Category: Weak Filler

Rather powdery grouting.

…I’ve been using Gmail for years, yet I still sometimes have to think quite hard about which menu to use for lesser-used things. While I can see the logic in having a “More” menu where such things can go, I can’t understand why they can’t just all go in there. Why is an additional menu needed, and with hardly anything to do with “replying”, these items are also half-duplicated elsewhere. Another design-free zone…

This is a sensitive topic: I’m often aware that comments I make on blogs aren’t published if they contradict the point the blogger is making. Usually I just let it go. It’s their blog, they can choose to defend their opinions or not. But sometimes I think it’s worth publishing my thoughts here if they don’t get an airing in the context in which they were intended. After all, I might be wrong in my comment, or misunderstood something and stand to…

…oogle Calendar for work and personal use, and I’d love to take the time to write about all its flaws. It’s meeting page is not as bad as this, though. Jonathan Baker-Bates Agree I may have been too brutal in removing rather than demoting a lot of the noise. Also, I didn’t address the ribbon since that’s usability problem all of its own. And yes, there is such as a thing as “complex simplicity” in UX :-) One thing I missed from the original rant wa…

On this day in 2004, I wrote my first post here on Webtorque.org As with all things Internet, 10 years seems more like 50. Tim O’Reilly had just started popularising the term  “Web 2.0“, and the digerati were people who did things like blogs – before Twitter came along and made everyone do it, sort of.  For me,…

A long time ago, I allowed myself a cheeky dig at one of my heroes of old, Nicolas Negroponte. The news this week about Blockbuster UK made me think of him, and how they outlived his prediction by almost a decade. But the prediction business is hard, and if Blockbuster took twice as long to…

…“The Search for Heart River” is going to be the title of my new book. It’s a journey through endless examples of people posting ‘shop jobs, and the people who try to work out if they’re fake or not. It ends with a some inconclusive rubbish about human nature. Hey, if Malcolm Gladwell can make a career out of it, I think I can too.  …

…ter. Reports of Chrome’s dominance are hogwash. In fact, Internet Explorer commands about half of all traffic worldwide, while Firefox and Chrome duke it out for second place, followed by Safari bringing up third place. But wait – the Times article quotes Aodhan Cullen, StatCounter’s chief executive, saying “At weekends, when people are free to choose what browser to use, many of them are selecting Chrome in preference to IE.” So I ran the numbers…

…h a Gantt chart – I’ve almost always been disappointed. In retrospect, the complexity of the project, or my lack of skill in using MSP, has meant the plan ended up not being able to predict much of what actually happened. At hotels.com, we don’t do project plans in UX/Product beyond “Q3 deliver this, Q4 deliver that”. I don’t have cause to break out MSP these days for any granular tasks. So I was pleasantly surprised last week to find that my proj…

I was reading this Wikipedia entry today, and saw this: Roger Waters’ 1992 album “Amused to Death” was, in part, inspired by and deals with some of the same subject matter as Postman’s book. In The End of Education Postman remarks that the album had “elevated my prestige among undergraduates”, and says that he has…

…r link is in a text-only format. You may not use any link to the Site as a method of creating an unauthorised association between an organisation, business, goods or services and London 2012, and agree that no such link shall portray us or any other official London 2012 organisations (or our or their activities, products or services) in a false, misleading, derogatory or otherwise objectionable manner.” Screw that, breadheads! Let’s all join in th…

A recent post on 37Signals’s blog is interesting. Jason wants somebody to help them with customer conversion and retention. One of the reasons why I like 37Signals is that they truly subscribe to the model laid out by the Cluetrain Mainfesto. 37Signals have without doubt turned their organisation “inside out”, as the Manifesto predicts modern…

Saying that hoards of my friends like Wired’s website is just a lie. Or at least implying that they do is disingenuous as I’m pretty sure that none of them have liked it. And is that huge number just made up? Who cares? This sort of casual fakery (which Facebook thinks nothing of, regardless of…

…an entry of the new, mirrored, host record into the DNS. Clients going to www.wikileaks.com or one of its mirrors and finding it unresponsive would then be redirected to the next available mirror host until a successful connection was established. Whenever the holder of Wikileaks’s private key needed to update their site, they would be able to upload changes to one or more of the participating mirrors, which would then distribute those changes to…

…le. The Kindle 3 also comes with the ability to email files to your Kindle free of charge. RSS and free email transfer – two great tastes that taste great together! So, if you’re running Linux, and want get RSS feeds on your Kindle, read on. I’m running Linux (Ubuntu 10.10), so it was easy for a non-programmer like me to create a little script to email the RSS file to my Kindle every night, using sendEmail (it’s in the Ubuntu repos), a very small…

