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Possible design Thu, Mar 25, 2021
Several years ago, one of my coworkers discovered some software that let you design a graphical user interface fairly easily.  He was used to writing code with simple command line interfaces that were unattractive but functional.  So he kind of went to town designing menus and buttons and whatnot.  The weirdest, and worst, design decision he made was to include a popup dialog box when you tried to exit the program.  The dialog box simply asked, "Are you sure?"  I remember asking him why he included that, and it generally had something to do with seeing a similar function in another piece of software. 

I often find myself confused or bewildered by some sort of designed object, and I have to remember that there's a good chance a feature or function was designed by someone, possibly an intelligent technical person with no design experience, with little to no input from an end-user, simply because it was possible.

Data and minutes Wed, Mar 24, 2021
I used to work with this guy who was an electrical engineer.  He was the office GPS expert.  He knew about satellites, data transfer, ephemeris -- all the stuff an expert is supposed to know.  It was 2007, and another coworker got the brand new iPhone.  I was asking the iPhone guy how he liked it, etc., and the GPS guy said, "How does the data connection work?  Does it use minutes?"  This was in the time when you paid for a certain amount of cellular minutes each month.  Separate data connections had been around for at least a little while, and I really felt like, of all people, this GPS guy should've known better.  "Does it use minutes?"  Like, that's not even how any of it works.  It's literally two separate radios. 

I still know the GPS guy and I still think he's smart.  But damn, people have some weird blind spots.

Magic pill Fri, Mar 19, 2021
I've always been sort of looking for a magic pill of sorts -- not a pill per se or even a medication -- something that will solve a bunch of my problems and generally make me feel better.  I don't have many really specific problems; it's more of an ambiguous "feeling".  People recommend things like drinking more water, or getting better sleep.  Or maybe it's a specific diet, or a type of physical activity.  Maybe it's drugs and alcohol, or the lack of drugs and alcohol.  It just always seems like people are able to find magical cures for themselves.  "I started running 5 miles per day; I've never felt better in my life."  "I switched to a vegetarian diet, and I've never felt more energized."  I've tried a whole bunch of different things.  Like seriously, my life and my body are an ongoing series of scientific experiments.  It just seems like, at the end of every experiment, I'm left with a pretty bland conclusion:  Yeah, that wasn't it; that didn't change anything; I still feel the same.  I'm starting to come around to the idea that maybe there's no such thing as a magic pill.

Vegetarians and fish Fri, Mar 19, 2021
I find it odd that some vegetarians eat fish.  Aside from the whole "is fish meat?" question (hint:  how is it not?), fish has to be the least compelling meat to eat.  Maybe it's because I didn't grow up in a fishing area, but when I think to myself, "What's a nice big tasty thing I can eat for dinner?" I never land on fish as the answer.  I like eating fish, but it's certainly not my go-to for meat.  So if a person's diet is devoid of animal products, I just can't fathom why fish would be the lone exception.  It doesn't provide any sort of nutrient that you already aren't getting from plants, and it's really not that good. #food