Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Meanwhile it seems that the wired network card on this laptop was not installed properly. Susan, could you check your Fujitsu P1120 and tell me what driver I need to install from the list?
Friday, December 02, 2005
Recon has become the premier site network for kink homos with an electronic life to put up their profiles to meet each-other, from what I have seen. Like any ther social networking system, being in it is only valuable if it connects you to the people you want to be connected to, and once the networking site is global and the biggest one in its niche, that value increases fast, because you get to 'touch' new people from a pool big enough you will find many with the same interests. LinkedIN seems to have crossed that threshold now in the business niche, from being a cozy site to 'touch' your professional contacts as a novelty and then forget, to now having a serious network effect for people who connect well that finding new jobs and contacts in IT is a credible proposition.
Well, guess what. Recon got bored, and a couple of days ago instituted a rating system. You can now rate other profiles with a number between 1 and 10. Not the biggest change in social sites, many allow you to rate friends and associates positively. But between 1 and 10 almost automatically gets valued by everyone with 10 being best, 5 being on the edge of bad and good, and 1 being an utter failure. The ratings a profile get get averaged together. Rating on hotness is not new, HotOrNot.com has done it forever. However, according to Dean, HotOrNot says that they had to use a very sophisitcated weighing algorithm for each vote, one in which they took into account how the voter -- tracked per cookie I presume -- voted on a number of profiles, so that the algorithm could factor in the voter's voting style. Doing straight averaging basically made almost everyone end up with a score of 5 over time-- it just happened that way. So therefore the creation of the new algorithm that teases out the voters intentions, not directly the scores the voter gives, for the resulting grades.
OK, so Recon seemed to be doing standard averaging. Questionable. Rating was anonymous, a profile owner couldn't see who rated his profile, just what his end-score was. The end score was public. That was already beyond questionable to begin with, in what is supposed to be an open accepting site where people can live out their kinks and needs-- suddenly you went from having your own little corner to explore yourself to being explicitly judged for it, which is what most kink players want to get away from. Bad. Now notice the tense of my last description. Indeed, was. Because starting today, your end score is no longer public, but you get to see who rated you, in a complete reversal of the implicit contract raters entered yesterday when they rated. So everyone who yesterday was handing out 1s with abandon, today suddenly is being seen by everyone they rated badly.
Yes, we tech savvy people know that that usability contract was just a facade: of course who rated who how much could be divulged at any moment. But that is not what users have as their model in their minds when they use a specific facility on a website, they just see the possibilities (to not use the technical term 'affordances') which are there, and are not usually able to think through that those capabilities and implied contract of what can and cannot be done, is really very plastic in software. By changing the capabilities of the site overnight, Recon basically ended up misleading its users, in ways that could have unpleasant social repercussions for members on its own site, By not having thought out the model, or properly field-tested it, but instead by tweaking it live, Recon has now introduced two days of exposed social judgment -- also termed as backstabbing and High-School-ness -- into a site where many of its members are in a pretty sensitive state about being judged anyway, since they are exposing very private, socially-unsanctioned, parts of themselves there.
Thing is, it was a completely unnecessary move. Recon was doing great anyway without the rating system, and on top of that, anyone with a tiny bit of historical perspective on how social interaction on the internet works could have predicted how anonymous and then identified rating would end up being used. No matter what example Google has set with its decades-long public Beta-testing and tweaking of sites, this was simply just not the way to go. You just do not make changes like that overnight in a social space.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Friday, November 11, 2005
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
I am proud and terrified and relieved at the same time. I have to not just deliver sites, but a system I can hand off, organizationally and technically, in a way that keeps them maintainable after I leave, with minimal effort. It has guided most of my choices and recommendations for software and alliances, and ate up a lot of time.
So here we go. Let's hope the company lets this one grow big.
I already got one real bug report: it doesn't render at all well on IE 5.5. I went to the stats page of exonome.com to check how bad this is. Most hits are from XP and Win2K. I didn't get an account of user agents, but if I add up Win 98 and Win ME as possibly using broken IE 5.5, I am up to 2.3%. If I consider a large part of Win2K users use IE 5.5, I may, may, hit 8%. I can live with those numbers for now, especially considering those stats are for a page that attracts all the web mostly skewed to 12 year old girls, and OpenSource and Research are supposed to attract advanced smart researchers in High Tech.
Will I fix it? Probably. Will I stay awake to do so? Nope. Got other things on the list to occupy that place.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
As I just posted to my Nokia internal blog:
Thing is is that due to internal politics, I had to align with technologies and hosters that simply did not get their shit together in time. So I have a website with no search and the contact form wasn't ready. Ugh. All contact requests now happen through a sacrificial mailbox we will shut down when the contact form really happens. Ugh.
