Recently in Geek Category

Many ad-driven sites have photo galleries. They're great because they garner easy impressions because the uses must advance (click) through to each next photo, turning one visit into 10 (or more) impressions.

I was logged into my "" home-page-portal-thing (in which I encountered another misfortune/bug I can blog about later) where I followed a link to a "Bit Kit" photo gallery showing off various cases for carrying and storing drill bits.

The slide show navigation did a wonderful job of setting the expectation that there would be 10 related photos in this gallery. I clicked and clicked my way through the gallery, each click confirmed the expectation... "Slide 1 of 10", -CLICK- , "Slide 2 of 10", ect...

For me, the final photo in a photo gallery is particularly fun to anticipate as sometimes It's the climax of the gallery and I'm often disappointed when it isn't. The concluding photo in this photo gallery was an anti-climax if anything. It was a freaking Advertisement.

IMHO, a site's objective from a usability perspective is to give the user a predictable experience. You build up expectations through consistent design and functionality and then with every new page and every user interaction the site confirms the expectation, the product being a predictable site.

It is dishonest to build that expectation that with each next click a new photo in the gallery will appear and then, on the final photo, rub the user's nose in the fact that they (the user) just put a few advertiser dollars in the site owner's pockets.

UI Blunders

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I've made my share of design blunders and other mistakes on the web, but those are for you to blog about.

As a result of my graduating from UHD with a Bachelor of Business Administration (B.B.A.) in CIS I benefited from a few graduation presents. One in particular was a $25 gift card to Barnes & Noble. Spending it at their online store was a 2 hour ordeal. Partly due to the fact that I didn't know what I wanted and partly due to the fact that their site is a navigation nightmare. B&N's design blunders inspired this post, below are a few User Interface and/or design blunders found recently on the web.

Be Consistent

Be consistent. Either hyperlinks are underlined or they aren't. I didn't realize that there were any pages after "10". First because the "Next" button is so far away from the last page, "10", and secondly, because "Next" didn't appear to be. hyperlinked. Also, give your users a preview, show them that pages 11, 12, and 13 exist if they do, lead them on a little.
B&N Page Navigation

Make Sense

There aren't 10 items on *this* page.

B&N Items per Page

Protection by Limitation

This is one way to thwart would-be crackers... don't allow *anyone* to use *special* characters. That's taking the easy way out and potentially restricting some to not use one of the dozen passwords they already know.

SQL injection

More password weirdness

Did a DBA make the decision to only allow 12 characters in my password? Again, now I've got to remember one more password to comply with another site's bizarre password criteria.

Password Limits

White Space

I never knew the dentist office could be so fun!!!! White space is key here. The text describes a different picture, but isn't a little too close to this picture?


dentist picture gallery

The same image "zoomed out" a bit.

Image Gallery and White Space

Bugs & More Bugs

I had to unsubscribe from Dave's feed due to this issue. The only way to mark all of Dave's feeds as read is to first read ALL my other unread feeds, click on "All Feeds", then mark my complete repository of links read. Clicking on Dave's folder, or subscription alone wouldn't do it.

Google Reader

"5" gets singled out.

Pagination at

Is that debugging code? What's up with the curlies around the pages? I hope this is a bug and not a cryptic feature.

More B&N Navigation

All images used in this post can be found in my "UI Blunders" flickr set.

The early days

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Here's a screenshot from my work pc from back in the day

Those were the good 'ol days. This desktop represents nothing to you, but to me it encapsulates so much of what I loved about the web. There was something so intriguing to the web back then, it was a bit of a mystery, almost magical. Every day held something new, I went to work with anticipation.

Today the web is work, it's life.

The web is too predictable these days. I miss the days when Josh Davis, Gmunk, Mike Cina, and the other usual suspects of the era were churning out jaw-dropping designs or new flash techniques every other day, things that I couldn't have dreamed of.

I'm ready for something new, something fun. Or has our web grown up? Are those innocent, fearless years packed with excitement and ground-breaking firsts behind us? Maybe it's just my perspective, and the ear I speak of was my personal technological awakening.

