Tagged: design

14 Steps to Hating Amazon Music

Amazon_Manaus_forest

The Fox has mentioned it before. The words flow from his pointy mouth quite easily.

“Don’t buy music from Amazon.”

It’s a pretty specific statement. Not much room for interpretation.

But sometimes his wife can only find some obscure song she’s looking for on Amazon.

And then it begins.

Not that iTunes is any gem, but iTunes generally behaves in expected ways and doesn’t get in the way when the Fox is trying to do something.

There appear to be some philosophical differences at Amazon.

Mrs. Fox generally hates computers, so after hunting down the song she’s looking for, she enlists Mr. Fox to go kill it.

This should only take a minute. Except it doesn’t. This does.

  1. On the Amazon website the Fox clicks the clearly marked button “Buy Now” next to the song. (Super easy! +5 points.)
  2. A pop-up window is displayed stating that to buy the song the Fox must download the Amazon Music player app. The Fox is not amused. He only wants to download an MP3 of the song he just bought. “Not so fast”, says Amazon. “We have an entire music playing application that you must have to get the most satisfaction out of that song.” (This is dumb. -5 points.)
  3. Reluctantly, the Fox clicks the clearly marked button to “Download the App”. (This is also dumb…of the Fox. He should have just quit right here. -3 points.)
  4. The app installer downloads and the Fox gets to experience the always exciting application installation process. This wouldn’t be terrible if the Fox was in the market for a new application. He’s not. (Total waste of time. -10 points.)
  5. The new Amazon Music Player app instantly and automatically (read: without the Fox’s desire, consent, or prompting) detects his giant iTunes library and automatically starts importing all songs. The Fox frantically looks for but can’t find any way to stop this. (Automatically doing things the Fox doesn’t want done is not helpful while also inducing anger like symptoms. -20 points.)
  6. Ignoring the annoying import taking place against his will, the Fox begins to look for the song that he just purchased. Surely it’s right here front and center. It’s not. It’s not anywhere. He searches, sorts, filters. Nothing. (This has quickly turned into an exercise in torture. -150 points.)
  7. The music player then alerts the Fox, via pop-up, that he must agree to the Terms and Conditions to use this new app that he never wanted in the first place. The only provided link in the pop-up says “View Terms and Conditions” and…wait for it…clicking the link launches Safari and opens a WEB PAGE! That’s right. The Fox has been thrown out of an app he never wanted into another app he wasn’t expecting to read a web page he never wanted to see. Oh to have been in the room while this experience was cobbled together. (Moving into the realm of pure disbelief. -1,789 points)
  8. The web page has one single banner talking about how awesome Amazon Prime is and how the Fox really needs to use Amazon Prime and Amazon Prime is really great and only losers don’t use Amazon Prime. At the bottom is a small link to view those terms and conditions he was told about, then a rather prominent button that says “Try Amazon Prime”. Now, read carefully. Under the prominent “Try Amazon Prime” button is text that says something like, “To agree to the terms and conditions, click the Try Amazon Prime button.” What? The Fox is stunned, feeling like he’s wandered into some 90’s era Gateway store full of cow-print boxes and Microsoftian crap-ware and devious up-sell quotas. How did I get here. Where the heck is that song I bought? Why can’t I speak in 3rd person anymore? (Dazed and confused -1,345,449 points.)
  9. Desperate to regain some slim grip on reality, (and out of some masochistic curiosity) the Fox clicks the “Try Amazon Prime” button feeling certain he can cancel whatever fee trial garbage he has unwittingly signed up for. The web page closes and he’s back in the Amazon Music Player app that is chugging away on his entire iTunes library, but still has no trace of the one single song he purchased through Amazon. (Do the points even matter anymore?)
  10. But wait, there’s more! The horrendously unhelpful music player has noticed that the Fox bought a physical CD for his dad six years ago via Amazon, and while the Fox was getting scammed into signing up for Amazon Prime, the app decided to start automatically downloading the entire album digitally. Haven’t we already had the talk about doing things automatically? What the heck is the Fox going to do with 21 The Best of Hank Williams songs? Certainly not play them.
  11. Still disillusioned, the Fox finds himself typing away frantically in the search bar to find the ONE AND ONLY song he cares about at all – the ONE SONG HE JUST BOUGHT. Nothing. The song doesn’t exist.
  12. Out of a maniacal compulsion to complete the full 7th circle of hell he’s wandered into, he goes back to Amazon’s website and actually…buys…the song…again. That’s right. The Fox has become more than willing to pay twice the price to somehow extract himself from this Amazonian technologist’s Rube Goldberg machine.
  13. Upon the second purchase attempt, Amazon’s website recognizes that the Fox already has the Super Crappy Amazon Music Player App that He Never Wanted TM and prompts him to download the song into said app. The Fox mashes the “Download Song” button with a ferocity that nearly shatters his mouse, the desk and the universe.
  14. He’s taken back to the Super Crappy Amazon Music Player App He Never WantedTM and his purchased song is displayed front and center.

