There should be an app for that

19 05 2016

Here is another comparison between my preferred iPhone and the Lumia I purchased to see what’s going on with Microsoft’s mobile development (if there is one).

Nowadays mobile devices can be located, erased and set into lost mode if they have been registered.

Apple offers a pre-installed app (Find my iPhone) whereas Microsoft devices have to be accessed via a browser. If 2-Step Verification is turned on you first have to generate a code before you can open the website to view and manage your account details.

So much for
It just works
from Microsoft’s point of view.


This could be much easier if Microsoft would offer an app for that like Apple does. An app is faster, more secure than a web-based access, doesn’t need a code for 2-Step Verification, allows to seamlessly track a device by frequently updating its location, etc.

I would like to have an app for that on my Lumia 550 running Windows 10.

Note

When you first get your Windows Phone, there are two settings which should be turned on. Go to Settings – Update & Security – Find My Phone. Turn on (1) Save my device’s location periodically and (2) Save my devices location more frequently.


Thanks for dropping by.





About an innovative product

28 04 2016

powered by Microsoft Windows Tablet PC Edition

Usually you find Apple related stuff in my profile stream. This time it’s about a reliable companion not running an Apple OS.

My T4010, still running with Windows XP, today reached its 10th anniversary of a busy working life.





Specs …

Fujitsu-Siemens Lifebook T4010

Intel Pentium M 745

Intel Extreme Graphics 2 64 MB

12.1 inch, 4:3, 1024×768 pixels

2kg

It’s a shining example for innovation and development of disrupting technology. One of the most important people in the development of mobiles was Alan Kay with his concept of the DYNABOOK.

More about Alan …

Some decades ago

More about innovation …

About innovation

Thanks for dropping by.





Visualizing your Success

5 06 2015

Some people think that personal success can be measured in bucks, clicks, +1s, or Likes.

So I won’t be surprised if somebody wants to visualize his personal value with a chart created with Apple’s spreadsheet app Numbers for iOS.

Here is the tutorial.

  • Step 1
    Create a new spreadsheet within Numbers.
  • Step 2
    Create a table (table 1, top left) and enter the months and the corresponding number of bucks or clicks in a month.
    The last row should contain the sum. It’s needed to display the relative amount of success (the ratio bucks / total x 100).

2015/01/img_3776.png

  • Step 3
    Create another table (below the first table). This table isn’t really needed but usually it’s worth to separate the data from its visualization.
    Refer to the the first two columns of table 1 by using terms like ‘=Table 1::A1’. This will show the months and the absolute values of bucks.
  • Step 4
    Now let’s create the crux of the matter.
    Use the built-in function REPT (Repeat) with the money bag (from Apple’s Emoji keyboard; activation via Settings – General – Keyboard – Keyboards – Add New Keyboard and select Emoji).

Refer to Apple’s excellent help for this function and all the others to understand the parameters.

  • Param 1
    the symbol you want to use for the bar graph
  • Param 2
    the length of the bar (the monthly value in % of the total)

Use it and you will see that Numbers for iOS is perfectly adapted to touch screens.

Note
If you want to refer to a cell of an other table in a function, just tap on it instead of entering the table number and the coordinates. That’s perfect user experience, isn’t it?

Now your visualized success is always with you, on an iPhone, an iPad, or an  Watch.

I suggest to publish your stats quarterly on the internet like Apple does in its U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings.

Summary …

The usage of functions in Numbers is explained in meaningful helps.
An alternative is to enter the values in a table and use the feature Create Chart from Table. But that would be too easy. Always following the KISS principle doesn’t help you to improve your knowledge.

Related links …

Avoid a Liquidity Bottleneck

An Invoice created with Numbers

If Then Else

Thanks for visiting iNotes4You.





Apple and WWF 

13 05 2015

Stats say that every human living in an industrial nation uses about 20,000 kg paper in his life.  

“Through a new project announced today, WWF and Apple will help China – the world’s largest producer and consumer of paper products – reduce its environmental footprint by producing paper products from responsibly managed forests within its own borders.”

Source WWF (2015-05-11)

Related

What you should know about paper …
Go Paperless

What you can do with your mobile device to reduce paper usage …
Go Paperless with Tap Forms

Thanks for paying attention.





