Wednesday, 31 January 2007

flickr forcing users to switch to a yahoo id

flickr is one of my favourite web apps in the world, but they've totally p***ed me off today by sending an email saying I HAVE to switch to a yahoo id signin by 15th March.

This is really annoying - I've always used my email address as my flickr login - dead easy to remember! Because I've never had a yahoo account, all the id's that are good for my name are gone, and I can't use my email address either. So I'll have to get some random thing that I'll never remember. As an old skool user of flikr that's had a pro account for ages, I'm grumpy. Hope you're listening flickr/yahoo!

So now I have google logins, yahoo logins, microsoft logins, all my logins at work and home, webmail logins, yadda yadda yadda. The list is getting REALLY long. Doesn't really matter on my personal laptop, where I don't mind firefox storing my logins, but anytime I'm away from that I have to try remember my logon. And if my laptop dies I'm stuffed again... have to go around every site and get my logins sent/reset. Huge usability issue!

If only everyone would implement an open identity type of solution, where I can log in with my one open identity username/password, and logging into the seperate sites is taken care of in the background.

Grrrr.. I can only see this getting worse and worse in the future as more and more stuff goes online. And I can't see my memory getting much better in the future!

Well, at least they're honest!

Readin my rss feeds, and came across a job posted in one of them. Here's one of the job description items:
: On occasion, answering the telephone and making tea.

I like it! More job descriptions like that please! :)

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

It's cold outside...

Got our first winter snow today. And half of the UK seems to shut down!

It seems really strange that Britian is much warmer and milder than it was 40 years ago, yet the trains and transport system can no longer cope with even a 2 inch snowfall. Almost every tube line that has overland sections had either delays or was suspended (due to 'adverse weather conditions' on some lines!), mainline trains were stopped, and countless crashes on roads that hadn't been gritted (or maybe just drivers who just ignore the ice and carry on driving at full speed..?).

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

stuck in the middle with you...

I keep coming across this one really annoying *bug* (?feature?) in lotus notes, and it annoys me so much I thought I'ld have a little rant about it :)

In a meeting scheduled by someone else, if you accidently hit 'Request Information' button, you get a new memo open up addressed to the scheduler that you can't cancel... The options all either send the message, or send you back to the message (see the attached screenshot). What is needed is the 'No' button to trash the draft memo, rather than send without comments or something.

The only way I've found to trash the memo without looking like a total retard and sending out emails is to kill the lotus notes process. Pretty drastic! If I'm missing something, let me know. Otherwise IBM, PLEASE PLEASE fix this issue...!

[Lotus Notes v 6.5.4]

Edit: Note, I'm not picking on Lotus Notes for any reason than it's the piece of software I use the most every day, and it's really frustrating me --> email/calendaring/groupware software should be quick, easy and intuitive to use. Otherwise it's just reducing my productivity and increasing my stress levels }:[

Monday, 22 January 2007


When working in government (and sometimes private) business in NZ, there is an almost ingrained concept called 'smoko' that I am starting to miss.

Often known as morning/afternoon tea break (and I guess 'smoko' is a bit of an archaic term, given the anti-smoking sentiment in NZ!), it's basically a semi-enforced 30min break at 10am and 3pm, usually in a common room somewhere. It probably has it's roots in the days when tea ladies physically served the tea, so if you weren't there, you missed out. In the government research labs I worked at in Wellington, smoko was something that everyone usually went to unless you were in the middle of an experiment/procedure that you couldn't put down, and it became less of a tea break, and more of somewhere to collaborate with other lab groups. A lot of decisions (formal and informal) were made, and 'political' type stuff (as it's a lot about who you know in the NZ science community) went on. It also helped with time management, as the day was split into four managable sections rather than two long ones - in my role as a research assistant, it made my life easy in planning what tasks I could fit in each of those four segments.

