Stepping off the Path

Path is a photo sharing service that’s been around for a little while now.  I hadn’t tried it before as they didn’t have an Android app, but now they do I though I’d give it a go.

Screen shot from PathFirst off the initial experiences, signing up for Path on the web and using  the Android app, wasn’t intuitive for me.  I filled in the typical username, password, but didn’t want to connect Facebook…and then, well I don’t know.  I felt like I was missing something.  On the app there was no sense of “you should go do this now”.  It took me a couple of photos in to realize I hadn’t shared them with anyone.  And choosing those people to share with seemed clunky.  I would think that should have been step 1 before taking any photos – Choose the people you’re sharing with, especially since you’re limited to 50.

After two weeks of sharing a few moments I’m calling it quits.  It doesn’t seem to have grabbed the people I was sharing with either, most of them have only posted a couple of photos too.

I’m sure its filling a niche, but obviously not one I’m part of.

My frustration with Android apps (especially Google)

So I’ve had my smartphone for sometime now, and like most I find it invaluable.  I quickly ran up against the problem of having limited space (145mb) to install apps on.  Bear in mind this also held most of the stuff that came with the phone too.  So I had an 8gb SD card sitting doing nothing.

After a recent update I’m now running Android 2.2.1 which lets me store apps on the SD Card. Fantastic!

Not so much.

Seems that a lot of app developers either didn’t get the memo that option was available to them, or its just too difficult to do.  Now I can kind of expect this from solo developers or small companies, but Google?  C’mon, they created the OS.  They know that there are a lot of Android handsets that had this issue. So why do they continually create great large apps (Google Music and Google+ both come in at over 7mb each)  Even Google Reader is over 2mb before I’ve even looked at an RSS feed.

And the kicker? None of the Google apps can be moved over to the SD card.  This means that I have yet to run a single Google app for more than a day before I have to uninstall it.  Heaven forbid I try to install two.

Now other companies such as Evernote and Wunderlist let me move the apps over, but run into problems.  With Evernote I can’t use the widget if its on the SD card.  Frustrating, but not a deal breaker for me.

So Google. Please take note. I’d love to use your apps, but until I can move them onto my phones SD card I just can’t use them.

Helping out with Cleveland Give Camp

Had a great time at June’s NEOUPA meeting.  It was a free event and they partnered with Cleveland Give Camp to help with the upcoming Give Camp weekend.

Info packet and sketchesAfter some pizza we got to meet one of the charities being helped – P.A.W.S. After a brief intro we broke into groups and started going through the information packets.  We had an hour to pick one aspect to help with.  Number 2 group (Nicole, Mindy,  Jackie, and myself) had a wide range of skills from technical writing to information architecture.  We decided to look at the content, re-do the navigation and present the home and internal page.

That hour goes quick.

We decided to cut and combine a lot of the content, which it turns out most in the room did too, and then come up with a main navigation that could hold this.  Testimonials were distributed through the site as opposed to being on their own page. We added a donate widget on every page, as well as a widget for events.

Our wireframesI did some sketching and when we agreed on the approach, I drew it up on the large paper for Jackie to present.  It was a fun challenge to see how much you could get done and see all the different approaches people took.

Our work will be part of the information packets for P.A.W.S. used during the weekend.  It’ll be interesting to see if any of our ideas get used in the final site.

Why I will avoid buying HP again

So Julie‘s desktop hard drive went South.  While Windows kept giving us these “imminent failure” messages, I backed-up her data and called HP.

Now we’d bought the HP Pavillion a little after Christmas so I knew it was past its magical 12 month (but nothing ever breaks up to that point) warranty, but it was only 18 months old and she never does any hardcore processing on it. Updating her iPod Touch, a little Open Office and some Facebook time and that’s it.  She wasn’t even a 5th full space wise.  I know there’s always a risk with a hard drive but I’ve never had a problem, and still have ones that I pounded with Fireworks & Dreamweaver that are about 8 years old and still going.

So after going through the voice menu and speaking to a representative I ended up with a new 1TB drive for about $80 and a set of Recovery Disks for $15.  My first hassle was I couldn’t get both from the representative I was talking to.  The recovery disks had to be handled by his Supervisor and sent seperatley.

So I got them and the hard drive finally gave up the ghost.  When I looked at the packing slip the disk weren’t mine (address in Florida, not Ohio, and completely different order code) and would’t run in the PC.  I called HP on the number given and had to wait 30 minutes (tweeting my frustation in the meantime) before I spoke to an actual Representative.  I then had to give the case numbers, explain the whole thing again and get the disks re-sent.  Total time on the call – Over an hour. Just to inform them they sent me someone elses disk and could they re-send mine.  This was on the 4th.  They were now due around the 9th.

They still hadn’t arrived on the 8th so I called (another 30 minutes call) just to make sure they had the right address etc.

The 9th came and went so on the 10th, with still nothing delivered, I called again.  This time it took 40 minutes to explain my frustration, speak to a representative, then to his Floor Supervisor, then to the Case Manager, only to be told that they couldn’t overnight the disks to me because they only use FedEx Ground and they don’t deliver next day on a Saturday.  So a whole week went by with a dead PC and still no recovery disks.  I took the offer of a refund for the disks, though this apparently is going to take 5 days to come through, and ended the call.

I felt angry and let down.  In this day and age I don’t think I made an unreasonable request asking for them to be overnighted as I’d already waited for these and they’d sent them wrongly in the first place.  To date, today is the 14th, the disks have still not turned up.

I went on Saturday and bought a copy of Windows 7 ($200), installed it on the new drive in less than 30 minutes and was back up & running.  The PC seems to be running a lot faster and smoother without the HP “stuff” that comes pre-installed.

Now don’t get me wrong.  Its not the people I have a problem with.  All of them were polite and tried to be helpful.  The problem I have is that one person couldn’t help me.  It had to get passed from pillar-to-post while several people read case notes, re-entered numbers, and kept telling me they should be delivered by the 9th (including when I called on the 10th). It was the 30 minutes on hold, the 3 hours + of sitting on the phone, the week of waiting, and nothing resolved.

I now feel that:

  • HP products don’t last
  • HP makes you sit on the phone for ages
  • HP can’t send disks in the mail to the right address
  • HP is not fast acting
  • HP is not worth the money

Right or wrong, these points have soured me on the HP brand wholesale.