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Comment Re:Does anyone else not like the idea of touch... (Score 5, Insightful) 171

Amen - so much so that I voted with my cash by avoiding the 2011 Holden and buying a 2010 second hand instead. The 2011 model's greatest selling point (according to the ads) is the "iQ" touchscreen interface - making them Holden's "smartest" cars yet. I hired one for a few days and found it a grand step backwards. With no tactic feedback it was almost impossible to operate while driving. You basically had to have a passenger, or pull over to change the radio station.

The ideal user interface for car entertainment/information devices has already been invented. It's a button for binary operations and a knob for analog operations. It's incredibly clever because get this - you can feel it!

Just because a touchscreen is a wonderful interface for a mobile phone doesn't mean everything else in your life will get better with one.

Comment Re:How about Zoom? (Score 1) 797

Ah yes, I miss those days when the Mac OS didn't have to be dumbed down to appear less confusing to Windows users.

It appears Gnome is trying to rid itself of this lowest common denominator style too. One must keep in mind in UI design that familiarity sometimes feels a hell of a lot like superiority. In fact, there are often superior paradigms out there, but they can take quite a while to become familiar.

I see all the time people bringing their familiar "maximise" and "minimise" ideas to the Mac OS and it's frustrating. There are better ways. The "Zoom" button is one - it only made the window as big as necessary to show the contents, without needlessly obscuring other windows. The "Minimise" button on Mac OS was rarely used and only when one wanted to, literally, keep a miniaturised version of the window handy in the Dock. If you just wanted to hide it, hide it with Command-H. Better yet, leave it there and just switch to the window you're interested in.

I'm not familiar with Gnome's implementation, but I can well imagine a superior interface could be designed without the maximise and minimise buttons.

Comment Scathing! So much scathing! (Score 1) 500

I read SMH regularly but it's articles like this that have me looking elsewhere. Some days it's like reading the Sensationalism Morning Herald. How "scathing" is this attack?

"Right now the closed platform has been successful for Apple because they've been so far ahead as thought leaders because of Steve Jobs," said Lo.

Oooo, bitter. Nope, it's another beat-up of a minor event.

The rest of the article (Apple is doomed, closed never works, blah, blah), is vacuous, unoriginal dribble. And yet this article gets published, and then to my shock, gets posted on /.!

Comment Re:Several? (Score 1) 389

Could I be so bold as to satisfy all your concerns with one word?


I thought it was all very amusing. I read it a week or so ago and when I saw it appear on Slashdot I thought, heh, that'll be some idle entertainment. But now I see indignant criticisms about veracity! The whole thing is a joke! .... right? If, by some gross miscomprehension I'm wrong, then wow, some pearlers have gone begging there.

Comment Usenet 2.0? (Score 3, Interesting) 273

To me, Usenet was the quintessential Internet protocol for revealing the power of collective thought. It never failed to amaze me what could happen if you grouped the passionate and learned practitioners of every common and exotic discipline known to man, and exposed a simple, textual communication interface. In one swoop you could be following a lively discussion on the new Giant downhill mountain bike, while your question on Fourier expansion edge cases spawns a bunch of responses.

But one cannot deny that Usenet, like email, has fallen prey to challenges that were simply not on the radar in their genesis. The only difference is that the ubiquity and return on investment ratios for email supply a dirty life line to an already dead technology.

What then, I earnestly ask, could replace Usenet? What's right and wrong with Usenet and what's right and wrong with phpbb et al? It seems to me that these features are essential:

  • One protocol. Not a thousand different forums with no hierarchy and no common interface.
  • Web access and client access. Web is critical for widespread adoption and access when the client is not available. Client access is critical for high volume users.
  • Options for moderation. If a group wants it, it can.
  • Distributed storage. There's too much traffic to expect every host to be a universal gateway. Perhaps storage could be hierarchal.
  • User registration required to post. Spam and bots are easier to manage that way.
  • Text first. Similar to the Twitter philosophy - it's the text that matters but multimedia solutions are easily integrated.

As well as the significant technical issues, there are major governance issues in developing Usenet 2.0. But I am genuinely curious - what do you think the successor to Usenet should be, and where do you think it will come from?

Comment Re:Google, check this! (Score 1, Offtopic) 56

Google do do a lot of nice things like this. Their Zeitgeist is one of the more interesting.

They expand on their results on significant dates, such as the end of the year. It's particularly interesting to see seemingly unusual searches peaking for brief periods. They might relate to big news in another country, or even the million dollar question on some game show!

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