iOS 5 has some good vibrations

At least, they’re good if you make them good! As pointed out by Glenn Fleishman on Twitter in these two tweets, in Apple’s newly-released iOS 5 for iPhone (and perhaps some of the other iProducts, but I’ve only looked on the phone and it really mainly makes sense there), you can go to Settings > General > Accessibility, Custom Vibration = On and then edit the vibration along with the ringtone whenever you edit a contact. Also, you can create your own “vibration” pattern “ringtones” of a sort once this setting is on, just go to Settings > Sounds and at the very bottom, you’ll see Vibration Patterns where you can dig down and select from various defaults or record your own.

Personally, my first attempt was my first name in Morse code, since it’s about all I remember from when I got my Amateur Radio license well over ten years ago (and I failed the code test, which I wasn’t planning on taking, and got my code-free Technician level license I was aiming for :-) Who knew that many years later I’d wish I’d learned Morse code better so I could more easily recognize callers by feeling my pocket vibrate? Definitely not me! (I did learn code decently well but visually and not audibly, and the translation was slow and painful, and difficult to un-learn and re-learn. Learn it the right way the first time!)

So I’ll probably not do too much with the custom vibrations, at least not ones containing secret Morse code (secret mostly from me). Glenn may far better with his luscious beats, which must mean he’s a better musician than I! But thanks, Glenn, for the custom vibrations tip. I also checked out the other “Accessibility” settings, which are pretty cool; I’ve heard of them before but hadn’t paid very much attention. Some options aren’t useful just for official “accessibility” reasons, so don’t be afraid to browse!

Stupidest Spam Email

OK it’s not the stupidest, plenty compete for that title and I won’t bother to judge. But, this spam email I got in my Gmail junk box is so ridiculous…throwing all the other poor Nigerian spammers under the bus. And then, of course, saying the same thing as all the rest…just had to share because it was so incredibly dumb:


Good day

I am Mrs. Janice Rowe, I am a US citizen, 48 years Old. I reside here in New Braunfels Texas. My residential address is as follows.10854 Crockett Court. Apt 30, New Brunets Texas, United States, am thinking of relocating since I am now rich. I am one of those that took part in the Compensation in Nigeria many years ago and they refused to pay me, I had paid over $20,000 while in the US, trying to get my payment all to no avail.

So I decided to travel down to Nigeria with all my compensation documents, and I was directed to meet Mrs. Janice Rowe, who is the member of COMPENSATION AWARD COMMITTEE, and I contacted him and he explained everything to me. He said whoever is contacting us through emails are fake. He took me to the paying bank for the claim of my Compensation payment. Right now I am the most happiest woman on earth because I have received my compensation funds of $7.500, 000.00 Moreover, Mrs. Janice Rowe showed me the full information of those that are yet to receive their payments and I saw your name as one of the beneficiaries, and your email address, that is why I decided to email you to stop dealing with those people, they are not with your fund, they are only making money out of you. I will advise you to contact Mrs. Janice Rowe.

You have to contact him directly on this information below.


Name: Mrs. Janice Rowe.
Phone: +234-7042481256

You really have to stop dealing with those people that are contacting you and telling you that your fund is with them, it is not in any way with them, they are only taking advantage of you and they will dry you up until you have nothing. The only money I paid after I met Mrs. Janice Rowe was just $420 for the paper works, take note of that.

As soon as you contact him he will send you the payment information which you are to use in sending the payment to him in order for him to obtain the document from the court of law there in Nigeria so that your fund can be transfer to you without any delay just the way mine was being transfer to me. Send him the following details if you know you are ready to make the payment so that as soon as he receive your information he will send to you the payment details for sending him the $420USD that is needed for him to get the document that is needed to make the transfer a successful one without any further payment.

Fill Out the information to him if you are ready to get your fund and also ready to make the payment.

Your Full Name:……………
Direct Phone:………………..

Once again stop contacting those people, I will advise you to contact Mrs. Janice Rowe
so that he can help you to deliver your fund instead of dealing with those liars that will be turning you around asking for different kind of money to complete your transaction.

Thank You and Be Blessed.

Mrs. Janice Rowe.
10854 Crockett Court. Apt 30,
New Brunets Texas.
United States of America

IT vs. Web Design vs. Web Development – they’re different!

A friend of mine, Nick Nicholaou, just posted a blog post about Web Development and IT – Are They The Same Thing? I started to leave a comment to expound upon his (correct) answer a bit because this is an area where I’ve done a bit of thinking. And then I realized, my comment is way longer than Nick’s post; perhaps I should move it to my own blog?

In his post, Nick says, “While at a conference last week it hit me that those who are not entrenched in IT (information technology) often don’t know there’s a difference between web development and IT.” What a true statement! I’m not sure why this confusion exists really, beyond people not paying attention (a common problem everywhere), although there are some similarities between the two and often one person does both (or some of both). And you must have IT infrastructure underneath a website for the hosting at least, so they are related, though IT for most websites isn’t even hosted on most organization’s internal infrastructure!

