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
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
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
And there's no obvious way ("Contact us") to share my concerns with the
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
I use Firefox web browser with Flash Block and Add Block, plus a Linux
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
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
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.
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,
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw
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 ...
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