Some time ago I managed to get a free 50GB account from Box.net. Until recently I had not used it because Box seemed to be concentrating on the enterprise market. The 50GB account was only available via the web which made it useless for my needs.
At some point Box added an app for the iPhone and iPad to get access to that storage. I was expecting something similar to the Dropbox iOS app, which allows pretty effective management of what is stored in a Dropbox account. By “effective management” I mean being able to add and delete files at a bare minimum. I was sadly disappointed by the Box app.
Here is the main screen looking at a folder:
Selecting a file and clicking on the “Manage” button gives two options:
I have the option to select files and set files as favorites. I’m not sure how that qualifies as managing things. I’d expect to be able to delete files and folders here but I don’t have that option.
I’m pretty sure that, 50GB or not, I’m done with Box. The lack of flexibility with the iOS client, combined with the goofiness of the Mac sync client (I can’t move folders around easily? really?), really shows that they’re not serious about capturing any of the Dropbox market. If they don’t care about getting the simple things right why should I trust them with my data when they don’t offer any advantages over the more widely-supported Dropbox?
I just went to the website of my local park district to find out the fees involved with getting a membership at their gym facilities to use the running track. The page, with a copyright last updated 6 years ago, looks like it was designed in 1995 and doesn’t have up-to-date information on pricing for the various plans. In fact it doesn’t have any pricing information on the website. Is it really that hard to put this information on the website for residents to find?
Today, after being a Remember the Milk customer for years, I gave up on them and closed my account. I paid up for a year of Toodledo Pro. I really loved RTM at one point. The user interface was fresh and worked pretty well. It helped me implement GTD. Eventually though my needs changed and the people behind RTM let the web site stagnate. They seem to be concentrating on mobile devices more than the web interface these days and while I understand that decision I think they’re ignoring a large portion of their user base and I finally had enough so I closed up shop and left.
Toodledo consistently seems to work on the website (though I still can’t stand the plain-Jane UI) and adds features. The feature set is much better than RTM and they have a date picker for due dates! Seriously, this is the one major thing that pissed me off about RTM even though it might seem like a nitpick. Their date picker is fantastic as it interprets strings like ‘next Tuesday’ in the due date field and translates them into dates. However as great as that feature is sometimes a person just wants to choose a date from a calendar and that feature doesn’t exist in RTM. There is a calendar icon that makes it look like it can be done but it can’t.
Toodledo also syncs wonderfully with Todo from Appigo (iPad or iPhone) which I just discovered yesterday with the release of the iPad version. It is a fantastic todo list application with a beautiful user interface. Todo actually syncs with RTM as well but you have to pay the $25 yearly “pro” fee to get the sync functionality which Toodledo provides for free. I paid $14.95 for a yearly “pro” fee for Toodledo. Hmmm….$25 for a stagnant application or $14.95 for an updated one. Tough choice.
A $25 yearly fee certainly is viable if you provide a service for that fee but keeping the website stagnant and ignoring customer requests certainly isn’t what I’d call viable. So it’s been fun RTM but you lost me. ?Sorry.
I’ve been playing with the newest Chrome beta on my Mac for the past day or two and it is becoming an intriguing replacement for Safari (Firefox feels very sluggish to me). The one thing I was just playing with that I don’t get is themes. I find the majority of theme just a distraction. Basic colors-based themes (or those with simple gradients, etc) are OK but I find the artist-generated themes to be too difficult to use. With distracting pictures my eyes don’t know where to rest to find the controls I need. They also clutter up the display because my eyes have problems finding anything else on the screen with a art theme enabled. Visually distracting to say the least. I’ve settled on a few of the “basic” themes with monochromatic color schemes and simple gradients. I’m just not sure I understand why people like these things.
I’ve been reading quite a bit the last week on my iPad using both the Kindle reader app from Amazon as well as the iBook app from Apple and one thing has struck me as very odd: the page turn effect offered in both apps.
