Archive for September 24th, 2007

Glaringly obvious usability omissions

SuSE actually has a usability dpt, and yet some obvious things are slipped through and never get fixed. Check this SuSE 10.3 screenshot and look at its “start” menu. The headers “Favorite applications and “Recent applications” are not bold and they have no soft background color behind them, making it extremely difficult for the eye and brain to figure out what is what quickly enough. The brain has to spend extra calories to work on that menu. That portion of the screen just looks a mashup of text rather than distinguishable items.

Same goes for the Gnome Control Center which I filed a bug report about it a year ago, and it hasn’t been fixed either. And we are talking about a 2 minute fix that would really help out usability. A fix that it’s so glaring obvious to me…

Update: Here’s my take on SuSE’s start menu. To me, this looks much easier to digest and sort out in my brain. Update 2: Mockup updated.

New drug

My doctor put me on a new (expensive) kind of a drug this week. This is my last chance of getting healthy. If this drug doesn’t work either, I am done trying to fight my painful peptic health problem (scientists still have no clue what it exactly is, although there are theories). This is my last chance, as we are running out of medical options. If it won’t work either, I think it takes having children out of the equation.

Beagle vs Tracker

Tracker is the new favorite indexed search engine for Gnome, while Beagle seems to have fallen behind in development speed lately. Especially after Ubuntu chose Tracker over Beagle, I think that was the final straw. I got to say that Tracker feels “lighter” than Beagle in usage, even if it’s not as sophisticated as Beagle yet in the kind of searches it does.

One thing that I don’t like on Tracker is that while I can use the up and down arrow keys to select different result items, I can’t use the left and right arrow keys to move between the results and category views…

Updated Leopard requirements to exclude 800MHz systems

Just weeks ahead of its public launch, Apple Inc. has updated the minimum system requirements for its next-generation Leopard operating system to exclude 800MHz PowerPC-based Macs, AppleInsider has learned.

IMO, any PowerPC Mac that’s below 1.2 Ghz is unusable with the web. Which why I am forced to have JS and Flash completely disabled on my 867 Mhz G4 Powerbook — otherwise it’s useless. Maybe Apple didn’t want people to have this kind of experience with their Macs and so they decided to not support Leopard with the 800 Mhz systems. On the other hand, I get this slowness with Tiger too, so I don’t think that this was the driving force behind the decision. More over, I heard of people running Leopard on much slower Macs and it worked fine.

Taking all these points into account, it makes me believe that Apple simply wants more of your money, and doesn’t want to spend the engineering time to optimize further Leopard for PowerPCs — let alone asking Adobe to optimize their damned Flash 9 PPC port which brings my Mac to its knees and stops registering clicks after a few seconds (no matter what browser I use).