Instagram is a simple and fun application. The simplicity of the application is what led to its success. It is extremely addictive.
However, its most important feature or lack thereof, is the regram functionality. Instagram doesn’t allow users to just repost the same image from another user natively. The absence of this functionality is just wonderful. Users can definitely install third party apps that support this functionality, but, Instagram doesn’t support it natively.
As a user, your feed is usually pretty clean. There’re no non-sensical memes or random images showing up in your feed. You definitely can subscribe to them, but, you don’t see them unless you specifically subscribe to them.
Personally, I think this is great. It keeps the app very focused and clean.
The UX around composing a blog post has changed significantly over the years. It has moved from pure text based posts to having image embeds, galleries, videos and cards from various websites such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube etc. The text editors are responsible for good UX and it’s great that they are evolving. This evolution lets users focus on the content and makes it really easy for them to express their ideas.
Medium’s Text Editor
Over the past few years, one of the biggest innovations around text editing has been Medium’s Text Editor. It’s a wonderful editor that looks great. Here’s a couple of screenshots of the editor while editing a story on Medium.com:
As you can see, the UI looks clean, minimalistic, beautiful and lets the user focus on what’s truly important – Content.
Now, all of this is great, but, there’s one key thing missing here – Extensibility. Being able to extend the functionality of this editor using plugins makes it so much more powerful.
WordPress’s new text editor is called Gutenberg. It is fantastic. Imagine having the beauty and functionality of Medium’s text editor, along with support for plugins. That’s Gutenberg.
First off, Gutenberg’s UI/UX is amazing. Composing a blog post in Gutenberg feels really fun. It makes you want to write more. It uses this concept of Blocks. Each Block can be an entity in your content. This basically means that a paragraph, image, image gallery, embedded video, embedded audio etc are all Blocks. Here’s how editing a Block looks like in Gutenberg:
The UI looks great and editing Blocks is really simple. Also, the editor comes with a handy shortcut to insert new Blocks. This is activated by typing in “/” anywhere in the compose region of the editor. Here’s how it looks like:
The default editor ships with a lot of Blocks. But, there’s a huge community of developers building awesome new Blocks that can be integrated into the editor by installing them as WordPress plugins.
I’m very satisfied with WordPress’s direction to improve the compose experience. I think this is only going to get better and I can’t wait to see what the community comes up with. If you want to give Gutenberg a try, here’s the live link: https://wordpress.org/gutenberg/
It was 1:30 AM yesterday night and I couldn’t sleep. I was trying really hard to sleep but I couldn’t. I gave up after a while and started to think about random stuff and thus, I ended up thinking about the Cloud.
Cloud storage has been one of the best technological innovations in the past few years. Several companies ranging from existing technology leaders to startups, seem to be interested in this field. Companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Dropbox etc really excel in this field. Each of these companies offer amazing services. These companies seem to be concentrating on making its users rely more on the cloud.
WordPress: First off, let me start off with WordPress. WordPress never fails to impress me after launching new versions of its blogging platform. WordPress 3.2 seems to be heavily loaded with awesome. This seems to be a terrific upgrade from the previous versions. There are loads of new features included in the upgrade.
The new Twenty Eleven WordPress theme (which is currently on my blog)
Lighter on the resources
Newly designed dashboard
The best part of the update: Zen mode for distraction free post writing.
**Google: **Google seems to be going crazy with the release of its new products like Google+, Google Music, WDYL etc. Google also launched 2 new versions of their new Gmail interface. Believe me, they look really clean, simple, minimalist and amazing.
Facebook: Facebook launched its Video Calling feature yesterday along with other updates such as Group Chat and newly designed chat interface. The Video Calling feature seems to be activated but the Group Chat feature doesn’t seem to be. On a lighter note, there has been an image doing rounds on Google+. I really am a huge fan of Facebook and I really don’t appreciate the image. But the image makes me really LOL. Just look at the “f” flip when the girl gets slapped. 😀
Google at last had launched its new suite of social tools, Google+, yesterday. I think it’s a great move from Google. I’ve actually been waiting since a long time for this to happen. It was rumored that this suite would be named something like “Google Circles” or “Google Me”. Google had its recent failures by introducing products like Google Wave, Google Buzz, +1 etc. Buzz was supposed to be Google’s answer to Facebook but it didn’t manage to even get proper public attention. Apart from Google+, Google seems to have revamped their Web Search interface (which sucks btw. Come on Google, seriously, a black toolbar with white shadows?), a new widget in Gmail that displays information about the person mailing you and some sweet shortcuts, a floating options menu in Gmail and of course, WDYL.com (What Do You Love). Google seems to be trying very hard to get into the game. I like this kind of competition among the top companies. It forcibly creates a need for creativity, speaking of which, I think you should check out the tour and the videos Google has set up on their Google+ website. Let’s see what Facebook has lined up for us.
Testing various Operating Systems has always been something that I enjoyed. This enjoyment of mine led me to install and test Operating Systems such as Mac OS X 10.6.2, Chromium OS, Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx (Will be trying out Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat soon) and ofcourse my favorite Windows 7. Oh, and all these Operating Systems are installed on my Laptop (Dell Vostro 1320). I have taken the screenshots of all the installed Operating Systems on my laptop along with their default web browsers.
Now that the latest version of one of the most bashed-up (Yet, the most popular) Microsoft products is out, the bashers can’t wait to get their hands on this new baby. But believe me, I tested it and I can confidently say that they will have a tough time bashing up IE8. Coming to the review, Microsoft seems to have developed IE8 as an answer to all those web developers who hate IE for its noncompliance towards the W3C standards. Now let me start off with the some of the most important features that are “visible” to the average user.
Feature 1: The Speed Microsoft has drastically increased the speed of IE8 since its previous version 7. If you have used IE7, you will definitely notice a drastic change in the speed of IE8. This is probably the first thing that an average user would notice apart from the interface. The rendering times of some heavy sites like Wikipedia, Orkut, Microsoft etc seems to have reduced. IE8 seems to be in a fair contention with Opera 9, Firefox 3 and Chrome 2 in case of Speed.