As of this writing, the Fox has no idea if he actually paid for the song twice or just experienced Amazon’s standard music buying process.

With all the politeness the Fox can muster, he calmly tells Mrs. Fox they will never buy music from Amazon ever again. Ever.

Sony’s Run at Pro Photography Is Real

a7s

By the end of 2008, the Konica Minolta heritage still shone strong in Sony’s Alpha DSLRs (not that this was a bad thing); however, it was benefiting in a major way from Sony’s superior marketing capabilities and brand recognition. It was the fastest growing brand in the DSLR market from 2006 to 2008, and seized the third largest share of the market, behind only Canon and Nikon, within two years of the introduction of the A100.

Unlike the giants like Canon and Nikon which have been building their products for decades, in just 8 years Sony has turned their purchase of Konica Minolta into a significant range of pro-sumer cameras that can really stand on their own.

While many other companies have been satisfied with slapping incremental improvements onto faux-retro bodies and calling it innovation, Sony embodies the “try anything once” mentality. In a matter of just eight years, Alpha cameras sped through their awkward Dad-driving-you-and-your-date-to-prom teenage period, and developed a spirit and character all their own, based largely on embracing the technological cutting edge.

Judging by the reviews of the A7 and A7s, I anticipate many new photographers and even some of the Canon and Nikon pros will take a serious look at Sony.

Alpha Dog: How Sony Created the Most Innovative Camera Brand in Under a Decade

R.I.P. Massimo Vignelli

Massimo Vignelli

There is a certain amount of latitude between what is good, what is elegant, and what is refined that can take many, many manifestations. It doesn’t have to be one style. We’re not talking about style, we’re talking about quality.

The world has lost a great designer.

R.I.P. Massimo Vignelli, One Of The Greatest 20th Century Designers

Is There a Right Way to Copy?

flappygolf

Good copying learns from another’s innovation and then applies it in a novel way to a new context in a way that doesn’t diminish the source invention.

David Smith on the inevitability of copying ideas from one another, but searching for a proper way to define healthy copying versus just ripping something off. I think he found a pretty good example with Flappy Golf.

The Right Way to Copy

Reminds the Fox a bit of Seth Godin’s plea for people to steal his ideas.

Scratch Let’s Kids Fail – And That’s a Good Thing

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What makes Scratch so desirable for the school setting is it is a program where kids naturally relate their experiences to overcome a problem. Cervantes met with hundreds of children in grades 3 to 12 and asked each what they were most proud of after having learned Scratch. “It was very common for them to tell me: ‘Well I got stuck here. I was trying to do this and this went wrong and I really like that I was able to fix it.’”

Scratch is an interesting application that teaches programming and logic to children in a way where they are completely in control of what they make.

Why kids love Scratch: It lets them fail in a way their parents don’t

Bentley Ad Shot Entirely With iPhone 5s

This beautiful short documentary style ad for the new Bentley Mulsanne was shot entirely with an iPhone 5s and edited on an iPad Air.

They definitely used some high end gear with the iPhone so it doesn’t look like the videos you and I take holding it with our hands, but the fact that so much “pro” video gear is made for the iPhone proves just how powerful this tiny video camera is.

See the proof for yourself. Stay tuned to the very end to see some behind the scenes shots.