February 4, 2002

Jakob, Jakob, Jakob…

So I read yesterday’s Alertbox by Jakob Nielsen over at useit.com just now. I agree that industrial design is only half (or even less than half) of the battle and that improved software design would better the lives of everyone who has had to deal with computers. But then he started in on the psycho-babble…

“Much has been made of the flat-panel display on the new iMac, but the use of anti-aliased typefaces in Windows XP is the true revolution in screen design this year.”

As I’m reading this I can’t help but notice that all the fonts on my screen are anti-aliased and I’m using Mac OS X, an operating system which (as of the time Jakob posted his article) ships as the default OS on every Mac made and was released before Windows XP.

“Unfortunately ClearType [the XP technology that Nielsen is so ga-ga over] doesn’t work on traditional CRT monitors, but even worse, it’s turned off by default in new installations of XP, even for users with flat screens.”

The monitor I’m using at the moment is a CRT and smoothing is on by default. Same goes for LCD monitors.

“There, reading the Alertbox just saved you $2,000.”

I guess by Nielsen’s rationale using Mac OS X would save you the same amount of money. And you don’t even have to wade through his poorly informed ramblings to figure it out.

[Note: Nielsen’s Alertboxes are quite often a good source of common sense. Just not this one.]

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Walt Dickinson

This entry’s title is a reference to Point/Counter-point, a segment of Weekend Update on SNL from way back when Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd anchored. A controversial topic would be introduced, Curtin would make an informed, intelligent, compelling argument on one side of the issue, then Aykroyd would berate her throughout his response. It was funny. In a sort-of inappropriate kind of way. If you’re offended, I offer my appologies.

Walt Dickinson

The inappropriateness of the original title seemed to outweigh the humor and I changed it. Some stuff that was once so funny just doesn’t seem to fly anymore.

Scott Yager

I didn’t see the original title. What was it?

Walt Dickinson

Aykroyd would always begin his retort by saying, “Jane you ignorant slut.” I think the humor lies in the contrast between Curtin’s educated, respectable argument and Aykroyd’s completely ludicrous, insulting response. So the title was “Jakob you ignorant slut.”

Scott Yager