Monday, 30 January 2006

Rozen Maiden: Träumend

It's been along time since I've posted anything about anime.

Rozen Maiden: Träumend is the second season of Rozen Maiden, which I've just finished watching recently. It's probably the last (or one of the last) series that I'm going to download, since I keep all my anime in the harddisk and I'm fast running out free space.

Träumend continues from last season's conclusion. It's still about the Rozen Maidens: mysterious, mechanical but life-like dolls that wield a magic-like power, but this time all of the remaining Rozen Maidens have appear. New dangers, new friends and new things to be learned about the maidens. I've downloaded up to the 6th episode, and it's starting to look like a season to remember.

This series has grown on me. I guess maybe because of the characters. They're lovely in their own sort of way. That's something that's unique about anime and manga. They let the characters lead the story, not the other way around.

And, before I forget, have a wonderful Maal Hijrah.

Thursday, 19 January 2006

The importance of feedback

I'm still in the middle of reading The Psychology of Everyday Things. Most people (by that I mean people who caught me with the book in hand) seems to think that this is a difficult read or something for academicians. But honestly I must say that this is book is for everyone who appreciates design or have struggled with using a poorly designed product at any point in their lives.

The best thing about this book is inclusion of everyday examples by the author. He uses them to show readers what are the concepts of good design and why they matter. And the writing style is rather laidback and conversational, which something that I think would make the book accessible to most people.

One of the concepts the author talks about in the book is feedback. For someone like me, coming from a computing background, feedback is something we're very concerned with.

What is feedback anyway? In simple terms, it is the response from the product you are using. This response is the sending back of information to the user of what action has been taken and whether it is correct or not. For example, when we're copying big files in Windows, a progress meter will pop up and show us the percentage of the completed copying. This is an example of feedback in software.

In real life, feedback can be observed everywhere. One common example is the balance of needed payment displayed on drinks vending machines. It shows how much we've already paid and how much more is needed. The machine also tells us which drinks are available and which ones have run out of.

Pressed the button but nothing happen

You fiddle through your MP3 portable player (a poorly designed one, for the sake of discussion) to find your favourite playlist. You followed what the manual mentioned. And yet, you are unable to find it. Plus, there isn't any clue to lead you closer to it.

A good feedback design should tell you where you are now, what are the effect of your previous action and what should you do next (find playlist? create new playlist? upload playlist?). A user always wants to know where they are and what should they do next.

After some time the battery would run out of power and you need to charge it. But, to the your shock, there no indicator of the battery charge progress. Only a small light by the device's side that lights up when the charging starts. According the manual, the light should change colour from red to green once the charging is complete. Other than that there is no visible way to tell the progess of the charging.

The point of bringing this up is highlight the important of feedback in design as well as in communicating with others. Usually we are not fully aware of the situation we are in. We may at best have a good idea of what's going on but unless we're a psychic or something we would never know what's going on in other people's minds.

This is why feedback is important. It helps remove assumptions, misconceptions or any other forms of comunication gaps. It makes using a product a positive experience. It shows that a lot of thought and consideration for the user has been taken by the designer. It shows that you, as the designer, care about the users and that their satisfaction matters to you. And this can make all the difference.

In communications, feedback fasilitates better understanding of the things needed to be done. A boss who gives specific and objective feedback to his subordinates can the subordinate understand what is needed from him or her. Ambigious feedbacks, on the other hand, not only frustrates but also contribute to further communication breakdowns. It's better to hear "you're not properly following the standard way of preparing a report" than "what's this I don't want it please take this piece of garbage away and give me a real report."

To sum up, we all need to learn the importance of giving (and receiving) good feedbacks. With that said, I would like to hear your feedback on this topic. Since I'm not a psychic or something.

Sunday, 8 January 2006

My first meme

Oh my God.

I've just been tagged (for the first time in my life) by Ieka with a very, very long meme. Looking at some fo the questions, I think this is supposed to be a meme for girls (oh boy). But in order to not disappoint, I'll do my best. However, be foreworn, as the truth can be shocking.

And another warning. Sha and are2: consider yourselves tagged!


Favourite colour:
Blue, in its many shades and hues

Favourtite food:
Me Mum's cooking!

