Friday, May 25, 2018

More Bad Ux by Google and the Value of RSS Feeds to Avoid Bad UX Practices

These are my slighted edited comments on the Vlogbrothers video by Hank Green on the very bad User Experience of YouTube Subscriptions that Google made even worse recently (I take it that is what happened, I avoid that by using RSS feeds to access the content I want to view).

Google has been really bad at UX (user experience) for a long time. I use RSS feeds to manage the content I want to enjoy and it works great (for blogs and You Tube and podcasts). Thankfully Google hasn't broken this yet (though given their track record in the last 10 years it would not surprise me if they do at some point).

Of course it will be easy for creators to generate their own RSS feed for their videos if Google does break it. I created several feeds on my personal site for (selected blog posts by John Hunter and a time travel feed for my blog posts*).

By the way Hank, it would be great if you would create RSS feeds that let me do things like subscribe to specific courses in crash course. Frankly, I have long thought it is pretty lame that this doesn't exist. This link to Crash Course literature videos for example should have an RSS feed of all the videos. Given Google's lame Ux it isn't so amazing that it is missing an RSS feed. But it is super easy to create a RSS feed from some [whatever your corporate overload name is - nerdfighters or ?] that let people easily have feeds that have good Ux and give them the granularity to pick what they want to add to an RSS reader.

As you mentioned in your video, while many users may have failed to take advantage of RSS readers, many power users have. So cater to them. Also encourage others to use this extremely useful tool which does many great things including shielding your from the extremely bad Ux practices of many of the huge internet giants.

* the Curious Cat time travel feed adds a new post each day using posts from my blogging history (which stretches back 14 years now).

Related: Curious Cat Travel YouTube channel - Filter Out Links to Lame Websites on Reddit - Getting Around Bad Web Page Layouts - Poor Web Site User Experience (Ux) for Investing Data

Friday, February 16, 2018

Critical Thinking is Needed to Counter Propaganda

As everyone expected the continuing investigation by the US Justice Department has further detailed the attempts by Russians to spread propaganda and influence the USA election. I find it amazing that the Trump Administration and many Republican representatives have continually attempted to discredit the attempts to investigate the actions taken by Russians to interfere in the USA election.

As with any attempts to manipulate people through propaganda, misinformation and distraction the solution is critical thinking and transparency.

The attempts by talking heads to turn the focus to the paper and pencil used (or the which particular websites were) to spread the misinformation and propaganda should be a transparent attempt to misdirect our next steps. What is needed is for this investigation to continue and expand. And I really don't understand how political leaders can be cooperating with attempts to block investigations into the attempts to subvert democracy by foreign actors.

Acting as though Facebook or Twitter are the focus is about as useful as saying text and spoken language are responsible. Sure there is some amount of looking at the lack of transparency of any speech (and who is hiding behind the lack of transparency). And to some extent that specific risk (people pretending to be something other than what they are) is an issue on various webs sites. But the issue isn't the website it is the lack of transparency and that lack of transparency is what needs to be addressed (whether it is on Twitter or using front interest groups to hide the identity of those special interests, or using advocacy groups to run ads on TV without disclosing clearly who is funding those organizations, etc.).

Photo of the White House in Washington, DC

There is a great deal of history of Russian money being used to finance Donald Trump's businesses. Donald Trump's refusal to provide transparency about that should have been enough to keep people from voting for him to be President but it was not. Given that history and the evidence that has been known to our political representatives for more than a year it is unconscionable that many of them have not demanded investigation into these very deep ties and the deep ties to others in the administration (such as Jared Kushner).

That Russians used propaganda and misinformation to attempt to get voters to vote for Trump is important. But the main thing that should have prevented those attempts is sensible critical thinking. The best defense against propaganda is critical thinking and transparency. If the population is trained and accepts being lead to conclusions with obvious propaganda it doesn't matter if you shut off one path for propaganda, others will emerge.

What you need to do is create an expectation of reasoned debate. Sadly the USA has done a very poor job of this. We have allowed politicians get away with obviously false claims. We have promoted not critical thinking but the unthinking following of propaganda.

Until we greatly increase the respect for critical thought and debate we are in trouble. It doesn't matter much what form those seeking to use propaganda use to manipulate people what matters is how susceptible a large number of people are to propaganda.

