Improve Me

In Apple, General, Idea, Interesting, iPhone, Observations, Tech on May 21, 2008 at 5:01:16 pm

As anybody who knows me knows, I’m a huge fan of bleeding edge technology. As these types of technology are so new and revolutionary, they seem to be in a constant beta state. I will focus on 2 products that I see needing improvement.

iPod Touch/iPhone

Since a new iPhone will presumably be launched at WWDC (judging by recent news reports), I thought I’d toss in my word on what I’d like to see improved.

Firstly, the music sleep timer really should be in a more conspicuous place. Having it nested in a weird option is just strange. To set it, you have to tap “Clock” on the home screen, switch to the Timer view and set how long you want to let the music play. Then you have to tap the “When Timer Ends…” option, and select “Sleep iPod”. Why? I realize that previously, you had to set the timer via Settings, and navigate through that maze. But wouldn’t it be better to add it to the options when you tap the cover art? It would be great to place it alongside the Shuffle icon and the Loop icon (in that seek bar).

Speaking of the iPod, I can’t believe they got rid of the search feature for music. The iPod Classics still have it (it was introduced in Gen 5.5), and I assume the current “fat” Nanos have it, too. The iPod Touch has a touch screen, a keyboard and Mac OS X. It should run the search feature just fine. Oh, and renaming playlists and creating multiple on-the-go playlists would be nice, too.

Finally, I also wish they kept games. They could all be played in widescreen. Solitaire would be a simple drag-and-drop game, and Brick could rely on the accelerometer to move the platform.

I love my iPod Touch. It’s the best iPod I’ve ever owned. However, I think it could become even better by adding these features.


Since Brightkite is still very much in the beta, invite-only stage, I’ll give you a bit of background on the service first.

Brightkite is best described as location-based social networking and micro-blogging. The idea is that you can “check in” wherever you happen to be located at the present moment. So if I’m at a coffee shop, my friends can receive notification of that, and if they’re free and in the area, they can join me. You can post short, 140-character notes from that location, too, and send those to Twitter if you so choose. If you have a camera phone, you can snap pictures and send them in, too. This feature, by the way, also does work with a computer, but I don’t really see the point. This sounds pretty great, but I do have a few issues with it.

The first is privacy. While it’s really cool that you can post your current location, it’s a bit stalker-ish. You can separate your friends into “trusted” and “untrusted” friends, and the untrusted ones can only see the city (I believe – I’m not sure). However, it would be great if I could be a little more general. At the moment, you can only post (in order of specificity) city, street and address formats. However, I would like to see an enhancement in that I should be able to post my neighborhood. This keeps it general enough that people can’t really stalk me, but specific enough that I can see who’s in the area.

Locations, though, are only the tip of the iceberg. Right now, it’s invite-only, which means that only a few people are on Brightkite. I took the liberty of finding out how many people on Brightkite lived here in Calgary, and there are a grand total of 19 of us. Not good. However, there’s this other social network website called “Facebook” (yeah, I’m sure you’ve heard of it). Anyway, the Calgary network there has roughly 350,000 people in it. Assuming there are 1 million people that live here, approximately 35%, or 1 in every 3 people. That’s quite a lot. Brightkite, on the other hand, has about 0.002% of all Calgarians on it, or 1 in 53,000. That isn’t much at all.

What would be really great is if Brightkite integrated with Facebook. I (along with most others, I would guess) don’t want to join two different social networks in order to do what one should be perfectly capable of. And since we live in a democratic society, majority rules. Facebook should take over Brightkite and integrate the location features. Because then I wouldn’t have 2 friends here who also use Brightkite; I’d have 200. And that makes a difference.

There are a bunch of other features that Brightkite needs to work on, but I think that’s enough for now. Their coders should be busy for the next little while.

PS: I should mention that I have 5 Brightkite invites available. If you want to give it a whirl, let me know (post a comment below) and please be sure to include your email.

  1. Hi, I’m interested in trying out Brightkite. Can you send an invite to the email I used in this comment form? Thanks!

  2. I’d like to try brightkite out.

    I’m organist@ that site that google runs…you know?

  3. I sent both. Let me know if you didn’t get one.

  4. You sent me one of those suckers, right? I think it’s still in my email. o:

    (yeah, I am, in fact, flipping through all of your wordpress entries. I get bored sometimes.

    PS: I hate French.)

  5. […] folders, differentiating between smart playlists, regular playlists and store playlists, and a feature I requested a while back, searching your library. The regular music app has none of these features, and you […]

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