Subject: A List With Two Related Items
- OpenSource.Nokia.com is up.
- I am terrified.
It's like when we first got an aquarium at home. After we set it up I had sudden flashes of fear for days that I'd come home to 40 gallons of water on the floor and a couple of asphyxiated fish. Same thing now. I am waiting for things to go horribly wrong and have the whole Internet point and laugh at me.
And in the end, after all the hard work to blend technologies, all these coals I pulled out of the fire in one day notice or less over the last months (sure I can change all emails sitewide, I'll just write a filter! Sure, I can re-do the lay-out, it is just a template! Sure I have the CMS dump to disk because you have a different idea of how to host this, it is only a buggy inscrutable add-on!) it is just a catalog site right now (will change later) that people in the company a) really thought needed to happen b) couldn't be bothered to make content for. All that work for this? Well, getting it together and approved and refined took time.
This thing will be announced by Jorma tomorrow at the mobile conference in Barcelona in a press release. I had it go live and accessible today to shake it out. One project page owner alreadyw ent nuts on me that they absolutely did not want it up before their own press release. This being the project that has no code to download available, and already gave fucking interviews about their project that got mentioned on Slashdot.
I'll miss these bozos, but I am ready to leave them behind.
Part II will happen Nov 14th.
I have installed Galleon twice now, on two different Win2K boxes, and I have noticed a pattern: I need to install it in a path with no spaces in it, just to be sure, because I know a weather module used to be unable to handle it (so no 'C:/Program Files/Galleon, but C:/Galleon). Then I run the configuration program that lets you set all the options and get the message 'Can't connect to server', which means the configuration program can't talk to the Galleon beacon on the same computer and tell the beacon what to serve to the TiVo. Uninstall Galleon, reboot, install again, and it works. It is worth it, Galleon works better than its predecessor JavaHMO. And boy does my friend Susan look comfy on her chaise on my TV.
I did this so I could hack Galleon to offload programs off my TiVo -- yes, it works both ways -- so I could then attach a webserver to those shows and punch a hole in my home firewall for the webserver and then I could download the shows wherever in the world I was as long as I was very patient. But reading around how to do that taught me that all those steps are unnecessary because I learned something new: Series 2 TiVos with the latest software are already running a webserver. Just point to https://<the ip address of your TiVo on your network>/ and yes, note the 'https' part, not 'http'. It wil ask for a name and password. Name is 'tivo', password is the Media Access Key, which you can find on your TiVo under settings. And there you go: a list of shows on your TiVo, ready to click and download. So if I set my firewall to forward all accesses from the public internet on port, oh, say 9999, to my TiVo's on port 443, I should be able to download the Housewives even when I am travelling... Hmm, I need to enable dynamic DNS again for my home network on No-IP.com or DynDNS.com or something.
Saturday, October 29, 2005
Then find a slew of regurgitated results (source organizations first):
http://press.nokia.com/PR/200510/1018358_5.htmlYeah, I have told you before, but specifically after I was cleared to tell my friends, but here's the press machine in action. "Some Nokia employees at an existing Nokia R&D facility in suburban Burlington, Mass. are expected to move to the MIT center." Well, yes, and those of us who aren't -- about half of the department -- and didn't make a transfer otherwise, are getting really good goodbye packages by, I have to say, global standards.
Especially US ones. Geez, the stories... (We have a number of Cabletron refugees in our buildings, and the tales they tell are hair raising. Like being told there were two busses outside, one going a to a team-building and everyone in the other getting layed off, and being assigned a bus and being told only after both busses were rolling which bus was which. I am dead serious, that is just one story they told me. If you ever hear from someone that they worked for Cabletron right before and during the .com boom, throw some liquor into them and start asking. It is likely you'll feel lucky wherever you work now.)
For my new friends here who didn't get this before, I got asked to work on a new item in August or so, just as my previous project at Nokia Research Center [NRC] Burlington was officially going nowhere. It is a system/service that is more of a support function for NRC than a project.
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Then Dean came over and we moved in together and we bought this custom built tricked out PC. It's Intel chip ran over 200MHz, and we splurged on 128Mb of memory and Windows NT 4.0. I still used dial up to be on Usenet, IRC, and Telnet, and I still knew the owner of my dial up.
Then we bought a condo and we moved and we got DSL. Over the years the service was great, but dealing with Verizon was a nightmare. Still on the big computer, which our house guest exercised at night. I think he got the most keyboard time on it.
