HCI blog

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Paying Credit Card Bills

I have just been on the halifax web site to pay my credit card bill online, but to my horror!!! Whats this, "Sorry WorldPay are closed and will open during the day" (well something along the lines of that) Worldpay a merchant online bank won't let you pay your bill untill they are open, I thought in this modern day and age the idea of internet banking was to do it in the comfort of your own home and pay your bills on time.

Anyway I decided to give Halifax a call and get them to do the transaction when the lady tells me it will take 3-5 working days for the transaction to go through, I was like well hold on. I am paying a card account with them from another account I have with them, surely its not that complexed that it takes a computer 3 days to autorise. Only then did I realise how banks make loads of money of us poor souls. I remembered a TV documentary saying how banks invest our money over night to make money. In Scandanaivian countries apparently it doesn't take that long and you can normally get your money transfered within a matter of hours.

I think that our banks have a few things to learn about banking and keeping the customer happy!!

Web Site Design

When designing web sites I normally look at articles that are writting about HCI on the internet when I cam across a really good article:


It shows that even a child can get frustrated at a poorly designed web site. I actually thought that this was not really true so I did my own experiment. I had a few of my cousins come round (boys and girls) and I was shocked to find the article to be true. When I left the room with the girls in, they call me back to watch their move, the boys on the other hand don't and are happy to carry on exploring.

Bordem of a web site also depended on the interactivity, I feel that this maybe due to the large text based content, if something is interactive I suppose it may have less text therefore keeping the child visually stimulated.

If anyone knows of any other interesting facts like this then please blog this post!!

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Help Buttons....Discovery!!!!

When humans get really caught in the technological ventures of a new or existing computing systems, then there is something called 'Help' buttons to assist you further. 'Help Buttons' as we say consist of a manual or documentation of systems design and procedures or a caution to another human that you need help. Most of the computing systems have Help buttons, e.g. Trains/Aeroplanes have emergency alarms, softwares have Help manuals, smoke or fire alarms in business operations or at home and life buttons in a spaceship.
Few days ago, I was at the T building, also called the Learning centre. Suddenly, an alarm went off and there was a security officer trying to get students out of the building. After a while, they stopped and started discussing about what would have happened to get the alarm ringing. They found out that their computer showed a Panic Button being pressed { Panic Button: room UG32} in one of the labs in the building. However, when they looked around they couldn't find any Help Buttons in the lab and there was no design specification for such a button in that lab. What a jigsaw? Does a computer show alien behavior as well?

Monday, October 25, 2004

Your hand becoming a mobile phone??? how wierd is that

Ok, I know mobile phones are advancing but now its changing really fast. I came onto a site where by your hand becomes the handset. How cool is that. Basically, this is called the fingerwhisper technology which can turn your hand into a handset. According to NTT DOCoMO, a watch type device converts your voice into vibration and then using the vibration through the bones in the user hands which makes it into a type of receiver. Its got my attention. But so many problems i can think of with that design. For example, is that really healthy i mean you are using vibrations that are being passed through your hand. Not only that, how on earth are you going to use text messaging or photo camera etc etc, the list goes on. When your driving, how are you going to drive while talking at the same time on the whisper phone. Not only that, but you would look like a crazy idiot talking to your hand.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

spell check is good but has major disadavantages

We all think spell check is a gift from God because people dont have to think about spelling when they are typing a document but you are all wrong. Spell check was actually attended for the people who have a disability with learning difficulty in organizing information received, remembering them, and expressing information. Spell check helps them in that area. I was watching a documentary on how people have forgetten to spell simple words or they dont even know the difference between there and their.
I think todlers can spell better than adults. People who use spell check say that it doesnt make the person sound stupid when the presenting a document. Wrong, you are stupid.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Update date on websites.

Every web browser should be able to tell us when the site we're viewing was last updated, i.e. a date box under the box where you enter the url address. Its so annoying when you go to a website for the first time and can't tell whether what your reading is actually accurate to the time at which your reading.
If web browsers did have "last update" dates it would hopefully, put pressure on web site owners to keep providing regular updates as viewers would see whether it's an 'active' website and so may come back.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Flying on the ground!

Ever since I have started the semester I spend an average of 2-2.5 hours a day commuting to and from university. The main method of transport I use is the Centro metro rail service. Overall the journey is pleasant, however as winter approached it has become more and more unreliable. Waiting at the platform in the freezing cold is becoming a common occurrence. There always seems to be an excuse, be it fallen leaves, frozen tracks and even flooding. A journey of 7 miles can take almost 90 minutes! Now where is the incentive in taking public transport when I can travel by car in just 20 minutes?

Has anyone seen what some of our European neighbours are doing?

Germany and Switzerland have introduced ‘Transrapid’.

The Transrapid is the first fundamental innovation in railroad engineering since construction of the first railroads. The super speed magnetic-levitating (maglev) system has no wheels, axles, transmissions, or pantographs. It doesn't roll, it hovers. Instead of wheels and rails, the Transrapid uses non-contact electromagnetic levitation, guidance, and propulsion systems -wear-free electronics instead of mechanical components.

