A number of recent developents in the IT world have encouraged me to finally write this post. In Mauritius, the cost of Internet access for customers has fallen quite a bit in recent years. Connection speeds have doubled a couple of times in the past years, which is very good.
Windows 8 Release Preview – Quick Review
The Windows Release Preview came three days ago. I decided to download the ISO and give it a quick run through to see if it’s really as horrible as people claim it is. The short answer: it is. My opinion? Except for the new look given to Windows Virtual Desktop, it will throw off any average computer user.
Things are seriously different, and not in a good way. I’ll go through the issues I have as we go along. This will be a quick review since I didn’t have time to go through every little nook and corner of Windows 8. It’s also my first time trying it, so if I seem a bit clueless, think of it like how an inexperienced user views the OS.
This review has lots of pictures so bear with me if you have a slow-ish Internet connection. I’ll go through the setup phase to actually having the Metro interface and the Desktop. Let’s see how that goes.
SBMNet Transfer Woes
A friend of mine just sent me this screenshot of SBMNet, State Bank of Mauritius (SBM)’s online banking facility. She wanted to transfer some money from her account to a friend’s at another bank. She was then presented with the form below:
SBM, that’s not how you design forms. Seriously, we don’t all have a degree in banking to know what your “Payee Id” is, what’s the difference between a Payee name and a Beneficiary Name and why you need four fields of Payment Details, intuitively called “Payment Details 1” to “Payment Details 4”. The sparse help messages are not helpful. At all.
Anyway, what’s Beneficiary Bank Address 2 and 3?! Come’on! It’s ridiculous! Fix your thing, before you can even claim to offer “online banking” on your adverts. It’s not useful.
Oh btw? The said friend? She’s decided to go in person to a bank branch to do the transfer. So much for your online services.
How it should be done? How about:
- Meaningful form names? Payment Details 1 is not helpful.
- Contextual help when you hover on the forms?
- Auto complete? Data-specific fields? Why should the user enter date? Can’t they choose from a dropdown?
- Information overload! Use a couple of screens, with steps and a “next” button?
- Or you know, just something like this
Hopefully someone will see this and fix this, or at least suggest a better design proposal. :p
EDIT: It’s 2016! They finally changed it!
Fundamentals of Programming: Part 7 – Loops
Welcome to Part 7: Loops! I hope you have enjoyed the previous parts and if you haven’t checked them yet, you should! Here’s a link to Part 1!
In this part, we consider another fundamental building blocks of programs: Loops. What are they? Simply, a method for telling your computer to do the same thing a bunch of times. Nothing too hard huh? Let’s get on with it!
Fundamentals of Programming: Part 6 – Conditions
Welcome again! In this series, we go on to the first of the essential building blocks of programming: conditions. This is the first part of the series that starts to deal with blocks of code, as opposed to just independent lines. So without delay, let’s start.
In this long series, we’ll cover condition blocks using if-else and if-else if-else. We cover checks using AND, or and NOT (! symbol). We finally end with the switch statement. I doubt you’ll be able to grasp everything in one go as a beginner, so go slow, maybe a section at a time, try to understand how it works before moving on.
Fundamentals of Programming: Part 5 – Data Types
Hello! Continuing with the Fundamentals of Programming series, we will now look at what Data Types are. If you have not read the earlier series, now would be a good time to start. You can click here go to Part 1.
What are Data Types? Well, they are a way for you to tell the computer what kind of data you are referring to. In English, you have two basic kinds of data types: numbers and letters. To a computer, those would be “char” and “integer”. Char is short for “character” and integer means a whole number, without fractions or decimal points.
Unlike humans, computers are not so intelligent (yet!) and need to be told exactly what kind of data they are dealing with. For us, numbers are “3” and “3.24”. For a computer, you’d need to specify “integer” for whole numbers, “float” or “double” for decimal numbers and even specify the sign! Talk about smart!
Fundamentals of Programming: Part 4 – Variables and Arrays
Welcome to Part 4 where we will talk about variables and arrays are. If you’ve read the previous 3 parts, you would have noticed that I’ve used a few variables already, like A, B, Tc and Tf for example. In this section, we go deeper into what variables are, how to use them and finally, how to cope with situations where you have lots of variables to use, or don’t really know how many you need in fact! Knowing such details would be ideal if you want to pursue a tech career in the near future. In fact, there are tons of career options available online. That’s why as early as possible, it’s also advisable to learn their distinctions such as data analyst vs. data scientist.
So let’s begin this fairly short part, shall we?