Older blog entries for Ilan (starting at number 145)

I have come to the conclusion that a clear and methodical mind performs a lot better and accomplishes more of its goals than an angry and clouded one. It only took me ten years to figure this out. But I suppose it takes some people a lifetime to figure it out, if they ever do. So I'm not as late as I thought I was.

Taking three semesters of spanish back to back wasn't totally useless. ¡Ahora yo puedo comprender spam de Sudamérica!

When designing street signs, you do not want to take an extremely pervasive population stereotype and use it for a situation that is totally different or the exact opposite of the original situation the population stereotype applies to. For example, on a traffic light, green means "go". You would never, ever want to paint a stop sign green as opposed to red. Incidently, a neon green does have better night visibility than red, but doing something totally opposite of the population stereotype and making a stop sign green would cause more problems with night driving (particularly with older drivers who might have slower reaction times) than it would solve.

Another population stereotype, in the context of computers, is the word "Scroll". If you interviewed several hundred people and asked them what they commonly associate the word "Scroll" with when they use computers, at least 99% (and most likely 100%) would refer to a navigational act performed in a window, not an ancient piece of media whose primary users today are rabbis and D & D players.

What happens if, say, some piece of GNOME software named, say, ScrollKeeper breaks and gives some kind of warning message. The very first thing an end user will think will be "holy sh*t, there's something wrong with the way my windows will work", not "holy sh*t, my documentation system is screwed up". The user's attention will be misdirected into trying to solve some problem that doesn't exist with one area of his or her computer while totally ignoring the other area that is having the problem.

If you really want to start making GNOME have some element of usability, John, rename ScrollKeeper to something like "Gnome Documentation System" or something else that makes sense. Don't confuse the end-user; don't pull a Red Hat on them.

I never stop being amazed by the computer industry's capacity to destroy itself.

28 Jun 2002 (updated 28 Jun 2002 at 20:47 UTC) »

Exams Finished!

While the AUHDL still does need work, I've got to start writing the ClaruxPL. Recent events in the news have made it even clearer the need for such licenses.

I'm waiting for the latest stuff to come in from cheapbytes. I've got better things to do this weekend than downloading and burning ISO after countless ISO. I'll try to get some more coding done over the break, but since this is the summer of HCI reading, that is where most of the break will be going.

I'm not too sure how I should approach the topic of examples for the AUHDL. Certainly the license should contain the suggestion (but not the requirement) that three examples be provided for every variation of every type of procedure. I'm very passionate about examples; the lack of examples I've faced in so many math and science textbooks is the main contributor to this sentiment. Anyhow, I'm not sure whether prohibiting modifications that remove examples would be too impractical in some cases.

But sometimes the shit just seems
everybody only wants to discuss me
So this must mean I'm dis-gus-ting
But it's just me, I'm just obscene

My last post was really irresponsible.

I forgot to add man pages to the AUHDL's list of forbidden doc formats. How could I forget the bane of every new user to linux who tries to understand what's going on? How could I forget the category of documentation that gives us the 'M' in 'RTFM'? How could I forget the one?

I should really be smacked on the bottom for such a careless omission.

I believe in freely distributable and modifiable documentation so long as the end-users' Freedom To Use Their Computers is not violated. The freedom to enslave end users in a world of confusing documentation is not a valid freedom.

Dear diary,

here's what I've written so far of the AUHDL. I hope to get more down soon.

The Anti-User Hostility Documentation License.

Traditional open-source and free software documentation is meant to deprive an end user of their basic freedom to understand how to get work done with their software. This deprivation of freedom is distilled into a form of oppression, where the only answer to a question born of confusing documentation is "Read The Fine Manual". Further silliness ensues when a world ensconced in 32-bit color and interactive multi-media is eschewed for a world of text-only documentation, whose only attempt at graphic amelioration is pathetic use of more text. We of Clarux feel that the freedom to oppress end-users is not a valid freedom.

It is painfully clear that those who feel it is acceptable to produce documentation that oppresses end-users either through its lack of clarity, lack of examples, or simple lack of existence clearly do not deserve to use, distribute, or take credit for documentation created by those who feel differently. It is the goal of the Anti-User Hostility Documentation License to promote open, accessible, and understandable documentation and thereby create a more open, accessible, and understandable world of technology.


1. All documents produced under the AUHDL must have at least three graphic elements. A graphic element is defined as a diagram, drawing, or a computer monitor screenshot. Any modification to a document protected under the AUHDL that reduces the number of graphic elements by less than 3 is prohibited. By July 1, 2003, the requirement for graphic elements will be extended to the use of at least 3 colors. Modification of a document protected under the AUHDL that reduces the number of colors used for graphic elements by less than three is prohibited.

1.5 While not enforced, it is encouraged that writers of documentation licensed under the AUHDL make their documents accessible to users with visual impairments. It is suggested that authors do not rely solely on the use of the colors to convey relationships, as a significant population has red-green color blindness. It is also suggested that the navigation and display of relationships between pieces of information accommodate blind users.

2. Use of ASCII or Unicode text as a substitute for graphic elements (the practice informally known as "ASCII art") is hereby prohibited from any document protected under the AUHDL. Any modification of an AUHDL document that includes "ASCII art" is expressly prohibited.

3. Any person, company, or entity that wishes to distribute or link to documentation licensed under the AUHDL license must agree not to distribute, link to, or post on the internet the following documentation formats:

a) HOW-TO's.
b) TexInfo
c) Any text-only document.

I've still got bunches to add, but it's a start.

Started writing down the Anti User Hostility Documentation License (AUHDL) after months of thinking about doing it. Every day now I tell myself "Ilan, either shut the hell up or do something about it". So I've started to do something about it.

Writing things down is good.

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