Fly on the wall: “We can tune afterward” Matt 06 Sep 2006

24 comments Latest by Seacher

Live immediately
Marcel ordered a few of those Great Ideas books from Penguin (Seneca, Paine, and Rousseau) and says the covers are even nicer in person. He offered up this Getting Real-ish excerpt from Seneca about living for the moment:

Can anything be more idiotic than certain people who boast of their foresight? They keep themselves officiously preoccupied in order to improve their lives; they spend their lives in organizing their lives. They direct their purposes with an eye to a distant future. But putting things off is the biggest waste of life: it snatches away each day as it comes, and denies us the present by promising the future. The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today. You are arranging what lies in Fortune’s control, and abandoning what lies in yours. What are you looking at? To what goal are you straining? The whole future lies in uncertainty: Live immediately.

Seeing through newbie eyes
Printing is obvious. Right?

Ryan S.
just got a call from my mom
Ryan S.
who is just barely beginning to use my dad’s imac
Ryan S.
for looking something up on the web
Ryan S.
and she called to find out how to print
Ryan S.
i just realized how totally weird it is that you go to "File" first
Ryan S.
it makes no sense, except to someone who has seen "File" menus for years
Marcel M.
(or just do Cmd+P)
Ryan S.
web pages aren’t files
Ryan S.
it’s always good to see things fresh through newbie eyes
Jason F.
Yeah the File menu is so weird for printing

Windows bitching
Jason: “man working in windows is such a mess…the UI is just terrible…and all the apps UIs are terrible…the type is terrible…it’s amazing.”

Along similar lines, David pointed out this quote from Jaded Pixel: “Working with Windows makes me feel dead inside.”

Crowdsourcing translation
We discussed Shopify’s crowdsourcing approach to translation. Seems smart.

Shopify brings the crowdsourcing concept to the internationalization problem. Any Shopify user can create their own language templates, apply to help edit other language templates, or simply utilize other translated language templates. The original creator of a translation will lead the translation team. He or she can accept and decline assistance and will be notified of any new language strings that come online with new content that affects the checkout process or the PDF order receipts.

Jamis has grown a moustache and goatee. Unfortunately the ‘stache does NOT look like this Rollie Fingers version that Ryan mocked up:


“We can tune afterward”
v1 means some ideas get tabled (as seen in this Sunrise discussion).

Jason F.
v1 — you specify
Jason F.
v2 (or never) we get a little clever and ask
Ryan S.
yeah v1 you have to specify
Ryan S.
we can tune afterward
Jason F.
Jason F.
if we can get that right it will be a great bit of polish
Jason F.
but we have enough to do with this initial release of this

Amazon Prime time
Marcel just discovered Amazon Prime (you pay $79/year and you get 2-day shipping for free or overnight for $3.99) and says it’ll result in him ordering more from the site. Jason said, “I’ve ordered like 10x more stuff because of it…so it ‘works.’” He also linked to this article about Prime

Some say the Amazon Prime program is too expensive for customers — and others say it’s too expensive for Amazon.

I theorized that sort of criticism isn’t necessarily a bad response: “That’s how you know when you’ve reached the perfect price point: when everyone complains. same way you know you’re a good referee/umpire: when both sides are equally upset with you.

Why do forms apologize?
Ryan had an idea about validation messages: “If someone was filling out a form in person, and they handed it in…the clerk wouldn’t say ‘sorry, we couldn’t process your form. you have to fill in your last name’…they would just say ‘oh, please fill in your name there.’


He continued, “‘Please check the following:’ versus ‘Something is wrong’…subtle thing, but i think it’s friendlier.”

24 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Bo Williams 06 Sep 06

good luck with those prostrations!

brad 06 Sep 06

man working in windows is such a mess�the UI is just terrible�and all the apps UIs are terrible�the type is terrible�it�s amazing.

I’ve heard similar words coming from long-time Windows users when they start using Mac OSX. Everyone I know who switched to OSX from OS9 hated it for months, and I hated Windows at first when I was forced to use it at work. I think all user interfaces feel “terrible” until you get used to them. After six years of heavy use I actually like Windows now almost as much as I like OSX.

