scribbles tagged ‘geeky’

What are wendy house visitors doing?

Thursday, June 27th, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

Google analytics’ visual for showing wendy house visitor journey’s in the month of May 2013…multiple clicks:

Visitor Flow
This is what I’ve learned from May’s visitor route information:

  1. UK and US based people are my largest groups of visitors.
  2. UK visitors’ arrive on either the homepage, a post about Sylvac Bunny’s (n=111), or other specific pages.
  3. US visitors’ arrive on a blog post tag (n=194), or specific pages. They don’t arrive on the homepage.
  4. Other countries appear to arrive on the homepage or other specific pages. They’re not like the US visitors.

Most people leave after viewing the page that they’ve landed on (1.1K). I’m interpreting this as visitors quickly working-out that there is nothing, other than the landing page, that will interest them on the wendy house. A good result.

The few visitors that hang around (0.1%, n=161) click on a tag, the current month, the homepage, or “about the wendy house”.

Of the visitors that make:

  • one click on the blog, a 2nd click is made by (n=74) 45%.  The 2nd click is mainly on the homepage (n=29) or a blog tag (n=12)
  • two clicks on the blog, a 3rd click is made by (n=40) 45%! The 3rd click is mainly on he homepage (n=12) or a blog tag (n=8)

From other stats I know that:

  • The 4 most popular tags are: Passport, Toilet, Bristol, and Reading town
  • Search Engines are the main source of new visitors.
  • The proportion of new visitors to returning visitors has remained fairly static across the blog lifetime at 6:4.
  • The number of visitors per day typically varies between 40 and 80, averaging at about 60.

what do you think of that »

lost our box

Thursday, January 19th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

wendy: is there a password for the hotel internet?

The staff gives me a handwritten code then adds:  we’re not sure it’s working, let me know if you can get the internet

Later…

wendy: I can connect to your wireless but your wireless hub is either not connected to the internet or your ISP isn’t giving out IP addresses because the error message I get is about the DNS server not providing IP addresses

staff: ????????

wendy: um, your internal wireless system is working ok, but the line coming in is having trouble. Maybe just turning your internet hub on and off will solve it, or you’ll have to phone your internet provider…

staff: we don’t know where the box is, we’re having building works and we’ve lost it

wendy: Oh!!!!! Probably worth looking for the box then….

3 days in the hotel and my only internet access was on my cell phone.

Hotel Internet - not working...


6 bits of fabulous banter »

scribbling for work

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

mobile of deconstructed dictionaryToday an international professional magazine printed an article I submitted under my professional pen-name

Writing the blog has helped improve my professional writing. As you may have guessed, essentially I’m a geeky heavily qualified (PhD) academic working in the business world.  Blogging has helped me learn to express myself in a different voice, less constructed to fit into conceptions of ‘expert’. It was tough trying to write a magazine article engaging an intelligent, novice, audience.  Odd that it should still be so tough, but it was

I’ve had my name on academic and magazine articles before, but other people wrote and coordinated the publication.  Contributing original thought and effort meant that I was one name on a list of authors. I wrote this article myself and dealt directly with the managing editor and sub-editor. They were extremely helpful. Professional editors provide such high quality constructive feedback.  The sub-editor said he generally found the articles he reviewed rather dull but he enjoyed reading my piece. That praise alone made my day!

In the same week an old friend, an academic, explained why he didn’t use his Facebook account:

… one of my nightmare students (had really serious issues) wanted to friend me.  I didn’t feel I could say no (she really had problems) but from that moment on I realised I could never use my account…

Reminiscent of times in my work-life where I’d consulted Personnel, Human Resources, services to advise on dealing with challenging situations, why I use an unprofessional pen-name for my blog

Personnel and Editorial professionals ROCK!


8 bits of fabulous banter »

more than no-one

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

Google analytics provides a ‘site overlay’ that shows your website with in-place click-through statistics.   A geek like me will spend time wandering through such statistics saying ‘oOOoooo‘   and ‘Aaah‘ and ‘what does it all  mean?
Clicks on wendyhome banner

For 4 weeks,   September 2009, Google analytics says that I had 4,681 ‘visits’.  

I rashly infer that visitors want to know something about who is writing this nonsense (8.1% on who’s wendy) or are interested in finding food (0.3%), or why I’m bothering to write about anything at all (0.2%).   Some people consider whether to comment, or why I might consider stopping people from publishing their commentson my blog, (0.1%).  

More than no-one,   some-one,   is interested in who inspired me to blog ( >0.0%) while no-one wants to  sign-up to receive notifications of my posting in thier RSS reader.

