Iced tea and Tennessee Bourbon on the menu today at the wendy house. We don’t often get snow so this is a bit of treat.
There was an impromptu party in my local convenience store. Groups of young folk were discussing what essential supplies they wanted in case food deliveries are blocked by snow. I wandered around slowly, enjoying the cheerful young folk and sensibly dressed adult impersonators. Alcohol, tea, bread and milk were selling fast.
Snow on the roof of the wendy house orangerie is keeping the heat in without blocking the light. It’s my own little igloo-style roof. Meanwhile Sampo snores with unabashed contentment in prime position by the woodburning stove
The second time that I tried to login to my ‘Outlook.com’ account this error message was presented and the experience hung Firefox.
How long have Microsoft been designing sign-in processes? How many products have they produced that require a secure sign in? How many user experience experts do they employ – how big is their archive on user experience research?
And this error detection and messaging is the best they can come up with?
That’s pathetic – with no imaginable excuse
Just think about this message from a users perspective – what to I do next?
browser back button?
navigate to the sign in page using a bookmark or URL?
Then repeat the sign-in action that produced thid error in the first place? Believe that doing the same thing twice wont produce the same error from a computerised system? I can think of several different ways that this service could have enabled me to do this, my only natural troubleshooting approach, in an easier way. For example, provide a nice friendly “Try again” button. An apology or empathetic sound would be a nice additional extra. I find “ouch” is working quite well with me at the moment. If Microsoft are serious about shifting from pre-packaged products to operating online services they are going to have to start using the knowledge of their user experience experts
The Blue flash of colonel panic is not a military award, one of the X-men, X-women, a Transformer, or other superhero.
Windows 7 scary classic!
The file dump from Windows 7 “Blue Screen Of Death (BSOD)” happens so quickly that we rush to capture an digital image for posterity because maybe there will be a generation of computer users that have never see a blue screen. I hope so.
You can see the blue screen paparazzi in the reflection on an old Lenovo laptop. The windows 7 message is already teasing the user with more text than they can possibly read in the time it’s displayed! Squinting at the photograph I saw the phrase “BIOS updates” - a phrase that produces a mild form of the gagging reflex.
Windows 8 is succinct, readable, understandable and less SCARY!
The message has changed for Windows 8, it looks like a more graceful failure message because it has larger, more readable, and understandable text. It looks like they’ve actually written it for the normal people that will see it rather than for the developers. They no longer mention “Caching and shadowing”, “removing or disabling components” or the gaggable “Bios updates”. I wonder whether it’s still a ‘Blue Flash’. Excellent user experience enhancements.
the blue flash of colonel panic2 vote(s) average rating 5/5
Triple action Filorga deed-fill plaster with blast those wrinkles away. Because it’s
(It’s not greased lightening, and mind you don’t get it in your eyes)
I need some plaster to deep fill my wrinkles but 10 ml won’t go far! It probably takes at least 24 hours to set too. The trouble is that I can only apply this by ‘Dabbing’ in the morning, no trowels allowed and no after lunch dabbing either. Only touch-ups during the day. Got that?
At first the offers were on a broad range of topics. The advertising photographs showed a people of different genders and ages demonstrating the product or service use. Great diversity. I enjoyed looking at the possibilities and even purchased a few mixed gender, mixed ages, activity breaks.
More recently the offers that they send me show bigger discounts, but are on a more restricted range of topics. A lot of offers that are tailored to a stereotypical young female paranoid about how she, and her home, looks – make-up, hair, diets, cooking, manicures, vacuum cleaners etc. The pictures of people using the services are females that are almost exclusively young, curvaceous, with long hair, fully made-up, smooth skinned.
I feel hassled and oppressed by the algorithm they are using to select the offers that they email to me.
I’m progressively uninspired by the offers that they send me.
I’ve stopped using the offers – they’ve lost my custom.
I’ve written to Living Social to ask them to change the algorithm they are using to send me offers – to regain my custom. I don’t think Living Social will be able to update their algorithm just for me. Maybe I should re-register with a boys name and see if I can regain the diversity and activity oriented offers that I saw before Living Social decided to push the popular female stereotype at me.
bargain basement girliness1 vote(s) average rating 4/5
It wasn’t an Omnishambles by any stretch of the imagination. A completely retrievable set of miner shamblings by John that in no way seemed to undermined the orchestra’s ability to put on an awesome show. A very polished performance by the orchestra.
The shamblings started when John introduced the 3rd piece in the set – and got it wrong. The Orchestra subtly let him know. John tried again, wrong again. By his fourth attempt he had worked-out what piece he was introducing. The audience giggled affectionately. Even the orchestra seemed amused by his unawareness of the running order. As the evening progressed and John threw in some sexist stereotypes under the guise of witty retorts to introduce each piece - he seemed drunk. His keenness to hold onto the rail around the conductors stand didn’t help make him look sober.
A blacker pot
The most entertaining part of John’s performance was when he shifted from conducting the orchestra to conducting the audience. We definitely needed his help, we didn’t know the tempo, the pitch, and couldn’t even remember the words to ‘Rule, Britannia’. We surely were a bit pathetic. Even our flag waving was decidedly below-par, no wonder are no longer an empire. We were a bit damp squibb-ish.
