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Comment: Re:flat as a pancake: invasion pending (Score 1) 234

by Vitriol+Angst (#49772875) Attached to: Microsoft Tries Another Icon Theme For Windows 10

Change costs money? Yes it does; businesses buy the new Microsoft product because they changed the file types integration with Outlook.

Microsoft has to change things enough so that they can justify the "new thing" to sell -- and often that's a cosmetic change because 98% of their users aren't going to be using that new, deviation feature on a pivot table.

I could show a whole slew of changes Microsoft made that MUST HAVE had a lot of rationale associated with the change but makes no sense to me. Also a major complaint is why they changed the names of standard words in desktop publishing to useless and vague terms so you could never get a Help to find it for you. "Leading" is a term, "Paragraph Space" is a vague rearrangement of common speech. OK, rant over - the point is they started using terms for functions in their programs while ignoring real conventions. Then they made interface conventions based on some religion of UI while ignoring users.

I've spent many, many years annoyed at bad choices in UI by Microsoft. My fingers have had to travel MANY many miles because they couldn't have one alignment command with shortcuts and had to have an icon for every alignment -- they were ten years after everyone else to finally add a context menu so you didn't have to travel to center an object.

And Word still has major issues for anyone trying to do real page layout with it, or try and overlay high resolution graphics. It's a bloated text editor, no longer efficient and speedy at the first thing, and still hobbled by legacy to be good at graphics and page layout. But it's good at some email macros, and automation, as long as you don't have too many. Lot's of features, as long as you don't depend on them.

I just get really annoyed at bad designs -- it's not like I didn't KNOW how to use these product, or try and find better methods. It was the repetitive nature of using a damn baby hammer when I could see 50 ways they could have done it better. Why did someone get paid to make this lackluster app?

So now you are saying it's all driven by the touch screen. Well that's great, but I'm not using Windows on a touch screen and Surface is a tiny, tiny part of their market. Why not make a Surface interface for the Surface, and then a different one for the Desktop and marry the two when they've finally figured out the touchscreen and the desktop?

I'm not interested in researching Microsoft UI, because I've been too annoyed by their past efforts. Making icons big enough for a finger to touch them is NOT something I'd call a huge innovation, nor is it something that should have made Windows 8 such a bad hybrid.

I would really love to get into UI design -- actually "back into it" would be more accurate. But I did this stuff before they had degrees and certifications and NOW the UI is some sort of formal "it's done this way because WE KNOW these things." It's like the old "psychology for management" they used to teach in business school I suppose.

There are some things you can codify for "concepts" of a good interface, but it's really about a designer and a tool user crafting something that makes sense. There has to be a logic AND an aesthetic, it needs to let you know where you are and where you are going. It needs to be simple and elegant at the same time, and powerful should be one or two clicks away. It needs to be forgiving and let you know before you mess up.

It seems to me that UI designers are trying to create more and more UI, when really they should be like special effects in a movie; "There, but part of the story, and if possible, not even noticed." Strip away everything you can but no more from a UI and now you've got a tool.

Microsoft doesn't seem to have the mindset to to this; they look at the customer as something to market to and a touch screen as something to do LOTS of touching with. So I think whatever their UI is going to be, it's going to reflect the corporate culture, and then someone will "rationalize" in the new babble of UAX why it made kinesthetic logic to annoy everyone once again.

Comment: Re:flat as a pancake: invasion pending (Score 1) 234

by Vitriol+Angst (#49772803) Attached to: Microsoft Tries Another Icon Theme For Windows 10

The Ribbon is awful UI.

I never "scanned" through those menus -- I just put frequently used action buttons in a palette. The Ribbon pretends to be "friendly" but takes up space and hides what I need to access with little hard to press triangle in the bottom right corner of each pane.

It takes me more time than the same function used to. I'm teaching myself to use High end 3D animation apps these days, so I am not afraid of change or complexity. I just get annoyed at bad designs when they've had 30 years to make Office products right.

Apple's products may have fewer features, but they are much faster to use for both novice and advanced users. Adobe Indesign is even better for page layout, but inexplicably, I find Illustrator to be annoying and it overcomplicates layers and complex vector illustrations -- but nobody remembers any other vector illustration programs so they think it's the best.