Then I started to work for Nokia and bought my Toshiba Libretto 110CT to take to work, with a dreadful CDPD card (11Kbps, effectively, bursty, lossy). I wanted wireless surfing at home, so I scored this set of wireless PCMCIA cards for 2Mbps wireless, bought a PCI-to-PCMCIA card so I could shove one of them into the big box that was on DSL, downloaded a program that made Windows 2000 (Windows 2000! It sucked but it rocked after NT 4.0) share the super fast DSL, and now I could surf in the living room. Somewhere in the comingt years I dropped the Libretto and then redecorated it.
Then I realized we were a magnet for intrusions, or soon would be, and I scored off eBay -- I could now do eBay! And get bargains! -- an IBM Butterfly because it was cute with its folding keyboard, and I proceeded to put OpenBSD on it and configure firewall rules. This took 4 solid weeks of me sitting at a desk in the evenings trying to get it to work, mostly because until then I had only been a UNIX user and had no idea what was involved in being a super-user. I got all impressed by terms like hardening and rule-chains and got lost in contradicting HOW-TOs that weren't, because OpenBSD people were supposed to already know OpenBSD. This is where I learned JWZ's lesson the hard way, and that it applies to not just Linux: All open-source and free software is free if your time has no value. But by the end I understood firewalls a lot better and how NAT worked and the house was safe.
Then I bough a set of proper 802.11b cards, and suddenly my laptop, and Dean's laptop, and the big box were all wireless. And so fast -- we could saturate the DSL! The house guest still logged the most keyboard time, usually when Australians were awake. I still have an IRC acquaintance in Canberra from that.
Then I got tired of being a sysadm for the firewall and I bought, for a hundred bucks or so, an Linksys ethernet router with a built-in firewall. I knew what smurf-attacks and Stateful Packet Inspection were, so I could find a tiny consumer-electronics-like box that didn't say on the side that its apex of security was how it implemented NAT. I also scored, off eBay, a wireless access point for 68 bucks -- an eBay bargain! -- while Apple was still selling Airports for 200 or so and Nokia's access point was projected to cost a 1000 bucks, right before they woke up to Apple having changed the rules of the game and canning the whole division. My access point had no brand, came from Taiwan, needed to be configured with an arcane program I was always losing the disk of, but was tiny and just worked. Exit butterfly, and everyone including the TiVo had 802.11 and there were extra network jacks for when the page that purrs was still being served from our bedroom closet. Dean can now do webcam shows from all over the house, like when he used to fold laundry. By now, the indestructable Butterfly had a completely busted hinge from being half-open all the time.
Then we got Comcast digital broadband, and we ditched the house guest and Verizon DSL. One could say telephony was out in our household. Now I have a phone plan that is unlimited everything, not just local, and I've been in the US long enough to not be impressed. And you only get free refills on sodas, which I no longer drink anyway because they either made me fat or tasted like aspartame, so who wants unlimited more of that? I repurposed a broken Sony laptop to run Fedora Core 2 -- you install that on a laptop with a broken screen -- and realized I still know crap all about how to maintain a UNIX box properly, but the installers are way prettier. This box ran an internal caching DNS and DHCP services so as to first of all deal with the fact that Comcast's shiny new digital cable infrastructure had DNS servers that fell over every 5 minutes, and so that the known machines in the house always got the same IP address and I could keep track where everything was. This install took a week or three as well.
Yesterday I got a box from Netgear. It has even faster wireless (B and G), an advanced firewall with the latest SPI rules, a built in DHCP server that also allows me to set fixed addresses for my known boxes, and does almost everything my Linksys box, my Taiwanese no-name access point, and my Sony VAIO DHCP server did, with a single interface that needs no wizards or crap installed. It doesn't cache DNS look-ups, I think, but Comcast has their act together now, so I do not need it. Time to set up, including shiny new 128bit WEP keys: one hour and a half because I was trying every options. Cost: 34 dollars, free Super Saver Shipping.
Friday, October 21, 2005
When Sealab 2020 will be built it won't be to study marine biology. It will be to house the absolutely enormous supercomputer so as to shield it from neutron radiation and to water-cool it.
I don't even want to know what the 2021 crew will do to it...