Similar to new generations of automobile engines, the Transrapid consumes less energy while providing the same output as high-speed railroads. Or, putting it the other way round, with the same energy input, the performance of the Transrapid is substantially higher.

At speeds around 200 km/h, you can hardly hear the Transrapid. It can quietly hover through cities and urban areas because with to its non-contact technology, there is neither rolling nor engine noise. At higher speeds, there is only the noise of the wind. At 300 km/h, the Transrapid maglev vehicle develops only as much noise as light rail trains travelling at 80 km/h, and even at speeds above 400 km/h, it is not much louder than considerably slower railroads.

The icing of the overhead lines which interrupts the operation of centro trains so regularly is impossible in the case of the super speed maglev system because it has neither overhead lines nor power collectors. The propulsion components of the super speed maglev system are installed in a protected position under the guideway table (the track) where neither snow nor ice can gather. Additionally, hardly any snow remains on the guide way even if snowfall is heavy because it is blown away either by constant train operation or (in particular where the guide way is elevated) by the wind. As the distance between the underside of the vehicle and the upper side of the guide way table is 15 cm, the super speed maglev system can continue operation even if a blanket of snow should "cake together" on the guide way up to this height.

Transrapid can also be applied at much lower speeds. At lower speeds still considerably higher than the maximum speeds of modern wheel-on-rail systems, the other system advantages such as lower energy consumption, lower wear and substantially less sound emission are particularly beneficial. Adding to this is that the Transrapid can accelerate much faster than wheel-on-rail systems without restrictions of comfort and therefore reaches its speed after a very short distance.

Had our previous and present governments invested in the railways rather than privatising them, then perhaps I would be getting to university in 10 minutes!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Double Doors !!!

Today i had a lecture in the Murihead Tower, the main entrance has double doors 'probably' so its easy for people to get in and out. You come through one door and out the other! But for some reason one door was locked so you get a crowd of 30 people waiting for each other on each site. Only if they'd opened the other door! Its not just this building at our university, Mech. Eng. main entrance also has large double doors but they only like opening one and you get then at 50minutes to every hour you get the same waiting around situation.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Hey, after 4 invitations i've managed to sign in. I'd like to meet whoever created the sign-up procedure!!!!.
Whats the point of allowing an invitation to work only once?? If its some security implication i don't see it and i can't think of any other reasons ?

Monday, October 11, 2004

Main Library:Transformation

When people think of new look to the main library, they think of a black shining reception and ofcourse swipe card entry on the right plus an exit on the left....which is kinda cool. However, when you really think of the bleep..bleep sounds echoing around almost all of the day..then you might wonder if that annoying sound is part of the new transformation. Well, that's the hidden mystery!!!! Having worked at the main library and also trying to register as a new student plus a member of a staff has opened the technological bits to me. The system at the moment does leave out some of the new registered students plus staff on campus. Not only one has to wait and get their records to be transformed but sometimes manually enter that they are a part of birmingham. Also, sometimes the student id card numbers get missing. So, that's where when people want to enter the library, they get those bleep, bleep's indicating access denied or no record found or person missing!!!!!! This is how real world works!!!!!!! BLEEP'S :)

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Trains and buses take the p***

I was on my way to newstreet by the catching the train from the university. I had to wait for 30 mins for it. What a way to make someone mad. I used to catch the bus, but that takes long as well and the amount of traffic it has to go through is unbeliveable. Sometimes you see 3 buses together on the same road and miss all of them at once, you get soo annoyed and you have to wait like a good 15-30 mins for another one. Anyways, the traffic lights on bristal road take sooo long to turn green and makes you think that the people who are in charge of traffic control are just doing it to p*** you off. Congrats, it worked. As for the train, the railway company should think of way to make the system more organised like the trains in japan. Probably they should get more trains to come every 10 mins. They would be good. Bus is system is ok but i think, there should be a few more buses and should be more spaced out evenly like being more organised.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

annoying ads...

ok...i am minding my own business, reading the latest goins on in football and then ....from nowhere..... the most annoying ad pops up and starts to play some stupidily annoying music. At first I was shocked and then i tried to close the damn thing. BUT some idiot had forgot to put a close button on the thing...either that or i was soo taken by surprise I couldnt find it, anywayz the ad was covering the whole screen and I couldnt read the news. I mean "wots the point???" of having news that ppl cant even read ???? btw the site was www.football365.com its gud for news but when it has ads it can really get to you. They should just stick to the banners and NOT try to be too clever with them ads, coz simply put.... they aint, or are too clever ??? hmmmm......

Friday, October 08, 2004

whats the point???

Whats the point? i mean i hear people saying that my car can do speeds up to 140mph. I mean when are you ever going to drive that fast on the road. NEVER (except on the motorway if your crazy). If your thinking you can drive that on the motorway, your one crazy person.Firstly there are speed cameras being put up by the second and police are monitoring the motorway speeds.Secondly your puting motorway drivers around you in danger.Releasticly speaking, i think the car manufacturers should reduce the maximum speed.

