... seeking simple answers to complex problems, and in the process, disrupting the status quo in technology, art and neuroscience.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Damned Quarter-Moon Ice Cubes

Now for something completely different...

Yep. You read it here first. I've been waiting a long time to bring up this up and since I now have this shiny new blog, NOW is that time.

I HATE quarter-moon ice cubes (and by inference) the machines that create them.

What? What is this guy talking about?

If you remember back when ice makers became common, you may recall there were two competing designs. One made ice in the shape of small cylinders. Technically, they weren't cubes but they worked as well in that they allowed the drink to move easily around and provided a decent cooling surface.

The OTHER design is the flakey one. These are the ones that look like a quarter moon and they have the nasty habit of taking up residence oriented like a smile in your glass.

Don't let appearances fool you. That's no smile. It's really an evil grin. As soon as you take a drink, you'll understand why. For some strange reason (easier to eject?), this design seems to have won out. It's become so prevalent, I'm sure you already know where this is going.

KER-SPLASH! That's your drink all over the front of your shirt. Those little grins form a dam holding back the liquid until that magic moment. When the pressure becomes too great, the dam breaks and the damn cube slams against your nose. It's happened to me so many times I've lost count. It's a challenge trying to get the drink without moving the cubes. I often lose.

My father told me don't bother bitching unless you can offer a better solution, so here it is. There are two reasonable defences against these icy critters. The one that's most satisfying is simply to change the setting to crush on the ice maker and listen to them die a horrible death. That seems to be what most people do. I've check quite a few ice makers and I think this is at least a factor in the "crush" settings I find.

But if you don't like your drink watered down that fast, here's another trick - think outside the smile. Go out and buy some of those square glasses or even hex ones - any shape but round. It should take care of the problem. Isn't design fun?

If anyone else has any other good solutions, I'd like to hear them.

Sudden Disruption

Sudden View...
the radical option for editing text

Beta test now in progress...

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Why is Sudden View so radical?

If you've tried Sudden View, you may be startled by how different it is. This may lead you to wonder why. But if you spend enough time to get a FEEL for it's methods, it will begin to make more sense.

Sudden View is a tool that puts the actual editing first by focusing on the primitives. My objective was to re-explore the very nature of the editing process, then create a UI (User Interface) that reflected these actions.

If you take an honest look at most text editors you'll see they are steeped in their own history. GUI editors are simply screen editors with menus. Screen editors were simply line editors for a glass Teletype. Navigating and altering text still uses the command / response model of ancient TECO. This creates a barrier between the user and his content.

When the Apple MacIntosh came along, Steve Jobs touted Direct Manipulation as a new method to make the user a part of the process. His paint program demonstrated this with impressive results. Unfortunately, he didn't apply the concept to his text editor. The only thing it Directly Mannipulated was the mouse cursor itself. That's when and why I decided to try something new.

With Sudden View I focused on what we do most with a text editor - enter, navigate and alter text. As with all good design, the most direct and effective controls should activate the most common functions. This means the mouse should be reserved for navigation and text manipulation.

I applied the right mouse button to do Direct Scrolling and I made it work ANYwhere in the text window, not just on the scroll bar. I replaced the scroll bar with a ViewBar so the user could simply point and click at where he wanted to go.

Next I applied Direct Manipulation to actually moving text around the screen. Finally I promoted Copy, Cut and Paste to mouse activation. All of this takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do, you tend to forget about HOW you are editing and focus on WHAT you are editing. Sudden View removes the barrier between the user and his content.

There are lots of other challenges to the standard GUI in Sudden Veiw. I'll discuss them in future posts. The point I want to make here is, Sudden View wasn't designed this way just to be different. It was done in order to find a better, faster and more natural way to edit text.
Let me know what you think.

Sudden Disruption

Sudden View...
the radical option for editing text

Beta test now in progress...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Why This Blog?

The reason for this blog is Sudden View.
The reason for Sudden View is this blog.
More specifically...

The primary reason for the creation of this blog is to support the text editor Sudden View, and to explain the why of it's design.

The second reason for this blog is that I like to write; and I like to write about all kinds of things, which is the primary reason for the creation of Sudden View.

Sudden Disruption

Sudden View - for the art of editing text