starseerdrgn: Koboldrone (Default)

Personally, I like the featureset of Discord, an IRC-like chat system designed to be better than TeamSpeak and Skype. Servers are private, and require an invite link. Server connections are persistent across multiple devices, and don't require multiple usernames for one person to connect with multiple devices at the same time. They also have their "roles" system, which gives a lot of fine-tuning to permissions—including allowing or denying access to entire chat rooms. It's useful!

But, there's a huge problem—or at least it's a huge problem in my view. They have a web app for their client, but nothing for mobile web. I mentioned this on Twitter, and the reply I got was kinda tonedeaf…

Now, as you'll notice, I specifically mentioned Firefox OS, which I'm using on my LG Fx0 (a very lovely phone, expect a review before too long). It's not Android or iOS, so promoting the apps does nothing for me. Either the person behind Discord's Twitter account didn't know what Firefox OS is (which wouldn't surprise me), or they really weren't paying attention.

Regardless, I kinda can't use Discord on my phone, all because of an arbitrary requirement for a platform-specific mobile app. And don't get me wrong, I've used their Android app...It kinda sucked compared to their iOS app, which one of my mates uses. They don't even have feature parity with their desktop web app, much less the native desktop apps. Something tells me they don't really care about mobile. It's effectively Skype once again.

Meanwhile, there's plenty of mobile web apps that support IRC (Internet Relay Chat), and even a few IRC apps for Firefox OS (which are packaged web apps themselves). They work perfectly for the most part—though Firesea IRC seems to take a while to connect.

IRC is one of those technologies that's been around for a while, works perfectly as intended, users aren't tied to a single client. I can use LimeChat, Chatzilla (my preferred client), Mibbit, KiwiIRC (my preferred web client)…There are many IRC clients to choose from across many platforms.

Then there's chat systems like Telegram and WhatsApp…Ugh…I like the idea behind them, but the fact that a chat client requires a mobile number to simply function is annoying as hell. Add the idea of automatically adding anyone who has your number to your contacts list without your permission, and it just makes using such a service completely unappealing to me.

That's why I like XMPP. To add someone, you need to know their Jabber ID (jid), and they have to not only authorize you, but do so knowingly. It's also far more secure, since login isn't based on a finite-length standardized numbering system (phone numbers) and a login code sent to a smartphone. With XMPP, you can implement secure single-factor authentication (Kerberos, key blobs (a la SSH), etc…) or multi-factor authentication (SMS, OAuth, OTP tools, etc…)

Hell, if given enough time, I could probably adapt XMPP with some extensions (in the XEP series), take a project like Jappix, and remake the features of Telegram on my own. It's completely possible…given the time and skill.

I dunno. Maybe I'm "too old" for modern chat, as a couple of people have told me. Honestly, I prefer to see it as be being spoiled by growing up when chat systems had useful features, rather than just aesthetic features. Custom emoticons are nice, but when I wanna be left alone, let me tell people as much.

starseerdrgn: Koboldrone (Default)

I’m not normally one to review shows like MLP, but this episode is one of the very few of any series that’s actually managed to both disappoint me from the fan aspect, and anger the writer in me. I’m not going to talk about the show play-by-play, but I will touch on a few aspects, and there will be spoilers.

 

Read more... )
starseerdrgn: Koboldrone (Default)

Okay, this is a subject that I've become rather touchy on, so forgive me if I seem a bit annoyed in this one.

Too many websites use terms like "Mature Content", "Adult Content", "Not Safe for Work" (NSFW), and other similar ambiguous words to denote content not meant for minors. If you look at the rules on some of these sites, you'll find that they don't even list an age range, just the subject matter those terms are meant to cover, despite intending everything to have a hard-coded age limits. In all honesty, this ambiguity simply makes me cringe from a user experience standpoint.

Why does it make me cringe? Because not all cultures follow the same rules regarding what's appropriate for "minors", and even fewer have the same age of adulthood. In some cultures, an "adult" can be as young as 13 years old, while in others, they have to wait until the age of 21. And even then, in some cultures, sexual imagery is considered "appropriate" for a mature audience while violence or alcohol can be considered adults only. The list of differences goes on, and on, and on.

Because of this, people from other cultures do get confused when an English site--especially a US site--suddenly reprimands them for marking something sexual as mature. In their culture, minors could be more than welcome to see such imagery, so it's not really clear to them without having to dig through the Terms of Service. In some cases, it's the only place that the admins make such policies clear.

From a UX standpoint, this is facepalm-worthy in my eyes. Clarity is something that should be ingrained in a website's design, not added as an afterthought. If a website intends something to be made for a US-18 audience, they should label it as 18+ or US-18+, and explain what that means. Likewise with content meant for a US-13 audience, which should be labeled as such. With those labels and explanations, there is no ambiguity, and therefore, the rules are clear to everyone.

