Erik I

My public writing. You can reach me at @eitland@mstdn.io

Filed under #news and #lifeInNorway

He has been sentenced to 21 years which is the longest sentence you can get in Norway. (although you can get a harsher 21 year sentence, “forvaring”.)

I didn't want to say much about this case until now but as he is now considered guilty I guess I can say that I always felt it was either 20-21 years or him walking out as a free man. In my opinion there wasn't room for anything in between.

There's one thing I still wonder about: now that it seems he has nothing to lose, will he somehow try to get back at his former employer?

I might get back to this later but lunch break is over now.

Filed under #software and #tooling

I've long been using OneNote as well as recommended it for small businesses and small departments that were dependent on Microsoft Windows anyway but things are changing.

For now small businesses might still be happy to use OneNote. The desktop client seems to still be available and for many businesses the new Windows Store version that only syncs to Microsoft Office Cloud might also work.

I'll stop using it for my personal notes now. I've been waiting long enough to get internal links working on mobile and I am fed up.

Besides Joplin feels better in a number of ways and last but not least it is open source and can sync against my own hosted NextCloud server.

Filed under #100DaysToOffload

It is lunch break.

This year has been special in more than one way. I'm 40 years now and it feels time moves quicker and quicker every year. That is a milestone. Judging by life expectancy around here I am probably at least halfway through.

Spring 2020 has passed, summer has definitely started. Another milestone. I catch myself not caring too much about the fact that there will be no plums on my plum tree this year “...as there will probably be plenty next year.” As I realize what I am thinking it feels crazy: it's not that plums matter that much, it is the fact that I was caring so little about the time in between.

Milestones passes me all the time. There are small milestones: weekends, slightly bigger ones: payday, projects are finished, projects are started, birthdays, all my grandparents are gone and other relatives I used to know personally and not just through my parents have also started to pass away, kids are starting in school one by one and are growing up. What actually prompted me to write this was the other day when, for the first time I ordered takeaway for my two oldes kids. I felt joy that they were growing up. And suddenly I realized how much it is also a giant sign that I will disappear.

I can live with that. Unlike a number of other techies I don't want to live forever. Or, more precisely, I do not want to live forever here on earth. I mean: I enjoy almost every day, but I guess if I knew I would be stuck here forever I would feel trapped.

Meanwhile: While I'm almost certainly halfway through life, it is also almost 25 years until I am 65. If nothing too unexpected happen I should be able to get some things done during the next 25 years, as long as I use my time well.

Two quotes comes to mind, they are from the Bible, they are both useful for me to put things into perspective, and at least the first one can be read outside of a religious context as well:

«Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone.» ‭‭James‬ ‭4:13-14‬ ‭NLT‬‬

«Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.» ‭‭Luke‬ ‭16:9‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Lunch break finished.

Filed under #100daysToOffload and #linux

Depending on your definition you might argue against it – Linux only desktops are still a minority for example – but here are my arguments for why it is:

  • All ordinary Windows installations now comes with the option of running WSL, and it is now really seamless and really fast!
  • It is trivial to set up VS Code to develop in the Linux machine and with WSL2 it gives you the performance boost you are used to if you are used to Linux.
  • Chromebooks are Linux based and can run Linux software.
  • IT at work is supportive and goes out of their way to support it.
  • Customers have stopped asking questions long time ago.
  • And finally: I have seen developers starting to use Linux machines for a few years already. It kind of reminds me of how it felt like when devs started to adopt Macs around 2005/2006 or so when Ruby on Rails became popular. And just like when Macs became popular, mainstream adoption seems to follow: I've already seen a sales guy running Ubuntu Linux (by his own choice) over a year ago. Finally the reason why I'm writing this now is that I've recently realized that people can present using Teams from a Linux desktop in a meeting, and it Just Works™ and nobody thinks it is strange at all.

(BTW: I should note that howtogeek announced the Year of Linux on the Desktop in May 2019](https://www.howtogeek.com/414036/2019-is-the-year-of-linux-on-the-desktop/), but it seems to me nobody noticed including me so I try again this year.)

Filed under #100daysToOffload and #lifeInNorway

This week I made a sign on my office door at home.

It is placed approximately at the middle of the door.

It is part fun and partly I also hope that the kids will understand that I'm actually at work.

I am also planning to tidy up my tool shed and create an almost 2 x 2 square meter office there. That will have to wait until next week or the week after though.

Also I would probably use more images in my post if adding them wasn't so much of a hassle.

Filed under #life and #100DaysToOffload

I've been quiet here for a few days.

A good friend of mine died a couple of weeks ago. He was old. It was no surprise.

He was a good man, I think almost everyone loved him, especially those who knew him well.

I became 40 earlier this year, and it strikes me that I am one of the grown ups now. I'm the one who's responsible for making life better for those around me now, in the same way generations before us have done.

It is mostly small things: hiking in the weekends, inviting people over (when allowed), fixing bikes, driving kids around to meet friends and for soccer (again, when allowed).

It feels like a huge responsibility, but it also makes my life interesting.

Filed under #100DaysToOffload and #ideas

Several things have happened since last time I wrote on the sixth of May, most of them irrelevant to this blog. Suffice to say is that I'm reminded why I didn't take this 100DaysToOffload challenge until I realized it didn't have to be 100 consecutive days.

