Wandering Thoughts archives


Link: Golden Rules for Bad User Interfaces

Golden Rules for Bad User Interfaces is more or less what it sounds like. I could wish that the sarcasm was more biting, but that would probably be ungracious and besides, it's from SAP.

(From Greg Wilson.)

links/UIGoldenRules written at 23:11:38; Add Comment

Should you care about whether you can upgrade hardware?

An online discussion I was in today touched tangentially on the question of how important it was to be able to upgrade the hardware on non-server machines (and how upgradeable various sorts of them are). My view is more and more that it probably isn't all that important.

(To be clear, I'm talking about post-purchase expansion down the road, not being to add necessary stuff at purchase time. If the machine doesn't do what you need at the start, you just don't buy it.)

Historically, we've almost never expanded or upgraded machines. We buy them in the configuration we want, usually with some extra margin in things like RAM and CPU power, run them for BIGNUM years, and then replace them wholesale. By the time a hardware upgrade seems necessary and can be sold to the powers that be, you usually can't get the necessary hardware bits any more.

(And even if you can, the assumptions that you built the machine on may seem quaint and outdated, like 'SCSI drives are the way to go' or 'it's too early to trust SATA, we'll stay with IDE'.)

So, how often are real machines actually expanded or upgraded? My own suspicion is that most machines that actually get upgraded were underconfigured when they were bought, for whatever reason. (Price is one obvious one.)

(Thinking about it more, part of my lack of interest in upgrading machines is because I like to keep old machines in an operable state, either as backups or to be used for various undemanding things.)

tech/UpgradingHardwareQuestion written at 22:51:15; Add Comment

The good old days of Unix

Ah, the good old days, when Unix was Unix:

awk: record `<A href="http://842d...' has too many fields
 record number 20

In some quarters, it's popular to rag on the GNU tools and by extension on things that make heavy use of them (like, say, Linux distributions); they're bloated, have grown too many features and command line options, they use too much memory, the documentation is in inconvenient formats, and so on.

There's a certain amount of justice in those complaints. But one should not view the past through overly rose-coloured glasses; there are good reasons why people adopted the GNU tools, and in many cases it wasn't because they didn't have other options.

sysadmin/GoodOldDays written at 00:31:10; Add Comment

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