Saturday, June 15, 2013 4:55:22 AM
It crashes every single time I go to view an app. It crashes every single time I go back to my search results. It crashes every time I switch functionalities.
It forgets my search filters every single time after viewing an app (returning to the search results) as well as after using another functionality. It forgets my search results every time after installing or updating any app.
With usability this bad, one wonders how Apple stays in business. Well, crap never stopped Microsoft, either.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 7:02:21 PM
This week, Tumblr got bought up by Yahoo. Knowing Yahoo's track record for destroying previously amicable services, I've decided to cancel my Tumblr account.
Well. The blog still exists, I just won't be blogging anything there anymore.
And knowing that Yahoo's user accounts got hacked twice over the past week, I also ensured that my Tumblr password is totally unique. No other service on the web, and no computer service anywhere, uses that combination of credentials. (Possibly coincidentally, definitely not intentionally.)
So goodbye, Tumblr, farewell, and thank you for all the fish.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 7:33:53 PM
I've written an article about the Genetic Algorithm, using examples from a word game I wrote, which uses that algorithm.
I'm looking for people with and without skill on this topic who are willing to review my article to answer the following questions:
1. Did I write the article clear enough to be understood by someone who doesn't already know the algorithm?
2. Is there any information missing, crucial to help understanding the algorithm?
3. Does the article contain information that should be removed, to help understand the algorithm?
As a reward I am willing to name you as a participant or link to your site or profile.
Thursday, April 18, 2013 1:10:01 PM
A piece of software encompasses many layers of complexity. This is captured in the ISO-OSI model. Depending on the kind of software we meet hardware, chip instruction set, operating system, security, maintenance and networking (maybe loadbalancing), database and drivers, runtime environments, application layer, and finally the application.
With web applications and other 3-tier systems we usually encounter middleware. Sometimes storage is located in the "cloud", a fancy word to indicate a distributed filesystem accessible via the internet. Sometimes the application layer requires services by third parties, webservices like Google Website Optimizer or MailChimp, for instance.
Each layer is transparent and a black box to the other layers. Transition between the layers can be achieved statically using compilers, and dynamically using interpretors, or via A.P.I.s (application programming interfaces). Each layer adds to the overall complexity.
Thus, when bugs appear, they can have their cause in each and every one of those layers. For that reason, I am reluctant to add to that complexity.
Did you ever come across an exception in jQuery, where the interpretor suddenly claimed that "the object doesn't have that property", and didn't know how to solve it?
The problem isn't jQuery itself. Instead, it's that each layer adds to the overall complexity, increasing the time required to hunt down the bug.
We can reduce the chance for known bugs by creating unit tests. Unfortunately, we can test only that which we can predict will happen, and only that which we control. We usually do not control the database driver, so testing it is limited to comparing actual with expected output, and even then we have to wonder whether a problem occurs due to the driver, the database, or our request.
Unit tests do not help us with edge cases and situations we didn't predict. In software, there is no such thing as "getting it right". There's only getting something to pass the tests. Tests can be flawed and necessarily are incomplete. As a result, bugs will occur. Ignoring that fact, caused by a misplaced belief in the infallibility of unit tests, has been shown a fallacy.
The way to battle bugs effectively, is to reduce the system complexity, and to train your programmers. If necessary, throw it out and start over. Be relentless.
I understand that can be difficult. It hurts our pride to throw out something that cost us a lot of time and effort, something that made us proud. But it its complexity makes it too hard to debug, dump it, learn from it, and make yourself even more proud.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 10:45:20 AM
After having maintained my website for nearly 20 years, I recently dove into the field of online conversion. Conversion is where a visitor turns into a customer.
A lot can be and has been said about visitor conversion. Things about importance of usability, speed, content. My site already has a lot of that. We're also in the process of translating our articles and creating new ones.
And things about authority. Well, how many sites do you know that have been around for 20 years?
Also, things about getting your proposition right. Why would a visitor go for your offer? What good does it do them? So, we tinkered at our propositions. We do a lot. So we offer a lot. How can we help the visitor choose from all of that?
We already increased our branding. We've always handled different topics in different site sections. With their own looks and feels, their own contact information, etc. That hasn't changed. We did make that distinction more clear on our social media channels. What is "me", what is "us", and what is a particular product or service?
Already tested: newsletter subscription offers. Result: zilch. None of our readers seems interested in receiving our article publication alerts by e-mail.
Already tested: bigger (touch-first) social sharing buttons. Result: No conversion increase.
Already tested: speed increase, mobile-first designs. Result: slight visitor increase. No conversion increase.
Already tried: A/B and multi-variant testing. Result: insignificant.
Already set up: drastic change testing. Result: yet to be established.
And now the final insult: giant calls to action. Big buttons, that should trigger the visitor to e-mail us, and set up an appointment. We'll see what that brings.
Next step: guest blogging, and increase in community participation.
It could of course be, that we aren't making enough waves. Or that our information is irrelevant. If that'd be the case though, we'd expect much less visitors.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012 10:28:13 AM
Clearing my support queue. Feels good!
1 2 3 4 5 ... 12 Next »