Microsoft 2

Given all of the hate that Microsoft gets nowadays, I think that they make fantastic tablets. Pictured below is the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, one of the tablets that are competing with the iPad Air and the various Android tablets for control of the market.

Although I don’t particularly like Windows 8 or 8.1, the Surface Pro tablet fascinates me. I think I like it because it is so similar to an actual laptop computer. The operating system on it is great, and the metro UI actually works (the new start screen with the square tiles). One thing that differentiates itself from the rest is the fact that you can actually install desktop applications on it– unlike the iPad or Android tablets, where you are limited to the mobile operating system applications.

Microsoft 1

Microsoft has never been on the winning side when it comes to design. Design is very important when dealing with consumer products, and it is something that Microsoft has struggled with for many, many years. For instance, shown below is the metro screen that was introduced with Windows 8.

After launching, longtime Windows users condemned Microsoft for introducing this new menu, while subsequently axing the original “Start Menu” that pops up on the bottom left of the screen. Because of this new feature, many users chose not to adopt Windows 8, and stayed using Windows 7.

Personally, I agree with the public. Microsoft tried to create an operating system that could live on desktops, tablets, and laptops. Microsoft wanted to universalize the operating system, but failed to keep the consumer happy while doing so. As a result, many Windows users are still on Windows 7, and have not adopted Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.

Super Weird 2

One thing I find weird is this USB drive pictured below. As you can tell, it is a very, very small USB drive. It was designed with its smallness in mind, so it would not take up a lot of space in a backpack, purse, or keychain. It is also quite large, with a capacity of 16GB. However, there is one HUGE design flaw. The connectors that allow the USB drive itself to be read is completely open, with nothing protecting it.


As a kid, we were told to never touch the shiny, data side of a CD. Also USB drives are obviously more durable, the case is still the same. This begs the question– why did the designer of this USB drive decide to leave the connectors wide open?

I actually own 4 of these USB drives, and this is the last and only one that works. The very first one I opened was put on my keychain, which stopped working after one week. My keys probably hit the golden connectors, destroying the USB drive.

This is really weird to me, because this drive was designed to be small and portable, but the actual durability of it was not considered at all.

Super Weird 1

Something that strikes me as super weird is a mobile app that I recently started to use. It is called “Yo.” The purpose of the app is simple– you press a button, and it sends one of your friends a “Yo.” That’s all there is to it, and it is extremely simplistic.

After hearing this, you might think that it is just another stupid mobile app that was published, and that nobody uses it. You would be wrong. Yo has actually become its own company, and has received funding from well-known venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. It has actually received $1.5M in funding, at a staggering $10M valuation. This is insane, considering that Yo was just created a couple months ago.

I find this app weird because the idea behind it is simply weird. While it seems like there’s really no point to it, there actually is a point.

Cognitive Affordances 2

Below is the operating system update on Mac OSX, OSX Yosemite. From past experience with computers, one might think that the green button would maximize the window. Similar to the Windows operating system, the maximize button enlarges the current window to the size of the screen. After the Yosemite update, however, the button no longer functions as one would expect. It now creates a new ‘workspace’ on the screen, and creates a full screen window. I, along with a few Mac users that I know, are frustrated with this new feature. The button no longer works as users would normally expect.


Cognitive Affordances

Shown below is the transformation of multiple Window’s start buttons. A user transitioning from one version of windows to another would expect each of these buttons to do the same thing. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Normally, the start button would open up a start menu, except for the last two iterations of windows. As a result, most people have criticized the last two versions of windows, namely Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. In Windows 8, the start button doesn’t even exist. Windows 8.1 brought back the start button, but still does not pull up a start menu. Instead, it pulls up a ‘landscape’ called the start screen. It is completely different from every single version of Windows, and has angered many users.






A stairmaster is a machine at the gym that simulates the climbing of stairs, but for exercise purposes. I like this piece of equipment because it’s different from other workout machines. I think this is better than the treadmill and elliptical machine. It provides a great workout, but simulates real-life events that someone would encounter. People climb stairs everyday, and simulating it for exercise is a cool way to get a workout in.


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