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Archive for Usability

Feature request for mobile phones

You look at the caller id and then decide to ignore the call and never answer it or return it back.
Its boring, I think its killingly boring and extremely passé.

I want to be able to slam the phone down, downright slam it in the middle of conversation or even after a “Hi”. The whole dynamics (and kinetics) of slamming down the phone gives an entire different kind of satisfaction.

Hmm… its a good research question too.

P.S. Not ignoring anyone’s call, just reflecting upon the world in general.
It also ties back nicely to some research I did a while back! Eureka!
Eureka, Eureka :)

QuickList in YouTube, WordPress 2.5.1, and Twitter

3 things currently on mind:

A) Why can’t I drag and drop the stuff to shuffle my playlist in YouTube’s QuickList?
I am no technowhiz but with all that AJAX stuff out there, it should not be that difficult.

B) And I am loving WordPress 2.5.1! Very nice and clean interface (on the inside). Its a party in here once you log in. However, as always I am still facing some technical problems with the blog.

C) Twitter has been partially useful to me in the past and have been annoying to me sometimes but yesterday I realized the power and importance of easy access it provides to your social community. {More later, (maybe)} All I can say is that yesterday I was thankful to be on Twitter and more than that being a part of my wonderful school.

Hebrew or Hindi?

A particular set of my friends often indulge in the phenomenon of chain mails. Chain mails, where people Reply to All (the sender and receivers) and carry out a full conservation. These chain mails are between a set of friends and often full of inside jokes, lots of leg pulling, the general conversation of friends (not the obnoxious, ultra foolish kind which sometimes happen at universities).

So, in one of the chain mails with my friends which I am recently embroiled into is all about one oneupmanship in mastery of Hebrew. Two of my friends are arguing over the use of certain (and very basic) Hebrew words, and their usage. A lot of accusing each other to be using French and calling it Hebrew is also going on. So, ze ( ;) ) thing is, the two of them are now trying to apprise each other of the pronunciation of the said words. And Hindi is being employed to clear out the dark pronunciation cloud.

All this happening over Gmail, and my sponsored links are in … Hindi. For all the fist fighting going on, Hebrew links would have been more informative, really.

Google Reader’s recommendations

Just noticed today a new section in Google Reader. I do not know if it has been here for a while or today was its first day.

I can make out recommendations are (mostly?) based on kind of feeds one is already subscribing to. Most of my feeds are from bloggers from the land of India, and a couple of feeds are commentary about recent happenings (politics, sports, movies etc.) in India or simply put blogs about India.

And, the top recommendations that I get…
Youth Curry – Insight on Indian Youth
Sepia Mutiny

These three are actually quite popular blogs. I have read them quite a lot, but never frequently.

Maybe these blogs appear with alarming regularity on the blogs I already read or they are blog-rolled to each other. And that is where the recommended blogs were pulled from.

Double check ::
I have a subscription to 41 blogs, out of which 15 blogs (or blog aggregates) are from Indians outside India and 8 from India.
And 1 is of a non Indian who visits and writes about India amongst other countries frequently.

Of course, my perspective about a blog being [published] from India or outside it stems from a reader’s perspective (me, reader and not Google reader). I consider where the blogger is, and not where the blog is being hosted etc.

The new addition was quite interesting to me. I was very hesitant to use a RSS aggregator earlier mainly because I would not be able to look at the theme of the blog so lovingly put up by the blogger. Till today, if I find post extremely interesting or I like the pictures in the post, I jump to the blog from the reader directly (cut down the mediation, please). Obviously, I am also deprived of all the nifty little things people add to their blogs, and their blog rolls as well. When I had not overcome my hesitation, I used to blog hop a lot. Recommendations bridge that gap, but to a bit. People blog hop for reasons best known to them, and recommendations recommend blogs for reasons best known to Google (or others, at least not me in this hour)

Airtel Mother’s Day Offer and ear bursting IVR

I have been a very loyal and high business generating customer of Airtel back at homw. But I am not sure about this.
Mother's Day Airtel Offer
I am definitely interested in numbers and if the numbers are big, then profiles too :P

The other thing I am unsure about is Airtel’s CallHome (USA to India) service.
I used to think that Reliance needs to tone down the voice of IVR till I heard Airtel’s espresso shot generated enthusiasm IVR voice.
That day onwards Reliance’s voice started feeling like pure music to ears.
Till Reliance sniffed competition from its rival and decided enthusiasm was the key and now they have double espresso shot gulped down female blaring and welcoming us on the phone.

