How we are all connected

Today, I heard from a long-time reader who emailed me just to let me know she was still reading and that she had been enjoying the blog ever since she first saw it.

Wow! Whenever I get an email like this, it is truly a humbling experience. Even though the DogWalkBlog gets lots of traffic, when a reader takes a few moments out of the day just to say she enjoys reading it touches. That is what blogging and Twittering and all this stuff is about; one touch, one moment.

I’m writing this immediately after looking at the pictorial spread in the Wall Street Journal. In a sea of 1.5 million people, photojournalists are able to pick out one genuine smile, one face full of hope and one little girl who gives her dad a “thumbs up” with an orange glove.

I aspire to be that lens. Always.

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Round up all the web geeks and pelt them with pebbles

I just spent the last hour of my life fighting with some CSS that works perfectly in Safari and MESI 7.0, but not in MSIE 6.0 or the “standards compliant” Firefox whatever version it is now. Since I am working pre-coffee, pre-office hours from a laptop on my kitchen table, I don’t have the luxury of checking out the site on a MSIE 6.0 browser. All I have is a really badly worded description of the problem, sent in an email by a very late Boomer who is using a language all her own to describe the issue.

Let me start by explaining I am very, very good at CSS, HTML, PHP, Perl, MySQL, Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and a whole host of stuff that has long been discontinued. I have been in the Internet and Web game since 1995 so I think it is fair to say I know what I am doing and have employed a pretty sizable library of fixes, kludges, hacks and plain ol’ cheats to make stuff work on a Web site. I can read, write and design. Don’t even start assuming I’m an idiot or unknowledgeable. You would be very, very wrong.

In some circles, I would be considered a geek. But in mine, I am a User Interface Designer. My job — some would say my obsession — is to make the interaction between the human and the machine seamless and intuitive. If training is needed, the system is too complicated. At least that is the ideal.

I have lost more time, brain cells and sleep to the hubris of geeks than any other tech-related issue. I am convinced the only reason that we have browser discrepancies with CSS, HTML, etc is because the geeks were in charge and they did not have the skills to play nice with each other or anybody else. They looked down at the user because they weren’t as smart, because they didn’t get it. And, they looked down at each other because each one was more right than his peer.

What if each company making street lights decided on a different order of the red-yellow-green? Of, decided that the colors were way too boring and decided purple-pink-magenta would be better. Or, what if they decided that light were just not good and they used coo-coo clock birdies instead? And imagine if a different signal was installed on each street corner. But, the wrinkle is that each user was able to choose which signal he/she liked best for that day, for that corner? What a mess!

So, now we have this mess of browser technologies that don’t play well with each other. For every hour I have to spend on the phone or email, explaining why MSIE 6.0 is a piece of crap, I would like to invoice Microsoft. And, in all fairness, Microsoft should take that invoice payment out of the paychecks of any geek who decided that their way was better. Let them live with the consequences of the mess their hubris created. Apple and Mozilla, you’re not off the hook either.

I expect the geeks to either ignore this post or defend their position. I really don’t give a crap which they do because today, I woke up as a fully frustrated user who doesn’t care to hear another excuse about why your way is better. I am no longer a developer; I will be a user first. If I have to fight with it, I ain’t gonna use your technology.

Standards are good. Community-agreed conventions keep use from wasting time. Pay attention to the user, geeks and peek out from your self-induced world every once in a while.

And quit going to geek conventions where everyone validates your opinion about the user. They’re wrong; we’re not stupid. We just have lives where technology is a tool, not an ends.

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Things I found funny today

Two scenes in Katy Perry’s Hot & Cold music video struck me as funny today.

Come on, a rock n’ rolling priest at a wedding? That’s just God’s sense of humor.

A guy in a hot dog suit getting run over by a guy running away from his angry bride to be. Yeah, that has funny written all over it.

Posted via email from rufus’s posterous

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Stuff lost in translation

I read this story and was horrified. Not at the fact that 200 shoppers would break down a WalMart door and stampede a man to his death, but by two statements made by Walmart.

Wal-Mart representative Dan Fogleman called the incident a “tragic situation” and said the victim came from a temporary agency and was doing maintenance work at the store.

Translation: He ain’t our employee and therefore, not our responsibility.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. in Bentonville, Ark., closed the store in Valley Stream for several hours after the stampede. It reopened shortly after 1 p.m.

Translation: Well, it was only one guy and why waste the whole day calling this a crime scene when there is money to be made?

ARRGGHHH.. Beyond words.

 

 

Posted by email from rufus’s posterous

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Happy Eating Day

Happy Eating Day, everyone! Oh, I know, our American friends are celebrating Thanksgiving but let’s call the holiday what it really is.

A few years ago, a friend of mine spent August through January in Europe and called me on Thanksgiving, very much depressed they didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. Despite his best efforts, he could not convince these Europeans to take a day off from work (and the Friday after) cook turkey and stuffing, watch some sports and fall into a food-induced coma.

But even worse than not having an Eating Day, how does everyone in Europe know when to begin celebrating the Christmas Holiday? Having Eating Day lets everyone know it is ok to slough off work, kick back and not really feel guilty about not getting anything done between Eating Day and New Year’s. 

So why not call it Thanksgiving and work on making that a holiday around the world? Because Thanksgiving is the American holiday. Eating Day would be the WORLD’S holiday. After all, we tried exporting democracy and look how that turned out.

So, Happy Eating Day everyone!

Posted by email from rufus’s posterous

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Disappearing males?

This is an interesting video and it appears as if males are disappearing. The video concludes that that is is becasue of the chemicals we’re producing, but as a male of the canine species, I’d like to posit another theory:

Mommybloggers

Ok, not specifically mommybloggers, but everything they represent. The mommies have all bonded into this huge economic and marketing force that has diverted much of the scientific research dollars on disease and such to things like breasts cancer and away from colon cancer, protate cancer and various other things men die from.

Almost two full generations of men have been emasculated by this “mommyblogging” force into believing men are not really valuable unless they get in touch with their feminine side. Limiting sperm count in college-aged, sex-crazed boys has got to be a good thing, right? Men who have kids should celebrate the fact that they got a girl, and another and another.. even though they really wanted a boy. But, they will never say that for fear of losing the single testicle mommybloggers allow them to keep.

Women really no longer need that many men in society because they can store sperm for generations to use when they are ready. In fact, we can cut down men to half their current population and really not affect our viability as a species.

But, I’m just one puppy and my view of this issue may be colored just a little by my “procedure” that left me a little less manly.

Posted by email from rufus’s posterous

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Merry season!

Joe does not really care what you call the upcoming season of giving stuff to other people, but he wants you to know that you will NOT be getting a catalog in the mail. This is your only source for Plain Joe Stuff. (Be sure to catch the out takes at the end.)

Visit PlainJoe.com for all your Merry ———– gifts.

Posted by email from rufus’s posterous

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