Christmas dinner was another success; Micki out-cooked herself once again!

Charlotte has recently become addicted to Food TV, and she and I have been watching Chef at Home. We decided to make a smoked salmon appetizer and a triple-chocolate dessert, along with our usual dinner rolls. It was a lot of work (especially the milk chocolate bowls!), and Charlotte carried the lion’s share, especially after I injured my hand. We pulled it off; granny was heard this morning proudly telling a friend about Charlotte’s dinner rolls and dark chocolate mousse dessert!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

posted at 1:53 pm on Friday, December 26, 2008 in Personal | Comments Off on christmas

choose your own video adventure

From “Chad, Matt, and Rob”: comes a YouTube video version of Choose your own Adventure:

posted at 11:55 am on Wednesday, December 17, 2008 in Links | Comments Off on choose your own video adventure


Some days I’m embarrassed to be a software developer.

My employer just switched brokerage firms, so I have to go to the new firm’s website to register my account. So far:

– The registration page doesn’t allow punctuation in my userID, so I can’t use my e-mail address. I have to choose yet another impossible-to-remember, minimum 8-character userID. At least they have a “remember my userid” checkbox on the login page.
– There is a “Password Hint” feature for lost passwords. There are only four questions. The answer cannot contain spaces (making “who is your favorite teacher” hard to answer). The hint response is not displayed, so you can’t see what you’ve typed, but you only enter it once, so you can’t be sure it is correct.
– I entered my phone number in +1.416.555.1212 format (the ITU/ISO international standard for such things). It was re-written as 14165551212; I wonder what their employees will do with that if they ever try to call me? I’m actually kind of surprised it accepted an 11-digit number at all, come to think of it!

They have a “contact us” form:

– The form requires a company name. Without punctuation. My employer’s name is “Hewlett-Packard”. See the problem? :-)
– The form requires a phone number, but this time it must be ###-###-####. No exceptions. What if I have a problem when I’m on a business trip to Ireland?
– The message body cannot contain newline characters, making it hard to write intelligent messages to customer service…

I’m terrified to find out what’s going to happen once I try to trade my shares.

All of these issues are standard, common website usability issues, the ones that we all end up dealing with every day. UI experts have been ranting about stuff like this for at least a decade, but as far as I can tell, nobody is listening. It’s very depressing…

posted at 12:17 pm on Monday, December 15, 2008 in Programming, Rants | Comments Off on embarrassment

closed door

We closed the door in the office this morning for a party, to keep the kids out:


(The line at the bottom is the drive in the PVR, which is in the family room :-).

posted at 8:22 pm on Sunday, December 14, 2008 in Personal | Comments Off on closed door


One of my computers managed to get itself infected with that evil Trojan that keeps popping up the “Warning! Your Computer May Be Infected!” window, to convince you to download and install more nefariously evil software.

I’ve spent the last hour cleaning it with various utilities; they’re starting to report “0 infections” now.


posted at 10:25 pm on Tuesday, December 09, 2008 in Personal, Security | Comments Off on trojans


The girl speaks from the back seat:

bq. Is that one of those geek songs? Rock the Taskbar?

posted at 10:23 pm on Tuesday, December 09, 2008 in Humour, Personal | Comments Off on disclexia

sleep is good

“We’ll Fill This Space, but First a Nap”:

posted at 9:40 am on Wednesday, December 03, 2008 in Links, Science and Technology | Comments Off on sleep is good