Sam 06 Sep 06

A recent pet peeve of mine with forms… the fairly new “whoops!” instead of “sorry!”

I don’t know why, but saying ‘Oops!’ or ‘Yikes!’ seems so demeaning or something. Like they should say “Wow, you ALMOST filled this form out all by yourself!”

Carlos 06 Sep 06

I agree with Marcel and Jason about Amazon Prime. Previously, the potential shipping cost made me either 1) wait until I needed more items so I could order them together, or 2) take a trip to my local bookstore to see if I can avoid the shipping cost altogether.

But my wife bought into Amazon Prime, and it has changed my shopping behavior! Think about it, that is no small feat, to change a consumer’s entire behavior.

Now, when I think I want something, I order it by itself right away. I know I’ll have it on my doorstep two days later, which is faster than my next opportunity to get to the bookstore. I think that is “enough” to get a physical product in today’s world of demanding instant gratification. Some people probably won’t make up the savings on the $79 outset, but man, having the $79 be a sunk cost really made a difference.

Andy Kant 06 Sep 06

Alien operating systems always seem terrible if you’re not used to them. Likewise, the way OS X is organized confuses the hell outta me…so I just launch bash and do everything manually. :-)

The more experience I get with OS X though, the more I like it. Too bad Microsoft will never make an official port of C# and the .NET Framework for Macs otherwise I’d probably switch permanently. C# and .NET are too sexy to give up.

JF 06 Sep 06

My main beef with Windows is the typography. The default fonts are tiny, thin, and hard for me to read on the screen. Since 95% of the computer experience is about reading, I can’t help but come to this conclusion. Just my opinion, of course.

Aaron Blohowiak 06 Sep 06

JF, have you set up ClearType for your monitor?

JF 06 Sep 06

JF, have you set up ClearType for your monitor?

There ya go. I have to set something up to see nicer type.

Another reason why I don’t like Windows.

OS X just looks nice out of the box. The defaults are built to look nice. You have to work hard to make something look bad. No work means things look good. That’s the right order.

Anyhow, I will look into ClearType.

Yan 06 Sep 06

ClearType is pretty damn well hidden in windows. It’s like they don’t want users to know that it’s actually possible to have semi-decent looking type.

Maybe there is an explanation for it not being on by default (uses up cpu?), but there is absolutely no excuse for hiding it so deep:

Control Panel -> Display Properties -> Appearance -> Effects -> Make sure ‘Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts’ is checked. Under it from the dropdown box select ‘ClearType’

Stephen 06 Sep 06

Well I’ve used Linux, Mac OS X and Windows for years and I’ an expert on all three systems. Every time I use Windows I feel the same revulsion. The fonts are definitely a large culprit. I’m hard to please, I use Safari over Firefox because it uses Mac OS X’s superior font rendering engine, but Microsoft’s effort is really shoddy and the default fonts are pretty ghastly too. Hopefully an area where Vista will show some improvement�if it gets released before global warming or some other Armageddon arrives.

Jough Dempsey 06 Sep 06

ClearType is turned on by default in most laptop setups I’ve seen.

It’s off by default in standard windows because it only works if you have an LCD display and really REALLY looks horrible on a CRT. The changes to OS X’s type display looks really horrible on a CRT too. I’m not sure if you can turn it off or not, though.

I always feel really frustrated using a Mac because it seems that the feature or annoyance that I want to turn off is either missing as a feature (“our way or the highway!”) or is buried deep within some menu.

I use iTunes in Windows to manage my music, but adding new playlists to my nano requires several steps. I tend to use the USB to recharge the battery, so I leave it plugged in whenever I’m not out listening to music. As soon as I fire-up iTunes it trys to sync. There is no way to specify that a playlist should sync to an iPod because the iPod menu items completely disappear when no iPod is attached. So you have to attach the iPod, wait for it to finish auto-syncing, and THEN add the playlist through a hidden sub-menu, and THEN sync again.