Microsoft's fans seem to suffer from the "don't know any better designs so they think this is awesome" syndrome.

Comment: Re:flat as a pancake: invasion pending (Score 1) 234

by Vitriol+Angst (#49772787) Attached to: Microsoft Tries Another Icon Theme For Windows 10

I'm a veteran user of MicroSoft Office products -- so much so that I still spell it "PowerPoint." I've noticed that for MOST of the functions I've used, the advances are usually not huge (2008 brought a color sampler tool so I could mage colors -- hooray!), and for the most part, the icons get re-arranged. I could deal with that by creating my own menu for most common features.

The Ribbon sucks -- it truly absolutely sucks. It takes up a lot of space, disorganizes where I need to click and ruins context, and manages to make simple, common tasks more confusing. I've used more than a few hundred Apps, and I can tell you where the interfaces are good and bad. Adobe still screws up on their bezier pen tool and have yet to catch up to FreeHand's "one tool does it all" for lines and their easy "paste inside" for masking.

And then Metro really, really sucks, because simple OS tasks are now a series of actions. Sliding to hot corners is context sensitive with no indication of what the context is. Icons are either icons for buttons, or a picture of the family dog -- or an advertisement. The Xbox is NOT a design for getting things done -- it's a video game interface, that usually gets inbetween you and a game, or you and Netflix, and tries to sell you aftermarket crap that they kept out of the game in order to sell to you later.

So, yeah, I'm going to whine about that damn Ribbon, because I can use Office 2008 faster than any of the later Ribbon additions. and I could use Keynote with more proficiency in 2 weeks than 10 years with PowerPoint. The little floating panel with a few tabs (LOGICALLY organized) allowed me to make changes quickly. Because of the superior interface, I'd import presentations into Keynote, get the work done, export it to PowerPoint and then clean it up again -- because THAT was quicker than using the Ribbon interface.

Comment: Re:Not pointless... (Score 1) 457

by Vitriol+Angst (#49772723) Attached to: D.C. Police Detonate Man's 'Suspicious' Pressure Cooker

Slow clap.

Awesome. I also like how you angry because this should drive people angry. This "anti terror" error is stupid, and we had more REAL threats when we were facing armies.

If anyone CARED about American lives they'd improve mass transit, do something about crappy and addictive prescription medicines, and make sure every American had health care and a decent job.

I had to explain to my kids a few years back about yet another news story about kids abducted on the way to school; "There are 330 million people in this country, and you will hear mostly about anything horrible happening but not a status update that 99.9% are doing OK today." (Yeah, and they really didn't get the risk percentages so I had to calm them a bit more).

The News has to keep people watching, so it hypes whatever the fear du jour is. The net result is we get more secure and and the same time more worried -- resulting in early onset "wimpy-ness." So I keep the News shows off so my kids can maintain some perspective; "Eat your broccoli and look both ways when crossing the road -- you've just solved most of the threats to your life."

Comment: Are the police fooling anyone but themselves here? (Score 1) 457

by Vitriol+Angst (#49772695) Attached to: D.C. Police Detonate Man's 'Suspicious' Pressure Cooker

The car's owner was located and arrested for driving on a revoked license.

So they blow up his stuff, maybe ruin his car and to CYA they smelled gas. And in order to justify whatever, they arrest the guy for being poor. The car isn't being driven folks -- it's there because the man ran out of money. He COULD HAVE had it towed or any number of responsible things -- but, he didn't have money.

Being poor has been a criminal act -- let's face it, you can slip on all kinds of licenses, and run around without insurance because you trade feeding a family or medicine for taking a few legal risks 9 times out of 10. But now it's terrorism?

They should just admit they were a bit overzealous and compensate the guy for the pot -- maybe give him a tow or sell his car for him. The public interests are not served on this hyperbole.

While the Boston bombing did use a pressure cooker -- the average killing spree with a gun is far more dangerous -- and we've accidentally killed more people with prescription drugs and nobody is blowing up jars of Oxycontin (but who knows what bored people might do?)

The really annoying thing here is that the Police put out statements and the Press repeat them, that have anyone with functional BS detector saying; "Oh come on." This is more crying wolf and pretty soon, a real or fake terrorist attack is going to be huge, just so people don't treat the issue as a joke or a jobs program.

