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azurelunatic: Teddybear that contains ethernet switch.  (teddyborg)

Enjoy using j/k to hit previous/next entries on your dashboard? Wish there was something like that for Dreamwidth?

For the low, low price of $0 + Chrome + Tampermonkey, you can beta test just this userscript!

Flamebyrd has put together a thing.
azurelunatic: A baji-naji symbol.  (baji-naji)
I have a metaphor for a certain kind of infovore vs. non-infovore interaction that involves Mr. The Deathless and a lot of shouting. This is one way I didn't have that interaction tonight.

So tonight's entertainment was a spot of Googling. Doranwen in #yuletide was trying to puzzle out the lyrics to a song: Dies Ire, Elf.

[23:10] <@Doranwen> anyone here good at making out difficult to hear lyrics?
[23:11] <@Doranwen> I've been stumped by this one song for years
[23:12] <@Doranwen> you can't google the words for love or money
[23:12] <@Doranwen> unfortunately the Youtube video that has the song has a version of it with a little more audio clutter, the version I have on my computer is very simple and you can hear the voice clearly--you just can't figure out what on earth he's singing!
[23:12] <@Azz> I am not great at it, but I could give a whack?
A whack was more than given. )
azurelunatic: Teddybear that contains ethernet switch.  (teddyborg)
Yesterday I was finally able to replace my failing fitbit Clippy. Clippy was suffering from the basic design defects of the Ultra series (the plastic was not flexible enough to deal with the hinge being bent, so plastic was chipping off the hinge, and the black layer was coming loose from the blue layer, and little bumpy shards of blue plastic rained out every time the two halves separated), but also had the screen crack (I mean WTF, a fitbit's screen is not supposed to crack) and had ceased to charge at home despite reinstalling all the things. (It still charged at work though, but it wouldn't sync at work because firewall on steroids. So I was carting the adapter between home and work every few days the last few weeks.) I've come to rely on the data that Clippy feeds me enough that I become anxious at the thought of not having it, and since it's had a measurable good effect on my general stamina and well-being, I felt it worth replacing.

Despite the design flaws, I would have been happy with another Ultra, but the series was discontinued, and all of the places still carrying it had jacked up their prices to well above the prices of the current line.

The current line of Fitbits are Zip, One, and Flex.

My needs in a tracker, and my self-guided rehabilitation process, featuring the Fitbit. )

Unfortunately, Fitbit is not designed with the needs of people who need to limit their step count in mind. It is designed for people who need motivation to reach their goal step count, and who will be able to limit themselves from harmfully overstepping it after they reach it, without being warned or prompted. If the Flex showed me the time, and then allowed me to set green/amber/red levels for after I've reached my goal, I could probably use it. It doesn't, so I can't.

That left me with the One.

I was nervous about the One because it's described as having a silicone holder, and the pictures show a thin clip on the back of a flexible silicone basket that cradles the tracker.

Upon actually examining the thing, I was less nervous. Details on the actual One which other reviews have sort of ignored. )
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
Background: So there's a current up-in-arms regarding really skeevy crap on Twitter. It goes like this:

Someone (often female) says something that gets the attention of abusive asshats.
Abusive asshats (often male) say things on Twitter that are entirely possibly legally actionable.
Their target complains, usually to Twitter, with screenshots and links.
Support volume being what it has to be, it takes a while to get notice.
The abusive asshat cleans up their account in the interim.
Twitter comes back and says that Abusive Asshat's account is "not currently in violation" of Twitter's terms of service.
This is remarkably unhelpful to the person who's been the target of all this abuse.


I have never been a member of LiveJournal's Abuse Prevention team. I am not a member of Dreamwidth's Terms of Service team. (I am a Dreamwidth spamwhacker, which is a partner department.)

From my experience in conversing with various then-current and former members of LiveJournal's Abuse team, I can say quite firmly that accepting accuser-sourced screenshots of content that is against the Terms of Service of a website is not, and can never be, a form of evidence that can be solely admissable when enacting penalties against an offending account.

Why? Screenshots can be faked.

