High time to switch back to a weblog hosted on my own web site.
OK, Livejournal gets an F minus in usability for not actually letting me edit the “last entry” that I posted, because I want to run a spellchecker over the entry. It keeps showing me the Negativland entry, that I posted before I went out a-drinkin'.
I mean, the entry is “posted” enough such that I can see it in my own page, but not enough such that it the most recent entry I've posted? What, exactly, is the fuck?
I was using MATLAB and Emacs earlier today, copying some results from the former into a LaTeX document I was preparing. I had the two windows of the two applications filling the screen, such that I could see the values in MATLAB that I needed to copy into my document, and it occured to me that this kind of thing is something I do often — not just being able to see two windows at once, but creating a little one-off system where I can fairly mechanically perform a task, but nonetheless do the task manually. I find it's a little short-term memory trick: you memorize a simple set of operations (like type three digits; type space-ampersand-space; repeat) and do them fairly mindlessly but quickly.
In the absense of perfect usability — which I'll define as “do what I mean, every time,” this seems like a good compromise. That is, you set up your system such that even if you can't do exactly what the user wants automatically, you allow the user to do what he needs, on his own. Adapting to a very simple repetitive task, especially one that you create yourself, is probably pretty easy for people to do. Taking advantage of that is a hallmark of good usability.
A nice interview with Negativland's Mark Hosler. There are some other cool videos about Negativland on the site, too.
Also, the internet is creepy: David Brom's inmate page. Brom was the guy who murdered his family with an axe, and which incident Negativland wrote a press release about, saying that the cause of the murder was their song, Christianity is Stupid. The picture of Brom is teh creepy; the smile on his face really does say “my entire life is now fucked.”
Wherein I complain more about other free software hackers, and post some code.
I was kinda considering “renaming” myself, so I'd be C. Scott Marshall. I like the name Scott better, and it seems like it's easier for people to hear when I tell it to them.
What do you think?
I really do wish that you cared for me.
I really dig this band. It's mostly piano, drums, and vocals in a punk/caberet motif, but it's energetic and smartly written. Their self-titled album is great; I'd say half the songs are stellar, and the rest are really listenable. Their new album seems to be about the same deal, at least on my initial listenings — about half the songs really catch me immediately (I like “Sex Changes,” “Backstabber,” “My Alcoholic Friends,” and “Shores of California”) and the rest are enjoyable, but not all that memorable.
I am extremely proud that I had reason to leave myself this note on my computer: “make goatseagate logo.”