WIP Wednesday - Week 38

Sep. 20th, 2017 09:17 am
kiwiria: (Hobby: Knitting)
[personal profile] kiwiria
As promised last week, I have several finished objects to show off this week! :-)

I finished all three pairs of niebling-socks, but stupidly gave away the first pair without remembering to take a photo of it first! Ah well, I'm sure you can guess what they look like ;-)

I also finished the Travelling poncho for Nora and am really happy with how it turned out! Hope it'll fit her well! I see her next week, so can hopefully get her to try it on then.

Finally and most excitingly I finished the Hogwarts Express Shawl. I love absolutely everything about this shawl! The colour, the yarn (SO SOFT!!!), the beads, the owls... it's exactly as awesome as I thought it would be when I first saw the pattern. I'm now definitely considering making a cardigan or a sweater with these cuties on the yoke! So cute :-)

Isabella came to visit last week, and we decided to start a long-term auntie-niece crochet project - the summer garden granny square blanket. We've only got 3 squares done so far, so it looks like it'll be a long-LONG-term project, but we're having fun with it, and that's what matters :-)

With all this awesomeness off the needles, I've actually only been working actively on ONE WIP this past week - a pair of socks for Christian. They're coming along nicely, although the 72sts look HUGE after just having knit three pairs of niebling socks with only 60sts ;-)

Unfortunately I'm not quite sure I have enough yarn (my guesstimate of how much more a 72sts pair would take was off), so I may have to get creative with the cuff... We'll see. I still have 10 grams left, so it may take me further than I expect it to.

usability struggles

Sep. 19th, 2017 10:51 pm
cellio: (Default)
[personal profile] cellio

I spend a lot of time on, and am a volunteer moderator for, several Stack Exchange sites. (Mi Yodeya is one of them.) SE has a banner ("top bar") that is the same across all sites. It contains notifications, information about the logged-in user, and some key navigation links. For moderators it contains a few more things relevant to that job.

Until recently it looked like this (non-moderator view):

original

The red counter is the inbox (waiting messages) and the green one is reputation changes. If there aren't any, you just get the gray icons that those alerts are positioned over. If I were a moderator on that site, there'd be a diamond to the left of my user picture and a blue square with the flag count to the left of that.

They've just changed this design. (Well, the change is rolling out.) Here's what it looks like now (for a moderator):

new, notifications

The most important links for moderation are the last two things, the diamond and the blue box with the number (flags). They're on the far right, where they're less likely to be seen for various reasons. (Non-moderators don't get those indicators.)

In the old design, those moderator indicators -- which are important -- were toward the center where they're easier to see. Also, all the numbers were a little bigger and easier to see.

When this was announced there was a lot of immediate discussion in the moderators-only chat room, during which I got a little upset about the reduced usability, especially those moderator controls -- which had a good chance of being scrolled away in a not-huge browser window, because SE doesn't use responsive design. After I calmed down I wrote a post on Meta about how this was going to make it harder for me to do my volunteer job, particularly with vision challenges. I expected to get a few sympathy votes, some "get a bigger monitor" snark (which wouldn't help, by the way), and no results.

That post is now one of my highest-scoring posts on the network. And I have a meeting with the product manager and a designer at SE next week to demonstrate my difficulties in using this in more detail.

Meanwhile, I've gotten some help with userscripts from some other moderators. It's hacky and a little buggy and it slows down page loads and I have no idea how to adjust some things, but at least I can see my notifications and the moderator stuff is in a better place. It'll do for now.

I sure hope I can get them to bake some of this in, though. The page-load delay is a little disconcerting as stuff jumps around on the screen. (Also, userscripts do not work on my Android tablet.)

Beyond the immediate problem, though, what I really hope for is to find some way to raise a little awareness that usability is hard, designers are not the users, there are all kinds of people with all kinds of usage patterns and constraints, and you need to somehow, systematically, figure out how to design for the larger audience. That's going to be the hard part.

a conversation snippet

Sep. 16th, 2017 10:36 pm
cellio: (shira)
[personal profile] cellio
Tonight at our s'lichot service (something tied to the high holy days), a fellow congregant greeted me and said "I haven't seen you in hours!". (We'd both been there this morning.) I said "hours and hours!". He complained that I was getting carried away.

