Kobo And The Cloud Trouble

I own a Kobo Aura HD and love every inch of it. Being in Canada, the choice of an eReader (that supported the E-Pub format) was easier to make. Very recently I discovered that the product experience wasn’t seamless – that ‘knot’ between software/hardware and the cloud was missing.

After a software update about a few weeks ago, I noticed that there were instances of duplicate collections under Library > My Collections (collections are like “shelves” to categorise your books). I opted to remove instances on the device but realised I couldn’t delete them! It was the most frustrating experience ever with my Kobo Aura HD. I finally gave up and contacted Kobo support. The representative gave me options to resolve the issue. The Basic Reset did not work and the duplicate collections were back in business, so the executive gave me the option to proceed for a Factory Reset. It was even more frustrating to understand that the Factory Reset will wipe clean my notes, bookmarks and annotations forever. The toughest job would be to reload the digital books data for which I did not have a list with me. However the Factory Reset did not solve the issue and the duplicate collections were back. It meant that the device was communicating with ‘something’ outside my system, maybe a cloud service. I later learned that Kobo offers cloud sync of bookmarks, annotations and notes (probably collections too) only on books purchased from their online store. Since I’m a designer my books are definitely not purchased on the Kobo store. Also as a Kobo device customer it’s disappointing to know that the company offers cloud services discriminately and there’s no way to control what gets synced on the cloud.

Here’s what I think Kobo should do to improve its customer experience. It’s time they reassess the cloud sync service they offer to customers. Allow all customers to choose whether they want the service at all and how they want it. Update their free Kobo software for PCs and Macs and make it more useful by allowing customers to sync/backup ALL their bookmarks, list of books, annotations and notes from their Kobo devices onto their PCs and Macs. They also need to look at Dropbox or Google Drive to augment that offering if possible. And none of what I just described is difficult or unthinkable. That apart let’s not forget that I have lost all my bookmarks, notes and other data, and my problem remains unresolved for now.

Edit: Kobo suggested I create a new account on Kobo (using a different email ID). And the duplicate collections were gone. The tough task was to create a new collections and putting the books into it. Hope the Kobo cloud database doesn’t go berserk again, I am running out of email IDs now.

Designocracy – A Design Initiative

The designer community depends on Internet resources for learning & research. Indeed many of us rely upon Google to lead us to that particular source of design elixir. Not very long ago a bunch of my passionate graphic designer friends ran an online community fondly called Surfunion. It’s a part of history now, but the experience of critiquing our artworks, sharing our thoughts and participating in debates still refreshes my mind to this day.

Let me come back to 2012. During the course of my daily work I scour the Internet stumbling upon one site to another, and in the process, finding dollops of useful design information. Such information could mean a lot to someone in need. Then Twitter afforded me the luxury of sharing those links quickly and reach out to the designer community without great effort. This concept persuaded me to invest in a personal program which I’m calling Designocracy. The intention is to collect & transmit design insights from around the Internet. You can follow Designocracy at twitter.com/Designocracy.

Designocracy will be a repository of interesting articles and insights on design ranging from graphics design to art/architecture and will feature all aspects of usability engineering. The scope will be limited to design only since it’s one area that I’m keenly passionate about. I hope you enjoy the tweets at @Designocracy and give it all your support and love.

Edit: since the publication of this article I’ve not been able to update the Designocracy feed. And I am not sure when the motivation would return since I’m involved in other priority matters. Let’s hope sooner than later.

‘Watchmen’ – My Notes from the Comic Book

I confess that I’ve not come across a superb piece of art called ‘Watchmen’ before. Unlike the west, comics aren’t keenly followed or marketed to a bigger audience in this part of the country. But here’s the thing – it’s usually the artwork that encourages me to buy a comic-book.

The movie version of this comic book was released last year but it’s a misplaced judgment to think that I picked the comic book ONLY for this reason. The artwork of ‘Watchmen’ – colouring, penciling, compositions grabbed my attention, Dave Gibbons has done them so wonderfully. Also all the 12 issues published by DC Comics in a single volume makes it a collector’s item!

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Insights Into Web Content Writing

I had the privilege of attending a workshop by Techved Design on writing content for the web. I wasn’t planning to leave the house in the killing humidity and heat but changed my mind thanks to my dearest friend Neha Modgil.

Writing immersible content for the web is always challenging. It’s a medium not known to sustain readership beyond a few seconds. Imagine having to sell a product in a limited amount of time and sustaining the attention span of an online user. This is what the workshop intended to address. Content speaks to a specific audience and good content only makes the actions on the website more compelling.

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I'm a Mac

Apple Logo Just as there are moments of great achievements in career like a promotion, getting a mac would undoubtedly rank among the higher for me – no less a promotion from a Windows system for me. The journey from knowing a Mac to owning one has been 13 years long. From my first computer lessons on a PowerMac in 1996 to getting a Macbook Pro in 2009. And the moments leading to my first Mac just made it more memorable for me.

FedEx would have delivered the package on March 23rd if Mount Redoubt had not erupted ‘untimely’. All FedEx flights were diverted and the package took a week more than usual for delivery. It was a situation beyond anyone’s control but I was getting impatient. Finally the good news from FedEx that the package had arrived in Regina early morning and was going to be delivered today. No way I was going to miss the delivery schedule (and wait another day). I requested the executive to let me know an hour before the delivery van was at my doorstep so I could go home and she agreed.

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