January 4th, 2012 § § permalink
Do you want to know what it’s like to live inside my brain? Just the simple act of going to the bathroom requires a tremendous amount of thought.
I walk into a public bathroom at work and see this
Instead of just peeing and pretending not to notice there are other people in the bathroom like a normal person, (why do people do that?) I immediately think things like:
- Did they do research to the average amount of short people to tall people in office buildings?
- Is this ratio a standard? It seems like 2:1 is the most common.
- If this standard does exist, why do some bathrooms eschew it for a single height, to save money on pipe?
- Do normal people have problems peeing in the taller ones?
From there it just goes out of control. I continue thinking things like: If I were to put all floor urinals in, would they cost more or less? Did someone speak to cleaning companies and find out that the average cost of cleaning floor urinals is more than wall urinals? If so, why does anyone use them? Do they work better in places where they are likely to clean the bathroom with a hose?
I know they seem like silly things to be asking yourself when you need to pee, but that’s what it’s like when you design things for a living. You are constantly juggling aesthetics, cost, efficiency, user experience, durability, etc.
I design software, but unfortunately my brain doesn’t limit itself to thinking about only software. Something as simple as a urinal can send my brain into a spiral of questions and a sometimes hilarious desire to know why.
I’ll probably email some urinal manufacturers to ask why. Don’t you want to know?
September 22nd, 2011 § § permalink
This morning I looked at my phone on the way to work to see what day it was. This was what I saw:
Thinking it was odd, but dismissing it as part of the beta possibly, I just unlocked and looked at the calendar.
A little later I was curious so I woke it up again. This time:
Really? “I want a parrot?” It also occurred to me that I only had the beta on my iPad, NOT my iPhone.
When I got to work I did some search engine work and came up with nothing. I was starting to wonder if my phone had been hacked but it wasn’t doing it anymore.
Then when I searched the Octopus line again, it came up with Mastodon. My memory clicked in that it was what I was listening to on my drive to work. “I want a parrot” is a song from the new Aristocrats album.
Mystery solved, but begs the question.. is this the best way to reveal the song title? Remove the date and put no indication that it’s a song title? The music was new so I didn’t recognize the songs.
December 22nd, 2009 § § permalink
Judging by the OLPC XO-3 concept, which Nick wants for $75 by 2012, it’s really easy to make expensive stuff very cheap.
Now it looks like he is ready to get into the cars for emerging markets. His first foray is meant to be a compact two-seater, designed for short trips in all dirt road areas and he intends to sell it by 2012 for $300. It’s called the TISIYDN. It stands for “This is Sarcasm If You Didn’t Notice.” If you also didn’t notice, it looks just like a Ferrari that sells for $250,000, but somehow through good will and intentions it can be produced very cheap.
I don’t get why if we want to get things out there for people to use, and the US alone has a tremendous recycling problem, that we don’t do something to solve those problems instead of promising hardware that all of the tech geeks lust over that can’t be purchased at any price, and claiming that you are going to sell it about what a high end pair of jeans costs.
Take a look at this thing…$75 by 2012? Sign me up for 3 at twice that price. Categorized under daydreaming and too good to be true.
June 27th, 2009 § § permalink
Nobody can accuse me of not reading enough. Also, as an employee of Microsoft, nobody can accuse me of not keeping myself up to date with what is going on in the entire software ecosystem, including Open Source software. Tonight, I got off on a tangent and that led to to reading a transcript of a speech Richard Stallman gave on GPL (GNU Public License) version 3. I had to laugh at one point, a cellular phone rings, and Stallman says:
If you are carrying a portable surveillance and tracking device, please turn it off. They have already tracked you here. They already know that you are listening to me, so there is no need for you to keep telling them that you are still here. And if they want to listen to what I am saying, we’re going to publish the video recording anyway. They don’t need to turn on your portable surveillance device to do it.
Wow! I always thought he was a bit self righteous and narcicistic, but he really things “they” (I am not sure who they are, this speech was being given in Europe so I doubt he is thinking CIA, FBI, etc.) are, but apparently he is important enough that he thinks some nefarious organization is keeping tabs on him, as well as everyone in attendance to try and get to him. Yikes.
January 7th, 2009 § § permalink
It turns out that the GNU Org has some recommendations for people who are releasing software using the GPL or General Public License, these terms and reasons were taken directly from their website. I find these suggestions humorous so I am going to add some comical commentary to this page on the GNU Project or Free Software Foundation’s website (Confusing words and Phrases that are Worth Avoiding):
The expression “BSD-style license” leads to confusion because it lumps together licenses that have important differences. For instance, the original BSD license with the advertising clause is incompatible with the GNU GPL, but the revised BSD license is compatible with the GPL.
To avoid confusion, it is best to name the specific license in question and avoid the vague term “BSD-style.”
GNU is a brand, please don’t confuse people. Even though we want software to be a free for all love fest, we don’t want people to forget that we run this joint.
Describing non-free software as “closed” clearly refers to the term “open source”. In the free software movement, we want to avoid being confused with the more recent open source movement, so we are careful to avoid usage that would encourage people to lump us in with them. Therefore, we avoid describing non-free software as “closed”. We call it “non-free” or “proprietary”.
Again, don’t forget to say GNU, SELL THE BRAND!
Please don’t use “commercial” as a synonym for “non-free.” That confuses two entirely different issues.
A program is commercial if it is developed as a business activity. A commercial program can be free or non-free, depending on its license. Likewise, a program developed by a school or an individual can be free or non-free, depending on its license. The two questions, what sort of entity developed the program and what freedom its users have, are independent.
In the first decade of the free software movement, free software packages were almost always noncommercial; the components of the GNU/Linux operating system were developed by individuals or by nonprofit organizations such as the FSF and universities. Later, in the 90s, free commercial software started to appear.
Free commercial software is a contribution to our community, so we should encourage it. But people who think that “commercial” means “non-free” will tend to think that the “free commercial” combination is self-contradictory, and dismiss the possibility. Let’s be careful not to use the word “commercial” in that way.
Even though we firmly believe that people shouldn’t make money for the software they make, we have a bad reputation for shitty software and want people to think that organizations that make quality software can be lumped in with 90% of the other garbage that gets the GPL.
To speak of “compensation for authors” in connection with copyright carries the assumptions that (1) copyright exists for the sake of authors and (2) whenever we read something, the author is working for us so we owe him money. The first assumption is simply false, and the second is rather outrageous.
I think we have been clear here, if we allow people to sell their software, then we have to acknowledge that we stole it when we make a direct copy of it and call it our own so we can fight the man.
The term “consumer”, when used to refer to computer users, carries unfortunate assumptions.
Economic theory uses the terms “producer” and “consumer”. In that context these words are appropriate. But describing the users of software as “consumers” presumes a narrow role for them. It treats them like cattle that passively graze on what others make available to them.
This kind of thinking leads to travesties like the CBDTPA “Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act” which would require copying restriction facilities in every digital device. If all the users do is “consume”, then why should they mind?
The narrow economic vision of users as “consumers” tends to go hand in hand with the idea that published works are “content”.
To describe people who are not limited to passive consumption on their computers, we suggest terms such as “individuals” and “citizens”.
Consumer means you paid for something, we all hate money and want to be able to sit on a beach in a 3rd world country trading shells for food. We prefer the entire world pilfer their computers from the garbage dump, so we make software that runs reliably on that hardware.
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