Let's talk about the (new) Yahoo's email service

Recently, Yahoo redesigned its mail service again. I’ve talked about Yahoo Mail last August. I hoped for an improvements. Recently, on its 16th birthday, Yahoo gives a new look for its mail service. Quoting from a release published at Yahoo’s blog:

We redesigned Yahoo Mail to be more efficient, too. Things you do all of the time like search, starring, and deleting are now one-click actions that appear when you hover over an email. We also wanted to give you more breathing room in your inbox, so you can collapse the left-hand toolbar to be more productive.

I’m not a big fan of Yahoo email service actually, I’m sold to Google Mail. I use Gmail web-based interface on my daily basis. So, what Yahoo offered on this redesign this time?

1 TB of storage to handle email and attachments.

Yes, that’s huge! Currently, Google ‘only’ offers 15 GB of free storage (shared between Google Drive, Gmail, and Google+ Photos) with some detailed conditions. The 1 TB storage is tempting for marketing purpose and by number. Do I really need 1TB? I can live with 15 GB Google offers. By having 1 TB of storage, it can handles more than 54 million of emails.
Previously, if you’re a Flickr user, Yahoo also offers 1 TB of storage to store more than 500,000 photos in original quality. This one is really a good deal!

Themes

I’m not a fan of themes for email service. I left my Gmail in the standard look, without fancy themes. Yahoo — since it also owns Flickr — brings some selected photos from Flickr to choose as the background theme. Here how it looks.
Yahoo mail themes
For the web interface, I choose the of of the clean theme styles.

Investors?

Who needs investors! Why many startups should bootstrap instead — “And if all of your efforts are focused on designing a product that customers want, enjoy, or find useful, you’ve got a much better chance at success than someone who’s focused instead on convincing investors that the business will be viable one day.”

Ordered: Smashing Magazine's The Mobile Book (Printed and Digital Edition)

… but,  still haven’t got the printed edition with me (after for about 5 months).
smshmgzmbook
When I heard that Smashing Magazine’s The Mobile Book was ready for pre-order, I decided to pre-order it. It was back in October 2012. I paid $42.31 ($5 shipping handling included) using Paypal to get this good deal:

  • The Mobile Book (Printed Book)
  • The Mobile Book | Digital Edition (eBook)
  • Mobile Design Bundle (4 eBooks)

A good deal, wasn’t it?
That was not the first time I bought something from outside the country. Previously, I bought Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs from Amazon and had it delivered without issues. Yes, it took for about three weeks using the standard delivery method. I had no problem with it. I could wait. In short, I convinced myself to buy The Mobile Book since I had a good experience ordering books from outside Indonesia.
In December 2012, The Mobile Book was launched. Got an email notification also. Nice! So, I waited. I could not wait to have it delivered. Well, not only because that was the biggest amount I spent for a single book purchase, but since I could not wait to read it.
I waited.
The book would be shipped from Berlin, Germany. And, it was estimated to arrive in Indonesia in 9-15 days. Well, I didn’t expect much to be on-time. Even an additional 7 days was still acceptable.
I waited… and waited.
On January 18, 2013 I contacted them asking for the delivery status. I got a quick respond from them.

Dear Thomas,
Thank you for pre-ordering our new Mobile Book! We are very sorry that your Mobile Book has not arrived yet.
The Mobile Book was release on 12th December 2012 and the shipment of the pre-ordered books started on 14th December.
Since the delivery of your book is indeed overdue, we will investigate what happened to your shipment and get back to you as soon as possible.
Of course we will make sure that you receive your purchased book.

It seemed that I only need to wait. No problem. At least I got a respond from them. On the next day, I got another email regarding the shipment status with the subject: “Your shipment #100028609 for order #100063512”.
smmbookresend
Until today (May 24, 2013), I haven’t got it delivered in my hand. I write this because I just remember about this book order. I am not blaming anybody here. I just want so share a little bit of my experience. I do love Smashing Magazine. It’s a useful resources, great site. I think I’m just unlucky this time. Few hours ago, I sent another email to them. If I still can’t have it delivered, I will stop asking. I promise.
And, I promise myself to think twice before making another order — not only at Smashing Magazine, but at any other stores. Probably, the digital version is a better choice. But… sometime I want to have a real book.
Update May 25, 2013: I got an email from Smashing Magazine Support confirming the shipping address for the delivery. They will try to send it again. Hope to have it delivered.
Update: I had my book delivered.

