The principle of least astonishment

[Example:] A user is about to enter his username and password for a program or website when he receives an instant message. Some instant messaging clients will immediately grab the keyboard focus and move it into their own response field, because they assume the user will want to respond to the new message immediately. In reality, the user may be astonished to find that they have just typed their password into their IM client and sent it to their friends. This conflict arises because the two programs are not aware of each other’s existence, and cannot easily determine when they might get in each other’s way. To avoid such conflicts, operating systems may restrict the interaction of different programs, for example by preventing the IM client from stealing the focus.

Via the Wikipedia page. Kudos to Alex King for making me aware of this principle.

The Bechdel Test for movies

The Bechdel Test, sometimes called the Mo Movie Measure or Bechdel Rule is a simple test which names the following three criteria:

  1. it has to have at least two women in it, who
  2. who talk to each other, about
  3. something besides a man.

Turns out it’s not very common for movies to pass this test. I’ll be on the lookout for this in movies from now on. (via

The forward fringe

Marco Arment quipped on Twitter that web designers need to take HiDPI displays seriously, and adapt their designs to look great on them. […]

Why? Because HiDPI customers may be a fringe group, but they are a forward-facing fringe. They represent the users of the future, and the more we cater to them now, the more deeply embedded our products and designs will be intheir culture. The future culture. The same arguments apply to aggressively embracing newer web browsers standards, and the latest technologies in platform operating systems such as iOS and Mac OS X.

— Daniel Jalkut, Target the Forward Fringe

Draw Something sketches I’m proud of

I haven’t played a round of Draw Something in some time, but when I did I made my own meta-game out of making unnecessarily elaborate drawings (usually a few) to have some fun trying to improve my sketches. An iPad, a Pogo stylus, and a handful of the color sets you can pick up within the app made for good fun.


After updating an earlier post with a working video, I did some looking around to find out just how many women James Bond has slept with in the movies. And I found John Hillman’s writeup on Quora:

The three criteria I used are (1) Romance must occur in the scene and shown or (2) Bond says something just before a scene cuts which strongly implies he is going to bed with the woman in question or (3) as mentioned above, before the credits roll he and the heroine spend some QT together.

Fifty-two women from Dr. No to Quantum of Solace. I love the internet.

Introducing the Simple Badges plugin (alpha)

Speaking of plugin releases, if you’d like you can have a look at the alpha release of Simple Badges, a fun new plugin I’ve been working on recently.

My goal with Simple Badges is to make the process of awarding badges to users on a WordPress website a painless process. See, Achievements is awesome if you’re using BuddyPress; often I’m not. CubePoints is something to look at if you want your users to accrue points that they can then exchange for things. But if all you want it the ability to award graphic badges for various things, display them on a user’s profile, and perhaps show off with a leader board, then Simple Badges could be for you.

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