How to frustrate a (responsible) user (a little bit)

13 01 2009

I like Facebook a lot, but I just had some unexpected user experience on the popular site. Please see below for the screenshots.

I was looking to download the facebook toolbar for my Firefox, I found the download page (using Google) so I clicked on the big blue button where it says “Download Facebook Toolbar”. I was taken to a page where it says “The page you requested was not found.” As a responsible user, I thought I’d use the “report the error” link on the page to let Facebook know about this issue. so I clicked on “report the error”. The best part of the story is the end, the “report the error” took me to a page “not found”. As responsible as I am as a Facebook user, I don’t know what to do but to post this entry here. (Facebook developers, hope you are reading this. Currently I am on Mac OS X, Firefox 3.0.5, T1 connection. Also tried Safari and IE on Parallel, got the same experience. )

So lessons learned? If you have a “report the error” page, make sure it works otherwise take the links down. Or better yet, before you release anything to the public, QA it again and again.

page to download the Facebook toolbar

page to download the Facebook toolbar

informing user page not found, encouraging user to "report the error".

informing user page not found, encouraging user to 'report the error'.

informing user the error reporting page was not found

informing user the error reporting page was not found

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色戒 李安 –非影评

11 11 2007

过瘾!我过瘾,李安过瘾。实用艺术家们最过瘾的莫过于能够送给自己一份厚礼。李安这次终于做到了。

李安这次终于拍了一部大片送给自己–不再在乎投资来源,不再在乎票房,不再在乎文化的沟通困难,不再在乎语言的障碍,不再在乎历史背景的复杂,李安用高投资,大手笔,给他自己呈现了一部精彩的艺术品。过瘾。

这里不讲情节,李安讲的很清楚了。我只讲我想到的,有关文化,有关电影文化,有关中国文化国际化。

[+] 李安vs.李安。

从《推手》《喜宴》《饮食男女》走到今天的《色戒》,李安踏踏实实教科书般的一步一个脚印的走过来。开始是小成本中国式电影给中国人讲中国人中国文化,到后来的用西方式电影讲西方人西方文化,到中成本中国式电影给西方人讲中国人中国文化,再到大成本西方式电影给西方人讲西方人西方文化,进而用中成本中国式电影给西方人将西方人西方文化,最后这次是大成本中国式电影给全世界人讲中国人中国文化。李安每次都对自己有负责任的交代,不论是文化,艺术,外交,还是商业上的。

[+] 李安vs.成龙。

李安的《the hulk》,打入了西方电影文化的主流,《断背山》则尝试领导了西方电影文化的新潮流,告诉奥斯卡,电影原来也是可以这样拍的,《色戒》更是让西方电影朝着中国的文化翘大拇指–中国人的电影是可以这样精彩的。谈西方电影中的中国文化,不得不谈到成龙。成龙的努力是大家一直看在眼里的,他已经突破了他自己功夫类的表演艺术范畴,制作了几部颇受西方人好评的电影。我清楚的记得我的印度朋友说起成龙的名字时眼中放出的光彩。但是他进好莱坞以后似乎就此原地踏步了,不停的停留在自己的小圈子里,重复的做相似的电影,讲相同的故事。当然,他没有李安的教育背景,也许把他和李安放在一起比较太勉强他了;或许,他并不想让西方观众学会看中国电影,对于他,能够成为西方主流电影文化中的一员已经难能可贵了。

[+] 李安vs.贝聿铭。

到现在为止,中国(Chinese。这里的国界是文化上的,我不在这里谈国界的政治性,更不讨论李安是台湾人还是中国人这个问题–他在文化上无疑是中国人。)建筑界里只有一个人能和李安相提并论,那就是贝聿铭。贝聿铭的最大成功,不在于建筑艺术上的–可以找到一打以上比他对建筑艺术有贡献的当代建筑师–而在于他打入了西方建筑文化的奥斯卡。李安在奥斯卡受到的肯定,无异于巴黎人民对卢浮宫加建如潮的好评。我甚至觉得有了《色戒》,李安高过了贝聿铭。因为贝聿铭在中国的少数几个作品,显然是不能让众人满意的。李安比贝还年轻些,我拭目以待。张永和和马清运都在做出一些世界认可的作品后杀回美国,大有李安之势,但现在下定论,为时尚早。

