Apropos of Nothingness

This is a grab bag of interesting links, hence the title, a morph of apropos of nothing because nothingness has more sex appeal than nothing, at least in my overeducated book.

I've written about the Usability of Curbs and Paying (or not!) at the Pump so it should not come as a surprise that I'm into Gas Tank Usability, (via WebWord) which opens up for surprisingly good discussion whether the gas tank on cars should be on the left or right side.

Why had I not heard of the WikiPedia? I had heard of Wikis: a wiki is a web site anyone can edit—not just post comments to, mind you, but edit. Now that's some serious anarchy. ZenWiki.com anyone?

While I'm being facetious, is Dobby Vladimir Putin? Dobby is that house elf in the Harry Potter movies.

Getting a bit more usability now, Jef Raskin of Macintosh inventing fame (Alan Kay invented the whole windows concept anyway.) wants to do better than the Mac, and is working on it. Annoyingly enough, his new text THE editor is only available for the Mac.

Speaking of Jef Raskin, Charles Miller, who calls himself Alpha Nerd, no longer cares where his files are stored.

Jef Raskin's book The Human Interface talks about a file system like that, where from the users point of view files are stored in one big chunk. Files are separated with File end and File Begin markers. Thus combining documents, which people do all the time, becomes much easier: just delete the two markers.

With that setup, you can use a type-ahead search to find what you're looking for. The font list in Microsoft Word is an example of this kind of search: just by typing "Ar" or "Ari" while the font menu is up you narrow it down to the Arial font. Those looking for a more geek chic example may know what the Control-S in emacs does, if not, please ignore.

And last and certainly least, there's this this amusingly clueless article, in which the author argues that My Yahoo type pages, using personalization (musty old buzz word alert!) will eliminate serendipity. It ends with the mildly pejorative sentence "In other words, instead of sitting in front of a computer screen all day, why not go out and experience the beauty of the unexpected, of randomness..."

Excuse me? I still discover many links via serendipity. Few web logs are 100% focused on their alleged topic, nor should they be. I'm often in a wandering mood whether it's virtual or actual.

Posted by Chad Lundgren on Wednesday, January 29, 2003 (Link)


Posted by Jolly Roger Wednesday, January 29, 2003 at 05:22 PM

Huh? My car doesn't have a gas tank. It has an electrical socket.

Posted by Joshua Kaufman Thursday, January 30, 2003 at 08:51 AM

Amusing comments on THE text editor from Andrew Otwell about the benefits of saving 4 seconds per action:

Posted by Roslee Orndorff Sunday, February 2, 2003 at 06:39 AM

Woah, Chad! You wrote like you were wacky on the bing here in this entry. Hmmmmmm...I wonder why.