I responded by saying: "hours" means at least two; "hours and hours" therefore means at least four; it's been longer than that since this morning, so "hours and hours" is not inappropriate.

It was at this point that somebody standing nearby said "oh, that's where I know you from!". We'd both been in a talmud-heavy class a while back.

There are worse things to be remembered for. :-)

daf bit: Sanhedrin 60

Sep. 14th, 2017 09:00 am
cellio: (talmud)
[personal profile] cellio

Blasphemy is a capital offense. Conviction for a capital offense requires careful testimony of two direct witnesses. This poses a problem, as they must testify to what exactly the person said. To minimize the damage, the court sent everybody out except for the witnesses and then told the first witness: tell us literally what he said. The witness did, and the judges tore their garments. The second witness then said "I heard this too" without repeating the testimony. (The mishna then says the third witness does likewise. I'm not sure where the third witness came from, as only two are required.)

The g'mara discusses tearing one's garments when hearing blasphemy. Rav Yehudah said in the name of Shmuel that one tears only when hearing a curse of the tetragramaton, but not when hearing other divine names. Rabbi Chiyya says that one who hears God's name in a blasphemous context today doesn't tear his garments, because if he did the garment would be torn to shreds. But who is R' Chiyya talking about? If we say that he hears this blasphemy from Jews, are Jews so irreverent as to frequently demean the name of God? No, he must be talking about hearing it from gentiles. But do gentiles know this specific name? No, if we're talking about gentiles it must be in regard to any name, and there'd be enough of that to leave one's garments in shreds. The g'mara concludes that nowadays one is not obligated to tear his garments when hearing the curse of a gentile and a curse using another name, but originally one was obligated to tear for both, contrary to what Shmuel says. (mishna 56a, g'mara 60a)

In case you're wondering (I did!) why the second witness doesn't tear his garment on hearing the first witness repeat the blasphemy, the g'mara says it's because he already tore his garment when he heard the original blasphemer. The judges, however, are hearing it for the first time.

WIP Wednesday - Week 37

Sep. 13th, 2017 09:16 am
kiwiria: (Hobby: Knitting)
[personal profile] kiwiria
It's been awhile since I did a WIP Wednesday post last, so I have a TON of stuff to show you this time.

Let's start with my finished objects. Only two of those, so may as well get them out of the way right away.

First, the McGonagall Cardigan for Nina. I posted photos of this once before, but have since then managed to get modeled shots, which is always better :-) Fortunately, though a bit snug, it seems to fit Nina very well :-)


Miriam asked if I'd knit her some "Dragon Gloves" (long fingerless gloves), and after sending a few (okay, a lot) of photos back and forth (I love modern technology!) decided on some lovely soft and colourful yarn. I haven't seen her since finishing them, but hopefully they will fit well :-)

Now WIPs. Somehow I have managed to knit a bit on a TON of different projects. Partly because I'm indecisive, partly because I like switching between obligation knitting and free knitting ;-)

For my travel knitting I'm currently working on some DesertVista Dyeworks socks. I didn't really get the hype about this yarn until I tried it for myself. Oh. Wow! So soft to the touch and awesome colours! If it wasn't for shipping + vat being so prohibitively expensive I'd buy heaps more of this yarn! I've finished the first sock and am about half-way up the foot of the second one. Love it! (left sock in the photo below)

Decided to pick up some old neglected socks as well, and finally finished the first of my Dalarna socks (right sock in the photo above). After having knit with DVD for awhile, Opal comes across as oddly rough on the hands :-P But I know it will wear well, and love the colours :-)

