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Comment: Re:Unchanging UIs? Not just for old people (Score 1) 233 233

For the TVs and remotes, it does seem to me things have gotten worse. I loved my DirecTV/Tivo combo; so when my mother got rid of Dish and got DirecTV, I thought her UI would improve but it was just as bad and confused me too. The Tivo was just a lot more intuitive. But Tivo was a stand out anyway, all the competitors just have awful UIs.

The new UIs are considered a side issue, if a manufacturer makes a large screen TV then they are proud of that technology but the interface itself is only a last consideration and farmed out to third party teams probably. No one in marketing is insisting that they have the best user interface in the industry, it's likely not even crossing their minds. There may be pressure to have fewer buttons on the remote, or to have fewer words on the screen, and so forth.

My brother had worked with UI with a contracting company and a lot of the clients he worked with had requirements that involved a picture of exactly what every screen and option should look like down to the pixel. There was no leeway given, no opportunity to suggest a better design. The requirements are not necessarily even coming from experts in human-machine interaction but from the product managers instead.

Comment: Re:Unchanging UIs? Not just for old people (Score 2) 233 233

Now you have to worry about televisions becoming too complicated to use. Set top box user interfaces are pretty lousy too. Smartphones are portable containers of horrible interfaces so that you can be frustrated and annoyed anywhere you go. So if you give up on the computer altogether, soon you find yourself giving up on lots of things.

Even ordering food at restaurants is hard now. Oganic, vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian, paleo, low carb, high carb, free range home schooled beef, etc. There's a place my friends go to where you fill out a form for the type of burger you want; it's not always clear what's going on, like what side is included and which cost extra. Dammit, just give me my burger already and don't make me choose which type of ketchup it has.

Comment: Re:pardon my french, but "duh" (Score 4, Insightful) 233 233

I still don't know how to use Word. Luckily I don't have to. But I've dealt with enough user interfaces that I can muddle my way through them and eventually get something done. Occasionally I get something so screwed up that I can't recover (or I never even learn that there's a shortcut bar so never notice that it's missing). I've learned to think about all the stupid ways that stuff could be done. I switch between different UIs and operating systems all the time.

A key point though which distinguishes me from a senior citizen who can't figure out computers, is that I experiment. My mother is always worried about clicking on something unfamiliar, because she thinks that it may screw stuff up and it will be a big headache to try to sort it out. WHICH IS TRUE, because it does screw things up! Her mouse clicks aren't always accurate so she does click on the wrong things sometimes and it's a mess (I have this happen to me when I'm forced to use a touchpad on a laptop and end up accidentally clicking while trying to drag). So computers have taught her to beware of doing the wrong thing or she will be sorry! Computers are punishing the users and creating negative reinforcement.

Users are being conditioned to not experiment, but at the same time the interfaces are changing every few months!

I think every software team that creates a UI needs to hire a few 80 year olds for the QA group.

Comment: Re:pardon my french, but "duh" (Score 5, Interesting) 233 233

The interfaces do suck. I can help out my mother, not because I'm smarter, but because I've learned to deal with the idiocy that's out there and understand some of the obtuse terms being used. I deal with crappy stuff all day long, she doesn't.

Most recent example: her email lost her address book and send buttons. Basically that toolbar vanished. Don't know how it happened, probably some obscure key sequence she hit by mistake. So I have to go to the menu (this being Thunderbird it hasn't yet removed menus in the asinine way that Firefox did), find the way to change the view, look at which toolbars are active, click on "message" in my guess that these buttons were on the message toolbar and not the mail toolbar. Not hard but completely obtuse to someone not versed in how UIs are done.

Next problem in the same phone call: it wasn't showing all her email. 15 unread messages that it didn't seem to display or download. This one had me stumped actually for a bit. Turns out she had accidentally clicked on one of the filtering buttons at the top of the list. It is not at all obvious what has happened, or what these buttons do. But click on one and it only shows messages that match its filter (she had clicked the one to show only messages from those in her address book). Now if there should be ANY menu bar that should have to option to be disabled, it is that completely optional one, not the one containing the button to let you send a message.

To really make this hard, Mozilla is changing their UI all the time, without warning, without consulting with users, with devs thinking they know what's best for the entire world. Leave the UI alone, and stop being actively hostile to the user.

Thankfully, I've got TeamViewer which makes remote control easy. I recommend it. You need the other end to have broadband though or it'd be too slow.

Comment: Re:huh (Score 1) 207 207

"Peace through strength" sounds like straight up Orwell double-speak from 1984, except it's not being used in a fictitious setting.

"Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice."
"I could have ended the war in the month. I could have made Vietnam look like a mud puddle"
"You've got to forget about this civilian. Whenever you drop bombs, you're going to hit civilians."
"The only summit meeting that can succeed is the one that does not take place."

Domestically though, I think he'd have been better than Reagan.

Comment: Re:A Soviet comic once said (Score 1) 323 323

Yup. Society is stupid that way - if X is bad for you then they'll go overboard with Y. Oh no, sitting all day is bad, so we'll just stand in one place all day long instead, emulating 50's era factory workers (who were not noted for the exceptional health). Just walk around a bit, sit down a bit, stand a bit, etc.

Comment: Re:Internet without evangelicals = Win (Score 1) 285 285

And some wingnuts still hate Cronkite's name to this day because of it. The die hards who think we could have won in Vietnam, and the really stupid die hards who think we *should* have won in Vietnam. Remember that anti-communism at the time was essentially a religion of its own.

Comment: Re: Internet without evangelicals = Win (Score 1) 285 285

Many religions do not have any requirement to be bigoted. If we're talking Christianity, remember that Christ himself associated with known sinners. Not just any old sinners like those who cheat on their taxes, but the sorts of sinners who were shunned by the rest of society. There's nothing in Christianity that wants bigotry, instead that bigotry comes straight from society and culture.

Comment: Re: Internet without evangelicals = Win (Score 1) 285 285

Baking a cake for a gay couple does not violate any scriptures or doctrines. Attending a gay wedding does not either.

Christian and Jewish scriptures do not define what does or does not constitute a marriage, how the marriage shall be performed, whether it has to be in a church or not, priest versus judge doing the rites, what role the government has in it, etc. Instead the concept of marriage today is a social definition. But too many people confuse their social/ethnic/cultural views with their religion.

Comment: Re: Internet without evangelicals = Win (Score 1) 285 285

Yup. People are bigoted. So just don't do business with them. Eventually they're forced to change just to make a living.

Right now it's just a knee jerk reaction; they're happy to make wedding cakes for straight couples without first giving them a religious questionnaire to be sure they're the correct sorts, they're not verifying that they've never been divorced in the past, they're not even asking to see an application for a marriage license (they could be buying a wedding cake to celebrate a year of living together in sin!). They're just picking and choosing which sin they're going to be offended by this day. It has nothing to do with their own religious liberty either, until they can present some scriptures or doctrine that explains why they can not put two figurines of grooms on the same cake.

Unfortunately, it's going to be a hot button issue for decades to come. Some are happy that "it's finally over" but look at how Roe v Wade decision in no way settled the issue over abortion.

Comment: Re:Color Blindness is a "Micro-Aggression" (Score 1) 207 207

Which is fine. The real world will never be 100% fair. As adults most people learn that things aren't perfect yet we try to improve ourselves anyway or just deal with things. The problem is that some people want to try and enforce this. I still think it's just some fringe wackos on colleges, but those wackos do seem to think that they can and should be able to a comfort zone around themselves.

There must be more to life than having everything. -- Maurice Sendak

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