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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: Chances of being killed by police in the USA

Journal by Space cowboy

So 104 people were killed by police in the USA during August, 2014. To my eyes, that's an absolutely enormous figure. As a Brit, I compare it to the 1 person killed over 3 years by the UK police. Yes, they're two different countries, yes there's a lot more people in the US, yes they have different cultures, yadda yadda yadda; people are dying here.

Let's do some maths:

  • Population of the USA: 319 million (source: http://tinyurl.com/bpotuf9)
  • Percentage chance for a person to be shot in August is then: (104 x 100%) / 319,000,000 = 0.000033%

That's a scarily huge percentage, given that it's normalised by population. Bear in mind that police in the USA are not ... shy ... at shooting at suspects, and neither are they 100% accurate. Some of the casualties are in fact bystanders.

Now let's consider extrapolating for the period of time that most shootings occur (i.e.: suspect between the ages of 15 and 40), and see how that changes things:

  • Chance to be shot over 25 year period = (104 x 12 x 25 x 100%) / 319,000,000 = 0.0097%
  • Rounding that, since this is an extrapolation, we get 0.01%

Now that's an amazingly large percentage chance of being shot dead by a policeman. Let's do the same thing for the UK:

  • Population of the UK: 65 million (source: http://tinyurl.com/kzsalbe)
  • Percentage chance for a person to be shot over last 3 years is then: (1 x 100%) / 65,000,000 = 0.0000015%
  • Therefore percentage chance for a person to be shot in August 2014 is 0.0000015 / 12 / 3 = 0.0000000427%
  • Therefore percentage chance to be shot over 25 year period is 0.0000000427 x 12 x 25 = 0.0000128%

Compare 0.01% and 0.00001% and remember these are normalised by population. Yeah.

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: [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: 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).

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

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