Favourite month:
Any month without any exams (for me) in it

Favourite song:
(Believe it or not it's) Invoke - T.M. Revolution (Gundam SEED first opening theme). And Foo Fighter's Everlong.

Favourite movie:
Grave of the Fireflies

Favourite sport:
(Is sukaneka considered a sport?)

Favourite season:
1st (and only) season of Wonderfalls

Favourite day of the week:
I've always been intrigued by Thursdays

Favourite ice cream flavour:
Vanilla. Yup, plain ol' V.

Favourite time of day:
1500. Something about the sun's intensity at this hour.


Current mood:
Curious, as to how I manage to make myself answer every question in this meme

Current taste:
(Since this question involves cooking myself and a cannibal, I think I'll pass, thank you)

Current clothes:
Carried over from last year's wardrobe (almari accounting)

Current deskop:


Current toenail colour:
It's a colour called 'Unpainted'

Current time:
It's somewhere between 0000 and 2359

Current surrounding:
I'm currently surrounded a floor, a ceiling and a couple of walls

Current thought:
Why, oh God, am I still answering this meme?


First best friend:
Tengku Amran, from kindergarten. I still remember his smiling face and his combed over hairstyle.

First kiss:
Probably me Mum gave me mine, not long after I was born

First screen name:
bitbybit. Changed it after a few times mistaken for a girl in IRC channels.

First pet:
A tortoise, found (and released back) near my house

First piercing:
Can't really remember, but once I stepped on a staple (stapler bullet to some people) and stapled my sole

First crush:
(This is embarassing.) A girl in my kindergarten class. She had a funny and cute voice. She was also a Tengku. Dunno her full name though. The crush lasted a few days only.

First album:
M Nasir's Canggung Mendonan


Last cigarette:
Last cigarette I what? Looked at? I swatted a fly with? Talked to? Which one?

Last drink:
Mineral water

Last car ride:
With me Dad going out

Last kiss:
Good night pecks from people who share my DNA

Last movie seen:
Hmm, can't seem to remember this one. I think maybe it's Batman Begins.

Last phone call:
My classmate, SG, called me just now to ask, "WHERE WERE YOU?!!!"

Last CD played:
Batman Begins VCDs I borrowed my neighbour.


Have you ever dated one of your best guy friends:
I'm not into dating guys, thank you

Have you ever broken the law:

Have you ever been arrested:
In school, but none other than the Penyelia Petang

Have you ever skinny dipped:
No, but I have dipped chicken skins in chili sauce many times

Have you ever been on TV:
I was interviewed randomly on the streets many years ago by people with a videocam and a mic, but I never knew what happened to the footage (or whether the inteview was real or not)

Have you ever kissed somebody you didn't know:
Somebody's baby infant child


Things you're wearing:
My clothes, my head on my neck, my confused face, my glasses

Things done today:
Answered this super-long meme, had brunch, annoyed me Mum, answered the phone

Things you can hear right now:
The neighbours kids' voices, the sound of my keyboard as I type (this super-long meme!), the sound of My whirring head

Things you cannot live without:

Things you do when you're bored:
Sleep (bad habit this. People, do not follow me.)

  1. Kitchen
  2. Ieka's Next Generation (which is how all this started)
  3. Dave Pollard's How To Save The World
  4. The corner of my mind where past memories are stored

  1. Allah (although He is not people)
  2. Me Mum (almost everything, actually)
  3. Meself (and we tend to confuse one another)


Black or white:
Black. We're talking about shoes, right?

Hot or cold:
Cold, of course. I don't think eating piping hot vanilla ice cream is a good idea.


Attain the forgiveness from God and everyone.


(Made up this one. I'm supposed to answer it but my fingers are too tired to type.)

Saturday, 7 January 2006

2006 and Aidiladha: Two reasons to be glad and happy

Time sure can fly. By now you've probably dumped the 2005 calenders down the bin and have the 2006 ones occupying the walls, wallets and whatnots.

And for Muslims, Aidiladha is just a few days away. To all Muslims, Aid Mubarak and may Allah grant us the will, guidance and strength to serve Him better.

After a month at, I'm now back. I gave Wordpress a good overall 'inspection' and I'm happy to recommend to anyone who's interested.

Please give a while to resolve the dizziness that the new year, mid-terms and pending assignments have left me with before I could write a proper post.
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