I'm ALMOST done with my niebling socks!!! Just 2 more heels to go! Oh, and then weaving in a billion ends :-P I have come to the conclusion that I am NOT a fan of afterthought heels, and I like true afterthought heels (i.e. where you cut the yarn for the heel instead of putting in waste yarn) even less. First of all, too many ends to weave in! Secondly, I don't think they fit as well as gusset heels or even short-row heels. Ah well - lesson learned. Hopefully the nieblings will like them though :) Miriam saw one of them last she visited, "But I already have a pair of home socks." "Have you seen the cuff?" "OH!!!!!" :-D

After all the recent obligation knitting I was in the mood to crochet and have once again stolen one of my nieblings as the intended recipient. I'm almost done with the traveller's poncho for Nora. Tried it on Rosa to check for length and she promptly asked me to make her one too! ;-) Fortunately I have more yarn left over (just on a different colourway), so I'll get started on that as soon as I've finished this one. Just have to do a bit of maths, as I'm making the largest size for Nora, and it's still too small for Rosa.

This past weekend Lars and I went on a tour around Zealand to go bus spotting. Though getting rather bulky I really wanted to put in some squares on my Cozy Memories blanket, and figured that the only person I'd be inconveniencing was myself, so why not? Why not indeed, and over the course of the day, I managed to get a total of 9 new squares knit! It still has quite a ways to go yet, but after hardly having touched it at all all year, it was great to bring it out again :-)

And finally, I'm working on a true comfort knit. While in Edinburgh I visited Ginger Twist Studio and bought some of the SOFTEST yarn you can imagine. Ginger's Hand Dyed Splendor, a merino/silk blend that is just a delight to work with. I only got the one skein, so had to find a suitable shawlette for it and soon decided on the Hogwarts Express Shawl which I've wanted to knit for ages anyway, and which helpfully comes with percentages of yarn used before starting the boarder, so I can use up as much of this delicious yarn as at all possible :-) Unfortunately (?) it's very potato-chippy, and though I only cast on last Friday, I'm almost done already, having just added the beads last night.


Hope to have at least the niebling socks and the shawl finished by next week's post :-)

Movies 51-60

Sep. 12th, 2017 02:28 pm
kiwiria: (Minions)
[personal profile] kiwiria
SEVEN new movies in this bunch! Very unlike me!

#51 Hotel Transylvania 2, Aug 25th, 3/5
Definitely not as good as the first one. It had its moments, fell flat in several places - unfortunately.

#52 How to Train Your Dragon*, Aug 26th, 4/5
Fun movie that I enjoyed just as much the second time around :-)

#53 How to Train Your Dragon 2, Aug 26th, 2.5/5
Again not as good as the first one. I didn't care much for the plot, and found aspects of it rather unrealistic.

#54 Men in Black 3*, Aug 27th, 4.5/5
One of my favourite movies. I love how you just forget K isn't played by Tommy Lee Jones for most of the movie. Josh Brolin did it REALLY well.

#55 Ghost in the Shell, Sep 3rd, 2.5/5
Seemed most of all like a mix between Matrix and Blade Runner. I wasn't terribly impressed. Also, even without having seen the original, I understand the complaints about whitewashing.

#56 Olympus Has Fallen*, Sep 4th, 4/5
#57 London Has Fallen, Sep 4th, 4/5
B-Movies both of them, and totally unbelievable in places (but - unfortunately - really not in others), but for some strange reason, this type of movie is totally my jam and I really liked both of them.

#58 Spy, Sep 6th, 4/5
Really, really funny! I laughed out loud on several occasions - especially at the very first shot fired :-D Usually I'm not too fond of Melissa McCarthy as I think she tends to go overboard on the method acting, but it really worked here and I greatly enjoyed it.

#59 Cars 3, Sep 9th, 3/5
Not as good as the first one, but probably on par with the second one and the homage to Doc in the end put a lump in my throat.

#60 Sing, Sep 11th, 3.5/5
Really fun movie with lots of cool music. It didn't quite live up to my expectations (which - admittedly - were quite high), but came pretty close. I would have loved to see more music numbers though - thought the final selection extremely small compared to what I had expected.

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