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Journal: Verbiage/Rant: Customized email addresses problems (4)

Journal by Chacham

I like to customize my email addresses. (parts 2 and 3 are not as relevant here.) The problem is, not all websites accept this format. Somehow the extra period throws them for a loop and either i get no response from them or they reject it from the outset.

So, like Froman's comment i started using + which is supported in GMail.

That all worked great for a while. Recently, however, many websites are rejecting the plus sign! Worse, some sites that used to accept it, no longer do. For example, Barnes and Noble used to accept it as my login email contains a plus sign. No more. I had to create a new account to login. Part of their stupidity is putting sign-in and create account on the same form, so the validation routines validates email addresses that are already registered. But, wait, don't buy yet. We'll throw in a free stupidity. Free nookbooks now require you to have a credit card listed. Really?!

It's as if some moron wrote code with checking the RFC and somehow that code became standard. The beauty of this is that whereas emails to sub-domains are now supported, plus signs are not. Flippity flop. Luckily, i can do both.

User Journal

Journal: Verbiage: Time to say goodbye to the Mac Mini 1

Journal by Chacham

Well, Apple just refreshed the Mac Mini. I was actually waiting for the update because i have a 2011 Mac Mini and upgrades are usually nice.

I switched to the Mac because i got sick of Windows with all their changes. There's the ribbon, the attempt at removing the start menu, the reorganizing of the Control Panel, and the overall homogenization of the desktop and handheld UI, which i want to be different. After disliking Vista, not liking Windows 7, and being horrified by Windows 8, i just gave up. Now i run OSX on my Mac Mini which, for the most part, i find to be fun.

After my conversion, i realized what OSX users had that they could be upset about. First and foremost, Apple is not responsive. Find a bug, they'll probably fix it in the next release, if they care. For me, the Speakable Items bug was the worst, because i wanted it, with a multiple monitor bug being annoying as well. The former has been fixed in Yosemite, luckily someone noticed.

That call upgrades into play. Apple now offers them for free, but it's take it or leave it. Like those blue scroll bars? Too bad, they removed them. Like something else? You can keep them as long as they want them. Yosemite changes the UI giving it a flat look which the community seem divided on. I dislike it so much ihave decided to not upgrade to it. Between it's ugliness and the push to make it like the handhelds, i'm back to my problem with Windows. Oh well.

But now comes the clincher. The Mac Mini has soldered RAM. My current Mac Mini has 16 GB RAM that i bought myself for significantly less than what Apple would have charged. I would not want to limit my next Mac to 16GB nor pay Apple some ludicrously large amount for it either. On it's own this is a bad move. Added to the flat look, and i no longer want a Mac.

So, my next computer will probably run Linux. Question is, should i go back to Debian (i don't think i can handle Slackware anymore) or use one of them newfangled distros. Well, i have some time before i need to upgrade to Linux again. And who knows what will happen?

User Journal

Journal: Moderator Points: Fairy just visited fans

Journal by Chacham

It's amazing how many friends and fans i have that no longer post. Well, on second thought, it actually isn't that amazing. But, when i sent the voting fairy to do her job, she had a hard time finding posts to moderate!

Nonetheless, she got the job done. Though, noone left her any presents under their posts.

User Journal

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: 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: 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.

User Journal

Journal: Rant: Mod point silliness. 2

Journal by Chacham

Mod points again, which i prefer to spend in JEs. Last time i had points, i could not find the moderate button. Now i see that of you have javascript turned on it is automatic.

  • Automatic mod point application is amazingly stupid.
  • What if i make a mistake?
  • What if i see a post later that was unfairly modded down but now i have no points left?
  • The FAQ says, "Do you still have any moderator points left? You only got 5..." I got 15.
  • Why doesn't it mention the auto update somewhere?
  • After moderating it reports how many points you have left. Messages end up conflicting.

Overall, the heralded new age of Slashdot is being designed by morons.

User Journal

Journal: Chronicle Sample Merchandice Sale

Journal by Chacham

So, there was a JDRF sale at the company. Or rather, the sale benefited the JDRF. With company themed items, i was interested, for whatever reason.

The sale was Thursday, the email Wednesday (well, after 5 on Tueday), declaring a company "sample merchandise sale". "Pre-Sale 8:00 am - 9:00 am ($10 donation to get in) Sale 9:10 am - 3:00 pm (No charge to get in)".

I sent an email to the sender:

Please excuse my ignorance.

What is a presale?

Which got her response

Pretty much gets you in before the big rush and you have a better chance getting something you really want. Kind of like getting to meet a movie star and get an autograph before having to stand in line and not getting it.

I sent a thank you, and a little later:

I'm sorry to bother you again. I spoke to a couple people and realized I didn't understand two things.

1) Are things able to be purchased during the pre-sale?
2) What is a Sample Merchandise Sale? Specifically, what is meant by "sample"?

to which i received no response. Oh well.

A friend encouraged me to go and to just spend the $10, so i did. I found out a few things:

  • Samples are samples of branded items from other companies. That is, the other companies want to sell stuff with this company's logo.
  • Almost everything is sold within 2-3 hours.
  • You can purchase items during the pre-sale.
  • Very few people show up to the presale.
  • They have the sale once a year.

The prices were on the board, i wasn't sure what was what. There were a number of tables, a few people, and stuff lying here and there. Model cars of all sorts, Playstation games, shirts, caps, pants, wallets, and more. I found some police trucks on the "dollar table" and grabbed all eight. At first i hesitated from taking them all, but they encouraged me to do so and brought me a box to hold them. I also got a Captain America snap together model truck (Round2 AMT AMT857) and a cap and shirt. I went to pay and they had forgotten to charge me the extra $10, but after i reminded them, my price was $33.

The truck is fun. It's a KiNSMART KT5365, though it is a police truck. The doors open and the spring loaded action lets me pull it back and it rolls forward. It's not a small car, but is about the size of my hand ("Scale 1/46"). It happens to be a F-150, prompting me to ask, "Have you played with a Ford, lately?"

Back to the office, the lady who sits next to me showed no special interest in the truck. That is, until she saw the doors opened and the spring loaded action. All of a sudden she wanted one for her son. Her son is in his twenties and lives out of state. But who's counting? Two other people wanted it for their children. Heh. I find the whole thing amusing.

When my erstwhile boss asked me to meet him downstairs around lunchtime, i came down with the truck to show it to him. It was he that encouraged me to go in the first place and i thought he might want one. No interest. On my way back up, i was toying with it in the elevator. Two people were there of which the woman was eying me strangely. So, i asked with feigned surprise, "What?! You didn't go to the sale this morning?" There might have been a smile or a "what sale?", but it was all over soon. That is kind of out of character for me, but it sure felt good. :) For now at least, one of the trucks is being left at my desk.

At the register, i was asked if an emailed recipt was ok. Sure it was. My email address? I used a plus sign to help identify it. The program wouldn't take it. I hate stupid programmers.

I replied to the email with a thank you and then:

Hope i'm not spamming you. I just have to let it out.

I _really_ should have bought more models.

There aren't any left, are there?

A few minutes later she responded

Not spamming at all. Unfortunately, there aren't. I can follow up and see if any come up in the future though. What kinds are you interested in?

Really? There's a chance? I sent a response starting with:

Thanx for replying. I know i am hoping against hope. :) But it doesn't hurt to ask.

Who knows where that will go?

The Captain America truck is being sold on ebay for around $20. $5 was a pretty deal.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982

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