Hello, I am Xavier and I am addicted to my Intel Core i7 Ivy Bridge

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Need I say more. It even feels weird, that it reacts so quickly to everything! And I thought I was flying on my Xeon…

Usability issues – learn what NOT to do by going into a public sector phone company site

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I’ve been spending a lot of time learning about usability and good practices on design, and one of my favorites is Pluralsight‘s Creating User Experiences: Fundamental Design Principles from Billy Holis, so now I pay close attention to the sites for which I interact with on a daily basis. (And yes, need to update my blog too…)

I learn from looking at all things done wrong and going into Costa Rica’s public phone company site is the equivalent of a roller coaster ride for a UX exercise. Just a few ones of my favorites

You log in and there is no easy navigation at the top. You have to keep navigating through images with some text. The text is explanatory, but no easy way to navigate

Another one of my favorites, you get sort of used to their navigation way and then find out that a lot of links are in fact NOT links. Look at the “link” in the red box. Not clickable!

Another funny one. I created an account with them, they have my phone, cell phone, electricity and everything. Why do I have to fill in all the fields again when I need to ask for something, complain, request a service or so on and so forth. Yes I know, some bureaucratic knuckle head might think “oh! what if I want to ask for something for someone else?”. Well, when did someone else go stay in line for hours (or so) to get your electricity set up? Unless you are reasonably rich, might not be the case.

Oh well… I shall say no more. I want electricity when I get back home hahahaa

Dropbox vs Google Drive: differences that matter

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I know this is a bit old already, but I hope someone from Google reads my post and they do something about it (I wish).

So let me summarize this, I have:
– 50GB Dropbox account for $9.99 a month
– 100GB Google for $4.99 a month
– 47GB used in my Amazon S3 account ($7.99)
– 25GB Skydrive which is free… but I hate and never use… even for free

No question about it, Dropbox is superior in everything, except price (S3 doesn’t have really a UI, I use CloudBerry Explorer)

Here are my biggest complaints on Google drive:
– It crashed and I had to re log in. Now it doesn’t let me select the same folder and it tells me I need to select an empty folder. Dumb Google Drive… Dropbox lets me select an older Dropbox folder and it automatically checks if files there are newer or older

– So then let’s outsmart Google Drive. Select an empty folder and drop all the files! It worked with the first versions of Dropbox anyway! I was wrong…. Dumb cannot be outsmarted!

Now I have an extra 45 GB of stuff and I hogged the office’s internet connection!

Google: great price, but please pay attention to these two very important details. I am pretty sure the devs that worked on this had a 1 Petabye connection right into the google drive source storage. But regular people don’t….

Annoying design errors in Google Chrome

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There is no questioning on how Chrome is much superior to IE (I never use Safari nor Firefox in Windows/Mac) however I think I found the only thing where I believe Microsoft made a better design decision than Google:

Chrome keeps adding notifications on top, while IE does it at the bottom.

Very annoying Chrome! Given that Chrome *thinks* there are pages I want to translate as well as other actions, I keep having to search for text that keeps moving up and down very annoyingly while browsing.

Very well thought of Microsoft. Someone took a usability lesson once at least!

However, speed is still an issue here. Moving tabs from one browser to another in Chrome is seamless, while in IE it feels very clunky. Something to improve for IE 10 I hope.

Why I will never buy a HP computer… and the reason they are firing 27k people

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Update 07 03, what I included in their customer service survey
It is very simple:
– The machine is great and for a great price
– Your HP store is highly unusable. Spend 10 minutes in the apple store and learn how it should be done
– Customer service was great, but I am sure it costs more for you to have a human being taking calls
– Delivery time not too good, not delayed but too slow
– Sell worldwide, not only US. There is more than just US

———————-
Update 07/01/2012: I was able to buy it by talking to customer service. The laptop is really nice, especially for the price. Shipping time was about 3 weeks so that was not too good. Also, had to “format c:” and do a clean install of Windows as it simply just has way too many programs installed, most of them garbage. However, my initial impression still stands. Their shopping.hp.com site is just way too complicated and in general not a nice experience.