I am as certain as I can be without having been personally there and witnessed the whole thing go down that 99% of the women on Twitter reporting that jacked-up asshats are promising to enact various forms of appalling violence to them (most of it rapey) have legit complaints. I've seen enough of it happening to know that it's happening and not being exaggerated a large majority of the time. It's got to be against the rules.

But the jackholes in question are sometimes canny enough to make their violations disappear from their Twitter accounts before it gets taken official notice of, and then all Twitter has is the word of the complainant and the screenshot.

There's a technical solution for this, and it's not a "report abuse" button that can be gamed by someone with a huge following on their side.

The technical solution for this is a "preserve and report tweet" button that caches the offending tweet on Twitter's servers, and initiates the reporting process, where the complainant fills out the appropriate forms, making reference to the secured and admissible cached tweet.

After this, no matter if the offender cleans up his account, there is still a record that he said this thing, assuming someone initiated the reporting process. Furthermore, the complainant could be given a Twitter case number to give to law enforcement, and law enforcement could then request testimony from Twitter that the offending tweet was made, in case it's something deserving of criminal or civil charges. The cached copy would remain accessible to Twitter's speaker-to-cops department even after Twitter suspended the account for violations.
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
(Also on Things Real Dreamwidth Programmers Do.)

I filed a bug at work today. This is how that went:

First, I noticed a little glitch with the Move Message dialog, which had been bugging me subconsciously for weeks, and just then floated to the top. I thought maybe I should file a help ticket, but thought that I'd filed enough help tickets for a while and this was minor, so I might as well save them the trouble and look for duplicates first.

So I went to that product's bug tracker and searched for the most obvious keyword, which had 400 results. So I added the next most obvious keyword, which narrowed it down to about 90. Then I went down the list and started opening things in tabs, including two that by their titles looked like they might be duplicates of each other, but were entirely unrelated to what I was complaining about.

After that, I read through the tabs I'd just opened, and found nothing that looked like the bug I was encountering. Then I looked at the two that might have been duplicates of each other, and found that they were in fact nothing at all alike except in the title. Then I looked at some of the other bugs that could have been duplicates of those, but those weren't very interesting.

Reading through all those bugs had given me another couple useful keywords to try, so I tried that and got only about 10. Those were really quick to read through, so I did. And I closed the last tab from the bug tracker.

Then I closed the help page, because I couldn't remember why I'd opened it, and obviously it was not for any good reason if I couldn't remember.

Then I went back to my email and noticed that for some reason I'd stopped in the middle of moving a message. "Huh, that's weird," I thought.

I looked briefly at the message to figure out where I wanted to move it. I looked at the dialog, which had been recently changed to retain the last folder that I'd moved something to, in case I was doing it a lot. I noticed that I couldn't see the highlight, and couldn't remember what it was. "That's obnoxious, I should file a bug," I said; "I can never remember anything like that longer than 30 seconds."

I opened up a tab for a helpdesk ticket, and then realized what I'd just done.

Yesterday I'd described my workflows to a dev as "Imagine severe ADHD, and people banging pots and pans in the background", and I stand by that description.
azurelunatic: Warning: participating in #dw may result in blacking out and discovering yourself as head of a project team. (#dw warning: department head)
Once upon a time, when Dreamwidth was still new and Dreamhacks were just the best thing since sliced bread and even more new than Dreamwidth itself, a developer* came unto the Dreamwidth IRC channel. Now, most new developers who came to the channel had similar plans of development to each other, and wanted to get started writing patches as fast as possible, so I am afraid that the denizens of the channel had started to become sloppy and make too many assumptions about the plans of all new developers, because most were so much the same.

"Can anyone help me install a local version of the Dreamwidth code onto my server?" the developer asked.

"Hail!" the IRC channel greeted.

"A new developer! Hooray! You don't have to install the code on your local server," one channel denizen, a great and honored developer with many bugs to their name, said. "We have Dreamhacks, and this is how you apply for them!"

"Thank you," the developer said, and went away. For that was not the question the developer had been asking, but the channel members were so nice and helpful.

