Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Connect to UOIT's Campus-Air Wireless in Windows 7

Follow the instructions below to connect to UOIT's Campus-Air Wifi in Windows 7. Or download the Instructions.docx (982k) which can be read by WordPad.

Open Network and Sharing Center

Manage wireless networks


Manually create a network profile

Name: CAMPUS-AIR Note: All capital letters
Security: WPA-Enterprise
Encryption: TKIP

Change connection settings

Advanced settings

Specify authentication mode: User authentication
Save credentials

Type username and password


Uncheck Validate server certificate

Uncheck Automatically use my Windows logon name and password

Click OK and then Close. You're done!

Friday, January 30, 2009

This is smart UI design

I just saw a neat little feature in Gmail that automatically detects an event and suggests to add it to my calendar. It is helpful yet unobtrusive. Little things like these set a product above the rest.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New Blog Design

My blog has a new template. Some key design features are as follows:
  • Typography as UI.
  • Proper leading (line height) increases readability. It is current set at 1.5em.
  • Correct measure. Mine is about 80 characters per line.
  • Completely elastic design (which ensures a consistent measure). Used em for all units (but I'm fairly sure Blogger meddles with things and throws in a couple px's).
  • Utilized an off-white text background to aid readability for people with low-vision.
  • Made the background in Paint. Yes, really. Not really a design feature, I know.
That's about all I want to say. Goodnight.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Hybrid Radial Context Menu for Firefox

This is in response to Jono's great post on Radial Menus.

After seeing Microsoft's approach to contextual commands in Internet Explorer (Accelerators) and Mozilla's approach in Firefox (Ubiquity) I was dissatisfied with both.


add yet another context menu (read: those annoying little paste icons in Word). Plus it doesn't scale well with a large number of commands.


does not denote context. I.e. you're translating the selected text from French to English. So why do you do this in some bizarre off-in-space mode? Also, Ubiquity is invoked in an unintuitive way by pressing Ctrl+Space.
I think Jono mentioned that he was contemplating the effects of combining the Awesomebar and Ubiquity when I talked to him at the Toronto MozDevDay two months ago. Regardless, I think this evolutionary idea would be the wrong approach for two reasons. 1. UI overload (awesomebar vs ubiquity == search for an object vs do something to an object). 2. Still wouldn't denote context.

Just for clarification, context and situation are important because you can hide features the user doesn't need and show them when the user needs them. As well, context is partially derived from how close in proximity things are grouped together – aka visual context.

Before I explain my solution, let’s go over what's been stated in the comments so far.


1. A radial menu is faster to physically click on something.

2. A radial menu is slower for visual scanning.

3. A radial menu doesn't scale.

4. A radial menu obscures things below it.

5. A radial menu doesn't work near the screen edges.

And my gripe:

6. Need to denote context.

Solution: Hybrid Radial Menu

Search + Radial Menu = Hybrid Radial Menu
(I apologize for the ghetto mockup. I haven't installed Photoshop on my new laptop so I was confined to Paint.)

I think Ubiquity, along with radial menus, should replace the right-click menu in Firefox (aka the context menu).

The most frequently used commands are "pieces of the pie." One quarter of the "pie" is devoted to Ubiquity.


1. A radial menu is faster to physically click on something.

Using a radial menu satisfies Fitt's Law (as described in Jono's post).

2. A radial menu is slower for visual scanning.

Fitts law only takes into account the time to move from point a to point b. It does not address a human's ability to search a list. That said, this raises a few questions.

Are linear menus easier to search because our eyes have been trained over time to scan them efficiently (i.e. muscle memory of eye movements) or because our eyes naturally scan across and down (our DNA determines efficient eye movements)?
If we have been socialized, can we train our eyes to scan radial menus quickly too? This needs to be researched before investing more time developing radial menus. Optometrist anyone?

So. Search results (from Ubiquity) are displayed in a linear fashion, while the most frequently used items are shown in a radial pattern. Hybrid FTW!

3. A radial menu doesn't scale.

The most frequently used commands are "pieces of the pie" and any other desired command can be searched for using the Ubiquity "slice of pie." This approach also gets rid of the dreaded "More..." button and endless hierarchy of lists of lists of lists. Scalability solved.

4. A radial menu obscures things below it.

Yes, my hybrid radial menu does obscure things below it but I would argue that rectangular menus do as well. What happens if the user right-clicks in the top-left corner of their selection? In this case, the rectangular menu obscures the selection just as my hybrid radial menu would.

With that said, pointing out hypocrisy still does not solve the problem. I haven't thought enough about this issue but my first inclination would be to make the hybrid radial menu semi-transparent (even though that might decrease readability, but I don't think that's an issue considering icons would presumably be used instead of text for radial menus).

5. A radial menu doesn't work near the screen edges.

I got nothing ... maybe some sort of slide the page over and put negative space à la Fennec slide controls?

6. Need to denote context.

By placing Ubiquity in the right-click menu, there is strong visual context. Invoking Ubiquity finally makes sense! I.e. a user wants to do something to the selected text right here, so do it right there (pun intended), not off in la-la-land.


Thanks to Jono for an amazing post as I previously dismissed radial context menus on the basis of scalability alone. And any feedback on my design would be thoroughly appreciated!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Printing to the UOIT Printers from a Non-School-Issued Laptop

On Windows:

1. Open the Run command. (Press Windows Key + R)

2. Type the following and hit enter:


This is the address of the print server. (Note you must be physically on campus for this to work.)

3. When a window pops up:

For your username put: "oncampus\*********"
(replace the stars with your username. i.e. 100123456)

For your password: put your password that you use to login to one of the computers in the commons.

4. Hit Enter. The window will now load listing all Durham College and UOIT printers. Find the printer you want to use, and double click it to install the printer.

5. Now you can print from your non-UOIT-issued laptop!

Please note: If you restart your computer, you must reconnect to the print server first before you try printing again.

Letter to Apple Re:Opera Mini for iPhone

Hi Apple,

It recently came to my attention that you did not approve the Opera Mini Browser for your App Store.

I am emailing you to ask why you did not allow the Opera browser on the iPhone App Store?

I want Opera's browser on the App Store regardless of whether it competes with yours Safari browser.

Competition is good and spurs innovation. Whatever happened to free market capitalism?