[+] 李安vs.姜文。

今年的威尼斯电影节,李安姜文同场竞技,李安捧走“金狮”,姜文落败,并非偶然–虽然我丝毫不觉得《太阳》低于《色戒》。姜文导演的电影,以后慢慢讨论,但他去威尼斯也许是走错了地方?我认为李安是电影艺术家,他用完美的电影艺术语言讲文化故事,婉婉道来,一个比一个讲的精彩。不知姜文如何定位自己,但我把他定位成电影思想家,他用电影思考人性,他的三部片子讨论的是同一个问题的不同深度,只是恰好用了电影作为表达语言,与电影的艺术性相关性甚小。我了解的可以与他相提并论的电影人好像不是很多,但是程远作为美术教育家,看了他的电影一定心有戚戚焉。

很久没有用中文写过东西了,脑子的一个部分生锈了,很多想法表达不出,只好浅尝辄止了,以后慢慢来,慢慢来。





Google indexes swf files !…?…:(

25 08 2007

Google indexes swf!!! I had trouble believing it when I saw this “news” from 2004.
(click here for reference if you haven’t heard.)

The reasons I am astonished are as following:
1. As a Flash developer, swf files are the only products we produce so far. If such thing existed three years ago, we should have known for at least two years and three hundred days by now.
2. Flash haters argue that swf files are not SEO (Search Engine Optimized) , so they prefer sites with javascript and/or other scripting languages over Flash sites. That is why we have been struggling so hard to make our sites SEO. Why hasn’t anybody told us this yet?

I googled the keyword”filetype:swf” and yes the news is true. Google does index swf files. No question there. Then how come we haven’t heard yet?

I think the major reason lies here: how Google indexes swf files is Google extracts text strings stored in the swf files and indexes them as the keywords. However we try to make content of sites dynamic by using external xml files to store the text strings. I don’t think Google indexes xml files well* yet, so all the content in xml files are “hidden” from Google spiders. 🙂  (* [added on September 11th,2007]As a test, I googled the keyword “inurl:budweiser.com  filetype:xml“, the result returned nothing however I know there are several xml files on the site for sure.)

You can see even swf files on large Flash sites such as budweiser.com which gets over 10,000 hits per day don’t get indexed. (Compare the search results of the keyword “filetype:swf site:www.budweiser.com” and keyword “filetype:swf“)

Then I clicked on the links Google provide when I search for “filetype:swf“. It showed the mere swf file, with no embedding html or any constraint. Because many swf files are designed to “fit the window”, they looked terribly scaled up in the browser window. Sorry Google but I think they look horrible when scaled up. Yucks. 😦 Do the users really want to see this? Or do the site owners really want to see this? I know I don’t like my site when it happens.

According to the news above, Macromedia made a program that extracts text strings and converts them to html page metadata. Obviously, it is one of Macromedia’s SEO attempts. But it is not as popular as other products from Macromedia/Adobe. I guess it is also because we love external xml files! ha.

So now we know Google indexes swf files. My recommendations to those who wanted to make Flash sites SEO but didn’t know what to do: create a huge textfield on the main timeline in your swf file somewhere off stage, and put all the keywords in there. To those who are concerned that their sites will look bad when users come from Google’s swf index, (like me), avoid putting meaningful words in the swf files and keep using external xml files. (Have you tried AS3 yet? The XML object is super in AS3!) Keep working hard, Adobe.