All talking heads that are interested in democracy and patriotism should be calling on the exploration and the making visible the ties between those with large financial ties to Russia and the attempts to block and weaken efforts to investigate the meddling in our election. My guess is we will instead see the continued attempts oto hindering investigations into making visible what should be made transparent.

On an somewhat related and important matter, for at least 10 years the extremely poor computer security of the voting process has been noted by computer experts and ignored by our governments (federal, state and local). It doesn't appear that direct hacking of votes took place in the last election. The continued failure to adopt secure voting methods is a disgrace. And it seems we may well continue to neglect this matter until it is visible abused. This is obviously an extremely poor way to manage a process that is critical to a functioning democracy.

Related: Preaching False Ideas to Men Known to be Idiots - The USA Should be Ashamed of Who We have Elected - The People We Elect Recently Are Dramatically Falling Us - When You See the Problem as Capitalism Instead of Corruption You Seek to Solve the Wrong Problem - Money Is Corrupting Our Political Process

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Businesses Misusing Required Private Information

It should be the law that if you are required to provide private information such as phone number, address etc. to a business that they cannot use that information without expressed written permission.

So if a financial institution requires a physical address due to the laws our politicians have passed they shouldn't be allowed to then use that to send you junk email, sell your name and address to others to send you junk mail, etc.. If they have a legal requirement to send you something, fine.

I had a large financial institution send junk mail and then refuse to not send junk mail without a phone call from me. I can buy and sell stocks online, I can send big amounts of money to and from the account online, but I can't stop them from misusing my private information without calling them.

Such institutions also call me to marketing various services (though usually there is some way to stop them doing so if you can figure out where they have hidden the process to stop them from misusing your private information). Again they should be required to separately collect private information for marketing efforts (or to sell it to others...).

It is unacceptable we are required to provide private information and then need to jump through hoops to not have it misused. They should have to request the information specifically for their own marketing and other purposes. They should not be able to misuse legally required private information. They should have to collect private information from you explicitly for such purposes.

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Filter Out Links to Lame Websites on Reddit

The Reddit Enhancement Suite is a great browser extension to enhance Reddit browsing. One of the very useful features is the ability to filter out all the links from sites that are not worth your time. I use it to filter out links to Twitter in several subreddits and for "newspapers" that post clickbait and misleading content (several UK "newspapers). I also use it to filter out links to sites with bad practices such as autoplay videos or popups.

Follow this link to add a filter. I have found it hard to locate by browsing but at the current time it is found under the [SubReddit] section and then [filteReddit]. Hopefully they keep the url and don't force you to try and figure out where it has moved to (if you are browsing this after they make updates to the software).

I first discovered this since /r/CollegeBasketball was full of all sorts of useless Twitter links. Removing them made the subreddit much better for me.

And now using it to remove the poor usability sites and to eliminate all the clickbait "newspapers" makes it much better. Having to try and remember which UK "news" sites were even as reliable as a random middle school kid was too complicated. I knew The Guardian and BBC were pretty good but sorting through the links from all the others was wasting my time. Now they no longer clutter up my Reddit browsing.

The image shows the options which include removing matching content from specific subreddits, removing it from everywhere and also removing it everywhere except specific subreddits (which I can imagine is occasionally useful - I put in an example just to show how it works).

I am adding more sites to improve my experience with Reddit and figured I would take the opportunity to share this useful feature in this blog post.

Related: Most Popular Links on Management Sub-Reddit in 2016 - Curious Cat List of Super Useful Websites (2012) - Curious Cat Interesting Web Sites to Browse

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Economically Lucky or Not?

Most people on earth today and people on earth in all of history and people in the USA even in the last 120 years had it much harder than young people in the USA today. There is a very small window of people luckier economically: The USA Doesn’t Understand that the 1950s and 1960s are Not a Reasonable Basis for Setting Expectations.

Yes, that group of even luckier people is often some of those a few decades or even 50 years older in the USA (there may also be a few places in Europe in the last 50 years).

So while it is true compared to some of the luckiest people economically in all of history those young people in the USA today have it harder when compared to most every group (those in the USA previously, those alive today elsewhere...) they are extremely lucky.

I do agree that the policies in the USA that last 50 years that have dramatically helped trust fund babies and increased income inequality are unwise and harmful. We should fix those problems. But even with those problems there are very few places that someone could be randomly placed into where their economic luck is as good as those born in the USA in the last 30 years.

