Random links #16

Written on 19 May 2019, 12:44pm

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The problem-solving process requires two preliminary steps: explain and incubate.

The process of problem-solving is first to explain and explore the situation and objectives. We can ask questions and share information, but we can’t propose solutions. Then we require an incubation period for subconscious problem-solving during which we undertake some mundane activity. Then we cooperate on finding solutions.

Graeme Simsion – The Rosie Result

Security exists in a continuum. Something pretty obvious for the people in the industry, but which has to be stated more often since there are many parties claiming perfect security or, as in the case of Bloomberg, arguing that better security is just as useless as little security:

Security is not binary,  which is obvious if you give it even a moment’s thought. A locked door is more secure than an unlocked one. A door with two locks is more secure than one with a single lock. A locked door with a locked gate in front of it is more secure than one without a gate.
In the same way a door is more secure locked than unlocked, messaging of any sort is more secure encrypted than unencrypted. End-to-end encrypted messaging is more secure than encryption that is not end-to-end.

John Gruber – Bloomberg on cybersecurity

The Locard’s Exchange Principle – met in one of the best books I read recently:

NOT EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS – OR CARES PROBABLY – BUT THE FIRST LAW of forensic science is Locard’s Exchange Principle, and it says ‘Every contact between a perpetrator and a crime scene leaves a trace.’ As I stand in this room, surrounded by dozens of voices, I’m wondering if Professor Locard had ever encountered anything quite like Room 89 – everything touched by the killer is now in a bath full of acid, wiped clean or drenched in industrial antiseptic. I’m certain there’s not a cell or follicle of him left behind.

Terry Hayes – I Am Pilgrim

The efficiency gain of the electric vehicles is overwhelming. This time Bloomberg gets it right:

About 10 million barrels a day of oil demand – roughly what Saudi Arabia produces now – isn’t merely switched into another form of energy. It’s just gone. Such is the power of efficiency. EVs convert a far higher proportion of the energy from the socket to power their wheels than a conventional vehicle does. 
Thermal energy generates a lot of waste in the form of heat. Only about one in four or five of those gallons of gasoline you pump and pay for provide energy you actually use, and perhaps 60-70% of what statisticians call the world’s primary energy use is really just waste

Liam Denning – Electric vehicles are overwhelmingly more energy efficient
Ghent – Speeltuin Muinkpark

Random links #13

Written on 19 March 2019, 10:20am

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Biohack is just a fancy buzz-word for common-sense advice about improving your life. The most important ones are:

  • sleep well
  • eat well
  • move
  • spend time in nature
  • socialize

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I am currently reading Solenoid, by Mircea Cartarescu, a surrealist novel that shows, among others, the challenges of growing up in Bucharest during the communist era.

In a nutshell, the novel is presented as a manuscript of a failed writer who teaches Romanian at an elementary school in Bucharest, hates his job and wishes to find an escape route from the confinement of his body and the three-dimensional world around it.

https://theuntranslated.wordpress.com/2017/11/20/solenoid-solenoide-solenoid-by-mircea-cartarescu/

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MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) seem to be the faulty mechanism behind the Boeing 737 Max recent failure.
If an outside sensor measuring the angle-of-attack reports that its nose is aimed too high, the MCAS is programmed to automatically lower it, allowing the plane to regain speed and lift. But if this sensor is broken (and it looks like there was no redundancy), then the MCAS will be incorrectly trigerred, causing the aircraft to dive.
A longer explanation here.

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– If you could convince an organization to take only one action to be more secure what would it be?
Collect less data and get rid of it faster.

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A good reason to use the dark theme whenever you can

Form design patterns – my notes

Written on 7 March 2019, 11:31pm

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Here are some notes relevant to me after reading the Form Design Patterns:

  • The inclusive design principles are about putting the user first
  • (in the context of a registration form): Nobody wants to sign up to your service — they just want to access whatever it is you offer, or the promise of a faster experience next time they visit.
  • Related: Nobody wants to log in to your site. They’re forced to as a security measure.
  • God help you if that video auto plays and wakes up my kid: I will find you.8 things parenting taught me about accessibility
  • One thing per page. Enough said.
  • Interactive things have perceived affordances. Making a checkbox round is like labeling the Push side of a door PullCheckboxes are never round
  • Sometimes you need to work hard to make things simple for the users
  • The way you ask your users for dates depends on the type of date you’re asking for. No, this is not matrimonial advice, it’s about calendar dates:
    • dates from documents: keep the same format from the doc (credit card, ID date, etc)
    • memorable dates (like user birth date): let them type it
    • future date(s): use a date picker
  • Hicks Law: the time taken to make a decision increases as the number of choices expands.
  • Confirming vs undoing: “Are you sure you want to launch the nuclear missile?” vs “3 emails have been archived. Undo” It all depends on the context. Sometimes you want speed bumps on the road (request explicit confirmation), some other times you want to let users perform the action immediately, without any warning.
  • When you’re an online store, make sure your search function can search everything. Not only products, but also the return policy
  • Don’t employ infinite scroll by default (‘show more’ link instead) and don’t break the back button
  • AJAX is not necessarily faster (it will only render when 100% of the page is ready)
  • <input type=”file” capture=”user|environment”> only works on mobile devices and opens up the front or the rear camera.
  • When working with long forms it’s better to check before you start (to make sure you don’t waste your users time) or to break the long processes into smaller tasks and show completion progress (the task list pattern)
Sunny – rainbow – cloudy