————

I am not going to get into too many details or financial discussions. It is not needed. If you just go to shopping.hp.com you will understand in less than 2 seconds why HP is such a bad company and is getting even worse:
– I tried to buy one of their computers, which seem to good to be true to be honest, a nice Pavilion
– But their whole site is CLOSE to unusable. A very dumb group of people (who individually I am pretty sure are very smart) designed this site to be just confusing and impossible to find what you want. You need to memorize the names of the processors or NVidia thingies to know what you want.
– There are way too many options, that really confuses the whole thing a lot more
– Customization steps are sort of decent, but again not for regular human beings. Only for geeks. “Should I buy a 32 GB ssd ram mega gigabyte or not?….”
– Then I try to buy. I reckon I am not in the US, but I tried to buy with both my us paypal account and bank of america card. Both rejected, and then they tell me “you can buy from other retailers”. Yes, I am going with Dell!
Usability gets a -100000. Steve Krug (author of don’t make me think would probably shed a tear if he went into this site)

It was a nice equipment though… it is a shame. If they made a bit of an effort, with the nice specs of those machines they would be able to sell a bit more.

So yes, the second part of my title basically means “if they did things right instead of everything so complex and confusing, they would thrive and grow but when you see an organization that can’t do things easy for their customer, they are bound to run into problems”

Lessons in bad UX design – Carter’s reset password page

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I was trying today to buy a thing or two from Carter’s and I realized I forgot my password. I tried to reset my password but oh was I wrong….

Look at the following reset password page and let me tell you what’s wrong with it:

– First, you need to know which of the five questions you answered when you registered.
– Yes I know my mom’s maiden name, the make of my car and the rest of the answers
– But I was never able to reset my password because it never accepted any of my answers

So, the problem here is that the devs at Carter’s think “oh, what a great idea! Let’s be really really sure that only the user can reset his password”. But they did such a good job that not even the user can reset his password.

If they were really smart, they would do the following:
– Allow the user to enter an email address
– Send an email to the user letting him/her know that somebody requested a password reset and with a link
– And then, if the user wants to he or she can reset the password.

Simple… yet some people, in this case devs like me, don’t really use common sense when creating a piece of functionality

Server Error in ‘/’ Application. External component has thrown an exception. – Damn you Windows Azure!

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If you are here, you are probably going nuts with this exception with Windows Azure. It is dumber and simpler than you think. You have as startup project probably your web role or another project. You need to have your main project selected so that it starts the compute emulator, storage and everything else!

As simple as that

Detail
Server Error in ‘/’ Application.

External component has thrown an exception.

Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.

Exception Details: System.Runtime.InteropServices.SEHException: External component has thrown an exception.

Source Error:

An unhandled exception was generated during the execution of the current web request. Information regarding the origin and location of the exception can be identified using the exception stack trace below.

Stack Trace:

[SEHException (0x80004005): External component has thrown an exception.]
RdGetLocalResource(UInt16* , _RD_RESOURCE** ) +0
_LOCALRESOURCE.GetLocalResourceW(UInt16* name, _LOCALRESOURCE** ppout) +157
RoleEnvironmentGetLocalResourceW(UInt16* name, _LOCALRESOURCE** ppout) +67
Microsoft.WindowsAzure.ServiceRuntime.Internal.InteropRoleManager.GetLocalResource(String name, InteropLocalResource& ret) +65
Microsoft.WindowsAzure.ServiceRuntime.RoleEnvironment.GetLocalResource(String localResourceName) +85

ICE y Kolbi: no han entendido la competencia y en que epoca viven?

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Hoy una amiga fue por un cambio de plan Kolbi. Le piden constancia salarial, detalle de la caja y otras cosas. Y si uno no tiene, hay que pagar 25 mil colones por una constancia de contador.

En que epoca viven?

Alguien que vaya a Movistar o Claro y estoy seguro que facilmente les dan una linea. Que divertido ver como el ICE y Kolbi se van enterrando solitos. Deberian aprovechar que fueron monopolio y dar los mejores productos, no crear barreras de entrada!

En este mundo es de hacerle la vida facil al cliente, si siguen asi no tienen mucho futuro.

Google doesn’t want my money

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(Ironically they have tons of money, I have none)

Here is my problem with Google:

I want to pay for Google Drive. However when I tried it says it is not available and I need to enable it in the control panel. It sends me to their support and help section. Although after running around through a lot of posts, it turns out I end up exactly in the same post where I started.

So I TRY to file a ticket in their support system. Can’t find where. So I send a message via their “Tell us how we are doing” link.

They answer
We recommend using your dedicated Google Apps for Business support
channels, as this channel is primarily focused on paid consumer support.
Your support options are listed here:
http://support.google.com/a/bin/request.py.

So then this is what I have to say
Here is the problem. I can’t get support because my account is a free one. But I am trying to actually pay google to use google drive, but the problem is that I can’t pay.

So I am really stuck. Can’t get support because I can’t pay. I can’t pay and can’t get support because I can’t… well… pay…

So can you redirect me please to someone that can help me pay. That way I will be able to ask for support. But I won’t need support because… oh well… my problem has been solved!

Hmmmm….