Scoreboard Operator’s Instructions (Redesigned) MPC Control (Model Code 134 Basketball)

If you know me then you already know I have little patience for bad interface and user experience design. Like most users, I leave websites when they fail to provide intuitive paths to the information I need. However, the physical world is full of bad design you can’t escape.

Take this device. The MPC Control (Model Code 134 Basketball) sold by NEVCO. This is a pretty standard piece of equipment in North American youth basketball games (like my daughter’s). While I used this thing for a whole season, I hated every moment. Examine the below and try to describe how you would correct a mistake if you added 3 to the guest team’s score and should have added 2. Before you try, note that this equipment does not have an “undo” button.

This year is going to be different. This is the year I pour over their manual (another atrocious bag of text describing all the unintuitive steps and making up for the poor UI design) and redesign the instructions using a single side of one letter-sized page. So here, I offer to parents everywhere, those who worked all day at their “job” and have about five minutes to figure out how to use this thing, my redesign of the Scoreboard Operator’s Instructions for the Nevco MPC Control (Model Code 134 Basketball). There’s also a PDF. Enjoy.

Here’s a permanent link to this post:

Freedom for Our Files: Canvas starter (Facebook) app

I’m happy to share the code from a Facebook app I created for a workshop earlier this year.

This simple Facebook canvas application was originally demoed during the Freedom for Our Files workshop at the 2011 Art Meets Radical Openness festival in Linz, Austria. You can view and download the source code on github

The application is very simple; it creates a Facebook object, performs calls to get data belonging to the current user, then prints the data exactly as it is returned. It has examples of basic Facebook Graph API calls as well as an example of FQL (Facebook Query Language).

New line plotter prints of I Am Unable to Fulfill Your Wish

Here are some images Ryan Boatright of Atelier Boba made while he was printing one of my network visualizations from the I Am Unable to Fulfill Your Wish series on their new line plotter. The prints arrived last week from their location in Paris and are great to see in person. The line plotter repeated so many of the lines it actually polished the surface of the paper causing the print to reflect light.

Processing.js – Missing Documentation

The Processing.js project is really cool. It allows you to run Processing .pde files inside (HTML5 compatible) web browsers using Javascript. You can pass data back and forth between the two programs, access the DOM with Processing, and you don’t need any plugins or Java.

Click here to run this Processing sketch in your browser

One caveat… When importing a Processing .pde file into the HTML5 canvas you must access the files on a web server or by using localhost (a server running on your computer, e.g. MAMP) because most (all modern?) web browsers don’t allow file:/// access for security reasons. Unfortunately this is not intuitive as Javascript should run in the browser regardless of file:/// access. Nor is it mentioned in any of the Processing.js Quick Start documentation. I found it by testing, and then confirmed it in their README. Darn, need to remember to read (all of) the instructions.

UPDATE: A friend pointed out that the problem accessing the .pde file could be due to the same origin policy. Though not explicitly stated on the Github page for Processing.js, they do mention that disabling same origin setting in your browser is a(n undesirable) workaround.

Some web browsers (e.g., Chrome) require secondary files to be loaded from a web server for security reasons. This means loading a web page that references a Processing.js sketch in a file via a file:/// URL vs. http:// will fail. You are particularly likely to run into this problem when you try to view your webpage directly from file, as this makes all relatively links file:/// links.