Sunday, October 31, 2004

Another Photo avec Petit-P

Finished another photo with Petit-P. I used some of the Football photos from Sat's BCS game. Also did some studying for tomorrow's Math Quiz.

Watched the DVD, "Spy Games".

FireFox here I come

After having undefined problems with IE v6.x on Windows I decided to move to FireFox. I had tried this several months back and though it was OK I just didn't make the day-to-day shift to FireFox and though it's too soon to say that I've made the shift I'm certainly more impressed this time around. Microsoft, with all it's 'intelligent' developers should be ashamed that a smaller group of people can come a long a build such a better browser. And after watching a Channel9 video with the Program Manager for the IE team we can expect little in the way of the innovative features the browsers like FireFox offers. Here's the first piece of software that I've seen in years that has kept things simple. It's got a refreshingly clean interface. What a pleasure to see this.

Building Software

I've been thinking recently how poorly software is written and how poorly it serves the everyday person. Can we as an industry not create truly useful software? Can we not know what users want [hell lets ask them] and design something they want? Is it really that difficult? I hereby make a plead to all those involved in designing not only software but anything that people are suppose to use to take extra steps to involve your potential customers early on and to design for them from day one. Now some might argue they've been doing this for years so what's the problem? The problem is we should have this down to an art form by this point. It's been over 20+ years since we've had programmable computers and program design seems to be an art that few if anyone have mastered. What's the problem? The first problem is the people who are designing the software are the last people in the world that will ever use it. In the industry it's called, "eating your [own] dog food". It's the process of a company using the software they've written in a real world situation. Why is this so difficult? My guess is the way we deliver software to the market. In a typical development life cycle it's: design, code, test and ship. The problem with this is the testing part is usually minimized and if and when it happens shipping soon follows. I propose a "dog food" period. Any software you design must be used internally by your company for minimally 6 months if not a year. Yes, an entire year. The software will be consider finished at one stage and then go into "dog food" mode where it will be used for internal projects. During this stage any problems will be fixed and optimizations are made to allow everyday users to be more productive. For example: short-cuts added, custom reports, etc. I project that as part of the daily use of a piece of software that the designers and programmers will see the end users using their software in ways that they never imagined. It's been said that end users are great at suggesting 'minor' features and these can be compiled from Beta testing feedback but that the more 'fundamental' features are only thought of by the architects/designers/coders. I believe this is a valid proposition. But I also believe that we have yet to create a methodology for understanding what users want and that we go into projects almost completely ignorant of what end users really want. How can this be? ...

Star Wars III: Teaser Poster now available

Everytime there's a new StarWars movie there's a new 'teaser' poster that comes out, and for Episode III - it's no different. But the thing that is different is this one really looks like it sucks. My God how did George Lucas let this go by. Come on! Who's in charge? Is this the type of quality we can expect? Disappointing.

Halloween - When I was a kid

When I was a kid Halloween seemed to be more exciting. Things started late you went around for what seemed to be hours and apartment buildings were like gold mines. Today it was around 3:30 when I saw the first mother/father/son walking on the street. My God. And the number of houses 'participating' this year on my street seems really small.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Football @BCS

I was very undecided about going to see Petit-P play football today. I had lots of work to do today and the season was official over, this was just some 'extra' game they were going to play. Besides I didn't really want to get up and out for 10:00am on a Saturday. Well I thought if I do go I'll go for ~11:00am. Turns out that I guess they played quick today 'cause the game ended ~11:30am, I managed to get some photos during the game, but I don't think I ever saw Petit-P play. However all was not lost for some reason someone organized it so that a few of us could take full team photos after the game. It was great. Something I always wanted. Perfect!

Afterwards I walked around the campus. The game was played at BCS a private school for English student. I think it's ~$20-30K/year to attend. The school is incredible. Took some photos of this as well.

Watched another episode of the DVD, "6 Feet Under", as well as the DVD, "Van Helsing". It was OK.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

PHY101: MidTerm

Wrote the PHY101 MidTerm today. Things were going well until the prof said you only have 20 min. I had thought that it was an 1hour 1/2 exam, not an hour :-(. I can only hope I did really-really well on the first section.

In the good side, it was my LAST midterm!

Now back to a normal load...

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Returned some of yesterday's DVDs and visited ECY

It's been a while since I've visited ECY and I needed to send a fax. I went there twice the first time there was no answer so I head to Zellers. Picked up some cleaning stuff and Holloween glow in the dark cream and some underwear.

