November 12, 2008
I assembled the November Blender of Love last night. The "feature" was young astronauts in love. At the risk of seeming a huge egotist, I made up a new "director's commentary version".
I realize that this level of analysis isn't really justified by the quality of the work, or other people's interest in it. In part it's a cross-reference for my future self, reminding me some of the whys and wherefores, and where Jake's story is an echo of my own, but I hope there's a small chance someone else might find the notes on the process interesting.
Law of the Moment
A program should follow the 'Law of Least Astonishment'. What is this law? It is simply that the program should always respond to the user in the way that astonishes him least.
--The Tao of Programming. Despite the whimsy of the title, the advice in it can be taken semi-seriously.
I'm actually accumulating a pile of what I'm terming "Guess What I Mean" (GWIM, a play on Do What I Mean).
The cornerstone of bad GWIM is that it too often takes a perfectly innocuous bit of minor user input and turns it into action which might totally take the user by surprise. Some of my least favorite examples:
- Many Wikis assume anything words in CamelCase (i.e. ThingsLikeThis) should be turned into links-- unfortunately, Java and other languages tend to use CamelCase all the time. You can disable this "feature" and save yourself from looking at all these broken links, but it seems especially annoying because the link syntax, [[SomethingLikeThis]], is pretty easy to type, so the autolinking is kind of pointless.
- So HTML uses & as marker for special characters, like how © becomes ©. Unfortunately, & is also used in URLs, like those embedded in the link. One time I had a URL that said §ion=foo... the §ion became §ion, even though there was no ; there. Just the computer being "helpful".
- Touchpads with "tap to click" drive me nuts, because it's easy to make a tap when putting your finger down. Or computers where putting the mouse in a certain corner does something (like OSX, where it wipes all the windows off the screen-- "so let me just move the mouse outta the way h--GAH!!!! WHERE DID EVERYTHING GO?").
Video of the Moment
--Great fun with the new James Bond movie. Via felisdemens. Warning: contains the phrase "man tits".
NPR news has national news, then a space that's either the local affiliate or "secondary" nat'l news. Sometimes I wonder about the latter.
Took a weirdly large amount of focus to clear off this cluttered desktop-ish space in my apartment, partially 'cause no easy place for stuff
Enjoying Scott "Dilbert" Adams' "Monkey Brain" book, even if it's just blogposts. Not too quotable; his setups run the length of the essays
What would a caveman think of music? Start with live music, and then really blow his mind with a walkman. (iPod still kind of blows my mind)
There are far too few things in my life that can fairly be described as "funky fresh".