Sunday, October 16, 2005
Especially Orkut. When I logged in today after months of absence, it wanted me to migrate to a Gmail account -- which I have -- but the way in which Google is linking every way I use Google Inc. together doesn't sit right with me. I have many facets to my life, some very professional, some adult, some geeky, some downright illegal. I consider it a failing of mine that I am not ready to integrate them at this time, because I do believe in having an open life. But, my current reality is that I am not, mostly for family reasons, and I do not need Google or any other system to do it for me. I do not need a central repository of all the transgressive things I search for cross-correlated with the papers I wrote for Harvard and then made searchable, for example, even if it is not supposed to be searchable ever ever ever. Because maybe nobody outside the specific agglomerator may be able to get to it, but even the-- no wait, security leaks happen all the time, and at this point I bet the complete list of what you have searched for on Google may be considered by many as more personal and private than their SSN, and those are leaked every two days these days. But let's say Google is totally secure, then even then I do not like Google or another agglomerator knowing. Sure, nobody inside Google, or any other agglomerators may care, and-- no wait, that may be a complete lie too
Here's why I think that: in 1995, when the web started taking off, I started doing work at Children's Hospital Boston in sharing electronic medical records over the web. So I was in the middle of all the disucssions about privacy and confidentiality and access rights that eventually percolated into thinking like the current HIPPA legislation, which, for example, makes throwing a lab result into a standard trash bin that collects into a public landfill a $5000,-- offense for the person managing that record, and in my opinion, rightly so. One of the anecdotes about access rights was that after Kitty Dukakis went public with her substance abuse and alcohol poisoning, suddenly electronic accesses to her medical file inside Mass General Hospital went through the roof. It was then MGH realised they needed more granular access controls on their electronic medical files -- a system MGH was one of the first to have, and arguably pioneered -- because the electronic files were allowing what paper files did not, and it turned out doctors and nurses actually were human and had prurient interestst.
Well, guess what, with every month a new friend of mine is working at Google, and thus I know old foes are too. Are they going to check my complete integrated logs? No. Do I care that they can? In many cases, yes. At some point I need to let that go, because access to much of my information really isn't under my control anymore, and I am deluding myself into thinking it is not leaking and seeping out of agglomerators left and right in ways that can easily be cross-correlated, but I am not ready to give up my illusions yet. So no, I am not signing into anything with my Gmail account but Gmail, and cookies are being purged.
Saturday, October 15, 2005
Thursday, October 13, 2005
At my last eval my manager -- soon to no longer be my manager -- made a comment that kinda hit me: "40 papers-- that's a dissertation." Yeah, I read that many, but because they are so all over the field, and I had no idea for a direction other than a very vague one, I don't have an analysis of 40 papers worth a dissertation, I have 40 blurbs. That could have been better. Just reading them because the abstracts were interesting was not enough.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
- For a portable media player [PMP], it has a small screen. However, it is an iPod. It has 81% of the current market. The current ones will be dropped, broken, wear out, and then when Joe and Jane Public go out to replace them, they will get one of the video ones. They will be the best sold PMP in no time.
- Two of ABC's top shows are available. They are now in Season 2. You can buy a 'boxed set' of Season 1 for both shows for 35 bucks, but not individual shows from Season 1.
- This really confronts you with how much commercials are in a TV show. The single episodes around 43 minutes long. This for an hour of TV.
- THis won't be a significant revenue stream for TV. Every episode would have to be downloaded 600.000 times, assuming a 20% cut for Apple and no overhead over a budget of a million bucks per episode for ABC -- which is no way in hell true for their flagship shows -- before ABC has recouped just costs. But for cheaper cult shows...
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Feedback always appreciated.
Are you sure?
I always get to happily deal with that question, because every product I am part of of course needs to be seen by all stakeholders, their friends, and random usability departments. And because everyone uses an interface or knows how to read, they all can comment on how it feels to them. I am entering a round of it again, and while I put on a brave face, the same I always put on about now in my development cycle, and say of course feedback is good because it will make a better product or allows us to make text to prepare the user, I always dread it. I do. Less every time, but still. Whenever it comes in I have to first breathe and put on my 'consultant' rational mind. The consultant has a different voice, you know, more soothing, and uses a lot of sentences like "I wouldn't recommend that" or "I am not sure that furthers our goals." Even when I just get into that mindset to deal with feedback my internal voice changes to him. The guy who spent days on end placing everything where it is in endless design mini-cycles needs to not be there. The writer needs to not be there.
But this cycle is necessary. Not getting a response to requests for feedback in this professional setting is only a relief the way chocolate helps a broken heart.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
The prototyping, the ideas, the technical advice, I could do that all. Now I am in execution mode, and I am out of my depth, I think. I am trained to know what goes where in a UI, but now that I have done that I have to face that this system has a very heavy graphic design component. I am not a graphic designer. I have almost no innate talent to compensate for either that lack of training and certification, or my lack of experience that is any more than dabbling on my own websites, a yearbook or two, my pictures. I know in my heart this should be a multi-disciplinary team working together, but alas, when it comes to anything but managing the organization and getting the product organizationally out the door, I am it. Usually I would outsource the minor graphical elements to the outside graphics company, but with this budget, I will have to do. And the funny thing is, the manager approached me not for my technical skills, but because she thought I had good taste, and a commitment to usability to equal her own. She wanted me to do this part.
