Ino Detelić

Facebook’s dumb messaging system: other messages

There’s a chance you have missed personal messages on facebook like I did several times.

Check the “Other” on the menu on the left side, after you click on “Messages”. I hope you didn’t miss anything important.

If you did, you have the right to be angry. Facebook doesn’t notify you of every message you get.
What they do is chose what messages they think are important enough to notify you, and send the rest silently to this “Other” message box. It’s misleading. Even though I know about this, I always forget to check them.

 

Facebook help documents read:

“Your Other folder contains messages sent to mailing lists and broad distribution groups, along with messages from people who aren’t friends or friends of friends.”

I’m OK with separating spam messages but I want to be notified of all personal messages. Or at least give me an option to chose what goes where.

Posted on January 19th, 2012 under random

Designs we take for granted

I just saw this excellent video from AT&T Archives, 1970 Saul Bass’ Pitch Video for Bell System Logo Redesign.

It’s impressive how relevant and up to date all the aspects of the corporate identity redesign presented here are relevant today.

It also made me think how many things we take for granted, for example before this redesign all the people installing and repairing telephones at this huge company did it with their own clothes, with only a tag on their shirt distinguishing them from plumbers, electricians and other workers.

Posted on January 18th, 2012 under random

I’m afraid of getting near the new google logo.

One of the untold rules on the web is that if you click the logo, it takes it to the home page. This is inprinted in my brain.

I’ve had the newest google redesign, with the menu on google logo hover for over a month now, and I still haven’t adapted to it.

I’m at the phase where my cursor avoids it like the plague and when I remember to actually use it, I get a strange feeling like some Pavlovian reaction knowing I’ll get beaten if I get near it.

 

Four days ago, I changed my personal browsing to Firefox after a couple years on Chrome just because of the font rendering.

You see, I love fonts and beautiful letters matter to me, and Chrome only does horizontal sub-pixel antialiasing while Firefox does that plus vertical antialiasing, resulting in smoother font edges, specially noticeable on the top and the bottom of curved letters like O and S where they appear jagged on Chrome and smooth on Firefox.
I’ve also noticed that on Firefox the kerning, the space between the letters, is less accurate but I’ll leave this for another post.

 

Back to the google redesign – Now that i’m on Firefox, the google apps gmail, google+, calendar and others are shown with the second newest design, with the black bar on top. While I’m not a big fan of it either, I feel so much better without the fear of putting my mouse near the dreaded logo because it doesn’t have the rage inducing and Pavlovian dog beating hover menu.

The new google apps have a refresh button that I’ve been using more, specially on reader, because of the fear of the logo. And now that I have the choice between the logo and the refresh button, I press the logo with a strong sense of revolt and pleasure, like a dog when he’s destroying a pillow he shouldn’t. He knows he’ll get beaten but the pleasure is much greater so he defies the rules and does what his instinct tells him.

Posted on January 6th, 2012 under random

How to know if certain year is a leap year (or intercalary or bissextile year)

Is there a UEFA European Football Championship this year? If answer is yes, the year is a leap year*.

 

You’re welcome.

 

*If the year is before 1960, you have to find another way to figure out if year is leap year because there were no European Championships back then.

PS. I’m talking about football, the one you play with your feet.

Posted on January 4th, 2012 under random

AutoCAD command statistics

Last year I wanted to improve my drawing speed in AutoCAD so I needed to have the statistics of the most used commands.
With this data I could decide which icons to keep on the screen and which keyboard shortcuts and aliases should be easier to execute, so I could draw faster, but I wanted to see the objective data, and not trust my guts on this one.

Here’s what I did: I made AutoCAD log all the commands on a file and then use a script to count the number of times each command was executed.

First you need to enable command logging with the LOGFILEMODE 1 command. AutoCAD writes the .log files on the %AppData%\Local\Autodesk\AutoCAD 2008\R17.1\enu by default and you can change that in the options under the ‘files’ tab.
AutoCAD will write a separate log file for each drawing you open, so after a while you’ll have many log files with a lot of command data.

For counting the files I asked the internet hive-mind a question on superuser.com and Joey came up with the solution to use PowerShell. I had never used it before or knew how useful could it be.

So you just run this PowerShell script from the same folder as the .log files and it gives you every command you used and the number of times you used it.
I had 622 .log files in there, so the script took a minute or two to complete.

Perfect! Can you guess the most used command?

