Linky Friday #43

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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17 Responses

  1. NotMe says:

    Why the picture of Bush? He isn’t in change anymore despite liberals attempts to blame all problems on him for the last eight years.Report

  2. Dan Miller says:

    FYI, your jetpack link is broken.Report

  3. J@m3z Aitch says:


    I’m continually amazed at tech companies that don’t understand that our techno-items are just tools, and that nobody wants a tool they can’t easily figure out how to use. Especially when we already know how to use that tool, we don’t want an upgrade that requires a steep new learning curve. Spending time every couple of years to re-learn how to use the tools we already know how to use is colossally inefficient and a sure-fire way to ensure your customers start looking for a different supplier.Report

    • Troublesome Frog in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

      I remember when they started to really screw around with the Office UI really badly somewhere around v2007. “Hey, remember the basic set of menus and features you’ve been using for nearly 20 years? Those 20 features that everybody actually uses out of the 100,000 that we offer? Let’s play a game…”

      WHY?? The only reasons to use Office over other better tools were that was ubiquitous and everybody knew how to do the easy things quickly.Report

      • I find that I miss Office less and less as the years go by. I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t even bother to install it, most of the time. The only real drawback is file support for ODF files. Darn Google all to heck.Report

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to Troublesome Frog says:

        Some years back when I was designing a web page and scouring the internets for information on how to do it and what constituted good or bad design, I ran across a page about bad design that mentioned the possibility of having a set of link buttons that not only were nameless until you clicked on them, but that traded positions with each other randomly. He even created an example on the page, and iirc, called it a “mystery meat” approach.

        I’m somewhat surprised Windows hasn’t tried that with their menus yet. It seems the logical progression given their history.Report

    • Somebody still a little bit bitter at Microsoft for Windows 8? 🙂

      I hear ya. As a somewhat nerdish fellow, though, a part of me cringes at “easily figure out how to use” because, though it doesn’t need to it often comes bundled with “an inability to customize.” Or an inability to easily do so. iPhone is a case and point. Android is certainly easier to use than Windows Mobile, but it’s not as customizable. Linux is in a bit of an odd place, where it is both really easy to do basic tasks, but once you want to move beyond those it becomes very difficult (“To be able to do anything, you have to learn everything.”)Report

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to Will Truman says:

        A little?

        And as much as I like Apples approach on the IPad and IPhone, their latest update was not only visually uglier, but screwed up some familiar things (like how to search within a web page–even though it’s still simple, it’s different without being better), and I have steadfastly refused to update my IPhone.

        Keep in mind most people don’t want to customize that much. I was happy to figure out how to delete some apps (or at least their button) on my IPhone and how to bundle some others, to make the screen’s layout neater and more easily navigable, but I have no interest in doing much beyond that. And I’m probably a more typical customer than you. Anyway, the article you linked to clearly shows that customization–at least to the simple extent of setting your own ring tone–was damn near impossible to figure out with that phone. What’s the point of having options just to have options, if you design them so the bulk of your customers can’t figure them out?

        You know what’s great about cars, table saws and microwaves? You don’t have to spend much time figuring out how to operate a new one, regardless of the manufacturer.Report

      • To be fair, if today’s patent regime had been in place back during the birth of the automobile, we’d drive a Ford with a steering wheel, a Chevy with a joystick, and Chrysler using our feet because nobody would be able to use the same design.

        Nokia really dropped the ball, of that there is no doubt. And yes, I do realize that I am a bit of an outlier. Markets suck almost as much as democracy does. People don’t want to learn enough about the issues and candidates, and people don’t want to spend 10-15 hours custumizing their UCCW widget to display all of the information perfectly. Hell in a handbasket, I tell you.Report

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to Will Truman says:

        As long as the handbasket’s comfy, it’s all good.Report

  4. Michael Cain says:

    P2: The sleek free-flying long-duration jet packs we were told to expect were all based on “then a miracle occurs” tech. Anti-gravity, or chemical fuels with enormously greater energy release than JP8 (with atmospheric oxygen) or rocket fuels (with built-in oxidizer) that were safe enough to handle, or… Anyone who ran the numbers got the same answer. If we could have jet packs like that, we’d also have a dirt-cheap way to LEO as well, which would be much more revolutionary.

    Not to mention safety. Every time I ever saw clips from “The Rocketeer”, I cringed at the idea of exhaust gases at something >1000 °F shooting down the back of your legs.Report

  5. Michael Cain says:

    W2: National Geographic has some nice maps of what happens if sea levels rise by 66 meters (roughly the increase if the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps melt completely). California acquires a couple of nice little inland seas, Oregon gets a nice bay where much of the Willamette Valley is today, Florida is gone, and the Mississippi Bay extends inland most of the way to Arkansas.Report

  6. Er [anti-bullying instruction]: I’ve often wondered how anti-bullying campaigns worked (that was after my time in high school).

    I suspect any effective anti-bullying campaign would have to include some sort of raising awareness among teachers about how their actions/words might enable bullying. There were some gym teachers I had who, in my opinion, adopted attitudes and said things that encouraged bullying. They probably did not intend to, but that’s how it seemed to play out. There were also some academic teachers I had who sometimes, in my opinion, crossed the line in some of the things they said to students who were either lazy or just not that smart. (Those weren’t directed at me, and I’ll say upfront that while I was sometimes a victim of bullying, I was in many ways a bully myself. I didn’t threaten with physical harm, but I could be rather caustic and I made fun of some out-group people.)

    By the way, I know this is kind of old (last January), but has anyone read this Noah Berlatsky piece on bullying. I think it’s great (if tangential to the point of anti-bullying campaigns):