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Danville or Palo Alto?

In the February 28th, 2005 strip Chris gives a Danville zipcode, but in the New Years' strip he gives a map that exactly matches Palo Alto--- so exact in fact that I presume he got it from the same place I got mine: Google Maps.

(The fact that this is clearly Google Maps or Mapquest source material makes me feel slightly less bad about violating the clearly marked copyright in the upper right corner of the strip.)

Second verse, same as the first

Speaking of which, here's a picture of my new laptop next to my old one. Isn't it nice to see that I'm making such radical changes in my work style? Look closely, my new laptop has 3 stickers instead of 2! That's 50% more!

On body parts

My new laptop, although outrageously expensive, is almost exactly like my old one in every way, so it's a bit disappointing. One cool new feature that it does have, though, is a fingerprint reader. And other than the somewhat crappy line-art hands in the UI, it works pretty good (for now--- we'll see how the reader performs when it becomes clogged with chocolate and french fries.)

Even so, I found the wording of this dialog to be somewhat unsettling; I really don't ever want my fingers to be deleted. Not even my pinky. Maybe "unenroll" would have been a better word choice.

Consider your audience

Now that everyone I've ever met in my life reads this blog, there's nobody I can be mean to anymore. Maybe I just need to become more comfortable with alienating people.

A lesson in positive language

UI design textbooks are filled with rules of thumb about how to do or not do various things. I often find myself arguing for these rules to be obeyed in our application, but my arguments fall on deaf ears far too often.

Maybe if more people could experience more examples of what happens when these rules aren't followed, they might do a better job of keeping confusing language out of the product.

Take, for example, one such rule that suggests that you always use "positive language", meaning that you phrase prompts, options, and actions so that they discuss a noun or verb, and that you should avoid discussing the-opposite-of-something as a noun or verb (Such as a setting indicating "Disable Autoplay Enabled").


Self-Collecting Marketing Data

Overwhelming evidence that people don't want your stupid product:

Gift turns numerically frustrating
I recently received as a gift a little bag of blocks, which make an excellent fidget toy for my desk. (The blocks are actually tiles left over from a bathroom remodelling project in my boss's house--- he gave them to us all after he quit. Perhaps the timing of this was because he didn't want to be responsible for our productivity once we were constantly being distracted by little gleaming blocks.)

Unfortunately there are exactly 15 blocks, which means that when I make a pyramid out of them, I have one lonely extra, and when I try to make other shapes I have not quite enough. (Yes, I can make the 2D pyramid, and that is exactly 15 blocks. If I hadn't made that in my boss's office 300 times already, I might be satisfied with that.)

So my only real course of action from here is either to throw one of the blocks into the ocean, or else break into my boss's bathroom in the middle of the night with a pick-axe and liberate a few more. (I suppose this strategy is likely to work at most once.)

Any votes?
An observation

This should be pithy enough to graduate into your arsenal of corporate platitudes:

You know that your company is in real trouble when they start listening to your ideas.

Another Word of the Day

More mean-spirited corporate zombie humor:

Tardherder (n.): A manager whose primary responsibility is to accomplish useful business goals by coaxing and guiding a large number of basically incompetent individuals.

The views expressed on this site are mine personally, and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.