DAW music software authorization affecting creative flow

With every virtual instrument and effects going the authorization-software route, the creative process is burdened by software updates, patches and oh-surprise download updates… Internet connection required. 😟

Now before considering “oh a cool plugin”, do I really want to jump through all the hoops to have that extra piece of code running in the background.

There’s more. They default check-mark to sharing computer-specs and activity back to their servers. They are effectively pushing the security burden on the users instead of themselves.

Overall it’s a pretty aggravating user experience. Every platform has their own steps, which doesn’t even allow for a convention to ease effort. I hope that software providers shift their security model in a user-friendly format in the future.

Friction

Here are the steps when one of my software updates require an entirely new download.

  1. Download a new software version, from a web page.
  2. Unzip file
  3. Select install
  4. Accept terms
  5. Wait for internet connection verification
  6. Find credentials
  7. Type in credentials
  8. Find serial number
  9. Enter serial number
  10. Select download instrument / effect
  11. Boot up music software (DAW)
  12. Find plugins
  13. Route them to activate them

Authorization software on desktop
Collecting authorization software.. for my software.
More waiting.
Yet another step.
Almost there you would think.

Day-to-day techniques to publish your content faster

This is a list of techniques I’ve elaborated over the years for overseeing content. They’ve helped me become faster and more efficient at content management.

I’ll continue updating the list as I think of tips and tricks.

Bookmarks and organize your logins

Logging in to admin pages regularly? Organize your logins by sites directly to the admin login url. If you work in a bilingual setting, you’ll want to have both links bookmarked.

Right-click your bookmarks and select: Open all bookmarks. Works like a charm and you have your tabs ready for crushing content.

Use a password manager

Please don’t make the argument that your browser logins are sufficient (it’s not). You need to protect your valuable content with proper security.

Get a password manager if you don’t already have one already. I recommend doing your research thoroughly to see which tool works best for both your personal/professional life-style. My favourite so far has been 1Password. It allows for multi-device, multi-platform logins.

If you mix personal and professional passwords with your password manager, label your logins. I personally prefer prefixes for separating which accounts I’m dabbling with.

Ex:

  • IH – Facebook page business manager
  • MGK – Facebook
  • Ottawa in Colour – Facebook

Say good-bye to typing your passwords and hello to single-click logins! Seconds of your life * #of logins per day = time saved!

The Dangers of Overpersonalization

In parallel to marketing segmentation, overly personalized #content, without the effort of contextual and timely relevance, creates mediocre experiences. New term learned: content fatigue.

The Dangers of Overpersonalization

In many ways, personalization is a good thing. Internet users are so inundated with content, that filtering through the noise and presenting only information of interest can reduce user effort and enrich online experiences. Many users know that every interaction online is tracked and analyzed.

My favourite android games

I’ve always enjoyed playing games. Ever since I got my first smartphone, I started pouring over the app markets and hunting for the games that would fit specific experiences. Eventually scrolling down to over 100 games in specific categories wasn’t enough and began to participate in the Reddit Android Gaming community. A mix of developers and avid game hunters.

Quests and RPG

Exiled Kingdoms

Animal Super Squad

Side scrollers and hectic madness

10000000 + You must build a boat

Burrito Bison: Launcha Libre

Minion Rush

Roguelikes

Pixel Dungeon

Boardgames and strategy

Slay

Neuroshima Hex

The Battle of Polytopia

Hive with AI

Splendor

Tower defense

Bloons TD 5, Bloons TD 6 and Bloons Monkey City

Trench Assault

Puzzles

World of Goo

Candy Crush Saga

Mr.Catt

The Room (series by Fireproof Games)

Trainyard Express

Really Bad Chess

Meon

VOI

Grinding min-max games | Town builders

The Kitten Games: The only graphics you get is the loading screen. The game has cheeky feline humour and has been the most rewarding optimization game I’ve had my hands on.

Kairosoft (series)

A Silent Wood

Survive Wilderness

Assembly Line

Egg, Inc.