I will not let her down. Nor myself, since this will be my calling card for next gigs outside Nokia, as my previous two years of research have not really been cleared to delve into the details of during job interviews, and seems to be mostly a huge waste of time anyway. I am working weekends, some nights. Yes, I may think I am out of my depth, but as I have proven to myself before, in the end I make the goddamn systems goddamn work.
First user feedback came back yesterday on part of the system, from a UI designer in another division. "I would never trust this [product] to have good Open Source [stuff]; it is too clean and neat!" I was very amused. Best compliment I ever got for my designs. Yet I spent most of today geeking it up, caught as I am between the need to serve my peers who think absolute tech and shudder at stock photography, and the latest brand guidelines about how we should de-emphasize tech and focus on and show humans in natural settings incidentally using our products.
I'll find my way.
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
Sunday, July 24, 2005
CD's don't skip, they stutter.
Digital TV doesn't snow, it pops and tiles and pixelates and goes black.
Mobile calls and digital radio don't fade in and out of static. They become choppy and disjointed and then drop.
15 years from now, static or snow as experienced in analog transmissions and currently seen in shows will totally date the production as being from a pre-digital era. Much SciFi will look strange. Very young kids will simply not understand it when they see it. People in shows 'faking' static to get out of a phone call or radio contact is a joke these viewers just wont get.
Friday, July 22, 2005
It would be like creating this mobile phone network where the person called might have to pay for calls but then forgetting to include Caller ID so the user could actually make an informed choice, or a network where a caller might pay more depending on whether they were calling in or out of network but not including this information in the number. All because you forgot to ask users what they wanted before you made your network. Oh wait, that actually kinda happened for a while. Let's do it again!
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Been telling 'em Kurt's asleep in the next room, cuz it was one of those nights, ya know? Can I take a message? What's your name? No, I ain't his dad, just a friend who's hanging with him.
(Ma?)Ria's gonna be calling back at 9. The first woman declined to leave a message.
Monday, July 18, 2005
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Don't bother sending me email or calling my cell, it'll be a while.
Friday, July 15, 2005
Monday, June 27, 2005
The King Of All Cosmos is hung and way stacked. And not the most supportive of fathers.
There are many many stars in my new sky, but I am only at level 7. This should indicate how awful I am.
I close my eyes and the fish floparound, and the swans turn into a big flapping ball...
Friday, June 24, 2005
And it makes me actually cook. (Boursin chicken salad tonight.)
So I am going to play Katamari Darcy after all this weekend on someoneelse's PS2. And Rez again. Besides, Dvora's probably still not over getting her new PSP yet, so she won't miss the 2 for a few days. And either I start using these Harry & David chocolate dessert pies, or they are going to be in my freezer forever with the way
Not gonna play DDR. Last time I did that, the pounding of my feet destroyed the TiVo.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Oh yeah: no money for installation or support, initially. Organization is happy to deal with OSS.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
I remember when I first saw a T bus go by with a URL for a product on the side. I remember having to explain the Web. I remember having to explain the Internet.
I just paid my dentist with PayPal, and on the page where I got his PayPal link -- the URL for his site where I could find that page was on the bill he sent me in the mail -- there was also link for his intake forms as PDFs so you can fill them out at home before the visit.
Monday, June 13, 2005
In other news, I keep getting emails from several support positions at exonome.com like management, support, helpdesk, and services, to tell me that my account has irregularities in all sorts of ways. If I could just please open the attached zip file to correct it all. Unfortunatly, comforting as the thought is that there are all these people there looking out for my best interest, exonome.com is a vanity domain maintained entirely by me on some hosted server somewhere. It seems these cruel worm writers get their kicks by dangling all these friendly support people I actually do not have in front of me, teasing me about me being all my lonely self, back unwatched, account un-managed. Oh how I hate this psychological warfare!
Saturday, June 11, 2005
I still can execute Perl scripts, so that would be my work-around: implement what I wanted done in Perl instead of as piped UNIX commands. Too bad I don't know Perl.