Whereas in the UK from what I've seen - working in both software houses, and teams that provide internal software services to various different business (finance, ecommerce, travel, local government), tea breaks either don't happen, or consist of someone in the team getting everyone their tea - so you rarely move from your desk unless you're in a meeting, lunch, or it's your turn for the coffee/tea round. And as a contractor, I've seen some employers go as far as trying to make contractors clock in and out for their 'smoko' breaks - even when they're a bona-fide cig smoker off for their 5 min fag out the back in some smelly alley way next to the rubbish bins yeuck!

I think we should campaign to bring back smoko! I think we all need more social interaction with our colleagues, and time away from our desks - possibly helping to prevent OOS/RSI, and sometimes even increasing productivity.

[Image from flickr - creative commons licence. Thanks Nick.]

Saturday, 20 January 2007

Colibri - quicksilver for windows

Just found Colibri and am running it on my work PC (doesn't need admin rights to install, yay!). It's kindof like quicksilver (which I LOVE on my mac) for windows - not as fully featured, but does the basics. Doesn't have much 'OS' integration tho which I use a lot on my mac (empty trash, reboot, log out etc) as far as I can tell, tho that functionality might be hiding somewhere.

But it's great for simple things like launching google searches, start up apps, controlling volume, open up some system prefs, all with a coupla keyboard strokes.

ie to search google:
- hit ctrl+space to get the colibri dialog to open
- type goo (by then it's worked out i'm lookin for google)
- hit tab
- type the search term
- hit enter
And it opens the default internet browser and runs the google search. Easier than all that mouse clickin and tabbin around.

Looks like customising search paths etc is a bit ugly, as there is no nice interface to doing this yet - have to install sql lite browser and modify the sql db entries which is fine for someone like me, but impossible for the 'average' business user. They have an active community forum - will have to do a bit of reading and see whats goin down.

Can also be installed on a usb key - so the user database(s) are installed there too. That's a nice feature.

I found a nice theme to run also- 'tordo'. The default one is fine however.

[found via lifehacker]

Thursday, 18 January 2007

latest stock pic

latest pic up in my stock library

Buy it from these sites
- photosights (pay per photo)
- shutterstock (subscription)

fowd conference

Details for the future of web design conference in london (april 18th) just got announced.

Looks kinda interesting - lots of talks by designers from websites that are all pretty much 'web 2.0' type stuff (flickr, moo, 37signals). Will have to look through the other speakers sites and see if they are designing for different channels - some e-commercey type sites or enterprisey type ones would be interesting to listen to also.

What would be interesting is designing for intranets - as from what I've seen, enterprise intranets/wikis/CMS type systems/web based interfaces are makin inroads into large organisations, and most that I've seen are pretty ugly! I'ld be interested in hearing from someone who has successfully mixed good design with a usable/friendly UI and yet still integrated with the whole 'corporate' look and feel.

I don't get it...

Came across this summary of an article on StickyMinds today:

EBay's PayPal unit said a number of users had problems transferring money from their PayPal accounts to their bank accounts on Sunday and Monday. Amanda Pires, a PayPal spokeswoman, said a dedicated team was still trying to solve the problem on Monday afternoon. Pires said eBay was not sure what caused the glitch. "We are focused on fixing it, not diagnosing it," she said.

I really don't get that quote from the ebay spokesperson --> how can they fix an issue with their software, without diagnosing what the problem is? Sounds like a 'hack and slash' software development methodology - 'lets just mess around until it works like it should', rather than finding out what the problem actually is. I hope that quote was taken totally out of context :). And remind me never to be a spokesperson for any company!

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Kia Ora to you to, flickr

The welcome message on flickr today is rather appropiate for a kiwi like me :)

Tuesday, 9 January 2007


Over christmas, we stayed up in the Peak District and did some rambling.
Maps of our two walks are up on kurv's flickr photostream :: first one around Hathersage was a 3 mile walk, second around Froggart and Curbar was 6 miles.