Family Sharing

15 01 2015

With iOS 8 Apple introduced Family Sharing and this is what we can read about this new feature …

A new way to bring harmony to your family’s digital life.
Family Sharing makes it easy for up to six people in your family to share each other’s iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases without sharing accounts. Pay for family purchases with the same credit card and approve kids’ spending right from a parent’s device. And share photos, a family calendar, and more to help keep everyone connected.

Family Sharing works across iOS devices (and Macs) and is aimed at people who own more than one iOS device in their household.

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/522/41175131/files/2015/01/img_3732.png

If you’ve got them all signed in with the same Apple ID, so you can share your apps, music and movies between devices without having to buy them over and over again for different devices. But this configuration isn’t what a smartphone or a tablet is designed for. Both kind of devices are personal devices and sharing apps and content should be an option. To be part of a powerful ecosystem shouldn’t mean that all your iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches ring when you get a call.

With Family Sharing there is no need to use a common Apple ID.
So everybody’s genetic exceptionalism can be kept.

The Apple ID …

If you purchase an iOS device an Apple ID is required to register it. It’s an E-Mail address and a related password. With an Apple ID you are able to use all services provided by Apple with this one and only one ID.

These are

  • iCloud

    getting 5 GB free storage
    backing up and restoring your device
    syncing data from Apple’s apps
    Reminders, Calendar, Contacts, iWork
    finding, locking or deleting your device if it was stolen
    determining the location of one of your devices if you cannot find it
    finding friends

  • iMessage
    Apple’s free messaging system for text and media messages via internet without using special services of your carrier
  • Facetime
    Apple’s free video call between Apple devices
  • Apple Store
    purchasing devices and accessories
  • Apple iBooks
    purchasing eBooks and downloading free documents about different topics, e.g. manuals for the devices, for iWork products, the filesystem or the UI Guidelines
  • iTunes
    purchasing media
  • Apple hardware and Apple Care Protection Plan
    for extension of warranty and hard- and software support
  • Concierge (for Genius Bar appointments)
    needed to make a reservation at the Apple Genius Bar. Apple Genius Bar is a tech support service that is offered inside every Apple Retail Store.
  • iTunes U
    accessing and downloading teaching and learning aids
  • Apple Support Community
    engaging in discussions and asking questions

Since the release of iOS 8 things changed.

Purchases are still made with an Apple ID but can be shared with others using a different Apple ID.
And it’s not only purchases but also photos, calendar entries, and locations of family members which can be shared across the ‘Apple family’.

And there is much room for improvements, e.g. sending an iMessage to all family members, initiating a communication via FaceTime, or some options for members what they want to share with other family members.

Family Sharing …

To get started, one adult in your household, the family organizer, sets up Family Sharing, invites up to five additional family members, and agrees to pay for any iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases they initiate while part of the family group. Once family members join, the features of Family Sharing are set up on everyone’s devices automatically.

IMG_3522.PNG

All your family’s purchases, on all your family’s devices.

Once you’ve set up Family Sharing, all the songs, albums, movies, TV shows, books, and apps ever purchased by family members are immediately available to everyone else in the group. And, of course, so are new purchases. The content appears automatically in the Purchased tab in iTunes, iBooks, or the App Store for each family member. Just select the family member whose collection you’d like to browse, then download or play the content you choose. Other family members can access your collection in the same way. If you want to keep some purchases private, you can choose to hide individual items.

Making purchases is easy. So is setting limits by the organizer.

All new iTunes, iBooks, and App Store purchases initiated by family members will be billed to the family organizer’s account. But the organizer can still call the shots. Just turn onAsk to Buy for children in the family. When a child initiates a purchase, an alert is sent to the organizer, who can review the item and approve or decline it right from the organizer’s device. This applies to both purchases and free downloads.

An overview …

Essentials of Apple’s new Family Sharing are summarized in this mind map.

IMG_3523.PNG

Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts for iOS (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited. The DOCX file format is suggested for those who don’t use a mind mapping tool. The file contains the image as well as a detailed outline of all topics.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
Apple iWork/Microsoft Office DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

Stop Family Sharing …

If Family Sharing should ever be disabled by the organizer, each member of the family can still keep the content purchased by another member in their family group. Apple said in-app purchases from an app originally purchased by someone else must be re-bought however.

Parental controls …

If you already started the hard work to teach your children how and how long to use electronic devices you might want them to have their own Apple ID.

Here are the steps which can be done by the organizer of Family Sharing.

IMG_3525-0.PNG

IMG_3526.PNG

Family Sharing supports parental controls. It allows family members to approve purchases and downloads initiated by children via an “Ask to buy” option. It’s not only the Organizer who set up Family Sharing to use this option but also members whose role is set to ‘Parent/Guardian’.