Friday, June 10, 2005
Friday, June 03, 2005
Monday, May 16, 2005
Recently we got a new person in the building who hits the elipticals just when I go to the gym too, and she has no problem switching the TVs on to what she wants to watch. I only change the channel s when nobody else is around, and I'll set them to inoffensive CNBC -- well, Kudlow is becoming a bit too much of a no-taxes supply-side cheerleader for my tastes -- but it beats the FNN I often find them on, the station that makes me crank up my shuffle loud when people are watching it. I would impose my taste if I were using the aerobic machines where the TVs are, but I am not, I am in the weights area where the sound just spills over, so I don't feel like I have a right to decide what the people right in front of the TVs have to watch. She is in that area and has no problem setting it to what she wants to watch -- in fact, she asks me to because I can reach the TVs better than her -- and what she wants to watch is Oprah. I'd never switch that on, I would think all the men using the gym would kill me. But she does, and all the men end up watching that show, transfixed like deer in the headlights most of the time. Oprah is spending an awful lot of time on fighting fat and pedophilia these days. I gotta wonder what she would tell a fat pedophile "Love yourself enough to make that change and get thin! Then go off to an uninhabited island and die!"
Sunday, May 08, 2005
recruiter in email: I don't think you are a fit, but perhaps you know someone who is, check out these two jobs. Job 1: Please have 5 to 10 years of experience designing UIs for handsets, and be innovative and wonderful and visual because we want to make a whole new way to have people use phones so they will buy from us. Job 2: Interaction designer to support Job 1, keeping tabs on information design and requirements.
recruiter on phone: welll, we really want the 5 to 10 years.
me: Good luck hiring in Finland or Denmark, because that is where that level of experience is. However, I would also like to apply, at least for Job 2.
recruiter, dismissive: but wouldn't you agree that in their position you would want that level of experience?
me, sensing only one way to punch through this: well, if you want new ways of thinking you may want UI people who are not hampered by past constraints and understand that however fast the devices change, humans don't
recruiter later in email: well, I sent forward your resume, but really, do you know the star UI designers?
Yeah dude, I am so giving you the names inside Nokia. Sure, I wanna get fired for a guy who can't even pretend that I am good enough just to butter me up. Look, I know I was a lightweight for Job 1, but you could have pretended I could do Job 2, which I can.
Company 2: Researchy Now Very Big Company (but everything they release is Beta). Oh fuck it, it is Google, ok? Frigging "Research? Product? Who knows, ship it!" Google.
me: send resume to job advert for mobile-UI designer
--- 4 weeks of silence ---
recruiter & me: email for phone date
--- 1 week later ---
recruiter: blah blah what do you do
me: explain, where strengths are, experience with UI design, recent experience with mobile UI design in research context. Some things I do are currently confidential.
recruiter: evasive maneuvers, "but we do have a job opening for a mobile UI designer, perhaps you know someone for it?"
me: I'd love to apply myself, send it to me
recruiter in email: sends original advert for mobile-UI designer
me in email: "I'd love to apply and show you how I can fit that position"
recruiter in email: "I spoke w/ the staffing lead for UI and it seems that a portfolio of some
sort is required. I'm sure this request immediately makes you want to take
your name out of the hat. Let me know your thoughts. Thanks!".
I. Don't. Think. So.
Until I get a "Please don't call us, we'll call you", I'll plug at this. I am not going down that easy. It may just have one or two cases, but the fact that this email happened Friday evening gives me a chance to put something together for Monday morning. And by the way, recruiter-dude, you aree about to be perceived as damage, and I will start routing around you.
I obviously will need to make some of these at night to show off if I want to go to the next step of these gigs. I am annoyed at that prospect, though. More coding, yay.
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Better get to work.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
Coming from a technical UNIX background it seem intuitively obvious not to run as root in this dangerous world. This wasn't always an option on Windows at all, and not very practical on Win2K when it runs the personal machine with which you constantly explore new programs. Work machine, sure, you actually have to go through a special procedure at Nokia to get Administrator rights on the standard Win2K image on the desktops. And I fully understand why: keeping 40K users from corrupting the Intranet and taking everybody down is not just a matter of avoiding nuisances, it is vital to the company. I remember the pain we suffered when mail wasn't working for a day or two, and I understand that Nokia Business Infrastructure is in no mood to re-live those days just because somebody needs weatherbug in their task bar tray.
I am basically the sysadm at home. So I try to explore best practices some. And I don't click on received executables and I don't click "OK" on pop-up windows for a Bonzi Buddy -- if I even see them, I asked
So now that we are both on XP I am experimenting with having my daily account have Power User priviledges, and no more. To stay safe. SO nothing I may run or do can hose the machine, it just hoses the 'fj' account. I did make an Administrator account -- which I couldn't call 'Administrator', much to my chagrin, because XP says that account already exists eventhough I can't find it. And XP allows a user to easily switch accounts without having to shut down work like 2K made you do. And even as 'fj' I can run an install as Administrator by right-clicking and selecting 'Run As...' and entering the Administrator account credentials.
