A Horrible UX Experience

A friend had asked me a question about Flipboard, so I needed to install it on my phone. No big deal, this is what I do. I set up my account, played around with the app, tried to give as credible and useful of an answer as possible and, since it is a nice interface and I could possibly see using it at some point in the future, I left it installed.

After a week of getting notifications, I finally got tired of notifications from the app so I popped open the app, went into the not very obvious settings, found the Push Notifications, unchecked all the boxes (no, no uncheck all option, or a disable notifications switch) and carried on with my day.

Oddly, I kept getting notifications.

No big deal. Bugs happen. Let me just go report this to them.

So began the descent into madness.

Let’s take a look at what you see when you open up Flipboard, at least on Android.
Screenshot_20160820-223605Now, as you can see, it isn’t exactly clear that there’s settings anywhere, at least, not for those who might not be technical of mind.

Typically, you’d expect to see a gear icon, or a hamburger icon, or even the word Settings.

But, you know, that person icon in the upper right, that looks pretty recognizable.

Probably has my settings behind it under my profile. That’d make perfect sense. Let’s tap on that.














Screenshot_20160820-223610There’s the Settings icon I’d expect, that little gear. Perfect!

Zero followers? That’s kind of sad. But then, it isn’t like I’m using this app.

Right. Let’s go report these notifications that I’m still getting so they can eventually fix it.

Tappity tap tap tap on the gear and, lo…














Screenshot_20160820-223619Oh my god, so easy, right? Help & Feedback!

Help AND Feedback.

I can probably leave feedback there! WOO! Job’s almost done.
















Well, okay, this is a little odd. Not sure why the Android app is going to give me iOS or Web help, but, sure, I get it. If you’re doing a cross platform build, it might make sense to just put all the help in. Little sloppy, but, okay. Still not sure why the web help is going to be there, but… okay, Connect with Flipboard Support. Perfect. Exactly why I need.
















Screenshot_20160820-223643Uh. Well. Okay.

















Screenshot_20160820-223659Explaining what happens here is a bit more than just showing you a screenshot.

What you see here is a help screen. At the top if ‘If you’re using an iOS device, followed by this, followed by instructions if you’re on the web. Each section has an animated gif.

And, the end step it basically tells you is “Go back to the beginning, tap on Android, then tap that icon in the upper right.”

…What? I tapped on Connect with Flipboard Support twice just to be told that the Princess is in another Castle. I shouldn’t need to tap on Android to tell you I’m using an Android device. I’m using the device. Your app can tell this. There’s no reason to make your user tell you, just like there’s no reason that you can’t just make that first tap on Connect with Flipboard support actually, you know, connect you with Flipboard support.

Are you working on an app? Don’t do this. This is stupid.

Let’s Go Fishing!

It all started when a friend posted to a private facebook group linking to this Craigslist posting…


Sure, that’s creepy, but… not as creepy when I read a friends reply saying ‘Hey, that’s a realtor down here… http://www.bcre.com/agents/sam-smith/

It has been a while since I tried to play with someone, so… why not… A quick free stock image search later and I sent off a quick email.


Was I sloppy? Yes. I forgot my display name was a very ambiguous Rev JD. I also forgot to change the name of the stock photo. That might come back to bite me, but.. for now… we play the waiting game.


The Sides of the Scalia Vacancy

Wow, that sure got politicized real quick, but then, really, it should be. It’d be just as if he retired suddenly. It isn’t his death that’s politicized, it is the vacancy.

And really, that’s fine. It is a political position, at least in that it is a seat in government.

There seems to be three camps in the “Obama shouldn’t nominate anyone” parade.

Obama shouldn’t bother to nominate anyone because we’ll just block it.

You know, that’s fine. The constitution only gives the President the right to nominate, not the requirement for the Congress to approve it. If the end goal of this statement is ‘Don’t bother, it’s just wasting time,’ I can accept that as a valid statement. It might be pig-headed, mule-stubborn, and a whole bunch of jiggery-pokery with the rules, but, that’s just advice.

Obama shouldn’t nominate anyone because he’s a lame duck president.

This, this isn’t fine. I mean, sure, if it was January 3rd, I might be willing to side with you. Heck, if it was after the first Thursday in November (or, if it was after Dec 12th in 2000), I could even see my way to agreeing with you, regardless of who won the election, because that’s REALLY a lame duck President, and I see those last months of a presidency as the time when the West Wing should be running at the speed of Emergency Only While We Prepare Close Up Shop and Bring the New Stewards Up To Speed.

Obama CAN’T nominate anyone because he’s a lame duck president.

Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve actually heard anyone say this. I know I’ve heard shouldn’t and shouldn’t bother, but all the ‘Can’t’ seems to be coming from people saying what the other side is saying, not actually what the other side is saying.