What was the set list?
My favourite was Grieg’s ‘In the hall of the mountain king’. The ‘Dam Busters March’ seemed like a bit of an outsider It certainly kept me happy and toe-tapping. I found ‘Those Magnificent men in their flying machines’ a tad more befuddling, a bit of befuddlement can be a good thing.
I’m thrilled that the Oxford English Dictionary names the ‘word of the year’. The thought of a group of word specialists discussing the merits of different new words they’ve heard this year has kept me entertained for months. Omnishambles is this year’s UK word. It is defined as:
a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterised by a string of blunders and miscalculations
Here are example situations where I might use this word in everyday converstion:
even an omnishambles could not have produced a lasagne of such disastrous proportions
climate change was blamed for the public transport omnishambles
we christen this baby ‘omnishambles’
The Oxford dictionary chooses a different new word for American English. This year they chose GIF (Graphics Interchange Format). A much more sensible word that’s a tad less fun. I can’t imagine actually using GIF’s creatively in my normal conversation (though I have some fun GIF’s on Sparkle).
mumsie: have you got some books on film with pictures of Ginger Rogers’ dresses in them?
wendy: Um, possibly, but there’ll be lots of pictures on the internet that are easier to find
I put my laptop and mouse on the dining room table in front of mum. She pulled out her glasses and watched me type in search terms then helped me to change them. Mum learned about searching images while focussed on the actual images. She got very excited about how quick and easy it was to find the sort of thing she wanted. Her natural description of navigating the page focussed on the movement of the images, the focus of her interest, rather than the movement of the generic tool component (browser scroll bar):
mum “make the pictures go up” = wendy “scroll down the page“
Later that evening dad put mum’s own, ne’er used, laptop on his personal laptop table. Mum put on her glasses and sat next to him. They both searched for images of Ginger Rogers dancing. Mum didn’t touch the laptop but she effectively controlled it through conversation with Dad. Her language had changed. Mum had shifted to using directional language that mapped to the movement of the scroll-bar rather than the images. During our conversation she’d picked up a little of how I speak about things and incorporated it into her instructions to dad:
mum “move it down” = wendy “scroll down the page“
Mum and Dad were terribly cute discussing the dress design and it’s properties for dancing. They both love to research things….
Dad told me of his cunning Christmas present for mumsie
Mumsie said not to get her anything electronic for Christmas so I’ve got her an e-book for her kindle, and I’ve already put it on her kindle so I can show it to her on Christmas day
Indeed, mum was really pleased with her present once she’d made sure that the new book on her kindle hadn’t replaced the book she was currently reading. Once she’d grasped that 2 books could co-exist on the Kindle an earnest enthusiasm for last year’s present (the kindle) began to show.
The book? A biography of George, Duke of Clarence (1449-1478).
I’ve got a bed fellow that responds to temperature changes while I sleep.
I’m not alone in seeking out something more substantially hot in bed than a hot water bottle. The online product reviews were posted by people over 55 years old – it’s better than their last electric blanket, it’s the best electric blanket they’ve ever owned. …ooOOoo…
It’s sold out online. I take ‘please me now’ action and walk to the local store. Yes. Satisfaction. My first ever electric blanket joins the single-skin brick wendy house. My bed has become cosy incorporated.
I am beginning to see people who have purchased apple services and products recognise that they are not perfect. These people aren’t the Apply Fanboys, they’re ordinary people who purchased Apple because they thought they were getting convenience and quality.
Seen on Facebook (2/12/12):
“WTF happened to itunes… i am not amused”
“Sigh. It’s Apple again. Style over substance”
“cannot bear style over substance!! i am going back to my tapes!!”
Recently my employer asked for my Twitter address, to publish my tweets on their website. Other colleagues admitted to not tweeting, or suggested that our employer really wouldn’t want to publish their tweets. As wendy, I’ve dabbled but not really been drawn in.
What to do? Should I start using Twitter with my real ‘professional’ name. Luckily the name was available. There are only 2 of us with my real name and an online presence, the other person is a teenager in small town USA. I bagged our name on Twitter. But the big problems still haven’t been solved
Should I twit? And how long should I spend twitting if I do?
Who do I want to read my twits?
Do I have to use a spell-check on all my tweets to avoid irritating those people who can’t see my conceptual wood because of my grammatical trees?
What should I twit about?
What do professional tweeters, who are published on their employers websites, do?
What sort of ‘voice’ should I use? Directive? Cheeky? Subversive?
Do you think I’ll ignore all these tricky questions or other?
Colourful costumes adorn the window of ‘Event Junction’. C3PO, Marilyn Monroe and more.
I walk by several times a day. It always brings a smile to my face. Cemetery junction is a lively community hub and a traffic nightmare. This store compliments the diversity of the area and starts you dreaming of possibilities and happy events.
It reminds me of the 70′s children TV program “Mr Benn“. It’s a pleasant diversion from the other local, numerous, convenience and fast food stores.
