My brain has autocomplete wrong

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Autocomplete in my brain


Let me paint the scene

The other day, I was walking down the hallway with a few of my coworkers to get a cup of coffee.  One of the people I was with said something, and I responded back, but one of the words that I said was a bit off.  The beginning of the word was right, but the end… not so much.

… and then, a theory walked in.

I’ve found myself doing this quite often as of late and it seems to be occurring more and more frequently.  In my head, I find that I am already thinking of something else by the time I speak and so I am losing track of what I was trying to say.  After talking to my sister about this phenomenon, she came up with a pretty solid theory.



She thinks that it’s autocomplete’s fault… and I think she might be right!

Autocomplete – its being used more and more everywhere, from typing on my iPhone, to generating search result terms.  Even facebook and twitter use autocomplete.

So where does this lead?  I can’t imagine that I’m the only person who has experienced this.  What I do wonder is if this is even more of an issue for individuals who are glued to their devices more so than I am.  I do search a lot and use my phone, but I am also off the computer often enough to have meaningful conversations with my husband and to play with my kids… daily(I know… I know… I need to cut them off, right?  But I can’t!  Their faces… they’re just so darn cute.  How can a person say no to those faces?!).  I even cook and exercise!  So what about those other… more normal computer and device users?  Did they somehow get an upgrade?  Or… oh, I have a better theory.  Maybe they just don’t talk any longer.  Maybe they mind meld with each other.  That’s got to be it.



Either way, it’s an interesting issue to have.  Does anyone know when “they’re” going to upgrade the autocomplete scripts in my head?  They seem to be pulling up the wrong words lately.  I wonder if the project lost its funding…


About those advertisements on Facebook

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I have a Facebook advertisement gripe.

I don’t really mind advertisements on the sides. Facebook is an incredible resource which we use daily and its free for us to use, but somebody’s got to pay for the servers and employees who provide updates and security patches along with many other resources. Advertisements are a necessary evil.

Sometimes, there’s something that I really like advertised on the side, so I click. Maybe that’s stupid of me, but I want to see that item, see how much it costs, etc.

The thing that gets me is that I cannot actually FIND the item in the picture. This devalues the… value… of the advertisement. If I click, I expect to find what I’m clicking upon. The image did grab my attention far more than the words (i.e. human nature).

What I’d really like is to have the ability to FIND the object in the image. This object may be far outside the price range that I’m willing to spend. Maybe it will be exactly what I’d expect for the object to cost. Either way, I want to find said object and have the option to buy it, see reviews, read comments about it, etc.

I don’t think I’m asking for much. What it really comes down to is relevancy.

If you are a company who is providing advertisements to bolster the attraction to your business, please do your potential customers a favor and provide relevant imagery to represent your business. This not only will bolster the attractiveness of your products, it will also increase customer loyalty and trust.

Embeding fonts – It CAN BE DONE! (I think)

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Lately, I’ve been head down shoulders-deep in work.  What’s new, right?

This project is…  – well, I can’t talk much about it (yet), but what I can say is that I’m very excited to see its launch and the potential progress throughout the future as it gets bigger and more people get excited and start using it.


One of the challenges faced, you might guess by my title, the use of a custom font.  Now, this isn’t a “new” thing across the web, quite a number of places do this – that being said, its not as common knowledge as one might think.  There are plenty of places out there which talk about how to do it, what can and cannot be done, etc. but I find that there are gross contradictions from one article and/or blog to the next.

I’m always up for a new challenge, but it seems that each time I find myself hunting after something which initially seems simple, it becomes quite complicated.


After much searching, I was able to locate a great resource that cleared a great deal of the fog.

Back in 2009, Scott Kimler posted on his family/personal blog  xBrowser Fonts


My goodness did his post help me a lot.  Between his post and a few others which elaborated on a few points that his touched on, I set forth to tackle this and wipe it out!

Here’s some of what I learned:


