I hate relational timestamping. And I don't know if I just made the phrase or if there's a better term for it (maybe fuzzy timestamps), but I think we all know what I mean:
Posted 2 days ago, Posted 16 hours ago, Posted about 2 hours ago, etc.
There are several reasons I hate this format.
- We use relational timestamps and real timestamps in tandem, requiring a mental "currency conversion" between posts. Example between two items: 3 days ago and Nov 10, 2011
- It's not as precise as an real timestamp.
- It takes the user longer to calculate the exact time of a post.
- In some cases, it eliminates the ability altogether to find an exact timestamp, and that's an important use case that shouldn't be overlooked.
For example, I was reviewing some transactions in a system that uses relational timestamps. In order to figure out exactly what time "22 hours ago" was, I have to do several things:
- Look at the clock for the current time
- Figure out the quickest way to subtract the number of hours from a 24 hour day
- Add or subtract (depending on which is quickest) that number from the nearest day
That's a vastly complicated process for a user instead of just saying 6:45 PM.
Next, I wanted to figure out the frequency of transactions. So how do I figure out the difference between "3 days ago" and "10 Nov 2011"?
- First, I have to figure out today's date (probably by looking at a calendar): Nov 18
- Now I subtract 3 days from today: Nov 15
- Then I have to calculate the difference between Nov 15 and Nov 10: 5 days
That's three steps when an actual date would have eliminated this whole process.
The nay-sayers will say it doesn't require that much brainpower. I'd have to disagree. As a UX/UI guy, I'm always looking for the easiest, simplest solution for the user. I just don't find relational timestamps to be beneficial. They might come in handy for a developer who doesn't want to deal with timezones, but is it worth making a more complex user experience? I don't think so.
If we're going to continue using relational timestamps, we need to find a way to bridge the gap between relational timestamps and real timestamps. This will help reduce friction for users, and for a guy like me, creating a better user experience is the ultimate goal.
Cell phone carriers make it a pain to provision a short code because
they're worried that people will spam their customers. But I don't see
why they're too worried about that when they go and send unsolicited
I've been going through a variety of 4G cards in the past couple weeks, trying to find the absolute best device and service. I started with Verizon but had some trouble (turns out I had a defective Samsung device). The replacement worked okay, but I wanted to make sure I had the best. So despite getting 8mibs speeds both download AND upload, I switched to Sprint.
Well Sprint is a total joke. Not only is their 4G coverage terrible in my area (I only got 10% signal strength in a decently populated area in Tustin, CA), but it was horrible in L.A. I had dinner in Beverly Hills and the coverage there was underwhelming. My tethered Verizon iPhone had better service. And that's a bummer, because I was rooting for Sprint.
Less than 24 hours after acquiring the Sprint device, I replaced it with an AT&T hotspot. The coverage looks promising. However, I ran a speed test and got these results:
While these speeds might be good for 2008, I just ran a speed test in the same location on Verizon's 4G network with speeds of 8mibs down/up. That's a ridiculous disparity.
There are a couple other carriers like T-Mobile and Clear, but without even trying them, I doubt they'd do much better than AT&T, the 2nd place winner in my books.
So it looks like Verizon's 4G network is the best in Orange County. The coverage is acceptable and the speeds are just outstanding.
This weekend, @thegooley and I are working on a fun, new project. Stay tuned. Can't wait to share the details!
An Apple developer takes a stab at designing and this monstrosity is born.
Please, no wisecracks about which is which.
Spotted at the Microsoft Store today.No Winblows comments, please.
I thought they were largely eradicated back in the early 2000's. Apparently not.
The above is a screenshot of the installation process of Cygwin bundled with E Text Editor.