Archive for April, 2008

* iPhone Comes to Canada - Almost

Posted on April 29th, 2008 by Dave Johnson. Filed under AJAX, blackberry, iphone.

Finally Rogers and Apple have agreed on a deal to bring the iPhone to Canada.

Not that I particularly care since I am a big fan of my Blackberry Curve. Multitouch or touch at all is great but when it comes to browsing through emails and doing the things that I do on a daily basis the Curve trackball gets my vote.


* Future Shop Ordering Sucks

Posted on April 29th, 2008 by Dave Johnson. Filed under AJAX, usability.

As a break from working on the imminent Complete UI release I decided to do my taxes tonight and rant.

I am seriously fed up with ye’ old Future Shop and their ordering process. I have commented on their broken search before which has generally proved to be completely useless. Not to mention their terrible product taxonomy - I mean who would look for a computer mouse in Home / Computer Add-ons vs Home / Computer Accessories! What the heck is a “Computer Add-on” anyways?

Now I did eventually find something that I wanted from Future Shop, some nice new monitors for a few people at Nitobi who don’t have monitors for whatever reason (myself included). I checked out with little pain aside from the constant logging me out.

The next hurdle was the email that they sent me pretty much immediately saying that they needed to verify the order and were going to get in touch with me and that I was to call them. That left me sitting there scratching my head thinking am I to get in touch with them or are they calling me since they said both in their email, and I certainly didn’t want my order to be canceled if we didn’t talk within five days as they threatened! So i searched for a customer service number - which I would have though might be in their email they sent me but of course was not - and called them after finding a general number. The phone system I was connected to insisted on hanging up on me several times, after I had already navigated several levels deep thoughtfully considering which option from each menu would be most appropriate. Throwing my hands in the air along with a few expletives I gave up for the moment.

Two days later (three days after I had ordered by this time) I got another email saying that I should call them on some 1 800 number. I have already gone onto their website to order the damn products and now I need to call them to verify something. So I give in and call. Once again I am connected to a phone system with the same bilingual automated phone agent - let’s call her Shelly - who sounds like she really, genuinely wants to help me. However, our interaction quickly goes south. Was it something I said? This time rather than the call just being dropped I accidentally entered the wrong order number. Long story short Shelly gets pissed and tells me “You seem to be having problems using the phone system” - as though I am a complete idiot for ever entering a wrong number - “please call back later and try again” - yes she is right I think to myself, I was just so sure and head strong about actually getting the products I ordered that I couldn’t hit the correct keys and should probably take a timeout to think about what I have done and try again once I have simma’d down a bit.

After pouring myself a scotch to settle my nerves I give it a second try. Shelly answers again and this time I am very careful at entering my correct order number for fear of having my ego shattered once more and successfully enter my order number. Rejoice! Surely that should cinch the deal you are thinking now. How wrong you are my friends. Shelly then proceeds to ask me if my phone number is something prefixed with 44 … clearly living in BC I probably don’t have a UK phone number. So I politely tell her that is not my number and am prompted to enter my phone number - the very same phone number that I entered in my billing information when I checked out. At which point, as directed by Shelly, I hang up the phone and Shelly promptly calls me back asking me if I have really made this purchase. I press 1 and she says my order has been released for shipping.

That entire process was unnecessarily complicated, error prone and completely ridiculous. What is the point of making me call some number and tell them the number that I want them to call me back on to verify the purchase? How does that verify anything other than the fact that I have access to a phone that I know the number of? They already knew my number since I entered it when I checked out so why didn’t they just call me on that as soon as possible after I made my purchase?

Future Shop should really hire us to help them out.

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* Complete UI Q2 Progress

Posted on April 28th, 2008 by Dave Johnson. Filed under AJAX, Nitobi, Uncategorized, completeui, dreamweaver, safari.

We are almost a month behind now on the Q2 release of Complete UI but Mike and I are in the final throws of polishing. We are shooting for releasing today and if that fails tomorrow at the latest. As people will know from the beta we are releasing support for Safari 3, new Dreamweaver Extensions, new themes and, most importantly, a new component called TreeGrid for displaying hierarchical data. I have a can of Red Bull in hand and one last Safari Combo bug to fix before the building will commence!


* CommunityOne Presentation

Posted on April 26th, 2008 by Dave Johnson. Filed under AJAX, JavaScript, Nitobi, Redmonk, Uncategorized, communityone, javaone.

So I have been accepted to give a presentation at CommunityOne, which occurs the day before JavaOne on May 5. I am going to talk about JavaScript + DOM patterns. I was going to focus on the JavaScript and DOM details around some common Ajax patterns such as those covered conceptually by Michael and Bill. Any ideas would be more than welcome!

Andre and I are also going to take part in the RedMonk CommunityOne festivities as much as possible as well which should certainly be a blast.

This is a bit of a digression but what a sweet picture. Ryan looks badass and Cote is all choked up!


* Methane Rising?

Posted on April 25th, 2008 by Dave Johnson. Filed under AJAX, climatechange.

After a relative leveling off of atmospheric methane levels, the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration released new figures indicating that there has been a large rise in global atmospheric methane levels over the past year. While certainly not a trend, it is something to keep an eye on. Atmospheric methane, coming from cows, landfills, forests, and melting permafrost, does last long in the atmosphere - thus the recent leveling off - however, it causes about 25 times more warming than carbon dioxide!