At the moment I’m trying to pluck up the courage to go in and try on the costumes… find my own adventure.
Just seeing the shop makes my day.
through the magic door2 vote(s) average rating 5/5
I found Albert Camus’s ‘The outsider” profoundly disturbing. In just under 115 pages it moves the reader from a funeral through a killing to legal conviction and sentencing with straightforward and gripping prose. The protagonist appears to lack pretention. He lives with an uncomplicated world view, within a world that requires he play a role, demostrates conformity to social complexity.
Recommended for people that find human behaviour fascinating at both human and societal levels.
‘The Outsider’ appears to be one of those books that teenagers are encouraged to study – there are plenty of reviews online. Somehow my teenage self missed this book, making do with ‘The catcher in the rye’, ‘To kill a mockingbird‘ and slighly later with ‘On the road‘
I found the book disturbing because it was so easy to identify with the protagonist, to be him. To feel his pleasure, pain, passage of time and the way others criticise any lack of socially acceptable expression of strong emotions.
I picked up my copy from Reading town’s Oxfam, this 2nd hand copy came littered with the study notes of someone who read the book in a radically different way from me. I found the notes almost as disturbing as the book itself. The notes accuse the protagonist of being unemotional, unfeeling. Yet I read him as experiencing a wide range of normal feelings described in short sentences, using very physical descriptions.
The outsider. Albert Camus1 vote(s) average rating 5/5
Owning a kilt is not all about a big song and dance. There are some sneaky little down sides to the experience which I suspect many a non-kilt wearer is wise to.
These are the reasons why I haven’t yet bought a woollen kilt, they:
are rather itchy (but I could wear thick tights or an underskirt to deal with this)
smell of damp wool when it’s raining (don’t wear it outside in the rain)
need to be dry-cleaned occasionally (that’s not too expensive and inconvenient)
The main kilt use challenge that I hadn’t anticipated is based on using the kilt with modern sanitary technology – the toilet.
Stop reading now if you have an aversion to toilet talk.
With a normal skirt a girl can simply lift the rear of the skirt and hold it up while taking a seat on the toilet – so the skirt never touches the toilet. Clean and neat. Not so with a kilt. There is so much material in the pleats that no matter where you grab it, the sides fall right back down gain. Cool! But not cool when you want to sit on the loo without dangling it down the pan.
A kilt works for a squatting position above the pan, or squatting when there is no pan – in the wild where it was originally used. I’ve adjusted my posture when wearing the kilt in the washrooms over the pan so that I stay standing and flick the kilt op over my back while leaning forward – this lets the wealth of material lie across my back. This position requires more directional skill during the process than sitting down, but works to keep the kilt clean and out of the way.
After several months of wearing a genuine kilt, purchased in Edinburgh (online), I’ve leaned about many of it’s more subtle virtues, it:
water repellent: flicks the rain off the surface layer as you walk – never soaks up water because of the movement designed in. Rather like the water coming off a dog when it shakes itself. This effect is stronger for pure wool kilts (which mine isn’t). It’s suitable for rainy climates.
toasty!: is very warm because the pleats make it 3 folds of material thick at most point. Again, this effect if emphasised for a wool kilt. It’s more suitable for cold climates.
curvy: demonstrates the comely turn of my calves – whatever it’s made from.
adjustable sizes: the wrap-around style means the kilt can fit you as you put-on, or loose, weight. This gives the kilt longevity as a wardrobe item. Excellent! As I approach my 50′s I’m anticipating the onset of a little plumpness and the kilt will stay with me unlike other clothes that might need replacing.
swing-tastic: with just a normal walk the back of the kilt swings in a playful way. With a flick of the hips it’s even more fun, and spinning around? Well! It’s a must-do activity in a kilt.
Friends have commented that very few people can ‘pull-off’ wearing a kilt, but I am one of them. I can pull it off while keeping it on. I think everyone should have a kilt, it should be a standard part of everyone’s wardrobe because it is quite simply -
Recently I spent a long weekend on holiday with a friend – seeing the local sights pottering around in Thomas and on foot, eating local delicacies, and sharing a room in a thatched cottage.
I learned that I am more comfortable with silence than my friend. It felt like my friend talked almost non-stop. They didn’t, but it felt like it. As if they needed to fill every silence with words.
At first, I listened to all the words, then gradually my mind wandered away. Their words like a radio programme chattering in the background as my thoughts wandered around the fabulous autumn Devon views. My friend didn’t appear to need my listening, no input from me needed.
Normally living alone, with much silence, I found this stream of talking most strange. On the occasions when my friend was silent they were tapping away into their phone, or computer, presumably social networking. They would read, with verbal annotation and explanation, the text’s they’d received. This total sharing is not something I’m used to. Unsolicited, it felt somehow inappropriate. I suspect it was actually some kind of generous gift of openness, non-exclusion. A sweet generous friend.
If I said something, made a statement, it would be followed by my friend’s analysis of the topic of my statement. I learned a lot about my friend. They learned about my silences and way of being, little more. They didn’t ask. I wonder if they felt short-changed.