Here’s what Google Analytics says, in numbers, about what visitors click on:

  • Scribbles (The Wendy House home page) = 5.9%
  • Who’s Wendy = 8.1%
  • Why Scribble = 0.2%
  • Comment control = 0.1%
  • Food foraging = 0.3%
  • Credits =   > 0.0%
  • RSS = 0%

I prefer the notion of ‘somone’ over the numerical representation of more than no-one  (> 0.0) looked at who I credit with inspiring my blogging.   The relationship between significant (meaning) and signifiers (often numbers) is frequently obscure and sometimes misleading.

Ho hum


3 bits of fabulous banter »

pink and black

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

Saturday SushiWendy: t-mobile’s colours are almost the same as HMV’s   – pink and black

t-mobile assistant: Magenta

Wendy: Oh (signifying recognition that the assistant’s correction was blunt),   I’m sorry,   is Magenta a technical term for pink?

t-mobile assistant:   There’s been an SQL error entering your details,   I don’t know what SQL  is but its not your fault.    

Wendy: Sequal Server? Maybe it needs a t-mobile technical specification,   like magenta instead of pink?  


3 bits of fabulous banter »

WES ©

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

WES ©:   Wendy Experience Scale*

What is this?

This is a tool for assessing product and services experiences.   The tool uses a questionnaire  developed with the help of Excel and 84 pots of tea.   The  WES © can be administered to any Wendy  that uses a product or service that you want to assess.   The WES © will tell you whether that product or service meets the stringent, to be published, Wendy  International Standard of Experiences (WISE).    Unlike assessment tools such as the SUS which focuses merely on usability with  Likert scales**,   the WES ©   focusses on product and service relevant experiences including usability with  9 semantic differential scales*** .     The scales tap into the following experiences:

  1. Fabulousness
  2. Aesthetics – Visuals
  3. Fitness for purpose
  4. Financial value
  5. Aesthetics – Tactility
  6. Usability
  7. Complexity
  8. Engagement
  9. Predictability****

 

 

 

 Also known as ‘ FAFFAUCEP’   (pronounced faff-Oh-sep)

The WES © is currently in a Beta release stage and is available for use* by product and service developers on condition that they ask advance permission and provide me with a full report of the product, service,  assessment conducted including the results which will be used to build the  WISE standards.

Administering the WES ©

Let a common all garden Wendy use your product or service  to complete a common task that it was designed to enable.   Provide a unbroken supply of tea during use.   Observe the Wendy complete the task collecting usability style observational data.   When the Wendy has completed the task,   or given up  provide her with a copy of  the WES © and ask her to mark an X on the line between each pair of experience  descriptors that indicates her experience on  this continuum.   There is a practice item that you should encourage the Wendy to complete then discuss her answer to make sure that she understands how to use the scale.     As the Wendy completes the scale ask her to describe examples that have lead to her reporting this experience.   This information will be extremely useful for either developing marketting materials or deciding what to change to improve the experience.

Below is an example of a WES ©  completed by my marking X’s on each scale item describing my experience of my wireless radio.   You can make your own practice scale that covers some dimension of the Wendys or the product being assessed.   In the example below the practice item asks about whether the Wendy considers the product a worthy conversation piece.

Practice by identifying  where you are  on this scale:

never talk about it

————-X——

tell the whole  world about it

 

Where is the Wireless Radio on these scales?:

Absolutely Fabulous

–X—————–

Crappy
Cover-it-with-a-brown-bag ugly

———–X——–

purrrrrrr-rity  
                                   Just what I need

——X————-

Don’t see why I’d want to use it
You’d have to pay ME to use it

———–X——–

Take all my cash, and credit, NOW!
Squeeze, stroke, and lickable

——–X———–

Cooties, don’t touch IT!
Did I brake it or what?

—————-X—

Works a treat                  
I can  use it first time

—-X—————

training-required nightmare
   Snore, Snore, Snore

————-X——

Fun, Fun, Fun

Its  obvious what it was going to do

—–X————–

it was full of surprises

 

 

 

 

Analysing WES © Results:

Allocate the location maked on the line with a weighting number between 1 and 10.    

For even number questions the weightings increase towards the left,   for odd number questions the weightings increase towards the right.     Sum all the weightings.       The total possible score is 90.   Higher scores indicate better Experiences.  

Coding the example provided above looks like this

Fabulousness

–X—————–

9  from right
Aesthetics – Visuals

———–X——–

6 from left
                                 Fitness for purpose

——X————-

6  from right
Financial value

———–X——–

6 from left
Aesthetics – Tactility

——–X———–

5  from right
Usability

—————-X—

8 from left
Complexity

—-X—————

7  from right
 Engagement

————-X——

7 from left

Predictability

—–X————–

8  from right

 Total score = 62/90 = 69%

The  average of multiple  WES © scores can be  used  to provide  overall Experience score for the product.  