Like I said, I don’t have a problem with shouldn’t bother, except in the issues it shows with our government. It really comes down to:

Person A: I am going to do this thing that I am legally entitled to do.

Person B: Yeah, well, we’re going to do this thing that we are legally entitled to do that will prevent you, so you might not want to bother.

And there isn’t anything wrong with that. Kinda. If you’re going to argue that the Congress shouldn’t bully the President like this, I want you to step back and think if the parties were reversed, would you still feel the same way? If so, I agree with you. If you don’t, then you’re being partisan.


So, I was sitting around, laughing about #YallQaeda taking over some bird preserve and then getting a bunch of dildos and candy dicks and complaining about it.

And I’ll be honest, this is an awesome image.

I even joked that, to appease his wishes of ‘no more dildos’, we send them butt plugs instead.

And when Max Temkin of Cards Against Humanity did what he did so well..

…well, I rejoiced.

But, you know, as I read something Cowboy Hat McChucklehead said in this article, I had a revelation.

“It’s sad that there are people who would spend this kind of money on this rather than spending it to do good in the world,” Ritzheimer said in the video.

He’s right.

So, here’s my plan.

Let’s donate money to causes that will piss them off.

In their name.

So they get thank you cards.

Let’s call this…. #InYallQaedasName. Give, tweet it out, point to this post. Let’s make this big. I have no idea if this is going to work, but, I’m going to try…

I’ll add more ideas as they come up, but lets start here:
Planned Parenthood (Nevada would be good, seeing as the Bundy’s reside there)
National Parks Foundation

This is not a moment, it’s a movement.

1/14 Edit:
Added National Parks Foundation to donation lists. So far, I’ve given $25 to both PP and NPF.

Time to Make the Donuts

So, a few weeks back, we had a wonderful visitor who was celiac (and had been) and, as Patricia has recently been diagnosed celiac as well (AND was avoiding gluten/soy), I wanted to make everyone a special little something.

Coincidentally Chef Steps, a wonderful little organization in Seattle that I’d love to work for if only I was smarter, had recently posted an old-fashioned donut recipe that I was pretty sure we could convert to not only Gluten Free, but dairy free as well.

Before we go too far, let’s look at they original recipe. Go on, go read it. You’ll be shocked at how easy it really is. The first time I made it, even counting the substitutions, the dough took about 30 minutes of work tops, and I’m slow.

They came out well, although it didn’t produce the burst top you expect out of an old fashioned, likely due to the GF dough.

Flash forward to now. I wanted something a bit more Christmas-y, that didn’t take much work, and would last for morning breakfast while my in-laws were in town. Something I could mix up when they got here, and we could just fry up a few donuts each morning.

Unless, of course, they ate almost all of them each time I made them.

Back when we were active on Cook Local, we had a wonderful little Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Roll recipe. Patricia wanted to make it for Christmas morning, but we were already looking at making an amazing lasagna, not to mention a paella for Christmas Eve.

So, let’s Dr. Frankenstein a little donut/pumpkin pie cinnamon roll mashup together, shall we?

First, lets look at the substitutions… and note that I’m doing a half recipe.

While Patricia is fine with butter, the sour cream had to go (why they don’t make Goat’s Milk sour cream, I don’t know) and the tofutti sour cream was out too. Fun fact, though, a small cup of plain non-cow Greek yogurt (Thank you, John Stamos), mixed with a teaspoon of lemon juice will give you a pretty accurate tasting sour cream. SCIENCE!

So, that subs out the sour cream. And to that, let’s add 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree.

That’s all the changes in the first step.

Step two, while you deal with the dry ingredients, the measure out the flour (I used Bob’s Gluten Free 1:1 Baking Flour), and then add in an extra third cup of flour to make up for the added wet from the pumpkin, as well as:

  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves


From this point on, the recipe is exactly the same. We tried glazing some, but it wasn’t the right flavor. Plain was spot on, and just dusting with powdered sugar was a fantastic sugar high and well worth the price of admission.

All in all, even if I never use the deep fryer for any other recipe, these donuts would be enough.


Star Wars: The Force MacGuffins

Right, this is going to be totally a spoilery post. I won’t even try to do anything more than put in a bunch of spaces and a gif so that people can not read it.



So, there’s been a bit of posts about the failings of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Take, for example, this post. Funny enough, nothing in that article bugged me really (apart from the bit about Phasma who really was underutilized, but we will see more of her I’m sure.

First, lets talk about things that I loved that I’m sure some people will hate:

C-3PO’s red left arm and Poe Dameron’s escape.

