February 3, 2020

I post from afar on a topic actually computationally relevant in the scheme of consumer happiness: UX/UI. The three examples I wish to use were unexpected user experiences of the web shops as a buyer of Cole Haan and Converse All-Stars and then of Boot Barn a week later.

I originally went to Cole Haan’s site through a Twitter link to a sale– so their Social Media driving potential customers to their site works though it probably costs a lot of money for advertising, but it works. However, once I got to their mobile site, I found it nearly completely unusable due to the insistance of a search bar that scrolled with the inventory and took half my screen, and the inventory was not easily browsable. If I were their boss I would fire the mobile web guy and promote the advertising guy who put the sale on Twitter. But I left due to poor usability, came back again for a second try, and left again. And now as a potential customer I am so non-plussed, I use their company as an example of how to lose customers.

Second Converse All-Stars, Chuck’s, you know their iconic brand since the 1960’s. In the late 1990’s you could buy great, unique Chuck’s and I did so in my size: Men’s 14. I bought a pair of black canvas high tops with a yellow skull on the side at Oshman’s, seeing a drummer friend with hers. So I went to the Converse site to see what they have now. How their UX/UI lost me is, to browse for size 14 I Ihad to make an account and log in and put my size, then when I searched for my size after all that work, with a filter set to size 14, they would show me bland shoe after shoe non of which was over a size 11. So rather than openly state: “For the sake of corporate profitability we now only market to children and the parents that buy their shoes, but not any parents larger than a size 11,” they wasted 30 minutes of my life at a site that has no value to me as a customer because they carry nothing that will fit my body no matter how much weight I lose, unless I amputate part of my foot.

To follow up, despite not being available on the main Converse url shop, they DO make up to size 16 available at an unaffiliated web shop for people with big feet: bigshoes.com which has great customer UX/UI. Kudos to bigshoes.com. But I would like to kick the designer of the Converse web effort in the goddamned face. And that is the impression that site left me with as a long time customer.

Now to the completely unexpected epic UI/UX success. After deciding that design medocrity was endemic browsing for purchasable goods online, and I should simply lay back and wait for the Wuhan Corona Virus to make it’s way to my person, I browsed for men’s cowboy boots.

And from the Google search: “Mens Cowboy Boots Size 14,” I clicked on a link to Boot Town which ALREADY had filtered their inventory to my Size 14, whatever I looked at directly from Google was already Size 14 and all I had to do was click the Purchase button.

3 Clicks to a literal, cash money Buy from a Google Search.

I don’t think they can easily top that via UX/UI, and Boot Town, like an unexpectedly skilled surgeon in a Hemingway novel despite the pervasive medocrity elsewhere, has brought joy and a return of some little faith in good design.

Boot Town has made me a customer for life.

Have a good day.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Howdy, sorry for the delay in a new developer post. I do work a 40+ hour a week job that causes a lot of physical pain, but that has nothing much to do with development. Today I have upgraded my Linux Mint 19.3, dealt with a dropped Wi-Fi connectivity as a result. It got repaired, but took time. Last night I re-mastered a decent musical track I have composed called “Random Souls.” I am getting pathways fro my JAVA ide’s correct but I have run out of time before work due to the delay in the WiFi issue due to the Linux update. Also, I wanted to make the website landing page more “vanilla” to “scare less” any people that might come here and consider employing me. That will have to be tomorrow. Have a good day!

1/19/2020 Sunday Evening

A long week is over and I have a chance to program the next two days. I got a lot of SHELLS installed on my Mint Linux: Bourne, ksh93, tcsh, and a long list that currently escapes me. I also installed Frescobaldi which is a LilyPad musical notation editor, with all sorts of musical extras which I believe will be a magnificent end product of the ongoing musical A.I. program that I am developing in both C and Python (but not yet Cython). Basically one aspect of LilyPad is that it is a sheet music text program that creates beautiful sheet music, while various plugins for the program allow MIDI information transferral, so that whatever the A.I. writes, it can be notated musically on a stave by LilyPad, and possibly played back via the MIDI capability. Also I’ve been getting my massive programming library up to date, as well as my certification literature organized. I also bumped up the programming text editors available to me in Linux because although XED is beautiful and useful, I seem to only be able to open one instance at a time, which does not help me cut and paste. So I got some old standards like KATE and JOE. I really have a nice set-up for Python 3 (and also non-supported Python 2), with all the math and A.I. libraries available, all the graphing, all the game designing. My next quick plan for this website is to change the front page back to a “vanilla” corporate template, leave the specialized areas more customized once the initial visitor is acclimatized to my site. Get a links page going, continue the focus on the programming pages, and get a music blog started along side the Developer Blog. So just checking in.