The   normalisation data to enable comparision across different products and services  and  indicate the value of the score relative to a benchmark will be published as part of WISE.   Note that without the normalisation data it is possible that all procucts receive scores in the 80’s (a  roof effect)  or below 20 (a floor effect).     Our expert, on-site, Wendy (me)  recommends that prior to the publication of WISE we should assume that any score under 60 is at best a mediocre product or service and any score under 45 is an experience that should be avoided.

For in depth analysis each item should be verified with the  observational measures taking during the use phase and the comments made by the Wendy’s when completing the questionnaire.  

In this example we can clearly see that the tactile aesthetics (score = 5) provided the biggest opportunity for improving Wendy’s experience.   Wendy talked about the radio being a bit too big to put in her pocket,   she liked the bouncy rubber bits but all the little buttons were a bit too small and pointy to enjoy pressing them,   she prefers rubber-buttons (who doesn’t?!) and the industrial-safety feel for portable.    

 

Next Steps

The WES ©  development team haven’t decided whether to gather normalisation data on the vo version, refine the  item labels before collecting normalisation data  or just chuck the semantic differential format and  develop  WES © (v1) based on a creatively cunning perverison of  Kelly’s Repertory Grid technique.  

 

* Use is permitted by prior agreement with the inventor (me,   Wendy!)

** the linguistically pedantic should note that Likert scales tend to use split infinitives such as ‘strongly agree’ which can irritate those completing the scale undermining its efficacy in cases where people choose not to select any options that include split infinitives for purely curmudgeonly reasons.   This makes the scale unreliable for responses from educated people from Yorskhire.

*** The semantic differential is based on the assumption that everyone interprests the scales in the same way.   Unfortunately,   this assumption is not true rendering the WES © useless to anyone other than Wendy.

**** For some products or services predicatability is not a positive experience quality (e.g. games).   Administrators are advised to either scope the item to refer to the service or product  controls.  


2 bits of fabulous banter »

wireless and unbatteried

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

recharging in the sunTrevor Bayliss is an inventor of   heroic proportions  here in the UK.   He invented the wind-up radio.   Portable and with no need for chemically based, environmentally damaging, batteries.

My fabulous hand-crank radio also includes a solar panel.   I’ve never yet had to wind it up because the light in the Wendy House conservatory keeps it going longer than any duracell battery would….    

I do occassionally wind it up because, like the gravity-powered exit,  the action is very pleasing.   Pleasing is more than the ‘satisfactory’ experience required to establish conformance with usability standards.

I tried to complete a ‘System Usability Scale’   (SUS) for my fabulous radio    incase I meet and usability people that would like to know,   in numbers, exactly how fabulous it is.    Unfortunately I was  unable to complete the SUS because  I don’t know what ‘integrated functionality’ is and am confused by the concept of an ‘inconsistent’ product,   so I couldn’t answer questions that included  these things.      I’ll just tell the usability people its a 7000 on the SUS scale,   they’ll get the general idea.


3 bits of fabulous banter »

phone damage mitigation

Friday, September 12th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

Orange phone store customersThe day after laundering my phone I trundled along to the Orange store where I loitered with the other customers who stood and waited. I listened to a lady being  attended  get gradually more agitated with the assistant as she learned that the assistant could not retrieve her phone contacts

but those are my business contacts’

The assistant frowned,    her companion  said they could try and use the home computer to try and retrieve the contacts from the SIM.   She appeared inconsolable,   her voice gradually raising as she made it clear that she had no back-up of these vital contact numbers,  no way of even telling people that she had lost their numbers.   Tension, amongst those who only stood and waited, grew.      

As time passed the bald fellow in black  gradually became more agitated, shifting his weight, checking his watch, glaring at the busy assistants. After about 10 minutes a new  assistant joined the beleaguered pair on the floor.   She looked at me stood by the desk and I pointed her to the bald man in black.   An inaudible conversation between them, lasted less than a minute before I heard him loudly announce

“you clearly aren’t interested in what I have to say so I’m going elsewhere”  

He marched out of the store, the assistant stood watching him for a moment then came over  to me.  She was clearly upset…

Assitant:that was so embarrassing, he said I was spaced-out, that I wasn’t listening to him,   that I wasn’t even trying to help, he was so rude.

Wendy: he’d been waiting a very long time.   We all have.

Assistant: but that doesn’t give him the right to be rude to me.

Wendy: no. it doesn’t.

