Friday Four

Friday, December 14, 2012

1. My baby recognizes the drawing of me (by my wife) on this blog's masthead as her Daddy.

I needed to do something on my desktop while holding her a couple of evenings ago and the browser was open to my blog. She pointed to the drawing, touched me on the chest, laid her head down there, and gave me a hug.

2. Good news for Yahoo! email users:  Yahoo's new CEO recently announced "the New Yahoo! Mail". My oldest email account, which is around fifteen years old, is on Yahoo. I started using it far less frequently a year or so ago in part due to a horrendous new interface that had made it all but unusable. It will be interesting to see how it has changed.

I almost said, "Well, it couldn't be worse than before!" But then I remembered MyWay, which not only was less usable, but at one point also dumped all my old emails for no apparent reason.

3. I love the idea of an office with "library rules".

You keep quiet or whisper. You respect people's personal space. You don't interrupt people who are reading or working, learning or studying. And if you need to have a full-volume conversation, you hit a private room.
But have you been to a library recently? I'd have called it "old fashioned library rules".

4. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell recently floated the idea of doing away with the kickoff.
Before we start laughing at Roger Goodell's idea--by way of Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano--of eliminating kickoffs and replacing them with punts, let's first analyze what this would mean for the game. The suggestion would work like this: Instead of kicking off after a score or to start a half of play, teams would be given the ball in a fourth-down-and-15-yards-to-go situation. Teams could choose to punt, which would accomplish the same purpose as a kickoff--serving possession to the other team. However, the offense could also elect to go for it. This wrinkle would replace the onside kick.
I don't see this happening, but the ensuing analysis makes it sound like an interesting change.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

Speaking of "Library Rules" here is a classic Mercedes commercial

c. andrew

Gus Van Horn said...

That's hilarious. Thanks for posting that link!

Steve D said...

Not as interesting as the one point rule in Canadian football though. (a rule which makes logical sense as well)
It creates a whole lot of convoluted strategizing in the late fourth quarter of close games.

mtnrunner2 said...

I often yearn for "library rules" in my office when people stand around gabbing about nothing, but then there will be conversations that I overhear and didn't want to miss :\

But I'd still lean in favor of "library".

Old email: Gus, I can't believe you aren't using HipsterMail, which debuted yesterday at 5 PM. You slacker/late adopter.

My primary is still Hotmail, simply because I'm not really a fan of Gmail's UI in spite of having an account. Not everything newer is better, a fact some don't seem to realize.

Gus Van Horn said...


I looked that one up and would have to agree!


Regarding GMail, Google has really swilled the "everything is a tablet whether it is or not" Kool-Aid. (I ran across a way to ease the pain of their most recent UI changes some time back and adjusted my settings accordingly.)

One good thing about GMail is that it is easy (and free) to access your mailbox with programs like getmail in order to back up your account. Last time I checked, you had to pay extra to be able to do this with Yahoo!


Benjamin said...

Don't let your daughter know of that picture's title until she's older.

Gus Van Horn said...

Ooh. Good advice. Hadn't thought of that!

Snedcat said...

Yo, Gus, excellent "blonde in a library" commercial. My sister collects blonde jokes--my mother says it's so she'll know what everyone is saying about her.

But you write, "But have you been to a library recently? I'd have called it 'old fashioned library rules'." Nah, it's just Old-School library rules--real Old School. I'll pass on a passage from Alfred Crosby's The Measure of Reality: Quantification and Western Society, 1250-1600, which, as you know, you'll get a copy of for Christmas. Consider it a teaser, if you like:

By the thirteenth century silent reading...was accepted as perfectly normal in the abbeys and cathedral schools and was spreading to courts and countinghouses...

In the next century universities -- the Sorbonne by custom, Oxford and Angers by regulation in 1412 and 1431 -- established that libraries, which had once been small and as noisy as refectories, were to be not only larger but also quiet: that is to say, that silence and an appreciation of what was in books went together. Reading was now silent and swift: much more could be perused and, possibly, learned. Reading was now a more individual -- and potentially heretical -- act.

Gus Van Horn said...

Heh! I remember you telling me that your sister collects blonde jokes and this video reminded me.

If I were a blonde woman, this one would be among my favorites, and that's no joke!

Jim May said...

Not everything newer is better, a fact some don't seem to realize.

This is a complaint that I have seen rising exponentially over the last few years. It's seems as if software developers do not have a concept of "finished".

Why is there still a dev team for MS Office, for example? Really, what is there to add or change to a frickin' word processor?

More and more, I am seeing "updates" and changes for the sake of changing things, that add no value AT BEST, and often subtract it. There were a long run of Photoshop versions, from about 5 or 6 to CS1, where a lot of the changes were simply moving menu items around arbitrarily, or so it seemed, just to maximize the sense of "it's changed so it's worth a paid upgrade". (Mercifully, the pace of changes since CS3 have actually been adding a lot of value for me in Premiere and AfterEffects).

The Windows 8 GUI changes are similar. Metro is ground zero of it, but even the old desktop has gone bare, minimalist. We have graphics which might as well be ONE EFFING BITPLANE but for the antialiasing, except that they are anti-aliased. We have GIGABYTES of video memory and bandwidth now, not 32k! WTF? Are we going to go back to visible scanlines and enforced 640x480 next?

Gmail is another example. The original UI was fine. What's there now, I've gotten used to, but that's just getting back to where I was before, proficiency-wise; none of the changes were any kind of improvement I could identify.

Now they are pushing a new "Compose" window. On my Ubuntu netbook, it's an instant clusterfuck. Adds nothing, took away a lot, can't move it around, can't resize it. IN GOOGLE'S OWN CHROMIUM BROWSER (so it isn't Linux/Ubuntu/Gnome's fault). Turned it off. Dread the day it's made the unavoidable default.

Programmers need to learn: IT'S FINISHED. LEAVE IT ALONE. SHIP IT AND MOVE ON.


(Robot screener text includes 223. Reminds me, I need to pick up some ammo soon.)

Gus Van Horn said...


Ugh! It's a toss-up -- between change for change's sake and changes that screw up the UX for a company's own software within the context of the use of its own products -- for what I find most annoying. I'm right with you on all of this.