Thought I'd take another chance and check if ECY was back so I drove by, "on the way home". Lynda was looking 'preppy' today. It looked like ECY did the, "hey I need some cloths" so I think she bought him some more cloths today. $110 sweater. I'm glad to see him spending money on cloths instead of the car. He showed me his new car tires ($500) and he did some painting of the motor.

In other news he says he's got a girlfriend now. Apparently one of the girls from the school photos. Good for him. I hope everything works out.

Watched the DVD, "I Spy" with Eddy Murphy and Owen Wilson. It was OK. Watced another episode of, "Six Feet Under".

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Petit-P's Last FootBall Game

Well today was Petit-P's last football game. It was an "away" game so I wasn't able to go. Got some studying to do anyways. Apparently it was a 'tie' game 16-16. Since they only won 2 games in the season they didn't make the finals so the season is over. I think he enjoyed playing and I managed to get a few photos. Not enough. But maybe in 10+ years he'll enjoy them. Wish I could have done a 'team' shot.

Finally did some Sat morning Blog reading but then suddenly thought I'd like to get caught up on some house cleaning. :-()

I passed by just after 5:00pm to drop off a mouse-pad and Family Guy disc #2. I was quickly 'booted' but it was OK I had other plans. As well Petit-P said he was going to a FootBall party. Great.

As the night went on I could see that he wasn't going to the party. Not sure what happened here.

Friday, October 22, 2004

MAT109 MidTerm

Wrote the MAT109 MidTerm today. From 1:30pm ->3:00pm. Not surprisingly I forgot my calculator. I think I did OK, but one never knows.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

MAT105 - MidTerm

Wrote the MAT105 MidTerm. Unfortunately, I didn't finish Ass #3 before hand and of course one of the questions was on the test; prove an odd+odd # = even. Got it now, after finishing the assignment. The question how many 'part' marks can I get ;-()

Sunday, October 17, 2004

A neighbourly thing

Well I thought I'd support the local school fund raiser by buying some apples. $8 a bit prices but it's for a good cause, right? Well since they were dropped off the other day and they were red ones, which are not my favourite and decided that I'd gift half of them to the people upstairs. So I knocked on the door @11:05am and tried to talk to the person who answered the door. He [being the youngest] didn't speak a word of English so it was easy. Basically I ended-up telling him that here's a gift.

Physics tutorial today @4:30pm. Odd day for it to happen, but yes today went for ~2.5 hours.

Petit-P continued his stupid attitude today. Not really sure what to do about it.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

2% of Office???

Went to see Petit-P play his second last Football game. Since he didn't play very much I didn't get a lot of photos, but some turned out OK. I need to re-interate to some of the people involved that though the photos are somewhat interesting today it's my hope that it's in 10-20 years that Petit-P and his mother look at the photos and really enjoy them.

Got home ~@1:30pm and wasted a lot of the day watching DVDs. Watched, "All I want" and "Pitch Black".

What a perfect example of someone not getting it. How much of an Office zelot do you have to be? We know Office is a good product, but as Zaine Ridling (see comments from above post) correctly points out all people want is, "a typewriter with a spellchecker". Let's just get this working and make it stable. This is what people want. Does Grandma really need to attach an XML schema to her Word document? I think not. And certainly Alex Moskalyuk [the next commentor] makes a valid point, "why would you buy Office 2003 today if in 2005 Microsoft will release Office 2005...". Let's focus on what users want. Maybe it's time that Microsoft create a, "home" version of the Office Suite. In fact they could do this for all of their products. Maybe then we'll really see some useful features for Grandma.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Matchup at School and Computer Ethics: OSF

Well I took another chance and searched for Petit-P after school/pratice. I just happened to be in the area 'cause I had to return some DVD's and wanted to get a hair-cut. Well it worked our rather well. I picked Petit-P and Dominique (aka: Conan) and another fellow. Gave them a ride home. They all live pretty close to school. Interesting the other fellow was looking for Conan but didn't seem to really know him and Conan couldn't tell me right away if Petit-P was at practice today. He's apparently from the US. I thought that was kinda cool. Interesting bunch.

Well I got home and spent some time looking for info on Open Source vs. Proprietary Software (PS) on the 'net. I have to argue tomorrow pro-PS.

Had a late shower.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Hard Drive - Dead!

