May 05

Scumbags

What I can’t understand about the actions of the senior crew of the Korean ferry involved in the recent disaster is that they had to know that what they did would be visible to the entire world.

I can understand people doing despicable things in private. I don’t condone, of course, but I understand.

But doing something in public, where people will be talking about how loathsome you are in a hundred years?

That I just can’t make sense of at all.

May 05

Tech

I don’t think I would’ve gotten into tech, if I were starting out today.

Too much is being taken away, removed to make it idiot-proof.

When I started, I could say, “I wonder if I can….?” And then try it. No DRM, no missing features, nothing taken away.

Today, you can’t really ask that question, because the answer is “no.” No, you can’t try it, can’t get to it, can’t access it.

The example I’m thinking of at the moment is the terrible idea that Google is experimenting with of removing the URL from Chrome. This of course truly has nothing at all to do with security and helping the user, but instead is all about attempting to go back to the old AOL keywords concept; in other words, another way for them to seize more control of the internet if they can.

Anyway, even if you believe Google’s excuses for this “feature,” there is no way to idiot-proof a computer, not a computer with any power, anyway. This commenter says it nicely.

Unless it’s in red, has a klaxon attached to it and flashes enough to give you a seizure either the majority or a very large minority of your users will ignore it.

I’ve worked with regular users for over 15 years now. This is true. Most do not understand anything of what they are looking at when they use a machine, nor do they even understand why they should understand something.

Attempting to take away all features that a power user relies on will not help the regular user. It will only hurt the power user.

I’d say general purpose computers are too complex for about 85% of people, and always will be. Let’s just leave it that way.

Those who don’t need a real computer can use a tablet. Much easier than crippling every piece of useful software in the world.

May 03

Absurd confidence

So much written about so many annoying things. Rather write about things that make me happy, really.

Like this picture of Carrie Brownstein.

I like the (for lack of a better word) swagger and slight goofiness. Women like M.I.A., Lorde and Carrie Brownstein are really inspiring to me because they take the ridiculous and useless male machismo concept and turn it into something good and useful, and of course completely co-opt it in the best of ways in the process.

I can almost buy into meliorism watching them do their thing.

May 03

Blocking

Every version of Firefox above 28 is now also blocked from visiting my site.

I am thinking of getting rid of this site anyway, so I do not really care what it will do to reduce my already-low traffic.

Browsers that will still work: all versions of IE, Safari, Opera, Firefox 5-28.

Browsers that will not work: Chrome and Firefox 29+.

May 02

Well, maybe a little sort-of more

This isn’t directly complaining about Australis, but sort-of related.

However, this is one of the most insightful comments I’ve ever read about the tragedy of modern UI and UX design.

Interface utility is a nuanced concept. The average person barely realizes this concept exists and yet they are allowed to collectively OK design decisions via market study. Developers have faith in these studies based on the flawed premise that the members of the study…

  • represent their users on average
  • will understand and report on the interface utility

Not only are these both false, the average person will primarily report on with whether an interface is visually appealing or not.

It’s really worth reading the rest of it. This is what I was alluding to in my claim that developers do not understand data analysis and even what they should be analyzing.

May 02

N word

I don’t exactly excuse Jeremy Clarkson for this, but I can understand.

You see, I grew up in the rural, (very, very) racist South. Most people don’t know this, but the common nursery rhyme that begins with "eeny, meeny, miny, moe" in the South at least when I was a kid (and I am certain still does in many areas) always used the word “nigger” instead of “tiger.”

The first thousand (10,000?) times I heard it in my young life, that’s the only version I heard. I didn’t even know there was a version that used “tiger” until I was 11 or 12.

That sort of training – especially for something linguistic like that – is really hard to overcome if you learn it early enough. Even if you try get every racist thought out of your head.

I never, ever say any version of that nursery rhyme anywhere because I might slip and use a word I don’t want to use, because I know how easy it is to do if you’ve heard a phrase used a certain way thousands of times.

Again, I am not excusing Clarkson. I think there should be some sort of consequences for doing something like that.

But I can still see how that could have happened to me easily enough.

When you grow up in a racist place, all that shit just doesn’t disappear by magic. You have to work at it.

May 02

Aus

I think I am going to stop complaining about Australis now, as the devs believe they have data on their side, not really understanding much about data analysis, how early adopters/power users drive the adoption of new technologies, or the fact that even if only 10% of your users make use of one feature, it’s not the same 10% for each discrete feature.

The devs are righteous in their incorrect beliefs and shoddy data analysis (and understanding of what they should be analyzing), and are now so committed that they can’t change their mind.

Saying anything else about it, like politics or voting, is pointless.

May 02

Chrome blocked

Google Chrome is now blocked from accessing this site.

If you are smart enough to change your user agent string and read the site anyway, then you are smart enough not to use Chrome.

If I cared about readership that much, I obviously wouldn’t do this. I probably wouldn’t write this site if absolutely no one read it, but I’d rather not have Chrome users on the site.

I would say that I am sorry, but I am not.