Actually, not quite. If I download a program I want to install under the 'fj' account, I first have to move it to the Shared Documents directory, and do 'Run As...' Administrator from there, because if I try to run it with Administrator priviledges from the 'fj' desktop, the execution will always fail because the Administrator account can't see 'fj''s files. Some root that is.
So I make the install work by running it from the right place with the right credentials -- most installations insists on being run with full Administrator powers -- and then most will leave program shortcuts on everyone's desktops. Which I can't remove from 'fj''s Desktop. Logged in as 'fj', I do not have the priviledges to remove a shortcut that an Administrator left. Logged in as an Administrator account, I cannot access 'fj''s Dektop. Obviously I have to give the Administrator account access to 'fj''s files, but I can't find the Properties tabs for that.
I am sure there is a way, but the second problem is that many applications are not happy being run by someone else than the account that installed them, and certainly not with fewer priviledges. I tried out Dean's new webcam and I installed the application software fine -- as Administrator -- but the shortcuts on 'fj''s Desktop simply would not run.
Doing The Right Thing is turning into a pain. I think I may delete the Administrator account soon after I add 'fj' back to the Administrator group. XP may be ready for lesser priviledged users running as default, but the vendors are not.
Friday, March 11, 2005
Thursday, March 10, 2005
I swear, Tyra Banks' counterpart on 'Finland's Next Top Model' must from time to time be heard to say "She just doesn't make it work .... I look at her and I don't want to have that phone, I just don't get from her the pleasure in using it... she's got no phone joy attitude."
Wednesday, March 02, 2005
Then, in a column called 'pushing the envelope', Fred Sampson, after telling us how he felt about the 1964 World Fair, complains that he is 'chained' by his personal electronics for distracting him too much. I don't want to give the impression that I consider him some sort of dinosaur, but in my life I find that my personal electronics don't distract me enough when I need them to (remember my plea for porno MMSes?), and in the few times they do, (I stopped assigning ringtones because nobody actually ever calls me), I know how to just switch them off.
Then, in an utter crib of 'queue' magazine's Q&A column, we now have 'ask doctor usability'. Unfortunately this person is no George Neville-Neil (whom I need to beat anyway up for writing I am not a software engineer because I do not write testcases -- well GNN, one can't write testcases when your bugs are of the sort that 'Ctrl-C' doesn't work right or a right-click menu is not showing up); this Usability dr person takes a question about expanding a software engineer practice and turns the answer into how a foreign language makes you evaluate a visual design better.
I feel like getting on a damn airplane and pleading with Steven to take up being an editor again.
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
(Posted through email from phone.)
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Well, knowing from page one this had to be a scam, I read the terms. You have to disclose personal info, which actually has to be validated. It is validated by signing up for four offers available on the page, and from the terms I could see they are things like credit cards and subscriptions, and you can't immediatly cancel. If you do that you will get a gift-certificate for the amount between $25,- to $1K. And oh yeah, did you enter your zip-code on that first page and found out you were in high demand? So did people who entered 00000. I tried.
So, will many sign up? I found this ad on MySpace.com, a blog/personals site seemingly populated by young singles too hip and happening to hack it on LJ, with many, many, many women who look like they frequent malls, so my guess is "hell yeah!" Will they not read the terms? You betcha. Will they disclose the demographics? What, and lose out on being a msytery shopper? Will they take part in the four promotions... well, iffy. Will the site have to spend on every person who gives them their info? See the last question. Will the site be sending out many $1K gift cards, or even many of the $25,- ones? See the last question and use common sense what amounts you would spend on gift cards if you were in the CEO's shoes. Will the company have a fabulously sellable list of personal data? Woo-fucking-hoo! In days! Before people can warn each-other what kind of a spam-creator it is!
It is brilliant. It's the whole "free iPods/ mini Macs / other schwag" ponzi scheme thing, but getting people to buy in into 4 of your marketing partners (ka-ching) getting their data (ka-ching!) and barely needing to reward the schmoes (ka-ka-ka-ching!).
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Yeah, like he was getting out of my cube without having left that thing with me.
"BTW, when the Sony PSP comes in we'll have to do the same."
They actually pay me money for this. Well, not this playing thing, but the pretty cool actual work that allows me to hang around this group. And they consider my tendency to give informed opinions and prognoses about gadget culture an asset -- well of course it will be informed if you make me play handhelds all day long!