十七周目睹之怪现状(叁)

22 08 2007

[+]上海科技馆。人潮涌动。正逢四川恐龙来上海做客,家长们不失时机的把正在放暑假的孩子们带来进行科普教育。我正在长队中等待进场,二老妇携两牙牙学语的小童,坚决而迅速的经过所有正在排队的人,直接站在进场的队伍最前面。我愤怒,指责她们,二老妇充耳不闻,泰然站在队伍最前面。

[+]上海科技馆。人潮涌动。巨大的恐龙骨架的沙盘边。一名三四岁小童脱下裤子,面对着沙盘开始方便。方便技术甚为高超–黄龙直捣沙盘里面。方便完毕,一名父亲模样的人将小童抱起,一脸平静的帮他穿上裤子,然后领着他走向下一个展区。





十七周目睹之怪现状(贰)

16 08 2007

[+]我抬头看看天,太好了,今天竟然出太阳了!赶快洗衣服!几分钟后,衣服洗好了,被拧了又拧,又被平铺在干的浴巾上面,一起卷起来,我用尽全力拧,再拧。小心翼翼的,我把衣服晾起来,晾在门口可以通风的地方,每过三四个小时,我都会焦躁不安的检查衣服有没有变干的趋势,并把里面翻出来,抖一抖。下午5点到6点,朝北的窗口斜斜的射进一缕残阳,我冲过去把衣服转移到窗口,默默祈祷着云彩不要来,祈祷着落日晚一些,祈祷着衣服明天晚上之前可以干透。然而,低头,我看到桌上,昨天不小心溅上去的水珠,还保持着原来的形状和大小,新鲜,饱满。





十七周目睹之怪现状(壹)

2 08 2007

[+] 宾家青年旅舍,坐落在陆家嘴和第一八佰伴黄金地带的一居民区当中,地段不可说不好。小小的院落被设计师用矮墙,绿化,高差设计的错落有致,房间里可以看到高耸入云的金茂大厦,景致不可说不好。这年的夏天,来上海游玩的外国游人如织,大多通过internet或者朋友口口相传来这里入住,生意不可说不好。
且说这天,宾家的两位意大利女客人,不知何故在离开旅舍3公里的地方迷了路,情急之下打电话向警察求助。在训练有素警察们用16个小时的地毯式搜索之后,女客人终于找回了旅舍。
次日,宾家被告知由于“开业时间短,经验不足”,所以今后不得收住外国人。店内现有的外国人则被转入兄弟旅舍。

[+] 正大广场,位于陆家嘴黄金地段。每天涌入大门的游人以十万计。
这日,一人手持打开的饮料罐欲进店门,被门口保安阻止。此人不但不退出,反而扬起手中的饮料罐,带着威胁的口吻和挑衅的目光:“(我就是不遵守你的规矩,)你打我呀!你打我呀!”





3 out of 1100

2 07 2007

在thefwa网站上,一共有来自世界各地1100左右个公司/工作室的profile, 其中一共来自3个中国大陆的。两个上海的,一个北京的。北京的公司是奥美,严格的说是一个国外的公司。两个上海的都是奋青(不是“愤”)自己弄的小工作室。

这些奋青搞的东西在国内的互动网页中算是比较敬业的。平面设计的风格老套了点,有点像是加了hyperlink的poster。但是毕竟在国内众多的新浪一类的html网站中独树一帜,而且他们的客户都是些大名字,比如帕萨特。感觉他们的平面设计的基本功式很强,对于颜色,形状,构图的把握比较老练。但是对于interactive design的理解还太稚嫩,停留在html的时代。

在thefwa上面得过site of the day 的网站,一个是Tom & Daisy工作室自己的主页:http://www.tomdaisy.com/main.htm 。 很喜欢他们选的音乐,有点花样年华般的淡淡忧伤。

另一个是idea prisoner做的 http://more-fashion.com,slideshow式的静帧展示服装设计作品。他们自己studio的主页:http://www.ideaprisoner.com/v2/。超级喜欢他们的 preloader 。

还有另外一个site of the day,可惜已经连不上了。:(