The Null Device
An article on the perils of bad design; in particular, how the low battery alarm on a Motorola futurephone can become an inhumane torture device:
Right now, however, at 2am, I've discovered that the usability engineers at Motorola designed this feature not as an alert, but as a behavior-modification tool. Make the punishment for forgetting to plug in the phone painful enough, and I won't do it again.
If I could just get up and turn it off I could do so half asleep and drift back into my dreams. And I wouldn't be writing this column. But the Motorola alarm only rings once every 4 minutes, and I have no idea where the phone is hiding.
(via Techdirt and/or bOING bOING)
Angle Grinder Man, a "vigilante cum subversive superhero philanthropist entertainer type personage", who goes around in a superhero costume and mask freeing motorists from wheel clamps all over Kent, in the name of some vaguely anarchist/right-wing-populist philosophy. (What is it about Kent and nutters in superhero costumes anyway? First they had that chap in Tunbridge Wells and now this guy. Did the creators of Superman know something we didn't when they gave him his surname?)
Neil Gaiman's somewhat camp Lovecraft pastiche I, Cthulhu (1986). (via Found)
"Upgrading" is as simple as changing a version string. We already have it updated in Gaim 0.69. This was a no-brainer easy-to-fix thing, as was MSN.
If any Slashdot staff are watching, please, please refrain from posting articles related to IM unless you consult someone who knows what's going on. Too many trollish comments occur, and we get too many questions in Gaim support, all pointing at Slashdot as their source for the inaccurate information as to what's happening in IM.
Though wasn't it implied that from October, MSN's servers will require clients to produce a license certificate of some sort, which identify the client as a Microsoft-approved one, prior to connecting?
(If you don't want your IM network to be at the mercy of a profit-oriented corporation whose management may at any time decide to maximise profits by asserting control over your client, there's always Jabber, an open, decentralised, XML-based messaging system. Though nobody seems to be using that; I know of only one person on Jabber. Maybe if someone came up with some cute smiley themes for it...)