Looking as I do frequently on the Mac App Store and iPhone/iPad App Store, I can’t help but notice how cheap software is now, compared with the old days before the App Stores existed and software was sold mainly on disc in big box packaging. Apple have led the way with their own apps. All the iLife and iWork apps have always been absurdly cheap, they were only ever a loss leader to sell more hardware, which is Apple’s core business after all.
Blog: Design, technology, business and other thoughts
Apple’s new iPad sold over 3 million units in the first 3 days. To put this into perspective, the first iPad took nearly 3 months to achieve the same figure, and even this was considered a massive success that had far exceeded all expectations. I got my hands on the new model unexpectedly in the first weekend. After a week of playing, my first impressions are very positive and even as a designer who favours a big screen and total control over my file system, I’m convinced this is the future of computing.
Why do some domain name sellers make it so difficult to transfer a domain name away from them? There are loads of domain name registrars, and most of them offer very cheap domain names and website hosting packages too. But there may come a time when your circumstances change or you find a better deal elsewhere. When that happens, you need to have a quick and hassle free way to move your domain name to whatever host you choose.
In my life as a designer, there are many others I admire and respect. Some are contemporary, others have long since passed away. Top of my list of design heroes is A M Cassandre, who lived and worked throughout the Art Deco period and beyond. Inspired by the Surrealists and Cubists of his era, he was known primarily for his poster art, but was also a designer of magazine covers, typefaces, logos and theatre sets.
It used to be simple. If you wanted a plumber or an electrician or even a bookshop, you just picked up the big yellow book and turned to the index. Who could forget those successful TV ad campaigns of the 1980s. Apart from a bit of minor competition from Thomson Local, they had it all sewn up.
Apple’s Vice President iPhone Product Marketing, Greg Joswiak, gave an insight into the secrets of Apple’s success this week. He was speaking at a recent event in the UK called “Silicon Valley Comes to Cambridge.” None of this will come as a huge surprise to anyone who follows Apple, but it’s interesting to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. Here’s what he told the audience were the four key lessons he has learned during his 20 years at Apple.
Many web designers and tech savvy internet users share a common belief that Flash is bad. Sure, it brightens up web pages with pretty moving graphics, but in technological terms it’s a relic from a bygone era. Flash is the nasty, buggy, resource-hungry browser plugin that has been the scourge of the internet for over a decade. But now the anti-Flash sentiment is starting to gather pace and we may see a time in the future where it is banished from our desktops for good.
I had a communication this morning from a possible future client, who was enquiring about a logo, website and various printed promotional materials. The main thrust of his enquiry was to present me with a series of websites from his competitors and instruct me on exactly which ones he wanted to look like. This isn’t a new request, another client earlier this year tried to insist that I make an exact copy of a site owned by one of his competitors. Unethical, illegal, unimaginative, boring and lots of other adjectives spring to mind.
Once you get your shiny new website up and running, you may be thinking that the job is done, and all you have to do is sit back and wait for the business to roll in. But sadly it’s not as simple as that. Even if your web designer has submitted the site to the search engines and done all the other things they normally do to give it a kick start, your work is not over.
The vast majority of people don’t ever give a single thought to backing up their computer. Why would they? That’s something for the IT guys at work to worry about. It’s their problem to make sure the network drives are protected against loss or failure, not yours. But whose job is it to look after the PC at home, or if you’re self employed, the laptop you use for your business? Answer: Yours. And what do you do about backing up? What do you do to to guard against a catastrophic failure? Most likely answer: Nothing.
Just like your website, email is one of the main faces of your business and often the first contact potential customers will experience. So you can’t afford not to do it properly. But ever since I started out in the business, people seem to have been making the same old mistakes over and over again. That makes it a great subject for the latest in my series of blog posts which are looking increasingly like they should be called “rants from a grumpy old web guy”.
People who describe themselves as IT consultants aren’t usually experts at marketing and don’t often have a track record in design. The reverse is also true; Designers and Marketing people are not IT experts. The two are worlds apart. But in my experience, thanks to some questionable claims made by IT people, the average business owner has trouble distinguishing between them, often to the detriment of their business. A lot of businesses end up with cheap and nasty looking websites.
I’m a graphic designer and web designer. My expertise is in design, visual identities and marketing communications. I’m not a Microsoft Systems Administrator or an IT support guy. In fact I don’t even use a Windows PC. And yet I’ve lost count of the number of times people have said to me “You work in computers don’t you? Can you fix my PC/set up my email/show me how to use Excel…”.
When buying a computer for their business, most people don’t look beyond a Windows based PC. Microsoft’s operating system is pre-installed on every PC from low-end to top of the range, and therein lies the problem. Whatever machine you choose, the user experience is the same. You can buy the best PC in the shop but you’ll still get all the crashes, virus attacks, spyware, unintuitive interface and annoying security warnings.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Thanks to the popularity of the iPhone among business users, more and more people are waking up to the fact that in addition to making the device that rewrote the rule book on mobile phones, Apple also makes computers that feature the same reliability, ease of use and polish. And best of all, they don’t run Microsoft Windows.