Comment: Re:You realize... (Score 1) 186

I'd say that Greenpeace is arguably the good guys, in the same way as these "let Galapagos species die because it's natural" is a bad idea. Extinctions DO seem to serve a purpose in the grand scheme -- but only to wipe the slate clean for new designs. The earth has come close to becoming lifeless and either too hot or too cold, and that's been largely due to imbalances that cause species die off. So YES, more diversity = GOOD. And that's a provable statement in many subjective and objective ways.

I just admire Greenpeace activists because they aren't fighting for some invisible God, or ego - they risk real adversity. Maybe in the future people will treat them as larger than life heroes -- but you and I discussing this on a blog, not so much -- we stay comfortable.

And I'll defend Hippies because they believe in peace and love and equality -- and what could be wrong with that?

We, as a self-satisfied SUV driving culture want to preserve our status quo AND pat ourselves on the back. Are we another myopic death cult? It seems; nobody sees themselves for what they are in the culture that created the problem. Archie Bunker becomes a sex symbol because instead of progress, we believe the marketing that being a stupid cow eating stupid cows is some kind of achievement.

How do you think history will judge the American culture by and large in 50 years?

Comment: Re:You realize... (Score 1) 186

I have to roll my eyes at this concept. The logic seems to be based on a sock puppet concept of what will most annoy Environmentalists, or Hippies, or whatever is trying to "force humans to behave". Humans have an impact, merely by being a successful organism. If mosquitos killed off the dinosaurs, do we "blame" them? No.

However, humans are in the position of mitigating their effect -- not only that, but we can PICK WINNERS! Human interference, or perhaps symbiosis, has elevated dogs to family pets and helped cows to become more plentiful (jury is out on whether they enjoy the honor). The simple truth is we are in the middle of a massive extinction rate that is as fast and as massive as many of the great ones in history -- so why not preserve whatever we can to maintain diversity? Everything we choose to do or do not do will decide winners and losers, so helping out the Galapagos species even though a Volcano might doom them is not necessarily "bad". Sure, it's unnatural -- but what does that mean anymore when human's are, by their nature, effectors of change on a planetary scale?

It's time to recognize that we may be in what could be called the "post evolutionary stage." Or perhaps the "directed evolutionary stage." We are busy tweaking ourselves, bioweapons, antibiotics, and glow in the dark cats. Terraforming or building resort islands will be part and parcel with choosing to keep building more roads or build more trains and paint rooftops white to reduce heat absorption.

Environmentalists might have to come to terms with what is "natural" -- but since economics is most of the decision making process -- being environmentally conscious is either useful or useless but rarely damaging, the next GMO food has more impact than a thousand activists and it's time we looked at things in the larger context.

Grabbing some animals and flora off an island to survive an eruption is tampering in a positive way, whereas using pesticides on food crops is tampering on a much larger scale. I don't see the problem or contradiction with mitigating the effects of natural disasters when we do far more to wipe out species -- it's a small attempt to restore balance.

Comment: Re:-dafuq, Slashdot? (Score 1) 249

by Vitriol+Angst (#49693631) Attached to: Greenland's Glaciers Develop Stretch Marks As They Accelerate

I came for the stretch marks.

Why do we always have to discuss the manner in the way data is presented when it's pretty well known that Global Warming is changing the poles? Much better to spend our time on "what's next" and "how fast?"

The stretch marks are obviously and indication of movement that is "faster" than what we usually see; and how fast is that? A meter per day?

I'm thinking something the size of New Jersey is going to slip into the ocean in the next few years and "what happens" after that? Do we get a tsunami?

Comment: Re:One thing to keep in mind... (Score 1) 244

by Vitriol+Angst (#49693527) Attached to: RTFM? How To Write a Manual Worth Reading

Couldn't agree more. I went for years not being able to use UNIX man pages on command lines or common documents with apps because the switches never gave examples that made it clear. Was the bracket part of the command, was there a space or comma after the -p or do the letters run together? So many possible combinations that a novice or causal user is often left clueless how to use it so they go search on the web for a complete example and the man page lays dormant and useless.

