he knows when you're awake

Sep. 20th, 2017 10:52 pm
cmdr_zoom: (oops)
[personal profile] cmdr_zoom
I've just become aware of a new (~10 years old) Christmas marketing gimmick "tradition", the Elf on the Shelf.
My first reaction - and it seems, from some of the articles I've found, I'm not alone - was:
"It's never too early to start indoctrinating your children to accept our post-privacy world of omnisurveillance."

usability struggles

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:51 pm
cellio: (Default)
[personal profile] cellio

I spend a lot of time on, and am a volunteer moderator for, several Stack Exchange sites. (Mi Yodeya is one of them.) SE has a banner ("top bar") that is the same across all sites. It contains notifications, information about the logged-in user, and some key navigation links. For moderators it contains a few more things relevant to that job.

Until recently it looked like this (non-moderator view):


The red counter is the inbox (waiting messages) and the green one is reputation changes. If there aren't any, you just get the gray icons that those alerts are positioned over. If I were a moderator on that site, there'd be a diamond to the left of my user picture and a blue square with the flag count to the left of that.

They've just changed this design. (Well, the change is rolling out.) Here's what it looks like now (for a moderator):

new, notifications

The most important links for moderation are the last two things, the diamond and the blue box with the number (flags). They're on the far right, where they're less likely to be seen for various reasons. (Non-moderators don't get those indicators.)

In the old design, those moderator indicators -- which are important -- were toward the center where they're easier to see. Also, all the numbers were a little bigger and easier to see.

When this was announced there was a lot of immediate discussion in the moderators-only chat room, during which I got a little upset about the reduced usability, especially those moderator controls -- which had a good chance of being scrolled away in a not-huge browser window, because SE doesn't use responsive design. After I calmed down I wrote a post on Meta about how this was going to make it harder for me to do my volunteer job, particularly with vision challenges. I expected to get a few sympathy votes, some "get a bigger monitor" snark (which wouldn't help, by the way), and no results.

That post is now one of my highest-scoring posts on the network. And I have a meeting with the product manager and a designer at SE next week to demonstrate my difficulties in using this in more detail.

Meanwhile, I've gotten some help with userscripts from some other moderators. It's hacky and a little buggy and it slows down page loads and I have no idea how to adjust some things, but at least I can see my notifications and the moderator stuff is in a better place. It'll do for now.

I sure hope I can get them to bake some of this in, though. The page-load delay is a little disconcerting as stuff jumps around on the screen. (Also, userscripts do not work on my Android tablet.)

Beyond the immediate problem, though, what I really hope for is to find some way to raise a little awareness that usability is hard, designers are not the users, there are all kinds of people with all kinds of usage patterns and constraints, and you need to somehow, systematically, figure out how to design for the larger audience. That's going to be the hard part.

A question for the ages

Sep. 17th, 2017 04:05 pm
cmdr_zoom: (oops)
[personal profile] cmdr_zoom
"Is there, like, a secret evil that will be released if DC and Marvel comics are ever both good at the same time?"
cmdr_zoom: (zoom)
[personal profile] cmdr_zoom
Every now and then, looking through my browser bookmarks, I'm struck by how my habits and interests have shifted over time (and continue to do so). Sites I once visited daily, or hourly, now go untouched for months or years; some have vanished off the net entirely, save for what's preserved in the Internet Archive or my own hard drive. Games and books and (web)comics and television series that I was once a devoted fan of now sit upon the metaphorical shelf, buried layers deep in subfolders (not unlike their physical equivalents in storage boxes). And sometimes, I dare to go digging through the strata.

And then there's the miscellany and ephemera, sites found along the side of the road in my wanderings that don't fit neatly anywhere, or would take "too much time" to put where they do, or were never meant to be of lasting interest or use beyond a hypothetical later or return visit. Loose ends, projects and threads I meant to follow up on; YouTube videos I intended to find time to watch... someday.

Times change, the net changes, and so does the person between keyboard and chair. Games, shows, sites and fandoms, wax and wane and sometimes pass into (hopefully fond) memory. That's life; sometimes happy, sometimes sad, but mostly it just is.

a conversation snippet

Sep. 16th, 2017 10:36 pm
cellio: (shira)
[personal profile] cellio
Tonight at our s'lichot service (something tied to the high holy days), a fellow congregant greeted me and said "I haven't seen you in hours!". (We'd both been there this morning.) I said "hours and hours!". He complained that I was getting carried away.

