Wanted – audio output based on screen output for Linux

by @edent | # # # # | 1 comment
OS displaying a long list of options.

I think what I’m asking for is impossible… I have a Linux laptop with built in speakers and an external monitor with speakers. The laptop connects to the screen via HDMI. I have my Linux desktop set up for dual screens. If I drag a window from one screen to the other, I want the…

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Dark Mode and Transparent Images

by @edent | # # # # | 3 comments | Read ~102 times.
A Hhrd to read image. The text is black, but so is most of the background. Bits have a white background.

Dark Mode is the new cool. Apps which automatically switch to an eye-friendly palette when lighting conditions are poor. Nifty! Most of the time, it’s as simple as making the text a lightish colour, and the background a darkish colour. But all that fails when you use transparencies in images. Here’s a quick example. Using…

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Google Chat Nearly Got Me Fired

by @edent | # # | 4 comments | Read ~665 times.
Google documentation saying their apps aren't compatible with each other.

My colleague was understandably ticked off with me. A week previously, they’d asked me to get something fairly urgent done. I hadn’t done it – and all hell was breaking loose. I wasn’t being truculent or disobedient. I simply hadn’t seen their message. And it was all Google’s fault. At work, we use Google’s G-Suite.…

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How not to use the label element

by @edent | # # # | 3 comments | Read ~526 times.
HTML Source Code.

HTML is magic. It comes with all sorts of great usability and accessibility features. But people often ignore them or misuse them. Take a look at these checkboxen: If you click on this label, nothing happens. If you click on this label, the checkbox will toggle This is important. Tapping on tiny squares is hard…

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Accessibility of macOS – large cursor hides tooltips

by @edent | # # # # # | 2 comments
Cursor obscuring tool tip.

Apple’s attitude to usability is… complex. The general attitude of “you’re holding it wrong” seems to be prevalent across all their products. I like having a large mouse cursor. I find it easier to see on my large monitor, especially when sat at a safe distance. But, if I use a large cursor – I…

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Proximity is a key indicator of function

by @edent | # # # | 2 comments
A bathroom sink. The taps are on the opposite site of the sink to the faucet

I walked into an unfamiliar toilet recently. You’ve probably done the same, looking around to find the stalls, work out whether the driers are near the sinks, if there’s soap available. I was completely taken aback when I saw this monstrosity of a sink. It’s well known that we Brits love our separate hot and…

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Book Review: Mismatch by Kat Holmes

by @edent | # # #
Book Cover of Mismatch.

In Mismatch, Kat Holmes describes how design can lead to exclusion, and how design can also remedy exclusion. Inclusive design methods—designing objects with rather than for excluded users—can create elegant solutions that work well and benefit all. Holmes tells stories of pioneers of inclusive design, many of whom were drawn to work on inclusion because of their own experiences of exclusion.

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The Usability of Unboxing

by @edent | # # # # # | Read ~303 times.
Home Signal Box.

I review a lot of tech kit. It is amazing just how bad the consumer experience is when you have a brand-new box in your hands. It can be as simple as difficult to open packaging, to the existential horror of a poorly translated manual. The first time a customer holds your product in their…

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Falsehoods programmers believe about flags

by @edent | # # # # | 2 comments | Read ~2,214 times.
A dropdown box showing the flag of Canada next to a plus 1.

(For more about the “Falsehoods” meme – read the big list of falsehoods programmers believe.) Do You Want To Phone A Friend? A popular website asked me to confirm my phone number. It “helpfully” pre-filled the country-code with +1. And proudly displayed the Stars and Stripes. Except, of course, the USA isn’t the only country…

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I have Thirty-One 2FA codes

by @edent | # # # # | 3 comments | Read ~465 times.
A long list of 2FA tokens.

Last week I wrote about how I had 800 passwords in my password manager. It was intended to highlight the ridiculous proliferation of online services, and how redecentralising identity comes with a manageability problem. I now want to talk about 2FA – Two-Factor Authentication – the random codes you have to type in every time…

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