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User Journal

Journal Journal: This is how I've felt about UX 'design' for ages now. 3

I just had to highlight this post I came across; it pretty much pretty hit the nail on the head with what pisses me off about the whole UX thing:

If I have to guess what to do, the GUI lost its purpose. May as well just go back to DOS

The purpose of the GUI is to keep UX designers employed. The year 24-bit color becomes standard, XP's Fisher-price look is "needed" to make that boring and stodgy NT/2K look go away. The year 3d graphics appears on commodity hardware, Aero is "needed" to make that "childish" XP look go away. The year touchscreens come out, Metro is "needed" to make that "distracting" 3D glossy look go away.

Same sorta deal with Firefox - a few years ago, a browser with lots of options and user control was a good thing. Now it's "distracting" and even the status bar and the name of the communications protocol in the title bar needs to go away to make it "clean".

It's not UX design, it's fashion design. Bunch of artistes wanking away on Photoshop trying to out-trendify each other. It's an utter waste of computing resources, and I'm sick of it.

Exactly. Everyone involved in app development needs to read this and decide whether they want to hire ANYONE who is a self-professed "UX person".

User Journal

Journal Journal: Why corporations act in evil ways

I often wonder why companies, even ones that are already rich, continue to do evil things such as help out the Chinese government with their suppression of their own people. The answer is that, no matter how rich a company/corporation currently is, they always want more money. It's like food to them; if they don't keep getting more in, the shareholders will punish the company's board; it feels, to them, like the company is 'starving'. It's no good for them to just make one big ton of money (Microsoft) and be happy with that - they must keep on getting more, always, for eternity. Food to humans is a good analogy. So, just as humans have to eat to survive, they companies/corporations have to eat (money) to survive, and try to survive they will. They'll even keep on eating if they're fat (have loads of money alredy), just like humans... unfortunately, companies don't even have the desire to slim again, like humans often do. To a company, getting as fat as possible is, and always will be, the ultimate goal - the point of its existance. This explains their neverending lust for profit, despite any consequences.

"To a person, animal flesh is food (vegetarians excepted). To a corporation, money is food, and like people, a corporation will do just about anything to ensure a consistent supply of food (money)."

This excellent summing up was written by user 'mcrbids' - thanks!

User Journal

Journal Journal: My advice to programmers

If there is one thing I would recommend to all newbie or learning programmers, it's this: before you delve into learning the details of a language or API or whatever, read a quick tutorial or overview first. If I had realised this a long time ago, I would've saved myself a lot of time.

There are several reasons for this.
Firstly, you may not like the language that you've decided to learn. Reading a short tutorial about it will let you see quickly whether you want to go further into investigating the language or not.
Secondly, learning a language by reading something like a reference book is a really good way to make you hate the language. Or get bored too quickly to learn it properly, and give up.
Thirdly, it's not really *necessary* to know *everything* about a language before you start to program in it. I'm sure there are people out there who would disagree with me on that, but as long as you know the fundamentals of a language, I think it's better to start going and learn as you create your first few projects, than to read through a detailed book that will probably be a very dry read if you aren't doing much coding using the stuff you're reading about.

My personal experience has taught me this. Maybe it's just my way of learning, I don't know, but I have had a lot more success learning stuff through first reading short and concise tutorials such as 'Learning Perl' (Schwartz & Christiansen) and 'theForger's Win32 API tutorial' (theForger :-) ), and have more quickly picked up and become proficient in the languages (or whatever) I have used this technique with, than the ones where I have started out trying to learn *everything* about the subject before I used it; for example, I am unable to read through from start to finish and appreciate a book such as, say, 'The C Programming Language' (Kernighan & Ritchie) or 'Programming Windows' (Petzold), yet I have both books sitting on my windowsill. Why?

Well, partly because I accidentally bought several such books with the intention of reading through them non-stop, and then realised partway through that I was getting so bored I wasn't really learning anything. And partly because what I now use them for is *reference* books.

It may sound obvious, but it's quite easy to 'bite off more than you can chew' and try to learn too much before you start with a language or API or whatever. Get into the habit of starting with short and concise tutorials, and reading into certain aspects that you need to know in a more detailed way, when you need to know them. Had I had this advice available to me when I first started to learn programming, I would have saved myself a lot of time and boredom. :-)

I wish all new/learning programmers could be given this advice somehow when they start to learn something new. I'd like to stop others making the same mistakes that I did. I don't often say a lot of long-winded preachy stuff, but this is one of the few things that I've really learnt to be useful, and thought that sharing it would be beneficial to all programmers. So please, if you know any struggling new programmers, no matter what language (or whatever) they're learning, try giving them the gist of this advice! It may well help.

Plus, when recommending books, make two distinct categories of books. Tutorials, and reference books. It's pretty much impossible to have something that is both, and I've frequently had inappropriate reference books recommended to me that haven't done much other than waste my time/money, as they were FAR too detailed when I knew too little about the given subject - it's these kind of recommendations that make me think that this advice, though it may seem obvious, needs to be more widely accepted and adopted. Advanced programmers tend to recommend stuff that would now be appropriate for them to read; not necessarily what would be appropriate for someone new to the subject, or indeed them - when they were new to the subject - to read.

Comments are welcome.

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