Posts Tagged "software"

Good advice for writers and software designers alike (from Neil Gaiman)

Posted by on 6 Mar, 2010 in Writers' Corner | 0 comments

Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or doesn’t work for them, they are almost always right. When they tell you exactly what they think is wrong and how to fix it, they are almost always wrong.

Just came across these handy writing tips by Neil Gaiman. The one I’ve quoted above is particularly interesting, I think, because it can apply to both creative writing and software design.

It’s fine and right that readers, or users of software should tell you when there is a problem, and what problem it is that they are experiencing (perhaps how their expectations were not met, or how they felt).

But it’s definitely not alright for them to tell you how to fix it. That is the job of the writer, or the designer. Understand how what you have created is affecting people, and use that knowledge to adapt, tweak and improve so that it affects them in the way you intended, or in a way that doesn’t cause them the same problems.

But never let them tell you exactly how to fix it. Take their input by all means but do not be swayed from doing what you think is right to fix it. You are the creator, you are the designer, and it’s your skills that will make the work a success.


Read More

How not to write an error dialog

Posted by on 16 Jun, 2009 in My Stream | 0 comments


… and if that wasn't unhelpful enough, the AutoUpdate continued and said "Installation completed successfully".. and I have this uneasy feeling it didn't. Hope it doesn't come and bite me later!

Read More

If you were ever in any doubt that creating an app store ecosystem rakes in the money…

Posted by on 9 Jun, 2009 in My Stream | 0 comments

Each of these icons represents an app in the iPhone App Store. Each pulse represents a purchase. Can you say “kerching”? Expect to see more app store ecosystems from the likes of Google. Maybe Microsoft, Amazon too…

Read More

Keeping in touch in the digital age

Posted by on 4 Dec, 2008 in Articles | 0 comments

Using ooVoo for three way family webcam chats

I live in Hampshire, my brother lives in Scotland, and my parents live in Northumberland. Not ideal really, but that’s the way it’s ended up. This generally means we only get to see each other altogether about twice a year – not as often as we’d like. As you may know, my wife and I are moving to Canada next year, even further away – so I decided it was time to do something to make sure we get to see each other often. I don’t want to have even less contact due to being overseas!

First we experimented with Windows Live Messenger (MSN), Yahoo Messenger and Skype, which didn’t do the job for various reasons – we needed something that would work on Windows XP and Mac OS X, and which would allow more than two participants at a time.

We eventually found the ideal piece of software for having webcam & voice chats with more than two participants. It’s a great piece of software called ooVoo. It runs on Mac or PC, is a free 15Mb download, and is very easy to set up.

So now we can have 3 way video-conferences (in fact, ooVoo supports up to six participants) at a set time every week – which will make the distances seem a lot less. It’s so much more than just a phone conversation, it is much more like seeing your family in person. Problem solved! I love it when technology actually improves your life! If your family or friends are far away, I recommend you give it a go.

Read More

ThinkVantage Access Connections – now with extra bugs!

Posted by on 12 Jul, 2008 in Geeky Stuff | 1 comment

Having recently had my IBM Thinkpad T42p reinstalled (the now-standard annual Windows de-bloating surgery), I now find myself with a later version of IBM Lenovo ThinkVantage Access Connections. And it seems this new version is, ahem, shit. I find I really need Access Connections as I switch between multiple wireless networks and wired networks with different security, static/DHCP/DNS settings, etc.

It seems this new version can’t add a new profile without crashing with the not so helpful message “ThinkVantage Access Connections Main GUI Application has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience”. You’d think that this might have been a good feature to bug test a bit more thoroughly.

I even went to the trouble of installing System Update and through that, got the latest version of Access Connections – still the same version.

It seems I am not alone in encountering this problem, and fortunately, I found a workaround via this link (number 1 link on Google for “access connections crashes” – impressive!) which I thought I would share.

The workaround is to copy another profile then modify it. Far from ideal, but it’ll keep me going for now. Anyone encountered a better solution?

Read More