Sep 282019
 

It is quite possible I have commented on this before now, but I felt like a rant and I’m too lazy to search through the old posts to see if I’ve ranting on this subject before.

Windows, Icons, Mouse Pointer … or the gooey. Icons are an integral part of the gooey experience. Or so we are led to believe.

But really aren’t they just a little bit shit?

And I should clarify, I am not talking about file icons – pictures of folders (although given the lack of physical folders these days, a bucket might be more appropriate), and pictures of the kind of contents to be expected within files. Although I’m sure there’s a rant to be had with filesystem browser icons, and I do think they can be a bit silly, this rant isn’t about those.

It’s about those silly little icons in the toolbar of an application … or similar ‘functional icons’ which when activated perform some function. All it takes to misinterpret the icons is lacking the perspective of the icon designer, and then they take on a whole new meaning.

For example, the browser I am using to write this has a bunch of icons just below a strange “V” symbol (because it’s uncool to use a sensible word-based button like “Menu”).

The next stupid icon is an arrow in a circle – obviously intended to indicate a function to rotate the web page (although it’s actually to reload the web page), the left and right arrows are obviously a way to navigate between tabs, and there’s a cloud icon; no idea on what that one does.

In ‘normal’ applications there is of course the classic floppy disk icon, which just about everyone has attacked because it is just such an obvious target. Who uses floppies these days? And how many people under the age of twenty actually know what a floppy is anyway?

And my DAP has an icon that looks like two snakes getting friendly – no idea what that is supposed to represent although I believe it has something to do with “shuffle”.

We have a perfectly adequate way to communicate; one which we spend years learning how to use. It’s called writing.

What’s wrong with writing? Well there are two problems :-

  1. There isn’t much in the way of space inside of an icon to get too wordy.
  2. Words have to be translated which can get expensive.

When you come down to it, pictorial icons are just a half-arsed solution to save money.

Tower Stonework
Sep 272019
 

There are those (amongst the lunatic fringe of the Bexiteers – see this) who believe that the Supreme Court decision this week on Boris the Bodger proroguing parliament was an anti-Brexit move and undemocratic.

Nothing could be further than the truth; indeed it is possibly more important than Brexit. To quite from the Supreme Court summary of the judgement :-

It is important, once again, to emphasise that these cases are not about when and on what terms the United Kingdom is to leave the European Union …

https://www.supremecourt.uk/cases/docs/uksc-2019-0192-summary.pdf

It was about the so-called “unwritten” constitution (which is actually far too many bit of paper all over the place), and ensuring that Britain’s governance (not government) was in accordance with constitutional law.

Britain’s governance consists of three parts :-

  1. The executive (the Prime Minister and the government they appoint) who is appointed by Parliament.
  2. Parliament (the only part of governance that is democratically elected) which creates legislation and supervises the executive.
  3. Finally the Judiciary (and the Supreme Court) that judges whether actions are legal, illegal, or unlawful.

The Supreme Court by declaring that the proroguing of parliament was unlawful, decided that the purpose of proroguing parliament was for the government to make Brexit arrangements without the supervision of parliament. Brexit can and must be delivered with Parliament’s blessing – anything else is undemocratic.

But more importantly, this was about a prime minister ignoring the will of parliament and using an instrument of state in a way that was never intended. This was effectively an attempt at dictatorship.

So in the end the Supreme Court decision was not about stopping Brexit but stopping a dictatorship now (which admittedly would have been a particularly limited dictatorship) and in the future.

Aug 282019
 

Today Boris the Bodger called the privy council up to prorogue parliament to stop those ever so inconvenient representatives of the people from causing more trouble for his agenda. There are those who go so far as to call this a cout d’état – not entirely unreasonably although it is probably legal.

There are those who are disappointed that the Queen agreed to the proroguing of parliament, but why should she? Disregarding the ‘advice’ of the Prime Minister would go against what she has spent her entire reign doing – being a symbolic head of state in a parliamentary democracy.

Because it’s a lifetime ago, it is all too easy to forget that the Queen ascended the throne with the monarchy in crisis – her uncle had abdicated in 1936 and her father reigned for a relatively short time. She has spent her long reign rebuilding trust in the monarchy.

There are those who will say what happened was not democratic (and I’m inclined to agree with them) but the Queen can quite reasonably point out that she acted in a democratic way – she assented to the request of the Prime Minister elected by parliament.

If anything undemocratic went on, it was done by Boris the Bodger, and parliament has a duty to take care of that.

Surfing The Sky

Aug 172019
 

There is a quite amusing social media feed shaming the poor behaviour of airline passengers which is fair enough – some of the behaviour is quite nasty and shaming it is quite reasonable.

But they also seem to have a foot phobia – naked feet are themselves considered sufficient to be worthy of public shaming. Why?

Now I am not talking about sticking your naked feet in someone’s ear, or anywhere else that closer to someone’s nose than necessary. But on the floor? Why not?

Well there are those who are horrified by the sight of naked feet, and without a good reason there is no harm in not horrifying them.

But there are sometimes good reasons – I have psoriasis and wearing socks and shoes in a warm environment results in sweaty feet. Which in turn results in socks feeling like a cheese grater on my suppurating sores on my feet.

So screw your anti-foot fetish; I’m getting my feet naked whenever I feel the need for it.

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