Scripting News for 3/4/2006

A new feature this morning for OPML weblogs. 

Bpedro is editing his blog with OmniOutliner. It’s as easy as I thought it would be. Just save the file in OPML in the right folder and the rest is automatic. 

University of Wisconsin howto on podcasting

Anne Zelenka is a geek-mom who says we can find better ways to express “how intuitive and appealing software should be.” 

The podsafe music movement gets a surprising boost from Tower Records. Nice! 

A couple of observations on Thursday’s conference. 1. There was a time, not too long ago, when a conference about technology would be all about Bill Gates. He’d be the elephant in every room, in the middle of every presentation and every conversation. “What about Microsoft?” has been replaced by “What is your business model?” Either they were going to kill you or buy you. They were the menace that was everywhere. This conference was different, even though it was held in a Microsoft office, they weren’t mentioned (except by me, with irony that they weren’t being mentioned) once. 2. I’m so tired of people talking about how their mother wouldn’t understand something. I’ve been hearing this for 20 years, and it’s sexist and ageist, and wrong and unfair, and how about let’s get rid of this offensive idea. I’d never say that about my mother, who has a PhD, and is pretty smart. I certainly wouldn’t want to encourage her helplessness! At one point I leaned over to Tara Hunt and expressed this sentiment. Then I realized that she’s a mom, and said so. I wonder how many mothers were in the room and how they feel about always being held up as the paragon of cluelessness.  

For ten points whose mom is pictured in the margin above? 

Doc Searls: “The only blog I read every day is Dave Winer’s.” Wow. That’s nice. It’s funny, I keep missing Doc. This year I’m going to PC Forum for the first time in ten years. This is the first time he’s missed a PC Forum. At least we visit virtually, I read every post on this blog. Today Doc snarks back at Ryan King’s snark at David Berlind, which is right, although the camp concept has run its course, imho. I’d like to see Doc apply his desnarking logic everywhere, not just where and when it’s convenient. Anyway, to Doc, here’s the pointer you’re looking for. 

One of my ego-filters caught an article in Red Herring, and strangely, the article has no byline. I found out later that this is a policy of the publisher, who doesn’t want his competitors to hire away his reporters. In this case I’m pretty sure the author is Liz Gannes, who I met at Thursday’s conference. I actually probably met her when she was six years old because she’s the daughter of an old friend — Stu Gannes, who now teaches at Stanford. It’s a funny feeling to be so old that daughters of friends of yours write articles where you’re quoted. I guess that’s yet another thing I’ll have to learn to live with. :-) 

Amyloo is working on the download page for the new OPML Editor support site. Another project we should start soon is a directory of tools that understand OPML. It would be a perfect demo of OPML, don’t you think? 

Chris Clark has the answer, and it ain’t simple, to yesterday’s query about images to make Macintosh DMG’s pretty. 

With my 23-inch Cinema display I now fully understand why power Mac users are so into keyboard shortcuts. You spend so much time moving the mouse from one side of the screen to the other, from top to bottom. It makes you wonder why anyone thought a mouse was a time-saving innovation. Seriously, it’s a huge PITA. 

14 responses to this post.

  1. Can’t you increase your mouse acceleration to alleviate this? Although it is refreshing to hear someone complain about a 23 inch display, not something you read every day ;)

    Reply

  2. Posted by Allan Smith on March 4, 2006 at 7:51 am

    You can turn up the tracking speed under System Preferences/Keyboard & Mouse. Seems to increase the acceleration at the same time. I have the same monitor, and with the tracking speed on the second click from the right, acceleration is sufficient to “throw” the cursor from corrner to corner with a small movement. It helps to make a short, quick movement to increase the acceleration…once you get used to it it’s second nature.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Andrew Lasey on March 4, 2006 at 7:58 am

    Boo on the publisher of the Red Herring for trying to screw his reporters! How about giving them great jobs at a market rate? Then you worry less about the competitors and more about having great people work a great product. Just a though!

    Reply

  4. Posted by Habay on March 4, 2006 at 8:07 am

    The Mac OPML Editor creates a new directory in my homedir. That’s not very nice. The location of that directory should be ~/Library/Applications Support/ instead of ~/

    Reply

  5. Posted by Paul Snively on March 4, 2006 at 12:22 pm

    Hey Dave, excellent point about the mouse with a large screen. I occasionally reflect on the old videos of Doug Engelbart working with his original implementation of NLS, and his multi-button mouse and “chording device” interface. I can’t help but think that as time goes by, we’re going to get closer and closer to what Engelbart did in the first place—that is, until some totally new haptic-or-beyond interface comes along!

    Reply

  6. The VIBE group in Microsoft Research has done a ton of research on usability issues with large displays, including the very one you mention.

    Here’s a great summary paper. http://research.microsoft.com/vibe/pubs/CGA2005-LargeDisplayUX.pdf

    Reply

  7. That’s Mama Searls, Doc Searls’s Mom.

    (and good points on elsewhere, Dave. Tho I wonder if there’s the part of “making it easy for my Mom to understand” is really the paradigm for discussing usability. Mothers chasing after a bunch of kids–I’m one of five– don’t exactly have the time to delve into the technological arcana and just plain weird stuff that sometimes fascinates the geekier among us. I’m not excusing the ageist/sexist thing, just pontificating on what I think might be behind it.)

    Reply

  8. [...] here. Because I correctly identified someone. From here. [...]

    Reply

  9. Dave,

    You link to the University of Wisconsin Madison’s podcasting instructions is ironic.

    You were there, I was there, Mike Dhuey was there.

    Mike and I started the Adam & Eve Apple II Users Group there.

    Mike was the hardware engineer on the first iPod.

    http://apple.computerhistory.org/stories/storyReader$48

    http://www.madison.com/archives/read.php?ref=wsj:2005:07:03:481455:FRONT

    Reply

  10. Have you tried QuickSilver (http://quicksilver.blacktree.com/)? It’s a great way to use the keyboard and mouse to get things done on a Mac.

    Reply

  11. Thanks for pointing out the simplistic and insulting nature of the “mom could understand this” analogy. I’m working on a book on blogging in the church and just today I found myself going down that path when explaining how complicated subscribing to a blog can be for the average user. Thanks to you, there will be one less bad example in the world!

    Reply

  12. Posted by heavyboots on March 6, 2006 at 12:25 am

    Just a quick FYI that in my limited testing, FileStorm & DMG Packager are the only two utilities I know that pass the “Column View” test. That is, if the user has turned on the “Open new windows in Column view” preference in the Finder, most DMG creation methods will just show them a column view with a file list and no pretty background. You might want to test that case with a DropDMG-created image…

    As mentioned by others, ramping up your mouse acceleration helps get around a big screen better. Or buy USB Overdrive. You can customize the acceleration curve even more there.

    Reply

  13. I love your comment on how annoying the statement “even my mother can understand it” is. Right On – now I just need to make sure I don’t get sloppy and use similar types of words. Saying “that the technology is so simple that people that aren’t technically inclined will have no problem using it” should beenough. There are plenty of young people that aren’t that comfortable using computers and tools – plenty of people who prefer to NOT spend their time this way. Plenty of smart – wonderful and valuable people.

    Reply

  14. Re: A new feature this morning for OPML weblogs.

    The mail widget is not picking up the referer. All referers are set to http://blogs.opml.org/

    Dan

    Reply

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