Assistant:   (continues to enumerate all the ways that the bald man had treated her inappropriately while she tests my SIM in another phone and finds me a cheap replacement and back-up phone)

I left happy,   SIM intact,    cheap-new phone,   my phone numbers previously backed-up on Darling and my work-supplied computer.   There are times when tendancies towards geekyness make my life so much easier than those people who have not ventured into the pain that can be involved insynchronising their phone contents  with their computers


2 bits of fabulous banter »

I want Vista

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Reasons to retire Darling,   part 4

1. Increasing requirements to contact computer support services

2. I am developing  obstreperous-w intolerance.

3. 8loody hail, breeding task manager

4. I WANT Vista

I’ve used a Vista machine and I love all the search-stuff (start menu, control-panel),     I no longer have to remember where I put things.

Its got a thing called ‘snippit’ which takes pictures of what’s on your screen in a much easier way that control-print-screen,   open-paint,   then paste.  

It’s pretty! The computer I used running Vista is a rather ugly thing,   unlike Darling.   I want to marry the two,   prettiness of Darlings body-work  with  the  human-memory-complimenting  functionality of Vista.


1 wonderful musing »

word art

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008 | tags:  |

Jonathan Feinberg‘s  free (creative-commons licenced) web-tool,   wordle word-cloud, made the picture below.    I gave  wordl the Wendy House blog address as the word-source.  Wordl analysed the content and produced a black and white display.    I played with the presentation tools,   colour scheme,   font,   word orientations…   Thank you Jonathan,

Much fun

The internet and free creative tools have enabled me to fully express my full mediocrity in public,  see:

I made this using the wonderful wordle word-cloud production tool, giving it my blog address as the word-source. It analysed the content in a black and white display then I played with the presentation tools. Much fun. This was the completed the day before my holiday.

Title: The day before my Greek holiday

 

 


what do you think of that »

101 Reading Wendyhome

Sunday, July 13th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

Google analytics reported visitor loyalty (probably unique IP addresses?) for one week in July  2008 as significantly* BIGGER  than  during one week in January  2007.

January 2007 (July 2008)  :

  • 8 (22) visitors visited between 7 and 14 times.
  • 11 (27) visited 15-25 times.
  • 11 (21) visited 26-50 times.      
  • 0   (32) visited 51-100 times.

 Up to 29 (101)  visitors (unique IP addresses)  , other than my good-self, return frequently enough for me to assume they drop-by on a daily basis.      Out of pure, unfettered, cussedness  I am also assuming that at least half of these loyal visitors are naughty, naughty, spam-bots or or other bots of an icky nature, as opposed to pleasantly pert bots.   This assumption  still leaves me  with about 50 regular, daily, visitors who may actually be people!          

 

* Significance in a formal  Statistical sense identified by using Excel’s t-test function for a one-tailed, independent groups t-test that lead to the rejection  of the null hypothesis, h0, p< 0.001

 h0  ‘= there are no more people reading my blog regularly in July 2008  than in January 2007′

The result is statistically very  powerful but I have  low confidence levels in it  because of the low signal-noise ratio introduced by the way the variable (a loyal blog reading person) is operationalised (unique IP address)  that introduces a lot of noise mostly  from  bots.  

Even worse than low statistical confidence is  my  inappropriate test-selection.   Inappropriate because although the data  fulfills some of the assumtions of the independent groups t-test  e.g. parametric,    it is sufficiently naughty to potentially violate other assumptions such as truely independent groups.  

In summary,   we can probably ignore the statistical significance of the numbers because of all the non-number related issues.  

Statistical escapades put aside,  I am still convinced that  the  Wendy House  has quite a few more regular readers now than in January 2007.  


2 bits of fabulous banter »

distributed (human) memory

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008 | tags: , , , , ,  |

<Essay warning>

Not distributed within the mind,  distributed across people and other things.   The work of Yvonne Rogers  in the 1990’s introduced me to the idea of distributed cognition.   Here are some examples from my everyday life:

  • placing my empty bottles by the front door to remind me  to take them to the bottle-bank when I leave the house (memory distributed between bottles and Wendy’s absent mind)
  • going upstairs to get my passport,   when I get upstairs I’ve forgotten why I went there,   going back downstairs and seeing the holiday (excitement level: Amber) details on Darling I remember why I went upstairs. (memory distributed between holiday details on Darling and Wendy’s absent mind)
  • At the pub quiz,   trying to name a song title from hearing a snippit of the  tune,   I can only hum the continuation of the  tune,   another team member can sings the lyrics to my hummed tune,   a third team member can now name the band then the fourth team member can remember the song title (memory socially distributed between team members).  
  • I can’t remember my password as letters and numbers,   I can’t remember the layout of a keyboard,      when infront of Darlings keyboard I  can reliably produce  my password  (memory distributed between keyboard layout and Wendy’s absent mind).   The recent move from US to UK keyboards has been a bit password-disruptive.
  • I can’t remember how to get from St Nicolas’s market to Clifton,   but when I am in Bristol I can walk the route directly with no trouble whatsoever,   very pleasant it is too   (Memory distributed between the city-scape and Wendy’s absent mind).   Note that the Schrocks recently experienced the way that St. Nicholas market can suprise you by turning out to be exactly where you  are wandering.

