07-15-09 - Wednesday Rambles

Printers should just be on WiFi. In fact pretty much everything except video and power should be (speakers for example).

I got my standing desk set up. I'll post some pictures / progress report at some point. It really annoys me that we don't have a standardize docking multi-port. When I take my laptop from home to my sitting workstation at the office to my standing workstation, it should just be one cable that I plug for video, power, USB, etc.

Fucking god damn you web programmers suck so bad. When you put "Seattle WA" in the box for Expedia, you get a STOP! error screen saying : "We could not find any airports that match your search for seattle wa. We found the following airport with a similar name. Leaving from: Seattle, WA (SEA-Seattle - Tacoma Intl.)" . Umm, okay, seeing as there are NO OTHER CHOICES that are even close, maybe that is in fact the one that I intended, hmm ??

Obviously this case is just broken, but as a general point of computer program UI interaction design, in cases of semi-ambiguity like that, the right thing to do is not to have a modal "STOP" screen, but just rather go ahead and make your best guess and proceed, but provide a simple back up button. So when the user puts in something that you're 90% sure you know the answer to, just go ahead and immediately show them answer, and put a little button in the corner for back up & refine.

There are two points of this UI design that I think are crucial : 1. if you provide a fast path that is accessible in a predictable way, users will modify their own behavior over time to adapt to the fast path; they will learn patterns of use that make them more efficient, you should design the UI such that it is amenable to that, and 2. you should *never ever never never ever* have different sequences of screens. That is, the pattern of prompts and displays must be 100% deterministic - it should not be conditional. Over time users learn the pattern and will start typing without even looking at the screen. They can go much faster if it's a predictable rhythm, of prompt A - B - C. If you sometimes pop up another prompt - A - D - B - C depending on what they entered in A, they will be doing the B typing in D and it's all fucked up. Don't do it.

(I get similar stuff for Google Maps all the time. Like if you type in "la guardia" it gives you a "did you mean "la guardia airport" or "laguardia airport" ? and the two of them have location tags in the exact same spot. Actually the more I use Google Maps the more it pisses me off. The thing that sucks about it is that it's very modal, but it doesn't expose the modes to you. It has these states like "searching for address by name" or "searching for businesses near address" but once you get in one mode you can't switch from one to the other in any easy way. I wind up having to copy-paste the addresses and then go back to home and back to maps again to clear the state.)

I signed on the stupid house; I just know I'm gonna get fucked and in 6 months I'll be whining on here about how I have to move again, but I'm just so fucking sick of looking at places right now. It's dumb and irrational but I just want to get all these distractions out of my life so I can clear my head and focus on work. It's pretty much the way I make all my major decisions in life - I'm super picky and indecisive until I just get sick of looking and then make a snap irrational decision to take the first thing I see.

There's a house near my current apartment under construction, and also one near the new place. Both of them are these fucking amateur asshole productions where they are just taking forever. The one by my current house they literally work on maybe one day each month; it's literally been under construction the entire year that we've lived here and there's zero visible progress, they've worked on it maybe 20 days out of the whole year. And they always come from like 7 AM - 10 AM and then leave. And it's always just one guy, so he never gets anything done other than making a bunch of hammering and power saw noises to wake me up in the morning. WTF there should be laws against this shit. Hire a fucking proper crew and you could get the whole thing done in a week and be done with it and stop torturing your neighbors. I hate the nanny state explosion of stupid laws about everything, but every time you don't have a ridiculous law, people are fucking assholes. You have to dictate explicitly every single rule of basic behavior. (I know part of the delays with construction is probably the permit process which is in fact caused by the stupid permit laws - however I'm sure if we didn't have all the construction certification permit laws then people would build structural walls out of cardboard because they are fucking greedy retards who will fuck you in every way possible unless you force them not to).

People get the wrong idea of my mood from my blog. I'm actually very happy up here since summer hit. I'm spending tons of time outdoors in the sun, which = instant happiness for me. When I'm happy, I'm out exercising, running around. The only time I come in and sit at the cursed computer and write this nonsense is when I'm not happy. You pretty much get my unloading of vitriol. It's a sampling bias problem - the thoughts I choose to write here are not a random sample of my thoughts.

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old rants