Readmill: Another reading experience

One of the reasons I bought an iPad this year was that about books. I have to admit that my reading habit has changed in the last few months. I read more books and magazines on my iPad. But, it does not mean that I don’t read real books. It’s easy to mentioned two last books I bought: Walter Isaacson’s Steve Jobs and Listomania.
But, I bought more digital books. I subscribed to National Geographics Magazine for iPad, and purchased some other books directly from iBook Store. I have some editions from A Book Apart and Smashing Magazines, too. My reading experience has been shifted.
Readmill
Recently, I moved some of my books to Readmill. iBooks and Readmill share the similar reading experience. But, after using it for few days, I think I’m falling in love with Readmill. I like the idea that it’s not only about reading. I like its social features, and I love the way the site is designed.

Readmill is a curious community of readers, highlighting and sharing the books they love.
We believe reading should be an open and easily shareable experience. We built Readmill to help fix the somewhat broken world of ebooks, and create the best reading experience imaginable. (source)

In short, it happens like this:

  • Buy some books, and you usually you will get them in some formats like PDF or ePub.
  • You can easily open them using iBook app (on your iOS devices). If you’re using Readmill, you upload them to your Readmill’s Library.
  • Start reading.

While you’re reading, you can take notes, highlights. Readmill has a nice approach about the reading behaviours. Readers can interact each others by sharing highlights. Try to visit a book profile called “Designing for Emotion” by Aaron Walter.

But, what about the reading experience itself? On my iPad, I have a pleasant reading experience. Readmill app offers a simple and key features readers really need: adding highlights, bookmarks, etc. And, not to forget its social features, they’re just great.

Twitter's Mobile Site Overhaul


Interesting story behind Twitter’s mobile site design.

Twitter Cards

So, what is Twitter Cards?

Twitter cards make it possible for you to attach media experiences to Tweets that link to your content. Simply add a few lines of HTML to your webpages, and users who Tweet links to your content will have a “card” added to the Tweet that’s visible to all of their followers. [Source: Twitter Developer: Twitter Cards]

What is design?

Startups, this is how design works: What is design?

The simplest definition. Design is so many things, executed in many different ways, but the function is always the same. Whether it’s blueprints, a clever UI, a brochure, or a chair — design can help solve a visual or physical problem.

Randomized Twitter's Homepage Design

I don’t visit Twitter’s website regularly. I use Twitter from third party applications most of the time. Not sure when Twitter has another new look — the homepage has been changed few times — but when I open Twitter’s homepage, I got some different schemes.
Anyway, you probably remember about its major design few months ago. Now, Twitter randomize its homepage by having different color schemes. Not sure how many combinations it has, I found three. All of them give a short description: “Find out what’s happening, right now, with the people and organizations you care about.


Design: iPhone 4 and S Nexian MAGIC NX A893

WordAds

WordAds is 100% optional and is designed for bloggers who would like to earn money from their blogs by showing high quality ads from brand advertisers. FM is well known for representing top blogs with high quality ads for sites like AppleInsider, Bakerella, and BoingBoing.

Make money by joining WordAds

My Nokia N9: Personal Review

I have been using Nokia N9 for about a week, and I would like to share a bit more about this phone. In my previous post, I posted about the unboxing photos. In short, I think this phone works for me and I’m comfortable with the features, speed, and more importantly to keep myself ‘connected’ to the internet world.

The design

When I opened the box, it was like love at the first sight. I got the black Nokia N9. I think Nokia N9 has a beautiful product design. Here’s why.

