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-James

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Google Phone: Nexus One

Posted by james on Jan. 5, 2010

Oh man!
http://www.google.com/phone/

I haven't even seen this phone in person, but I'm obsessed with it. Might just be the best phone out there right now (iPhone included). We'll see (if I ever get one...).

2012

Posted by james on Dec. 2, 2009

(post.rating: 6)
Rating:

IMDB   Apple Trailers

After seeing the previews, I thought two things; "This is like the sequel to 'Day After Tomorrow'", and "Oh man, I have to see this in the theater." I was well prepared for the complete package of stereotypical characters, bad acting, horrible plot and dialog, and of course an onslaught of special effects like the world has never seen. I went to see this at the local theater, which is decent, but I really wished I'd gone to the digital theaters (oooo) in Warwick. Not just for the size of screen or the digital projector coolness... more for the 'rumble you out of your seat' sound. Local theater sound is ok, but not great. Add on top of all my misgivings was seeing John Cusack in the trailer. Don't get me wrong, I like him in some movies (Don't I? Wait, which ones... can't remember now). But in general he seemed like a bad match.

At the end of the movie, I realized that I'd sat through 2.5 hours of disaster movie, and it didn't stink. That's pretty good for this genre. You pretty much know why you go; to see crazy special effects that the world is ending, the same type of reason you'd watch fireworks (sparkly!) or see something like Transformers (transformy!). The plot was standard fare, not overly cheesy. The actors were surprisingly decent (John Cusack, Amanda Peet... who knew). Overall, it was pleasant enough to sit through once in the theater, and once again at home given a good sound system (with tons of bass).

So yes, a decent disaster movie. Not great, nothing really worth writing about in particular, but pretty solid considering.

Engadget redesigned by monkeys

Posted by james on Nov. 30, 2009

Engadget has to be my #1 blog. The reason I got hooked is that they had nice pictures on every post. It seems trivial, but it really makes for a lot better browsing experience. It's nice and all to hear about the new Blackberry Pearl 9100 that's coming up, or a new Android device that's been spotted in Taiwan. But what is that worth without pics? So pics drew me in, but good content kept me reading.

One thing I noticed about the site was the incredibly clean & nice design. I kept feeling that there was something Japanese-inspired about the simplistic design, very clean and well-defined. It rarely got in the way, and was very useful. So then just over a month ago I get a black banner with some teaser text, and then a new website design slowly starts coming online (bits at a time... server issues?). And the result?

Craptastic. It's really awful. The thing is, it's not a bad looking site, and it's still better designed than most. But going from the simple, elegant and memorable design from before, it's just sad. They really lost something and now it's gone in the bitrot that is the internet, living on only in the wayback machine and browser caches all over the world.

The new site lacks any of the subtlety and definition of the old site. It's huge and blocky. When I load the first page on my 22" widescreen, over half the screen is banners & ads and oversized navigation; I can only see the top half of the first article without scrolling. Half the screen?? Is that really what you were going for?

The stories are huge. What used to be about 1/2 of the screen as a story now fills out the whole screen, and sometimes more. I'm all for big, bright content, but this is getting ridiculous. Now I constantly feel like I have back away from the monitor so I can see more. Unfortunately it's not that easy.

And did I mention the earlier site was simple? Apparently someone on their (re)design team noticed this, and decided this had to change. What do today's readers really want? That's right, tons of crap on their screen, all jumbled together. As much as can fit on the screen at once, just throw it there and see where it lands. Under the huge amounts of crap that is their six (!!!) layers of ads and nav sections comes... a thing which cannot be named, but is simply described as a mess of pictures with mini-titles of all different shapes and sizes jumbled together. This must have come from the melted-crayon art project school of thought.

And last, the never-ending sidebar(s) of crap. Before there were a few sidebars, but that's normal for any site (including this one). But while they are still half the width of the main content, they're equally as bright and noisy as anything else on the page, if not more. They're huge, as big as the main stories used to be pre-redesign. And at this moment I count no less than 12 (!!!) different ads & sidebars, all busy and in your face.

All these criticisms are focused on the design itself. Then there's little bugs like how you can't search by date, and at the moment I can't even register for a login since all the old ones are gone.

What the heck happened? There's no analogy that gives this justice. It's simple redesigned by monkeys. Poor engadget. I keep reading, but it gets harder.

This shows where the first story starts in relation to where the bottom of the browser window lies.

This is what a user sees by default. There are no stories on this page yet, just 3 layers of advertisements, 3 layers of navigation, and a messy pile of photos that bleed off the page. Scroll down a page or so to get to the first story. Firefox on a notebook, full screen.


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