Matt Brundage

Archive for 2005

Sunday, 23 October 2005

Am I really the first to notice this?

Bugzilla #313438.

Saturday, 22 October 2005

Marcus Meier disc up for grabs

Marcus Meier — One Spirit I have Marcus Meier’s CD One Spirit available to the first person who contacts me with his/her mailing address. It’s actually not a bad album — all instrumentals, very acoustic-driven, and reminds me of something you’d want to play in an antique store or boutique. It was recorded, mixed and mastered at Dwelling Place Studios. Players include Dave Wiens, Luke Hendrickson, Josh Davis, Anna Brinkman, Art Lindholm, and Steve Freeman. Tracks: “His Light on my face”, “One Spirit”, “New Beginnings”, “Waiting”, “Classic C”, “Interlude”, and “Leaping Over the Mountains.” Total time: 46:09.

Marcus is also a member of Merchant Band, a group with Brit-pop and American rock sounds.

Monday, 10 October 2005

Barnes and Noble annoyance

One annoying aspect of B&N’S search bar is that the default search category is “Books”. In comparison, Amazon’s default search category is everything — “Amazon.com”. B&N users are automatically restricted in their searching. Amazon has left the default search at a broad level, and lets the user restrict the search as necessary. Amazon’s search is more versatile — it allows you to search by ALL categories at once. B&N doesn’t even let you do that — as far as I know. It may be a minor point, but it amounts to obfuscation on the part of the seller. The quicker customers can find what they’re looking for, the more likely they are actually stay and purchase and not surf away to other sites. Amazon knows this. Barnes and Noble is beginning to find this out.

Friday, 7 October 2005

Right On, Chuck

No on MiersKrauthhammer: Withdraw this nominee.

There are 1,084,504 lawyers in the United States. What distinguishes Harriet Miers from any of them, other than her connection with the president? To have selected her, when conservative jurisprudence has J. Harvie Wilkinson, Michael Luttig, Michael McConnell and at least a dozen others on a bench deeper than that of the New York Yankees, is scandalous.

Sadly, what qualifies Miers is her sex — if she were a man, Bush wouldn’t have given her a second thought. When O’Connor retired, it’s as if Bush were required to maintain a Supreme Court that is 22% female.

Monday, 3 October 2005

New Ceramic Tile!

Ceramic tileCeramic tileCeramic tile
I took off the entire day today to oversee the installation of new ceramic tile in my kitchen and bathroom. Over the weekend, my dad and Annie came over and helped me scrape up the old vinyl flooring. What a pain! It was worth it though, because it was old, yellowed, stained, and ugly. Good riddance.

The workers are coming back on Tuesday to do the grouting, put the bathroom door back on, move the appliances, et cetera.

Thursday, 29 September 2005

The Onion’s James W. Henley on the Iraq war

I know this article is a bit old, but for some reason it’s remained in my mind as the epitome of The Onion‘s peculiar brand of humor. An excerpt:

As a patriot and true American, my heart sings at the thought of the Pentagon, and the zealous, calculating measures undertaken by the proud military bureaucracy of this great superpower. I feel a surge of pride when I think about our high-tech GBU laser-guided bombs, capable of carrying a 2,000-pound warhead. I tied a ribbon around my tree for the safe return of our nation’s F-16s, because our military aircraft are instrumental to finishing our work in Iraq.

Source: I Support The Occupation Of Iraq, But I Don’t Support Our Troops

Monday, 26 September 2005

Bon Jovi and the Eighties

Jon Bon JoviI was sitting quietly at work last Tuesday afternoon when Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” came on the radio (a “classic rock” station, if you can believe it). I had somewhat of an epiphany, as if I were hearing it for the first time. It had probably been in the back of my mind since the mid-eighties, but Bon Jovi was never a band that I was really attached to.

I really didn’t listen to pop radio in my grade school years (mostly just oldies), and I have never been that big of a fan of eighties music. I was a teenager in the nineties — it was that decade’s music that provided the soundtrack to my life growing up. Hearing Bon Jovi again on Tuesday forced me to reconsider the cold shoulder I’ve been giving eighties music.

Tuesday, 20 September 2005

Human Diversity in Interactive Systems Development

When endeavoring to develop and create an interactive system, one must consider the diversity of people who may potentially interface with said system. All too typically, developers of interactive systems design for themselves. Their designs may seem perfectly logical to them, but may appear cumbersome — or even downright unusable — to certain segments of the population. Developers must be perpetually cognizant of the diverse needs, skill levels, handicaps, and mindsets of potential users.

When undertaking something as vast and complicated as, for instance, an operating system, the developers must consider the lowest common denominator — not in a strict numerical sense, but in terms of the skill-levels and competencies of a potential user base. Developers must leverage coding for this lowest common denominator with meeting — and even surpassing — the needs of experienced “power” users. A novice user shouldn’t have to spend minutes wading through documentation in order to accomplish simple tasks. The functions of an interactive system should be intuitive and fundamentally logical.

In addition to developing to a potential user base’s levels of expertise, systems developers must consider the physical and mental handicaps of users. As the Baby Boomers age, a growing number of computer users find themselves with less-than optimal vision. Crucial applications, such as web browsers and operating systems must be accessible to people with poor vision.

Correlatively, software programs and Internet content must also be accessible. In creating web content, web developers can ensure accessibility by 1.) Using relative (as apposed to fixed) font sizes, 2.) Using plain text instead of image-based text when possible, 3.) Providing alternate text for images, which is crucial for audible screen readers. (Screen readers cannot reliably determine the content of an image and must fall back to alternate text.), and 4.) Being cognizant of the contrast ratios of text color(s) and their corresponding background color(s).

Sunday, 18 September 2005

Subjunctive Mood

The subjunctive mood is not limited to the hypothetical. For instance, the clauses “it is important that you tell the truth” and “I suggest that we open the windows” express the subjunctive mood in the subordinate clauses. The subjunctive mood is still used frequently, albeit obliviously.

Hypothetical subjunctives are necessary to delineate from the past tenses of verbs. For instance, the If-clause “if I were a carpenter” expresses the hypothetical, while the If-clause “if I was a carpenter” expresses uncertainty about the past.

The Bedford Handbook notes that “in the subjunctive mood, there is only one past-tense form of be: were (never was).” (342) Bedford also acknowledges that the subjunctive “causes problems for writers” (342) (because at first, they don’t appear grammatical), is used less often than indicative or imperative moods (341), and was “once more widely used.” (343)

Examples of subjunctive mood

Source: Hacker, Diana. The Bedford Handbook – sixth edition. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2002.