April 2009 - Posts
The user experience of Live Maps completely sucks compared to Google Maps. It’s that bad I really don’t think they even bother testing it.
Live Maps experience:
- go to maps.live.com. Here it redirects to http://maps.live.com.au/? which seems to fail to properly load every single time. Instead you have to hit refresh.
- the page loads with a script error :
Message: 'dapMgr' is undefined
- as I scroll to zoom, the zoom ignores where my mouse is, meaning I have to often drag the map to centre it before continuing zooming
- once I have zoomed in, the map lacks allotment boundary details.
- the “aerial” view seems a lot older and a lot less detail compared to google
- there’s no context menu !! I can’t right click and add a pushpin or get directions form or to there, instead I have to type in an address (how utterly lame !!)
- when I click on directions so as I can add an address, the map goes back to a view of Australia, meaning I lost all that zooming and scrolling I just did.
- If I can’t specify an address I’m rooted (as opposed to being routed <g>). So I guess nearby addresses but then aren’t able to move them.
- I can’t re-route directions, instead I have to try to add stops.
- I can’t hide that directions pane
Google Maps experience:
- No redirection. I get to choose if I use the .au one or not !!
- Pages load first time without any script errors !! (OMG what were they thinking. How dare they actually test it !!)
- As I zoom in, the zoom centres on my mouse and gives me a visual indication it is doing that. (a responsive UI. What the ???)
- the maps show lots of details including allotment boundaries. Aerial view is really good.
- I can right click. OMG, a “context menu” : this app must have been written in the last 15 years !
- I can add pushpins for directions From here and directions To here
- I can re-route the journey simply by dragging the route line. It seems these guys have heard of a mouse !!
- I can hide the directions pane
That’s just a brief synopsis of the very obvious user experience. I found Live Maps totally useless for planning my afternoon’s bike ride. Seriously Microsoft if you are going to go to the bother and expense of licensing the maps and aerial images, of setting up servers etc, then you can at least try to compete. At present it’s just a pathetic waste of money. Say “yes you can” or go home.
A couple of months ago I blogged about iterators in VB (or the lack there-of), and pointed folks to an article I wrote for Visual Studio magazine that provides snippets and templates to help with iterators in VB.
One of the things I talk about in that article is often the use of iterators in C# code that I have seen is superfulous, especially given the LINQ libraries. Yesterday I read another example of this where the developer(s) had written a custom iterator instead of using a LINQ query. Their code required the defining of a generic class:
public class EnumerableGeneric<TClass, TInterface>
: IEnumerable<TInterface> where TClass : TInterface
private IList<TClass> list;
public EnumerableGeneric(IList<TClass> list)
this.list = list;
public IEnumerator<TInterface> GetEnumerator()
foreach (TClass item in list)
yield return item;
And the example of using this required the calling code to instantiate an instance of this class:
MyMethod(new EnumerableGeneric<ClassA, IClassInterface>(caInstance));
A simpler alternative is to actually use LINQ, eg:
In VB talk I think it’s even more natural flowing:
It is in places like that I like the (Of T) syntax of VB a lot better, but some folks prefer a Cup<T> to a Cup(Of T) . The key point here is the use of “yield return” in C# is a good indicator that the code can often be replaced with far simpler LINQ constructs that reduce your LOC’s, and hence reduce your debugging and maintenance loads. There will of course be times where there isn’t a simple LINQ replacement, but if you do ever come across custom iterators, do take pause to think about using LINQ.
Just a quick update. Lots of tomatoes at present. Picking a tray full every 3 days or so.
In breaking news today Microsoft announced it will be releasing Windows 7 and Office 2010 on floppy disk !
Microsoft said it heard complaints from customers that their old floppy drives were made obsolete because Microsoft didn’t release software on floppy disks. They also heard complaints that people felt detached from the software installation process. An alledged Microsoft spokesperson was said to have said “Bringing back the floppy disk means people will feel more involved, getting to change the disks as quick as the data can be read”.
A leak form their product survey test data showed that one set of customers loved the 150 disk set for Windows 7. They loved that getting something substantially huge and heavy for their money. Interestingly enough many of these people owned SUV’s or Hummers. Another spokesperson said they hope to capture the excessive consumption market.
A secret pilot program was run which had customers install an early beta of windows 7 using 142 floppy disks. Results were mixed with some people not being able to install due to a bad image format or read failure on the second last disk. Microsoft said this was a problem with their quality control as they only tested the first 3 disks and the last disk in each set. Microsoft has apparently already fixed this problem and in the future they will also test the second last disk.
Rumour has it Apple plans to go one better and bring out a retro model, which has not one floppy disc drive but two ! An unnamed apple fanatic said the plan is to give you that same interaction with the installation, but make it quicker by allowing you to have the next floppy in the other drive. Plans also include making the disks all white, not just on the outside but as a bold fashion statement also on the inside. A leaked prototype showed some rounded corners as well, but currently only works with apple’s own drives.
Microsoft is already planning to launch an advertising campaign showing how the Mac double floppy drive system costs more then twice as much. At the same time Microsoft is working with other hardware vendors to develop the auto floppy disk changer.