I desperately want to believe that the web can return to what I once perceived it to be. I want the innovation to continue, I want to feel like I'm on the frontier again, looking at uncharted territory. Perhaps the key is in the belief; believing that the frontier is still there, and enjoying the journey of searching for it.

How to Feel better about yourself in 20 min.


Hang out in #php and realize how much you really do know.

Worst Phisher Ever



Rails turns 3


DHH announces 3 years of Rails being open to the public.

Is rails only 3? Why does it feel like it's been around forever?

I couldn't remember exactly when I first started dabbling with Ruby, but I first wrote about Ruby back in Nov 2004. The first mention of rails here on the site was back in July of 2005.

It was shortly after my posting in July 2005 that I really ramped up on my rails skills. I have a few client apps floating around the web, along with a few other rails projects running out in the wild, but I really had thought that I would have had done more with Ruby/Rails than I have in the last +2 years.

The sad fact is that the MORE my employment responsibilities have leaned towards that of a full-time programmer (which I currently am) the LESS time I've had to dabble with emerging technologies or just experiment with ones I am familiar with.

It's not that my interest in programming decreases the more I program for a living, the last few years have just been EXTREMELY busy with school, work and freelance.

If I can work next semester's schedule correctly, then yesterday will mark my last day in a college class room. This semester doesn't end until Aug 7th, but our final that day can be taken anywhere (online).

So, with my hardest class out the way, and only 2 courses to go I expect to have much more time to dedicate to doing the tinkering I miss so much as well as post here more frequently.


YAPC is winding down... It's the last day of the conference proper and tomorrow begins the master's courses. I'll be in Randal's Perl Best Practices and Persistent Perl Data during Thursday and Friday. I'm really excited to get 2 days worth of face time with the merlyn.

The very same merlyn is responsible for documenting my presence there too. I came without a camera this year, However, even if I had of brought it (and I could have, I went home each night) I wouldn't have had 1) time to use it or 2) space in my backpack to store it.

Now that I've been positively identified at YAPC I'll have to come up with a different alibi :)

Both shots are of me checking people in at Sunday's pre-check-in.

Looks like my hand-drawn signage made it online too...

Here's a link to all flickr photos tagged yapcna2007.



Does this ever happen to you?

Someone with a vaguely familiar screen name IM's you, "Is that you, _name_?". You reply, "Yes it is! Who is this?" . You wonder if it's an old friend or a past co-worker, you recognize the name, but can't associate anyone to it. You wait.   ... and wait ...   but never get a response.

Ugh. Not a good feeling. Good thing life goes on :)



I just finished a kid's book on electricity, "More Wires & Watts" by Irwin Math. I'm not sure where my recent interest in electronics has come from, but I'm totally hooked! I want to start experimenting, building small projects, and tinker till my hands fall off.

Photo by jeangenie.

YAPC::NA 2007


I can't believe that we actually got it! YAPC will be in Houston next summer. I really thought that the summer heat would work against us, but I guess it's not that big of a deal to everyone else. Part of me wanted an excuse to go to Boston, but instead it looks like we'll be planning a YAPC in stead.

Let the fun begin!



Maybe I've been living under a rock, but I've never seen this extension before:

It's a firefox side-bar with css, xhtml, rails, and php documentation right in your browser!


n days till YAPC::NA in Chicago!


I'm so excited to be going to YAPC this year!

I wrote a little script to count down the days till YAPC chicago. Being a Perl conference I wrote a perl script to write JavaScript :-) I know... I made it harder on myself than I had to, but how could I not do it in Perl?!?!

This javascript just has one function that returns the days till YAPC (or 8am on June 26), it's called days2yapc().

Place this in your (x)HTML:

<script src="" type="text/javascript" language="javascript"></script>

After calling it you could do something like this:

document.write( Math.floor(days2yapc()) + ' days till YAPC in Chicago.');

or have some fun with images like this:

for(i=1; i<Math.floor(days2yapc()); i++) {
  document.write('<img src="" />');	

The first example would output this:

The second example would output this::

Have fun.

I've found that Math.round() works better than Math.floor

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