Wednesday, June 28, 2006
And if you're still thirsty after imbibing the Kopi Lambak (or want to wash away its flavor) but don't have a bottle opener with you for your beer, then don't despair -- here's a tip from Denmark: How to open a bottle of beer the Scandanavian way
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
But do they realize that they're heading towards a mire of undependability and lack of accountability, and this could be its greatest weakness? See Time for Web 2.0 to get real (posted by Phil Wainewright at ZDNet) where he talks about:
"... a fundamental flaw in the Web 2.0 era: a complete disregard for accountability to their users among service providers. ... it has to start offering the characteristics that Main St expects: reliability, accountability, consistency."I for one am certainly not going to recommend anytime soon to my clients in outback Australia (nor for clients in the main Australian cities) that they should toss out their Windows-based word processor, spreadsheet or any other applications and start using some mashup of Web 2.0 applications hosted half way around the world. Would you?
Monday, June 26, 2006
- Over at wikipedia, there's Hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia
- Next there's Antidisestablishmentarianism -- an oldie but a goodie (hint: start off by understanding the meaning of "establishmentarianism")
- Then there's Dibromothymolsulphonphthalein (a.k.a. "Bromthymol Blue", or BTB, because of its intense blue color). Used in chemistry as an indicator. Formula: C27H28Br2O5S ... I've been out of the chemistry profession for over 35 years, so I had to look it up, but its modern chemical name is: 3,3”-Dibromothymolsulphonephthalein
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Even some IBM people have a tendency, when a new Notes release is being described, to spend so much time highlighting improvements in the Notes Mail application that it wouldn't bee too difficult to get the impression (quite wrongly, of course) that Lotus Notes is all about e-mail.
Once upon a time -- in the 1990s -- Lotus used to distribute a bundle along with Notes a bundle of quite useful example applications; but alas not any more. I'd strongly recommend to IBM that they start doing this again!
However some of the "oldies but goldies" are available. If you're interested in seeing and getting them, go to either http://asiapac.com.au/Links/NotesDomino.htm or http://notestracker.com/Links/NotesDomino.htm
Then scroll down a litttle (not very far from the top of the page) to the QUICK LINKS ON THIS PAGE menu, and click on the link Some "trusty old Lotus Notes applications" to be sent to the download links.
Saturday, June 24, 2006
How can you find out if you're "normal"? Why, by going to a "professional" of course.
But you'll probably change your attitude after you read some of the following:
- Take the Shrink Challenge: Can a psychiatrist really tell what's wrong with you? If a dozen shrinks each interview the same patient, will they arrive at the same diagnosis?
- On Being Sane in Insane Places by psychologist D.L. Rosenhan
- These spicy interactions, set off by journalist Lauren Slater
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
"I cringe every time someone who talks or writes about knowledge management (KM) starts by apologising for the name or criticising it in some way. ... I wonder if hey really think that there could ever be a short two or three word phrase that could dequately described this discipline we call knowledge management. ... KM is not going away. Indeed, it is becoming more important than ever."Drop over to David's site InsideKnowledge and read more.
Monday, June 19, 2006
There was no separate and distinct On/Off button that I was used to in earlier Nokia models. This was not good. I had to resort to reading the User Guide -- "RTFM" mode, as some would put indelicately it -- in order to accomplish even this most basic of tasks. Even then, it took me the best part of ten minutes to decode the small, rather inscrutable diagram and discover that it has two concentric rocker switches (a usability challenge in itself) that the bottom right corner of the outer rocker acted as the On/Off switch. A little later, as I got further into its all-too-numerous functions, I was equally frustrated by some of the clumsy navigation: particulary the repetive keying forced upon you when you carry out a function and are then sent back several levels right to the top of the navigation tree, not just to the previous level of the tree.
Altogether, there are far too many functions, not all well laid out or well explained. At least the dialing buttons are big on this Nokia model, on some models (other brands of phone too) the buttons are far too small and close together to accomodate my fat and clumsy "farmer's fingers." But that's another story in itself: Form over function.
Going all-digital with user interfaces isn't necessarily the best choice. In automobiles, for example, there are some functions that are best handled with analog interfaces. In my old but trusty Mitsubishi, for example, the heater's temperature control is an analog roller and so I can easily and accurately adjust the cabin temperature by feel in a second . There's no fiddly digital interface that would require me to take my eyes off the road. New technologies and/or the way they're applied aren't necessarily ideal for all tasks (cheaper perhaps, but sometimes a step or two backwards in terms of convenience and usability).
Over at Human Factors International (one of my favorite Web sites, you should register for their newsletter), there's a new article that immediately struck a chord with me and I'm sure it will with you too: Oh, that kind of better... On the trade-off between feature-laden and usable....
"Does it seem that making phones calls is no longer the primary function of cell phones? ... Do you give consumers what they want now? Or develop products that will increase the lifetime value of customers? This seems to be an interesting conundrum for organizations providing services and products – ranging from mobile phones to software to Internet service to cars – with the unlimited feature potential."I strive to design and deliver products that are "good enough" and not too feature-laden. A recent example is the Simple Signer which was designed for just one function: to let you select and sign a Lotus Notes database -- "One tool for one task" is not a bad concept. Even this small application took a fair amount of work: to make it easy to understand and operate, to make it look consistent, to carefully craft the test and messages, etc. All for a free tool, but "If it's worth doing it's worth doing well."