IT, by the way, is an initialism for Information Technology. This should be obvious, but we’re talking here about not knowing the difference between IT and website creation, so I’m not going to assume (which, as you may know, is not a good idea anyway)!.

Nick goes on to say that IT is an “applied science” and web development is an “applied art.” I think that’s good, using science/art terms; one (IT) is a creative position that happens to use a lot of technology (both in the creation and then in the hosting/setup of the result) and the other, while it involves creativity as far as creating solutions to problems with technology, consists much more of a defined process to find a solution to a problem or create and manage a technology platform for others to use for their own disciplines, and not creating content for public (or even captive audience) consumption.

Confusion happens because there are people who cross disciplines (sometimes well, often horribly) and because, as Nick mentions, systems set up in the IT world are then used to do web development/design as well a host it (though the hosting infrastructure is often outsourced, another confusion).

And hey, an issue I run into even more often is the difference between web design and web development. Again, because people cross disciplines (again, often poorly!) and don’t understand what is what. Design = visual layout and content creation, and human-computer interaction decisions. Development = creation of interactive websites by programming in various tools, including server-side scripting/programming, database interaction, and client-side programming such as JavaScript and HTML5, and even Flash.

A good designer is not automatically a good programmer (for web and other programming areas!) and vice versa. In fact I think one reason so many sites stink so horribly is the tendency for one person to do it all when they really are terrible at one of the two. I do know people who are excellent at both but they are uncommon, IMHO. And they often get bored with designing and programming websites themselves because they’re very smart and move on to more interesting and advanced things (one guy I know like this is getting his masters in Human-Computer Interaction Design here).

So, I would agree with Nick and argue that not only should IT and website creation be understood as separate functions done by (usually) separate people, or occasionally as two separate functions and activities done by the same person at different times (I’ve done this myself in the past!), but web design and web development should be thought of as separate, but symbiotic, functions that are best done by separate people in the best case, and by one talented person in rare circumstances. (Alternately, and commonly, a designer will use a previously developed tool, such as WordPress or another Content Management System, not having a separately commissioned developer for a specific project. However, these tools were created by web developers!)

My four year old computer repair boy

My son, 4, was talking to me before naptime today. He said, “I’m going to a friend’s house tonight to fix her computer, because it just won’t do anything. She just clicked on Google Chrome and nothing happens, so I’m going to go over there and fix it for her because she has an appointment tomorrow so she needs it fixed by tomorrow. She said, ‘I need it fixed by [son’s name] or David (me).'”

There was a bit more, but he kept talking long enough I think that’s all I remember (not uncommon) :-) Looks like I’m rubbing off quite well onto my mini-me! Too bad his imaginary friends would pay with imaginary money if he billed them, or I might have him start paying rent.

F.lux makes computer look better at night

It’s been around 2 years and 4 months since my last post here. A lot has happened. But I’ve decided (for now) to leave the old as-is, the layout the same (not that you’ve seen it recently to remember, if you’ve ever even been here before) and just dive right in. I’m going to be posting whatever random stuff I want to here, from cool computer software to my experiences assembling IKEA furniture for my home office (maybe). Let’s start with some cool software (freeware, so it’s extra nice).

The software is f.lux from Stereopsis, written by Michael Herf, the guy who wrote Picasa and sold it to Google. His wife is an artist and the process of lighting her studio and finding lots of information about light (probably more than you want to know) led to the creation of f.lux. What is it? A small program, available for Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems, that runs in the background and adjusts the color temperature of your monitor so it matches daylight during the day, and incandescent light at night, so the monitor matches your surroundings (you can customize some of this for your light sources). All you have to do is tell it where you are, but it even makes a good educated guess at that (I assume with IP geolocation and/or the timezone setting in your computer, I haven’t checked).

The whole thing is straightforward. Just install and run; tweak if desired. You can click for a quick preview of how the monitor will change over a 24-hour period. This is my second night trying it. After sunset, my monitor has a warmer color tone. It’s a little odd, but it doesn’t have the same glaring brightness to my eyes, and when I look at the TV over my laptop screen the laptop’s backlight doesn’t scream at me out of the corner of my eyes as much, it blends in better with the room. It was annoying enough in the past that I would usually shut the laptop lid while watching TV, but it didn’t bother me nearly as much tonight (I reduced the screen brightness down significantly from full as I usually do, as well).

It’s still a bit odd to see the cast of my screen look slightly different at night, but it’s so much more comfortable I’m pretty sure f.lux is here to stay. It’s free, easy to turn off (or disable for an hour with a checkbox), is automatic and unobtrusive. No real reason not to try it. Oh, and you can open up the advanced settings and adjust the color temperatures in case you work in fluorescent lighting instead of daylight during the day, for example.

And you can’t help but like a guy who in 2001 was ranting about how credit card offers were terribly annoying when made to look like important, urgent bills. That must mean he writes good software :-)

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