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Journal: Rant: Big flashy UIs 2

Journal by Chacham

UIs are just getting worse and worse. Things are now bigger and larger, colorized even. "We really think you want to click this" has taken precedence over usability. I feel like i need to be an idiot to use such software.

I was in the Quicken For Mac 2015 Beta. At one time i reported a bug that the back button was disabled. But, as it turns out, just because a button is greyed out and the other button is big and red does not mean the button is disabled. Really?!? No, seriously, really?!?!

I went Citibank to pay a credit card. I had to look for a minute to find the "MAKE A PAYMENT" button. I saw the two other options, which are links and in camel case, easily. The payment option is different in three ways! It is a button, the colors are inverted, and it is in caps. I think my brain tuned it as if it were spam. It's as if i had to refocus on the page to see it.

Oracle changed their forums again. The old, old software was good. Then they moved to Jive, which was so bad i left the forums. Eventually i came back, as the pros outweighed the cons. Well, they did it again, and this new software is just plain terrible. Not only is there a huge bar on top to tell you where you are and where you can go, the site itself took a greyish look, except for buttons that are red. The red pulls my eyes (basic design principle) and is inconsistent. I use Element Hiding Helper to block some stuff/ now. I only stay with Firefox because of the addons.

Windows 8 has that big screen to choose application. I can't find anything. What was Microsoft thinking? Luckily, i can search control panel to find things, since they moved everything around again. Sometimes i remember the executable's name (e.g. appwiz.cpl) and can windows-r it, but i feel so stupid searching for something which is categorized, and i don't want to re-learn the new hierarchy. Though i have switched to the mac, i am stuck with Windows at the office (7, currently, modified to work like XP) and to support people in the community. I'm even a little scared about the mac, as 10.10's flat look might just be a harbinger or the "one UI" stupidity. I want my devices to look different! Different types of devices are used differently.

I am befuddled by these and similar changes. Changing the color of buttons has three problems. One, the color may not be noted by the colorblind. Two, color pulls the eyes. Three, changing the looks of similar items can be misinterpreted as the items not belonging to the same group. An example of this is Window's 7 Explorer which shows the current selected item as its icon. I often do not register that an explorer windows opened to the desktop (shows computer) and another opened to a directory (shows folder) are both from the same program. I have opened multiple explorer windows on many occasions because of this. Or maybe they don't expect anyone to use the keyboard and alt-tab anymore.

Web accessibility has always been neglected to some extent. But of late it seems to be rejected entirely. I feel as if control is being removed as some designer decides what it is i should be doing and hiding the other options. It is frustrating. I want to scream at this idiotic trend, though i don't know if they are stupid or just plain ignorant. Did someone think this approach was a good idea and others blindly followed?

One refreshing website is PerlMonks. Every once in a while someone starts a discussion modernizing the UI or the like. The replies usually mention that PM wants functionality and many things can be changed in Display Settings anyway. So, at least one site has people that use their brains. A diminishing trend, for sure.

User Journal

Journal: [Beloved] It Is Not a Word 2

Journal by johndiii
It is not a word spoken,
Few words are said;
Nor even a look of the eyes
Nor a bend of the head,

But only a hush of the heart
That has too much to keep,
Only memories waking
That sleep so light a sleep.

-- Sara Teasdale

I remember.
User Journal

Journal: Aiming, Trigger Control, and Ferguson 4

Journal by RailGunner
When you're at the range, and you line up your shot to center mass, and you pull the trigger, where you miss is indicative of what you're doing wrong -- if it's consistent. (Some short barrel concealed carry guns are not accurate at longer ranges; they aren't intended to be, either. However, the average full size hand gun is intended to be pretty accurate.)

Here's a link to a helpful free (PDF) target that may make you a better shot.

If I miss at the range -- which is rare -- I usually miss down and to the left of the bullseye (but not by much) because I'm pulling my index finger a little too hard -- I'm tightening my fingers.

