YouTube giving me Fitts's

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This is something that I've been experiencing for a while now:

Loading the player...

Yep, I can't control a mouse well enough to use YouTube.

Admittedly, this particular instance of me using the site's volume control is contrived and exaggerated, I have been experiencing off and on problems adjusting the volume on YouTube videos for a while. While this might be a classic example of Fitts's law, it is certainly related, and, not only do we have a small mouse target for the volume control, but it also changes size on us.

Given that the videos hosted on Youtube can vary quite a bit in volume and/or sound annoyance, I'd suspect that the volume control is used quite often. It would make sense to have it work well.

Canon 5D Mark III announced

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Canon-5D3.jpgCanon announced and unveiled the 5D Mark III earlier today. The camera has met with mixed optinions (they almost always do), but this appears to be a step in the direction that most people have wanted. In particular, the new AF system addresses a key weakness of the camera that has been harped on in the past.

I'm very curious to see how this camera performs. While the pixel count hasn't gone up compared to the previous incarnation, there appears to be promise for much improved high ISO image quality and improved dynamic range. Only time will tell.

Feeling a little overexposed

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Taken at Great Falls, VA a couple years ago.

Canon EOS-1D X announced

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cameras.jpgCanon recently announced the 1d X the latest incarnation of their top of the line 1 series.  Reading over its specifications makes me reflect on how far digital cameras have come since I picked up my first, a Canon A20, just about 10 years ago. Granted, much of the jump came during the three years between getting the A20 and picking up a Canon 10D. I remember thinking that the 10D was all the camera that I'd ever need. Ingorance is bliss. The 10D could still produce a great iamge today.. if I ever managed to take it out of my closet. And I won't even tell you how long it's been since I've loaded up my old Contax 139 with a roll of film.

Ghostery shows who is tracking you the most

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The people behind Ghostery have put together a list of the 100 most common tracking elements that their plugin picks up.

It's not only interesting to see all of the means of tracking out there at the moment, it's also interesting to see who occupies the top two spots. I know that they say that that they are trustworthy, but some aren't so sure, while others can't be bothered.

Wikipedia giving me Fitts's

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Ever since Wikipedia redesigned a year or so ago, I've had issues with their top navigation. Some people might think that it looks nicer or "opens up the page," but I can't say that I'm a fan.

Exhibit A:
wikipedia screen capture
As you can see, the top links (Article, Discussion, Read, Edit, etc.) don't have a clearly defined top boundary. This makes it impossible for the user to clearly perceive each link's dimensions. While this isn't a classic example of Fitts's Law, since Fitts's only concerns itself with the size and distance of the target, having an target with a fuzzy, uncertain size certainly creates a similar problem. A target's size is no better than its perceived size.

Chrome's further attacks on its chrome

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Chrome's original minimalism of having a default look lacking bookmark and menu toolbars has been mimicked by all of the major browser now. Not to be outdone, Chrome now looks to reduce the browser's non-content area even further by removing the address bar with its new compact view. If you have a recent Chromium or Chrome Dev release you can enable the new view of the about:flags screen.

What's next? Auto-hiding the remaining bit's of Chrome's chrome? I'm all for minimalism, but there might be a point where having some permanent interface elements might be useful. For one, it would appear as if the removal of the address bar would make phishing easier, since there is no way quickly check or monitor the domain of the sire you're currently visiting.



Who are these yahoos?

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I was setting up a new site in Yahoo's Site Explorer today and noticed the following:
If you have added the META tag, please keep the tag <META name="y_key" content="somecharacters" /> in your site's home page.
I'm not sure how many people have noticed that the meta element here is a bit of a standards contradiction. Given the trailing slash, we can see that this complies with the XHTML standard regarding empty elements. However, the uppercase element name is in violation of the XHTML recommendation.  Perhaps I'm being too anal, but I'd sort of expect web-based company's webmaster tools to generate valid markup. 

FBI recklessly trashes a data center

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The FBI seems to have a few tools working for them. I know that many people might not be surprised by this, I would like to think that the agency generally employs competent people.  However, it seems as if they just created a giant mess by creating a ton of collateral damage by confiscating a large number of machines, which created problems for a number of notable sites (instapaper, pinboard). 

Apparently, the FBI mistakenly thought that "one enclosure is = to one server."   Well now, isn't that just a hoot. 

Is Dropbox trying to be as secure as Wordpress?

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Ok, my Wordpress bashing might be a little knee-jerk, but they did just have to force-reset all users' passwords this week.

Anyway, it appears that Dropbox is becoming the latest service that I'd be hesitant to use for even casual purposes after they just hosed their own authentication system for four hours earlier this week.  This might even be worse than the Wordpress stumble, since they can't even blame a malicious, outside entity.  Dropbox's latest problems, combined with their questionable deduplication practices that have raised security and privacy concerns, make me glad that I've never signed up for an account.  And don't get me started on their attempt to bully an open source project with a DMCA Takedown notice.