Technology

Hong Kong’s worst app - The Gulu

imageMore than 18 months ago I complained about The Gulu.  They’re still at it, forcing you to upgrade the app when all you want to do is book a table.

This time they excelled themselves by making the old version of the app disappear from the Home Screen.

So first I have to find the app (good luck with that - it used to be called “Food Gulu” but then they renamed it to “The Gulu”, which means absolutely nothing to me). 

Then they ask me to setup a user ID and password.  Why do you need that when you already have my phone number? 

Then I discover that they have cleverly hidden my list of favourite restaurants, and the search engine has never heard of the name I entered.  Ah, stupid me, I had included a space between two words, so obviously that’s not going to work.

I just want to book a table.  How hard can that be?


Food Gulu - update required. Plus spam.

Food Gulu

I understand that apps need to be updated periodically.  But why do you force me to update it before I can use it?  Almost every other app allows you to use the current version and update later (when you have time).  But not FoodGulu, oh no.

Food Gulu is a simple enough app - it allows you to book  tables for restaurants in Hong Kong (including the Maxims group).  Anyone who has had to wait for a table for Dim Sum should appreciate the convenience.  You can make a booking on your way to the restaurant  – and if there’s a long wait you can do something else whilst monitoring the queue.

But recently it seems to need updating every week, and the first you hear of it is when you open it to book a table.

Plus they have started sending me annoying offers for a 20% discount if I pre-order food in a Korean restaurant at the airport.  This can’t be a targeted offer (I’ve never been to this restaurant or used the FoodGulu app at the airport), so it must be spam


Spotify not “scary good”

Spotify continues to get itself into trouble, this time by requesting “data about the speed of your movements, such as whether you are running, walking, or in transit”.  They say it’s for a new feature called Spotify Running.

Me, I’d be happy if their Windows application would just work.  At least now it doesn’t crash (thanks, Spotify techies), but it does take several minutes to start.  What is it doing?

And then I found this: 

Spotify's chief executive apologises after user backlash over new privacy policy

Spotify’s Discover Weekly service was introduced in late July as an attempt to solve the company’s long-standing problems with music discovery. The feature offers up a two-hour playlist based on users’ listening habits, as well as those of similar fans, and is overseen by Matthew Ogle, formerly of music social network This Is My Jam.

“We wanted to make something that felt like your best friend making you a mixtape, labelled ‘music you should check out’, every single week,” Ogle told the Guardian last month. In the month since the feature was launched, it has become a hit with users, with comments on social media calling it “the most fire DJ of 2015” and “scary good”.

Really?  Maybe my musical tastes are too eclectic, but so far I haven’t found much that really interests me.  Yet it does seem that the consensus on Twitter is very favourable, so it must be me.


You want English? Learn Chinese!

If you live in Greater China you will know that stuff (phones, tablets, etc.) often comes with Chinese as the default setting.  And the (pitifully) few Chinese characters I might recognize are nowhere near enough to navigate through the menus to find the option to change to English.  

Yes it’s my own fault for buying a tablet with Chinese Windows.  I was in a hurry and I assumed that it would be easy to switch to English.  Indeed (with some help), I changed the primary language to English. 

Then I downloaded Evernote Touch, and it’s all in Chinese.  What?  I couldn’t find the menu in the application, and it turns out you have to do something in Windows and then all is (reasonably) well.  Anyway, waste of time because it’s rubbish.  Back to the normal (desktop version) of the program, which is fine except that there’s no way to do a right-click.  

This is strange because in Google Chrome you can do a right-click (hold your finger and up pops a menu). 

But back to the point - is it too much to ask that there should always be a button or high-level menu in English, Spanish, or French that takes you to language selection?  


It’s a phone, stupid

Most annoying mobile phone feature?  Some clever person at Blackberry decided that the best way to handle a low battery would be….to terminate your phone call without any prior warning.  Not even a minute or two to scramble for a charger, oh no.  We have to preserve the battery so you can, er, read your emails?

Amazingly, there appear to be people who thing this is a good piece of design, and will tell you that you should check your battery before making a call.  Thanks for the advice.

Fortunately I don’t totally rely on my Blackberry, and I have another phone that doesn’t think it knows what’s best for me,   

In other news, Spotify still doesn’t work on my Windows 7 PC. 


Things that don’t work–Spotify

It’s very kind of them to make Spotify available in Hong Kong, but their stupid software doesn’t work.  I am running Windows 7 (64 bit) and the Spotify application works for anything from 30 seconds to a few minutes before crashing – and it’s impossible to close it and restart it.

The Android app works, but is hardly usable because it drains the battery within a few hours.

Which just leaves the web version, but that only seems to work in Chrome – and requires Flash Player, which I had disabled.

Well, at least Google and Apple aren’t competing with them.  Oh, hang on, yes they are.