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Another news rant - Qualified Perceptions
firstfrost
firstfrost
Another news rant
From a Boston Globe article today (emphasis mine):
Allurent, a provider of online shopping technology based in Cambridge, and clothing retailer Anthropologie are piloting a computer application that allows shoppers to browse Anthropologie's catalog and place orders through a button on their desktop, without downloading cumbersome portable document files or connecting to the Internet.

[...]

Someone shopping for clothes from Anthropologie would download the application to a desktop [...] When a shopper is ready to check out, the application seamlessly transfers to Anthropolgie's website, where the shopper pays and fills in the shipping information.
I was ranting about this to harrock earlier - how exactly is placing an order on line done without connecting to the Internet? And we grumbled about how in modern user technology, "the internet" means "anything you can access with a web browser". But it's not even that! It goes to the web site at the end! I don't even know what they think "without connecting to the Internet" means at this point! And ooooh, they don't have to download cumbersome PDF files, they only have to download a WHOLE APPLICATION.

I mean, I could understand "this is a better UI" as an argument. Maybe it is. But the arguments they're making about why this is better are crazy-headed.

Tags:
Current Mood: exasperated

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Comments
crs From: crs Date: July 21st, 2008 01:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
And, of course, make sure you expand "pdf" to "portable document format" when writing about them, since otherwise people might know what you're talking about.
dzm From: dzm Date: July 21st, 2008 01:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think the key terminology point you're missing is that Internet Explorer definitionally can explore the entire Internet. So little things like SMTP and Moira and USENET aren't part of the Internet, because IE can't view them. QED.

More seriously, I think the Web has always provided a horrible user experience for interactive applications. It's improved significantly over the past 10 years, but it's still a horrible programming experience too, and the pokey edges of the AJAX model are a little too user-visible. (I think migrating from Athena-froshpref to Web-froshpref was a terrible idea, even if it was my first big watchmaker project.) There's also interesting things to say in terms of performance and privacy for "don't actually send anything to the vendor until an order is placed". I'm not sure it's so critical in terms of an online clothing vendor, but I can definitely see the arguments for "native application is better than HTML".
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: July 21st, 2008 02:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think the key terminology point you're missing is that Internet Explorer definitionally can explore the entire Internet. So little things like SMTP and Moira and USENET aren't part of the Internet, because IE can't view them. QED.

No, no, I do know that part. :) I have the conversation of "Can I do X over the internet?" "Yes, you log into Athena and..." "What is the URL for that?" "Er..." way too often. (Though, for a while now, "http://athena.dialup.mit.edu" is not bad as a workaround. It's not that the users don't have a telnet program, it's that sometimes it's just easier to use "the internet"....)
kirisutogomen From: kirisutogomen Date: July 22nd, 2008 12:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Wouldn't the URL be "telnet://athena.dialup.mit.edu"?

(and now I feel challenged to find stupider journalism than this. Sadly, not actually very challenging.)
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: July 22nd, 2008 03:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Wouldn't the URL be "telnet://athena.dialup.mit.edu"?

No, it's actually a java applet running ssh at that URL. telnet:// doesn't use Kerberos by default, so it won't get you in.
From: readsalot Date: July 21st, 2008 02:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think what this says about the state of the news is that it's very sad that newspapers will take a press release, get a couple of quotes from people at the originating company, and then use that to print a story without actually, you know, doing research.
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: July 21st, 2008 02:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
And, one of the quotes they chose to use was:

"The idea is the right one," said Joe Chung, Allurent's chief executive.
From: readsalot Date: July 21st, 2008 03:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Blerg.

I didn't catch on to this until I spent a year sending out press releases for the Worldcon. (And posting them on our web site.) It's kind of like seeing cue dots--after a while, you start recognizing the kind of language being used, and you see it everywhere.
dcltdw From: dcltdw Date: July 21st, 2008 04:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Bwah :)
Now I want to see a superhero who goes out and punches these pseudojournalists.

Although maybe that already exists in the form of Obviousman. :)
twe From: twe Date: July 21st, 2008 10:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. Speechless.
twe From: twe Date: July 22nd, 2008 10:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
Maybe you should write a letter to the editor!
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