Jul 27

Progress

I don’t think progressives should completely drop whatever else they are working on and concentrate solely on a universal basic income, but that if it were achieved would probably do more general good in this nation than any other single cause.

We’ve already passed the point of a large proportion of the working-age populating being unable to find jobs – these people are just hidden, lost in the numbers as you aren’t considered “unemployed” unless you are actively looking for work.

Nearly 15 years ago on my old blogs I was routinely made fun of for claiming that in the future, 50% or more of population would be unable to find a full-time job of any kind.

We are nearing that world now. No longer is that idea laughed out of the mainstream as it was then. I’ve watched it move from crackpot to loopy-but-possible to now beginning to overtake and infiltrate mainstream economic thought.

A Universal Basic Income in the future will be the only way to prevent society from complete dissolution. The UBI, or something much like it, is really the only alternative.

Jul 26

The future of Firefox

The future of Firefox is probably just a single-window, tabless browser that opens up Facebook when you click on it, and then doesn’t allow you to browse anywhere else.

It will be called Mozilla Facefox and it will ship with version 128, in about six months. 😉

Jul 26

All the turmoil

With all the turmoil in the design of operating systems and applications lately, you’d think there would be more actual improvement.

But there’s not, and there can’t be, and I’ll tell you why. image

First, though, let’s take a short look at the history of books.

When books first started being printed en masse in the late 1400s and 1500s, they were produced in an extremely wide variety of formats and sizes, with widely-varying designs, with many attempting to imitate high-quality manuscript books.

It wasn’t until the 1600s or so that books really standardized as a format. A book from 1650 wouldn’t be that distinguishable from one today, other than the archaic language and font. The format – margin, one line per page, no columns, etc. – would not be any different.

With operating systems and applications something similar occurred, just in a shorter time frame. The first interfaces were clumsy due to both resource limitations and because the fields of UI and UX were new. Everyone then was in uncharted waters.

After about 20 years of use by the general public, a few very-similar standardized interfaces developed that best melded productivity and approachability. [AOL%2520vs%2520Windows%25208%255B4%255D.jpg]

Note that these might not have been the absolute best approaches – though how one can measure that is questionable – but they worked well enough for the majority of people. Furthermore, once enough people become accustomed to a use paradigm changing it reduces productivity greatly, and often for a very long time, for only extremely minor benefit.

My point is then that GUI design standardized at a near-optimum with current human and technology limitations around a decade ago, and that designers now attempting to introduce useless “innovations” like Metro and Australis even if their designs are better by some amount serve to actually reduce net productivity.

If something like 3-D interfaces or neural interfaces ever occur, then it would certainly make sense to re-examine and overturn many if not all widely-accepted UI design conventions.

However now all designers really can do is make things worse since interfaces (at least prior to the latest design manias) are already fairly near optimal. Ergo, even slightly net positive changes are harmful as it takes most people many years to completely acclimatize to such major changes with minor benefits.

Jul 26

Autocorrect

What the hell, autocorrect being any good?

I rarely text and hate doing it, but I turned autocorrect off on my phone and have never been happier. Its attempts to autocorrect me were about 10% helpful and 90% utter failures.

I hate any and all predictive features. Perhaps they work for the average user. They never work for me.

Jul 26

Firefox as malware

With the most recent changes in Firefox, it is definitionally malware.

That it sends a list of all files downloaded to Google is nothing but pure malware behavior.

It forces updates even when you tell it not to by installing some outside-the-browser update service, just as other malware does.

It hides vital features necessary for controlling it and preventing its privacy violations, just as other malware does.

While perhaps not as bad as other malware out there, if it fits the definition, that’s what it is.

Note that Firefox used to be my favorite software; I’d evangelize it to anyone who’d listen, and probably got several dozen if not several hundred people to switch to it.

No longer.

Jul 25

Bell

Kristen Bell has been sadly underutilized in nearly everything she’s been in. But this is fun and politically on point.

Jul 25

Of my times

Note that about the below post, I also don’t like street photography when it’s aimed at me. I’d rather it not happen.

But I can ignore my own personal feelings about it to realize that historically speaking, street photography is one of the rare art forms that over time represents the world that is not often seen in art, and those considered plebeian, and that is has both artistic and historical value.

But in some ways I am of my times. I don’t like it when someone points a camera at me in public, even from afar, even incidentally.

Ah, we contradictory ever-multichotomous humans full of conflicts with no logic and no resolution in a world that is both a prism and a laser, with neither correct and none of us possessing true guidebook at all.