The Use and Abuse of Text Messages

I have a new(-ish) pet peeve: receiving a text message when an e-mail (or a Facebook message or whatever) would suffice. As a rule of thumb, if a message does not require my attention within 24 hours, don’t text me. E-mail me.

E-mail’s pretty awesome. I can flag messages I think are important (or star them in Gmail). I can use tools like Boomerang to postpone responding to messages until later. I can search for old e-mails when I need to recall something that someone said. I can set up filters to sort my e-mails based on context. I can forward funny pictures¬†to my friends. I can attach things (like calendar invites!). I can read and write them on my phone or my laptop. I can have more than one e-mail address and separate work e-mails from not-work e-mails. I can CC and BCC and do all the wonderful things that have been part of e-mail since time immemorial (1978-ish?).

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Faux Physical Surfaces Suck


Here’s a screenshot of the iPad calendar, courtesy of GigaOM.

It’s a small nitpicky thing of mine, but Apple’s UI decisions here annoy the heck out of me. Note how they’re using the brown to give off the appearance of an actual calendar, something physical that people can grab and manipulate.

Hogwash I say.

First, it’s half-assed. Apple prides itself on delivering a complete UI experience, but seriously, this UI here? ¬†It clashes with the rest of the iPad UI, unless real calendars have black floaty selection boxes hovering over them. Or have buttons and search boxes built into them. It looks like they thought of a more traditional computer UI first, with all the buttons and what not, and then slapped on this layer of velvety brown physicalness. That’s half-assed.

Second, it’s pointless. The velvety brown look isn’t more intuitive. It’s the exact same UI you would use on a computer, except it looks more physical. I guess that invites me to touch it, but really, do I really need a cue to touch the iPad?

Third, it’s ugly. Seriously, Apple has this steel, chrome, elegant look down. iPads are supposed to be shiny. The last thing it needs is brown.