Monday, July 18, 2011

Bad Design

I love Hacker News, it's got that rough yet highly technical feel that Slashdot had maybe a decade ago. It's very startup oriented, which is all about the new tech and the valley.

Yet if you load their page, and let it sit for a few minutes - your session times out, and when you go to click the "Next" link at the bottom of the page, half the time you'll get an "Unknown/expired link" error.

Yes, content changes, and a proper index will eventually need to time out. But, Hacker News - there is a very simple solution to this.

Instead of giving a useless, annoying, irritating error - why dont you just refresh to your main index page?

Bingo - content refreshed, no stupid error messages, and a slightly less broken user experience.

Research shows I'm not the only person to have noticed this... Maybe I should script up a little JS add-on to do do this for me in Chrome.

Actually....To Be Continued!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Introducing Oakland VeloTechnical Services

I've decided to embark on a new experiment - combining two of my loves in life: riding bicycles, and fixing things!

I am proud to introduce a new business, based in the Mosswood neighborhood of Oakland, an on call technical support and training service, serviced via bicycle by highly qualified computer technicians. Services fall into two main categories - technical support and training.

Technical support services provides system backup and restoration; hardware/software installation, upgrade and configuration; network upgrades, planning, configuration and programming, installation, network and server security auditing and consultation; it support - install printers, voip phones, scanners, etc. If there is a demand we'd like to offer more security services - for instance, forensics when a small business website is hacked or social media account hijacked.

Training services will be focused on home users who require basic to advanced computer skills. When training is requested, an associate will use web based technical assessment tool that will build a training program based on client needs, and estimate hours! The training associate will use materials provided by the training modules and their own research determined by assessment to provide a training program. The client will receive various support materials from this - guides, reference charts, access to online resources, etc.

Training also includes limited email support after the session - if you still have questions, we're here to help you out! Soon we'll also offer subscription based email and telephone support and access to training materials and notes on our website.

At the moment, we support Windows XP, Vista and 7, OS X 10.3+ and Linux - mostly Debian/Ubuntu and CentOS/Fedora Red Hat. Support for iOS, Android and other tablet and smartphone OS's is currently under consideration.

Right now, I'm focusing on the home user and small businesses - either home offices or smaller businesses. The current working name is 'Oakland VeloTechnical', pending trademark review and further consideration. I've already hired my first client services associate in technical training, we've begun organizing our training modules for OS X, email and internet and web productivity apps.

The process of officiating this new business is underway, and soon I'll be posting more information on how to retain services! And so begins my next project!