Thursday, 1/16/2020 1:30 AM

So, I will be up to my eyes with lack of internet until 1/22/2020 due work stuff and other things. This means I have to Administer and add to the site through my cell phone. Meanwhile, I’ve delved deep into the hairy crack of Linux System Administration and Shell Scripting, and even got 3 C Language programs written, compiled and executed, while also starting the Musical Harmonic A.I. Composition program. BASH and Linux $PATH, epic fun. I have downloaded a text editor to my cell that should allow me to now cut and paste Blog entries and essays to the website, but it is so much easier from laptop. The delay til the 22nd means I have a long wait until I can download and install every CLI shell known to work on Linux but I will simply use BASH, DASH, and SH. There will be a music blog, guitar and Harmonic composition lessons, as soon as I decide where to put them, as well as my music and art. Have a great day.

Blog Reprint

On Bjork’s “NotGet VR”

This video by Bjork, “NotGet VR” is one of the most profound of Bjork’s works and there is a transcendent rationality that becomes apparent in the irrationality of dancing in the face of extreme apparent danger.  The video link to “NotGet VR” is here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJDcwXQc5CU  

Because I have such difficulty in explaining my view of reality, and I can not take for granted the effort at scholasticism that I put in to learning about religion on the part of my fellows, I cannot easily convey what I need to, so I took up their way of talking about the issue by finding the points on which we have agreement per topic in whatever conversation in which I find myself.

So having said all of this, my experience on this planet has been much closer to the “Law of the Jungle” or the “Law of The Sea” where everything that I encounter is Predatory, Combative, and probably wants to hurt me– whether it knows that it is doing it or not– whether it really wants to be a nice guy or not– though it may be an incredibly nice shark to it’s fellow sharks and well liked, to every other organism it is a giant set of cutting teeth that eats anything– even another dead shark: this aspect of Reality is the Law of the Sea.

And so I start to understand that Nature is incredibly violent as one chunk of amino acid proteins try and eat other chunks of amino acid proteins, and “Fortune” or “Luck” absolutely plays a part in the freak chances when something that should not have gotten away or should have been easy prey becomes the victor and the predator itself is killed by its own attack.

And for me personally, I find many corollaries in the game of Texas Hold’em Poker, where the catch of a needed card on the River (the last deal of any available cards) with several potential outs beats a “pat” or “made” hand like a pair of Aces that should have driven the person who won on that last dealt card out of the game much earlier– but it didn’t– and now someone who believed absolutely they would win, finds themselves out of the game and much poorer for it  (and this example is without any player or dealer cheating, which I find another issue entirely, and also an aspect of Nature).

The Mathematics of Nature is like this too: a predator may get fatally injured during a hunt to feed its cubs or expend a last caloric reserve that it gambled on the hunt, and now would surely die of starvation unless another small victory might be achieved incredibly soon– if it is, it may be “Lucky.”

Now one more point, consider the personalities and world views of the elderly or those with a chronic disease, their world views are entirely different than those of heedless children.  They sit there and consider whether or not they will be around in a year or decade, whether they will actually see a new President or new Pope, and that is a statistical aspect of their lifeline– or length of life– or or the nearness of death to their unique situations.  In “The Snows of Kilamanjaro” http://xroads.virginia.edu/~drbr/heming.html  a fatally injured man’s wife who stays with him until his end is then put in jeopardy at the end of the story by her very decent actions due to the stench of his dying body by a dangerous hyena outside of their tent– no matter how noble or righteous our personal actions, they can lead to our demise in a most nihilistic way.  Yet could she or humanity itself have acted in some other, lesser, life-preseerving manner!?!  It seems Hemingway thinks not.

And so for me, there is a demographic, statistical attribute which we individual humans embody that is considered the “state of personal health”: whether or not “someone still has the capacity to be fertile” and whether or not “someone will die soon,”  and we have a tendency to decide this statistical attribute based on their physical appearance in a biological snap judgment that is then abstractly portrayed more mathematically in the actuarial tables of insurance companies.

