Archive for April, 2011

Performance versus Beauty

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

I believe programming is an art. Just like an artisan creates an artifact, when I program I develop… and item. Although intangible (most of the time), it normally has a visual form (the application’s HMI, or Human-Machine Interface). This visual aspect should be coherent with the rest of the product, admirable, intriguing, exquisite.

Designing a good User Interface is an art in itself, one that should “connect” with the intangible part of the “machine”. When they blend, they can really amaze, entertain, inform, in a simple, natural (yet powerful) way.

My home automation is badly needing love in this area. The intangible part is coming along very well, but I really need to dedicate myself to the User Interface. I’ve made sure it is functionally quick to respond and simple to extend, but I’ve delayed the visual design a bit too much. I think I’m in a point where functionality is at a very interesting level, and as soon as I finish the element I’m working on (the air admission system, including an earth-air heat exchanger) I’ll shift to design.

I’m aiming at simplicity and usability, something not trivial to achieve when your system crosses a certain sofistication threshold.

Time scavenging

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

You know when you’re playing this great action game that has you doing some amazing stuff, but you have limited time to accomplish your mission? Once in a while, you come against these beautiful clocks just floating there in the air… up for grabs. You pick one up and presto! There you go! Another 2 minutes allowance to finish that level.

Since I don’t seem to have time for almost anything these days, I *so* wish I could find those floating clocks around here!…