My Colony

Collaborative or competitive

BADLAND Cross-platform

Star Realms

SoulKnight

Spaceteam

Function experimental game

Doodle Jump: One of the pioneer for steering with your phone the direction of your jump. Simple game to see how far you can jump.

Fruit Ninja

Smash Hit

Smashing stuff

Various Guys or maybe Epic Battle Simulator

Giant boulder of death

Eternium

Little Inferno

Experiential adventures

DATA WING

Monument Valley (1 and 2)

This War of Mine

Lumino City

Mini Metro

Red and Yellow

Heads Off

Plague Inc.

Motorsport Manage 2 and 3

There You Go

Fluffy Fall: Fly faaa?

Resilient design starts with difficult data.

“Then, the video arrives and the default poster image for the video also includes the company logo. Now your beautiful home page layout looks like a logo salad. […] Jump on your designs! Throw them against the wall! Fill them with garbage and show how well they hold up.”

Article: https://alistapart.com/article/design-with-difficult-data

Redesigning a university convocation website

I finally redesigned the uOttawa convocation website. After three years of migrating other sites, I finally got to slay the FAQ sections, eliminate redundancies and iron out user journeys. After a content audit, I made the content modular to enable batch updates between operations cycles. Our team knew it was time to have a fresh start for the website.

Screenshot of our the convocation home page.

Just to show you how a convocation sites can get real fugly real quick, you typically only need one click past the shiny landing pages to enter the labyrinth of user frustration:

  • http://convocation.uwo.ca
  • http://graduation.ubc.ca
  • http://www.mcgill.ca/students/graduation/convocation
  • http://uqo.ca/collation

Sure the information is there, but you will notice that each user journey’s information is slew all across the pages. I’ve been there first hand. What will happen is a friction-full registration process and then a relatively smooth event.

I can completely empathize with event managers when it comes to platforms. They are aware of logistics and the granular details that come along with the gigs. Unfortunately, this usually means that their focus is primarily on operations, which then creates a digital-second outcome.

Understand the business

In terms of lessons learned, to have a successful convocation website, you need to understand the operations and business. This involved a lot of questions and details that relate to content strategy, but also determining the importance of information. You can then determine which information targets which users.

Keeping it simple for users (can be quite complex)!

Content audit – Count the duplicates

In this redesign, we had diploma related information that was sometimes applicable to undergraduate, masters and doctorate students. In other instances, some information only applied to undergraduates, regardless of if they attended the event or not. We had guest ticket information in general information sections, profiles, events pages.

To remove the redundancies. I created a content audit with a new structure in mind that revolved around the business and core activities.

Having your nose in digital content daily can sometimes take your focus away from holistic user experience and focus too heavily on digital. I realized quickly that some information on the site often trivial to users or simply displayed to everyone when its target was a very specific audience.

Results

After presenting the pages mockups to the clients and stakeholder, we ended up with a site with the following elements. The dreaded catch-all FAQ was eradicated and its content disseminated as necessary.

Clear segmentation of audiences

This makes easy for students to self-identify according to their scenarios. Content is organized in a sequential order. Our team started the habit of adding image banners that represent the audience’s experience.

To acquire the images, we had to do a bit of file-hunting and photo-requests. Ask your clients to take events photos and do be specific about what you are looking for. Wide photos work best for websites/editing.

A screenshot of the Undergraduate student attending Convocation page

One convocation ceremonies page

This page is the one and only reference for the schedule of ceremonies. By centralizing all the dates and times in one location, it reduces update times (instead of updating multiple locations/content groups).

I also dissected what was originally a big table of events into Faculty specific drop-downs. This means that students/parents/guests can find the ceremony quickly without having to parse through the data. It also eases accessibility as you can skip straight to the Faculties instead of having to scan a complex table.

Logistics were placed underneath the ceremonies schedule. Anything to do with the day-of relevant to all audiences was centralized there.

