Daily Archives: 2023-09-22

The invisible problem: text editing on Android and iOS sucks

Source: OSNews

Article note: I don't immediately love the demo, but I absolutely agree that the consensus approach for text editing on fondleslabs is absolutely awful, and much of the problem is occlusion. The "swipe space bar to move cursor" trick some keyboards do is the biggest improvement to happen in some time, but I think touchscreens are just not very good fine input devices.

Android and iOS share a common problem: they copied desktop text editing conventions, but without a menu bar or mouse. This forced them to overload the tap gesture with a wide range of actions: placing the cursor, moving it, selecting text, and invoking a pop-up menu. This results in an overly complicated and ambiguous mess-o-taps, leading to a variety of user errors.

It’s less of a problem if you only do short bursts of text in social media or messaging apps. But doing anything more complicated like an email gets tedious. However, in my user study on text editing, I was surprised to find that everyone had significant problems and rather severe workaround for editing text.

With the extremely talented Olivier Bau, together we created a prototype called Eloquent, which offers a much simpler solution. We presented this work at UIST 2021.

This is now one of my favourite articles I’ve ever read. I despise text input and text editing on mobile devices, whether they be Android or iOS. I hate it with the passion of a thousand burning suns, but it seems like nobody else cares. Luckily, the author of this article, Scott Jenson, a man with an impressive career doing UI work at Apple, Google, and others, agrees with me, and together with his colleagues, during his time at Google, he came up with an entirely different, touch-first way of editing text.

The end result – be sure to watch the video to see it in action – immediately clicks for me. I want this. Now. This would be a massive usability improvement, and the fact it isn’t in Android yet, despite being developed at Google, is further evidence Google has no clue how to make good ideas float to the top. Jenson explains why Eloquent, as they called their new input/editing system, won’t ship with Android, while he expresses a bit more optimism Apple might be more open to rethinking mobile text editing:

Unfortunately, shipping something like Eloquent would be challenging. First, as too many people mistakenly see text editing as “done”, there is little appetite to fix it. Second, users have been trained to cope with this error-prone approach for well over a decade. Asking people to change at this point would be hard.

But most importantly, fixing text editing isn’t seen as important enough in the war between Android and iOS. It’s not the flashy feature that shifts your Net Promoter Scores. What I find ironic is that a fundamental change, like fixing text editing, could make people feel much more at ease using their phones and could be an enormous reason to switch. But it would be a slow burn and take years of steady effort. Android just can’t think this way. Apple just might.

Android needs this.

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Amazon adding ads to Prime Video in 2024 unless you pay $2.99 extra

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: Just like the descent of Cable from "Paid so ad free" to "You pay more and ALSO we advertise to you and bundle and rentseek in every other way that is possible and legal." the same bullshit is going down in the Streaming market. Everyone who can will just go back to piracy as the service gets worse.
Screenshot from The Boys S2 teaser

Enlarge (credit: YouTube/Amazon Prime)

Next year, watching TV shows and movies on Amazon Prime Video without ads will cost more than it does now. In early 2024, Amazon will show ads with Prime Video content unless you pay $2.99 extra.

Amazon announced today that Prime Video users in the US, Canada, Germany, and the UK will automatically start seeing advertisements "in early 2024." Subscribers will receive a notification email "several weeks" in advance, at which point they can opt to pay $2.99 extra for ad-free Prime Video, Amazon said.

That takes the price of ad-free Prime Video from $8.99/month alone to $11.98/month and from $14.99/month with Prime to $17.98/month.

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Working remotely can more than halve an office employee’s carbon footprint

Source: Hacker News

Article note: ...No shit. Make employers pay for their exernalities. Tax carbon footprints. Refuse to discuss your compensation without including commute time and cost. Zone to discourage car-required lifestyles. There _is_ a lot of work that needs to be done on location, but the vast majority of office work is not that.
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