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Comment Re:UX Books (Score 1) 173

All excellent titles (and most of these are on my shelf). One I'd like to add is "Simple and Usable" by Giles Colborne ISBN: 978-0321703545

Simple and Usable is a short read, but does a great job at helping you understand what goes into simplifying a design. "Simplicity is not simple" - there's always an irreducible amount of complexity. This book helps you understand how to manage it.

It's a mindset book, not a cookbook - not really similar to "Design of Everyday Things" (DoET), but it serves a similar purpose: help you set your course through the field.

Comment ThinkTank Urban Disguise + harness (Score 1) 282

Love my ThinkTank Urban Disguise: http://www.thinktankphoto.com/search.aspx?find=Urban+Disguise. This is a briefcase-look bag, which you wouldn't think held camera gear. Can get a harness for backpack use. Word to the wise: this is a LOT of gear to be hauling. My bag weighs a ton without ANY laptop, and my 15" MacBook Pro makes it a strain on a shoulder. Travel lighter than me, please.

Comment Re:Agree: AVOID AVOID AVOID AVOID!!!! (Score 1) 316

Well, you could go to /dev/null for the functionality they've delivered for me so far.

Your question implies that similar functionality (in the sense of a product that's purchasable, not vapor and that will work as advertised) is actually available somewhere else.

I believe there's a British firm that markets the same hardware, that actually gives a crap about the customer, but unfortunately you're not going to get two working GBEN ports from them either - it's the same device.

No idea where to tell you to turn.

Comment Agree: AVOID AVOID AVOID AVOID!!!! (Score 1) 316

Yeah, I'm still waiting on my "Early June" delivery of a GuruPlug+ from an order in May. It's spec'ed great. Too bad you can only use the Gigabit Ethernet at 10/100.

They think they're going to sell me a "professional upgrade kit" to make it meet the spec they advertized when they billed my card. Bullshit.

So let's say you want to do something you need to rely on: home music server, 24/7 monitoring applications, security. If you haven't laid in a spare, are you going to wait over 3 months for a replacement when it breaks. N.B.:WHEN it breaks.

Run far and fast from GlobalScale!

Why expend so much effort to piss a customer off at your company? Couldn't they have just put up an order page that said "Fsck You, Customer!"?

Comment Re:retire it (Score 1) 417

Sad to say, I agree. Get a Sheevaplug (from someone other than the quite unresponsive Global Scale Technologies), a USB disk that spins down and do a file server that draws about 6 watts.

If you've got software to do productive work on it, you could donate it to World Computer Exchange or freecycle it locally for even less carbon debt - either of these options would give someone less fortunate a hand.

Comment Re:I'm an anonymous coward (Score 1) 5

Definitely not trying to say I'm smarter.

When you look at human factors problems, typically "smart" doesn't enter into it in the sense that someone is "not smart enough to perform this task".

In fact, smarts can be a root cause: if everyone on the design team is blindingly smart, they may also be completely blind to the interpretation users make of their product in the marketplace.

This is typically solved with user research (not to be confused with marketing research) and design. Many companies study the out-of-box experience since that's when the user's initial impressions of a product are formed. Ever open an Apple product to find yourself delighted? That's a researched, designed experience.

What first impressions of Moto and Android did this OOB make on my wife? (We both already knew Verizon are asshats).

Comment Re:I'm an anonymous coward (Score 1) 5

Hi Coward - goodonya for not signing your name to an ignorant comment. Says more about you than about me.

I work in human factors, so you're in my domain now.

It's really not stupid to pull a tab marked "PULL". It wouldn't have been difficult to mark the tab "PULL - battery" or not mark it "PULL" at all.

  - Smart people designed, built and operated radiation therapy machines that killed people that live in my state.
  - Smart people designed, built and blew up the Space Shuttle Challenger by launching when it was too cold.

These are human factors problems caused when innate human psychology meets poor design:

- Generalizing knowledge in a domain: Wife and I have both seen "pull" tabs in plenty of brand new products where you have to pull the tab out to get the product to begin to work. That's what we thought it was.

- Taking the only instructions at face value: the label "PULL" and "Don't Cut" is used here to mean both "PULL" and "DON'T PULL!". Am I stupid for not getting "DON'T PULL!" out of "PULL"?

Hope your day's going better than mine!

jddj

Submission + - DroidX Does - have a self-destruct tab (slashdot.org)

jddj writes: New in the box, Motorola's new DroidX has a plastic tab on the back that says "PULL^". Owners that follow that instruction pull the plastic backing with the serial number and service ID out of the phone, and in the process immediately void their warranties (confirmed by talking to Motorola and Verizon). This is happening a lot. Our story and a picture link in the journal article.

Comment Re:Please explain the appeal of Tron to me (Score 0, Flamebait) 170

Me too - I was just out of college at the time.

I thought it was very "fake geekery" at the time, Disnified bullshit, like everything else Disney puts out.

When the movie came out, I'd already been doing optical special effects for a while, and thought the "everything on black" opticals looked cheap and lame - not up to the high standard set by Doug Trumbull with 2001, Silent Running, etc. over a decade before. The work didn't even look as good as Star Wars.

There were maybe a half-dozen CGI scenes, which looked pretty cool to me, but that's about all I could say for the movie.

The plot insulted my intelligence, even then.

The first "all-CGI space footage" movie was, AFAIK, "The Last Starfighter", which featured another insulting plot, though the very cool Robert Preston appears in a key role.

So many of the films of the next 30 years would be weak exercises in filmmaking as excuses to get time on a supercomputer or grid. We shouldn't be celebrating this low-water-mark.

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