Interview: Lou Rosenfeld and Steve

Interview: Lou Rosenfeld and Steve Krug on UX: “Lou: Well, I’ll admit that I have plenty of trepidation, because Steve seems like the kind of guy who snores.
Steve: How did you know? It’s true, as Melanie can tell you. But my real drawback as a roommate would be the fact that I tend to stay up all night watching old movies and infomercials. And since I suspect that Lou is fairly neat, I think we’d have the potential for a real Felix/Oscar thing. (I’d rather think of us as more like Bob Hope and Bing Crosby in the old Road movies, like The Road to Morocco (“…like Web- ster’s Dic- tion- ary, we’re Moroc- co bounnnddddd.”)”

Patterns vs. evolutionary design: stop

Patterns vs. evolutionary design: stop overengineering (PDF): “When I first began learning patterns, they represented a flexible, sophisticated and even elegant way of doing object-oriented design that I very much wanted to master. After thoroughly studying the patterns, I used them to improve systems I’d already built and to formulate designs for systems I was about to build. Since the results of these efforts were promising, I was sure I was on the right path. But over time, the power of patterns led me to lose sight of simpler ways of writing code. After learning that there were two or three different ways to do a calculation, I’d immediately race toward implementing the Strategy pattern, when, in fact, a simple conditional expression would have been a perfectly sufficient solution.” (more goodies here)

I am adding directories to

I am adding directories to SourceSafe, and I have to doubleclick the directory (open it) in the dialog window to add it. If not, I add the parent directory, recursively. I have done this twice this morning and once yesterday, and everytime I only realize this after about 10 minutes of pumping unneeded stuff in there. Little interface glitch, pisses me off.

Jeremy Zawodny’s blog: Yahoo Gets

Jeremy Zawodny’s blog: Yahoo Gets Slashdotted: “Yahoo got slashdotted today. It was because of Michael Radwin’s PHPCon 2002 talk on Yahoo adopting PHP. The funny thing is that it held up just fine–served by a single FreeBSD server running Apache. […] The fact that public.yahoo.com was serving static files, no PHP or anything fancy, meant that the CPU had time to spare. During the peak of traffic, the CPU was still over 50% idle much of the time.”

Jeremy Zawodny’s blog: “Wow. I

Jeremy Zawodny’s blog: “Wow. I spent much of the day without phone, computer, network, etc. I was up at Inktomi (now “Yahoo! WebSearch” I think) headquarters learning about lots of cool stuff I cannot repeat with out being killed.
However, I did learn that Inktomi’s search system knows, uhm… “stuff” about blogs. And I got the chance to see what some of their tools told me about my blog. Neat stuff.”

The Register: “Although it took

The Register: “Although it took millions of people around the world to compel the Gray Lady to describe the anti-war movement as a “Second Superpower”, it took only a handful of webloggers to spin the alternative meaning to manufacture sufficient PageRank to flood Google with Moore’s alternative, neutered definition.”

I need to set up

I need to set up an environment for developing Taxomita (which is not open source) with a distributed team. I need bugtracking, CVS, and minimal maintenance and cost. I would like something that is easily administered (adding developers, giving permissions, …) Something like SourceCast maybe, although it’s hard to figure out exactly what they offer – very confusing site. Other options? Ideas? Tips? I really need advice! The situation is: I have limited time and limited budget, but I want a development effort that is not open source (I am the dictator) but is distributed. And I do not want to spend my weekends administering a system.

