Category Archives: UI

Cover image of Ponzimonium"

Well that only took forever

I don’t like to hate on government agencies, especially the underfed and underfunded. This, however, is annoying to me…


The United State Government Publishing1 Office lets you buy books and pamphlets the various parts of the United States (but not the States themselves) have reduced to written form. I have bought several copies of the official text of the Constitution from them for ready reference.

Some publications just go to show that there is a certain amount of stodge that always goes with government, such as the bizzare choice of smiley face on this document about bridge inspections. It make it look a little untrustworthy to me, like “It’s OK, really (wink)”.

Anyway, I wanted badly to read this entertainingly titled Ebook on investment frauds from a sometime Commissioner of the CFTC with a mullet that is supposedly available free. Well:

  1. There are two entries for this media on the GPO’s website, for some reason.
  2. The PDF link in the one is bad.
  3. I can’t find the “Add to Cart” link mentioned, even if logged in to my account.

Anyway, after fussing around (I didn’t call them up, because when I reported a spelling mistake in their ecommerce user management, it took over a month to get a reply. And it still isn’t fixed. As before, underfunded) I found a link to the PDF and EPUB files on their… FTP server.

Anyway, go here: https://permanent.access.gpo.gov/gpo68567/


  1. Ex-Government Printing Office. I understand the name change, but the older one was headed by the supremely titled “Public Printer of the United States”. The new one is run by a “Director”. Boring!! 
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Microsoft screwup in Windows 10, v. 1803

SO!

I just installed Windows 10’s April 2018 update, version 1803.

Part of this update entails removing XPS reader software that was part of all previous versions of 10, and instructing us to find an app in the Store for it.

I download Microsoft’s “Reader” app and install it from the Store.

Opening an XPS file with the new app brings up an error message… that I have to use XPS reader (the one installed with Windows).

Agfh! Is Microsoft trying to annoy me?

At the beep, enter your language

If you live in a country or area that is at all non-monolingual, you will encounter telephone trees where the first prompt requests you specify your language. For example, in the United States, it is usually Spanish.

Unfortunately this does not scale well. If you have to deal with even, say, the UN languages, that’s 6 possibilities. Further, they are rarely standardized, so for one firm, you key in “6” to get Spanish. For another it’s “2”, etc.

I propose this:

  1. A universally understood tone or sequence of tones that means “specify your language” (SYL). These would be tones that a computer could recognize, like SITs. In this way, a person could specify to their phone/phone company what their language was and have them automatically reply.
  2. A universally standardized mapping of languages and dialects to numbers. For example, en-US = 1033 (Microsoft LCID).

This would result in the following pass:

  1. Caller dials some number with a phone tree.
  2. Called party PBX picks up.
  3. Called party PBX plays SYL SIT.
  4. Caller (or caller’s phone/phone company) recognizes the SIT.
  5. Caller (or caller’s phone/phone company) responds with language code
    1. This would include a termination character, like # or *.
  6. Called party PBX connects the caller to the phone tree or operator of that language.

Of course, even the UN isn’t going to maintain an operator for every possible language, so in those cases, a fail-gracefully routing tree would be set up so that the nearest neighbor language would be selected instead. As an example, if en-GB (2057) wasn’t supported, but en-US was (1033), the call would be routed there. Alternately, a message could be prerecorded in that language, telling the called party that their language wasn’t supported.

What do you think?

Too many Firefoxes

Many of us remember the famous Windows XP Service Pack 2, which really marked when Microsoft started to get serious about their client systems’ security. Prior to that there was little to guide the end user that I remember. XPSP2 brought the first version of the Security Center, which made it easy to set up the Windows Firewall and actually told them they they needed an antivirus to be safe. This was still prior to Microsoft’s providing one.

Anyway, Windows Firewall is still around and rarely seen after maybe the first week of an installation of Windows, since it is on by default and by then, all the other programs will have been installed and configured to go through the firewall.

Sometimes, however, things glitch:

Firewall-toomanyffx

Three entries for Firefox in Windows Firewall.

I have no idea what the cause of this is. Is it a problem?

How to tell a British company when you see one

I was applying for a position (in the United States) at the firm GSK (alias GlaxoSmithKline) and was presented with this option to select my “prefix”:

GSK-prefixes

I have filled out more of these forms than I can tell you, probably a easy hundred, but I have never otherwise seen options for “Lady” and “Lord”. Why did they feel the need to include these? Do they regularly recruit tituled nobility? If so, do they really have to go through the same HR software/ATS that commoners like me do?

If so, HAH!