"I'm trying to challenge and subvert my own fundamental assumptions as to what constitutes rationally constructed behaviour."

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

My World66

World 66 a "travel guide you write".. I don't get to travel very much anymore, but this is a map of when i did..

Monday, July 10, 2006

Where is IBM Java 1.5

I used to use the IBM JVM since it performed better, but i have not been able to get a download since the move to Java 5

A recent entry in the dotnetinterop MSDN blog (of all places) talked about IBM Java 5 on Windows. From the comment section you can get the JRE for a Lenovo computer, or as part of the IBM Development Package for Eclipse.

For Linux, you can download directly from the developerworks site.

Friday, July 07, 2006

My Weather Pixie

The WeatherPixie

Bluetooth crack in miliseconds!

I just came across an article from New Scientist that discussed how to make a bluetooth device re-initialise a pairing, and then crack the code in 60 millisecconds (0.06 s)!

Also see the Slashdot discussion here

An I just started using a bluetooth headset again...

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

UI design to reduce support

An old (6-Jul-2004) article from SoftwareCEO titled "Clean, cutting-edge UI design cuts McAfee's support calls by 90%" provides the following 23 tips from the McAfee and thier external UI design team, mile7:

  1. UI tip #1: Start the UI design before you build the product.
    1. "you need to get that user feedback before you build anything real."
  2. UI tip #2: Understand your software from a user's standpoint.
    1. "You have to have a very clear understanding of what the product is supposed to do, from a task perspective rather than features,"
  3. UI tip #3: Get feedback through task-oriented use.
    1. "we asked them to answer some questions—not about functionality of the product, but strictly about the tasks they had to perform."
  4. UI tip #4: Segment the process into logical chunks.
    1. "the goal was to map UI feedback from users very specifically to the product's development maturity."
    2. For Example:
      1. Phase 1 - Overview - does it look like it will work?
      2. Phase 2 - Operational - can you install and run it?
      3. Phase 3 - Task-oriented - does it do what you need to do?
      4. Phase 4 - Wrap-up & Reality Check - is it complete? is it consistent
  5. UI tip #5: Never shut the product down.
    1. "demo'd it to everybody who walked by"
  6. UI tip #6: Let user demand defend against code creep.
    1. "Our team strove to understand what is necessary versus what's desirable,"
  7. UI tip #7: More is nearly always less.
    1. "We try to reduce the set of nouns to the lowest common denominator."
  8. UI tip #8: Use your UI to give the user a sense of context.
    1. "A common failure of most software UIs is that the user is unable to derive any sense of context"
  9. UI tip #9: Don't offer direction, and never assume.
    1. "To keep UI design valid, it's important that users' experience is as close to reality as possible."
  10. UI tip #10: Resist the urge to make a quick fix.
    1. "Sometimes they'll be having a problem with a particular piece of the application, and rather than issue a quick fix, you need to step back and think about whether that's the right way to display the information or have the product function."
  11. UI tip #11: Treat UI as an ongoing program, not a one-off.
  12. UI tip #12: Get a manageable but representative group.
    1. "careful about whom you're getting and you really know your audience profile, I think you can get a really good representative sampling with 12 to 20."
  13. UI tip #13: Choose active, willing, and unbiased users.
  14. UI tip #14: Reward your early adopters by acknowledging their role.
  15. UI tip #15: Get your developers (and yourself) into the right mindset.
    1. You have to break the typical mindset of features and technology," he says. "If you take those things out of your vocabulary, and focus on the user's ability to complete tasks, it makes it a little easier."
  16. UI tip #16: Do-it-yourself design is nearly always a bad idea.
    1. There's a huge difference between a professional graphic artist and a programmer who happens to know how to draw.
  17. UI tip #17: Make the designers a part of the development team.
  18. UI tip #18: Don't let technology overpower usability.
    1. "A common mistake in the PC world is allowing technology to take the lead,"
  19. UI tip #19: Bring the engineers into the UI calls.
    1. You want to get the users excited about the functionality, while at the same time letting the engineers understand where the users have problems.
  20. UI tip #20: Find an internal UI champion.
  21. UI tip #21: Contain costs by including the designers early.
  22. UI tip #22: For the best UI examples, look to consumer software.
  23. UI tip #23: How to tell if your UI might need work.
    1. Check your tech support call logs. Are there common themes and complaints? In general, are you getting too many calls?
    2. Talk with your users. Talk with prospects. What do they say? Can they accomplish the tasks you put to them?
    3. Consider usability testing—the real stuff, with outside experts in a controlled and objective environment.

LEMONADE Profile: The Key Standard for Mobile Messaging

LEMONADE is "License to Enhanced Mobile Oriented And Diverse Endpoints" - not quite Kool-Aid, but similar...

This profile is a collection of existing IMAP and SMTP extensions intended to imporve the ability for mobile clients to deal with email by enabling "action at a distance" message handeling and composition - that is the ability to compose and forward messages with downloading them to the client, essetially by allowing the SMTP server to talk directly to the IMAP server.

IETF Documents

This document describes a profile (a set of required extensions,
restrictions and usage modes) of the IMAP and mail submission
protocols. This profile allows clients (especially those that are
constrained in memory, bandwidth, processing power, or other areas)
to efficiently use IMAP and Submission to access and submit mail.
This includes the ability to forward received mail without needing to
download and upload the mail, to optimize submission and to
efficiently resynchronize in case of loss of connectivity with the
The Lemonade profile relies upon extensions to IMAP and Mail
Submission protocols; specifically URLAUTH and CATENATE IMAP protocol
[RFC3501] extensions and BURL extension to the SUBMIT protocol

Whitepaper from Isode

LEMONADE is the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) technology being standardized for support of Mobile Email. The LEMONADE Profile was published as an Internet Standard (RFC 4550) in June 2006. This paper explains what the LEMONADE Profile is about and why it will be the central specification for open standards mobile messaging.

Spam controls - maths puzzles and sender-pays

A recent post to the Ferris Research blog, "Outlook 2007 Spam Control Math Puzzle" informed me of the 'math puzzle' challenge for sending email throu exchange. The talkback was interesting, in particular the comment that use of the math puzzle "sounds like a very effective way of requiring everyone to upgrade Outlook...".

The alternate Camram project looks like an interesting implementation of a hybrid sender-pays (or "proof of work" stamp) model that allows it to operating in a mixed environment so universal adoption is not necessary; kinda how you still get street delivered spam, even with a "Offical Post Only" label, but you can always look for the postage stamp to "authenticate" if it went throu the postal system.

If we all used better user authentication systems in email (such as the "The GNU Privacy Guard) then life would be much easier :)