People, sensibly, strategically delegate the effort involved in constructing some memories to post-it notes,   lists, calendars,  address books,   mobile phones,  bag-contents, places,  blogs, photoalbums, family and friends.  

A die-hard cognitivist might say this is just context-cued recall.   Both paradigms provide the means to describe human behaviour,   but the approaches to psychological  theory building and  research are radically different.   The cognitivist would attempt to identify the specific cues that work most effectively and assess them in a lab,   one specific unusual context,  rather than analyse everyday activities in commonly meaningful contexts.   These different research techniques would yield different practical,   application, recommendations.

The cognitivists make the research language and approach to understanding human behaviour their domain as specialists,   ‘everyday’ approaches enable results to be readily recognisable, understandable and communicable to people outside of a specialist discourse.   They also afford more meaningful pragmatic applications.  

<Essay warning over>

My next essay will probably be on Reading’s buses


what do you think of that »

old news: cognitive psychologists study missing minds

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

also known as:   Remembering what to remember

I first encountered the currently popular (in Psychology of memory circles) ‘prospective memory’ as a term to describe  remembering what to remember through Baddeley & Wilkin’s 1984 article ‘Taking memory out of the laboratory’ .   The Laboratory,  Lab, was typically where British psychologists studied  human memory  using rigourous exprimental methodologies.   The lab was normally a windowless, beige, unadroned room lest participants, then ‘subjects’,  be distracted or inadvertantly influenced by non-experimental phenomena that might undermine the effect of the experimental manipulation.    

I liked Baddeleys work because he’d systematically estabished the positive  impact of re-instating memorising context on  recall levels through various studies including  the influence of alcohol (Vodka) or physically being under water (diving)  when memorising,   and recalling.   Both these experimental studies sounded fun,   were themselves memorable,  and were even repeatable* in less rigorous forms with colleagues at University during normal studenty nocturnal activities.  

‘Taking memory out of the laboratory’ was published in a book called ‘Everyday memory, actions and absentmindedness’  .    This was ground breaking news to me in 1984.    There I  was in the middle of a degree course, approved as official content and jargon by the British Psychological Society,  where I had focussed my study  on memory research.    I had just about got the hang of the technically specific language of psychological memory research such as retro-interference, auditory-loop, digit-span, recognition vs recall  and much more.    Then,   THEN!   Those gosh-darn leading memory researchers sprang some non-technical terms that made sense and weren’t  part of the current disciplin jargon.   How cheeky is that?

Absentmindedness?  

Cognitive psychologists study the absense of mind.   It was too much,  I had a couple of vodkas and fell in  a local canal with my miss spelt revision notes to celebrate.  

 

PS:   If I remember I’ll tell you why I’m telling you about prospective memory in a later post…

* Actually conducting the experiements makes them  more memorable and easier to understand an evaluate than just reading or thinking about them over a cup of tea.


what do you think of that »

openings and closings

Monday, June 9th, 2008 | tags: ,  |

The opening and closing phrases used in emails that I receive* from English people  are noticably different from those I receive from US people.    Opener-closer pairings  tend to be  more thematic than systematic:

Most common 2 UK Openers:

  • Dear Wendy  
  • Hi Wendy
  • Other openers: ‘Thank you‘    ‘Heya‘Hello   (Wendy, Love, Angel, Darling etc)‘   ‘Indeed’   ‘Oh my!’   ‘take this quiz its great!’**   ‘Oh cripes yes!’  

Most common 2 UK Closers:

  • Kind Regards (name on new line)
  • Best Wishes,   (name on new line)
  • Other closers:  ‘Love’     ‘Cheers’‘   ‘Sincerely‘ Thank you’    

Most common 2 US Openers

  • Hi Wendy
  • Hey
  • Other US openers: ‘Hello’   ‘Thank you’    ‘your question has been received’  ‘that time again’   ‘thematic and diverting’

Most common 2 US Closers

  • Thanks
  • [authors name]
  • Other US closers: ‘Sincerely’     ‘                   [name]‘   ‘Must go!”   ‘Thank you’   ‘Thanks’   ‘thematic and diverting’

* The data leading to this  conclusion was drawn by unsystematically reviewing the contents on my work and personal email inboxes for  May 2008 living in the UK and  October 2006 when I lived in the US.    The senders assumed-location or citizenship was used  to assign  UK or US practice.     By far the most common emails I receive come from friends and family with no standard opener or closer, they are written as-if with-in an ongoing conversation and are  excluded from the analysis.   In no way can my inbox contents be considered representative of National or International trends.  

