s not black-and-white is tappable.

The proportions of symbols within their boundaries (either in a tab bar or in an icon) look wrong, and big things look smushed into small visual containers.

Gradients are no longer used to suggest the type of realism that a 90° light source would indicate, rather they’re used in icons haphazardly, sometimes shifting between two wholly different hues.

There are no text shadows or box shadows that I could see. There are no subtle indications of curvature in user interface elements. Everything is black, white, or some vibrant, eye-popping hue.

I really wonder what the Apple designers who worked tirelessly on iOS 6 think. Did they think that everything they were designing looked awful before starting to work on iOS 7? Or were they nudged in the “flat design” direction by Jony Ive and then drank the Kool-Aid only after being prodded for awhile? Are they tremendously proud of their work, which is essentially completely different from all their previous work? Do they think that it’s fundamentally better, or just fundamentally different?

I really like some of the interactions and transitions which appear to be more physics-based. Blurring out the previous screen when displaying an overlay looks awesome and has been very difficult to do in the past in iOS without diving close to the bare metal of graphics processing frameworks.

I expected iOS 7 to be much flatter than iOS 6, but still with subtle curvatures, inset highlights and shadows to indicate subtlety and realism and that the interface was emulating some physical materials. I was very wrong. iOS 7 is as flat as a board.

Why Tumblr

I have nothing but respect for WordPress as blogging/CMS software and as an Open Source project. I just don’t have time to keep up so much stuff anymore for my personal blog. Every release means I have to upgrade plugins and core software for security, etc., and I upgrade for my company’s website anyways, but for my personal site too, Naah. Moreover, for many of my pals (and customers) need an example of how they can just buy a domain and still have a kickass blog.

Tumblr alleviates some of those issues for me as I just want to blog here—I don’t have to think about security or plugins. Sure, I’m giving up some freedom for security (as you always must) but overall it’s worth the time savings. Soon, all of my websites will be under one roof here at Tumblr. No more jumping around between platforms to post or perform maintenance. It’ll be easy-peasy. The Tumblr bookmarklet will let me post whatever is on my mind effortlessly, and I’ll be able to bring my personal blog into the awesome world of the Tumblr community. Cool.

Overall, I was going for clean, simple, calming, low-key. I’m deeply indebted to the Tumblr team for making a great starting-point theme and a fantastic blogging platform for those who want to just Tumblog and nothing else.

New Flickr Review

Flickr was once one of the most exciting sites on the web, essential for most creatives. But after it was bought by Yahoo in 2005 things started to drift. Will its new redesign refine users’ enthusiasm?

In the light of Yahoo’s purchase of Tumblr, and promise not to “screw it up” the relaunch of Flickr is interestingly timed to say the least. Here’s one acquisition which many feel Yahoo certainly did “screw up’ – or at least failed to give sufficient love and attention to.

The redesign is an attempt to address that, promising “a Flickr that’s more spectacular, much bigger, and one you can take anywhere”. Users now have a terabyte of storage space – an unimaginable amount even ten years ago.

The new homepage (see top) is a vast improvement, doing away with the old thumbnails to present images from your contacts in a grid, giving maximum space to photographs. Something also carried through to photostreams and sets.

Looks like we need to update our icons too.

Apparently, Yahoo’s Adam Canah had admitted that “Flickr had become about words, little images, and blue links…Flickr really was not about the photo anymore.” This is a much more visually appealing site with the accent firmly on the image and the text elements relegated to the margins.

Users are rightly suspicious when large companies acquire start-ups - things move slower in bigger companies and priorities differ. Tumblr users have been left wondering whether it will meet the same fate as Flickr.

Yahoo have finally got around to giving Flickr some much-needed TLC but is it too little too late?

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