IMG_3527.PNG

If your kid tries to buy a $49.99 app, for instance, you will get a notification about that attempt on your own device. You must give permission through this notification before your child can actually purchase anything from the iTunes Store, iBooks Store, and the App Store.

Ask to Buy is enabled by default for children under 13. That said, children under 13 can participate in Family Sharing and even have their own Apple ID (though a parent must create it on the child’s behalf).

Parents will also be able to limit the content their children can access via the Restrictions setting on an iOS device.

Summary …

Family Sharing massively adds value to purchased devices because of saving a lot of money for a group of people.

Related links …

Apple Support: Family Sharing

The Apple ID

Thanks for surfing by.





Fatty Touch Screens

11 11 2014

Touch screens like to forward our commands to the operating system but sadly they also like to get dirty.

I hate this kind of oily coating compromising your identity with every tap and swipe and coming back in a jiffy after an intense cleaning procedure.

20140806-203544-74144071.jpg

That’s why Apple adds a lipophobic coating to the touch screens of iPhones since the 3GS launched in 2009 and their iPads, to repel fingerprint oil. It aids in preventing and cleaning fingerprint marks. Most “oleophobic” coatings used on mobile devices are fluoropolymer-based solids (similar to Teflon which usage is well-known for pans) and are both lipophobic and hydrophobic.

See applications of oleophobic coating in this video

or this video about super hydrophobic surfaces the Slo Mo Guys made at GE

Apple’s patent …

In 2011 Apple filed a patent application to apply an oleophobic coating to the surface of a material and to improve its effectiveness. In particular, this is directed to using a direct liquid application in a Physical Vapor Deposition (“PVD”) chamber to apply the coating to the material.

Apple states that as the user touches the surface of a device such as an iOS device, oils and other particles from the user’s fingers could be deposited on the surface. This may adversely affect the appearance of the surface, especially if information is being displayed. One way to limit the amount of oils and particles deposited on the surface of portable devices is to apply an oleophobic treatment to the surface. However, this approach could be difficult to accomplish.

Apple states that to prevent the deposition of oils on an electronic device surface, an oleophobic ingredient could be bonded to the electronic device surface. The oleophobic ingredient could be provided as part of a raw liquid material in one or more concentrations. To avoid adverse reactions due to exposure to air, heat, or humidity, the raw liquid material can be placed in a bottle purged with an inert gas during the manufacturing process.

20140806-203728-74248778.jpg

The bottle could be placed in a liquid supply system having a mechanism for controlling the amount of raw liquid material that passes through the liquid supply system. Upon reaching the vaporizing unit, the liquid could be vaporized and the oleophobic ingredient within the liquid can then be deposited on the electronic device component surface. As the liquid supply is drained from the bottle, additional inert gas is supplied in its place to further prevent contamination.

The reality …

I purchased my iPhone 4S in November 2011. iPhones’ touch screens are made of a highly resistant material, Gorilla Glass, which lets the device look beautiful even after heavy usage over years.

Gorilla Glass is the registered trademark for an alkali-aluminosilicate sheet toughened glass manufactured by U.S. glassmaker Corning Inc. Engineered for a combination of thinness, lightness, and damage-resistance, it is used primarily as the cover glass for portable electronic devices including mobile phones, portable media players, laptop computer displays, and some television screens. It is manufactured through immersion in a molten alkaline salt bath using ion exchange to produce compressive residual stress at the surface. This prevents cracks from propagating – for a crack to start, it will first have to overcome this compressive stress.
(Source Wikipedia)

I don’t really understand the discussion about Sapphire Glass for touch screens because Gorilla Glass does it all for the majority of users. If the device hits the ground in an adverse angle Sapphire Glass doesn’t prevent the touch screen to get damaged.

A really innovative feature would be an oleophobic coating which upholds its properties for a much longer time than the actual coating.

My experiences with an iPhone 3GS and a 4S showed that the effectiveness of the coating decreases dramatically after about a year of intense usage. It’s increasingly difficult to clean the screen and you need a very, very clean cloth to get rid of the biological evaporations. It’s like a vicious circle, to clean the screen you press harder and harder and as a result the coating becomes thinner and thinner.