  1. Don’t use Microsoft’s eot font generator – the file it creates is quite large and can only be used where you set its allowance to – as in if you didn’t think about every last place its going to be used, it won’t work… for IE browsers, that is.  The other browsers don’t support EOT fonts
    • Instead, use EOT Fast – it’s easy to use.  just download it, unzip it, and then grab whatever font you want and drop it, literally, on top of the install file.  Vwalla, instant font creation.
    • btw: I feel that kudos should go out to microsoft for having an option for so long while other browsers only just  recently caught up to the wave of font embedding desires.
  2. TTF rules all – just about the rest of the browsers, except for IE, accept true type fonts
  3. Include the others: SVG for mobile, WOFF, for older mozilla browsers, and OTF – for just in case
  4. Syntax is EVERYTHING – if even just the tiniest misstep is made, it won’t freakin’ work.  It might for one browser, but it won’t for the rest.  This includes using the proper case for the format types.  The mac and firefox (on Windows 7) are quite particular about the proper casing of OpenType and TrueType.
    • @font-face {
      font-family: “My Super Font”;
      src: url (‘fonts/superfont.eot’);
      src: local(‘Super Font’), url (‘fonts/superfont.otf’) format(‘OpenType’);
      src: local(‘Super Font’), url (‘fonts/superfont.svg’) format(‘SVG’);
      src: local(‘Super Font’), url (‘fonts/superfont.ttf’) format(‘TrueType’);
      src: local(‘Super Font’), url (‘fonts/superfont.woff’) format(‘WOFF’);
      font-weight: normal;
      .thisnewclass {
      font-family: ‘My Super Font’,Arial,Verdana,Sans-Serif;
  5. It CAN work cross platform, including on a mac! (more on this in this blog)
  6. Without bringing in any jquery, you can have control over BOLD and ITALIC in your css
    • Notice how the example in #4 has the font-weight: normal?  What you can do is create essentially the same @font face (a second time), stick with the same font-family name, and have the call to the exact file location change to the specific font file   (often, its the same font name with a b added to the end of it’s name for bold and i for italic) then set the font-weight to:bold or :italic. �


      This will give you control in your css to call 1 font family, but to designate the font weight being bold, italic, or normal.  If you are desiring numeric weights, you’ll have to specify that in the @font-face rather than using the words “normal” “bold” or “italic”

All of that after quite a lot of hunting.  There are some great tools out there to assist in creating the different file types.  I’ll let you do some google or bing searching to discover them if you really want – just do a search for “embed font creator” or “embedded font generator” and you’ll find several options to choose from.

Currently, I’m faced with a perplexing issue.  As much as I can get all of these things to work across browser on a static piece, I’m running into troubles getting this to work when using a css tree system while deploying to Azure.  It could be the font, as it is a commercial font, or it could be azure, but I’ve gone through much trial and error  to get cross-platform viewability to work.  I’d assume that its not a font issue:  I was able to use the same font files, create a static file, and get those to work and view perfectly on a mac, but once deploying to azure…. no dice.  They instead revert to a font that’s stuck in perpetual BOLD mode.

I’ll continue hunting for a solution to this issue.  If I find that solution, I will update this blog post with the details.

Ok, Done, Cancel, Next… buttons

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In a post which I wrote previously, I talked about the power of the “done” button (among others).

I’ve recently been working on a lot of IA and am finding myself coming back to the essential contents on this post.  Along with this is the discussion between alignment of said buttons and orientation.


So many interfaces (including mobile devices) differ in the placement.  Even the organizational order of which comes first first next, if it’s left, center, or right aligned – all of which seem to differ.  I remember the other day being confused at the store when the touch-device upgrade changed where the buttons were… I ended up accidentally canceling a transaction because they moved the cancel button to where the enter previously was!  Do they really think everyone reads the buttons every single time?

A blog that I’ve read on a few occasion points to a very strong opinion on this based on user tracking Why ‘OK’ buttons … best on the right .

I feel that it comes down to contextual consistency.  There are some cases where anything which is a “moving forward” action item is on the left, at which point, that platform has made a consistent effort to instill the expectation for the user to locate anything which requires action to be placed in its own space on the left, as though the person was reading and moving to the next line.

Then there is the windows phone 7 platform.  This one goes all over the map, but always within the means of contextual navigation.  Related actions which bring you to new screens are centered and to the bottom.  Specific navigation within the context of the content delivered on the screen (such as going to contacts and then touching someone’s name to get to their profile) is directly delivered in-line, while sections of globally related content are a slide/pan left or right (think of a top-menu navigation on the web.  This would be a series of globally related content items – they relate to the website and support its purpose… hopefully).

Then there are installations of applications – this one is where I get my pantyhose in a bunch where the windows platform is concerned.  Every application seems to take a different direction.  Some have the buttons side by side, aligned to the right, but with the “next” button first and the “cancel” second.  Some have those buttons flipped, some have the next button all the way on the left where the cancel is all the way on the right…

There are so many variations!  Personally, it makes sense to me that if I’m going to the next screen, that I’ll look for the next button to be directionally placed – to the far right.  Where the cancel button is can differ, but this is where wayfinding comes in.  We as human beings use a whole lot of wayfinding metaphors.  They make the best sense considering where we’ve come from on an evolution sort of way.

