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Apple Announces New Programming Language Called Swift

ddtstudio Re:Good bye source compatibility (636 comments)

Hey, I'm not a developer/coder/programmer, so I honor and respect the work you've put in to things in the past. But if you've been tying yourself to a "unified GUI look" across platforms, you've long been dooming your products and yourself.

As a UX person, I can throw data at you all day long that shows device/OS specificity and familiarity are key elements in making something work for the user. I'm sure you don't literally mean you chose either a menu bar in all app windows on every platform or a top-of-the-screen menu bar on every platform, but the obvious reason why that would be wrong also holds for controls, colors, placement, text sizes, and so on to the last turtle at the bottom.

about 4 months ago

Interviews: Ask Travis Kalanick About Startups and Uber

ddtstudio Due diligence (79 comments)

So what factors were and weren't considered in your decision to ignore existing regulations in many of the cities you operated in? Did you assume local governments would change laws retroactively, or would not attempt to enforce? Or did you have legal counsel advise you that your operations did not fall into the regulated category (which Uber now seems to admit it does)?

Basically, what was the process?

about 4 months ago

Milwaukee City Council Proposal Would Pave Way For Uber, Lyft

ddtstudio Sign, "protecting cartels" (76 comments)

Yes, and cities also ask private and Uber cars to stop at red lights and stop signs. And obey the speed limit signs. And small and large companies to follow published pollution, hiring, and health & safety regulations.

If you can't make your smartphone-enabled car service make a profit while following the same public, published, long-established safety and other regulations that taxi companies have to and found a way to follow, to all our benefits, then maybe you should rethink things. At least don't whine about it.

"What do you mean, _I_ can't own a slave? You're stifling innovation! And my business model didn't account for paying salaries!"

about 5 months ago

How Airports Became Ground Zero In the Battle For Peer-to-Peer Car Rentals

ddtstudio Re:What is it with curtwoodward? (66 comments)

Citation, please? Peer-reviewed sources preferred.

(Conservapedia and Mies fan blogs do not count.)

about 6 months ago

How Airports Became Ground Zero In the Battle For Peer-to-Peer Car Rentals

ddtstudio What is it with curtwoodward? (66 comments)

In the last few days he's posted two highly biased, agenda-driven things on Slashdot's main page. Both take the perspective that it's eeeevil guvmint trying to crack down on plucky, innovative, honest corporations who just wanna do right by you. In the way he presents these highly questionable narratives, there's no no room for the facts that city governments have had long-standing regulations for cab and ride services that require adequate levels of insurance and other means of covering liability when Bad Things Happen.

One such case of Things happened New Years's Eve here in San Francisco, when a ride-service (yeah, it's not "sharing" if you exchange a service for a fee) driver ran over and killed a child. The company in question, because it had been throwing tantrums and refusing to comply with existing regulations (not to mention publicly ranting that the city was trying to "kill innovation"), didn't have coverage and refused all liability, putting it all on the driver.

If these companies cannot afford to comply with existing safety regulations, the way cab companies have and do, maybe they aren't a viable business model and need to innovate all over again.

about 5 months ago

Google Chairman on WhatsApp: $19 Bn For 50 People? Good For Them!

ddtstudio Re:Raising their own rents? (303 comments)

a. Anecdotal evidence ahead, though a lot of it
b. Yeah, I'm one of those "I've lived here for ages, whippersnapper" guys

But I've seen first-hand that 20somethings and newly minted millionaires-on-paper actively go to landlords and work with them, often funding the legal costs of evicting long-term tenants (the techies gets the "authentic" place, the landlord gets to raise the rent). See more context here:

Also, a large part of the housing stock in the SF areas in question (the Mission, Noe Valley, Hayes Valley, etc.) is multi-unit small buildings. Often houses converted into multi-unit. The same people as mentioned above come in and buy the building for a few hundred thousand dollars over its last listing and do an owner movein; this also can displace the other tenants in the building (esp if it's done as a TIC); it at least gives them the change to reset or raise rents.

So, it's not as simple as you make it out to be.

about 7 months ago

VC Likens Google Bus Backlash To Nazi Rampage

ddtstudio Re:Uh right. (683 comments)

Citation, please. Snark aside, I'm not sure why you are "pretty sure" of this.

There were rich and high-profile Jews, to be sure. As there were rich and high-profile Christians, Austrians, etc., at the time. But if you even took a few seconds to look up what Kristallnacht was, you'd realize that the thousands and thousands of Jewish businesses that were targeted were shops: small commercial places such as storefront butchers, shoemakers, bookstores, etc. Just in that, you'd realize that these people who were hauled away, often to death camps, were not the 1%, but working class.