Seeing a great artist from outside of the US becoming so frustrated by an art site for reprimands over adult content that wasn't adult for their culture made me want to slam the site for "UX idiocy". In all honesty, the site in question is run by devs who couldn't recognize good UX if they were using it themselves--and given their number of MacOS-using devs, this is rather apt.

UX is something that most developers shouldn't be taxed with. It should go to dedicated UX/UI people, who can figure out where the problems lie, and what can be done about them. Unfortunately, that's something that sites are crowdsourcing now, which usually ends up making the problems worse. "Rule of the Majority" is not how UX/UI works, because the majority can create mob mentality. It's always best to go with the "Small Groups of Smart People" approach, because those dedicated to the task can see it from more views than just the majority of the users, helping those who aren't part of that majority.

Sorry-not-sorry for the rant, but I really needed to get that out. Dealing with poor UX makes me frustrated, and seeing others suffer from it makes me pissed.

starseerdrgn: Koboldrone (Default)

Okay, this is going to come off as petty to some, but it really irks me when people—especially in the tech media—think that something should change after a certain amount of time. This is even more true for things like operating systems.

I've already given my opinion on the tech media elsewhere. I think that, for the most part, they're idiots with an axe to grind, so they can get views and stir up their personal hornet nests to gather even larger audiences. I also believe they tend to be completely oblivious to anything outside of Silicon Valley and the tech elite, or that they just don't give a shit.

Now, with that out of the way, let me get to the point. I see so many geeks and tech media take the piss out of Apple, Microsoft, Google, and many others, just because they don't do major updates to something as often as they want.

This was especially true with Windows XP and OS X. I've seen complaints that the Luna design (Windows XP) was dated and a Fisher Price™ OS , and that OS X's skeuomorphic design was out of touch with what people wanted. Even Windows Vista and 7 got hate from some people for having the Aero Glass designs.

Yet, the return of Aero Glass was one of the most-requested features for Windows 10, before Microsoft's massive "fuck you" to fans as the UserVoice service was shut down. This was from mostly normal people, who aren't as tech savvy as the people who frequent sites like Windows Central and Thurrott.com .

For OS X, the skeuomorphic designs were seen as comforting for non-techies. The look of the faux leather and legal pad background for iOS and OS X's Notes app was a welcome sight, as was the design language of many other apps, such as the popped buttons of the window controls.

The problem is that, in the tech industry, geeks and tech media will always be the loudest when they don't get their way. Many of them have no qualms with stamping out the voices of non-geeks, so long as they see themselves as right on the internet.

Honestly, we need more tools to help non-geeks voice what they like about the applications and programs they're using, especially in a world where geeks would gladly cause a panic about anonymous telemetry just to keep such voices in the dark.

But hey, that's just my opinion on the matter.

starseerdrgn: Koboldrone (Default)

I despise when people say "You don't want $_x. Just use your phone." I want that thing because it's not my bloody phone.

This was brought up because I was lusting over the FreeWrite, a smart typewriter with an eInk screen, amazing mechanical keyboard, and cloud backup (with the option to do local connections to a PC). It's a dedicated device, meaning that it does one thing, and does it well. That's precisely why I want it:so I'm not distracted by people pinging me on IM/Skype/SMS/Twitter/Facebook/Telederp/etc...

I even mentioned as much when I was talking about it. However, not just one, but several people replied with "Just use your phone.", and even linked me to several iOS and Android apps for writing.

Now, I do use an Android phone (HTC One), and don't own a modern iPhone. I'm well aware that I could get a dock or something and write on it. However, it's a bloody smartphone. It has notifications appearing any time I get an email, SMS, call, or a number of other things. Android sucks at understanding what "do not disturb" means (Google even took out that idea in Google Hangouts), so what do you think will happen when I'm typing?

That's right, I'm going to get distracted.

That's part of why I want the FreeWrite. Distraction-free writing is what I need when I'm working on projects. It's why I'm often found using Atom or Visual Studio Code in fullscreen (F11) when I'm working seriously. Sometimes, I'll even use WriteMonkey or FocusWriter with their zenware mentality of "nothing but the document".

Yeah, I can "just do that", but I've also got distractions from the OS itself, and the battery life on my laptop isn't exactly...pleasant at 4 hours (with brightness down and radios off). The Surface Pro 3 I have would be better, if only the firmware and OS (Windows 10) didn't drain the battery at full steam during sleep. At least Windows 7 has a proper Hibernate mode...

So yeah...This pissed me off, and with the stress of the last few days, and my lack of sleep, this is what made me snap.

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