** My nieces do like eveyone to join in  a good Quiz


4 bits of fabulous banter »

snoopers’ network locations

Monday, October 15th, 2007 | tags: , , , ,  |

My readers are perhaps just a bit geeky, um, like me,  because they are coming  from universities,    financial institutions  and the software computing industry.  

Google analytics tells me the Network locations of computers that have reqested page-loads from the wendyhome servers.   Often these network locations are clearly consumer internet service providers,   sometimes they are not.   Here are some of the Network locations that do not look like consumer internet services grouped by primary business type.

Software/Computing

  • Microsoft Corp
  • APPLE COMPUTER
  • Intel Corporation
  • IBM
  • Macafee Security
  • Research Machines plc
  • Hewlett-Packard Company
  • Cisco Systems inc
  • Opera Software asa
  • Honeywell
  • Eastman Kodak Company

Financial

  • Credit Suisse group canada
  • Fidelity Investments
  • Bloomberg Financial Market
  • Bank of America
  • Barclays Capital (UK)
  • Nat West Bank group (UK)
  • First Rand Bank

Universities

  • Cornell University
  • Purdue university
  • Leeds University (UK)
  • North Carolina State university
  • University of Brighton (UK)
  • University of Cambridge (UK)
  • University of Washington
  • Charles University

Local government

  • Wolverhampton city council (UK)
  • East Sussex local education authority (UK)
  • State of Arkansas
  • State of Minesota
  • State of Tennessee
  • Government of South Africa

Aerospace

  • the boeing company
  • lockheed martin corporation
  • Patrick Air Force Base

2 bits of fabulous banter »

fuzzy categories and tag clouds

Thursday, October 4th, 2007 | tags: , ,  |

I have trouble keeping my categories stable.   Evolving categories.    By using mini-series such as ‘cute accent’ and ‘dreamy cheese’  I’ve tried to curb my tendancies to create categories and re-assign posts.   The WordPress categories  are  painfully insufficiently fuzzy for my taste.

The new version of WordPress (2.3) has support for tagging and tag-clouds.    Tags could easily evolve to replace my categories because they support the natural emergent and fuzzy quality of both my categories and interests.   Hoorah!  

Replacing my categories with tags could  clean-up the Wendy House archive navigation for you and me.  Tags do not yet offer some of the useful properties of the category system such as hierarchical relationships and hence  similarity groupings.     I’m starting to use tags on my new posts but old posts are not tagged.  

Will adding tags to old-posts spam your RSS readers?   I’ve asked the WordPress support forum to clarify before I start wrecklessly adding tags to past-posts to while away  the long winter evenings.  


1 wonderful musing »

first geek experience

Monday, June 5th, 2006 | tags: , ,  |

11 in Yardley 1

Originally uploaded by BrilliantMistake.

 

Note: this is a repost of a deleted post where the formatting totally f*******-up my whole blog lay-out. Apologies to people with RSS feed who saw all my attempts to correct the formating.   You’ll have to squint to read the  paragraphs because using copy and paste for the repost hasn’t worked,   I can’t work out how to get back to the default font size for this post

My first experience of ‘geekism’ was meeting ‘Transport Management’ students at the Univeristy of Aston in Birmingham. One student had wall-papered his room with the Birmingham bus schedule.   He had a telescope that he used to check whether the buses were running on time. Another had his room full of blown-up photographs of the aeroplane’s that he had flown on. I went on a day trip with three of them to Stratford upon Avon train station. We never left the train station.   We wandered around photographing the trains. One lad went on to become an Air Traffic Controller.   Another lad drives armoured gold bullion vans.   His quirk was kissing cars, he would kiss any beautiful car he saw. Once on a very cold day he left the  skin of his lips on a red Porche. Transport students were strange, very happy, individuals. Their enthusiasm was infectious.   From them I developed the skill to love the  circular, octagonal, windy 11c Birmingham city bus route. The Transport students  understood. They lived in the house with mice.   They didn’t mind because their love of  Transport seemed to fill their hearts blinding them to many, personally  insignificant,  details of social conformity.   In the picture above the 11c bus route is portrayed as an oblong with gently curved corners.

Can you feel the love?

Shall I go back into my hole now or later?


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who? when? where?

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006 | tags: , , , ,  |

My gorgeous little Sony Ericsson T610 mobile phone reminds me of the answers to all these questions.  