A Day In The Life

A Day In The Life Of BBCi Search: where we learn that:
– “an editorial and taxonomy team at the BBC constantly monitor the searches gaining high volume in order to match the correct content to them”
– “40% of the searches on the service were specifically and unequivocally looking for UK based information […] 50% of searches were not geographically or culturally focussed on the UK at all. ”
– “users were most likely to attempt to use advanced search between 6am and 9am in the morning, and between 3pm and 10pm in the evening, when around 5% of searches showed some attempt to use advanced search. Notably at the peak time for site usage, over the lunch period, users were only half as likely to use advanced techniques – around 2.5% of searches. […] 1 in 5 attempts to use advanced search fail”
– “When a search is made on the BBCi site, effectively just two pieces of information are passed to the search technology – the search query itself, and the referring page. With these two pieces of information search is able to provide results that are contextualised in places where this is appropriate – for example, different top results for the search term ‘china’ depending on whether you are on the BBC News site, or on the Antiques site.”
– “1 in 12 [search terms] feature incorrect spellings”
– “URLs made up around 3% of searches, and questions just over 0.5% of searches.”
– “I found that 36% of searches consisted of just one word and 35% of searches used just two words. […] 16% contained 3 words, 7% contained 4 words, 3% contained 5 words, and the remaining 3% consisted of six or more words.”
– “Overall, this gives us a picture of where the focus of our users is at different times of the day. This is for ‘educational’ types of searches in the early afternoon. By 4pm the attention of BBCi users has switched to the areas of the site devoted to entertaining them. By the evening, the audience seems divided between two – between children looking for educational material, and adults looking for informative material.”

I happen to have received

I happen to have received two emails in one day from people upset with my sites. One is political: “I just clicked on your Guide to war link and I have to tell you this is the last time I will be visiting your site. [followed by a long political rant]”.

The other one is also political, but in a different way: “Your site, specifically the portion entitled SoWhatsWrongWithTopicMaps, has led our organization to what I hope is an “unintended” consequence, namely, the possible cessation of work on implememting a well-constructed topic map. [… some ranting] If this has been your intent – to disrupt – you and your site have succeeded. If it is not your intent, I would urge you to consider modifying your content.”

I am often surprised by how seriously people take the opinions I post online. Often they are really offended (for example, about this page).

Even my girlfriend has felt offended by some of the opinions I have posted about Colombia. I tried to tell her these are opinions, nothing more, and I may have changed my mind since, but she says many people consider what they read on a website as somehow written by an authority.

Internet power ‘fails the poor’

Internet power ‘fails the poor’ (Friday BBC day!): “The problem, according to Ms Mansell, is that international trade rarely occurs between complete strangers.
The internet and e-mail alone are unlikely to generate the type of trust needed for US buyers to take the plunge and source their wares from Africa or other unfamiliar trading partners.
After investigating 180 open e-marketplace websites and interviewing 74 managers of exporting firms, the report concluded that little business with new firms was being generated from business-to-business websites. “

Cost of government websites revealed:

Cost of government websites revealed: (BBC news) “According to a report in the newsletter eGov Monitor, the most expensive website belongs to the Department for Education and Skills, which spent £1,747,000 during the last year.
By contrast, the Ministry of Defence has been positively parsimonious, with just £124,000 – including expenditure on hardware and support costs – going on its site last year.” (£124,000 is 193,000 US$)

Furtive phone photography spurs ban

Furtive phone photography spurs ban (BBC news): “As camera phones become more popular, national, governments, local authorities and some businesses are starting to restrict the places they can be used.
Italy’s data protection commissioner has issued stringent rules governing how the phones can be used and some other organisations, including strip clubs and gyms, have banned the phones from their premises.
Picture phones are already banned in Saudi Arabia and their use is frowned upon in other Middle Eastern nations.
Some people have already been prosecuted for misusing their mobile phone camera.
[…]
The rules only allow images of people to be snapped for personal use, demand that the images be kept safe and require users to tell people if the image they have taken of them will appear online.”

Robot rover simulates Mars trek:

Robot rover simulates Mars trek: (BBC news) “Researchers have deployed an autonomous robot to traverse Chile’s Atacama Desert as part of a project to develop advanced rovers for Mars exploration.
[…]
Based on this year’s experience, next year’s robot should be able to travel about 50 km. The target for the 2005 expedition is 200 km, traversing contrasting areas where life is abundant and areas where life has not been detected.”