jeweled platypus


thursday, april 21, 2005
Complaining about MyPyramid

the lovely new food pyramid

The government’s new websites are crappy. The name is dumb, the interface is pitiful, they aren’t very accessible, and they look bad. Judging by the nice PDFs available, they just needed to find some real web designers.

First, that name is pretty bad. “My” should be “Your” and CamelCase is unnecessary. It’s not much of a pyramid anyway, more like a staircase-triangle. Here’s a few bonus points for including the TLD in the site name.

Exploring is just painful, with too many badly-organized choices and weak navigation on deeper pages. I tried to learn more about my daily servings of food groups but gave up halfway through because it involved so many clicks. At least the basic recommendations are easy to find.

My Pyramid Tracker is worse. A zillion clicks allow you to analyze your precise energy needs — if you’re dedicated and have a lot of time. The interface is crap. There are too many specific choices for foods and activities. But once I finished it, the analyzations were good.

The accessibility statement is lame. A lot of the sites’ text is inside images. Some of the detail text is in capitals (eek!). In several places, the background/text contrast is poor. The pages look cluttery and badly-spaced, like most table-based layouts.

The new pyramid could use more density of information. You need to read the website to figure it out. The basic version doesn’t have any pictures on it — you shouldn’t have to refer to a key. The brain does not find it easy to translate those proportional wedges into servings of food. Also, I don’t like the large amounts of dairy and that the vegetarian information is almost hidden. Oh well, the little staircase guy is cool.

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tuesday, april 19, 2005
Things to announce

the whale icon on my desktop

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thursday, april 14, 2005
Those silly universities

Throughout the college admissions process, I have stumbled across some interesting bits of web design.

The University of California application status site has a strange welcome screen:

I like to change my password all the time

Cal State Long Beach wanted to confirm my email address multiple times:

the first two times

a third time

The College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara has a “web application” you have to print out and send in. It includes a sentence with three spelling errors:

three of eight words are spelled wrong

UC Irvine likes “click here” animated gifs:

click here!

The following image is from an Advanced Placement study site. I was using the current Firefox because I figured the site had no clue about OS X. It did crash Firefox soon enough, but ended up not working anyway.

what a combination of clues and dumbness

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monday, april 04, 2005
Lucky bamboo isn’t really either

This weekend, Mister Kyle and I stopped off in Chinatown and bought a tiny pot of “lucky bamboo” for $4. I’ve wanted this for at least half a year, says my index cards, but I rarely get around to buying anything. The bamboo was just too sweet to wait another six months.

Since my camera is being repaired, I drew a picture:

my new plant, in pencil

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sunday, april 03, 2005
Uh oh

I think I did something really stupid to Jeweled Platypus. I hate Transmit.

My last backup was in January, so we’ll see. I don’t even know how much has been deleted.

Update 4/3/05 22:21: I tried to delete an unnecessary folder in Jeweled Platypus’ home directory. Transmit didn’t get the message, so I tried again. A little later, I noticed that Transmit kept saying such-and-such file couldn’t be deleted. I reconnected (flaky connection, slow computer, etc). And then, I checked something in my browser and my stylesheet was gone. Panic! And a lot of things were gone.

Most of the stuff was backed up, but I have to recreate additions to the stylesheet and update hypertext. Half of my /news/britta posts disappeared and I don’t have the ones from February and March. I have the old missing ones, but I have to recreate their timestamps before I can repost them. Blah.

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I’m Britta Gustafson.

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