Now I’m a frequent user of OSX and to a lesser extent, some flavours of Linux, I have realised how dreadful some of the UX is in Windows - especially Windows 8.
No operating system is perfect, that’s for sure - but there’s so much Microsoft could do to improve the general experience of Windows without even having to do much work.
Here’s a great example - I work across 3 screens. When I alt+tab, the alt+tab selector always appears on the first, ‘primary’ monitor. Why? That’s the one I tend to have my non-essential stuff on. I’m coding/designing on the other two. Those are the ones with my attention. If it can’t be clever and work out which screen I’m looking at, which is an almost-fair point, why not allow me to choose which screen to show it on - or better still, show it on all three?
Anyone got anything else they hate about their operating system?
There’s an article on Develop today about the legality of uploading ‘Let’s Play’ videos to YouTube, considering the ContentID system that YouTube uses to search videos for copyrighted content. I read it with interest, and then realised how stupid the whole thing is.
ContentID might be a great idea to implement for video and audio. Checking video uploads for movies and music is an effective way to ensure the content rights holders get their fair share of ad revenues - and whilst we might not agree with the way that works, it still appears to make sense.
When it comes to games though, it seems a bit stupid.
Copyright for a game lies in its content, not in its experience. You can legally protect the files, textures, assets, sounds and so on, within a game. And that makes sense, you wouldn’t want some arsehole making a COD clone, would you? As if they’d want to.
But the point of a game is to experience said game. Watching someone else play a game is not the same as playing that game. Unless you’re playing the aforementioned COD, in which it might as well be - the ‘you’re about to be stabbed, MASH B AS HARD AS YOU CAN’ lazy gameplay is as shitty an experience for the gamer as an observer.
You experience the game by playing it. Leaning into the turns on your Moto GP bike as you round a corner, hiding as a creature in the dungeon hunts you, or shooting your friends in the face.
When a gamer records his session and adds some funny commentary (or in the case of most gamers - boring, monotonous and droning commentary, Birgirpall aside), trying to send the ad revenue gained from that video seems to me as silly as sending the profits a musician makes to the manufacturer of the violin that he’s playing.
If you copied his violin, then fair enough.
To be fair, if you’re good enough to copy a violin, then just make your own fucking violins.
I’m still surprised when clients/businesses/developers don’t talk about or ask for mobile websites, or don’t seem to feel like it applies to them. Cameron Moll of Authentic Jobs even tweeted the other day that they once thought “No one would EVER post a job with their phone”, obviously wrong. Regardless of what you might think, users will always visit your site from a mobile or desktop computer. Or a read-aloud assistive browser, or an Internet-enabled TV, or a games console. The key is to decide how much importance you give these different types of users, and how accessible you make your site to these various devices to give them a great experience. And how you plan for the future.
Aunty Beeb recently announced that on Christmas day, iPlayer viewings on a tablet overtook desktop and whilst there was a dip after the festivities starting dying off, it’s a continuing upward trend. Tablets are often used as a companion device - used while watching television or doing other activities - and so they’re bound to be used to a greater extent, and more often, than an often cumbersome laptop.
Plus, I bet a lot of people got a new iPad for Christmas. Fuckers.
I myself used my tablet on Christmas Day. While the rest of the family watched the gargantuan shitfest of soaps parading themselves through the afternoon, I sat in a corner with my Nexus 7 and read a book, or watched a video.
Anyway, I think that as developers if we ever hear anyone else say “But our users won’t use/buy from/interact with our site on a mobile/tablet/TV/watch” then we should all be calling bullshit and punching them collectively in their stupid naive faces. Of course they are. Analyse your traffic, and make a decision based on fact.
Which is what you should be doing with most of your website decisions, to be honest, but let’s not go there today, this post is quite long enough.
Setting aside the argument as to whether or not the Government’s filtration is really about suppression of free speech (or filtering out what they don’t want us to see), the biggest problem I have with it all is that filtration of content does not solve the core issue, which is education.
Regardless what you think of pornography, and how much you try to stop your children from seeing it, it is absolutely inevitable that they will come into contact with sexually explicit imagery eventually. No system can prevent that. Would you rather your children discover this content with an intelligent and curious mind, or one full of fear and uncertainty fuelled by uncertain and fearful parenting?
I was willing to fight a champion put up by the DVLA, but it would have been a fight to the death.
Late last year I joined the Open Rights Group. If you’re involved in the UK web community you have probably heard of it - it’s an organisation dedicated to promoting freedom of expression, consumer rights, free speech and privacy on the Internet.
I’ve been in touch with them since I joined about setting up a local group, as our nearest is in Cambridge. We have a thriving and vibrant tech community in Norwich who consistently show their interest in new ideas and thought, relish the opportunity to develop with cutting edge technology, and have varying opinions on the state of today’s web.
I’m aiming to hold an event in early February to kick off the Norwich ORG Group and I’d love for you to join in. I’ll post more details as soon as they’re ready, but I’m hoping to host a speaker or two who could give you the lowdown on what the ORG does, and why getting involved and interested in privacy, data protection and free speech is so important in a system that’s under constant threat.
Follow me on Twitter or keep your eyes on this blog, and I’ll let you know as soon as there’s more information about the event. Equally if you’d like to get involved, or you know of a good venue that could be suitable, then I’d love to hear from you.
I’ve decided on my one resolution for next year. Resolutions are generally bollocks - nobody sticks to them and they’re normally ludicrously vague aspirations of losing weight, learning things or whatnot - and without any kind of real drive, they soon fizzle out once the humdrum of daily life ses itself back in.
2014 is going to be my year of feeling better.
This year I’ve been ill more than usual, I’m pretty sure I’ve gained in weight and I’ve definitely become less fit. I don’t like that I don’t feel comfortable in myself, nor confident in my appearance. And it’s not to say that I care what others think of what I look like. That really doesn’t matter to me at all, but it does affect your confidence when you know that you could lose a couple of stone.
I’ve enjoyed my time off more this year than any other time. My trip to Poland was the first time off I’ve had in several weeks, and I’ve been so busy this Christmas that I’ve hardly been at home - and I can honestly say it’s been the nicest time for years. I’ve met some lovely people and had memorable experiences, and I have come to realise that taking that time to do other things (and rest!) is really important. More than I think I was willing to acknowledge. I might not go abroad again, but I’ll at least take some time off.
Don’t tell my landlord, but I’ll be looking to move this year too. I’ve been in Bunwell for 6 years next year, and I remember moving out here and loving everything about it - now, I feel nothing but irritation and frustration. It’s very cold and damp (and my patronising letting agent has done fuck all about either of these), the place is in dire need of some investment of which there’s been zero, and it’s just too far away from everything. The nearest pub isn’t in walking distance (a massive oversight on my part), the nearest supermarket is a 15-20 minute drive, and it can take an hour to get to work on a bad traffic day. Add to that the inability to nip home, walk the dog, then go out on the town (or get a taxi home without having to take out a personal loan) means I haven’t been out on a good drinking session for a long time. I’m not one for getting bladdered, but having the option would be nice.
So there we go. I’ll be doing more things for me. I’ll spend time with nice people, do nice things, and try to be nicer to others too. And hopefully, this time next year, I’ll feel better.
My cat has done shits that are closer to a usable OS than this.
With logs on the fire
and gifts on the tree