I have been using some Nokia phone in the last few years with various phone designs. My first Nokia phone was Nokia 3110. That’s right, that big phone. After that, I switched to Nokia 5510, Nokia 3230, Nokia N78, and Nokia 5800 XpressMusic. I also tried Nokia E72 (with the QWERTY keyboard). The latest Nokia phone I have is Nokia N8 which I’m using right now.
Lots of phone companies put their efforts creating products that are not only about the technical aspects like hardware specifications, but also the design. “This [put the product name] is beautiful!” is a very common expression. And I think Nokia N9 got this expression.
Large screen is another features. Lots of phones has bigger screen these days. But still, people will use their hand to operate. I like phone with big screen, but not too big. I was not sure whether Nokia N9 has ‘big enough’ or ‘too big’ screen area. Can I hold and work with it only with my right hand? It’s taller than Nokia N9, and iPhone 4.
Can I reach whole screen area using my thumb? I can. For me, this is something important.
I look at the design, and I could not find any buttons at the front. I’ve heard that it’s all about ‘swipe’. The only buttons/keys are only on the right side: volume/zoom and power/lock keys. It took few minutes to explore how the swipes work. And, it’s not difficult at all. It’s easy. I will write about swiping on Nokia N9 later.
About the SIM card, I need to have the micro SIM card. There are two options: buying it from my desired provider, or make it by cutting the regular SIM card. I went with the second option.

Flickr: Photo Sharing or Photo Storage Service?

If you read this blog, or meet me in person, you probably know me as Flickr fan. Yes, among services owned by Yahoo!, Flickr is one of my favorite. I have friends who love to use Flickr and also bring some people to Flickr. So far, they’re enjoying it. Well, at least I heard some positive feedbacks from them. Some friends also bought/renewed their Flickr Pro account and they asked me to buy them Flickr gifts.
But, it’s 2011 now. Many photography-related services flourish. To refresh your memories, let’s take a look at 500px, Instagram, or picplz for example. And, I’m sure more to come to the game.
Butterfly
I asked myself recently: How do I use Flickr? Is it as photo sharing, or simply as a photo storage service? You can find out a bit about how I use Flickr by watching a short presentation during Yahoo! Community Town Hall few months ago. With many other options to share photos these days (again, mind the word “share”) here, I feel that Flickr is more photo storage for me. I do actively share and upload photos to Flickr. But, it’s not only about having photos uploaded there. It’s also about social web interaction.

The magic feature: Share to Flickr

Look at some applications/services that put photos as its primary contents. Many of them has “Share to Flickr” feature. Photos are shared to Flickr directly. Easily. But, where the discussion takes place? Is it on Flickr? May be not.

The way people enjoy photos

06052011315A simple question: how do you enjoy Flickr photos? There are some ways: visiting the website from the desktop, from Flickr mobile version, or using mobile applications. Even I have Flickr for iPhone, I rarely enjoying the photostream. I feel that it’s not something I’m enjoying. Try to fire up your Flickr for iPhone apps, and experience yourself. If you have your photos delivered to many services e.g. Instagram, Twitpic, and Flickr, I am sure Flickr is not the first site you (or your friends) will visit. Except you make your photos exclusively uploaded to Flickr and share the links to social networks.
It does not seem that simple though. For example: If I share a photo from Flickr to Twitter, Twitter will display the image right away. Some Twitter applications are smart enough to display the shared links as photo thumbnails and photos with bigger dimension. Will they visit Flickr — and exploring my photostream? Probably. But, I think most of them won’t.
I might sound selfish here by expecting other people to explore my photos. But, you know what I’m talking about here, right?

Shoot, share, and interact

People take photos using many devices, from simple to advanced tools. Using mobile phone or expensive DSLR cameras with fancy lenses. And, to upload the photos, there are some ways too: send directly from mobile devices, by email, or using another social network services and put Flickr as the last destination. Some people still love doing the traditional way: transfer the photo from memory card to laptop/computer, and upload them manually. I still do this sometime.
Again, what happen when the photos are stored to Flickr? Is it easy to interact with the photos? Of course, it’s easy. But, is it super easy? People might to go to Flickr for some reasons: they want to browse their photos or their friends’, or because some photos are made exclusively available at Flickr. Look at White House for example, or NASA. Or, because special event photos are displayed there at Flickr. People will go there. I will go there. But, for personal collection, or just simply “because I don’t want to loose these” photos, Flickr might be a great place to store them. When I need it, I will go there.
This is challenging. It might be a big challenge for Flickr and many other services out there. Innovations and strategies are designed to answer this kind of need. Some services come with an idea and unique approaches. So does Flickr, I think.
I might be wrong here, but from a personal perspective — as a Flickr user — I feel like using Flickr as photo storage service now. Something Flickr does not expect.

Nokia N9

Nokia N9 is about a swipe. Go to swipe.nokia.com for features and design philosophy.