djwonk

March 28, 2014 at 2:17pm

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Toggl, please eradicate your annoying pop-up messages

Dear Toggl,

You recently updated your time-tracking service. One of the changes includes some periodic and annoying notifications that slide up from the bottom of the screen. These notifications implore the user to act on such essential messages such as “Upgrade to Pro” and “Share the Love” — hardly things that a user cares about.

As soon as I figured how to turn them off, I did. I was a few minutes away from switching to another service, too. Why?

These notifications serve your company, not your users. These notifications distract users from their main tasks: doing work and quickly tracking it.

Such “dark art” techniques erode the utility of your user experience. They are the modern day equivalent of nagware. They are just as annoying as those silly countdown timers that are proliferating all over the web. Such visual devices distract our attention without benefit.

Surely your team knows that your users (like me) are multitasking and don’t appreciate unnecessary distraction?

Sincerely,
DJ Wonk

October 1, 2013 at 11:37pm

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Why is the USA so far to the right of other Western countries politically, both economically and socially? →

Nick M. Garcia’s answer grabbed my attention:

Worth a read. How you live, where you live, how many people you interact with is a key driver in how you view the world. This point really hit home: Put another way, people with unique or fringe interests have less chances that others in their area can reciprocate those interests.

July 31, 2013 at 1:21am

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Interactive Git Cheatsheet →

July 12, 2013 at 9:52am

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DuckDuckHack Squatting?

I just searched for “ruby gsub!” in DuckDuckGo. Apparently gsub! is a registered DuckDuckHack, so I got whisked away to the less-than-useful Greek Subtitles Project, which I am not going to link, intentionally. I can see why the creators of the site would do this! Still, one has to wonder how many greek movie enthusiasts want subtitle searching as compared to how many programmers want documentation about regular expressions!

So, is this the future of search? Goodbye domain name squatting, hello DuckDuckHat squatting.

Note: please consider this to be a work-in-progress. I have not investigated how DuckDuckHacks work yet.

June 30, 2013 at 8:30pm

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Some folks on Hacker News apparently did not appreciate my Perl humor. Maybe it hit too close to home?

I just posted two follow up zingers on the original thread. I’m probably just inviting more grumpster downvoting, but that will be part of the fun!

Some folks on Hacker News apparently did not appreciate my Perl humor. Maybe it hit too close to home?

I just posted two follow up zingers on the original thread. I’m probably just inviting more grumpster downvoting, but that will be part of the fun!

June 28, 2013 at 11:35pm

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Backfiring Self-Promotion

I just saw this on an open source project: “Why are you not following me on Twitter?”

Why not? Because you are an annoying self-promoter who writes “Why are you not following me on Twitter?”

I just submitted a Github Pull Request as a suggestion to stop this madness.

June 18, 2013 at 10:48am

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Packed with _THREE-DIGIT-NUMBER_ equations, this cutting-edge book introduces the latest advances in _ADVANCED_ theory, discusses their relevance to _BIG-PROBLEM_, and examines applications of _COOL-TECHNIQUE_ to _GNARLY_ and _GNARLIER_ problems.

— This is a winner book summary style, directly adapted from an Amazon book review summary. I converted it to mad-lib form. If you use this style, I guarantee I and others will want to buy your book.

June 17, 2013 at 6:29pm

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RocketLawyer: Broken Questionnaires, Broken Login, Clunky UI

Here is my experience with RocketLawyer. I’ve given them two tries.

When I incorporated my business with them, they signed me up for a ~$400/year plan without me realizing it. (They probably didn’t mention it, as I tend to notice large fees.) At the time, I just thought, “maybe it will be worth it.” About a year later, I haven’t been impressed with the value add given the cost. So I didn’t renew.

A few weeks ago, I needed to draft some independent contractor agreements. So I signed up again. The site does “look” nice on the surface. It creates the impression that the experience will be good. In my experience, that is skin deep. Today, I pulled the plug. Again. I don’t think I’ll be going back. Here’s why.

* The UI is clunky. Managing documents feels like a bad Windows program instead of a modern Web UI.

* Their systems have obvious problems. For example, I updated my email address, but I continued to get notifications to the old address weeks after.

* Content. The “document from questionnaire” idea is decent in theory — TurboTax has it down — but RocketLawyer hasn’t gotten it quite right yet. I’ve seen them generate errors in the generated document. So, proofread your documents and be ready to remove “ERROR” if the numbering is incorrect. How many other incorrect clauses are generated is unclear. When I noticed a problem, I contacted customer support, hoping to see corrections right away. I didn’t hear back quickly, unfortunately.

* If you have to modify the contract outside of the questionnaire, you can’t go back to the questionnaire. As a software developer myself, I can see that this is a non-trivial problem, but I also wish they would put some effort into solving it well.

* Today, the login page was broken. Customer support says it was for site maintenance. I’d call that unannounced site maintenance — right when I wanted to look over some documents. So, my conclusion is that RocketLawyer is not taking their online service very seriously — unfortunate considering that they seem to have sizable investment and the ability to do so.

Customer service, via chat, has been professional and kind. But I don’t the ship is going to move much unless customers demand more. I was a squeaky wheel, I admit.

I hope there are better alternatives out there. Maybe legal services are relatively overpriced and relatively underperforming in comparison to other online services. Maybe I’ll be disappointed by LegalZoom or whatever else is out there. But I’m definitely going to send a signal to a $400/year service that I expect more than mediocrity.

(I’m reposting this from my answer on Quora.)

Update: Customer Service says they’ll refund my annual plan on a pro-rated basis. I’m supposed to be on the lookout for an email.

May 28, 2013 at 11:50am

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OmniPain

OmniPlan 2 makes project management even more painless”. Seriously? Since when was project management painless?

May 27, 2013 at 11:56am

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Please don’t use this image if you want to summarize an interoperable technical infrastructure… especially when you are presenting to a technical audience. The gears… will… not… turn!

Please don’t use this image if you want to summarize an interoperable technical infrastructure… especially when you are presenting to a technical audience. The gears… will… not… turn!