Saturday, May 30th, 2009

When my mom got a fancy digital camera, I set her up with Google Picass. I’m a big an of iPhoto on my Mac and had heard good things about Picasa. And given that Picass looks like a clone of iPhoto, I figured it would work about the same way.

It doesn’t. iPhoto stores pictures in an opaque database in a bundle (a bundle is a folder on OS X which appears in the Finder as a regular file. They’re pretty cool.). The image files are stored ok disk, but it’s purely an implementation detail. The user doesn’t have to think about files at all: the pictures are entities in an of themselves. And if you want an actual file sonewhere, you can just drag a picture from iPhoto into a Finder window. It’s great and easy and -dare I say it- natural.

Piacasa does not use an opaque database. Your pictures never become entites distinct from the files on disk. Picasa is really just a file browser. It looks for image files all over your disk and just displays them. If you move a picture in Picasa it moves it in your regular folders as well.

Which would be fine except that Picasa does not LOOK like a file manager. Windows Explorer and folder windows and open/save dialog boxes ok Windows all look the same. So when I move a file, I understand what will happen. They all look like file management tools. Picass looks like a photo manager, so it shouldn’t also be a file manager.
It’s inconsistent and it’s unintuitive and it breaks the principle of least surprise.

It’s a huge UX failure. Thank Jobs for Apple.

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Friday, May 29th, 2009

A tiny wobble reveals a massive planet – The Bad Astronomer

Stories like this are exciting and awe-inspiring (the newly discovered planet has six times the mass of Jupiter!) and humbling: the more we find out about the universe, the more diminished we seem as a species. We’re NOTHING, man.

But mostly, these stories depress the hell out of me. Because humanity will almost certainly never be able to travel the stars like we do in stories. The best we can hope for is some sort of world-ship. But who can even imagine building one of those for real?

And even if we one day manage to escape our solar system, I’ll not know about it. I’ll have long ago turned to dust by the time we get to a point (both technologically and socially) where that would be even remotely feasible.

So I can look at the amazing universe all around me. But I can’t touch.


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Thursday, May 28th, 2009

After a good and energetic day yesterday, I find myself super tired again today. I think I really need to get into a routine of exercising regularly. I’ve heard that that helps.

Of course: who wants to exercise when they’re this freaking tired?! Maybe this is a good reason to buy Wii Fit? Everyone seems to like it.

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Severity: Medium

Priority: High

Symptom: Vending Machine Does Not Contain Pop-Tarts

Expected Result: Vending Machine Would Contain Pop-Tarts, Allowing Me To Purchase One

Actual Result: Vending Machine Contains Oreo Cakesters Where The Pop-Tarts Normally Go

Steps To Reproduce:

  1. Approach vending machine carefully
  2. Count out at least 85 cents ($0.85) of change (for example: 3 quarters and 1 dime)
  3. Visually scan vending machine window searching for Pop-Tarts
  4. NOTICE: No Pop-Tarts can be found
  5. Insert change into vending machine
  6. Select option E12, which usually dispenses Pop-Tarts
  7. NOTICE: Oreo Cakesters are dispensed instead

Please note: There is a work-around. In order to obtain Pop-Tarts, the user may visit other vending machines around the building attempting to find one. The user MUST NOT attempt to retrieve Pop-Tarts from the affected vending machine first, however, as this will render their change useless for acquiring Pop-Tarts. This is not documented anywhere.

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Monday, May 18th, 2009

Highlander films, ranked in order of preference.

  1. Highlander

This is the only Highlander film that has ever been made.

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