Generally there are way too many things that tries to get my attention, or worse, start background processes that causes me expenses if I don't pay attention. One particularly annoying one is free trials where one has to sign up using credit cards or Apple Pay.

I can easily realize why companies try this. Recurring revenue is fantastic after all, it is just that I cannot subscribe to every

  • newspaper that I ever follow a link to
  • and every useful app or website that I use from time to time

and while I might sign up for a free month's subscription and put a task with a due date in my system to disable it after 29 days I don’t care anymore. My attention is better spent elsewhere. Also, and this is worse: in many cases it seems like a dark pattern.

This means many newspapers and apps that I would happily have paid to read/use once in a while doesn't get anything since I also block ads.

The latest ones to miss out include Duolingo, a rather nice language learning app that I play again now that my kids are old enough to like it. Knowing that they'll probably be bored or have forgotten it in a month I don't want to subscribe and also, as mentioned above, 7 days free seems like a dark pattern to me at this point.

If they had tokens however I would have bought, both to support them and because I wanted some of the perks (most notably the test to check my current skills so I wouldn't have to ho through all the basics yet again).

No however they get nothing, same as almost every newspaper (I have two subscriptions and I also send some money to the Guardian about half the times I read anything there it seems, since they are the only one that I read that accepts that).

Edit: ran this text through Grammarly. They too miss out on any payment as the hassle of having to deal with more subscriptions just isn't worth it for me.

Filed under #ux

A week or two ago I bought some brake parts for my car.

As I entered the site and entered my plate number to get parts recommendations I saw a notice saying that unlike many auto parts webshops they would try to only show me the one relevant part if they knew which part I needed.

As someone who doesn't have much training or experience from the field this felt great. And as only one alternative showed up, and even in a bundle consisting of all the parts I needed I happily added it to the cart and checked out.

Imagine my surprise and when – a few days later – I had raised the car, removed a wheel, disassembled a lot of stuff only to find that the parts were way too small.

The following day I contacted the webshop to ask for an explanation and after waiting for a long time and being hung up on when the first representative tried to transfer my call[0] I finally got through to someone who could tell me what had happened[1]:

  • It turns out my car exists in two editions: a normal edition and a heavy-duty edition. My car is the heavy-duty edition.

  • Also on the webshop there's another ux hack that filters away products that aren't in stock.

Turns out the combination of

  1. Showing only one product if possible (and pointing it out very clearly, causing me to lower my guard)

  2. Not showing out of stock items

  3. The correct part for my car being out of stock

caused me:

  • several days of extra waiting time,

  • extra work as I had to reassemble the car without fixing it and disassemble it again 5 days later to finally fix the problem

  • extra hassle as I have to return the parts I first ordered

Summary: I've previously written that “Good UX is hard. Making things simpler is hard. Part of what makes it hard is that you are supposed to keep the useful properties while simpifying it.”. For me (as a non-designer that just happens to care a lot) this is kind a new category. This isn't the usual ux designer “simplifies” <product > by removing the actual parts that certain users need or ux designer “simplifies” <product> by introducing metaphors that <designer > loves but which are completely unknown to the user base, this – in my book at least- is an actually interesting ux challenge.

compared to a number of my other posts about ux where I wonder what designers were thinking or if they had thought closely about the design at all, this is a more interesting case since in this case it was actually the sum of two somewhat good ux ideas led to very poor ux in the end.

[0]: and here I realize call forwarding might be a good starting point for a new post on ux problems, they seem notoriously hard to get right).

[1]: he could also tell me that I wasn't the first to report this problem and their dev team had already gotten it on their plate.

Filed under #100DaysToOffload and #lifeInNorway

It is now 0607 in the morning and I just heard some seriously loud music outside and the only reason why it is surprising is because there's an ongoing pandemic.

Every year in May, students who are finishing their twelfth (or so) year celebrate russetid, (“russ” time) by driving around, getting drunk, and generally being teenagers – but in Norway this has to be done before the exams 🤯.

When one thinks about it it is so amazingly stupid it is hard to describe, but here we are: even in the middle of a pandemic, getting drunk, getting way too little sleep, and generally wasting a few weeks on partying has to be done. And it obviously has to be done before the exams it seems.

Filed under #ux and #challenges

Recently my bank delighted me by replacing the steps to transfer money between my own accounts by a vastly simplified version. Here's what the old version felt like:

Step 1: First move to the transfer tab.

Step 2.1: Open the drop down to select an account to transfer money from

Step 2.2: Select the account to transfer money from

Step 2.3: Touch Select

Step 3.1: Select the account to transfer money to

  • Step 3.2 and 3.3: repeat step 2.2 and 2.3.*

Step 4: click on the amount field, then type an amount and click OK (yes, I'm feeling generous here).

Step 5: finally click transfer

This gets old really fast but I wasn't aware just how bad it was until an improved flow showed up as part of the beta program that I participate in.

I'll leave this here in case anyone wants to give it a stab, and I'll try to get around to posting their solution.

BTW: illustrations are created using the excellent excalidraw, open source and reasonably easy to work with.

Feel free to send me a message @eitland@mstdn.io if you have a better flow. I don't exactly have many readers so I don't expect this to happen but at least it is an option. I don't care. I write because I think writing is smart.

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