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Showing posts from July, 2013

Being a forklift operator possibly leads to car accidents. An example of bad UI design.

I ran into this comment the other day on the Internets:
If you think that driving a car with reversed turn signal and wiper levers is bad, try driving a fork lift which slams into reverse every time you hit what would normally be the left turn signal.

That is not the scary part. I have known numerous forklift drivers that got so used to using the lever to switch from forward to reverse throughout the day, that at the end of their shift they would get in their stick shift car with it in first gear, start the car, turn on the left turn signal, look over their shoulder, release the clutch and drive into the car in front of them.

Life Lesson: Never park directly in front of a fork lift driver. I'm sure there is a reason for the lever to be conveniently placed at that location, but, if the bigger picture is taken into account, this is a pretty good case of UI design that results in expensive damage to property. Car insurance providers should take a look at this scenario to see how c…

We've been doing multithreaded and asynchronous UI programming all wrong!

About a year ago, Microsoft released version 4.5 of the .Net Framework to the world. No one really cared much but every programmer out there should. Why? Lurking in the shadows of that release was THE solution to our multithreading woes. If you've ever done multithreaded programming, you know three things:

1) Multithreading is painful.
2) Multithreading is messy.
3) Multithreading is painful.

Multithreading is even harder in a GUI environment because most GUI libraries will crash (and crash the whole application too) if a programmer tries to do operations on the UI from another thread. So, the programmer ends up having to write a ton of plumbing to get back onto the UI thread after completing a multithreaded operation to do UI stuff. In addition, multithreaded programming requires thinking outside of how programs and programmers are really wired to think: That is, we think sequentially.

The solution that needs to be ported to every programming language we care about (inc…