Monday, September 15, 2014

LG G3 Review

I recently updated to an LG G3 phone. It's good. It's a very nice smartphone. Like any device it's got pros and cons. I would say, for the most part, it is the nicest smartphone I've had to date.

Some points about the G3:


This is the first Android phone for me that has a good balance between performance and battery life. It's not quite Droid Maxx or iPhone level battery life but I consistently have 30% or more left on the battery by the end of the day.


Good grief this thing is huge. Beautiful screen and all that but, sheesh! Phablet indeed! It's just too big and I think Apple made a huge mistake following suit making a giant phone. If you need a smartphone this big I believe you need to re-evaluate your life. It's nuts.


LG keeps it simple. Not a lot of useless customizations. I like that. Some things are nice additions like the knock on screen to turn it on. Since the power and volume rocker buttons are in the unusual position on the back of the device it's nice to have that feature. Simple = good.


Yup. Power and volume buttons are on the back. Not a terrible thing but certainly requires some getting used to. Because of the size I kind of appreciate this redesign.


Good camera. I thought I might be disappointed after having the Samsung Galaxy S3 experience but it performs well. Can't say the laser focus system does anything special for me. One quirk I've found is that doing a scan to PDF in Google Drive doesn't play well with the laser focus. You hit the shutter button and nothing happens. My solution is to wave my hand between the camera and the paper to trigger the phone to refocus. The picture happens immediately after your hand is out of the frame. Besides that it works fine.


Did I mention this thing is huge? It's hella huge. If that's what you like then you won't be disappointed. I'd rather go back to the Galaxy S3 size or better yet, about the size of my old HTC Touch. That was a good smartphone size!


The only thing that matters is battery life. The LG G3 has that. I rule that this is a fine phone (phablet - it's just way big.)

Complexity Kills (Enterprise Software)

A co-worker didn't get the response she was expecting from an application I support. In this support call I had to ask, "What kind of transaction did you do?" Her response was reasonable: "Why does that matter? I should still get a receipt." After embarking on a 30 second explanation of the different ways transactions go through the system and why some do and some do not generate a receipt it occurred to me why I'll never be able to decrease my support time on the product: It's too complex.

The system I'm dealing with is one that adds functionality to a legacy system that's actually a bandaid to an old system below that. The turtles go all the way down. The architecture also means the flowchart for how a transaction generates a receipt is wide and deep. We IT folks know all the nooks and crannies for the transaction-receipt workflow but why would a user care? Should they care? It really only comes into play when they don't get the expected results from their transactions. That's an exception case, right? 

Well, it is except when it isn't.

I tweeted this earlier and I firmly believe it: Too many enterprise systems require users to know something about how the system works. Non-IT people don't want to be bothered by those details. 

Having said that, I'll make the argument that they SHOULDN'T be bothered with those details. 

It's not about simplicity or elegance (though many IT types do). This is all about accomplishing the primary objective of the system: Get the work done.

If your system requires run-of-the-mill users to understand the inner workings of your enterprise system in order to successfully use the system there is an inherent fail. The thing that makes it feel like a betrayal is that the failure hits IT hard. Not only will you get the same questions over and over, there's not a whole lot to be done to mitigate the problem. Sure, you can educate users, post documentation, make videos, etc. The problem will always be the same. Users that want to get work done are frequently put in situations that require them to either be indoctrinated into the secret system society or spend time to search through documentation to find the solution. And neither of these 2 things are likely to happen. 

This means calls to IT. The same calls to IT. Over and over. 

As you design systems for your enterprise if you do not address the issue of complexity you are setting your project up for failure in the long-run. Any software solution that users to understand the complexity to operate is full of failure.