Yes, its *CANCEL*. My father, an architect who began working on AutoCAD still in the 80s uses a tablet to draw, and he always had the keyboard ‘esc’ key mapped to one of the buttons of the puck (tablet mouse). That was really smart. I also began drawing on tablets but when I shifted to using the mouse, I also mapped the ‘esc’ key to a mouse button. This is the single most important productivity enhancement out there. And if you map it using the mouse software, it works on other programs.

Now the gathered data.

To my surprise, the second most used command was ERASE, so I immediately mapped the ‘del’ key to another mouse button and just hours later I was deleting stuff faster than ever (And I carried on using it on every other program where the del key is useful and one of your hands is on the mouse like 3ds max).

You can see that I only use the TRIM command and no EXTEND. This is because I use the shift modifier key on TRIM to extend objects. This way you never have to think about it.

 

Posted on December 14th, 2011 under CAD

Avoiding slow TRIM and EXTEND in DraftSight

In AutoCAD, EXTEND and TRIM are two of my most used commands and for I normally use them with the “select all” so I can keep extending an trimming without thinking what was selected or not.

This soon became a problem in DraftSight, as the TRIMs and EXTENDs were getting slower and slower to a point where it was no longer usable as the drawing was getting bigger, so I tried to find out why that was happening and I discovered that AutoCAD and DraftSight process the command differently.

Autodesk has some tricks that make these operations faster:

  • AutoCAD only takes into account the objects that are inside or near the display area;
  • AutoCAD doesn’t calculate trims for dimension objects.

 

DraftSight, on the other hand, computes all the objects, including dimensions in the drawing, not just the area you’re currently viewing. That’s why it TRIM and EXTEND on DraftSight is slow, especially with large drawings.

 

The solution, if you don’t want to select the objects for trim and extend, is to hide or lock the object heavy layers you won’t need for the trims and extends you’re doing, such as dimensions, vegetation, symbols and equipments and appliances.

 

Tip : you can use the LAYISO (layer isolate) command to select only the layers you need and LAYON (Turn on all hidden layers) or LAYERP (Previous layer status) to get back without having to go to the layers dropdown or manager.

(In reality I only use a custom TRIM with an enter to select all, and for EXTEND I press the shift key, so I never really use the EXTEND command)

Posted on December 13th, 2011 under CAD

Designing the perfect pagination for mobile web

Pagination on mobile is usually done with infinite scrolling or a ‘load more’ button when you reach the bottom, but when you’re required to use a pagination element, how do you do it?

A good pagination should provide:

  • previous and next page links
  • the total number of pages
  • first and last page links
  • current page number
  • a quick way to get to an arbitrary page number

 

The problem here is you want big buttons that are easy to click, but they take space and you don’t want to lose any functionality, so the common  ‘«first «prev 12 13 14 15 of 28 16 17 18 next» last»’ pagination is too bulky for use in a mobile touch screen.

To solve this problem, I merged some points shown above to save space without compromise in functionality. Starting with the common

«first «prev 12 13 14 15 of 28 16 17 18 next» last»

the ‘«first and last» page links’ can be merged with the total number of pages simply by transforming them into a numerical link. That leads us to

«prev 1 … 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 … 28 next»

which is shorter with no loss of information or functionality.

Now the ’12 13 14 15 16 17 18′ links give us the current page number and some control to get to nearby pages. Notice how 14 and 16 function the same as «prev and next» links, repetition which is fine on desktop with lots of space, but for mobile we have to cut redundancies like these.

In order to save space, we can replace the whole ’12 13 14 15 16 17 18′ portion with either a dropdown <select> tag or a numerical <input> field which default to the current page number. Both work well even if you have a large number of pages because the iPhone and android browsers have good dropdown selectors.

note: If you’re using the input field, don’t forget to specify type as number so the browser shows the numerical keyboard.

This is the pagination I ended up with:

Large buttons, prev and next links, visual representation of current page and total number of pages, first and last page links and the possibility to quickly go to an arbitrary page number, all in 5 buttons and an input field. I could have also done it with a dropdown <select>.

Also notice how the previous page and first page links are greyed out and they do nothing when you click on them, and how the input field and go button are bundled together.

Posted on December 3rd, 2011 under random

Redesign of geoalgar.pt

The client geoalgar.pt wanted the new website to display beautiful imagery and a theme reminiscent of earth and geology.
The old site had a smaller centered cycling banner image which I decided to remove in favor of a big image that would span across all the header, no matter what resolution you’re using.

Posted on December 2nd, 2011 under design

Hotel for the elderly in Meãs do Campo

Here are some renderings I did under a very tight schedule. I was doing the modeling while they were still on a design phase and helped them visualize the object which led them to many changes.

The modeling and rendering was done in 3 days of work.

Posted on April 13th, 2011 under 3d