Hey, I'm not just irritated at your "pretty sure" statement because this happened to my own family members. Go look things up before you make a public statement. Don't be a Perkins.

about 8 months ago

Google Buys Home Automation Company Nest

ddtstudio Re:What's with the Doom and Gloom? (257 comments)

Sounds like you could use some Twine ( Full disclosure: I'm friends with the inventor. Still and all, it's pretty cool. Other friends use it with a moisture sensor to know when basements are starting to flood, etc.

about 9 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Why Are Tech Job Requirements So Specific?

ddtstudio The opposite, "unicorn", problem in UX job listing (465 comments)

Funny, in the UX world, the opposite is a well known issue. That is, most "UX" job listings will say that the requirements include coding (not just front-end stuff like CSS and HTML, but you should have built your own kernel from scratch just for the love of it, and please include your github), a full range of user research experience (and show you process), proficiency is three prototyping tools (and this better look polished, though... prototypes), and mastery of Creative Suite (and show your elegant, gorgeous interfaces).

In reality, nobody does al this. And if they did, how would they fit in to your team and workflow? I suspect most recruiters and hiring managers, especially in startups, don't really know what "UX" is. And especially in startups, they think it means, "I have this wizard idea – you just have to build it." (This often correlates with the "I don't need to learn about users; I took this class in B School so I know the market.")

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Why Are Tech Job Requirements So Specific?

ddtstudio Re:To hire specific people (465 comments)

Good point, and that could be the case in many examples (though I can't imagine it being so widespread; perhaps there's a systemic effect that some such postings set a format that others have copied).

My data point (anecdotal, of course): I've seen this happen in the design world, where a U.S. company really wanted to hang on to a Canadian intern, but had to post the job as open for U.S. citizens. There was a lot of joking about wording the job posting to require left-handness, a certain prescription for glasses, and short, spiky hair.

about 10 months ago

Ask Slashdot: Communication Skills For Programmers?

ddtstudio Read Fiction (361 comments)

And by that I mean non-SF fiction (what's called in the article I'll link to "literary fiction"). Research has suggested that reading this sort of thing, as opposed to man pages, SF, or journals, improves empathy and communication skills:

Also, learn about different types of intelligence. Daniel Goleman's books are a good place to start.

Basically, don't neglect non-STEM topics in your, your friends', or your children's education. You may think that you'll never need to learn how to diagram a sentence, or the history of philosophy, or art theory, for work, and so you ignore them because programming shows your big brain to its advantage, but: you have to work with people, share ideas, listen to other ideas, if you really want to do something great. Or, you know, be a human.

about a year ago

Stop Listening and Start Watching If You Want To Understand User Needs

ddtstudio Re:Captain Obvious? (161 comments)

In theory, you're right, but in practice that's so, so not the case, especially here in the SF Bay Area, which seems to be neck-deep in the "build-first" mentality of freshly minted MBAs.

Over the last year I've talked with so many startups, mostly "founders" and "entrepreneurs" with Bschool degrees, who seem to be taught that all they need is an "idea/vision". They just need to get someone to build it, because, you know, they've run the numbers and they "know the market" (actual, real-life quote from an actual situation). When I ask, "What problem does this solve, for whom, and how do you know this?", they scoff and tell me that they don't need to do any user research and besides, that'd slow things down.

Now, there may be actual pressures on startups to start building without ever observing a single potential user. Certainly if you're going to present at Y Combinator, they want to see code, a product, and tons of "confidence" (again, actual quote from actual situation). Showing them serious research on populations, data on engagement, prototypes... that'll get you laughed out.

But, side note: 75 to 90% of all startups fail. Go figure.

As a UX professional, this really grinds my bacon, six ways to Sunday. It's like seeing a kid whinge that the test was hard when you know they didn't do any of the homework. Perhaps they think that user research means months, and 100s of pages of specs (and, to be fair, it could), but I think a lot of this comes not just from stakeholder pressure but a misreading or Ries's "Lean Startup". Sure, it helps to get something in users' hands quickly, but this is based on research first. Know who your users are, what problems they face, how they think. At least an idea of it. You can rapidly prototype, GOOB, test, iterate, all within cycles of days or weeks. But you HAVE TO KNOW THE USER (who is NOT YOU) first.

There's a great example of how this can be done for $40, to save $10Million:

about a year ago

How BlackBerry Blew It

ddtstudio Re:As Henry Ford said... (278 comments)

You're missing something (no discredit to you; a Google project manager recently made basically the same mistake). You can conduct many kinds of user research (UX) that are far more insightful and reliable than "asking customers what they want".

I'll agree with you that it's a loser's game to ask customers and potential customers what they want. First, people will try to help you, and thus give you bad data (examples: "I love what you did" focus groups, asking people what TV shows they watch). Second, they may not really know what would solve their problems. Third, if you just translate this to feature requests, you end up with Microsoft Office.

Real UX observes populations, seeing what real-world problems they actually face, where their face frustrations, how they think about themselves, their tools, their problems. This informs the process of discovering user needs and use cases. Science!

