DCC Impulses-Back to Basics

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Reply to
leonard newton
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The explanation (what I've read of it) is very good. 5/5 marks for that.
However: 1/5 marks for design, zero for security: it's a totally JavaScript based site.
Glitzy presentation, which is _not_ a compliment. Design-wise, the problem is the double-page-spread format, based on letter size (8.5 : 11). Zooming page size with the embedded buttons doesn't work well with letter-size: the full display is too small to read on a high-res screen, the readable size is too large to fit. The fact that you can move the frame doesn't help much. Best design would be to leave zooming up to the user (via the standard key combination). Web pages should be proportioned 4:3 or 16:9.
The designers obviously wanted a "modern" web page, and are using JavaScript to make it happen. Apart from the design issues, JS is a security problem: I usually don't permit it to run. It's too easy for evil-doers to embed invisible scripts that download Trojans or worse. It's called drive-by infection, and is the second most favoured method of the crooks who want your data and control over your machine. In the last two weeks I've received 7 phishing e-mails supposedly from friends and family: somebody's computer was hacked by this method. I would've received more, except that my e-mail client rejects known phishing mails from sources other than those in the address book.
Glitz isn't worth the trouble it can cause. IOW, "Just because you can doesn't mean you should", and nowhere is that more applicable than in web-page design.
And there's no obvious way ("Contact us") to share my concerns with the website's authors.
HTH Wolf K.
Reply to
Wolf K
You did not read much. The MRH site is new and growing a lot with very active forums. I do not get caught up in the Glitz. I am only interested in the MRR content. I do believe you have interest in only the format of the site. I use Firefox web browser with Flash Block and Add Block, plus a Linux OS. I contact, Bruce, the author, a lot and the MRH site where the link is. You can join their forums. Bruce is the former owner of Litchfield Station, a DCC site, and is on some Yahoo DCC groups. Go back and take your time. Get out of this site a lot more. This place is totally lame compared to most model railroad forums. The link to the MRH site is below. The site is very active and growing quite rapidly.
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Reply to
leonard newton
I read the first 2-page spread of the DCC column. I think the info on it very good. The guy has a knack for the the simile that "makes the strange familiar", to quote a dead critic. That's what I was referring to. I visited MRH about 6 months ago, looked like there was too much bread, not enough sandwich. On your recommendation, I'll take another look at MRH.
I'm interested in the format/design/capabilities of any site I visit. I taught ad design as part of the "communications" section of my senior English course. 1st rule: Know your audience. 2nd rule: Adapt your message to the audience. 3rd rule: Them's the rules. ;-)
The next few paras are OT, but may interest you. ;-) There are very few well-designed websites out there. The worst, oddly enough, are found among the commercial ones that offer a "catalogue". Surprisingly few have good search engines. It's a pain to try and find anything that you don't already know about. Some don't link their shopping basket to their inventory: I've been short shipped on orders that the site accepted. Weird. What are these people thinking?
And an astonishing number of commercial websites mess up their pages with TV style commercials, you know, the kind that try to entice your eyeballs to take another look. People who visit your website don't have to be persuaded to have a look at what you've got. That's what they're there for. Some websites won't even let you in unless you allow Flash and JS.
It's my impression that far too many people think that the web is a mass medium because you can reach a lot of people with it. Yes, you can, but only those who have already chosen to let you into their space. Mass media are sender-controlled. The web is audience-controlled. Annoy them and they won't come back. Or they'll filter you out. ;-)
Ditto, on both Linux and Win7. We also have a Mac, but it's been given an honourable retirement.
Have a good day. Wolf K.
Reply to
Wolf K
They don't, they use a web hosting service on a server somewhere, with the pages written by somebody who is long on the latest features but short on practical experience, who processes the order and forwards them the details.
If they do maintain an inventory it's on a spread sheet on their own PC, and the web host hasn't got access to it.
Very often they might not even have a computer themselves, of if they do it's main purpose is running email, word processing, Quick Books, etc.
Some of the best web sites are club or interest ones, run by society members who are amateurs, and think like their target audience, but a small businessman hasn't got time to do it himself.
I agree.
In the mid to late 1970s I worked on the development of mainframe based on-line systems.
Local access was fast but for remote access we designed our screens carefully to minimise transmission times, even to the point of only transmitting the bits that changed.
We also carefully optimised direct access file structures to minimise the amount of (slow) disk access and restricted the application modules to a pre-calculated size and number of CPU cycles.
We also avoided making the screens look too busy.
It saddens me that even on broadband there is so much un-necessary traffic that we get worse response times than on carefully designed systems nearly 40 years ago.
And I also shouldn't have to hunt through all the un-necessary garbage to find the stuff I'm looking for.
Yep.
There's also an addon for Firefox called NoScript which allows you to control which web sites are allowed to run scripts on your machine.
And on he same subject one called NoSquint which is great for my aging eyes.
Reply to
Christopher A. Lee
[snip]
Have it. Essential IMO.
Ah, thanks, I think I can use that pone too!
Wolf K.
Reply to
Wolf K
Thanks here too - wasn't aware of it, do know how to zoom using standard Windows techniques, but added NoSquint to my Firefox setup too - darned handy!
Matt
Reply to
Matt
Vanilla Firefox does it by ctrl/+ and ctrl/- with ctrl/0 resetting it, but you hold the keys down. Nosquint sets a default and allows you to alter it dynamically from a pop up panel.
My gripe with Firefox is that there is an interaction with Zonealarm and Memeo auto-backup to a networked disk: Zonealarm thinks traffic is to and from the Internet even though I've allowed it in the trusted zone so it scans all traffic including handshaking. Something in Firefox is generating a lot of what Zonealam things is network traffic, probably adding messages to a log which is getting backed up, generating more traffic to be scanned.
The other problem is that it has to play catch up with Windows updates, and then the addons have to play catch up on top of that.
Reply to
Christopher A. Lee
I'll have to chime in here and agree with you. I'd hesitated to comment on the site design, since the content is so great, but my reactions are the same as yours.
A lot of web designers remind me of a beginning programmer I once worked with. He could take a problem that could be solved with 10-20 lines of code and turn it into an obfuscated labyrinth just so he could display all the fancy stuff he'd learned in school.
Reply to
Larry Blanchard
We used to call that Second System Syndrome. First system is done with complete simplicity due to fear of screwing it up and works well. Second system gets the kitchen sink, Aunt Maudie's wringer, and an interface to NASA Redstone thrown in - just in case - and is an abysmal failure. Though I did have one newbie on a first project announce he was done when he got his code to compile clean ...
Reply to
Lobby Dosser
Try Vipre. IMO better than most AM/AV. They offer a (relatively) cheap unlimited lifetime home licence. AFAIK they offer v.g. support to enterprises. They also offer a couple of free e-newsletters, which would prob. be redundant if you subscribe to the IT-targeted ones.
FWIW, I gave up on Zonealarm when it slowed down my stand-alone system a few years back.
HTH Wolf K.
Reply to
Wolf K

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