Where should the condiments and plasticware go?

I go to many potlucks throughout the year, and it always amazes me that no matter how many times I hear someone complaining about the cost of putting on an event and my suggestions on how they can improve the smallest things, one easy thing to do never changes: the condiments and plasticware are placed at the start of the line, well before guests know what they’ll be getting, and requiring them to juggle everything while choosing their food.

At one company’s cafeterias that I eat at each day, the condiments, napkins, and plasticware are all placed after the checkout…


Truly Immersive Communication Required

The directions people look while using FaceTime, Skype, and other video chatting apps often feel odd since most naturally look at the person they are speaking with even when the camera recording them is inches above or below the image. Even when someone makes a concerted effort to look right at the camera, it’s easy to be distracted by the image of the person they are speaking with, causing them to occasionally change focus. And if everyone looks at the camera, no one looks at the person!

In the past, there have been suggestions that computer manufacturers solve this by…


We three dots of text message bring

The promise of words from friends to string

The thoughts and feelings, hopes and dreamings

Ever revealing…

…Delivered


Apple Messages Should Combine Old Contact Information With The New

Every so often people change their phone numbers, but when those numbers have been used for texting, their recipients’ Messages threads will become disconnected from any new texts, since Apple currently doesn’t support migrating a Messages thread from one number to another number, nor tying a Messages thread to a contact and interleaving all communications.

First of all, Apple should coalesce all threads associated with a contact into a single Messages thread. …


What’s The Killer App For Bendable Or Curved Screens?

In recent times, a number of manufacturers have experimented with curved television screens. Also, a number of rumors have made the rounds suggesting that smartphone manufacturers will be coming out with bendable devices. However, do we really need these?

History is replete with examples of technology that were before their time or were significantly repurposed from a failed original notion into something novel and successful. Rather than using bendable displays for smartphones, maybe they should first be used for making globes.

In science fiction, holograms are often used to study models of planets as a 3D globe, allowing characters the…


Apple’s Backup Offerings Should Be Retooled

In November 2016, a rumor was floated that suggested Apple will be exiting the wireless router business, which will be a shame. Out of all the routers I’ve used, Apple’s offerings are the only ones I’ve found that take longer to remove from their packaging than to set up or maintain.

Along with Apple’s AirPort Extreme router, Apple offers a network-attached storage device (often called a NAS device) called the AirPort Time Capsule. Anyone who has used a NAS device knows that accessing them is far slower than a drive connected directly to a computer (called a DAS drive in…


Why Can’t Messages Combine Long SMS Messages That Are Sent Split Up?

Even in the second half of the second decade of the 21st century, not everyone sends text messages using Apple’s Messages app on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and some people even use pre-smartphone devices. Some text messages even come to me split up at 140-character boundaries with a progress count at the start, sometimes making it difficult to read:

(1/3) Hi Gary, I have the dates and two of them are already filled in,  so the first meeting will be January 23rd. And that is the one we need to schedule it at
(2/3) your place, please, the…

Many Sellers Offer Free Shipping, But When Using UPS, You Get What You Pay For

When I order certain hardware from Apple, I usually have to wait for it be configured and shipped from China, such as the 2016 version of the 15" MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Since I wanted a higher-than-baseline amount of RAM (16 GB) and storage space (2 TB SSD), this is a requirement I’m okay with when buying one of Apple’s devices. …


Anglo-Centric Offshore Developers — An Oxymoron?

Many companies needing software solutions turn to organizations in Asian countries since American software developers are usually paid much higher. Unfortunately, I have found that in many cases, you get what you pay for. For example, I have been very surprised how Anglo-centric some offshore and H1B developers are, especially when English is not their first language, with my having to explain in detail how and why Unicode should be used — Unicode, a ubiquitous method for storing text in various languages and scripts of the world that’s been around for decades.

One developer working on the Windows version of…


A Scorched-Earth Approach To Refreshing Your Model Or View

Genocidal Refresh is the software development anti-pattern when all model or view objects are disposed of and rebuilt, when it’s just as easy and far less time-consuming to add, remove, or change the affected items.

The experience that inspired my coining this phrase came from a backup application that did this whenever a hard drive partition was mounted or unmounted. The app also went to great pains to make sure any change was immediately visible, far more often than the time it took for the screen to refresh. Most users don’t plug or unplug their devices every few seconds, so…

Gary L. Wade

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