Entries in category “Usability”

8 entries in this category. See also: Feed icon feed of entries in this category, list of all entry categories.


Back in March when I read about Ryan Tomayko’s redesign, I had two immediate reactions:

  1. Wow, that’s hardcore!
  2. I should try that myself sometime.

Of course, at the time I was busy working on a book and so couldn’t really spare much effort for doing redesign work. Once that was in its final stages, though, I sat down and started thinking about what I could do to reduce the amount of cruft hanging around my weblog. Many revisions later, I have something I’m close to being happy with; of course, I don’t think ...

Entry published June 15, 2008. Read full entry.

Batteries sold separately

At first glance, Google’s App Engine looks like a great way to build the next big web application; you get access to a massively scalable infrastructure, you get access to a huge existing authentication system, you get baked-in stats, you get all sorts of cool goodies.

Oh, and you get Python, which is a great language for writing web applications, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t take some pleasure in Django being available out of the box.

Personally I don’t really care one way or another about hosting code with Google ...

Entry published April 8, 2008. Read full entry.


Once upon a time, I was doing a server setup at work, installing all the various prerequisites and utilities to support the things we use. One part of that involves installing Jing, which we use for XML validation; Jing is written in Java, and so we use gcj (the GNU Java compiler) to compile it for use, ending up with a nice little binary we can call from anywhere.

Now, we’ve standardized on Ubuntu for our servers, so installing gcj should be as simple as apt-get install gcj (or, more often ...

Entry published March 3, 2008. Read full entry.

iPod touch

When Steve Jobs announced the iPod touch at the beginning of the month, I knew I wanted one: it looked like the perfect little device for my assorted mobile needs. I spent a week or so thinking it over, then placed an order, and Friday morning as I was stepping out of the shower a FedEx delivery guy rang my doorbell to deliver it. I’ve spent the last couple of days playing with it, and so far I’m quite happy. What follows are my observations, which may or may not ...

Entry published September 30, 2007. Read full entry.


The other day, the Dojo blog announced the public beta of Renkoo, an “evite killer” which relies heavily on the asynchronous features of Dojo and “Comet”, the name that’s been given to the use of long-lived HTTP connections to provide instant updates of state in event-driven web applications.

Except I can’t check out Renkoo in my browser of choice — Safari — because I get automatically redirected to their “unsupported browser” page. They have a brief write-up on their blog of why Safari support is problematic, though I can’t help thinking ...

Entry published December 18, 2006. Read full entry.

The Rules

So today I got to wade through the joyful experience of cancelling my account with a business which shall remain nameless (unless, of course, they didn’t actually cancel the account — in which case they shall be named and shamed and several other things as well).

The experience was less then pleasant both for me and the poor customer-service rep who had to take my call, so I’d like to suggest some general guidelines on how this could have gone better. If you want me to be a happy customer, even ...

Entry published August 29, 2006. Read full entry.

Trying something new

Following up on yesterday’s feed subscription housecleaning, today I noticed that, if you buy a NewsFire license before day’s end you’ll get a nice bonus: Inquisitor thrown in free of charge.

Well, hot damn!

Inquisitor is really the big win for me here; I’m trying to get into the habit of using Safari as my day-to-day browser, since I’m doing lots of JavaScript stuff and — though this is in no way a knock against Dave Hyatt and the WebKit team, or the KHTML team — I’ve always tried to have a ...

Entry published August 20, 2006. Read full entry.

Installing the GIMP

Anil Dash has written up some complaints about installing the GIMP on Windows.

Special care should be used while reading that, because he does go through several very valid points:

But his ...

Entry published June 8, 2006. Read full entry.