While reading the page can be turned by swiping a finger across the screen which results, at least if it’s turned on, a page curl effect. Underneath the page can be seen the text of the new page. Visually it is pleasing to be sure but I am still trying to grasp the point of such a thing on a device that most certainly doesn’t have real pages.
The use of metaphor in user in user interfaces for software is nothing new obviously. All major OS interfaces use the desktop metaphor with “folders”, “files”, etc. I just find it odd that programmers are wasting time creating a page turn effect for something that isn’t paper. Yes, you can drag your finger across the page but it’s much faster to just tap the side of the screen corresponding to move to the next (or previous) page. In my opinion it’s s misplaced metaphor. Fun? Yes. Appropriate? No.
Icon for the Save button is still a floppy disk, despite the fact that Apple hasn’t sold a machine with a floppy drive for a decade.
So what do you suggest they put there John? It’s a well-known icon regardless of platform 8-year olds not withstanding. I suspect the 8-year olds probably haven’t used a manila folder either yet the open manila folder is a standard icon for opening files.
Really? Has Apple been mysterious? I was pretty clear on what the iPad can do and what it can’t do based on the presentation from Steve Jobs when he introduced the device. It’s based on iPhone OS and has, currently, the same limitations as iPhone OS. There are changes to account for the new screen and there are new applications but it’s a Wifi and/or 3G larger iPod Touch. What is so mysterious about it? And what restrictions and media access is Galen Gruman referring to that we don’t already know about?
I really wish people would just get over the fact that Apple makes good products. If you don’t like them don’t buy them but stop faulting others for buying them.
The Apple “press” (I use quotes because they really aren’t but sure seem like they’d like to be) never ceases to amaze me. What passes for two stories on The Unofficial Apple Weblog today:
A story titled ‘Apple’s “renaissance” is under way’ it is reported that the author thinks that because he is seeing Macs everywhere now that more people are buying them. This shocking item is backed up with the claim “There’s now data to back up these observations”. Well gee, there has been data to back up those observations for quite awhile now. Apple has been consistently improving Mac sales quarter over quarter. This Mac website is just seeing this now??
Oh and of course the peanut gallery kicks in with the typical ‘People just buy <insert popular Apple product> because they want to be seen with it’. Hate to break it to those folks but I bought an iPod, a Mac, and an iPhone because they’re the best products…not because I want to look cool (and in the case of an iPhone millions of people don’t all want to look cool. Please.).
In another story titled “HTC and other OEMs prepared to challenge the iSlate” we get the brilliant little nugget: “The announcements are sure to place some price pressure on Apple: Freescale’s design is intended for retail prices in the $200 range, much less than the $600 – $1,000 expected for Apple’s device. “I’m going to bet that the Freescale tablet will be every bit as good as it’s $200-range design. Meanwhile people will part with their hard earned dollars in droves to get the Apple tablet because Apple knows what they’re doing and they seem to be the only company that gives a damn about design and how people interact with their products.
To be sure the author throws in: “Of course, Apple is all about the design, functionality, and user experience of their devices and software, and the capabilities of the tablet will need to show perceived value to potential customers.” just to make sure they cover their bases. Again I find it astounding that this is coming from a website who’s main purpose is covering Apple. Have they not noticed that during this awful recession Apple is making money hand over fist on premium laptops and desktop systems?
I was reading a review of BusyCal for the Mac and Wolf Rentzsch reminded me of one of the features I absolutely *loved* from the DateBk Palm application from Pimlico: floating events. They were what they sound like…events that could be marked as completed like a To Do but if not complete would keep floating to the next day until completed or deleted. So I wondered what happened to Pimlico Software (would have thought they’d have jumped on the iPhone bandwagon by now). This is what I found….
Why would they make a user interface this awful? They even point out “Keep in mind that Pimlical is highly configurable, so things like fonts, colors and the screen configurations can be changed by preference settings and appear quite different from these samples.”
You can’t polish a turd guys. This is an awful design. I’m not even sure where to start with this one so I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to take a look.