And even though I've done some programming or scripts that use the command line -- I still don't know how to use most switches in UNIX because the man pages all follow the same example of "let's keep this opaque as possible and never, ever explain anything simply."

Comment: Re:More voters voting is not better in itself (Score 1) 258

by Vitriol+Angst (#49693161) Attached to: Online Voting Should Be Verifiable -- But It's a Hard Problem

You beat me to it. this is pretty much the system I would suggest to verify "e voting." The "ticket" is just to let you know what your vote token is. Nobody knows who you are -- they only know that person X was eligible to vote and did vote in election Y.

The vote tally would have to be made of a series of private/public key encrypted files and there would be spot-checking with exit polling to check back with token owners to see if they voted how the token indicated. Anonymously and randomly.

You'd also need a verification of the person from time to time to create the voter ID -- kind of like a social security number with it's own password. And this is what is used to create the vote token.

I think it's totally do-able and in fact, there is already a system like it with Apple Pay. The Vendors and the Voting location don't verify or know the vote cast -- just the tally machine at the end. They just verify that Person X was person X and voted. So even if we stay with voting locations -- we should move to a token system because our current "black box" -- privately programmed touch screens are not verifiable, no matter what garbage we are being told today because their is no way to match up the vote with the voter -- only a tally, and the individual vote, with no guarantee that THAT vote is part of the tally.

The other absurdity is to get a slip of paper or a card with "your vote" that you hand in. And there's someone with a badge there to protect it. I feel embarrassed by how stupid they have to think I am as a voter that this gives me any confidence at all that they can't just write down whomever they wanted as the winner of the vote. Our old paper and pencil system was 100% better than the electronic one we have now and cheaper as well (because crooks had to be paid, no doubt).

Comment: Re:More voters voting is not better in itself (Score 1) 258

by Vitriol+Angst (#49693057) Attached to: Online Voting Should Be Verifiable -- But It's a Hard Problem

I would have agreed with this about a decade ago, but then I thought about how I became sick and tired of the process -- I feel the vote machines are rigged and the choices pre-approved by the lobbyists, yadda, yadda. I still vote, but I do so out of duty and absolutely no delusion that my candidate is EVER going to win. We vote in the most corrupt person we can, and that's the way it's going to be.

But I thought about WHY the ancient Greeks forced people to the poles and would even fine them and mark their necks with a purple die (wrapping around a cloth to secure the print). It's the disenfranchised that you WANT to vote because otherwise the game is won by whomever can disgust everyone about the other candidate. Either they believe the much thrower and vote with him, or they don't vote -- says the logic of reality as we've seen it in modern voting patterns. The more negative, the more independent voters and the fewer people show up to vote overall. Winner; muck thrower.

Comment: Re:The problem is not methodology... (Score 1) 507

by Vitriol+Angst (#49692339) Attached to: Is Agile Development a Failing Concept?

I just took a course on Scrum/ AGILE and it was refreshing to learn that "the hardest thing to figure is how long things take on a complex project."

So an AGILE PM would say; "How complex do you think task X is relative to Y?" You'd then break things down into units of labor and try and attack the priorities and the lowest number units. This will of course, come as no shock to anyone in AGILE development -- but I'm repeating this stuff for the benefit of anyone who hasn't, and myself to reinforce the concepts.

Over time and consistency, your work units will translate to "time" -- but not until a while with a team and working on the same types of projects.

The point is; a business needs to hire the labor that they need, and get as much done as they can in a reasonable amount of time. No matter what they do, they can't get an unreasonable amount of work done with a small amount of labor -- they can only fail to produce good work or timely work.

AGILE fails because companies and or management do not adhere to it's principles. Unless workers are empowered to do all that they must do to accomplish a given task -- it isn't going to work. And if you want a timescale of less than 6 months where you can predict the rate of output -- that's also going to fail

Management has been blowing smoke up the rear of executives for decades now, and I suppose everyone still likes the breeze it makes.

Comment: Re:"Best" depends on intent (Score 1) 200

by Vitriol+Angst (#49692253) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: What Is the Best Open Document Format?

Sometimes you people make things WAY too complicated.

In our 'best judgement' -- what's a very open standard for documents? Now, we can ask "what type of document" -- and we can also try and answer for whatever documents we know.

