Archive for July, 2016

Kirk is a bad deal in the long run.

Sunday, July 31st, 2016

Just about every time kirk lofts himself into space, he manages to lose some crew members.

We are of course totally impressed with all the cool and wonderful things he does, and how he gets himself out of the craziest near death situations, but if you think about it for a minute, he may be a bad bet overall.

Every time he survives one of his misshapen plans, he loses a few crew members. We are of course happy that most of them survive, but let us not forget to count the actual numbers.

If kirk keeps living he will go on to go on (ha ha) another mission where he will lop a few more off the headcount.

If he had simply completely failed miserably, blown up his ship and everybody in it including himself the first time he went out, surely this would be a horrible loss of starfleet membership. But it would end there, it wouldn’t go on forever and ever like it has been.
We’ve got to be up to like 10 kirk movies by now. That’s a lot of dead crew that might have been saved.


Regulating the internet is inevitable I think.

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Today I heard on the radio that there’s some locale in long island that is complaining miserably because they’ve had 20 power outages in the past month. Mostly due to the excessive heat apparently.
And it got me thinking. I’ve been making the point to my compatriots at work lately, that they don’t know a world without internet, and they expect it to always be there.
So I make the comparison that when I was born, we had hot and cold running water and electric power 24/7 and I never knew a world without it and I expect it to always be there.
Nobody regulates the internet yet. But they regulate water and they regulate electricity. So much so that part of the reason long island has blackouts is because con ed can only charge so much regardless of the cost to generate the electricity, oh boo hoo I feel so bad for them.
But the internet is not there yet, but it’s hard to imagine it won’t come to that sooner than later, simply because it’s become one of those ubiquitous life services we’ve all come to expect and can’t live too conveniently too long without.

I’ll never understand bad user interfaces.

Sunday, July 10th, 2016

Specifically I’m talking about web pages.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not the main target audience of any newly designed web page. I don’t react to fancy doo-dads , things that animate and flash all over the place.
Generally I want to go to a web page to get information or supply information.

But nowadays I find that webpages are more interested in making themselves hard to use and to navigate than to simply supply the information they claim to offer.

One design trait that seems prevalent as of late, is the ever shifting webpage.

In order to put a big fat ad at the top of the page, the rest of the page has to slide down to accommodate it. If you were reading some text, you will find all of a sudden that your text is sliding down to make room for a bigger ad or sliding up to fill the space when it goes away.

You can’t predict when this is going to happen, and the ad isn’t even visible on the page most of the time so all you get is this bizarre effect of the page spazzing out while you’re trying to read from it.

Another little peeve of mine is the invisible UI features. WordPress was the first place I noticed this years ago, but now I see google and plenty of other sites do it too.

I’m guessing they’re shooting for a clean and tidy page, but in making features of the web page invisible, it’s impossible to know what features are available, unless you already know they’re there, and if you don’t, they might as well not be there because you can’t see them.

If you’re lucky, or spastic enough and happen across these features because you’re unable to control your mouse and it has to flip all over the page in hopes of unlocking some secret UI feature, you are among the lucky few that can take full advantage of the website.

But to the rest of us with no gift for clairvoyance, we have to suffer trying to figure out “how am I supposed to select this comment to mark it as spam?”

And lets say I was part of the in-crowd and savvy enough to know the feature was there, I still have to move my mouse to the button to click.

It is impossible to aim a mouse accurately over something you can’t see, so first you have to mouse over the area to make the invisible feature visible, then you can first start to aim at the particular button you want.

In what way is this a better UI? I know I’m a dinosaur, but making things harder if not impossible to use unless you are blessed with preordained knowledge of how the web designer was thinking that day, I can’t see any way this can be perceived as better.

I try and imagine what the web designer was thinking. They’re sitting their with their HTML editor and their CSS editor, and they say to themselves, “Okay, I’ve got it all working, but let me hide some of these elements so they don’t clutter up the page. When I test it, I know they’re there so I can still click on them to test, yeah, that works.”

So these UI people can’t really put themselves in the position of the user they’re designing for because they already know about the invisible features and generally where they are because they put them there.

Maybe web designers should test out each other’s work so they can for a brief moment glimpse into the shitty world they are making for the rest of us.