On intuitiveness…

I have a problem with the overused term and concept of “intuitive.” I don’t think “intuitive” is itself intuitive. So here are some quick redefinitions of my UI/UX checklist: Is the interaction obvious? (probability of successful interaction [p] = essentially 100%) If not, can it be made obvious? Is there a clear affordance to the interaction? (p >= 90%) If not, can it have a clear affordance? Is there a statistically significant probability of getting the expected outcome from the interaction?

DIY Home NAS Adventures

I’ve been wanting to build my own NAS for some time now. My home network has become littered with various hard drive enclosures in various RAID setups attached to various computing boxen by various connection protocols, and I only foresee it becoming more so unless I do something about it. And the prebuilt boxen offered by Synology, QNAP, Drobo, etc. don’t offer the flexibility and defenses against bit-rot that I require.

Setting up the RTC on an ODROID C2 running Arch Linux

The Hardkernel wiki page for the ODROID C2 RTC shield is mostly specific to Ubuntu and Android. Here’s a quick update if you’re using Arch Linux ARM. Install community/dtc to get fdtput. sudo pacman -S dtc Enable the RTC shield in the device tree. NOTE that this should all be on one line as one command. sudo fdtput -t s /boot/dtbs/meson64_odroidc2.dtb \ /i2c@c1108500/pcf8563@51 status "okay" Load the Amlogic i2c kernel module.

John’s Rules of IA/IxD

Make it obvious. If you can’t make it obvious, then make it intuitive. If you can’t make it intuitive, then set up the scenario and lightly guide the user.

Disengaged or Decisive Moment?

(I originally posted this on Facebook, but felt it made a good posting here on my blog as well.) I just watched the Apple “Misunderstood” ad for the first time. Very touching. Interestingly, Facebook then suggested Forbes’ article critical of the ad. While I agree with the general statement that smartphone users seem to be more engaged with their digital lives than their real lives, I actually disagree with the Forbes article on this one.

Ideas for upcoming blog posts

In the interests of prompting myself to publish more and to provide some transparency into what rambles through my head as ideas, here are some ideas for upcoming posts: Aligning IA with traditional architecture Aspect orientation and IxD Using UML with IA and IxD Why IAs should understand relational theory and database design Everyday taxonomies Why worry about taxonomies? What are taxonomies? Why worry about classification, cataloging, and citation? What are they anyway?

Goodbye, ZFS; Hello, btrfs…

(subtitled: …At least for now.) I’m a huge enthusiast when it comes to ZFS. But recent issues and concerns with it have caused me to abandon it (at least for now) in favor of using btrfs for some of my critical data. For the last several months, I’ve used the Greenbytes/ZEVO community version of ZFS on my Macs. I served up a music library in RAID10 from a Mac Mini attached to my living room stereo, and have my photos in RAID10 attached to an iMac in my home office.

Useful Excel keyboard shortcuts

If you use Microsoft Excel as much as I do, sometimes it’s easier and faster to use keyboard shortcuts than to use repetitive mouse actions. However, it’s not always easy to find a shortcut for a particular action or command. Below are some of the commands I find myself using often on Excel for Windows. Select Row = shift + spacebar Select Column = control + spacebar Select All = control + shift + spacebar

SMB/CIFS Sharing from OS X to Linux

I ran into issues recently trying to share files from OS X (Mountain Lion, 10.8.3) to Linux (Ubuntu Server 12.10) using SMB/CIFS. I couldn’t get the basic mount commands or /etc/fstab settings to work on Linux; these continually returned a cryptic error message “Invalid argument” and associated error code of -22. Trying different combinations of mount options from the few relevant up-front Google results I could find didn’t fix the issue.

Why numeric units are important…

(Subtitled “…and really should be obvious and dimensionally consistent.”) For example, taken from the Microsoft Excel 2007 locally-installed help documentation (Topic ID: HP01216383): On a worksheet, you can specify a column width of 0 (zero) to 255. This value represents the number of characters that can be displayed in a cell that is formatted with the standard font (standard font: The default text font for worksheets. The standard font determines the default font for the Normal cell style.