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Moz Page Authority and MozRank History for Some of My Web Sites (May 2017)

MozRank compares to the previously interesting Google pagerank (a measure of the pages linking to the page, with greater value given to links from high ranking pages). Moz Page Authority is meant to more closely measure the importance of links by considering not just the number but also the quality of the links. This is oversimplified but essentially can be seen as if a page had a high number of links (even from other pages with high numbers of links to them) but those links were not deemed to be high quality the Moz Page Authority would be lower.

In the chart below the MozRank is shown inside ( ) after Aug 2014. [] indicate Google PageRank measures. Those without parenthesis are Moz Page Authority divided by 10 (because SEO Moz also decided to scale MozPA up to 100 while Google PageRank tops out at 10 and I already been listing the data listed in the 10 scale the last few years).

SiteMay 2017Apr 2016Sep 2015Aug 2014 (MozRank)Dec 2013
Oct 2011
MozPA > 5
Curious Cat Management Blog5.7 (6.3)6.1 (5.8)6.0 (6.1)5.9 (6.0)6.1 [5] 5.5 [5]
The W. Edwards Deming Institute Blog5.5 (5.8)5.7 [6.6]6.4 (6.2)5.2 (6.0)5.5 [5]-
Curious Cat Engineering and Science Blog5.4 (6.4)5.8 (5.7)5.6 (6.0)5.5 (6.0)5.8 [5] 5.3 [6]
Curious Cat Investing and Economics Blog5.3 (6.3)5.7 (5.9)5.5 (6.1)5.5 (6.1)4 [5.7]5.3 [4]
John Hunter5.0 (6.4)5.0 (6.1)6.2 (6.1)4.8 (6.1)5.0 [5]5.4 [4]
@CuriousCat_com6.3 (5.1)5.6 (4.3)5.8 (4.4)5.8 (4.6)
My Kiva page5.3 (5.3)5.5 (4.4)5.8 (5.1)5.6 (4.7)5.8 [-]4.0 [-]
Curiouscat.com5.0 (5.0)5.1 (5.8)4.9 (6.1)5.0 (6.0)**5.6 [4]
MozPA > 4
Curious Cat Travel Photo Blog4.9 (6.1)5.3 (5.8)5.1 (5.9)5.0 (5.9)4 [5.0]3 [4.9]
Curious Cat Management Improvement Connections*4.7 (5.7)4.7 (5.5)4.6 (5.7)4.6 (5.6)3.3 [**]5.5 [5]
Economic Strength Through Technology Leadership*4.3 (6.2)4.0 (5.4)4.1 (5.8)4.1 [5.8]4.2 [-]4.7 [4]
W. Edwards Deming quotes4.3 (5.6)3.9 (6.5)3.3 (5.7)new
Six Sigma Management Resources*4.3 (5.4)4.6 (5.3)4.8 (5.7)4.7 (5.6)4.9 [**]
Living in Malaysia4.2 (5.6)4.3 (5.7)5.2 (5.8)3.9 (5.8)4.0 [4]4.1 [3]
Living in Singapore4.2 (5.4)4.4 (5.7)5.1 (5.8)4.0 (5.7)4 [4.1]3 [4.0]
Curious Cat Code (programming)4.2 (5.4)4.3 (5.4)4.8 (5.6)3.8 (5.5)4.1 [4]4.2 [4]-
Curious Cat Gadgets4.2 (5.4)4.4 (5.6)4.7 (5.7)3.9 (5.5)4.1 [4]
Architecture and home design inspiration4.2 (5.1)4.2 (5.6)4.5 (5.6)3.9 (5.5)4.0 [3]-
Curious Cat Comments (this blog)4.1 (5.3)4.0 (5.3)3.9 (5.3)3.8 (5.1)3.9 [3]3.8 [-][3]
Life and Legacy of William Hunter4.0 (5.8)4.0 (5.4)3.9 (5.6)3.7 (5.5)4.0 [4]4.5 [4]
