1. Idea for focus-maintaining anti-rabbit-warren UI: “current task” bar, simple user-editable text field present on all screens, subdued but not inconspicuous, persistent reminder of current short-term goal.

    Should be somewhere out of the way but accessible at a glance, i.e. only eye movement required to see what it is. Key combo to instantly clear and focus for editing.

  2. Playing with Yahoo Pipes for the first time. This is the UI I’ve been dreaming of for years. The data sources are bogged down with nasty RSS/ATOM semantics, but that’s mostly irrelevant. The important things:

    • Live, context-sensitive debugging. Want to know what the data looks like at a particular point in the graph? Click there. What if I change this parameter? It updates. WHY ARE PEOPLE NOT RAVING ABOUT THIS? THIS IS HUGE!
    • All parameters are programmable, but with the ability to specify defaults
    • Everything is declarative — not only textually, but visually.
    • One-click publish and deploy, with facilities to create basic UI and pre-fill it
    • Ability to clone and reuse pipes — each pipe is a module you can use in other pipes. Take someone elses pipe and view source, change it, reuse it.

    I made a Pipe to convert h-feed/h-entry markup into RSS from scratch in about 15 mins, having never used the tool before (bear in mind also that this is not a tool built for consuming mf2 data structures): Convert Microformats to RSS. The tiny feedback loop the Pipes tool provides, both in deploying, sharing and debugging, enabled Tantek Çelik to find a bug in his site’s markup.

    Again: WHY DOES NO-ONE KNOW ABOUT THIS? If it’s because processing stodgy, outdated, DRY-violating formats is its bread and butter, fair enough. Let’s rebuild this with microformats2.

  3. Ben Werdmuller: I don't get why you'd use markdown to blog on your own site. Markdown is useful: an easy-to-use notation system that allows you to mark up your text in a safe, fast way.

    @benwerd I use markdown for initial authoring purely for speed, esp. when typing on mobile devices. After that I just edit the HTML. I’ve yet to come across a WYSIWIM editor which satisfied my semantic, well-structured HTML needs, any suggestions?

  4. UI : service which finds the average number of characters/words/lines in a note and automatically makes the “new note” box that size. Potential extension: Make it one line bigger/smaller to encourage longer/shorter writing.

  5. @scottjenson RE google maps, I hear you. This particular problem could be solved by an app which remembers your speed, then displays the concentric rings. It assumes internet access/cached maps, GPS data and a device capable of displaying it — what if the device transmitting the information was a pedometer/similar which knows my speed but not location, has no internet access or way of displaying maps?

    I’m a fan of more ambient approaches like this because they enhance my own senses (in this case my poor sense of timing) without trying to run my life, as apps seem to want to do. I see it as a fundamentally different approach; apps make me perform a task and give me output. Ambient information enhances my senses and gives me more context within which to make decisions.

  6. Requesting a nonexistent page whilst testing on old IE incorrectly blames the user with message “files on this webpage require a program that you don’t have installed”

  7. Miyazaki says, "Our job as animators is not only to draw scenes. We must find the minimum necessary and important lines for the specific movement in a given action. The techniques of animation drawing are not the same as those of painting a still picture. Animation is a consequence of the audience's perception of movement created by sequential drawings. For this reason, each drawing in the sequence -- especially the lines -- should not be drawn too detailed; rather, they should be drawn less [detailed] and create an instant pause in the sequential movement.” (source)

    Sounds a lot like UI design to me.

  8. That Icelandic register things is a great example of technology making bureaucracy redundant. Ironically, having said that, there are some prime examples of technology mindlessly being applied and increasing bureaucracy and waste here…

    I’m looking at you, fancy touch screen machines who’s only function is to spit out a bit of paper (average life span maybe 2 mins?) which tells me when a desk is free to serve me :/

  9. Cross-browser selection UI injection flow:

    1. Listen for mouseup on body
    2. When triggered, let s be window.getSelection()
    3. If s.isCollapsed === false, return
    4. Else, let r be s.getRangeAt(0)
    5. Create a new element e
    6. Call r.surroundContents(e)
    7. e.innerHTML and e.textContent now return useful values, and e’s coordinates can be used to inject UI into the page

    To resolve: what element should e be? Or more accurately, what display property should it have? Possibly inline-block (inline mucks up if selection is across block elements, block mucks up selections within text nodes)

    Turns out there are problems with r.surroundContent, namely that it does not handle partial element selections. See MDNs explanation and solution.
  10. The problem with all mapping software ever:

    “Hm, that placename is a bit small to read” (zooms in) “TEXT, WHY U GET SMALLER AGAIN”

  11. Why do XYZ reader applications mark things as read as soon as I select them? Just because I’ve glanced at them doesn’t mean I’ve read them. At least defer that judgement until I’ve scrolled to the bottom of the main content