Presently the developer came unto IRC again. "Can anyone help me install a local version of the Dreamwidth code onto my server?" the developer asked again.

"We're so glad you want to help out!" another channel denizen said (having not been there the first time, or perhaps having been away from the keyboard). This denizen was only a middling developer, but showed great promise and had already vanquished some bugs. "Installing the Dreamwidth codebase is very hard, and is very frustrating for a new developer. Here is where you can apply for a Dreamhack."

"Thank you, but --" the developer said, and then went away again. This was still not the question the developer had been asking, although the channel denizen was right: installing the code was very hard.

And a third time, the developer came unto IRC. "Can anyone help me install a local version of the Dreamwidth code onto my server?" the developer asked, greatly weary and sad.

"I don't know much about that process," a third channel denizen said. This denizen was one of the least among the developers, but had been watching the first two times the new developer came in and asked. "I saw that you were offered a Dreamhack twice before, but that was not your question."

"No, I don't want a Dreamhack," the developer said, relieved that at last someone seemed to be answering the actual question. "I was not sure how to ask, and everyone was trying to be so helpful. I am on a quest for enlightenment, and I would like the experience of installing it all for myself."

"I hope you may find the enlightenment you are looking for," said the third denizen. "I do not think I can help you myself, but if you encounter trouble, try the wiki, for it is always there, though it does not have much yet." And the third denizen named some pages.

"If you encounter trouble that the wiki cannot handle, try asking my first sister." And the third denizen named a system administrator of middling wisdom and middling availability.

"And if you encounter trouble that my first sister cannot handle, try asking my second sister. But beware, you may have to wait a long time." And the third denizen named a system administrator of great wisdom but small availability.

"Thank you!" the developer said with joy. "I had almost given up, for I feared no one would answer my question. I will try the wiki first."

And in later times, many stories were told of the brave feats of installation that the developer mastered, and then documented for developers yet to come.

* This is a fairytale based on an actual incident. I'm leaving the developer here anonymous; this developer can of course step up and say "Hi, that was me!" but I'd like to leave them the option of doing so, rather than giving them potentially unwanted attention. back
azurelunatic: Warning: participating in #dw may result in blacking out and discovering yourself as head of a project team. (#dw warning: department head)
The master conceptual tests at Dreamwidth are, I believe, the Design Personas.

There are a number of other conceptual tests that long-time Dreamwidth (and LiveJournal) code/design/suggestions participants run against proposed features or implementations. I hope to collect some of them here, and maybe start a wiki page at some point, because this is the sort of stuff that's retained in the tribal knowledge pool, and is therefore vulnerable to the problems of human memory and absence.

* Went to Costa Rica with the Peace Corps (prolonged absence, with or without notice).
How does the proposed feature or implementation affect a user who is away from both their account, and any possible notifications, for prolonged times? In particular, any feature that depends on a user responding to a prompt within say a six-month deadline, with irreversible effects that include data loss, is just not on. [livejournal.com profile] christine is the old LJ Support test case: she was previously an active volunteer, and planned her long absence beforehand. She periodically returns and updates us all on her life! She's generally away from her journal a year or two at a time, with no means of access in between.

* Deceased (with or without memorial status) user.
How does it affect (the readers/circle of) a user who will never return? The friends/family of a deceased user may or may not choose to ask for memorial status for that account, so assuming that all accounts belonging to deceased users will have been given memorial status is not a safe assumption.

* Dead Manta Problems
How does it interact with deleted-and-purged accounts, particularly ones who have had the old name reactivated by someone having renamed to it? (Named in honor of the once-and-again deadmantalks, whose old name became ex_deadmanta-some-numbers upon reclaiming the name.)

* Unwanted Contact
How could this be used, either by accident or with malice aforethought, to cause communication between parties who should not communicate with each other? Will it need to restrict anonymous or not-logged-in use or respect ban settings?

* Spam
How could this be used by a spammer?

* Scalability
Consider the potential load if the entire population of the site should use it, or if a large number of users were to use the feature at its highest capacity. For example, what if this feature were used by a high-traffic roleplaying game? (This is usually a developer/architect level problem.)