What do you think?  Should there be a standard regardless of platform?  Is it contextual?  How would you make that decision if you were the one with the power to instill that decision – or do you even think about it?


Firefox's tab "groups"

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I finally did it – I allowed Firefox to update to 6.0

I don’t believe I’ve put it off for TOO terribly long, but I did continue to push the “update later” button until this morning.


Most of the time, when I update, I hardly pay much attention to the message by the Firefox reps regarding the update.  I’m just wanting to use the browser and consider the frequent updates to be a bit too frequent.  I understand, security risks are a factor as well as patching performance issues and implementing new user experience features, yadda yadda yadda.  By the time I finally push that button to update, I’m getting more than just 1 update, and am just looking for the notification to please just stop asking me to upgrade.  I’ve posted before about my disdain towards too frequent software patches, so I won’t go deeply into that topic here.

Like I said before, the button was pressed to update Firefox and for some unfathomable reason, I paid attention to their little welcome message illustrating what this update was about… and glad I am of that!

Being a creature of habit, I tend to go to the same places when browsing – so this new tabs group thing is very nice.

Whomever it was that came up with the idea to integrate this functionality into Firefox – should be given some serious kudos.  If they’re seattle based, maybe the company can pay for their parking for a month or something.


Anyway, I thought it worth mentioning.  Kudos to Firefox and maybe kudos to their messaging or marketing team who made the upgrade details screen stand out in such a way that I actually was inclined to pay attention.

One day on the train…

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Nearly every morning, I take the Sounder to Seattle.

This week and the last, there have been quite a number of security checks to verify that all who are riding the train have paid for their trip.

First, I’ll explain how it works

Essentially, when you take the train, you do so by 1 of 2 main ways.  You get a current-day ticket at the kiosk, or you have an Orca card.  There are several ways to have your Orca card loaded with money.  This Orca card works much like a lot of company’s security doors, where you touch the card to a reader, and it beeps at you confirming that it read your card (or gives you one of 3 warning beeps which have different meanings, from a low balance to an error reading the card).

There are several different styles of beeps and it even has a visual display to tell you what’s up if you get an error type of a beep.  When you exit the train, you again scan your card.  If you don’t scan it when you get to your stop, then you are charged for the entire trip, which can get pretty spendy.  In the end, you pay for the distance of travel.

My commute costs me about $4.25 each way.

When security checks happen, there are guys who walk around with a hand-held reader and they go around and either check for a current-day boarding pass, or they scan your Orca to verify that you touched the card reader before boarding the train.


There are ways to circumvent the system to get a free ride.  If these guys aren’t doing security scans, you might get away with boarding the train and going the entire trip free of charge.  For the commuting train and buses to continue running, it’s kind of important to pay though… or we’ll be stuck driving on the freeway, getting stuck in traffic, having to pay twice if not three-times as much for parking, and increasing our carbon emissions among other things.


The toad on the road caused a fuss on the bus train…

Well, there was a guy who accidentally double-scanned sitting in one of the seats directly behind me.  (Double-scanning: scan the first time and then scan again, it cancels the transaction.) This caused quite the ruckus on the train.  The guy didn’t cause a lot of commotion, I think it was likely an honest mistake, but the lady next to him got quite irritated and started this very loud conversation which lasted the rest of the train ride about how the system is broken and how the security guys are going way over-board by double-checking two and three times a week, and that the only reason they’re doing all of this is to get their hands on as much money as possible.  Her tone basically was saying, “How DARE they try to make so much money from these poor innocent people who ride the public transportation system.”

What the heck is wrong with making money?  These people are providing a great service, they’re likely in debt because it costs quite a LOT of money for them to go through and put the system together, to fix up tracks which hadn’t been maintained for so long, to put together parking lots, new bus lines for commuters, park & rides, and provide a system for people to easily and affordably get to and from work.  Then there are maintaining what they built, operational costs, … the list goes on and on.

If my 1-way ticket costs $4.25, and out of 200-500 people on the train, if even 2% of these people don’t pay, by accident or on purpose, with trains running every 30 minutes, the public transportation system will certainly be missing out on precious dollars which they need to maintain the transportation, as well as pay for people to be employed.

If they can manage to actually make a profit… Good For Them!


Sadly, I doubt they are making any profit – which means that these security checks are that much more important.  The lady really bugged me.  I really don’t understand why its such a bad thing to make money…

If someone knows why making money is a bad thing, please enlighten me.