Archive for July, 2009

User interface is a basic fundamental of computing.  Applications must present themselves in a clear and easy to follow method in order for users to accept them.  I believe this is why iPods and iPhones are so successful.  An MP3 player in itself is not a complicated device – it plays music.  Simple, right?  The iPod and iPhone have really set themselves apart from other similar devices by presenting the user with a very clean, polished, consistent and easy to use interface that makes the device a pleasure to use – not a chore.

I’ve been working with the Microsoft Exchange 2007 management tools for a while and found the user interface to be very inconsistent and visually chaotic.  Alas, this is true for Vista which is why it  has not achieved mass acceptance whereas Apple products are happily found everywhere these days.

Anyways, here’s a good example of why I find the Exchange 2007  Management Console confusing:

Exchange 2007 Management Console

The operation was to remove a permission from a mailbox.  Apparently this was successful.

Reading the screen left to right, the first image presented is a red X followed by a green checkmark that says “completed”.

At first, an end-user isn’t sure what to believe – did this operation work or not?  On reading futher, it would appear the operation completed correctly but since the operation was to remove a permission (indicted in the long technical command description), the icon presented is a big red X – which is generally used to indicate a failure.

OK, I see what is going on here and now understand it now.  However, the initial screen presentation can certainly be confusing and mistaken for an error.  Some might think it is a minor detail but a proper well designed user interface should never leave an end-user confused.  Confusion will only impede acceptance of software.  Software that is not accepted will lead users to find alternatives.

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Sure is nice having the blog on a faster server these days.  This means I can add some new features until the blog is slow again!  I added a couple new features that hopefully some people will find useful.

Post/Comment Ratings: Readers can now rate the quality of posts and comments that are published.  This lets me know what information people find valuable and can be useful to find informative comments in some of the posts.

Social networking: Each post now has links that readers can use to post blog articles to their favourite social network like twitter, digg, reddit, etc.  There’s also a couple options to make emailing the article or printing it easier and more convenient.

Hopefully some people will find these features useful.  If there are other features or content you, the reader, would like to see, please let me know!

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After winning tickets to the Video Games Live show, I have to admit that it’s a very well produced and enjoyable show.  I guess it really is no secret that I’ve been a big video games nerd since I was a kid.  It’s not too often that something comes around to appeals to the video game crowd that isn’t a video game itself so when Video Games Live came to town last year, I knew I had to go.  This year was just as good, if not better than last year with some new acts and, of course, the free tickets.  The live performances of music from Super Mario, Zelda, Metroid, Final Fantasy, Mega Man, Chrono Trigger and many more was good along with the audience members they brought on stage for a costume judging content, space invaders challenge and guitar hero challenge.

Here are some pictures from the shows followed by one audience member playing Space Invaders on stage:

The music from Super Mario being performed:

Music from Super Mario

Co-creator Tommy Tallarico performing on-stage:

Tommy Tallarico rocking out

People came dressed up as their favourite video game characters:

Cosplay from Video Games Live 2009
Cosplay from Video Games Live 2009

Cosplay from Video Games Live 2009

Cosplay from Video Games Live 2009

A the video of an audience member playing Space Invaders:
YouTube Preview Image

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I managed to win three pairs of tickets to the Video Games Live show this week.  I enjoyed the show last year and free tickets this time around are a definite bonus.  I’ll post pictures and maybe video after the show.

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