So here goes;

Documents; Try RTFD. Rich Text Formatted Document. It might not be perfect in layout -- but it's open, and accessible to a lot of apps and cross platform. If you get bad results, you might just need to switch to some other "open" app. OpenOffice on all platforms will likely have consistent results but I haven't tried this. I use "Bean" on the Mac for a lightweight text editor and have no trouble.

PDF is good if you need to preserve the look and feel and for the most part -- it's accessible even without paying Adobe. Higher end features require an editor -- but you can have text, images and basic hyper links without cost. There are open source tools available. Adobe of course is a for profit company, but you can get 90% of everything you need with the free and "accessible" standard it has become. It isn't open -- but the PDF format won't change for anything it is compatible with right now.

SVG is a vector based image format. PNG is an image format. JPEG is a lossy compression format. All highly available.

Not so sure for 3D but Collada may be the best. Obj and DXF are old as dirt and don't transfer a lot of information like vertex normals correctly -- at least from discussions I've read. Someone with more experience should weigh in on this topic.

Comment: Re:Not really about lie detectors per se (Score 4, Interesting) 246

While yes, Bill Clinton was impeached for lying on a civil case -- it was a foregone conclusion BEFORE they impeached him that there was no perjury nor would he be able to be convicted.

Perjury charges are usually very difficult for prosecutors to prove because perjury is a crime of intent. This means that a defendant charged with perjury can only be found guilty if the prosecutor shows beyond a reasonable doubt that he or she intended to make the false statement under oath, or, that the witness told the lie on purpose. As such, criminal attorneys often defend their clients by arguing that the defendant did not intend to lie, or that the party believed the statement to be the truth at the time they made it.

The other thing is that it was not a Material Matter and it was not a criminal case. Having sex or not with Monica Lewinsky had beans to do with whether he forced himself on Jennifer Flowers (her own sister said she was trying to climb that pole for months).

Additionally, the Judge instructed that "sex was copulation between a man and a woman" -- so by the court rules laid out, Clinton's BJ was not considered "sex."

He was impeached, but he did not perjure himself. But he Republicans did, no numerous occasions in order to get him in the hot seat to talk about his penis.

This is just a public service announcement from people sick of us worrying about crap that doesn't matter instead of WAR CRIMES and an asshat like Bush that destroyed our economy, hired mercenaries, profited on war, approved torture, and made a fortune for oil companies and weapons dealers with a direct material benefit back to him -- and YET, we cannot investigate this unless there is a penis involved.

And we have another one of these scumbags from this rotten family in the pipe to go into office again and half the country thinks the Clintons are "more corrupt" even though they were exonerated on all 5 charges that Kenneth Starr spent 5 long years and more money than the 9.11 committee investigating.

Comment: Re:Now do the same for Russian & NK? (Score 1) 82

It's not 100% safe, or hadn't you been tracking the state of Whistle-blowers or people in the press who get imprisoned? Whether it's just "more free" than Russia but less free than Norway and we can pat ourselves on the back or not -- the assumption that secret organizations keeping us safe without any oversight is anti-Democratic. America is better than Russia BECAUSE of the ACLU and other organizations and individuals that stand up to secrecy and how people are treated. The only thing we know is what we know and can measure -- everything else is an assumption. And we are told they are keeping us safe. Either they believe Democracy doesn't work because "we can't handle the truth" or they aren't working for us and just lie. I think there are a lot of people in this country who feel "you can't handle the truth" and they somehow feel like they are better qualified because we are naive; the enemy will take any advantage and won't hesitate to harm us if they can. I understand that kind of enemy; they think a lot like the "you can't handle the truth" people. I think the world is made up of "live and let live" and the cynical; "stab you in the back first" people. We can only win the hearts and minds of the former and hope they have influence on the latter.

Being subversive and using Linked-In to track the people who track you seems like a very patriotic thing do. What is good for the goose should be good for the gander. If the intelligence community doesn’t like being outed, perhaps they should revisit the 4th Amendment.

I just hope NOT posting this anonymously, doesn't hurt my credit rating -- you just don't know in this day and age how someone in power with no oversight can affect your life.

Logic doesn't apply to the real world. -- Marvin Minsky