Posts of the Link variety


Node.js Overview

Simon Willison is genuinely excited:

That technology is Ryan Dahl’s Node. It’s the most exciting new project I’ve come across in quite a while.

At first glance, Node looks like yet another take on the idea of server-side JavaScript, but it’s a lot more interesting than that. It builds on JavaScript’s excellent support for event-based programming and uses it to create something that truly plays to the strengths of the language.

Nov 23 2009

Basic Maths WordPress Theme

Beautiful new theme from Khoi Vinh and Allan Cole. It’s full-featured and comes equipped with everything you’d expect in a theme (although probably don’t need). The best part, which I’ll undoubtably be stealing for some future project, is the presentation of the archives in the right-most sidebar.

Nov 17 2009

Real Relationships Drive Contribution

The idea is that different types of online social relationships drive different levels of engagement. Whereas getting a lot of people to watch your youtube videos will encourage you to post more, you’re likely to get even a greater productivity boost if a lot of your actual friends favorite or comment on your videos.

Luke Wroblewski leaves it with a guess on why this is often the case:

So actual friends (real relationships) are more likely to encourage contribution. Perhaps we can blame this on the 0-1-2 effect which states that the probability of joining an activity when two friends have done it is significantly more than twice the probability of doing it when only one has done so.

Nov 10 2009

Reconsidering Arial

Jonathan Nicol does a nice job of visually demonstrating how Helvetica and Arial render at smaller sizes on a PC. My typical font stack has been Helvetica, followed by Arial; however, seeing Helvetica rendered at small sizes on a PC makes me reconsider that habit. The conclusion for me can be generalized as: use “Arial, Helvetica” for body copy and “Helvetica, Arial” for headings.

Oct 7 2009

Clever Hans and Usability Tests

Lukas Mathis retells a nice story that illustrates a hidden bias that can pollute a usability test.

Clever Hans, his horse, quickly learned to do a number of complex math calculations – the horse could add, subtract, multiply, divide, do date calculations, and even understand German. It would tap out the answers to any math question with its foot. It could even read and give the correct answers to questions written on a piece of paper.

Of course, when psychologist Oskar Pfungst investigated the horse, he quickly figured out what was happening. The horse didn’t understand German, couldn’t calculate, and couldn’t read. Instead, it responded to involuntary cues in the body language of Wilhelm von Osten, who, in turn, solved the math problems for his horse. Von Osten was completely unaware that he was providing these cues to the horse.

Sep 1 2009

Posts of the Link variety