Someone please stop them.

Panipuri - An intorduction to perfection in food design

Found a hilarious slideshow for gol guppe aka panipuri, incidentally slides also talk about user centeredness and design.

This slideshow belongs to Thakkar. IMHO, must see.

Late Edit: The creator of the slide posts it in his blog

Old whine, new times

Tomorrow starts the new day of my second semester of graduate education.

Right now, I am 18 years and 1 semester deep into my formal education. That’s not a small time. But yet, as I move from one class to other the quandary of organizing books, notes, articles, loose sheets of the previous class dogs me.

What am I to do? How should I organize them, that they take minimum space, don’t make room look cramped, are easily accessible, remain complete, easy to refer to, don’t depend upon memory to be useful, require least work.

My mom, whenever I go home, threatens to give/throw/dispose/get rid of my undergraduate books. “Or at least the notebooks”, she pleads. True, I haven’t looked at them since I got my degree, but that they are there is so comforting. What if, I ever need to know the Taylor Series, I can always pick up my Real Analysis notebook, the one whose cover is 2/3 torn, half of the remaining is toast dry (the sort where the paper dries after getting wet accidentally) and carries marks of water or the one where I hand drew the language tree in my linguistics class or the one where I designed that counter (I don’t even remember what it did, but oh! it was the exercise in Digital Electronics, the last assignment which tested it all, it was a toughie, but if you could design it, it was a cutie, does anyone remember that??). See, I can point my finger at a book and know which one I am talking about but sadly I have forgotten the contents of it.

True, nowadays mostly articles and notes are online, and you can write down lectures directly on your laptop, but that sudden inspired rush when the lecture makes total complete sense, or that design you think of, or something equally inspiring which rounds up the education usually ends up penciled in a notebook or a textbook. For me, at least.

Needed : a good idea for archiving the old class stuff.

On the same topic (of design, see the previous post )

I don’t quite like the fact that BLOGSPOT hides its permanent links behind the time [of the post].

Other thing I don’t like is the Windows Automatic Updates. They give a lil’ pop-up asking if you want to Restart your computer now or later. And they very helpfully, also inform that updates would not be applied till the machine is restarted.
The problem begins when you choose to restart your machine LATER. The pop-up keeps popping up with an alarming frequency of once in 10 minutes with the focus on…”Restart now” (Bingo!). Its would be just so unfortunate that you be left clicking or hitting the Return key right at the opportune moment when the pop-up pops. The remains are unsaved work or a friend at the other end who begins wondering what did he say to go offline so suddenly.

Standard smiley

Now context; linguistic, situational or otherwise, has power of transforming the meaning of data altogether. A unit of data can metamorphose into different information. And pragmatics do not spare even the written word.

Therefore, they should have standards for smileys as well. Esp. when they are used so much.

A key strike combination for angry smiley somewhere can become a love smiley somewhere else. Bah

:@ :X X(


Defragmenting the computer was as colorful as ever but I missed the thrill that mom brought to it. She loved those colored rectangles swapping here and there in a random pattern and would gaze at them for quarter hours on end :)

We would leave the computer to defragment under care and supervision of mom and would call her every 2 hours(used to sprint from my class to a shop outside to call home, Didn’t have cellphone those days) when she would report the no. of bad sectors and various other percentages and the situations which made her drop the work at hand and run from kitchen to room to check the computer.

Those deliberate long thoughtful pauses, “Umm.. because of this and this, I conclude that it is absolutely normal. Don’t worry.”

Those defragmentations used to be talk of the lunch when mom would narrate tales of it.
However, the active particiaption of mom in defragmentation was not more than twice or thrice but then we defragmented the memory once every decade.

Those were the days but it is interesting how users/non-users who do not deal with computers much can become so excited and interested by it.
More thought and work can be put there, I would be wearing my thinking cap when I get time.

Meanwhile, my current room-mate has declared that I have lost my mind because I keep on linking things with terms such as usability & interaction and of late started using terms as human-ghost interaction (for halloween), creative imagination (for coming up with a halloween costume at the last moment).
I call her the current roommate with all due love, respect, friendship and no offence meant, somehow roomate always conjures up image of Aanya and Kavi for me. And in probability, always will.

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