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Ninjas are deadly. Chipmunk Ninjas are just weird.
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Marc Wandschneider is a professional software developer with well over fifteen years of industry experience (yes, he really is that old). He travels the globe working on interesting projects and gives talks at conferences and trade shows whenever possible.

My Publications:

My book, "Core Web Application Programming with PHP and MySQL" is now available everywhere, including

My "PHP and MySQL LiveLessons" DVD Series has just been published by Prentice-Hall, and can be purchased on Amazon, through Informit, or Safari


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Posted to: Things I've learned about CoreImage (and Quartz, and OpenGL) in two weeks
Mar 25, 2008 | 21:15:58 Update
By marcwan

My trip back from Montréal to Beijing was considerably less triumphant than I had hoped, as I was struck by a severe plague and ended up spending 9 very miserable days in bed with a high fever and nasty cough. One might think that being confined to bed for a week would be a nice thing, but the stunning boredom that sets in after a while is quite unbearable. You’re too tired to really work hard, focus on TV or movies, or even really read a book, but so sick of sleeping that you crave doing something.

And so, I updated the website. I’ve long hated my initial design with forums and my crappy tagging scheme, so I finally fixed those up and now have a proper tagging system, some fun stats on the right side, and paging, so you don’t have to view every single article on one page now.

It’s still a rather ugly shade of red and contains the finest in 2005 style, but that’s a project another day ….

Bugs, comments, or suggestions, feel free to add a comment or drop me a line. Always glad to hear from readers.

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Jun 07, 2007 | 19:30:33
Website Design Gone Horribly, Horribly Wrong
By marcwan

There are lots of ways in which a website can be annoying. Favourite methods include: rotating and blinking animated GIFs (or worse, Flash), popup advertising windows, unexpected background music files, or just plain all around atrociously ugly page design. (I’ve been quite guilty of this in the past!)

But until you’ve lived in China, or at least spent some time browsing around websites here on the mainland, there’s probably one way to annoy the living bejeezus out of people that you’ve never thought of.

To demonstrate, simply visit any Chinese website, such as the Bank of China or something else such as Chinaren. Don’t worry if you can’t see the characters, they’re not important for this experiment. (Windows XP users can add them by going to Control Panel /International and installing the Asian Font Pack, while Vista and Mac users will have all these fonts installed already).

Once you have one of these pages up in your browser window, click on a link or two. Click on some more links on those pages. Try to get back to where you came from. Within minutes, you’ll have at least a dozen browser windows littering your desktop, or at best, for those Firefox users with the correct settings, dozens of tabs.

You could be forgiven for thinking that this was specific to a few sites with particularly bad design. And you’d be totally wrong. This is completely endemic here in local website design, and is how the locals think that the “Internets” should work. Indeed, there is almost no concept of forward or back button usage any more, and it is not uncommon to see users with well over twenty browser windows littering their desktop at any given time. While Windows users can at least expect the Task Bar to group similar windows, Mac users just end up using the mouse to move the windows out of the way until needed later, or until they just close the browser application completely.

Ultimately, the problem becomes such that, if you want to fix the site design to not do things this way, you will confuse your user. When they click to go to a new page, and they then subsequently finish visiting it, they will close the browser window and proceed to go looking through their other browser windows until they find the one from whence (they hope) they came.

The only thing I can say? At least blatent ripoffs of other sites on the internet don’t seem to have felt compelled to introduce this behaviour into their clones. For everybody else, it’s going to take a while to change this design.

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