* Paid Features
Is this a feature that requires a lot of expensive operations? Could this be offset by restricting it (or higher levels of it) to paying users? Would extending a higher level of it to paying users be a nice perk for them? (This is ultimately a staff decision.)

* Malice Aforethought
How could this be used to disrupt others' use of the site? Could any of it be avoided by built-in safeguards or rules, rather than moderation after the fact?

* Journal Types
How does this apply to regular users, communities, and identity users? Does it apply to only one journal type, or can it be usefully used by more?

* Settings Overload
More settings are possibly great for power users, but can cause decision fatigue in neophyte to intermediate users who just want things to work. D has a whole essay on this somewhere, I think.

* Opt-In vs. Opt-Out
Opt-out makes features more discoverable (I think D has an essay on this too), which means that the default state of new features should not piss off, injure (migraine or seizure trigger), or endanger (publish or publicize previously private or covert information such as location or wallet name) users who have not yet turned it off.

I'm sure I'm forgetting some stuff, so if there are other things that either are or should be stuff that gets discussed when talking about a new feature, please feel free to add it in the comments, or in the wiki page once someone builds that.
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
Why does one entry appear on many different pages? If I want to link to an entry, what page should I link to?

Most modern blog sites and formats allow a blogger to write an entry once, post it, and then have it automatically show up in several different places. Depending on how fucking stupid the blog engine is *cough*Tumblr*cough*, it may be difficult to figure out which copy is the "master" copy, and how to link to it so that people from the future can find it too.

Let's use Dreamwidth as an example. This entry, being public, will show up in a bunch of places:

Read more... )
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
(Imagine a half-hour of this looping until you refresh the page.)

gif )
azurelunatic: Computer with a wind-up key captioned "Which version of STUPID are you running?" (stupid)
I am still very angry with whatever dick in product management felt that it was necessary or appropriate to combine the following two sentiments:

"I am so excited about the upcoming product release! The date has been pushed up! THIS IS WONDERFUL!"

"In order to accommodate the upcoming early release of this product, some features were dropped. This very popular feature was one of them."


No. No, I am not happy, and I am angry that you are so happy about this. Please go rinse your inbox with an appropriately destructive kind of acid, and let's never speak of this again.

When announcing something that you know is going to be bad news, on the ticket for the feature in question, the early release of version mango-shitting-cockatoo (the upgrade from destructive-parrot) is a neutral thing at best, not a good thing. You can be as exited as you want on the main blog, or in the press releases, and you can link to the main blog or press releases, but on the bug itself, this is a neutral thing.

It might even be appropriate to apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment. But "I'm excited to announce", multiple exclamation points, and "cheers" in the ticket itself? What the actual fuck, man.
azurelunatic: Computer with a wind-up key captioned "Which version of STUPID are you running?" (stupid)
Dear Mac user,

I write this letter to you because of the situation that you currently find yourself in. You are a Mac user through and through, and circumstances have been kind enough that you have had little to no experience using a Windows machine, at least, not really within the past decade, not for longer than it takes to check your webmail on someone else's running, logged-in machine.

Unfortunately, the two things you have in front of you now are terrifying: a Windows machine, and a set of instructions that make no earthly sense. I mean, it's telling you a procedure to carry out, and there are forms, widgets, and labels on the screen in front of you that are as described in the instructions, but the things that the instructions are telling you to do are so ever-loving stupid and counter-intuitive that your every computer-using instinct is telling you that this is Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! and there is no earthly way that the instructions could possibly be correct, because who the fuck would design such a system?!?!

My appeal to you is simply this:

The instructions, while almost certainly wrong in every particular of intuitiveness, usability, and/or earthly logic ... are probably correct in the absolutely piddling detail that this is how you have to do this thing to make that work on Windows.

I'm very sorry.

Please follow the instructions exactly as they are written if you don't have a Windows expert around to ask.

If you do have a Windows expert around to ask, follow their guidance and that of the instructions, even if feels wrong in every possible way.

