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Comment Re:I Talked to a Couple of Beta Testers (Score 1) 401

It's certainly "fucked-up" -- but I'm not suggesting that the beta testers get ALL of the blame either. Blizzard isn't a perfect analogy here, because they're a developer that has an established history of listening to fans, and they're speaking the same language. Square seems to be dipping their toes into the shark-infested waters of usability testing, so I was trying to be constructive. It's worth analyzing what might've gone went wrong, no?

Comment Re:I Talked to a Couple of Beta Testers (Score 1) 401

You can definitely blame this on the majority of the beta testers. I was one.

While there were plenty of other problems with the beta test itself -- abysmal build quality and unnecessarily limited playtimes were two big problems, the primary downfall was the total lack of direction from the developers and moderators. I brought up many of these same issues (particularly the UI mechanisms, as I'm a UI guy professionally) on the beta forums; a few posters agreed with me, but the majority of the replies came from slavering, rabid fanboys. These idiots took umbrage at mild suggestions or observations -- to say nothing of real, rigorous, and honest feedback -- and essentially drowned out anything useful. The most commonly repeated aphorisms were along the lines of "It'll be fixed by launch" and "How dare you suggest that anything Square produces is less than perfect."

Given that not a single one of the issues I brought up appears to have been fixed, it appears Square listened solely to the yes-men. It's also plausible that they really didn't learn anything from FFXI, as others are saying, but they did at least solicit user feedback this time.

Comment Re:Why go to community college? (Score 1) 425

Community colleges offer virtually the same learning experience as a full university, especially for basic education credits -- and what do most students take in their first two years, anyway? So unless you live within walking distance of a top-ten university, chances are you'll be just as challenged by the content, and you get all the benefits of geographic accessibility at a fraction of the cost. Plus, most community colleges have a maximum class size of 30 rather than 300.

Comment Been there, done that (Score 1) 425

Running Start

Similar program in Washington state, has been around for 20 years now. Students can enroll full-time in college and fully skip the last two years of high school if they meet the admissions criteria (though you don't get your diploma until the end of your 12th year.) This gets them an Associates in Arts and Sciences, which is immediately transferable to any Washington 4-year public university, and is guaranteed by law to fulfill their basic education (e.g. non-major) classes at that university. Alternatively, they can go part-time and simply transfer the credits, though not all are guaranteed to correspond to basic ed requirements.

Incidentally, I did the former, starting at 14. The administrator in TFA who thinks maturity is a problem for anyone who wants to do this program, though, needs to get a clue. While I'm well aware that the plural of anecdote is not data, it was an amazing program that beat the pants off the "high school experience." People at community colleges generally want to be there, and the elevated age levels mean that you're surrounded by people with experience that you can learn from.

Comment Re:UI polish, documentations (Score 1) 891

This is incorrect. You can quantitatively measure "quality", and all it takes is a little effort to define criteria. The easiest example I can think of is measuring the average amount of time required for users to complete a task. For things like web sites, this can be gathered trivially via Analytics or any other stat program. There is nothing subjective about it -- if you do it right. Most usability professionals know how.

As for programmers working alone, though, that's something no one else can solve.

Comment Re:You're doing it wrong (Score 1) 390

In general, sans serif fonts are more immediately legible, but serifed fonts are easier to read in larger blocks of text.

[citation needed] ;)

There's been a few studies that claimed this, but they had flawed methodologies. Unfortunately, it's lead to widespread misconceptions. Here's a relevant literature review with more information.


Submission + - Genitalia Now Inappropirate in 7th Grade Health

firemoose writes: A 7th grade health class teacher has been transferred to administrative duties and may be fired for having his students draw male genitalia on a chalk board in class. The district superintendent took action after receiving complaints from parents. He has labeled the teacher's actions as "insensitive" and inappropriate for the mixed-sex students of the 7th grade class. The article quotes a parent and a teacher who believe that the school board may be overreacting, but is only able to cite a 4th grade student who found the idea of genitalia in class offensive.

Feed Privacy Board Veils Wiretap Docs (

A White House board overseeing privacy and civil liberties says no to a Wired News sunshine request for documents on the government's warrantless wiretapping program. Releasing the information would "not be in the public interest," it claims. In 27B Stroke 6.


Submission + - Conn. Teacher "spyware" case in-depth comm writes: "Network Performance Daily has two interviews dealing with the case of Julie Amero, the Connecticut schoolteacher convicted of harming minors from porn pop-up ads that the defense contends was the result of a spyware infection. The first is from defense witness Mr. Herb Horner, the second from prosecution witness Detective Mark Lounsbury."

Submission + - Copy-Friendly Businesses

An anonymous reader writes: Via Economist's View 007/01/copyfriendly_bu.html
A series of articles in the Financial Times on copy friendly businesses — starting with publishing 00779e2340.html
"The internet makes copying cheap. Businesses that see their livelihood as dependent on the restriction of copying — concentrated in the recording, film, publishing and software industries — are understandably upset. Their goal is to have the same ability to control their content as they had in an analog world but to keep all the benefits of pervasiveness, cost saving, and viral marketing that a global digital network brings. Its not so much a case of having their cake and eating it too as having their cake and making your cake illegal. Yet there are hints in each of these industries of a different business model, one that aims to encourage, rather than to forbid copying. .. In my next few columns, that is what I will do — study "copy-friendly" businesses, beginning today with publishing."

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