Show iTunes in the Cloud Disabled in iTunes 11

I’ve been going nuts wondering why my iCloud purchases in iTunes 11 won’t show up.  I had the checkbox set to make iTunes show my iCloud purchases, and they were being shown, but they suddenly disappeared.

And, so did the option in iTunes preferences called “Show iTunes in the Cloud Purchases.”  It’s not there!

iTunes 11:  iTunes in the cloud ... gone!

iTunes 11: iTunes in the cloud … gone!

I’m going to go kick the neighbors dog now, and pretend that dog is the product management at Apple.

Update: Others have reported that the fix for this is to log out and log back in of iTunes.  But that turn-your-head-and-cough style of workaround probably isn’t intended.  But, it does work.

Today’s Awkward Design Award: Skype

It may be new, but it can still be awkward.

The Awkward Design Award is something I arbitrarily award to companies and people who have design features in their software products that make you feel like you’re wearing underwear that’s too tight.  You might be able to live with it, but it could be better.

Nobody is spared.  If I don’t like it, you might earn the award …  whatever “it” is.  At least I’ll tell you why.  I used to call this The Bad Design Award, but that’s too harsh.  I want to encourage companies to simply re-consider some of the decisions they made.

Today’s Award Goes To …

Skype

There are many golden rules in software design that all good products adhere to, and if there were an  official list, these would be in the top ten:

1. Never save a file for a user to access later unless you tell them what directory it’s in.

2. Always allow the user the option of changing the directory where files are saved in.

3. Never ever, ever use GPS in an applicationunless you absolutely need to and you tell the user why.

Here’s why I give Skype the Tight Underwear Award:

Never save a file for a user to access later unless you tell them what directory it’s in.

When you take a video snapshot in Skype, the application saves the picture somewhere, but the directory it’s saved in is a mystery – at least in Windows Vista.  You have to hunt Skype help and peoples’ blogs for the information, and get nothing.  At least I haven’t in the case of Vista.  The point is … you shouldn’t have to hunt the blogsphere in the first place.  No, I’m not going to tell you where the files are saved saved.  I don’t know precisely.  That’s the point.

Always allow the user the option of changing the directory where files are saved in.

It’s bad enough that Skype doesn’t tell you where it saves your pictures or gives you the option of copying them to a familiar directory.  Oh no.  They have to leave out the option of letting you set the directory where you can save the pictures.

Never ever, ever use GPS in an application about a user unless you absolutely need to and you tell them why.

This reason for the bad design award applies to Skype’s mobile application.  I installed it on my Android … once … and used it … once … before I uninstalled it.  And that was only because I had to join a Skype instant messaging session while on the road.  There’s no reason in the world why Skype would need to get your GPS location to use the product.  You’re either on the network or not.  You’re either able to make a Skype call over the network or not.  I don’t want Skype or anyone else to collect information about where I make that call or write instant messages from.  None of your business thank-you-very-much.  This flies completely in the face of the security features of Skype which encrypts your messages across the network and only sends them point to point (and not through a skype server).  Who knows, perhaps the mobile application does that too.  I haven’t checked.

Image credits: thecarconnection.com

Tigris Subclipse: Today’s Bad Design Award

I’m trying to get Eclipse today to forget the password I’ve set for an SVN repository.  No instructions in sight.  No use cases that describe how my desktop configuration is managed.  As usual, I find blogs and information that are not very helpful.

More importantly, the SVN plugin itself (Subclipse w/SVNKit @ http://subclipse.tigris.org/) doesn’t have a blatant and simple way to force configuration of passwords, keyrings, etc.  Instructions I found after looking for 20 minutes say I should delete a cache file in a directory that doesn’t exist on my Windows machine.

Dealing with this is robbing precious development time from a very tight development schedule.  And every time I have to do “just one more search” to find the information I need, I get more irritated.

It’s just …. bad design.

Bad Design Awards are here!

I’ve decided to create a new category for posts: Bad Design

People should realize that software developers are users too.  And, one of the things that open source applications in particular suffer from is just ….

bad design…

I’m not going to make suggestions on how to make it better either.  Why?  Cause it won’t help.  Every application designer needs to go through their own journey to find good design.

I’m not going to let open source projects get away with the “we’re free and volunteers” either.  Those projects that are run by volunteers that aren’t hired by software companies get a break.  All others … the bar is high.  You get no slack because you have money to put into these projects.