I use Firefox and a default stylesheet so I can read web pages in the fonts I choose. FWIW, the default fonts that come with both the Mac and Windows are all pretty ugly.

Andy Kant 06 Sep 06

The reason that ClearType is not enabled by default is because of how it appears on old CRT’s. When Windows XP came out, LCD’s weren’t as common as they are now so they couldn’t force the “blurry” text on everyone who had a CRT. Vista has it enabled by default, as does IE7, since LCD’s are extremely common now. The feature is pretty hidden though: Display properties > Appearance > Effects… > “Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts” > change to ClearType. There is also a XP Powertoy for tweaking ClearType to your preference but you have to download that from Microsoft’s site.

My guess is that OS X has had the benefit in knowing that most Macs have LCD’s since that is what Apple has been pushing for years so I don’t think blurry fonts were ever an issue.

Nathan Ostgard 06 Sep 06

The thing I miss most when going from my OS X environment at work to my Windows XP environment at home is the consistency of the quality of the user interface in OS X.

It seems like I have to struggle to find applications for Windows that aren’t full of crappy icons that look like they belong in Windows 3.1 or designed with ugly fonts or unintuitive layouts.

Perhaps a lot of that is due to the thought that Apple put into providing a good set of guidelines for developers to use for the user interface, and then providing tools that make it easier for the developers to follow those guidelines…

NP 06 Sep 06

About fonts on Gnome or KDE I’ve encountered the same issue while I was saying to a linux guy that I simply preferred ten times my osx fonts that always looked good : he told me there were some options if you go there and there and it’s really cool you can set it up as you like.

But how the F do I know what I like in terms of anti-aliasing ??

I may test a thousand times without being really sure this is the right configuration for my eye and go back to it loosing time *and* sense.

On osx, font is simply right for my eye, I have nothing to say about it. The only times I think about anti-aliasing is when I work on a windows or a linux GUI and that makes me feel that Apple is so much more right on that point (and I have been a windows user for years and this has always been a thing I thought about working with this environment - as were viruses or trojans off-topic).

lisa 06 Sep 06

The whole future lies in uncertainty: Live immediately.

You know, when I was younger I read this as “Live in immediacy.” I wasted a load fo time doing this.

Matt 06 Sep 06

Man Jamis… I guess in Idaho you REALLY have to look for ways to entertain yourself. :)

Andrew 06 Sep 06

On “friendly” error messages…

I make the car payments. I’ve been to the Toyota site so many times that I just go through the motions. When the transaction is complete, I save a screen capture (*just* in case.) Life is easy!

Lo and behold, we get a call stating that we’re several weeks past due. How can that be?! I pay every month online — I have the screen shot to prove it!

You may have guessed, I captured a friendly error message instead of the usual thank-you message. I require a bright orange “HEY, YOU!” to get my attention.

Joe Ruby 06 Sep 06

Working with Windows makes me hurt real bad inside.

Dean 07 Sep 06

A few GNOME applications have what would be the “File” menu changed to be something else, in the IRC client (xchat-gnome) it’s “IRC”, the Movie Player (Totem) is “Movie” and the music player (rhythmbox) it’s “Music”.

I believe it may be mentioned in the GNOME Interface Guidelines actually…

Mb. 07 Sep 06

Ngondro for Thanksgiving! That’ll take those pounds off!

Shelly 07 Sep 06

The reason Cleartype is not turned on by default is because:

v1 � you specify
v2 (or never) Windows gets a little clever and asks

I guess MS will tune later, huh.?

Jared White 07 Sep 06

I have years of experience in Windows XP and Mac OS X both. OS X is definitely a much better usability experience. You can get work done in Windows, certainly, but it’s a chore. In OS X, it’s fun. Everything just clicks, everything makes sense. Everything seems *designed* and thought out, not just sort of placed there hoping it’s OK (and it’s usually not).

Windows XP makes me feel trapped. OS X makes me feel free. And that, my friends, is priceless.

Seacher 16 Sep 06

like Dali :)