Personally, I loved the fact that they completely glossed over them. C-3PO might be covered in some of the official pre-TFA canon, but as for how Poe got off a relatively hostile planet (as in swarming with bad guys), while I’m sure it would make a great side story/comic book arc, I’m fine with it being ‘Why does it matter? He got off the planet. Period.’

I didn’t quite like the ending, but I still haven’t figured out why. It might simply be that it went on for too long. Maybe after so much noise and action, that amount of silence was off-putting.

But what I really didn’t like was the MacGuffin.

The map.

See, the map that they got had the location of Luke Skywalker on it.

But the stars present in that map didn’t match any known pattern of stars in the galaxy.

Except… when they finally figure it out, they only figured it out by putting it into a map of the rest of the galaxy that was hidden away in R2 or some storage unit somewhere.

The hell?

They’re able to make technology that can travel through hyperspace, shields that can block physical intrusion, space ships that can hold thousands of people, anti-gravity units that allow you to walk on the ship, but they can’t write an algorithm that would simply take the pattern of systems on the map and rotate the galaxy around until they found a match?

We have, on this planet, a piece of software that can take a song you are hearing and figure out what that song is, something that I had trouble figuring out how it would be done (although a friend gave me some tips as to how it would need to be done, and now I kind of get it), but they can’t map a 3-dimensional model to pattern match?


…My bosses, not so much.

Last night, after a few drinks, I mailed someone more sober than I that I felt we, as the curators of the Microsoft Developer ecosystem’s social media channels, should be doing something around Ahmed because tearing apart a clock and playing with its innards and building a new clock is the exact ethos that we should encourage.

This is the future. It is a young person, interested in technology, willing to explore it, and willing to build; to not just be a user, but to be a creator, an explorer, and a builder.

For that, he was arrested. If they hadn’t walked him out of the school in handcuffs, I’d be willing to bet this would have just disappeared from history. But they did, and it won’t.

Now, as I said, I mailed. And waited. And waited.

The response came.

To paraphrase..

I see where you’re coming from and you’re right, this would be in our wheelhouse, but, see, all the decision makers are at an offsite so I don’t think we could get anything done with any speed, so we’ll just skip this one. Any other week, sure.

Once twitter offered him an internship, I knew we were too late for that front, but hey, we still got a great research group and I’m sure we could do something. But fine, fine, fine.

And then, at 6p Pacific, our CEO announced a 75 million dollar investment in YouthSpark.

What is YouthSpark, you ask? “Microsoft YouthSpark expands youth programs for computer science education”

So to say I want to flip a table… That’s an understatement.

Can We Stop Using This Bill Gates Quote?

Measuring programming progress by lines of code is like measuring aircraft building progress by weight.
– Bill Gates

I’ve seen it quoted a lot.

It sounds right, on the surface, but if you think about it, is it really right?

I mean… Here, let me talk about a ‘bug’ some customers found way back when. A number of customers who had bought Microsoft Small Business Server were complaining that they didn’t get their Outlook discs in the package.

A large enough number that we had to make a procedure to get the people missing discs.

Over time, it was discovered that what happened was this. The company who was contracted to put together the SBS boxes weigh full crates, not individual boxes.

The weight of 30 copies of SBS doesn’t take into account if two Outlook discs are in 15 of the boxes but the other 15 have none.

A program doesn’t have a fixed number of lines that defines when it is complete. An airplane, on the other hand, does have a fixed weight (plus or minus) and, assuming you know the weight before and after each step, you can, in fact, measure the progress of building an aircraft by the weight of it, much like you can measure the progress of a box of software being put together by the weight of the box.

You want to teach what?

So, as I’m scrolling through Facebook, I come across the following advertisement.

Oh, she's cute, sure, let's see what this school is like....

So, if you know me, I’m looking to improve myself constantly, and I have a few projects on the burner that could use at least 3 of those topics… so I click through to the ad to see this horrible url:


You can click on it if you want, but, eh, why bother. See, when you go there, at the top of the page, you get a big form saying ‘Need Help(sic)? Speak with one of our advisors.” If you don’t believe me, see this nice screen shot:



So, okay, I don’t need help, I just want to learn data. You click on DATA and the page scrolls just a smidge and you get this:



If you click on the REQUEST MORE INFO link, it scrolls a smidge back up to that form you landed on in the first place.

Note that their first three code courses are all about web development, and two of the design courses are User Experience.

So, I figure, this must just be because they figure the Facebook people are simple folk and, as a result of that long URL showing that I came from Facebook, they’re going to hide the real information from me because it’d be confusing.

I do what any self-respecting Internet knowledgeable person would do and cut out all the crap from the URL and try to go to http://learn.generalassemb.ly.


I do not want these people teaching anyone web development or user experience, except maybe their own staff.

“To me, the sign of a good world building is if I want to see an official GURPs sourcebook so that I can play in the universe too…”