The allegory of the carbonated courtesan

14 08 2012

My one constant liquid addiction in this world is easily recognized by anyone close to me. The effervescent enabler, my carbonated courtesan, sparkling water. With the exception of when I’m abroad, I’m often found with a glass of Ramlösa nearby. The brand Ramlösa has gone through several changes during the past years. Moving from a simpler, more refined look towards a more detailed, inviting look. Take their citrus flavored water for example. Five years ago, the citrus flavor was represented by a yellow circle (lemon) and a light green circle (lime) overlapping each other creating a venn-diagram.

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Old design (left), new design (right).

The simplicity in the old design was striking. Representing the two well known fruits with just two circles and using white-space in order to create the illusion of a paper label. The new design is much richer in graphic presentation, but not as elaborate nor as clean.

I’m torn between these two designs, which in my mind kind of represents the two different styles in interface design today. Either you do a well thought out, clean and classic interface like Windows 8 and Windows Phone’s Metro. Or you do a rich interface with a lot of polish and graphical excellence like Apple or Samsung. If you just put in the time to make sure what you do is the best it can be, it will be beautiful.

I can’t decide right now which I like the most, just like I can’t decide which of the two interface-styles appeals the most to me. I know this though, I love Ramlösa, and I’ll continue to drink it as long as they keep making it.

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Rogue machine punishing human masters

6 08 2012

On the topic of humans using computers to perform extraordinary tasks. I read about a rogue computer rebelling against his human masters and kicking them where it hurts the most; right in the wallet. According to the New York Times, a group of High Frequency Trading (HFT) machines went out of control yesterday.

high-frequency-trading

High Frequency Trading (HFT) has become popular the last few years. By using statistical analysis and market prediction, the HFT-machines are able to predict (with a margin of error) which stocks are worth buying, and which should be sold for a profit. The HFT-machines can make thousands of trades each minute, some are kept for a few hours, some for only a few seconds. Based on computer algorithms, the value of the trade is determined and either kept or discarded. At the end of the day, there are no stocks kept, only the profits remain.

High Frequency TradingThe trading group Knight Capital lost $440.000.000 (that’s over three billion SEK) in about 45 minutes. Due to a glitch in a software patch, the machines suddenly felt an urge to kill all humans purchase bad stocks such as RadioShack, Ford and American Airlines. When the error was discovered, it was already too late.

I think that the take-away from this is twofold. First, check your damned code (seriously)! Secondly, at the rate we’re developing as a technocratic society, I really can’t see any other future than one where machines one day (say 200 years from now) glitch up and starts killing all the humans. 10.000.000.000 dead in 45 minutes. 

Maybe we should take a breather and ask ourselves: is this the way we want to go? Is technological advancement always beneficial? What do we wish future generations to endure because of our constant hunger for progress?

 

Kill all humans





Björk, the mad scientist of alt-pop

6 08 2012

Yesterday, my wife and I went to see one of our all time favorite artists in concert for the first time. Björk, the mad scientist of alternative pop visited Stockholm for the first time in what feels like forever. At the end of a concert which felt like a mix of music and sensory assault, we learned that many of the instruments which the band uses are actually custom coded applications. On top of this, Björk’s latest album Biophilia was released both as a regular CD and as an interactive application. I find it interesting that computers are becoming such a large part of some of the music we experience.

At one point during the concert, one of the band members were strumming four tablets as though they were harps. The same band member also controlled two giant tesla coils which Björk used to create a unique sound.

I wonder where we go from here. Most concert performances are certainly controlled by computers by now, but Björk also uses programming to create something unique that couldn’t have been done without a computer. I’d like to see what else we can do.

Bjork_Annika_Berglund__650





MergeContentDbs Mythbusting

15 02 2012

For the past few months, I’ve been working a lot with SharePoint and PowerShell. I’ve been moving large numbers of site collections between different SharePoint 2007 databases.

I’d like to take some time today to dispel two common misunderstandings about this kind of work which I’ve had to learn the hard way…

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Read the rest of this entry »





Picnik is closing

21 01 2012

This might be a bit late for a link tip, but I’ve always admired the site www.picnik.com . A photo-editing site where casual users can do amazing things without being a photoshop pro. I’m a bit sad to say that Picnik will be closing shop by mid-april. Until then however, the whole site will be free. Even the premium services. I’m excited to see what the Picnik team achieves in service of their new master Google. I hope to see some of their awesomeness come to one of google’s free services, such as Picasa.





Two quick Office 2010 tips

21 09 2011

Today’s tips might reflect the kind of project I’m working on. Today I’m going to give two tips on how to work better in Excel 2010 –_-

Tip1

Here is how to make your own keyboard-commands in excel:

1. Find an action you perform a lot but often have to click to access (insert row in my case)

2. Right-click on the command in the ribbon and select “Add to Quick Access Toolbar”. My command landed at spot nr 5 in the list

3. If your command is at place 5 in the list, Alt+5 now performs this command. In my case, Alt+5 inserts a new row.

Tadaa! Effectiveness

 

Tip2

This is more of a forgotten feature than a tip. When working in Office 2010, you have access to something called the Clipboard. This tool allows you to save up to 25 copied texts, images, cells, etc. To open the clipboard, click at the little arrow in the copy menu under the Home ribbon.

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This might be helpful when performing tasks where you need to paste three different texts or number sequences over and over in a document. Or when you just want to be able to copy-paste without losing your previous snippets.

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That’s it for today. You’ve been great, tip your waitress!





My favorite part of the Win8 installation

14 09 2011

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License to kill remove malicious software