Development Ideas…

They say that necessity is the mother of invention. Well, I would like to modify that slightly: “necessity and annoyance are the mothers of invention”. If something is annoying enough, you’ll want to change it. I guess that’s not really invention, but still…

There are a couple of things which have been annoying me recently, and I have some suggestions:

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1. On a dual monitor setup, your mouse pointer can move smoothly across from one monitor to the other (which is what you’d expect). Unfortuantely, this does cause a minor annoyance: when I close a maximised window, I move the mouse pointer right up to the top-right hand side of the screen and click. This generally closes the window, and has now become a fairly instinctive thing whenever I want to close a window down (saves actually having to have any hand / eye co-ordination when searching for the close button — just flick the wrist and click). Unfortunately, when you have a dual monitor setup, my mouse tends to glide right over to the other screen, meaning that I actually have to search for the close button – yes, it’s a minor thing, but it’s annoying! What I would suggest is being able to configure a mouse pointer ‘stickability’ for a particular screen. What I mean is, your mouse will ‘stick’ to the side of the screen for a short amount of time before moving to the next screen. I can foresee that this could be equally as annoying to some people, which is why it should be configurable! But it’s just an idea…

2. I don’t like uploading photos via the web. Yahoo! photos provide a web-based interface to do it, which sucks. I mean, seriously, we’re living in the days of AJAX – why provide a fixed number of upload fields? Why not provide an upload progress bar? Facebook’s simple upload thinger is the same. Now, I realise that there alternatives, but they’re just not good alternatives for me: Yahoo! provide a Firefox extension which was cool until I upgraded to Firefox 2 and found that the extension hadn’t been updated (and still hasn’t); Facebook provide a Java applet which I’ve heard is good, unfortunately I don’t like Java applets! They crash my computer at home, and I think that they’re generally slow to load and pretty horrible.

The solution? Well, I propose something like the following. Assuming I wanted to upload to Facebook: I’d login, select the ‘upload photos’ option, create / select the album as appropriate, and then generate a temporary email address which I would then email photos to. I could email the photos as individual JPGs, or compressed (e.g. zipped) files. The photos would then be extracted from the email and put into the album. How difficult would that be? It might need a few more security considerations (i.e., the email must contain a security code which has been emailed to your Facebook account), but in general I really don’t see why that wouldn’t be better than the current system.

Anyway. The good thing about my second suggestion is that I can do something about it: Facebook provide an API which recently includes uploading photos. I started yesterday to write a PHP application which uploads photos for you, although having thought about it I might change my mind and write it as a Java application: if you use a web based system, you’re essentially transferring the files across the internet twice (once to my PHP application, and again to Facebook). It’s a waste… a client side application would be able to send the data straight to Facebook without wasting bandwidth.

If anyone has any thoughts about this, or knows of any such applications already, let me know. I wouldn’t want to duplicate effort!

3 thoughts on “Development Ideas…

  1. Was going to say both Yahoo and Facebook have things that allow multiple picture uploads. Guess Firefox isn’t all powerful :S

  2. Facebook has a Java applet, and I don’t like Java applets. Yahoo! Photos did have a Firefox extension, but it doesn’t work on Firefox v2 (Yahoo!’s fault, not Firefox’s).

    Besides, writing my own version will give a lot of flexibility 🙂

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