Sunday, June 18, 2006
- Installation Blues, Part 2 - Readying Eclipse for use
- Installation Blues, Part 2 revisited - Eclipse setup screencam (my own amateurish attempt to demonstrate the installation procedure)
In the meantime, I've just come across a good tutorial at the Novell-hosted Linux University for Developers, a nice introduction to installing and starting to use Eclipse, called Getting Started with the Eclipse IDE
And there's another tutorial called Eclipse Key Features which should be also be good for Eclipse novices.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
In 1949, D. David Bourland Jr. proposed the abolition of all forms of the words "is" or "to be" and the Bourland proposal (English without "isness") he called E-Prime, or English-Prime. ... It seems likely that persons trained in E-Prime will grow more cautious about their perceptions and not "rush to judgement" in the manner of most of us throughout history.The pundits writing about "Web 2.0" should start expressing themselves in E-prime. (And the same for commentators in just about any other field that you care to name: politics, religion, sports, advertising, news reporting, the list is endless.)
Let's do away with the endless hype, hallucinatory evangelizing, and paralyzing pontifications! Let's adopt more precise, neutral language wherever possible. Life would be duller, though, and certainly more verbose. More "common sense" and less flair; maybe it would be worth it.
UPDATE - 16 June 2006 11:38AM (Melbourne, Australia time):
Joyfully celebarating the birth of a second grandson less than three hours ago!
Meanwhile, I not that on 11 June in his Read/WriteWeb blog, Richard MacManus opines that it really should be called "Page Views 2.0" because:
"... the fundamental reason why 'Web 2.0' is (dare I say it) in bubble phase right now. It's the exact same reason the Dot Com bubble occured - Page Views... which in this era leads to ads.
Drive as many users to your site as humanly possible - that's the modus operandi of all websites, web 2.0 or not.
These days, 2005-06-onwards, the idea is very much to - you guessed it - gather as many users as possible. Only this time you can monetize them with Google ads, or your own advertisers/sponsors."
So there you have it. They're all in it for the money.
This makes me feel like an altruist -- or perhaps an idiot -- because my web site and weblogs are virtually ad-free and largely non-commercial (except for relatively low-key advertising of my IT consulting services plus NotesTracker product, and the products of my small number of business partners). And I'm silly enough to give away some free Lotus Notes/Domino applications. Oh well, it takes all types doesn't it.
UPDATE -- 08 September 2006:
Just came across this little gem, enabling you to generate your own Web 2.0 hype ... The Web 2.0 Bullshit Generator
Friday, June 09, 2006
Signs you have a great job ... or not (by Jeanne Sahadi, CNNMoney.com senior writer) - Even when you're having a really bad day, your job may be a lot better than you think. Here's how to tell.
Archived articles in a similar vein from Jeanne Sahadi here.
Thursday, June 08, 2006
The desktop rodent has come a long way in a couple of decades, from just "plug it in and move it around" to being extolled as "sculpted" and with "stylish color combinations" -- wow!
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
It covers a range of browsers for the Apple and Windows platforms, in terms of their functionality and speediness in carrying out various types of operations. Safari comes out well, as do Firefox and especially the Opera browser. Internet Explorer (IE6 as well as IE7 Beta) stand out -- by being significantly slower in the tests!
I've been running IE7 Beta 2 for a few months now. IE7 has been very stable, but I cannot put tolerate its (to me) quite unusable native layout and lack of tailorability. So instead I use the excellent Avant Browser front end, and this nicely covers nearly all of my functional needs. All the same, regularly I hop over to Firefox to take advantage of various functions that it does better. (TIP: there's a handy Firefox extension that allows IE pages to be launched in Firefox, and vice-versa.)
After reading the Musings From Mars report, I'll certainly be reconsidering use of the Opera browser (and with any luck achieving noticeable time savings every day).
Monday, June 05, 2006
This general theme is taken up by author Barry C. Lynn in End of the Line : The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global Corporation:
"Our corporations have built the most efficient system of production the world has ever seen, perfectly calibrated to a world in which nothing bad ever happens. But that is not the world we live in. Not only is human civilization riven routinely by earthquakes and hurricanes, but so too is it shattered by wars and acts of terror and simple human error. Which means it is only a matter of time until we experience our next industrial crash, perhaps one much worse than any we have yet known."I must get this book, it seems to have struck a chord with quite a few reviewers. It seems that we've painted ourselves into a corner ...
Sunday, June 04, 2006
However, when I visited the following Microsoft site my browser started consuming inordinate amounts of processor resource (fluctuating between about 50 to 90 percent):
Visual Studio 400 Differences - The Visual Studio 400 Plus Differences website details more than 400 exciting programmatic and usability differences in Visual Studio .NET 2005 including hilarious videos.Some hilarity there may be, but whoever put this particular site together really should revisit its design and modify it so that it doesn't chew up such large slabs of processor time!
Saturday, June 03, 2006
It's not AJAX ... He's talking about server-push data streaming with low latency, for which he coined the name "Comet", and he reckons that it's better for users.
Here's an interview with Alex Russell about Dojo (by SYS-CON.TV, at at the Real-World AJAX seminar in San Jose, May 2006).