Friday, March 24

Thursday, March 23

David Allen vs Tom Peters

It seems David Allen

Even as late as the 1980s many professionals considered having a pocket Day-Timer the essence of being organized, and many people today think of their calendar as the central tool for being in control.
What you've probably discovered, at least at some level, is that a calendar, though important, can really effectively manage only a small portion of what you need to organize.
The real issue is how we manage actions.
[from Getting Things Done]

fundamentally disagrees with Tom Peters
You = Your calendar.

(also: am I the only one to think they actually kind of look alike?)

Wednesday, March 22

Poor usability 2: Google Video

I find this one quite evil. If the chosen video "is not playable in my country", it shouldn't have been made available to me in the first place. Out of sight out of mind, right?
About Face 2.0 has something to say too:

Considerate software uses common sense

This one is a fundamental problem with navigation implementations using HTML frames. As you progress on the list and select an item after scrolling down, the scrollbar returns to the beginning of the list every time a refresh occurs. Thus, we're constantly scrolling up and down the list to go through all items. My favorite web aggregator, Bloglines, suffers from the same (quite annoying) problem.
Of course, there is an About Face 2.0 quote applicable:

Considerate software is perceptive
Software should watch our preferences and remember them without being explicitly asked to do so. If we always maximize an application to use the entire screen, the application should get the idea after a few sessions and always launch in that configuration. The same goes for placement of palettes, default tools, frequently used templates, and other useful settings.

Poor usability: Adobe

About Face 2.0 to the rescue:
Considerate software is self-confident
Are you sure? Are you really sure? Are you really, really sure?

Considerate software doesn't burden you with its personal problems
Software whines at us with error messages, interrupts us with confirmation dialog boxes, and brags to us with unnecessary notifications. We aren't interested in the program's crisis of confidence about whether or not to purge its recycle bin. We don't want to hear its whining about not being sure where to put a file on disk. We don't need to see information about the computer's data transfer rates and its loading sequence, any more than we need information about the customer service agent's unhappy love affair.

Well, I certainly won't like to reboot -not now, not later. Since I'm updating your software, all I need to know is: do I have to reboot to successfully update? Nothing more, nothing less.

Perhaps this is just me being anal but I find the label 'Quit' on the button rather annoying. The installation is complete, so what exactly am I quitting?
The only operation left seems to be close the window. Why not simply say that?

Tuesday, March 21


Note to self:
StringTokenizer is deprecated. Should use the split() method of the String class instead. Split() is faster and returns an array of tokens ready to be used.

Monday, March 13

My 2 cents

I know, The Daily WTF does a great job at doing this, but I really liked these error messages I was presented with recently.
Writely showed me this very funny pop-up dialog box:

Windows Movie Maker annoyed me with this one:

I'll make mine the words of Alan Cooper on About Face 2.0:

Considerate software is conscientious
If we rely on a word processor to draft a new MicroBlitz Contract and then try to [save it in the same folder as an existing, but older, MicroBlitz Contract], the program offers the choice of either overwriting and destroying the old contract or not saving it at all. The program not only isn't as capable as [a human assistant who saw
the name conflict and appropriately renamed the contracts], it isn't even as capable as [a human assistant who put the two contracts in the same folder]. It is stupider than a complete idiot. The software is dumb enough to make an assumption that because they have the same name, I meant to throw the old one away.

And my own 2 cents on WMM's error message:

  1. If there is such a thing as an invalid filename, tell me before hand what my valid options are. Don't wait until I use "invalid" options to let me know I've used them, right? It is worth mentioning that even after the input validation I was not told what those invalid names were. This inconsiderate application seems to want me to keep trying until I get it right.

  2. What happened to the option to overwrite an existing file, asking for my consent? That was actually what I wanted to do but was forced instead to save the file with a bogus name, delete previous one manually, and then rename bogus-named one with the intended name. There seems to be total lack of attention to detail and lazy programming here.

Friday, March 10

Wednesday, March 1

Still got it...

You Passed 8th Grade Math

Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!