T610

It synchronizes with my Outlook 2003  contacts and calendar.   Both Darling and my phone know where I have to be and when I have to be there.   If they are turned-on, they remind me.   Wonderful for a scatterbrain like me.   My phone is always turned on.   I just need to remember to charge and synchronize it.   I did have to buy a ‘Bluetooth adapter’ to enable Darling and my mobile phone to build a ‘partnership’.   Disappointing that a brand new laptop had neither an Infra-Red beam port or internal Bluetooth given how common these connection methods are on phones.  

Now  I dont ‘remember’ anyones phone number or where I have to be when,   my phone does it for me….  

Geeky GUSH!


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Ping isn’t the same as finger

Monday, December 5th, 2005 | tags:  |
I used to finger people on UNIX in the 1980’s.   Now I PING computers.   Sigh.  
 
PING:  
Packet Inter-Network Groper "acronym  was contrived to match the submariners’ term for the sound of a returned sonar pulse."   Wikipedia outlines complex nuances  of PING  outside the software community.
 
 
Finger:
"named for the act of pointing.  " was a program to "to solve the need of users who wanted information on other users… … to check the availability of a person"  
 
 
Ping  and finger both served an "are you there?" role for me.
 
As far as I know, Jeep, the car name,  has nothing to do with pinging or fingering:
 
 
Jeep:
GP "The origin of the term "jeep" is somewhat of a mystery.
Popular notion has it that the vehicle designation "GP" (for "General Purpose") was phonetically slurred in pronunciation, eventually becoming "jeep
."
 
W ping


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Do it for ME!

Saturday, November 12th, 2005 | tags: , ,  |

<BORING entry warning>

I want a usable blog,   and I want it,  NOW!   Hah,   I’m still on planet fairy-tale,   but I’m coming down to earth FAST.

 

MoveableType

A quick read of the ‘MoveableType’ instructions revealed that they are very complex and very clearly written.   To set-up a blog I need a ‘Web Server’.   MoveableType let me know that broadband Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) normally include Web Server facilities in the subscription.   Yes Yes Yes!   Other requirements included something about being able install software on the Web Server,   something to do with ‘Perle’.

WebServer

My ISP provide 20MB of web storage and a web-page (not blog) development UI.    They recommended that I purchase a File Transfer Protocol (FTP) package to support moving files between my computer and the Web server.   They provided one specific recommendation that I would have to purchase.   Hmmmmm      No mention of the ability to install software (MoveableType,   Perle).

Are you bored yet?

Shheesh, I was!

Everything I checked out raised more questions.   Are there free FTP thingys, how do I choose between FTP thingys, etc  . All potential thingys that would make setting-up a ‘good’ blog painful and drawn-out.    What are the pro’s and cons of using  web-server service that is NOT my ISP?   I dont want to learn about how to set-up a  useable (by me and YOU)  blog.  

 I just want it DONE.

Next step – look into Blog creation and delivery services,   how much to pay for someone who already has this knowledge and skills to do the whole thing for me,   then tell me the advantages and disadvantages of different decisions.   YEA!

Guess what I’m doing tonight?  

Drinking Tea and beer

Hooray!

Wendy avoiding-learning-techy-skills-that-wont-get-re-use


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Failed Geek IV: None-Geeks’ revenge

Saturday, October 15th, 2005 | tags: , ,  |

Thanks to Snoo Tea this entry was made from my personal laptop (Tinkerbell) with its new hard drive!! The story involved:

Discovery - Snew Tea took out the new hard drive, looked at it put it back in & looked at the BIOS. It didn’t see the drive. Took it out again to read the information on the drive, put it back in and the BIOS saw it! Quickly we inserted the Windows XP SP1 OS restore disc supplied with the computer. It started installing!!!! I was able to log-on. Hooray!

Diagnosis - the drive wasn’t held in close-enough contact with the machine connectors by the Laptop casing. So we put some buffering material in place (bubble-wrap) to hold the drive in contact with the connectors and fastened up the casing.

Download and Installed

  • Driver recovery package (CD came with the computer)
  • Phonecall to activate XP SP1
  • critical OS updates
  • XP SP2
  • antivirus
  • anti-spyware
  • anti-malicious-software
  • Camera drivers (Canon Website)
  • Office 2003 (and activated it)
  • Office critical updates
  • MSN Messenger 7.5
  • photographs from my camera to my network drive

Tinkerbell is back to full health

Wendy full-happy-service-resumed


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Failed geek III: child of geek

Thursday, October 13th, 2005 | tags: ,  |

At the beginning of the week I had responsibility for 4 PC’s theoretically  running <ha!> 6 OS’s.       I could only log-on to one PC OS.   I didn’t have a clue.  