Usability testing of prototypes bends itself into knots trying to correct for these natural propensities of people. And still, it requires some n of testers, evaluation of the qualitative and quantitative info generated from this, and expertise. And it can still get things wrong.

But it's so much better than marketing-driven design (Facebook pushing ads, fill in your example) or engineering-driven design (a Google engineer builds a "cool" tab feature, or finds how Gmail can share all your contacts with all your other contacts).

1 year,21 hours

An Instructo-Geek Reviews The 4-Hour Chef

ddtstudio Re:Songs for cooking? (204 comments)

Mod parent up... as a UX person, I can never seem to remind people often enough that they are not the user. Sure, you know what everything does and why, because _you built it that way_. Every other person, not so much.

You have to laugh at how the core of Ferriss's time- and effort-saving plans all seem to involve variations on, "have other people do it", "have expensive devices that can do it for you", "take advantage of other people" (in this example, ruining a hotel's iron so that nobody else can use it) -- all, basically, "first step: HAVE LOTS OF MONEY".

about a year and a half ago

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Stay Fit At Work?

ddtstudio It's not rocket science (635 comments)

I get up damn early, get on the bike for a few hours at least. And refuse to work insane hours. If a project or product "requires" all hands for 80 hours a week, it's already too late.

about a year and a half ago

Interviews: Ask Ray Kurzweil About the Future of Mankind and Technology

ddtstudio Re:The Premise of Conflict in All of Earth's Histo (244 comments)

All "human AI" interactions will have a PvP mode, of course.

(Written as someone who is not a believer in Kurzweil.)

about a year and a half ago

Adobe Officially Kills New Flash Installations On Android

ddtstudio Re:Hmm... (313 comments)

And I am sure that most iPhone are still version 3 or lower out there. What's your point?

You're sure? Why is that? Any data? Or is it just you?

Actually, the upgrade/adoption rate for iOS is amazingly good, in both absolute numbers and in comparison to Android. (Note: I am not making any "this OS is better than that OS" statements, just talking about documented statistics.)

iOS 3.x usage looks to be in the single-digit range, while iOS 5.x was quickly adopted by up to 75% of iOS users. Source:

more than 2 years ago

The Problem With Metacritic

ddtstudio Another problem (131 comments)

Larger/louder/more voices drown out smaller/quieter/fewer voices -- regardless of the authority or quality of comment. (Unlike on /., which has moderation and meta-moderation based on content.)

True story: My sister and brother-in-law left their kids with their grandmother and escaped to see a movie and relative peace for a few hours. My sister came back, really angry with her husband. "But sweetie," he said, "_2012_ got a good score on Metacritic!"

Really. Happened.

more than 2 years ago

Chicago Tribune Stops the Journatic Presses

ddtstudio Re:News Has Been Outsourced for Years. (62 comments)

Ha! No, I'm old. And Spartacus.

No, I'm not insisting a journalist is like a scientist/engineer, nor am I insisting a journalist is like a fine artist. Why does a journalist have to be like either?

The parallel I was attempting (poorly, it seems) to draw is one of accountability. Which was the answer to your question. It's not tied to writing or expression, but in trust and confidence (perhaps the sociological technical senses of these terms are best here). You need to have a way to track back to the person writing the article or coding the software, because that's the primary mechanism to protect the user/reader from either incompetence or maliciousness.

I hope that makes it clearer. (And I'm not being passive-aggressive! I'm really trying to engage and be expressive.)

more than 2 years ago

Chicago Tribune Stops the Journatic Presses

ddtstudio Re:News Has Been Outsourced for Years. (62 comments)

The difference is accountability. I should think this is obvious.

Journalism -- real journalism -- relies existentially on correction, whether self- or outside. The whole thing depends on being able to track who was responsible for reporting what and track records. Your name, your byline, is your career in journalism not just because of narcissism (though that happens) but because you have to put your name on each story and, if you screw up, each correction. If you can't trace where bad info came or _regularly comes_ from, it's not journalism and not reliable info.

Since you're on /. and have a low ID, I'll guess you're involved in... software, perhaps? Do you install unsigned software or buy from developers you've never heard of, have no reputation, and no contact info?

more than 2 years ago



ddtstudio ddtstudio writes  |  about 8 years ago

ddtstudio (61065) writes "Hold onto the snark, people. The Mozilla Foundation has hired Window Snyder (his real name), who was most recently responsible for the state of security of Windows XP SP2, according to an eWEEK article, which calls this "a coup" for Mozilla. Before you start with the "Mozilla is doomed to a death by a thousand worms," remember that SP2 was the stable one, and that Snyder has been the head of security architecture at @Stake; she's also pushed Microsoft to have better relations with security researchers. So, is this good news for Mozilla or bad news for Internet Explorer? And would you leave one of the wealthiest companies in the world to work for an open-source but relatively poor project?"


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