iPod interaction

Sweeeet…Apple’s new iPod.

The most interesting thing to me is the method of interaction. On the front on the iPod, there is a jog dial which affords continuous interaction (bear with me, I’m making up terminology here).

To navigate around the iPod’s menu system, you roll the dial with your thumb. It looks like rolling it clockwise moves the menu down, while rolling the dial counter-clockwise moves the menu up. Selecting an item is done with a large button in the center of the jog dial. You can see how it’s done in this iPod commercial.

Here’s my definition of continuous interaction: A single fluid human motion which achieves the same result as multiple discreet interactions.

For example: while reading a long web page, you could either scroll by dragging the scroll bar (continuous interaction) or you could press the down arrow over and over and over and over (discreet interaction).

Including an interface for continuous interaction in your product seems like an easy way to improve a user’s experience with your product – if for no ther reason than discreet interactions are tedious.

My mobile phone suffers from overly discreet interaction. It takes way too many clicks to get anything done.

Obviously, this isn’t a new idea, but is it new terminology? Please post your thoughts.

MIT’s Cesium Operating System (drool…)

This hoax article, “A Real Alternative?,” appeared on Slashdot this afternoon. Despite it being a hoax, it does touch on several technologies that a real next-generation operating system ought to be built upon (such as XML, an OODB “file system” and separate modules for presenting the visual interface on a variety of devices).

…forget that whole 3D GUI business though. 3D interfaces will never work until displays can present a real third dimention, rather than just perspective on a two-dimentional screen.

Hi Movable Type Peeps!

Yah! It turns out bradlauster.com is listed on the Movable Type homepage. Since not many people read this site, you’ve probably come from movabletype.org. Welcome!

As you can see, this is a very basic weblog based on the template that comes with Movable Type. I started hand-updating this site back in 2000 and later switched to Greymatter when it came out. I’ve never really used Blogger because I’ve always wanted a system that would run on the same box that served my site.

Since I’m on the subject of hosting (sort of), I should mention that Hurrah.com hosts my site. Hurrah’s admin, David Elkins, is a super nice guy and is great about supporting my needs. When I needed the HTML::Template and Image::Size Perl modules installed to run Movable Type, he had it done in about two minutes. If you’re looking for a host for your domain, I highly recommend Hurrah. Be sure to tell David I sent ya. Ok – no more shameless plugs, I promise!

The only real changes I’ve made to the templates are the link colors and the addition of that green header. I also pulled out the embedded stylesheets from each of templates and created a single linked stylesheet that I can update through Movable Type. I documented how to use Movable Type to manage your stylesheets on the Movable Type support forum.

I’ve also got another Movable Type ‘blog, that I built for my family, over at theCulvers.net. It’s basically the same design as this site and runs from the same installation of Movable Type.

Thanks for stopping by! Please leave a comment and a link to your site – it’ll be cool to find out who’s been here.

Movable Type usability testing

I’ve volunteered to do some usability testing on Movable Type, next week, with Chad and Christina.

I’m excited because I’ve known them both for a while now, but we’ve never really worked together. It should be a good learning experience…they both have a lot more usability testing experience than I.

As for me: I think I’ll be doing observation – which is my strong suit. I’ve always had a proclivity for people watching.

I’m not sure how we’ll present the results, but if they end up online, I’ll be sure to post a link.


It occurred to me today that “password” is now an entirely inappropriate name for the secret code that people use to access computer systems.

It shouldn’t be news to you that most system administrators actually prevent users from setting a secret code that can be looked up in a dictionary.

I’ve seen “pass phrase” and “passphrase” used in a number of places. It seems to me that this term is not only more appropriate, but sufficiently similar to the more common “password” as to not cause confusion.

Ok, now go out and change the wording on all your systems. I’ll wait here.   😉