Design across multiple platforms

LukeW had a nice observation about the role of  muscle memory in design across multiple platforms.

One a side note: I have recently played around with Android devices and realized Apple made very good use of muscle memory in design its virtual keyboard.  The keyboard layout switching is placed at the bottom left corner; hence I have used it without thinking about it at all.

iPhone keyboard: big and at the corner

While in the Android device I had, the switching key is the third key from the bottom left corner, this design force me to looking for the key every single time I want to use it.

LG Optimus: small and not at the corner

What a CEO does

A CEO does only three things. Sets the overall vision and strategy of the company and communicates it to all stakeholders. Recruits, hires, and retains the very best talent for the company. Makes sure there is always enough cash in the bank.

Fred Wilson

Thơ sưu tầm

Mình không thích thơ nhưng thỉnh thoảng đọc một số bài cũng thấy hay.


Em ngược đường, ngược nắng để yêu anh
Ngược phố tan tầm, ngược chiều gió thổi
Ngược lòng mình tìm về nông nổi
Lãng du đi vô định cánh chim trời

Em ngược thời gian, em ngược không gian
Ngược đời thường bon chen tìm về mê đắm
Ngược trái tim tự bao giờ chai lặng
Em đánh thức nỗi buồn, em gợi khát khao xanh

Mang bao điều em muốn nói cùng anh
Chợt sững lại trước cây mùa trút lá
Trái đất sẽ thế nào khi mầu xanh không còn nữa
Và sẽ thế nào khi trong anh không em?

Em trở về im lặng của đêm
Chẳng còn nữa người đông và bụi đỏ
Phố bỗng buồn tênh, bờ vai hút gió
Riêng chiều nay – em biết, một mình em ….

Bùi Sim Sim

Revenge of the Introvert

“Link”: via “”

Some interesting advice for introverts.

Usability in big systems

Windows 7 has improved greatly from the previous versions in term of the overall user experience. There are many nice touches, for example, the show desktop icon is moved to the right-hand corner of the supperbar which means the bottom right corner of the screen. This design make use perfectly of the “Fitts’ Law”:

The show desktop icon
Corners are the easiest places to reach because they have infinite dimensions.

However, it’s hard to get the usability right for big systems. Yet, Windows 7 has many user interfaces in which the usability is weak. One UI which I find hard to use is the Edit System Variable dialog; this dialog has not been improved in the Windows 7 redesign. Normal users don’t use this dialog often. The main users are technical people: programmers, system admins, etc. People come to this place to edit environment variables like PATH, HOME, CLASSPATH, etc.

the value edit field is just too small

The values of these variables are usually text strings comprise of directory paths. For instance, a typical PATH variable will look like this:

bq[fr]. %SystemRoot%\system32; %SystemRoot%; %SystemRoot%\System32\Wbem; %SYSTEMROOT%\System32\WindowsPowerShell\v1.0\; c:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\Roxio Shared\10.0\DLLShared\; C:\Program Files (x86)\QuickTime\QTSystem\; C:\home\programs\android-sdk-windows

Obviously, people need to scan through the value of a variable before editing such as removing or adding a directory path. In the current dialog, the variable value field provides very little space to show the content. It has been painful and frustrated to edit variables like PATH or CLASSPATH. I usually have to do select-all and copy the value to Notepad to inspect the value.

One cheap and quick fix is to make the textfield (of variable value) resizable. Resizable textfields are used widely nowaday when users need to work with unknown-length texts. The proposed design look like this:

The users can now resize the textfield to have a better look at the value if they need to; the overall look and feel of the dialog remains the same, hence the new design familiar to existing users. Additionally, in term of the development cost I believe this change is cheap.

To have good usability for big systems is really hard, there are too many UIs, workflows, user cases to consider. And keep in mind, all changes need to be done with in a time frame and a budget. I am thinking of a more “open-source”: approach to the design and usability issues might help.

The mean does matter

bq. The desire to force upon the people a creed which is regarded as salutary for them is, of course, not a thing that is new or particular to our time. New, however, is the argument by which many of our intellectuals try to justify such attempts. There is no real freedom of thought in our society, so it is said, because the opinions and tastes of the masses are shaped by propaganda, by advertising, by the example of the upper classes, and by other environmental factors which inevitably force the thinking of the people into well-worn grooves. From this it is concluded that if the ideals and tastes of the great majority are always fashioned by circumstances which we can control, we ought to use this power deliberately to turn the thoughts of the people in what we think is a desirable direction.

bq. Probably, it is true enough that the great majority are rarely capable of thinking independently, that on most questions they accept views which they find ready-made, and that they will be equally content if born or coaxed into one set of beliefs or another. In any society freedom of thought will probably be of direct significance only for a small minority. But this does not mean that anyone is competent, or ought to have power, to select those to whom this freedom is to be reserved. It certainly does not justify the presumption of any group of people to claim the right to determine what people ought to think or believe. It shows a complete confusion of thought to suggest that, because under any sort of system the majority of people follow the lead of somebody; it makes no difference if everybody has to follow the same lead. To deprecate the value of intellectual freedom because it will never mean for everybody the same possibility of independent thought is completely to miss the reasons which give intellectual freedom its value. What is essential to make it serve its function as the prime mover of intellectual progress is not that everybody maybe able to think or write anything but that any cause or idea maybe argued by somebody. So long as dissent is not suppressed, there will always be some who will query the ideas ruling their contemporaries and put new ideas to the test of argument and propaganda.

_F.A. Hayek – The Road to Serfdom (Eleven: The End of Truth)_

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu vừa là một môn võ thuật vừa là một môn thể thao đối kháng, thường được viết tắt là BJJ. BJJ tập trung vào các kỹ thuật vật và kỹ thuật chiến đấu dưới mặt đất. Môn võ này được phát triển từ môn Judo vào đầu thế kỷ 20. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu cho phép người có kích thước nhỏ bé tự vệ lại sự tấn công của kẻ to khỏe hơn bằng cách sử dụng kỹ thuật khóa khớp, chẹn cổ. BJJ có thể tập với võ phục (gi) hoặc không võ phục. Luyện tập đối kháng chiếm vai trò quan trọng trong luyện tập.