If I was in a high stress situation -- say one where a yelling, large, aggressive nearly 300 pound man is charging me, I'd probably tighten up even more and miss to the left, say, hitting the assailant in the right arm. As I continued to pull the trigger, I would likely start missing up from the recoil of the gun -- more likely if I've firing a .40 cal, which has a sharper, more upward recoil than a .45 ACP or a 9mm does. (I've shot a few .40 cals before -- I've not shot a .40 cal Sig Sauer, but I have shot a couple of Berettas and I wasn't a fan. Besides -- .45 ACP is better than .40 anyways :) )

In this regard, the autopsy result of Michael Brown tends to support the officer's account of what happened. Brown was charging him, and under stress he over tightened, and missed to his left from center mass which would be the assailant's right arm / shoulder as he likely did not take a lot, if any, time to re-sight as he was in the line of a charging bull.

The other piece of evidence is going to be the brass. If it's all in a localized area, the officer was standing still. If it's scattered, then he was running toward the assailant.

The other question, which leads into another somewhat related point: How many rounds did Officer Darren Wilson fire? His gun had a 12 round magazine (+1 in the pipe) so it's possible that he missed a few times - which wouldn't surprise me, as here's a dirty little secret:

The police do not train with their firearms enough, or even as much as the average CHL holder.

A couple of my closest friends are police officers, and I can out shoot them any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Despite their "training" I have a much tighter grouping and many, many more bulls-eyes with the same weapon than they do.

The reality is, this trend tends to hold across the general population. You are far more likely to get shot by a cop -- whether intentional or not -- than you are a legal concealed carry licensee.

Consider that little fact the next time you want to think that "only the police should have guns".

And if you are a concealed license holder -- when was the last time you practiced? Find a range and keep those skills sharp.
User Journal

Journal: Terminal Ballistics and Ferguson 10

Journal by RailGunner
One argument made on television last night by a Ferguson City Councilwoman was that the Officer used "excessive force" by shooting a 6'4", 240 pound man 6 times.

6 times! She said.

...... the ignorance is breathtaking.

Here's the reality: Remember this story of a woman hiding in her attic with her children? She shot the assailant 6 times. He survived his injuries. Link to Local News Story

I bring this up as an example to my larger point: Compared to long guns (rifles, shotguns) ALL HAND GUNS SUCK.

The woman in the story was using a .38 special, I do not know what caliber the Officer in Ferguson was carrying. I will wager an educated guess and say that most likely the officer was carrying a 9mm, as it's arguably the most popular police issue handgun. A size comparison between the .38 and the 9mm reveals that they are very, very close in size. The 9mm is faster, as the cartridge contains more powder.

Hollywood has lied to you.

When people are shot, even with the mighty .45 ACP (well, mighty for a hand gun, that is), most people do the following: They psychologically react, think, "OH MY GOD I'VE BEEN SHOT" and lay down, where they are either captured, taken to the hospital, and recover or pass out due to loss of blood pressure and bleed out. They do not fly through the air emitting a Wilhelm Scream only to be stone dead when they hit the ground.

The only way to *stop* an assailant with a hand gun, barring the psychological effects, is to hit someone in the following areas on the body: The pelvic girdle, shattering the hip bone making walking difficult if not impossible, severing the spinal cord, or a hit to the brain. Even a direct shot to the heart is not enough to stop immediately, as a person with a destroyed heart could still have anywhere from 30 to 60 seconds of combat ability before they pass out due to loss of blood pressure.

Here's what we know: According to the officer and eye witness testimony, Michael Brown was rushing the police officer, who fired. The first few shots hit the assailant's arm, and did not stop him. Finally, a shot that hit just above his eye (autopsy report) ended his life.

Far from being a cherub faced child, Michael Brown was a 6'4", 240 pound giant who had just committed a strongarm robbery of a bunch of Swisher Sweet cigars, popular for hollowing out for use with marijuana (which was found in the toxicology report).

