Imagination is more important than knowledge.
Albert Einstein

«— Googlewhack
—» WiFi? Here?

Moderation?

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Reading ESR’s blog, I was reminded of this quiz. I ran across it during the 2000 election, and I use it often to describe where I fall on the political spectrum.

Speaking of which, I am becoming very seriously sorry that I did not vote for Harry Browne. I made a mistake that libertarians often make: I voted the odds, instead of voting my conscience. Now, it seems clear that the present administration has no respect for freedom. I thought Bush would be a good choice for president, but clearly I was deceived.


Filed under: — Basil @ 3:53 pm

«— Top of the Charts
—» Moderation?

Googlewhack

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I almost forgot this one: “somnambulist hagiographer” Oh, and while I’m at it, Tim reminded me of that one, because “liturgy volcanolgist” was mostly his work. Yes. Many apologies.


Filed under: — Basil @ 10:38 am

«— A Better Kind of XP
—» Googlewhack

Top of the Charts

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Tim tops a Google search on “vim commands cheatsheet”! I think that’s seriously cool. Way to go, Tim. You rock! Now, if we could just get you at the top of this list!

Speaking of Google, Tim and I were playing around with Googlewhacks last night. Pretty fun stuff. I came up with two:

Tim was especially happy about that last one, because he had been trying to find a Googlewhack with “liturgy” in it. You can find more on Tim’s Googlewhack page.


Filed under: — Basil @ 10:17 am

«— Sun-damaged Designers
—» Top of the Charts

A Better Kind of XP

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Tim recently wrote about Jon Udell’s blog on Alan Cooper. This led me to a Google search on extreme design and extreme programing, which led to this debate.

Now, I’m a software freedom advocate. I also happen to like open source software, though not as much. Both free software and OSS typically tend toward the “release early, release often” model. Cooper’s model, however, tends to violate this idea.

Rich Bowen, the founder and CTO of Cooper-McGregor, has intimated that it actually seems beneficial to free and open projects to have an initial period of closed developement, while the projects gets its legs. Subsequently, the project should continue with strong leadership that knows how to tactfully reject inappropriate code patches. If neither of these happens, projects seem to lose focus and dissipate very quickly.

That sounds like free and open projects should look more closely at Alan Cooper’s ideas.


Filed under: — Basil @ 12:19 pm

«— A Patch for Apache Server
—» A Better Kind of XP

Sun-damaged Designers

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I’ve been thinking some more about my agony with Sun’s useless Java website yesterday. I realized after thinking about it that the reason that I could not see the link was because I could not see the link.

You see, Tim has taught me most of what I know about web design. And one of the first things that he taught me was to keep my web browser windows small, so that I could design for users with small screens at low resolutions. So, I do this almost religiously. I know that he does, too, because I’ve seen his web browsing environments. Sun’s designers evidently learned their skills from monkeys.


Filed under: — Basil @ 9:01 am

«— Blinded by the Sun
—» Sun-damaged Designers

A Patch for Apache Server

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It has been reported all over that Apache web server has a vulnerability. The ASF suggests updating to versions 1.3.26 or 2.0.39. It should be noted, however, that users of Red Hat 7.2 are being advised to update to 1.3.22-6, which is a patched version of the latest Red Hat RPM.


Filed under: — Basil @ 7:21 am

«— Web Standards for Dummies
—» A Patch for Apache Server

Blinded by the Sun

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I was trying to download the latest version of the Java runtime from Sun. I guess I am so used to downloading the JDK, which is a royal pain to locate, that I’ve become accustomed to ignoring the front page. Which, of course, actually has the link I was looking for. Instead, I was scrounging through a pile of confusing links with too much information, which — for months now! — has kept me believing that JRE 1.4 was not available yet.

Then Tim makes me feel like a moron about it on IRC. Well, I’ve got news for you: <rant>I AM NOT STUPID!</rant> Sun’s website designers suck great hairy balls of rubber until their lips fall off. Here’s a clue: User testing makes sites usable!


Filed under: — Basil @ 6:11 pm

«— Stuff ‘n’ Stuff
—» Blinded by the Sun

Web Standards for Dummies

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AOL has a conundrum. They keep shipping beta versions of their software with the Gecko engine embedded, but Gecko never seems to make production AOL code.

My guess is that too many users complain about pages breaking in Gecko. The problem is that pages written specifically for Microsoft Internet Explorer, using Microsoft proprietary extensions, will break in Gecko-based browsers, like Mozilla and Netscape. This is because these pages break the standards for web pages set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and other standards bodies. While Mozilla hackers and a few web developers like myself might care about this, users do not.

So how do we make them care? We must ship an evangelist with Gecko-based browsers, like iCab does. Only immediate feedback to the user will communicate that the page is the problem, not the Gecko browser they are using.

A rather suboptimal start would be a button that simply passed the page along to the W3C validator or listed the JavaScript errors, something like these bookmarklets: Check Page, and JS Console. (To use as bookmarklets, right click on either link, and choose “Bookmark This Page” or “Add to Favorites.”). However, as I said, this would be a rather suboptimal solution. The real solution needs to provide immediate feedback to the user that the page itself is borken. Bug 6211 asks for something like this. It’s too bad this bug is so old. That means that hackers don’t care enough to bang the code.

It’s also suboptimal because the information in the JavaScript Console and the W3C validator are aimed at developers. Users need information that is directed at their level. Users don’t grok “Error: window._content.document has no properties.” It’s worse than garbage as far as they are concerned. They need something as drop dead simple as: “This page is broken. The guy who wrote it is a moron.” This has the added feature of convincing developers to use web standards, since they likely don’t want to be identified as monkeys.


Filed under: — Basil @ 8:28 pm

«— The Revolution Has Begun
—» Web Standards for Dummies

Stuff ‘n’ Stuff

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Hallelujah: mpt finally fixed his blog to have an almost usable link color.

Lord, have mercy: Chris mentioned yesterday’s festivities. In additon to having a Mozilla 1.0 release party of two at Tony Roma’s, Tim and I celebrated my birthday. Answer to Chris: NOYB.

Heavens to mergatroid: The Post 1.0 Manifesto has some problems. Tim and I were discussing it last night. Oh, wait. I still haven’t read it yet. Heh.


Filed under: — Basil @ 9:57 am

«— Flashy Usability
—» Stuff ‘n’ Stuff

The Revolution Has Begun

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I’m reading the Mozilla Post-1.0 Manifesto. Interesting from a glance, I’ll report later what I really think.


Filed under: — Basil @ 9:13 pm

«— Bookmark This!
—» The Revolution Has Begun

Flashy Usability

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Jakob Nielsen’s classic article Flash: 99.9% Bad has been updated. Evidently, Macromedia has been working hard to increase the usability of its Flash product. To the point: the Nielsen/Norman Group has partnered with Macromedia to educate Flash developers. Unfortunately, Jakob doesn’t seem to understand the usability benefits of the <a> tag’s id attribute. You have to scroll down to see the update.

Personally, I still have strong reservations about the usability of Flash, despite the improvements. I do not have either the Flash or the Shockwave plug-ins installed for my browser. Yet I find that if a site uses Flash or Shockwave in any form, I’m not missing anything. Most sites that use Flash technologies do not have any useful content.


Filed under: — Basil @ 9:06 pm

«— Erm… Not Quite
—» Flashy Usability

Bookmark This!

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Tim has a collection of bookmarklets. These things have become indispensable for me. My employer wants to force Internet Exploiter on me, but I just can’t do without my bookmarklets.


Filed under: — Basil @ 5:55 pm