Archive for August 2nd, 2007

Edutainment

Usually, I mostly watch History, Discovery, Science and National Geographic channels on TV. Some of the documentaries presented in these channels are good, some not so good. What bothers me though is that their new documentaries are usually mashups of older ones. I mean, how many documentaries exist for Mars, the solar system, the 7 wonders of the ancient world, DaVinchi ’s life, and of course, the Black Holes? They keep using the same topics over and over again. Space documentaries are my favorites too, but they all talk about the same things over and over again.

I wish they were taking some more initiative and help people learn other kinds of things too. For example, having a tutorial on the basic principles of video editing, photography, or lighting. Or, learn chemistry, or math, or biology. Or, documentaries for how to actually survive out there, instead of adventures of crazy “survivors” who show off. Or even, a series on how to learn a foreign language.

My point is, Black Holes are not all that there is. ;-)

Oh, shut. up.

LonelyGirl15 has a “Season 1 recap” and it’s currently the most viewed YouTube video. Warning: falling off a cliff instead of watching that atrocity might be preferable.

Sony Ericsson’s Walkman phone player

I am preparing a review for the Sony Ericsson W580i soon. The last non-smartphone SE phone review I wrote was last year and since then SE has upgraded their platform. I must say this loud and clear: Sony Ericsson’s non-smartphone UI/usability is the best in the industry (their UIQ smartphone platform sucks). Only Nokia is able to be kinda close, but not quite. The worst is of course Motorola’s (although their new Linux-based non-touchscreen versions are better than its predecessor, usability is still not great).

While SE has made strides in various usability departments, and the new version of their Walkman software is much better than before, it is still not as good as an iPod. The main problem is that the joystick buttons don’t always do the same thing when you are on different screens of the same application. For example, you can hit up or down on the joystick to go to the song list, but you can’t go to the main “My Music” page. There is not a “tree” structure UI as there is for the iPods and makes the usage a bit confusing. I thought, how could they not clean that part up?

And then I thought: patents. Apple (and others) have patents on the way an mp3 player navigates, and I am pretty sure that SE would be stepping up on these patents to get it right. This is a good example as to how patents are too easily awarded on in this country. It is laughable to have patents for a tree structure UI for an mp3 player. On the other hand, SE needs a spanking in the ass too for not licensing the patent! They preferred to have their Walkman usability suffer rather than pay some dough and make their product better. IMHO, of course.