At some point in our lives, we cross from the fertile young demographic to those who are basically at death’s door, or those who are already genetically dead in that they cannot breed successfully– essentially dead to Nature, but they have not realized it yet.

The idea of “just for one day” and “one day at a time,” is a different concept that brings hope in an existence that becomes tragic– no matter which religious system we believe.

So when I saw this Bjork video, I see the giant floating creature as a representation of “Death” and the “Extinguishing of Life” and “basic predation” against which there is no escape– only a deferral and a daily reprieve; Bjork cannot “nuke” the creature like at Hiroshima or give it the common cold like the Martian invaders in H.G. Wells “War of the Worlds.”  The relationship portrayed is that the “Death Creature” can kill her, but she cannot kill it– only avoid it.

And though the Death Creature may seem to be alive, it could also be merely a deadly oil slick or chemical spill, or literally the abstracted set of all potential negative outcomes of Bad Luck personified by the Creature that lead to directly to Death (in fact, Bjork may have opted to bravely dance at the specific time she chose to in Reality because it was the “safest” and “most lucky” it was ever going to be for her to exist with and dance at the creature, in other places and times, it would have been absolutely fatal.  However, it could be that she had no choice in the matter at all– she had to dance or die no matter what).

Instead, with apparent complete comprehension of her state and the danger her simple existence is in, and rather than the more typical actions that would perhaps be handled by a man by hiding or throwing stones or some other form of overt, yet less effective striking back, Bjork instead dances.

And as she dances, she is protected by simply taking care of the dance itself– but even so, the dance is dangerous– and she is going to be touched by the Death Thing.

However if she is true to her dance, she is then the only sentience in Existence– she transcends her mere physicality and becomes All Existence (becoming so infinitely “universal” by perfectly believing in the dance and being the dance, that her “Self” then magnifies to include both her dancing self, and the Death Creature, and All Reality because she is Reality) and the Death Thing itself is transformed by her, not she by it (despite that reversal of relationship being “impossible”, and despite being touched by the Death Thing) – but it is all dependent upon the dance, and not whether or not she physically performs it perfectly, but whether or not she believes in the dance perfectly.

Small children do not dance as perfectly as a prima donna in her last ten years on stage, but they are less jaded and believe in what they are doing far more with unquestioning faith, and that the dance is important simply because it is they who are doing it to the best of their ability, and it will “all be all right.” This is how Bjork must dance and she does. 

The wonderful super-group Shakti on their first album Shakti with John McLaughlin have a song “What Need have I for This, What Need have I for That, I am Dancing at the Feet of my Lord, all is Bliss all is Bliss,”  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ym8QtNbbTUQ   that takes up the entire second side of the long-playing album, and again in that piece the Lord or God referenced in the title of the track is Shiva the Destroyer and Transformer.  Perhaps the Destroyer himself stays his hand due to an appreciation for an effort as goofy as mere dancing– something which appears to be a waste of calories in Nature and yet which shows intelligence, but possibly it is because when the dancer perfectly believes, the dancer becomes the God and transcends any comprehension of that duality necessary to fear destruction or to be destroyed by any lesser thing.

Thus, this video by Bjork, “Notget VR” is one of the most profound of Bjork’s works and there is a transcendent rationality that becomes apparent in the irrationality of dancing in the face of extreme apparent danger. 

#Bjork, #dancing, #videos, #death, #reality

Tuesday, 1/14/2020 Afternoon

So the Minty 19.3 Linux programming environment is up, it is clear, and all that is left is for me to start programming. However, this all started as a function of this website to get content running, and so now, rather than starting to program, I need to modify this site and make sure that the website is presented as it is supposed to be. And so now, I will begin updating the computer programming section on the front pages, the menu links, the Joomla Categories need to be streamlined so that Google Analytics doesn’t ban me. Having said all of that, I feel like I need to upload a pic of me when I had a grand beard from 2011….