Here is what Apple published about cleaning the touch screen …

Clean iPhone immediately if it comes into contact with contaminants that may cause stains, such as ink, dyes, makeup, dirt, food, oils, and lotions. To clean iPhone, unplug all cables and turn it off. Use a soft, slightly damp, lint-free cloth. Avoid getting moisture in openings. Don’t use window cleaners, household cleaners, aerosol sprays, solvents, ammonia, or abrasives to clean iPhone. The front glass surfaces have an oleophobic coating. To remove fingerprints, wipe these surfaces with a soft, lint-free cloth. The ability of this coating to repel oil will diminish over time with normal use, and rubbing the screen with an abrasive material will further diminish its effect and may scratch the glass.

To clean the Home button (allowing Touch ID to work optimally), wipe it with a soft lint-free cloth.

I thought about a replacement of my 4S’ screen but after reading this on iFixit I immediately cancelled my ambitious project:

iPhone 4S Display Assembly Replacement
Author: Walter Galan
Time required: 1 hour
Difficulty: Difficult

If you let a specialized company replace the touch screen it costs between €70 and €100 in Germany which is equivalent to $90-$130.

But there is an alternative. iFixit explains the technique of “How to apply anti-fingerprint oleophobic coating” on its website.

20140806-203816-74296761.jpg

This is an easy and cheap way to refurbish an iOS device. But don’t ask me whether it works or not. I didn’t try it out because the original process is much more complicated and don’t believe that this simplified method fulfills my personal quality requirements.

Climate conditions …

Clammy fingers are like brakes when using gestures like drag, flick or pinch. This is what I painfully recognized when visiting Thailand, my second residence, shortly after purchasing my iPhone 4S in 2011. Although the oleophobic coating was straight from the factory it hampered the usage by a ฝรั่ง (phonetic spelling: FARANG, that’s the term Thai people use for foreigners) drastically. Subtropical countries are hostile environments for touch screens of Apple’s mobile devices.

Because even Apple cannot redesign the way our body works I personally need an innovative feature implemented in an iPhone, which works like a wiper, a sweat-sensing wiper.

Summary …

I would like to see an innovative approach to the problem of cleaning touch screens but I don’t think that we will see a perfect solution because this feature is not promotionally effective.

Related links …

Apple: How to clean Apple products

iFixit: iPhone Display Replacement

Apple Patent: Direct Liquid Vaporization For Oleophobic Coatings

Thanks for visiting iNotes4You.
Before you leave please remove your fingerprints from my website.





The Pareto Principle

5 08 2014

The Pareto principle, also known as 80-20 rule states that roughly only 20% of the causes affect 80% of the effects.

20140418-095204.jpg

I would like to give you some examples and an attempt to connect the rule with some aspects of Apple’s strategy to design hardware and software products although I didn’t find any hints published by Apple which explicitly refer to the 80-20 rule. But I’m sure it’s in the mind of Apple’s engineers and can be seen as a guideline for developing products.

Microsoft and the Pareto principle …

Paula Rooney published this noteworthy insight on October 3, 2002

Microsoft’s CEO: 80-20 Rule Applies To Bugs, Not Just Features

In recent months, Microsoft has learned that 80 percent of the errors and crashes in Windows and Office are caused by 20 percent of the entire pool of bugs detected, and that more than 50 percent of the headaches derive from a mere 1 percent of all flawed code.

In an e-mail update sent out broadly to enterprise customers on Oct. 2, 2002, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer highlighted initial progress being made on the company’s Trustworthy Computing initiative, an effort rolled out by the vendor last January to improve its reputation in the reliability and security arenas. For one thing, there will be faster bug-fixing as a result of an error-reporting facility embedded in Office and Windows. And that error-reporting tool will be part of the forthcoming Windows.Net Server 2003.

The automated error-reporting tool enables customers to relay errors to Microsoft in a condensed “mini-dump” format, which simplifies the process, Ballmer said.

“One really exciting thing we learned is how, among all these software bugs involved in the report, a relatively small proportion causes most of the errors,” Ballmer wrote in his three-page memo. “About 20 percent of the bugs causes 80 percent of all errors, and – this is stunning to me – 1 percent of bugs caused half of all errors.”

But one analyst said that customers should not come to the conclusion that the 80-20 bug ratio will make it easier for Microsoft to clean up problems with its software.

“The 80-20 rule is often believed to be true in most things. Most often it is used by vendors to distract people from the problem of inadequate quality with the implication that they only need to work on a small number of issues to correct that problem,”

said Rob Enderle, research fellow at Giga Information Group.

