Recent blog entries for CharlesKerr

School Starts

    Summer vacation is over, and my 8yo and 6yo daughters are back in school now. Now there's no more sleeping late, no more kids staying up late, and the entire familiy back on a single sleep schedule. So the next few mornings should be interesting until we've all adjusted. :)

Computer Books

    A handful of books just came in at work, so I'm starting on An Introduction to General Systems Thinking, more on that after I've read enough to comment -- Weinberg's always worthwhile though... hmm. GST was first published in 1975?

    Skimming my bookshelf, all of the computer books I've bought in the last three years are tutorials (Perl, PHP, Python, Qt, Gtk+) -- and obsolete. O'Reilly's superseded the Perl, Qt, and Python books, and hp's gtk book needs a gtk2 refresh.

    But people rev slower than software, so the ancient design books hold up better: The Mythical Man-Month, Design Patterns are still worthwhile, and the underrated Programming as if People Mattered is probably the best book on what a Unix GUI should be.

    I've skimmed the XP books at Borders, but they smell like hype. I wonder what good new books I'm missing?

I sent off a whole bunch of spam to the translation teams, Last-Translators, and gnome-i18n to get the .po files up-to-date for Pan 0.13.0. Typically string freezes and calls for translations don't do any good, so with 0.12.0 and 0.13.0 I'm trying bribery -- one of the people committing a complete translation will get $25.

I talked to a couple of the regulars on #i18n at irc.gimp.org to get ideas on what, if anything, I could do to get more translations up-to-date, and have cleared out a lot of duplicate/redundant strings.

The real issue is probably that Pan is a niche project, so I'll probably have to keep banging the drum to get attention if I want translations.

Maybe there are other motivators. Recognition is important -- I should make sure translators know their names show up in Pan's Help|About|Translations list?

Or maybe another contest could have the winner name the release (the release name shows up in the User-Agent header of Posts written with Pan)?

I haven't seen any mention of aaron's UI guidelines except for once on IRC, but I liked them so much that I put them near my monitor at DayJob. So, in the unlikely chance that someone's reading this diary, here they are:

  • Users want predictable behavior.
  • The intuitive interface is the one that mimics the user's expectations.
  • Users do not customize. The best option should already be chosen for them.
  • Users do not care about underlying structure or back-end implementation.
  • Users do not read manuals.
  • Users do not read instructions.
  • Users do not read dialog boxes or warnings.
  • Users do not read status bars.
  • Users do not read any sentence longer than four words.
  • Users do not see things that are obvious to the developer.

Good stuff. The first two items echo what Joel Spolsky says in UI Design for Programmers book, and item three is what Havoc's been saying about "crack" features.

Wheee, I've finally signed up for an advogato account. Should've done it sooner; "charles" was already taken.

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