I had a bit of a Seth Godin moment a while ago. I have been meaning to air it in public for a while. I don’t have such moments very often, so please indulge me. Working as I do in a large e-commerce company, I am constantly bombarded with information generally intended to make my…

I admit it, I’m on Facebook. I know they’re selling my information. They probably have a whole team of people called something like “Personal Data Merchandising” thinking up new and ever more devious ways to trick me in to giving away just that little bit more. I sort of know I’ll regret it. A bit…

It looks like my wife will be stranded in Japan this week following the Icelandic volcano eruption. I thought I’d better look at her travel insurance provider’s website (a company I’d not heard of called Holiday Extras), prior to playing the inevitable game of IVR over the phone. Frankly, I wasn’t holding out much hope…

Scrum is now officially my thing (850K PDF), having just taken my certification exam after the training I had a couple of months ago. A score of 80% or above is considered mastery. My result was: 92% (1.1Mb large image) I would have got more, were it not for my failure to read one of…

Sometimes I agonise over putting one more link on a page. How many is too many in a given context? But clearly these people have no such worries: Money Saving Expert has 235 links on its forum pages HIS Travel has 341 links on its home page Both sites are major (if not actually leading)…

I enjoy Seth Godin’s blog, but I do take it with a pinch of salt. I might have to increase the salt content a bit to get over this claim though. Still, just goes to show it’s always worth checkin’ the facts… Here’s the video (9.6Mb mpeg, no sound) – Seth likes videos.

Just so wrong – and you have to dismiss it with a mouse click as well. Possibly an even worse violation of the principle of avoiding user distraction than Windows networking trumpeting its wireless connections. Why should I care? It’s so hard living through the dawn of interaction design. All I can hope for is…

The campaign starts here. The word “Internet” needs to be capitalised. It needs to be capitalised out of respect for its importance and the fact that it’s a proper noun. We don’t write about “the pacific” or “oxford” or reading “the times newspaper.” We should not  write about “the internet” for the same reason. I’ve…

Headphones are wonderful things, and I’ve been amazed at what I’ve been hearing through them recently. In a fit of nostalgia, I decided to sit down and re-visit Grace Jones’s version of Sting’s Demolition Man (mp3, 5.6Mb). Leaving aside its merits as a pop song, I think it’s one of the greatest feats of studio…

So I bought an MP3 player this week. The reason I’ve not owned one before is simple: motorcycles. For the past 10 years or so until the end of 2008, my main form of daily transport was two wheels powered by internal combustion. But when I started work at Expedia, my route in was too…

…bat when I ask for a weather forecast: will it rain? I don’t care about wind direction, millibars, visibility or even temperature much. I just want to know whether to take my umbrella. So, I sent them a ranting email about it. A couple of years later, I found out by complete chance that the email had been read (and boggled over) by somebody I later ended up working with on the BT.com redesign at Oyster Partners. Whatasmallworld. Anyway, here’s a s…

I’ve not been writing (that’s what we posh people call blogging) nearly enough. Look at me: two posts a month in the last 18 months or so, yet my life is a sumptuous feast of complex events, rare occurrences and fascinating adventures – and that’s just with my UX hat on. Why, just today, some…

I’ve just spent about 10 minutes of my life trying to re-boot my mind after it suffered a cognitive blue screen of death on reading the question “Will Web 3.0 decrease or increase a user’s experience?” Deon Jenkins, an information architect at IBM, asks this question on a LinkedIn forum I’m a member of. It…

Southern Electric are total muppets. Accessing their site using FF3 under Linux shows nothing but the Flash background (I hardly ever find sites that are completely broken these days). Not only that, when I  try to update my profile, they tell me to choose a “proper” surname! Could there be a less effective wording for…

For no particular reason, I’ve been editing the Wikipedia entry for Megatripolis this week, mainly tidying it up a bit. I added something about pHreak a while ago, but in the course of editing this time, I found this photo, taken in about 1996, of the pHreak BBS being demonstrated at the club. Ahh, nostalgia!

…This is good because we get free bottles of water, juice and other modern comestibles. So, at least by recycling we can do something to offset the wanton destruction on the environment that these things bring. Incredibly though, I find myself pulling out three of four empty milk, drink and other plastic bottles from the general waste bin, and putting these into their correct place. Every day. Are the people that throw plastic bottles into the gen…

Last week I got a mail from somewhere announcing the launch of a new property website called zoopla.com, so I thought I’d have a look. It’s a pretty nifty residential property sales site: good web2.0 thinking going on, nicely executed. Whoever put it together knows their stuff. But it has a few things I thought…

I’ve not worked on an FMCG site in ages, so I’m taking the liberty of plugging this one, which we did for Sony Computer Entertainment this year. SingStarGame.com went fully live in all territories last week. I’m on there too if you look hard enough. It’s running at about 1,000 registrations a day right now…

“cookingforfun (http://www.grouprecipes.com/people/cookingforfun) wants to be your cooking buddy. You can login to accept or decline (http://www.grouprecipes.com/profile/).” Is it me, or is this getting a bit silly?