I'm very, very sorry.

the administrative assistant who had to play tech support for the usability contractors this morning
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
One problem with Guardian, or perhaps the KVM switch, but notably one that I did not have with George? When using the external keyboard, a key input will start sticking (even though the key is not stuck) and the only recourse is to unplug the keyboard. This is obnoxious when you're trying to write at speed.

Other than that, I'm knocking on wood.

KVM Switch

Oct. 6th, 2012 03:09 am
azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
I just got a KVM switch -- keyboard + video + mouse -- and it is just glorious. Basically it's making it easier to hook up the good monitor, keyboard, and mouse to the noble little Chromebook George.

She's still a little slow, but a proper input/output combination is just making me so much less cranky.

Why did I wait this long?
azurelunatic: Chocolate dessert, captioned No Artificial Shortages  (no artificial shortages)
Today was a long day full of meetings.

My third meeting of the day (which could well have been my fourth, except I was still doing other things when the one that would have been third started) included, among other things, one of the little interns steadfastly presenting the art for the mockup she'd been doing for a spec of a thing.

Now, this particular meeting is not for the faint of heart. This meeting is where you go to present the thing you're working on, and then the detail-oriented, lovingkindly people you work with look at it, and give you feedback. If you don't give precise guidance otherwise, this means that everyone will descend upon every last goddamn flaw they can find, and interrogate you until you're wrung out, about exactly what happens in every adverse circumstance they can imagine.

I saw that look pass over the intern's face a few times, and I realized that perhaps no matter how well-prepared she thought she'd been to present, just perhaps she'd been unprepared for that level of detailed critique. (It also is relevant that the topic was something that has camps as hotly divided as Microsoft vs. Apple, and also that at least one of the senior people in the room wasn't familiar with basically at all, and was therefore asking incisive neophyte's questions, and furthermore that just about everyone else in the room has been working together on various things for 6+ months and have been getting used to/wearing down rough edges.)

I caught up with her afterwards, and observed that this particular meeting can feel overwhelming and discouraging, but that I thought she'd done a good solid job (and I had been far from silent in pointing out the potential issues I noticed), and recounted that time when a mere three checkboxes from one particular designer had resulted in a 10-minute shouting match. She looked like she was feeling a little less shaky after that. I hope it was the sort of encouragement that she needed. (Thank you, Dreamwidth.)

Then I showed back up to the interns' office a little later with chocolate. Gluten-free chocolate, as when you give chocolate to one intern, it's to all of them.
azurelunatic: Warning: participating in #dw may result in blacking out and discovering yourself as head of a project team. (#dw warning: department head)
From a few weeks ago around launch time, Facebook ads as aimed at spaceship engineers:

Read more... )

Tonight, hilarious API specs:

Read more... )
azurelunatic: Blue koi, captioned "And the new day was a great big fish."  (great big fish)
So there's a work thing that my Overlady's had me helping out with, one that involves a conference call with a lot of external people, and Powerpoints. Thursday morning, bright and early, saw me at work, surprisingly perky for the hour. I arrived at the same time as Ponytail Manager, who is just about the first in from my team every day.

So there several of us were in one of the meeting rooms, with the first caller already on the line, and my Overlady catching up and making cheerful small talk with the caller. I'm sitting in place and buzzing, waiting for stuff to happen. My Overlady notices a smudge of something on the edge of her Mac's trackpad, and rubs at it a few times to make it go away.

The caller observes (and we observe on the projector) that the slides have jumped a few things ahead. My Overlady and the caller joke about this. I point out that she'd just been cleaning the trackpad, in a swiping motion, up and down along the right margin of the trackpad. That's the place that on many machines is able to be used as a scrollbar when swiped that way, which well might have caused the observed effects.

"It sounds like you have an engineer in the room," the caller says.

"No, I'm the secretary," I respond, and introduce myself. The conversation flows on, about how folks who aren't necessarily on the deepest technical end of the field can be the ones to understand some system or other inside and out, sometimes because they're the one who uses it, or instructs others in its use, or observes others making all the possible errors. I don't talk much. This is not my show. I notice how close my Overlady's coffee is to empty, and bring water.