Why are losers like Eric Holder, Al Sharpton, and other race baiting idiots involved? We have now seen two incidents where an "unarmed" black male was assaulting a police officer in one case -- breaking his orbital socket bone -- and in the other case breaking the nose of a neighborhood watch volunteer. Both were committing a felony assault when shot, and both died from their wounds. Both are now Liberal Saints, Trayvon Martin -- aka Saint Skittles, and now Michael Brown, now Saint Swisher Sweets -- who despite committing felony assaults at the time of their deaths -- and quite frankly, already received their "justice" -- were "good boys who didn't do nuffin".

Both also led to outcry and criminal trials. Much like George Zimmerman, I would normally expect Officer Wilson to be acquitted -- but with the current mob mentality, and the desire for their pound of flesh, there's no way to predict the outcome of what is now a politically charged event.

... while nary a word is said about the epidemic of black on black violence that is occurring in Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, and Washington DC -- where in many of those cases the victims, unlike Brown and Martin, were innocent.

My, how this country has fallen so far in just 6 years.
User Journal

Journal: Rant: Untrusted Data from the Source 4

Journal by Chacham

While trying to load test data, we found duplicates (based on the unique key) in the provided file. So, the BA (English is not her first language) asked them:

Does the test file present valid business scenarios?

The response

Test data is never as constrained as production data - we have a lot of [...] users setting up test data every day for a lot of different reasons plus there will be historic test data that has been abandoned after either successful or failed tests - it can never be said that test data is as clean as production data ... but I would expect that comment to apply to most if not all applications

Really?? Test data is not constrained? I understand that test data can be bogus, but unconstrained?? What exactly is the purpose of this test data then? I can supply Lorem Ipsum myself.

Another question:

If combination of [two columns] doesn't provide [main id] uniqueness as it was discussed and stated in use case, what would be additional attribute(s) defining [main id] uniqueness?

A simple question asking how to resolve duplicates when we were not expecting any.

The repsonse:

[The two columns] code combination is unique from a Business perspective - do not re-design your [application] tables
I would however expect you to have exception processing in your load job (as [their application] does for all its inbound feeds) e.g. if you try to load something to a table and it can't load for whatever reason (a duplicate or whatever) you would write it to an exception report

Really?? We need an exception report? If they are the trusted source they are supposed to be, any error in the file should completely reject the file as bad, not just individual records, because any bad data means the entire file is suspect.

In general, i am against writing exception code in the database. (See Tom Kyte's posts on the topic for related concerns.) Exceptions, by definition, are unexpected. Handling an exception means they are expected. Only the calling system should handle unexpected errors, the reason being, as it is unexpected we do not know what to do. It's then up to the calling system to decide what its output will be.

To be fair, they do not expect duplicates, and it might just be an issue with the test data. But the whole attitude of "exception reports" is absurd. In short, the source system's team doesn't care about their own data.

This happened to me before on a different team when were to receive data from another team. I noted the absurdity of some of the dates (worst offender was a business that started ~400 CE) . When i notified their BA, he asked me to fill out a request to have it fixed. IOW, they wanted our team to pay to fix their bad data. That case is embarrassing for me as i lost my cool with their BA. When he asked me what we wanted in our feed, i told him to give whatever he wanted as we would not trust his information (more than we had to).

User Journal

Journal: Verbiage: New Scrabble dictionary and related musings

Journal by Chacham

Merriam-Webster has released the The Official SCRABBLE® Players Dictionary, Fifth Edition. Although they list it for $25.95, Amazon currently has it at $6.83. I plan to purchase one soon.

NASPA, the North American SCRABBLE Players Association, has the The Official Tournament and Club Word List, 2014 Edition for $22 until Aug 13, then it goes up to $24.95. However, you have to be a member to purchase it, meaning it costs $30 more. Though, a trial membership should be good enough, which is a cheaper $15.

