The Old New Thing

The coolest thing you can do with a Gameboy is not "play a game on it"

From Public Radio International, The Next Big Thing covers The Gameboy Music Match. These days, a lot of electronic music is performed directly off of a laptop, which most people complain looks a lot like someone up there on stage checking their email. But Gameboy music isn't just for listening. It's also a performance. ...

Plane-spotters to require government license

Plane-spotters to require government license. The article spins it as a "benefit" for ground-based aviation buffs, but this is just one of those "two steps back, one step forwards" things. Plane-spotters were outright banned from airports in the summer of 2003. Now they can go back, but they'll need to shell out £15 for the ...

When do you put … after a button or menu?

When do you put "..." after a button or menu? For example, some menus say "Save as..." and some buttons say "Customize...". What is the rule for dots? Many people believe that the rule for dots is "If it's going to display a dialog, then you need dots." This is a misapprehension. The rules are spelled out in the Windows User ...

When do you disable an option and when do you remove it?

When you're displaying a menu item or a dialog option, and the option is not available, you can either disable it or you can remove it. What is the rule for deciding which one to do? Experiments have shown that if something is shown but disabled, users expect that they will be able to get it enabled if they tinker around enough. So ...

Thinking through a feature

The commentary after my entry on taskbar grouping drifted into people asking for still more features in taskbar grouping. Writing the code is the easy part. Designing a feature is hard. You have several audiences to consider. It's not just about the alpha geeks; you have to worry about the grandmothers, the office workers, the ...

Norway: Pros and cons

For the third year in a row, the United Nations' Development Program has ranked Norway as having the best standard of living in the world. Norwegians beat out all others because of their high levels of education, pay and life expectancy. In a totally unrelated story: Norway world leader in casual sex. Of course, Norway isn't all ...

Varför läser jag svenska?

(Even if you don't read Swedish, you may enjoy the links at the end.) Några personer har frågat mig varför jag läser svenska. Historien börjar för många år sedan. Jag läste tidningen och såg att det fanns avgiftsfria norskalektioner i Ballard kyrkans källaren. (Ballard är...

Is your web site an open relay?

As if there isn't enough to worry about. Everyone knows about the dangers of open SMTP relays. But how many people realize the dangers of an open HTTP relay? Many web sites do arbitrary redirection. If I were a spammer, I could create a link to myself that redirects through some well-known web sites, thereby granting my spam link ...

Feedback usabilla icon