“What’s forgotten is that 20 percent are often the most complex, most difficult issues to correct and the most likely to spawn new problems as part of the correction process.”

The tool and debugging method, however, did help Microsoft address 20 percent of all Windows XP bugs in Service Pack 1, more than half of all application errors fixed in Office XP Service Pack 2 and 74 percent bugs of fixed in the beta test version of Visual Studio.Net, Ballmer claimed.

A summary …

Ready for a summary of Pareto’s principle?

So here it is and as usual on iNotes4You it’s summarized with the help of a mind map.

20140531-061531.jpg

Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited. The DOCX file format is suggested for those who don’t use a mind mapping tool. The file contains the image as well as a detailed outline of all topics.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
Apple iWork/Microsoft Office DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

Apple and the Pareto principle …

Apple’s operating system for mobiles, the hardware, and software applications are as complex as other comparable systems. Only developers are deeply engaged in what’s going on in the code if a user e.g. taps on the touch screen of an iPhone or an iPad. Be sure, it’s a lot what has to be considered when designing the code and providing APIs (Application Programming Interface) to developers who then create their apps based on implemented functionalities of iOS.

20140418-105007.jpg

For us, as users of Apple’s mobile devices, there are only two but quite important things, the UX (user experience) and the UI (user interface).

One common adage in the IT industry is that 80 percent of all end users generally use only 20 percent of a software application’s features. Aside the concrete numbers this seems to hit the nail right on the head and I think nearly all of you can agree. Only a minority, the power users, get more mileage out of an application.

Basically there are two options to increase the UX of software products

  • two versions
    a standard and a professional version with extended features
  • one version
    with features limited to the commonly accepted needs of customers

Apple goes the latter way roughly according to the Pareto principle.
But there seems to be a problem.

What are the features if all the options are roughly reduced to the mentioned 20%?

Well, it depends on the application and necessary features can only be identified by constantly looking on the behavior of customers.

If you settled all the needs of customers the next problem comes up.

How can the features be packed in a clean and tidy user interface?

It was Sir Jonathan Ive, Apple’s top designer, who once said

Simplicity is often equated with minimalism. Yet true simplicity is so much more than just the absence of clutter or the removal of decoration. It’s about offering up the right things, in the right place, right when you need them. It’s about bringing order to complexity. And it’s about making something that always seems to “just work.” When you pick something up for the first time and already know how to do the things you want to do, that’s simplicity.

Regarding the UX and UI I found a noteworthy article by Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D., on uxmag.com about The Psychologist’s View of UX Design (please use the link under ‘Related link’ to read the full article). It can be seen as a validation of the Pareto principle in the sense of separate the vital few from the trivial many. And with this it also proofs Apple’s strategy of seamless usage of its mobile devices.

Here is a summarization of the main points visualized in a mind map.

20140419-205613.jpg

Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts HD for iPad (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited. The DOCX file format is suggested for those who don’t use a mind mapping tool. The file contains the image as well as a detailed outline of all topics.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
Apple iWork/Microsoft Office DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

There’s a finite amount of resources to focus on finding and fixing issues or improving the user experience. It’s the task of designers and engineers to find out the small number of items account for a disproportionate amount of results. An effective strategy is to separate these vital few from the trivial many to improve the user experience.

If you use an Apple mobile device you already recognized that problems with the operating system can be solved with solely three methods

  • Reboot
  • Restore
  • Recover

This is a quite remarkable step to reduce the efforts of users to fix problems.

It’s definitely the wrong and most ineffective way to fill a knowledge base with thousands of articles, often not applicable for devices even if they run on the same version of an operating system. That’s my experience of working on Microsoft Windows based computers in the last 30 years. Problems with drivers, Dynamic Link Libraries, vulnerabilities, monthly published patches, etc. have been quite frustrating tasks, wasted your time, and, regarding the usage of Windows PCs in businesses, cost a lot of money. A reason could be the genes Microsoft put into the cradle of its operating system.

Summary …

Companies looking at the 80-20 rule have to identify the 20% in all areas which means find out the few vital from the many trivial.

Going along with this analysis more simple solutions for usability problems, feature requests, support calls, software bugs or revenues can be created.

If you recognize that reading just 20% of my blog post let you understand 100% of my intention than you have a further validation of Pareto’s principle.

Related links …

Apple’s Focusing

Apple’s Strategy and Ad

The Psychologist’s View of UX Design

Thanks for stopping by.








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