The difference between the two is twofold. One, the dictionary has been purged of offensive words whereas the full list has all words. Two, the dictionary includes definitions and other forms, whereas the list does not.

Getting the dictionary and printing up the delta might be the best option to all the word on the cheap, nice as an "official" version may be.

Speaking of lists, there are many. I have two and three letter word lists printed up, besides the 70% vowel list and a few bingo lists based on RETINA and the like. They are all grossly out of date, so i'll probably print up new ones when i'm sure they are using the new words. Last time i printed up two copies of everything except the longer three word list. My brother and i play with the lists and the dictionary available. It's just so much more fun that way.

NASPA has the long list, words of ten to fifteen letters, available. I'd like to print that up too, though i'd like to find an easy way to wrap it for more efficient use of the paper.

User Journal

Journal: New Business Venture

Journal by RailGunner
I'm going to open up a small restaurant that specializes in finger foods -- ham and cheese crackers, small BLTs, etc. with an extensive wine and liquor list.

I'm going to call it the Allahu Snack Bar.
User Journal

Journal: Mini Rant/Silliness: News sites formatted for handhelds

Journal by Chacham

Just check a news site or two. They all seem formatted for handheld devices.

So, first we had pages with no formatting, which was ok, kind of. Except for the large moving images.
It got ugly. So they discovered TABLE. which formatted thing pretty well.
Then came different browsers and super complex code. So, they invented CSS.
CSS suffered the same fate, so they enhanced it and added stuff to HTML5.
Which means, now we have pretty advanced formatting, daunting to the beginner.
So, we must have beautiful pages, right?
Actually, we have pages designed for handhelds, and large moving images.

Something is definitely wrong here. I move for HTML1, Generation 2. We can get some Hollywood director to lead the remake.

--
How shall i spell "Mini Rant"? Shamefully, i have been inconsistent!

  1. Mini Rant:1 2
  2. Mini rant: 1 2 3
  3. Mini-Rant: 1

I like the first and want to edit all the others accordingly. :)

User Journal

Journal: Chronicle: Apartment: Carpet complaints 1

Journal by Chacham

My apartment has carpet save the kitchen that has tile. When i moved in, i was given a checklist to note what was not perfect. Figuring that's what they would fix, i verbally mentioned the cracks in the kitchen floor and perhaps something else, and moved on. I really had no idea what the checklist was for. Besides, it looked daunting.

A friend mentioned that carpet was not right, but i didn't care until summer when i realized how bad it was. Over the weekends i would lay on the floor to play games with friends and the like, and it felt grimy. That friend reminded me of what he originally noticed.

I spoke to the apartment manager about it, but he replied that the carpet was new. He bade me feel the carpet in the office, but in the end, i asked him to come by to humor me and that then he could call me an idiot. He told me he didn't need to go to the apartment to do that...:). But, come by he did and was surprised.

The apartment clearly had old carpet, which he admitted was grimy, and my friend who was by, showed him holes in the carpet too. He said he would look into it. I told him, i wouldn't mind if he waited until the yearly renewal (which has more likely a chance to get things done with the carpet.) That was a couple months away or so.

This past week, about a month later, i bugged him again. He told me that he misunderstood the note that the apartment has new carpet, which meant that one room's carpet was replaced. So, on lease renewal i would get a new carpet. As to the kitchen floor which has cracks and scuff marks, that would be too much at once, and he didn't want to push the central office. He then explained to me the issue with not having filled out the form when i moved it and thus how "Central" would see it.

Well, i mentioned how bad the kitchen floor is again, but told him i didn't want to cause problems. Nonetheless, i would like him to ask, but not to "push". He then said he would take it up with his supervisor, who was just a few feet away from us talking to his (the person i was talking to) secretary on a walk they would soon take. After that, i left, and i hope to pick it up again when i get the renewal notice.

Asynchronous inputs are at the root of our race problems. -- D. Winker and F. Prosser

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