I’ve managed to get 2/3  PC’s to a point where I can log-on!   Hooray, progress.   very time consuming,   painful progress.    

NOT FUN

It’s a waste of my time.   But there is no official support for my machines….    …just me and the goodwill of colleagues…   …who also have more important things to do….  

My home laptop is still destined for the service center.    At least  I CAN opt to call an expert in my personal life…..      

At this point in time I’d rather have  a friendly  technical computer whizzz than a hug.   Dad’s are good at that sort of thing.  Mine’s in the UK….  

W would-rather-be-using-her-core-skills-at-work


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Failed Geek II: return of the non-geek

Monday, October 10th, 2005 | tags: ,  |

A sensible friend used a pair of pliers to twist the screw-driver on the screws of my hard drive casing.    Simple obvious.   Doh!    

Hooray,   old hard drive removed.    New hard drive in place. All I need to do is turn on the laptop and  start loading my software!  

No.   Apparently not.  

We turned on the power and nothing appeared to happen.   Sensible friend checked out  the ‘set-up’ (like a  pre-windows OS).   It told him that the laptop couldn’t ‘see’ the new hard drive.   Now I have 2 hard drives.    One possibly broken,   one brand new.   A laptop that doesn’t ‘see’ either of them but does have some form of set-up pre-windows stuff that works fine in telling people who can ‘read’ it that it cant see either hard drive.

Sigh.  What next?

I’m thinking of taking the little tyke down to a computer service center  to ask someone for a quote on servicing/fixing it.    I just want it to work,   I dont want to have to learn how to diagnose problems and stuff.   BIG SIGH.  

Wendy Using-Work-Computer-to-Blog


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Failed Geek

Thursday, October 6th, 2005 | tags: ,  |

I took the hard drive out of my laptop,   carried it to a computer store, identified an appropriate  replacement, and picked up some small Phillips screw drivers.   Progress!

I  was feeling prematurely pleased with myself.   Maybe  I  could replace the drive and start the long tedious process or re-installing all my software:   OS, anti-virus, applications, anti-spyware etc….

HA!  more fool me…

I  discovered I need to remove the old drive from a close-fitting case that I had assumed was actually part of the drive.  

My hands are now raw with using all my strength to try and unscrew the casing.   No joy.   not even one of the four screws flinched.   I’m stuck.     Suggestions welcomed.   How do I loosen the screws?  Then once loosened how do I tighten them sufficently on the new drive without damaging it?

I  feel pathetic and frustrated.  

Computers shouldn’t do that to anyone.

Ineffectual Wendy    


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SylvaC Bunnies

Thursday, March 31st, 2005 | tags: , , ,  |

Introducing Sylvac specialist Chris Bateson:

I have collected sylvac for over 20 years and during this time have come across many finishes and colour variants. I am also good at spotting fakes, sadly there a quite a few of these about now.
Happy to answer any questions I will try and send you some photos of the more unusual colours in due course. I am looking now for just a few bunnies in the rarer colours to make up sets.
There were 8 sizes of rabbit in the early colours but from late 50s onwards this was reduced to just 5
Mould 1027 ceased in the 1940s. The 1400 tiny, 1065 and 1027 were not made in the later colours like primrose yellow, torquoise, gloss burnt orange,purple and mustard yellow
contact me at:  sylvacfinder@hotmail.co.uk

Wendy’s original geeky-ish scribble:

These original mold SylvaC Bunnies were produced Circa 1930 (thru to 1970). There are many ‘fakes’ on the Market judging by e-bay listings of what counts as a SylvaC bunny. A lot of the sellers don’t appear to know the legitimate mold numbers or the original colour-schemes. It is easy for someone with a copy of the original catalog (me) to spot the fakes.

A lot of buyers don’t appear to realize that SylvaC ceased trading in 1982. In the 1970’s SylvaC introduced a line of gloss-glazed rabbits and some new molds. I’ve seen sellers have either accidentally or knowingly misrepresented a post-1970 Bunny as Vintage. Maybe post 1970 is vintage?

The fakes are actually quite interesting in their own right. I’m thinking of extending my collecting strategy to explicitly collect the fakes. Provenance of the fakes is more difficult to trace. That makes them intriguing.

A catalog entry:

So cute!

All my bunnies have at least one partner except the big blue one,   1028. The big blue bunny was owned by my grandmother. It was searching for a partner for this one that kick started my collection. They are so cute!. But big blue is still in the company of all the little-ones and no partner

According to one e-bay advertisement Mould #1027 was only in use up to 1940… building of rumours and legends online…

Sweet bunny-hopping dreams

SylvaC collection

 


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