I think I’ve posted before about the increase in the Dunning–Kruger effect and unconscious incompetence across the networked world, and how everyone thinks they’re an expert because they Googled it once. Especially so when it comes to web development, everyone thinks they’re an expert.
And so we have Virgin Mobile who for the last few years have allowed me to pay my phone bill online, until a few months ago when their support for Safari suddenly broke, meaning not only Macs, but iPhone users can no longer pay their bills. And it’s not that the support was intentially removed, otherwise they’d show a message saying Safari isn’t supported. It’s a bug, because you go through all the steps for payment and it barfs with a message about cookies not being turned on when it tries to push the payment through their payment gateway. Nice. And it’s not a cookie problem, because I double checked, and I’m a … umm, expert. The message actually seems to be coming from the payment gateway or phone account authentication gateway though, or some wrapper around it, because it’s styled completely differently to the rest of the site, which in itself is a stupid oversight.
I tried to report the problem, but their online form for contacting them has the same problem, it barfs with the same cookie error when you submit the form. So I called them and they said I must have cookies turned on to login. Well, I can login fine, and 15 minutes of stepping them through the process, and two different machines, a Mac with Safari and a Windows XP machine with Safari, finally satisfied them that they had a problem and they escalated it for me. I even offered them my help at the time, to come in look at their development processes, quality control and staffing, because it’s what I do, but they passed on that.
So guess what, a month later I haven’t heard anything, and I try to pay my bill and it’s still got the same problem. And I call again, and again they don’t believe me, and again I step them through the process and they agree to escalate it as a bug. And guess what happened today a month later? Yep, the same thing.
Virgin Mobile keeping SMSing me to say I haven’t paid my bill, and I keep SMSing them back that I can’t until they fix their site. I no longer recommend Virgin Mobile to people, and I now put them in the same camp as Vodafone when I left them several years ago. Customer service fail, customer satisfaction fail, software development fail, testing and release QA fail. Virgin Mobile, company fail.
A sprint goal helps to enable the team to focus on for the next 2 weeks. What does everyone want the team to work on next?
There are many tools to accelerate front-end design, such as Blueprint or960.gs, but, until recently, the tools for responsive design—design and implementation that accounts for all these different devices and capabilities—were few and far between. There’s Andy Clarke and Keith Clarke’s 320 and Up, and Columnal, a responsive grid system. Recently, Twitter Bootstrap went responsive.
For the last decade or so this site has been running a custom built Perl blogging engine that I wrote in the late 1990s. It’s gone through a number of revisions over the years as technology advanced through permalinking, viewer comments, RSS feeds, enclosures, videoblogging and other bits and pieces. Oddly enough for the decade it’s been around, I’ve been mostly designing and building enterprise CMS’ of varying flavours, but never bit the bullet to convert this site to something a bit more substantial. That is, until now.
I’ve been wanting to do this for about a year now, and not had the chance, but recent improvements in WordPress have excited me, so here we are, my Richard BF site is now converted to WordPress.
If you’re an RSS subscriber, then your feed URL has been automatically redirected to the new URL http://www.kashum.com/feed, and I’d suggest changing the old URL to this new one before it goes away. Permalinks are unchanged, any blog post on the old site will have the same URL on the new site.
Some miscellaneous links and pages are currently broken and I need to fix those, but the basic blog and associated functionality should all be there. I’d appreciate it if you let me know of anything that’s broken.
You memories are not perfect, but the interpreter can help to fill in details which are plausible. Evidence of this is seen from how people who have suffered trauma that eliminates some of their real memories, will confabulate things to fill in the gaps, in a way to make a consistent narrative. We do this all the time, and if you memories are complete enough, and your understanding of the context good enough, this confabulation works in your favor.
If you are passionate about what you create, it is virtually impossible to completely disassociate yourself from your work. However, your ability to achieve artistic distancethat is, to achieve a place that allows you to contemplate the object (design) on its own meritswill enable you to improve your own work immeasurably and, ultimately, cast off the immature shackles of ego.
Musical hot spot is an improv warm up game, which supposedly gets you in the moment, out of your head and in a good happy mood. The problem is that not only doesn’t it work, but it can also have a negative affect and actually get people into their heads.
The game starts with everyone in a circle. Either a word suggestion is given as an offer, or someone just thinks of a song, but one person then jumps into the middle and starts singing and dancing to a song. Everyone in the circle then sings and dances along. If you don’t know the song, you still commit to singing and dancing by either copying or doing your own thing, but the point is to support the person in the middle. When anyone in the circle is reminded of a different song by one of the words being already sung, then they jump into the middle singing and dancing to the new song. The previous person in the middle rejoins the circle and the circle now sings and dances along with the new person in the middle. And so on ad infinitum, or often ad tedium. There’s also a bunch of other notes given about supporting the person in the middle etc but basically that’s the game.
I remember being in a musical hot spot many years ago which was like an audition for Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, and Bette Midler impersonators. I didn’t know most of the songs, and I hated the ones I did. In fact I thought we’d invented punk so we didn’t have to listen to crap like that. It was not a fun warm up, in fact I hated it, especially since I had to spend the whole game pretending that I was enjoying myself, and it just served to make me even more pissed off and in my head.
The problem is that the game assumes that everyone likes all styles of music, particularly pop music. Don’t get me wrong, I love music, in fact my passion for music usually exceeds most people I’ve improvised with, and the styles of music I like are definitely more wide and varied than most people. It’s just that the songs chosen in musical hot spot are usually popular crap that reflect the average age group and interests of those playing the game, regardless whether anyone likes or even knows them.
Of course people can always jump in the middle and sing a song they do know and like, and I guess it encourages prople to keep jumping into the middle. But what generally happens then is that the people who picked all the crappy pop songs then rarely support the obscure ones because they’re not use to doing so, and the person with the exception can end up being externalised from the group because they don’t seem to be working with the group’s choices.
Musical hot spot is a bad improv warm up game. It assumes people have a certain popular and mundane musical taste, rewarding those who do, and punishing those who don’t. You can’t fake being in the moment, and there is no place in improv for warm up games which encourage you to do so.
<rant>I’ve now needed to use Microsoft Word at least 30 times in the last few weeks since my last post about their licensing being restricted to certain hardware configurations, and at least 30 times I’ve been unable to use it, which negatively affects my ability to do my work, and simply reinforces my opinion of Microsoft and my passion for finding Microsoft alternatives.</rant>
We own two copies of Mac Office 2011 for our business, both of which have to be licensed (inflexibly) to specific machines. Basically Microsoft licensing works like this: it takes a little snapshot profile of what your machine looks like, what the processor is, how much memory you have, what hard drives etc., and then uses that do identify your machine. Change your machine, the profile changes and the software fails to start.
I added a hard drive over the weekend, an external drive that I just plugged into my Mac with a cable to do a backup. I was going to remove it again but I accidentally started Word and it freaked out, reset my product activation, and now I can’t run any Office applications, which I need for some client work that’s due tommorrow. However the product keys are on the original software disks, and they’re currrently in storage because we’re about to move premises. I have no idea where the box they’re in would be, it was all shipped out by removalists, and it would take several days just to go through everything.
Yet again, Microsoft’s stupid licensing system only hurts real paying customers, when those who pirated it are simply running their no-activation products fine on any machine they wish, completely unhindered by Microsoft’s pathetic attempt to lock them down. Next time I upgrade Office, I’ll be seriously considering cracking it, because it’s obviously pretty easy to do, and I’m certainly not the only one.
Fuck you Microsoft. Fuck you.