I responded by saying: "hours" means at least two; "hours and hours" therefore means at least four; it's been longer than that since this morning, so "hours and hours" is not inappropriate.

It was at this point that somebody standing nearby said "oh, that's where I know you from!". We'd both been in a talmud-heavy class a while back.

There are worse things to be remembered for. :-)

(no subject)

Sep. 15th, 2017 11:06 pm
bolson: (Default)
[personal profile] bolson
Just finished reading "V for Vendetta" and an article by Moore about the creative process and having just read a good piece of art I wonder if my mind is just too rigidly practical to make good art.
The world needs practical people, that's good in it's way, but, I do sometimes daydream and wish I could create good art that moved people.
(yeah, lots of practice, making lots of bad art, hundreds and thousands of hours etc.)

daf bit: Sanhedrin 60

Sep. 14th, 2017 09:00 am
cellio: (talmud)
[personal profile] cellio

Blasphemy is a capital offense. Conviction for a capital offense requires careful testimony of two direct witnesses. This poses a problem, as they must testify to what exactly the person said. To minimize the damage, the court sent everybody out except for the witnesses and then told the first witness: tell us literally what he said. The witness did, and the judges tore their garments. The second witness then said "I heard this too" without repeating the testimony. (The mishna then says the third witness does likewise. I'm not sure where the third witness came from, as only two are required.)

The g'mara discusses tearing one's garments when hearing blasphemy. Rav Yehudah said in the name of Shmuel that one tears only when hearing a curse of the tetragramaton, but not when hearing other divine names. Rabbi Chiyya says that one who hears God's name in a blasphemous context today doesn't tear his garments, because if he did the garment would be torn to shreds. But who is R' Chiyya talking about? If we say that he hears this blasphemy from Jews, are Jews so irreverent as to frequently demean the name of God? No, he must be talking about hearing it from gentiles. But do gentiles know this specific name? No, if we're talking about gentiles it must be in regard to any name, and there'd be enough of that to leave one's garments in shreds. The g'mara concludes that nowadays one is not obligated to tear his garments when hearing the curse of a gentile and a curse using another name, but originally one was obligated to tear for both, contrary to what Shmuel says. (mishna 56a, g'mara 60a)

In case you're wondering (I did!) why the second witness doesn't tear his garment on hearing the first witness repeat the blasphemy, the g'mara says it's because he already tore his garment when he heard the original blasphemer. The judges, however, are hearing it for the first time.

eating too fast

Sep. 10th, 2017 07:59 pm
forgotten_aria: (susuwatari stars)
[personal profile] forgotten_aria
We tried a new Korean restaurant today. it was quite nice, but they said something to us we've never heard before. They said we ate too fast. At first he said, "we're open until 9pm, you didn't have to rush" then the woman said something about how it was unhealthy to eat so fast! (Her English wasn't that good.

Mostly we found this funny.

Returning to the viewing platform

Sep. 8th, 2017 05:34 pm
jeliza: custom avatar by hexdraws (Default)
[personal profile] jeliza
I've re-installed and using my 3d program (Vue) for the first time in three computers. This is still cat waxing, but fairly productive cat waxing, potentially, since I need it to finish several unfinished sci-fi landscapes that could nicely fill out my card line.

(I laid out my entire jewelry stock for inventory two days ago and I need to paint at least 40 new pieces of jewelry in the next two weeks. That should be my focus. Um. Don't know why I am so procrastinating on that, it's not even hard, and I have a ton of new ideas too.)

This might be finished now? Maybe? It is certainly much further along than it was two hours ago, which is where it had been paused for six years.

snowy scifi scene, unfinished, by Jeliza Patterson

2wks and a bonus

Sep. 7th, 2017 09:37 pm
jarrettc: meerkat (Default)
[personal profile] jarrettc
Not much worth mentioning happened these past 2+ weeks,

Social: I was social only twice, sadly.
Projects: only this.

Because the above was so lacking, here is a bonus:
"What is your favorite fandom to spectate? Not one that you're a member of, but one where you appreciate the memes and fan jokes and headcanons despite only a casual enjoyment of the original content?"
I follow someone who was asked this in a blog, and I think it's a great question; I have tried to come up with my own answer:
Leverage [IMDb]: I watched the first season or two (of five) and after that I thought about watching more but would never get around to it. That said, I love reading about how much others love the show, about the emptiness it filled in peoples lives, and how it still inspires them five years going off the air.

What would your answer be?

July 2017

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