UITrends.com hits it on the nose

Posted on

Warning: This blog post is more a rant than useful design/blend related

I was reading a site that I’d stumbled upon (ok, not quite stumbled, I was directed there by someone on the IxDA  discussion boards) and decided to read more than the person had posted their discussion thread about.

A few blog posts down, I find something that hits home for me pretty hard.  Updates on software.

In my every day work, I have updates coming at me from every direction.  iPhone updates, iphone app updates, Windows updates, winamp updates, windows media player updates, Adobe (everything) updates, quicktime updates, flash… ARG!

The “remind me” button is pressed on a few occasions – and by a few, I mean a few occasions a day.  I need to move forward with my work, but everything from iphone use to computer use, there are updates all over the place. 

Heck, on occasion I actually feel “punished” for updating as suggested.  One day, my iphone’s skype works great, and my twitter application is awesome.  I update, and suddenly, I can no longer make calls on skype from my iphone and my twitter now has advertisements along the top and sometimes it overlaps different people’s tweets requiring me to exit and reload the thing just to see everyone’s tweets.  I understand the need for the application development group to make money, but don’t break the app for the sake of advertisements, for crying out loud!

There has been one occasion where the updates were so entirely intrusive, that I just absolutely stopped using the software.  That’s you, Firefox.  That’s right – I stopped using you because every other day, you wanted to update.  Again.  and again.  – if I asked for a “remind me later”, then every time you loaded up, you’d have a pop-up starting firefox wizard that I had to go through just to use your dang browser in “safe mode”.  Bloody hell!  I just want to use the dang application already! 

Shocking as it seems, I switched to IE8, which I really never thought I’d do.  I have a completely illogical reason as to why I refuse to use Google’s Chrome.  In my opinion – choose a better name and stop confusing people.  Chrome is the dang thing around a Window’s … window.  Ever try having a conversation with multiple people where each one may have a completely different thought as to what you’re talking about?  Thanks google for adding greater levels of confusion.  So I litterally will not use it because of its name.  Perhaps that’s the worst reason for not using an app, but there it is.

Ok, so you get it – I’m frustrated about these dang updates and perhaps a little less logical than I’d like to believe myself to be.  Usually I’m the type to see a problem and come up with multiple scenarios that could be used/taken to understand the issue – which often leads me to find alternative means to reach a solution for the issue or at least a less intrusive meeting ground.  I’m a solution finder – drives some people nuts when all they want to do is vent.  (That’s what blogs are for!)

Unfortunately for this particular frustrating issue, I just don’t know if there is a good solution.  Perhaps if the team at Microsoft gave permission for 3rd party vendors to have their updates checked and added to the windows update catalog, that might help.  I’m  fairly certain it’d be a very chilly day in hell before that happens, but that is the only solution I can see that may actually pull back on the intrusiveness of the showering of update application requests, and even then – it would only take care of a percentage and might put Microsoft at risk if the updates aren’t managed by the 3rd party vendor well.

So like I said, I don’t really see a good solution to the issue, but it is an issue, and its seriously irritating.

The original blog that spurred my blog post can be found at –> UITrends.com

*rant off*

HTML on coffee, monster energy drink, with lots of vegetables

Posted on

What is the title talking about?


There are many impressions of the experience from being a XHTML CSS Raster-based web designer to moving onward and upward to more User Experience technologies that I’ve skipped along the way.  Now that I have a blogging system in place that allows for more easy publication, I’m going to try to fill in the blanks.

So my first impression of XAML once I really got my feet wet was a strong familiarity.  XAML is like someone took HTML and fed it lots and lots of vegetables, gave it training on the track, music lessons, and then packed it full of coffee and monster energy drinks.  By the end of the day, you have the result of something more akin to Hal Milton, the hyperactive thoroughly intense, highly sarcastic and witty guy who works at the Sony Online Entertainment office leading the team creating the new PS3/PC game, The Agency.

Yes, I’m comparing XAML to Hal.

For those who have no clue what I’m talking about, but do know coding and markup enough to be reading this blog – I want you to take HTML, couple the base of HTML with some AJAX and wrap in lovely lovely CSS, and move back to the world of pretty formating, and you have XAML – sort of.  You could also say that its like flash only way slicker and easier.

For the HTML CSS markup designer, your wrist was slapped for using capitol letters.  Your elbow was flicked REALLY hard for using the enter key too often for spacing, and the back of your head popped for tabbing each child element out to make it easier to see… all in the name of quicker load times and most likely a UNIX based server.

XAML is going to – at first – appear to be fingernails on a chalkboard after these web standards have been beaten into you.

CamelCase naming (capitolizations, no spaces, no underscores unless creating an alt command, no numbers… what?!) schemes, tabbing to indicate parent and children (if you don’t, it won’t even run – and I mean run as in the application form of “run”) – aka ORGANIZATION and the app.xaml being your friend for those who are comfortable with CSS.

Moving backwards so we can move forward – you start out with Page.xaml as your root and App.xaml for sharable elements.  They may not be shared w/ anything else, but for organizational purposes, the same way that you would have your html set up as “index.html” and “style.css” – XAML brings you “Page.xaml” and “App.xaml”.  So you put your structures in place within your Page.xaml and tell the structure to look at some name which has the visual atributes defined within App.xaml.

The awesome part about xaml is that you are able to do a whole heck of a lot more.  We’re not working with raster-based (bitmap/pixel based) images (unless you want to).  We’re working with vector based shapes.  This gives a whole lot more flexibility in the visual attributes, what they do, how opaque they are, gradient scales, their x-y coordinate placing, and also allows one to do key frame animations.

Much like Flash, the versatility of silverlight utilizing XAML is only hindered by your abilities to be creative.

Puts me in a warm happy place.