Co-Fu

Monday, 5 April 1999
It has taken hours, and finally I succeeded. Yes, I've ploughed my way through the whole mobile phone manual. It's quite a sturdy booklet, even bigger than the device itself.

Contact SUMit The mobile has a large, prominent menu button. That menu opens the gate to a multitude of functions. An example: It possible to switch off the radio when answering a call. Yes, of course. This small thing can send and receive faxes. Itís possible to call hands free. It has a phone book and an answer machine. It can switch network, no idea why I should want to do that manually. It can send and receive SMS messages. And yes, there are a dozen other features I forget to mention. Itís too much for me. A phone shouldnít be that complex, should it?

To me, the most important function is: availability, answer the phone everywhere. And yes, it does have that feature, well hidden though. I expected a large, well lighted button, at an easy spot, my right thumb for example. No no, thatís the place for the Ďrecord memoí button. How about my forefinger? Wrong again, that is where I could set the volume. For answering the phone I must press a small button, badly illuminated and at an awkward place. The primary function is a bit lost due to an abundance of unused features. What a shame.

Feature overkill. this is the disease that computer applications too suffer. Text editors have so many gadgets that text editing becomes pretty hard. Even something simple like a web browser has many bells and whistles. There is hardly any screen space left for web pages. The pages themselves are not too good either. Various blinking advertisement distract attention from the contents. Did you ever try to read the online Sunday Mirror (sundaymirror...) or Internet World Daily (www.iw.com)? It is a battle between your concentration and the aggressive commercials.

A bit of simplicity would help. The KISS motto (Keep It Simple Stupid) applies to GUI designers. To Design is to omit. In business many companies return to their core activities. Software should head for the same direction, back to Core Functionality (Co-Fu). E.g. I write these Nutís Weeklies with the simple WordPad, and that does he job very well.

Opera web Browser My favourite browser is Opera (opera.no). It reserves a lot of screen real estate for web contents. In addition itís possible to keep the pictures but switch off animations. A salvation at last from all the blinking commercials.

Till next week!
Nut