I've almost got them convinced that this year's actual project will require at least a Nokia 7710 and 6680 for proper validation of the media ideas. Hey wait, I was bombarded the project manager because nobody else wanted it -- all I have to convince is me! Aw fuck, now I am going to be all conscientious again.
Monday, February 14, 2005
Sunday, February 13, 2005
Dunno if it was the editing of the interview, but the way Alan Kay talks about JAVA, or actually most of commercial mainstream computing, makes him sound really bitter. The kinda guy that, if you are a software pro like me in an industrial setting actually making money off deliverable products, you dread having to sit next to at a dinner party. Every time you answer some question about your daily work he will just use it as a way to discuss at length how primitive and wrong-headed your tools are, and thus how your cool ideas about how to solve problems are actually a waste of time, subtly trying to imply pity while being oblivious to the condescencion he projects, dismissing the working end results.
I wonder if he has the drony voice that usually makes that scene complete.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
It hit me this morning while I was driving to work, listening to the CD of forgettable pop I created from iTunes downloads. And I was thinking that paying 180 bucks a year for renting an unlimited amount of music was actually not that a good deal, because the thing with Napster-To-Go is that when you stop paying the 15 bucks a month, everything you downloaded stops being playable. Over. Gone. You stopped renting and you got kicked out. You don't get to keep your stuff like iTunes lets you at a buck a song.
And then I thought "Like my iTunes are these keepsakes?" Not really. They aren't losslessly compresed from the original masters, they aren't in the FLAC format. They aren't even encoded at a high Variable Bit Rate encoded with a floor of, say, 192kbps. No, it is an average 128 kbps encoded AAC. My keepsakes are my CDs, the music I have carefully encoded and now archive the originals of. These iTunes? This is not encoded into perfection for the ages, this is music I expect to have to repurchase at some form again when there is a format shift.
Yes, format shifts have become a fact of life, and I think iTunes will be susceptible to it hard. In a way I am renting from Apple to: to keep devices authorized to play the music I bought -- and I can't authorize more than 5 devices at a time or so -- I need to network a device with Apple's service for a key. My music still depends on another company, and its software, and its licensing. So far its software is great, but it is only one company. The stuff I buy there is most likely not my last and final purchase of this music.
Well in that case, 180 bucks a year to try everything I could possibly want to try just doesn't sound that bad. With Audiogalaxy I used to select to download everything from an artist or group,overnight, listen to it by day, and keep the one or two things I liked. A far superior way of selecting that just getting 30 second previews like on iTunes, where I do feel some of those previews have misled me. Napster-To-Go would be like that; I could check out a massive amount of new music on my portable device wherever I am, without worrying I may mispurchase. I could really get to know a lot of new stuff, with repeated listenings. Get into a whole catalog. Then I can choose what I really want to keep, and when I let my subscription lapse for some reason, buy those items in a more permanent form. Which might not be easy or economical if what I like is just one song off a whole CD. But hey, that is what iTunes is then for.
It's all trade-offs, balances. The new millenium has for now has brought us what I was afraid it would bring: new headaches of not just having to navigate formats like CD and LP and tape, but rights and restriction packages. There are trade-offs. It is just that I realize that Napsters trade-offs aren't as bad as I thought because their main comparison, iTunes, is actually not as guaranteed futureproof as we'd all like to think, neither in format nor in licensing.
Monday, February 07, 2005
Viewing the demo, however, I recognized a name from my years being in a clinical software lab that would create something like this. I actually did make a number of systems that went live. And since I worked for a children's hospital, I didn't know anyone involved. Hmm. The director of the lab who built this knows me. He built something based on my early work. We worked together. And now he can find out with no hacking just why I am asking for a referral to some specialists.
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Then again, emacs can retaliate by releasing a version based on the Gecko rendering engine instead of the current text buffers. I am sure you can make Gecko fit right, and emacs would then have native everything, including markup of all kinds and the whole web and all its content as long as Gecko understood it. Eliza could come with a flash animation of a shrink.
Quictime inside emacs. Somebody's head somewhere would explode.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Unless I breathe in resolve every time I go to that site, I am doomed.
And I don't even need mac hardware. My home is fully stocked CPU wise, and my laptop couldn't drive even their lowly 20" LCD screen if it tried.
I'll miss it. My first FPS I played to an actual conclusion. Such elation when I saw the finishing sequence. I couldn't believe I was at the end. I could run forever without getting tired, shoot big guns, jump all over the place, and always start over, and then I actually finished the Boss clear out. And this after having been stuck at level 3 for weeks on end.
Friday, January 07, 2005
I should look up why lenses can be fabricated, but corneas have to be donated.