The FuzzyStuff Weblog
Being out of work. PHP Consulting. Random geeky stuff. "I Blog Therefore I Am."

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Wednesday, April 17, 2002

New Radio UserLand FAQ Item!: Mail to Weblog Documentation

My thanks go out to Howard Greenstein for writing up how to use the Mail to Weblog feature which lets you add items to your weblog via email.  Thanks Howard!


comment [] 8:41:33 AM    

Why Web UI's Don't Suck or Minimalism Actually is Good

It is now getting common for people to be bashing web user interfaces (UI).  I've been doing a huge amount of work in Radio lately which is a web UI and I just have spent a couple of days back in OfficeLand (Word and FrontPage) and its been illuminating.  Here are some thoughts:

  • Non-web software has gotten so feature rich that we need a reductionist or minimalist approach
    • Example: My FrontPage web blew up yesterday and I wanted to substitute all references to my root url to a new root url.  All this really amounts to is a simple search and replace box.  What FrontPage does instead is generate a view of all links in my web and I have to figure out which of the 4,000 links is the one I want to replace.  Sounds simple, right?  I couldn't figure it out.  Don't laugh. 
    • Example: I tried to do a mail merge in Word this morning.  It took me 5 tries to get it right and making the 2nd address line not show when the data is null was actually hard.  Mail merge, while graphical, isn't really any easier than it was in WordPerfect 5 (1989).
  • It seems to me that while a web user interface isn't as rich as a custom program written in C++, this lack of richness enforces minimalism and simplicity which is good.  You have to work really hard and be damn brilliant to duplicate really rich UI's on the web.  And, maybe, you actually shouldn't.
  • Web interfaces have multiple entrances.  The ability to enter through bookmarks is key.
  • Web interfaces support interruptibility.  Since you can enter a web UI from a bookmark, you can get off track, bookmark it and return.  Who doesn't get interrupted these days?  When you are in the middle of a Word mail merge, for example, that has to be finished right then or it's start from scratch.
  • Minimalism lets you focus on the task at hand without getting distracted by "featuritis".  Think about it.  There are now hundred's of thousands of people publishing on a daily basis without Word, without spell checking, without grammar checking, without toolbars (well maybe one or two).  What I am finding is that I focus more on my content.  True, there may be errors, but I think more about what I write in this kind of environment.

Web interfaces don't suck.  Minimalism is good.

comment [] 7:53:46 AM    

Honesty in Hosting Pricing

The one or two people who read me may remember my Rant about Rackspace recently may appreciate this.  I'm currently looking at hosting vendors and I ran across recently.  When I looked at their sign up form:

here is what they show:

Rack White Box-Linux 7.1 - Ensim - Celeron 1.3 - 60GB7200HD - 512 RAM - 30 Available!!
Monthly Fee: $99.00 - Setup Fee: $149.00 - Total Charges w/fees* & taxes: $266.83
Monthly Fee w/fees* & taxes: $105.53 - Setup Fee w/fees* & taxes: $161.29

Isn't that just plain cool?  Right up front they show you all the pricing details, even taxes.  That's honest.  I like honest.


comment [] 7:03:14 AM    

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