I was happy, but a complicated sort of happy, that my first impression on this caller was that I was an engineer.

My actual job title involves "Administrative Assistant". The job title that I most often use in an informal environment is "minion". I'm not dissatisfied with either of those titles, but in the moment, "administrative assistant" was a mouthful, "admin" or "administrator" was ambiguous, and "minion", while completely accurate, was not at the level of professionalism that I wanted to show during this call. So a self-deprecating "secretary" it was.

Why did I feel the need to put myself down in addition to clarifying my role? Why did I feel that "secretary" was unnecessarily demeaning? Do I have somewhat of an inferiority complex because I have more of a technical background than the average person, and I'm working in a mostly non-technical role? I genuinely enjoy my job, and since part of the job description is anything the team decides it can offload onto me, it may well become more technical in the future. But clearly something about being assumed to have a more technical job than I actually have puts me on the defensive.
azurelunatic: Cordless phone showing a heart.  (phone)
So there I am Thursday night and [personal profile] zarhooie is calling. I can't find my football field1. By the time I've found it, the call's gone to voicemail. She rings me again. This time, as I'm fumbling the headset onto my face, the phone blinks and goes dark, and the familiar glowing white Palm logo appears. The thing's gone and done and rebooted on me.

It's always been a little stroppy, but this marks the first time it's actually crashed as the result of a phone call in. Kat keeps calling back, and she gets me as the phone's rebooting -- the screen is actually still on the logo, but thanks to the headset I can take the call. (Note to others: if your phone has done the same thing and now only displays one page of apps and widgets and settings, not the three it's supposed to have, reboot the fucker and don't answer any calls that come in while it's rebooting.)

I figure that enough actually *is* enough, and hie me on down to the phone shop the next evening after I get out of work2. Read more... )

I have yet to name the phone. It's a Motorola Photon.

1: Bluetooth headset. From "You had to run all the way across a football field to get your headset!" when the charger lived on a plug on the other side of my actually very tiny studio apartment.

2: Well, first I have to pick up my car from the shop. They still can't manage to duplicate the sound that's alarming me, but I've narrowed it down to a strong correlation with the brakes, and the lady advises that some brake noise does occasionally happen, and they've adjusted the brakes. So I'm feeling OK.
azurelunatic: Teddybear that contains ethernet switch.  (geeky)
So after work today I hit Fry's Electronics, where I got a few things, including a nice new hard drive (1TB) and an industrial-strength datavacuum. Then I popped over to the Microsoft store, where I examined the Windows 7 options and went for Professional, as I don't really need paranoid-level security nor multiple languages.

Upon getting actually home, I called my bff for some moral support. The datavacuum was labeled with which way to twist the end to pull it off, but not which actual way was suck and which was blow. This of course is resolved by testing, but I complained anyway. Then I took a Sharpie to the datavacuum so I'll remember for next time.

The inside of the box was dustier than I thought it would be, so it was good that I'd got the vacuum. Bleh. I'm going to be sneezing all evening.

The screws that came with the drive assumed nice thin metal frame, not thick plastic, so I wound up using the screws from the old drive.

The installation was mostly straightforward, with the waiting-to-poking ratio tilted mostly in the direction of waiting. I discovered that if you say you have a driver to install to deal with the hard drive, it will not let you progress until you actually find a driver. So we restarted at that point.

Eventually I broke out the port. And the chocolate.

I'm installing stuff now. It's proceeding. I will fall on my face in bed soon. It's so good to have computers again.

Oh, also they brought me the real computer at work today. Yay!
azurelunatic: Computer with a wind-up key captioned "Which version of STUPID are you running?" (tech support)
I'm calling Madman's hard drive officially dead as of tonight. I did look up operating system pricing, and fortunately I'm no longer on *exactly* a broke college student budget. So once things settle down, I'll get myself some Windows 7 and a nice new hard drive to put it on. Maybe also one of those electronics vacuums, as that case collects dust like all get-out.


azurelunatic: The Space Needle by night. Slightly dubious photography. (Default)
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