Good Process Improvement Practices*5.0 (5.5)3.9 (5.2)4.0 (5.2)4.2 (5.2)4.0 [3]4.1 [3]
Multi Site PageRank Checker4.0 (5.2)4.2 (5.2)4.2 (5.2)4.1 (4.9)4.1 [4]4.7 [3]
SiteMay 2017Apr 2016Sep 2015Aug 2014 (MozRank)Dec 2013
Oct 2011
MozPA > 3.5
The Future is Engineering*3.9 (6.2)4.1 (5.2)4.2 (5.8)4.3 (5.7)4.3 [4]
The Aim Should be the Best Life – Not Work v. Life Balance*3.9 (5.4)4.5 (5.2)4.3 (5.3)new
The Engineer That Made Your Cat a Photographer3.9 (6.2)3.5 (5.2)3.8 (5.8)3.9 (5.7)4.1 [3]4.7 [4]
Curious Cat Management Comments3.9 (5.2)4.2 (5.3)4.2 (5.3)4.1 (5.0)3.9 [3]4.5 [3]
Management Articles*3.9 (5.1)4.1 (5.5)4.0 (5.6)4.1 (5.5)3.9 [3]
Management Matters (my book)*3.8 (5.8)4.0 (5.3)3.8 (5.6)3.5 (4.6)3.8 (5.4)3.5 [4]--
Management Dictionary*3.8 (5.0)4.4 (5.4)4.3 (5.6)4.0 (5.4)2.6 [**]5.4 [5][4]
Curious Cat Travel Blog3.7 (6.1)4.3 (5.9)4.0 (5.8)New
Curious Cat Travel Destinations3.7 (5.8)3.9 (5.7)3.6 (5.8)3.4 (5.7)3.2 [3]
Management and Leadership Quotes3.5 (6.1)3.8 (5.4)3.7 (5.8)3.6 (5.7)3.7 [4]5.2 [2]
MozPA > 3
Statistics for Experimenters3.4 (6.1)3.8 (5.3)3.6 (5.7)3.7 (5.7)3.9 [4]4.5 [3]
Improving Your Search Engine Ranking Blog3.4 (5.5)3.3 (5.3)3.1 (4.1)New
Freelance Lifestyle, Finance and Entrepreneurship Blog3.3 (5.2)3.5 (5.1)4.5 (5.2)new
Curious Cat Travel Photos3.3 (5.0)3.7 (5.2)3.2 (4.7)New
Hexawise blog3.3 (?)??3.6 (4.9)3.8 [4]
Justin Hunter (my brother)3.2 (5.5)3.4 (5.1)3.4 (5.4)3.3 (4.8)3.4 [-]2.9 [2]
CuriousCat Wordpress3.2 (3.4)3.4 (3.9)3.6 (4.4)3.4 (3.8)3.5 [1]
SiteMay 2017Apr 2016Sep 2015Aug 2014 (MozRank)Dec 2013
Oct 2011
MozPA < 3
Hexawise.tv2.8 (?)2.4 (5.3)2.8 (5.4)2.8 (4.9)2.8 [2]-
Investment Dictionary*2.7 (4.1)4.5 (5.5)4.7 (6.0)4.6 (5.9)4.8 [**]5.2 [4]
W. Edwards Deming on Management*2.7 (?)2.0 (4.4)4.7 (5.5)4.7 (5.3)4.9 [**]4.5 [4][4]
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: Marina Bay Sands (Singapore)2.4 (4.8)3.6 (5.3)3.2 (5.3)2.9 (5.3)2.9 [2]-
Curious Cat Travel Destinations: France1.9 (?)1.9 (5.2)2.0 (5.2)1.4 (5.1)1.3 [-]
Public Sector Continuous Improvement Site*1.6 (?)2.9 (4.8)4.8 (5.5)4.8 (5.4)5.0 [**]5.0 [5]
Management Improvement Resources1.5 (?)3.0 (5.1)3.1 (5.1)3.0 (4.7)3.1 [3]3.8 [3]
Johor Bahru Real Estate1.3 (?)3.0 (5.0)3.0 (5.4)2.8 (5.3)3.0 [2]-

* internal pages
** new url or old url forwarded (so Google losses track of the page rank for awhile)
- didn't exist yet or google didn't rank it for some reason
[blank] I don't know what the pagerank was, sometimes the site didn't exist yet.

Related: Moz Page Authority for Various Sites (April 2016) - Moz Page Authority for Various Sites (May 2015) - Historic PageRank and MozPageAuthority for Various Sites (December 2013)