Quality Over Quantity

I've got two examples of quality over quantity for you. But first, just the opposite:

A week ago it was hot. The heat wave was reaching about 90°, and we spent most of the day sweltering by the pool, vying for the shade. It didn't cool off much that night either.

I popped in a Blu-ray disc to watch with my wife. She and I settled in, hoping the movie would take our mind off the heat.

blu-ray_weather_widgets.jpgThe Blu-ray disk spent a couple of minutes downloading trailers from the studio's server on the internet, and then proceeded to gather the local time and weather conditions and display them in widgets in the disc's main menu.

First: That's the last thing we want. What we want is the movie. That the disk would make us wait forever in the heat to download trailers we don't want to see, and then do the calculations to display the local time and the weather in these annoying widgets complicating the main menu was frustrating.

Second: What was really infuriating was that the disc got the weather wrong. Instead of showing the high eighties, it displayed the current weather at 62°. Even worse, it displayed the day's high as 62°!  I wanted to throw my shoe through the TV. Luckily for the TV, it was too hot to be wearing shoes.

Not only was the Blu-ray disk blocking our attempt to watch the movie it contained, it was mocking us with blatant lies.

A Note To Blu-ray Disc Authors: We don't want to be reminded how late it is, or how uncomfortable it is outside. We want to escape into the movie. Now. Please let us.

Things Done Right

The natural thing to do in the iteration of technology is to add things. (Hence the stupid Blu-ray widgets.) Make things do more, make them bigger, or if there's supposed to be smaller, provide more of them. But that's not always better.

So when companies can resist that urge, and make things actually better, instead of making them just do more or have more stuff, then it's worth applauding.

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V

We've gone through a few generations of cameras increasing the size of their CCDs or CMOSs, making images take up much more space, but not making their picture quality any better. Consumers would end up with the same problems, but would need more disk space for the pictures.

Sony recently made a camera that didn't take bigger pictures for its class, but one that took quicker and better pictures. It's the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-HX5V. Outstanding. That's exactly the kind of improvement I've been hoping for.

Google Chrome


Google's about to release a new iteration of their browser, Chrome, that actually has less visual noise around the web page than the current version. Awesome! They're taking away the stuff we don't want. They're already doing DNS pre-fetching in anticipation that we'd click somewhere on the page. It's like they want me to be more efficient at what I want to do.

I love it when companies hone in on what the product is supposed to do.

That's how companies can make their customers happy, and keep their customers with them.

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