Archive for August, 2005

I don’t care how good the unix underpants are if the UI trousers aren’t up to snuff

August 11, 2005

Many years ago in days of yore and 9 inch monochrome screens, I used to use Sticky Keys. The deal was that you pressed the shift key five times, then you could hold down a modifier, then the key, and that key got modified. Shift-S, Command-Z, etc. etc.

I used to use it quite a lot, because often only one hand was available for the keyboard, or I wasn’t very good at typing (and there were many times when I was not very good at typing), or simply because it was fun.

Then OS X happened. And I sort of forgot about sticky keys, because I can work an iBook with one hand quite easily, and because I can type now.

So imagine my surprise when suddenly shift, command, option, etc. icons kept appearing over my last post when I was writing it. Turns out I’d turned on Sticky Keys by trying in vain to select multiple items in MarsEdit.

So that was quite fun. I have to question whether the superimposed graphics are any better than the old tiny icons in the menu bar, but I suppose the menu bar is full enough at the moment anyway with things that should probaby be in the dock.

But what really annoyed me was this. In the old days, you could “disengage” sticky keys simply by pressing the mod key and the other key as normal, at the same time.

This feature has vanished. This means it is now entirely possibly to engage shift lock and press delete repeatedly, losing bits of your post before you realise what is happening.

I guess this is another example of dumb UI design that’s dragging the Mac down to the level of teh shiney, rather than teh elegant.

BBC Not Very Good at RSS Shocker

August 11, 2005

Check out these pictures.

a wtf moment at the BBC newsfeed

another crazy rss moment

Apparently people at the BBC are taking a RSS post, renaming it and putting new text in, rather than making a new post.

I find that rather extraordinary. But then I had to buy a flash drive to get files over to an XP box because we couldn’t get the file sharing to turn on (in Norwegian) or find how to set the ip number so it could see the ibooks SMB thingey. (in Norwegian).

But I’m not meant to be the gold standard for authoritative news. So that’s different.

I think I may have wandered a little off the point.

(Update 13/1/2006–apologies for the crap graphics, I forgot to back them up and then they got corrupted on the server somehow)

The Sony Ericsson T610

August 11, 2005

Is generally a fine phone, though the compression on the camera pictures is excessive and the UI is a bit slow. There are, however, two rather infuriating flaws that really get on my nerves:–

  • The lame vibrating alert, which you can’t feel unless the phone is in direct contact with a sensitive part of you. Just walking about the place you don’t feel it, so forget about noticing time-critical messages from, say, your girlfriend, when you are doing noisy things like trimming or chipping. However, it makes IKEA sofas produce eerie booming noises, so there you are.
  • Outgoing text messages do NOT get date and time stamped. So if you want to archive messages from say, your girlfriend, you have to think REALLY hard about when you sent things to reconstruct the conversation. I know SMS is meant to be an ephemeral medium (pace Address sending messages with no indication at all that they went, or were delivered, and no record anywhere) but…

Oh, and the ringtones that come with the thing are pretty lame. and it doesn’t play aiffs, and well, I could go on but that’s probably enough.

It’s only a phone, for gods sake.

Mighty Mouse

August 11, 2005

I have never seen such bollocks then what Apple have written about the new Mighty Mouse thingey. The name is amusing but stupid. The neccessity for 10.4.2. is pure marketing.

I am quite content to use a single button and modifier keys; I use uControl and have a fnKey scrollpad that I find indispensible. If a PC has a scroll wheel I sometimes remember to use it. Sometimes not. It usually scrolls too fast and is scary. Remember you can go too fast sometimes.

If you want to use something called a Mighty Mouse, go right ahead. I don’t really feel the need. Grief, what’s next? Crouching iPad, Running Tiger?