One of the things I like about Facebook is spotting odd coincidences. Here are two friends, one living in Tokyo, the other in London, neither of whom know each other from Adam – but their status messages make nice bookends.

I’m very rarely inspired to write about anything. When I do, it’s usually in reaction to something from outside. It doesn’t come “from me” in the artistic sense. Admittedly, I don’t write much uplifting stuff though – it’s mostly boring. This post is different however because I don’t know where it came from. I was…

I was going through some stuff at the weekend, and found a CD I bought in the Los Angeles from a shop in Melrose several years ago. Fans of Julian Cope will of course spot why it found its way into the bargain bin with a hole punched through the barcode. If you’re not a…

…up the incidental expenses incurred during the life of the contract. So, a free phone with a free connection for 12 months. Could I be any smugger that this? coldplayer A group of conned consumers are trying to get together for a class action against the networks to try to claim the money they are owed. If you would like to join them feel free to email them at: cashback_victims@yahoo.co.uk or phonestoudirect.classaction@yahoo.co.uk You don’t have…

Those groovy people at AKQA are so groovy they are even in Second Life. Here’s a picture of me in their lounge, marvelling at the slideshow on the wall. And here’s one of me leaving a groovy comment. Although quite deserted (it’s a Saturday night after all – they’ll be at home looking at their…

10 Downing Street, in conjunction with mySociety, have recently launched an on-line petition system where citizens can collect signatures for issues with which to petition the government. If you haven’t already, I strongly encourage you to lend your support to petition set up by Suw Charman of the Open Rights Group: “Thousands of people own…

He’s gone for the irony hat trick…! Boingboing reports on this article is about a man who has asked his daughter’s school to take Fahrenheit 451 off the curriculum because of its use of “bad language” and (for extra irony points) smoking, amongst other things. The incident is wonderful not least for the fact that…

Blogging from Flickr – I am so Web 2.0! Not sure why I’d want to blog many photos on Flickr, but you never know. Another benefit of moving to WordPress though: at least I can. Assuming it works – which, if you’re seeing this – it has!

We’ve been on holiday in Scotland for a bit of Edinburgh Festival, visiting relatives and – amazingly – very good weather while it threw it down in London.

I’ve had a cold, but am now better, and am thinking seriously about buying some Armor of God Pyjamas – not that the two are connected. Or are they? As an aside, there can’t be many ecommerce sites “salvation” as a link on the main navigation, and while greed is sin there seems to be nothing wrong with attempting to spamdex your title tags.

…e was worried that Google had all this information about you that could be searched for by anyone, and did this not raise issues about the control of information and was it all not a bit worrying? This amazing display of technical ignorance, on a par at least with American politicians, would have been surprising enough were is not for the fact that at a previous event I attended one of the panelists (a Society of Authors muchkin I think) started r…

I don’t think I’ve ranted here about what a pointless occupation ‘blogging is, nor why all ‘bloggers should be shot through the back of the head with a small bore rifle.

And so it is with rich irony and customary pointlessness, on a blog that nobody reads (and I have the Google Analytics stats to prove it!), that I link to the indefatigable Richard Lockwood’s, er, ‘blog!

And thanks for the abbreviating apostrophe, if that’s what it is.

Somebody must be reading this blog. At least, I’ve now had postings and email on subjects as diverse as copyright, software and public speaking. I’ve even had to remove a posting after somebody complained! Surely it can’t get much better than that.

It’s the new football! It’s the new rock and roll! It’s impulse blogging!

Impulse blogging (my italics, to increase the hype) is the new craze coming straight out of North Finchley’s finest blog. Like all great ideas, it starts off all complicated and difficult to grasp, then suddenly reveals itself to be so simple that even a five-year-old could blah blah blah, and probably has. Here’s how impulse blogging works:

…ita $47,607,724.02 using the relative share of GDP (Source www.eh.net/hmit/compare) This I think gives a better idea of the impact of the title at the time, and lends more weight my earlier point about the meaning of words. “In spite of the answer, therefore, she ordered the carriage, and drove to Mrs Bates’s, in the hope that Jane would be induced to join her — but it would not do; — Miss Bates came to the carriage door, all gratitude, and agreei…

There is a (possibly apocriphal – I’ve not checked it) John Lennon quotation: “Life is what happens when you’re making plans for other things” which is rather apt for me recently. For instance, I noticed that I’ve been blogging for more than a year now and that the anniversary (July 11th) completely passed me by. Not that this is in itself a wonderfully interesting event, but I did imagine I would be marking the date with a fantastic post on world peace, the copyfight, or at least something on site maps. But no. Instead I’m worrying about my pension.