Archive for the 'Usability' Category

The Annual A List Apart Web Survey

If you are involved in the web then head over to A List Apart and fill out. their second annual survey of web professionals.

If you are interested in last years results then look here for a nice pdf. There is also raw data for further analysis for if you want to do a Flowing Data and produce some reconstructed graphs.


BlackBerry ‘hack’ – Email Delivery Confirmation

Whilst on the phone with Vodafone sorting our some email delivery issues with my BlackBerry I learned a new trick.

If you put ‘<confirm>‘ in the header line of an email you send to a BlackBerry you will get a delivery confirmation when it has been delivered to the BlackBerry.

Of course you can send PIN message to a BlackBerry as well which is an ‘instant’ way to communicate with other BlackBerry users. They always get a delivery receipt – a second tick appears next to the message. The only downside it that the PIN is the handset ID which will change when you change handset. This means you have to update everyone. This is easy because there is a handy shortcut to generate the pin in a message. Type mypin and it gets replaced with a link that is another BlackBerry user can pin you with directly.

What other BlackBerry hacks do you know?

Photo credit BBCool_Wes – Thanks.


I am a big fan of launchy and I have just counted the ways I love it in a new blog over on the SAP Community Network.

Changes at Enso

I have written about Enso before and have even played around with their API a little to create my own little application and had a go at integrating it with SAP GUI but suffice it to say Thomas isn’t going  to get a ‘perf mary’ command just yet.

There are changes afoot over in Chicago. First of all a Mac port is on the way to becoming a reality. Check out the teasing screenshot.

Secondly it is now free – as in no charge and they are thinking about opening the source code.

Thirdly, the main brains behind the outfit have been hired by Mozilla.

These are all great developments and congratulations to the guys involved.

SAP Community Day Munich

This year was my first community day. I was invited by James Governor to do a presentation and thus the entry fee was waived.

For me the best part of the community day was getting to know the main players in the community better. There was only 150 or so delegates so there was plenty of opportunity to chat to people without being overwhelmed by a crowd of thousands.

I was able to get to know, for example, Mark Finnern, Mark Yolton better. Not only through their town hall session but also in one on one conversations at the event and at the after party.

The speed networking was also a highlight. The first session was a random session and the second was organised around topics of interest. I had a good CRM chat that included David Terrar, Gregor Wolf and Tobias Trapp.

The breakout sessions were introduced and James was on the warpath to make sure that mine was the first of the Redmonk Track as I was originally scheduled last.

WordPress meets SAP

PhotoCredit Marilyn Pratt

I had prepared some thoughts on how wordpress and sap could get along. I also had a sneaky bonus slide or two to explain how this could be used at sdn to great improve the blogging platform there. A great discussion ensued and there were some take away thoughts. This spilled over to more converstions in the after party.

You can see the whole presentation on SDN or on Craig’s ustream channel. It is 2 parts 1 and 2.To be honest I don’t think I made the point clear enough about if you can be Australian and English and both a PHP and ABAP programmer that it could be ok to put WordPress and SAP together. Still we had some fun and people seemed to enjoy it.

I think my wife is right. After living in the UK for over 6 years I can still sound outragously Australian. Rock on Kath and Kim!

I was a little relieved after presenting and after rehydrating was able to enjoy the rest of the day much more than if I had spoken last.

I was able to learn about the whole flex development from a Redmonk track session with Matthias Zeller. This was augmented by a very quick demo of Flob by Thomas Jung later in the day. As an aside Thomas also contributes to the ‘ABAP Freak Show’ on the SDN Kyte channel.

Both of these was given much more airtime at the adobe hacker night.

The afternoon ended with the town hall session by the two Marks and then we headed out to the after party in central Munich.

Bruce Sterling, who had been with us all day spoke and as you can see from this video it was thought provoking.

The hall was acoustically challenged which did not make for the best environment for communicating visionary ideas.

Later in the evening I was able to chat with some the regulars on SDN, Thomas Jung, Thomas Ritter, Ed Herrmann, Gali, Maya, Thomas Otter and a host of others. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and if you are thinking of attending TechEd next year I would add community day to your addenda.

Enso Release Developer API Prototype

More exciting than news of an investment in a social networking site, Enso have released an API to interact with their humanising software. I reviewed the softwarea little while ago and it is really great. Since that time I have also found Launchy and StrokeIT which both do similar things but slightly different ways.

I definitely don’t have the bandwidth to look into this, as fun as it may seem, but it is a great step forward for them. It is also great to see that you are not limited to python (the language not the British comedians) but anything that can drive an XML-RPC interface.

Good work guys and it is great to note that you have grown the team from 4 to 6.

Enso Beta Products

They also have a great set of beta products: Search, Mapping, TeX markup, Translation, Media Remote…

PDF page numbering

This is something that has bugged me for quite some time and maybe it has bugged you too.

It came up for me again while digesting Hasso Plattners Trends and Concepts document.

There is a disconnect between the numbered pages of the document ‘physical’ document and the virtual document.

If, for example, I want to check a quote that Dennis Howlett has referred to in his blog – ‘SAPs 429 page lecture’ and I want to navigate to page 7 I have this handy ‘Go To Page’ (CTRL+SHIFT+N for those who love shortcuts) functionality in Adobe Reader to do just that.
Go To Page
The problem is the page 7 that Dennis is referring to is that page 7 of the physical document as numbered by what ever grand publishing software has been used to create this document. Adobe takes us to the 7th page of the document, which is a completely different thing. It is, in fact, page iii of the introduction.

What I would like is for a little more connection between those two concepts so that when I ‘Go To Page’ 7 I go to the seventh page of the document as decided by the publisher not the seventh page from the front.

Is that too much to ask? 

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