  • www.uottawa.ca/obtain-your-degree/convocation-ceremonies

Screenshot of the Convocation ceremonies
page with a tab opened.  (Background is fixed on the site)

Grieving code repository ideas

Some code never see the light they deserved in order to shine. Some code could be beautiful and comes out lazily written. Here are two ideas of platforms that could give more attention to these two very different conclusions.

GitVaporware

GitHub, but instead it’s a cemetery repository for good code that never ended up being used. Developers and designers can leave condolences and eulogies. Help with the grievance process of wasting those precious hours of work.

GitRoast

GitHub, but instead it’s entirely anonymous and code is up to roasting. Where ugly code is ripped apart and optimized. Tears will flow. Phoenix will rise. Developers will be roasted.

Making decisions without all the information

I’ve had been mulling over the last couple months as to why I keep hearing that leaders do not want over 80% of the information before making decisions. On an analytical perspective, it would make sense to want to see the whole picture before making long-lasting decisions. Previous suggestions that I read in Starting with Why hinted that information seemed less reliable if it got closer to 100%. Saying that the full information is not reliable however is basically inferring that less information is therefore more reliable, which is not necessarily true. It feels like an overly convenient escape from complexity and complications.

After reading the article below, the new angle shared by Jeff Bezos promoting nimble decision-making to avoid delays and decision reversal options makes a lot more sense to me. At the very least at least, it elaborates as to why having approximately 70% of information is good enough. The extra time to collect the remaining 30% of information is the cost of opportunity that can slip away. I can see how this quick iterative decision-making embedded within a  corporate culture could lead to faster improvements and overall long-term survival, particularly in the technology sector.

Article TLDR – This is the Jeff Bezos playbook for preventing Amazon’s demise

This is a quick summary on the article from Recode. For the full read, check out the source below.

That’s a question I just got at our most recent all-hands meeting. I’ve been reminding people that it’s Day 1 for a couple of decades. I work in an Amazon building named Day 1, and when I moved buildings, I took the name with me. I spend time thinking about this topic.

“Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”

First, never use a one-size-fits-all decision-making process. Many decisions are reversible, two-way doors.

Second, most decisions should probably be made with somewhere around 70% of the information you wish you had. If you wait for 90%, in most cases, you’re probably being slow.

Third, use the phrase “disagree and commit.” This phrase will save a lot of time. By the time you’re at this point, no one can know the answer for sure, and you’ll probably get a quick yes.

Fourth, recognize true misalignment issues early and escalate them immediately.  No amount of discussion, no number of meetings will resolve that deep misalignment.

Source: https://www.recode.net/2017/4/12/15274220/jeff-bezos-amazon-shareholders-letter-day-2-disagree-and-commit

Cybersecurity Experts Uncover Dormant Botnet of 350,000 Twitter Accounts

The business of selling followers seems shallower than ever before.
 
Dating profile of their twitter bot:
– Born in summer of 2013
– 350,000 siblings. Tends to agree with family.
– Educated. Will randomly quotes literature.
– Star wars fan
– Might follow you on twitter but will never mention you.
– Rural lifestyle. Lives in secluded uninhabited/table areas.
“The results were a shock. The machine-learning algorithm, with the help of some manual filtering, found some 350,000 accounts that had the same characteristics. These accounts had never tweeted more than 11 times, had fewer than 31 friends and were all produced by Twitter for Windows Phone. […]

 

The bots do this by tweeting quotes from novels to avoid machine-generated language, which can be easily detected. They never tweet urls or mention other Twitter users. And they have tweeted only a few times each to avoid detection for over or under use.”

Source (link and image):  https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603404/cybersecurity-experts-uncover-dormant-botnet-of-350000-twitter-accounts

Darkside of UX – TLDR

The Dark Side of UX – Sometimes, designers are purposely hindering the user experience in search of influencing short-term immediate bottom-line conversion. This friction erodes brand trust and the very same value add that good UX design is thriving to bring to the organization. An interesting video explaining adoption.

Source: https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/the-dark-side-of-ux

Author/Copyright holder: Eshan Shah Jahan. Copyright terms and licence: All rights reserved