Links for March 3rd

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

6 replies on “Links for March 3rd”

  1. > “Why Hover Menus Do Users More Harm Than Good”

    The opening paragraphs actually explain fairly nicely why I find it completely impossible to even attempt to use a Wii. (I gave up on the Wii after, like, 90 seconds).

    Actually, if you were to generalize that argument more broadly, it would also explain why I find 75% of the new-fangled updates that I ever experience on my computer totally befuddling…

    Here’s my perspective: the vast majority of users just want a simple basic thing that is intuitive and easy to use. But developers always want to make the newest, neatest, nicest shit because a) that’s what they find exciting, and b) all of their feedback comes from an echo-chamber of the smartest, fastest, most up-to-date internet nerds who follow everything like hawks, and not the rest of us novices who are just trying to do something basic.

    Which is why developers keep making things like “New Twitter” and “New Google” etc even though most of us weren’t really asking for that — and for a majority of casual users, those things are actually just confusing and more difficult to use.

  2. But I don’t want the eastern cougar to be extinct. Doesn’t that matter? :-)

  3. “The version of Watson used in the challenge in Washington is described as a “slightly slower” unit than the supercomputer featured in the Jeopardy challenge,”
    So… he beat a different computer with different capabilities. Is there a version of Watson developed back in the 80’s that I can beat? Just so I too can make the almost unfounded claim that I beat Watson?
    I wonder if they’ve given it an IQ test yet.

  4. “The version of Watson used in the challenge in Washington is described as a “slightly slower” unit than the supercomputer featured in the Jeopardy challenge,”

    I think they were trying to deal with a problem that occurred with Watson on Jeopardy, at least if you regard it as a problem. A computer can hit the buzzer instantly—a computer made forty years ago could have hit the buzzer instantly—which is an incredible advantage. Although an element of speed has always been relevant in Jeopardy, that’s really testing something that’s wholly different than what the rest of the game tests, which is knowledge. Ken Jennings complained that he often knew the answer, but the limits of human reaction times made it impossible for him to buzz in first. That makes the game incredibly frustrating for anybody to play. Nobody doubts that computers can defeat humans’ reaction time—it’s Watson’s ability to defeat human knowledge that’s of interest here, so attenuating the reaction time just makes sense. Otherwise, it’s not a game—it’s a slaughter. :)

    Anyhow, the point is that “slower” is probably describing the buzz-in response time, and not cognition.

  5. Some hover menus are ok, but most are the work of Satan. I’m glad to see a techie discussing this. Maybe more web developers will take notice and stop using them.

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