My Hard drive died! God it looks like I've lost quite a bit of work. Luckly I've got backups of some stuff, but can you ever have a really 'recent' backup. Managed to restore most of my photos and my Outlook .pst file but macros and 3 or 4 'experiment'al photos are [hopefully] only temporary gone. This will no doubt effect my long holiday.

Friday, October 8, 2004

More Six Feet Under: Season 1; Episode 1,2.

The plan: After doing the reading for Computer Ethics yesterday now write the 1 page essay. No problem. Ooops. First problem when the computer starts up it doesn't find Windows. Interesting Windows was there yesterday. Fuzz! Ok, no problem work-around-the-problem; use another computer. After doing an outline and just about ready to start the final version I hear a car pull up. It's ECY. Odd, he's suppose to be in school. OK if I answer the door he will explain in the first minute what he wants. Perhaps just looking for something, he could be on lunch! Nope. Turns out he fell on his back at school early in the morning and his friend took him to the hospital. Nothing serious but no work for a week. I wants to go look for another car, but I say after 1/2 hours so I can finish my essay. Probably 1.5 hours later I'm still not done but decided that he's waited long enough. We go. He puts a deposit ;-()

After we go visit, "Rouge-tate". Then waste sometime at my place. Then finally they go off I can either investigate my "Windows" problem or relax and watch a DVD...

Watched some more, "Six Feet Under". Well it's obvious it's a soap opera/drama. Kind'a pulls you in. After all I did watch Episode 1 and 2 even though I try to only watch 1 episode at most a day but it was a long week so what the he$%.

Thursday, October 7, 2004

Six Feet Under: Season 1

Watched the DVD, "Six Feet Under: Season 1; Pilot". Somewhat interesting.

Monday, October 4, 2004


Can one ever have too many friends? In the world of computers and unsocial behaviour can one ever meet too many people? Or is this like saying can a guy ever have too much sex ?

Sunday, October 3, 2004

Watch a DVD with Kieffer Sutherland and Miss. Tomb Raider called, "xxxx".


Interesting Movable Type competitor: WordPress. Books: Family First : Your Step-by-Step Plan for Creating a Phenomenal Family

Why does everyone agree that kids these days are 'fuzzed' up but few do things about it? In the large view why are so many 'truths' buried in society under the premise of being 'kind' to others?

Can things simply work?

There is no doubt in my mind why I don't have a PDA or a Smart Phone or an iPod or a Window's Mobile-based Media Device. I just know they are going to be too complicated. Can you gurantee that they are going to simplify my life? I think not. I can just imagine the 'syncing' issues. Why can't I just plug it in and sync? Why - because that's only the first thing that I would want. Of course I want control over what gets synced and hence the problem. Once you give me the ability to specify what to sync, it now becomes more then a one step process to sync and that's too much.

This problem can be seen at a much broader level with computer software. I want ease of use, no matter how much it conflicts with the software industry. Technical support, consultants and the tombs of books at our local bookstore are just a few examples of other businesses that are built around hard to use software. Can we stop it? Maybe, but it's probably too late. Once this much money is being made in secondary industries it hard to stop.

Can things not be made to be easy? How can I explain how to use this thing if it's that complicated? Sure, after you become an 'expert' it seems easy. In fact it becomes so simple that you haven't got the time to deal with people who don't, "get it". So people who find technology to be difficult will always be left behind. And those who become experts gladly leave behind those less fortunate.

I've been responsible for many software projects and designed what I considered to be great, flexible and easy to use software that does everything. But right there is the problem. As soon as someone says, "you can do everything with that software" the reality is that means the majority of people can do nothing with it. Let's take Adobe's Photoshop for example. Wow, an absolutely amazing piece of software, in fact it's on my top 10 list of favourite software. What's the problem? Any person picking up that software today at version 8 would have no chance of understanding it's complexities. Think about it, all your Father wants to do is send you a small digital photo. Good luck. And who's fault is it? Is it the arogant software publishers who think they know what customers want? No. In reality it's us the everyday end-user. Why? When was the last time you wanted a new version of software that had less features? That's right less. They took something out! How about it? Contact a software publisher and tell them you never use feature(s) x,y,z and tell them you don't want them. Take it out. How does this help? In order to understand this we need a little insight into the software development world...

Saturday, October 2, 2004

Another day of OD'ing on Blog info

Another Sat OD'ing on Blog,

Spent the day reading blogs and finding computer ethic articles. Being referred by a friend to, I 'wasted' a lot of time listening to this web-site. It's a GREAT site for audio.