Blogger web site

Adding a member is really really annoying on this blogger web site, I have had to add all our members loads of times, and we all finally found out why the invitation was getting an error. If you have cookies disabled then you get the error, I think the blogger web developers should put a small script to test to see if the cookies are enabled. Saves the admins of the blog trying to get their members up and working

Thursday, October 07, 2004

train accessibility for disabled passengers

Well, as I commute from Leicester to Birmingham most days, I have noticed a problem with the accessibility of trains for disabled people. The gap in between the train and the platform confronts the wheelchair user with a real problem, i.e. it is too large for the passenger to traverse over. This topic has been in the news headlines a lot over the past few days and I think that firms should make arrangements so that disabled people do not have to feel they are out of place. What the train operators could do is modify the opening mechanism of the train doors so that there is a built in ramp, which opens and provides access to the people.

ATM Cards: Chip and PIN Technology

Banking machines like ATM’s is one of our day to day interactions with supposed to be highly robust systems. ATM’s or Automated Teller Machines provide a whole range of banking facilities and have proven to meet our 24 hour banking needs. One can withdraw money from any part of the world and decreased the risks associated with carrying large amounts of cash money. Although a debit or a credit card, with a unique magnetic strip, has demonstrated the easiness of the cash management for people around the world yet there have been a lot of frauds and money scams ever since.
Recently, private companies, banks and monetary institutions have introduced a Chip and Pin technology to overcome a part of the problem. Now, there would be an embedded smart chip along with a traditional magnetic strip on holder’s card. Apart from swiping it out, it would also require to enter a pin number at retail stores, petrol stations, grocery shops and restaurants. This will enable for a highly secure transaction as the number of possibilities of signature theft will be compressed. This is actually a good design providing more secure and reliable transactions.

However, it has come to limelight that Pin numbers being the date of births or in relation to any personal data or over read by a stranger can lead to some nuisance. If you enter your pin number three times incorrectly, then your card will be locked and you would have to contact your bank immediately. Consequently, there is a lot of chances of minimising the risk of thefts, stolen cards or lost cards if one thinks of integrating a technology like Finger prints or eye retina for matching the personal identification of a person. Not only this is a unique recognition but also a development of stout system as a whole.

Law building is like a maze

I get soo tired when i have to go to law lecture room 1 building. Its like maze climbing to the top. I felt like as if im climbing the himalaya mountains even though i have never done that. There should have some lift to get to the top. How is a person in a wheel chair suppose to go up there. Wot an annoying design. In my eyes, that design has won the award for sapping out the energy you have left.

Victoria halls internet is so god damn slow

It took 30 mins to get to this page. I payed for this connection £200 for speeds up to 256kbs.It is soo slow. I pay less amount at home and get speeds up to 512kbs. They should do something about it. What a rip of.Im furious. We are students afterall.When I become a millionaire(hopefully), im going to buy victoria halls and make sure speeds are up to scratch.


For all you doing SEBS do you know where the business organisation lecture is today? last week the room was way to small for the lecture (70 seats, over 100 students) so we moved but that room was also full so we were meant to be contacted??? The guy booking the room by any chance hasn't done the business organisation course has he??


I just bought some computer parts from ebuyer, so I thought!! Apparently the motherboard which I ordered had a 99 day delivery time, i then got an email saying that if it has a 99 day delievery then it means it's discontinued!! What is the point of having it on their site if they have none in stock and discontinued it! I think their web site guys are being way to lazy, also very bad customer service.

Samsung E700

Yea the samsung is a good phone when it works, for some strange reason when I open the flip the screen goes all white so I can't see a thing, so I have to open the flip ever so slowly till the screen turn on, and then I have to hold it there so I can see what I am doing. So i look right fool try to search through my phone book with just the flip slightly open.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

the samsung e700 is kool but wierd

i was coming back from the university when i got a call from a friend.In one hand was full carry books and i was carrying my phone with the other. That phone was a flip phone.I had to use my teeth to open the phone to answer.It kind of hurt my gums a bit.Samsung should have thought about the design of the phone.


Netbeans for the Mac, use all the windows shortcuts, really annoying when you are coding because all throughout you use Apple + C for copy, and now its Ctrl +C, not a big deal I know, but still, would have thought the programmers would have aleast thought about simple things like that!!

Hardcore Mac fan

I normally have nothing bad to say about Apple (unlike Windows, but lets not go there) but their software XCode, :S OS X is so easy to use, and yet I can't do my java on XCode because I am having problems getting it to make just a java file and then being able to convert that to a class, instead it wants to create a app file or a jar swing file.

Nokia 7600

I have a Nokia 7600, extremely difficult to type a text with, the number 6 button is so small that its extrememly difficult to press, they should maybe moved the screen a bit to the left to allow more space

victoria halls phase1 sucks

Everyday i get so tired walking up to the 2nd floor. There should be a lift. I can't lose weight like this.