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

So my Linux issues are solved, and it took a curvy road to do so. I opted to burn the newest Linux Mint 19.3 Tricia install to DVD, and everything was going great: they even supplied a Broadcom driver for my mini Wifi card from Dell with the basic install that had been an issue in Mint 18. And the driver worked- it immediately connected to the Starbucks Wifi during the install of the driver, but when I restarted at the end of the sequence which was what was instructed by the install, upon restart my card lie “Dormant,’ the wlan0 name had been changed to wlp2s0 in /sys/class/net. I realized it must have been me, and although it takes forever to “Encrypt Home Folder” upon install, i decided to reinstall Mint 19.3 because that had been the closest to getting connectivity to work on my Linux side for a year. But by the time I left Starbuck’s at 8 PM, i had reinstalled twice and could not get the connection back. I went home intending to reinstall at my house, but I stopped during the reformat and checked my Windows side of the machine, and found it had not shut down properly and was hanging, and so I shut it down and then on a whim rechecked the 19.3 install and low-and-behold, up pooped all WiFi networks in my area, which meant it had closed from dormancy and gone back to “up” working state. So my advice to all folks having Broadcom WiFi card issues, especially on Windows/Linux machines is to realize that the Windows side may be affecting the card if not shut down properly, even after reformatting and reinstalling the Linux side, the Windows OS can hold the hardware of the card. Now I am apt-updating and apt- upgrading the Linux kernal, I took a snapshot of the system last night. finally, I have found that the build-essentials must be updated before one can add the media-codecs. But it is all going smoothly with both apt-get command line and Synaptic GUI installs, language packs are next.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

1/12/2020 This is my WordPress Blog site. In this space, I will be detailing efforts to program an A.I. Musical Harmonic Composition application in Python. As this project goes forward, I will attempt to use preemptive Best Practices in Python, and use Python Unit Testing using PyTest as well. Also, as another aspect of the program, I will be running this WordPress Blog with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Best Practices with the intent to be able to run appropriate Commercial Accounting Reports on the SEO effort, and the Security efforts to protect this WordPress Site, the larger Joomla site under which the WP sits, as well as the Drupal site which we are still working on the Template for that Drupal bit, but it is already optimized for mobile, and finally our Magento CMS store front efforts, with requisite SSH command line network login. This WP Blog will be the primary development Blog which will include pertinent internal links to other parts of the larger JBA.com site as development proceeds. As a potential commercial Affiliate and Advertiser, this Blog is where I will post my considerations of my profit-based motives coupled with my artistic design ethic; so too the requisite Hashtags and Keywords of such an effort. The next post tomorrow, however, will be a piece containing links to the various Style Guides for the Computer Programming Languages I use, and other great links specific to those languages as I push forward the Python Music A.I. application. Thanks.

Some Blake Art

Monday, January 13, 2020

So today was supposed to go quickly with dispatch, bringing planned code up to speed and to get content into the Blog, and to do some real development. As I drank my morning coffee however, because I am going to be doing some “real coding,” I thought to myself, “Hey, I have a perfectly good upgraded ISO of Mint Linux Sonya 18.2, why don’t I install that this morning so I have a clean development environment tailored directly to my programming whims.” In fact, the ISO installation went smoother than expected on the GRUB Boot Manager partition space inhabited by the former Mint Linux OS. I even managed to download the Dell Latitude E6420 Linux drivers and had them ready. But then I hit the (for me) completely typical Linux snag: despite having the drivers on the new Linux desktop, because the Device Driver Manager could not immediately connect to the Wi-Fi, nor see the DVD drive once Linux was installed, I now had no easy way to install the necessary drivers to get my Linux Wi-Fi ready. No problem I thought, Linux is ancient, surely the command line to install a driver will be easy to find online. In fact, almost every single Driver Tutorial ASSUMES you can simply download it from a repository or that your Device Driver Manager will be able to see the DVD. I remember installing from Red Hat 2.0 at Trinity University in 1998 under the watchful eye of a really smart professor Doctor who would simply chuckle at these impasses, walk back to his desktop, get on a chat board and ask the Linux/UNIX/POSIX masses how to fix it– we must have reinstalled 80 times in different configurations, until I gave up after two days and went to the University’s Sun Solaris system simply to do the programming homework required. This has always been my experience with Linux, and I had a perfectly good working partition of Minty 16, no real reason to upgrade. This is all my fault. So what follows is the error elimination steps as I began to get hostile to everything inside my office (including my tiny 8 year old house cat). Only a few websites have anything like I need to simply install the Dell Linux Broadcom Card Wi-Fi driver, and the typical install-essentials for Linux prerequisites that again assume preexisting WiFi web access.