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Archive for July, 2007

Monkey Poo

I read a very thought-provoking article this morning. It's by Jakob Nielsen (a tough name to spell!). Before you read further, please check it out:

As with most of Jakob's writing, this recent article is technical, dry as a bone, humorless as a security guard, and has a HUGE FONT, so it's a little annoying to read. Also, Jakob has a tendency to talk mostly to himself and people like him (if any exist) rather than to the "little people" in the world. If you've ever read any of the "Head First" books, Jakob's writing is pretty much the opposite, at least in terms of snazziness. If Head First is MTV, then Jakob Nielsen is a sermon. Not that sermons are bad, mind you, but, um… they can get a little boring if you are not in the mood.

I'm usually not in the mood for Jakob's topics. Sure, I might be able to reap some benefit from studying every word of his usability testing analysis sermons… But usually I just skim 'em, make exaggerated snoring sounds (if I'm feeling hyper), and then close.

However, occasionally Jakob says something interesting, something that "clicks" with me. And those moments are enough to keep me subscribed to his mailing list. And also enough to make me buy his book too (though I much prefer Zeldman's style).

Anyway, today's article was one of the neat ones. Basically, Jakob called bloggers monkeys. Not directly, but the implication was obvious, as was Jakob's disdain for blogging in general. I'm definitely with him on that; I feel huge disdain too. Bloggers are like monkeys who sling poop on the walls and then frame it in a blog template and call it "art". Well, Jakob didn't say that, but I do.

Okay, to be honest, I only actually skimmed the article, but caught enough of the gist to appreciate what he was saying, which is basically this: if you don't have anything useful to say, shut the f— up.

Of course, Jakob didn't put it in such colorful, attention-grabbing terms. Instead, he buried his point in boring charts and boring paragraphs and boring numbers. Zzzz…

Well, I call his presentation "boring" because I'm stupid, at least compared to Jakob. My babbling on this blog and my musical babbling (as Tripecac) are monkey poo self-portraits, and I don't even bother to frame them nicely. I guess the one thing I have going for me is my sense of humor. Take away the monkey poo references and you're left with… um… well… just monkey fart references and they aren't as funny.

So anyway, the reason I keep mentioning monkeys (and their scatological splashings) is that I found Jakob's [apparent] anti-blogger snobbery refreshing and amusing; finally, he's acting human!!! And I agree with him! We should just shut up if we don't have something useful to say.

So why is it so hard to shut up???

This blog is monkey poo, and if you're reading it, then you're smelling monkey poo, and the monkey poo particles are going in your nose and sticking to the surface of your throat and lungs, and some of your cells start absorbing bits of monkey poo, and the monkey poo becomes part of you.

p.s. I sure wish Jakob would shrink those fonts a bit!

Tripalot Swallows UVa

Last week, I revamped all my UVa pages. I had written them in grad school (1997-1999). Most have to do with my classes, but some are about topics I liked at the time (such as neural networks). These pages looked very, very old school. Horrendously so. Full of bad links, out-of-date info, and [gasp!] email addresses. Yuck!

So I rewrote them in xhtml + css, added headers, footers, and navigation, and generally spiffied up the design. I also made sure I could run a mirror of those pages on, in case UVa finally kicks my pages off. And I updated some copy too. To correct grammer and spellings and, punctuationing; get it? Anyway, it took me a few days.

After doing all that work, I decided to go all the way and design the nav and links specifically for Tripalot. I then redirected the pages on UVa to corresponding urls on Tripalot.

Thus ended my dependency on UVa for hosting. Hooray! What's Tripalot gonna swallow next?

Wordpress 2.2.1

Installing Wordpress 2.2.1 went without a hitch (so far).

So why blog about it?

Ummm…  I'll try to address that in my next post.