Mouse Pointer Disappears in Chrome

I faced this issue when working on my HP Pavilion x2 which has a touchscreen. The mouse pointer disappeared when moved over the Chrome but continued to show up in other applications. It seems to be related to the hardware acceleration settings and seems to have been around for quite a while on various Windows devices ranging from the HP Envy to the Surface and affecting both Windows 8.x and 10 (2 years at least going by the Google Group thread).

Anyway, the fix seems to be to disable Hardware Acceleration in the Advanced Settings of Chrome:

Go to Chrome Settings > System and uncheck the following –
 Use hardware acceleration when available

Also, hardware acceleration does seem to be buggy on Chrome causing a range of problems related to mouse pointer lags, at least on Intel GPUs going by this post (came up as the top result when searching for “Chrome hardware acceleration“).

Source: Mouse Pointer Disappears – Google Product Forums

When smart people get important things really wrong

Technology is but one of the tools to potentially solve a problem:

What’s hard is synthesis – learning to use technology as part of well-designed sociotechnical solutions. These solutions sometimes require profound advances in technology. But they virtually always require people to build complex, multifunctional teams that work with and learn from the people the technology is supposed to benefit.

Source: The worst thing I read this year, and what it taught me… or Can we design sociotechnical systems that don’t suck? | … My heart’s in Accra

“How-To”…Send an HTML e-mail from Outlook 2010 (update – works for Outlook 2013)

Basically use the “Insert as text” option when attaching the HTML file

UC Davis Bookstore TechTalk

Author:
Mike Adams
04/27/2012

Recently, I needed to send an HTML email to a list of graduating seniors here are UC Davis to let them know about some Adobe deals we had. How was I going to do this though? I researched Google and found several different options involving having to use Internet Explorer to “Send page by e-mail”. This was not what I wanted though. I wanted to send it through Outlook. So after even more digging, I finally found the solution and wanted to share it with everyone else. (Hopefully you don’t have to do as much digging as I did to find this page.) Read on after the break.

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Hands on with the Mi 5

I got a Mi 5 for my better half that was delivered today. I’ve been using a Mi 4 as my secondary phone for the last year and compared to that, the Mi 5 feels very different. It’s a bit taller but nearly the same width and definitely thinner. The weight is however in a different league coming in at just 129g, some 30-40g lighter.

I really loved the in hand feel thanks to the curved back and light weight. The metal sides also feel better due to the matte finish. The phone is also a lot snappier thanks to the Snapdragon 820 inside coupled with the fast storage. The charger is also quite compact and the USB Type C port finally makes things simple.

I’m yet to put in a SIM card or setup the fingerprint scanner but I did complete the initial setup and also got an OS update to MIUI 7.3.5. In terms of the UI, things are quite similar to the Mi 4 though the MIUI on the Mi 5 is based on Marshmallow compared to the Mi 4’s Kit Kat. The camera seemed to be quite faster as well with support for slow motion video. Haven’t done a side by side comparison yet, but the 4 axis video stabilization should make a world of difference.

Overall the first impressions have been really positive and barring a better camera, there’s very little you can get anywhere North of the Mi 5’s price of ₹25K.

Design for Time Well Spent

I’ve actually ended up doing quite a few on this list thanks to the limited storage and diminishing battery capacity on my iPhone 5s:

9 MINDFULNESS TIPS

How can we live more mindfully with technology today?

On iPhone:

  1. Create a Tools-Only Home Screen
    Limit your home screen to the top 4-6 tools you use frequently to get things done. Move all other apps off the first page and into folders.
  2. Open Other Apps by Typing
    Typing filters out unconscious choices while keeping conscious ones. Open apps by typing their name.
  3. Keep Only Two Pages of Apps
    With six pages of apps, we find ourselves swiping back and forth through them mindlessly. Keep to two pages, the first with tools and the other with folders.
  4. Turn Off Notifications, Except from People
    Only get notifications when people want your attention, not businesses or machines.
  5. Keep the M&M’s, but Hide the Wrappers
    Colorful icons are designed to trigger us to use apps unconsciously. Put these on the second or third page inside folders, and open them by typing instead.
  6. Stop Leaky Interactions
    Set your Alarm or Camera without unlocking your phone so you get kicked out automaticaly afterwards. Swipe up on the lock screen to quickly access.
  7. Reduce Phantom Buzzes with Custom Vibrations
    Create your own unambiguous vibration pattern to distinguish between when people need you vs. a machine. (Go to Settings > Notifications > Messages > Sounds > Vibration > Create New)
  8. Buy a Travel Alarm Clock and Charge Outside the Bedroom
    Waking up to check our phone sets our day off to a bad start. Get a separate alarm clock and leave your phone outside to charge.
  9. Know your Bottomless Bowls and Slot Machines
    Know which apps are bottomless bowls (trapdoors) and slot machines (constant checking) for you. Move them off the first page of apps.

Source: Design for Time Well Spent

Well-crafted website hints

I remember the AJAX evolution and the RIA craze pretty fondly myself:

A JavaScript API called XMLHttpRequest came along, originally only supported in a handful of browsers. This let a web page make a request to another URL and do something with the data — quite a revolutionary concept at the time.

XMLHttpRequest didn’t get a lot of adoption until the idea got a better name: Ajax.Jesse James Garrett’s famous blog post was successful because it (1) let people know that this technique existed and (2) gave it a much easier-to-pronounce name.

Source: The history of ‘this website is well-crafted’ hints | Holovaty.com

Typography for enhanced safety

These are particularly interesting:

NASA’s List of Design Recommendations

  1. Sans-serif fonts are usually more legible than fonts with serifs.

  2. Avoid using a font that has characters that are too similar to one another, as this will reduce the legibility of the print.

  3. Avoid using dot matrix print for critical flight-deck documentation.

  4. Long chunks of text should be set in lower case.

  5. If upper case is required, the first letter of the word should be made larger in order to enhance the legibility of the word.

  6. When specifying font height, or accessing graphs to determine the size of a lower-case character, the distinction between “x” height and overall size should be made.

  7. As a general recommendation, the “x” height of a font used for important flight-deck documentation should not be below 0.10 inch.

  8. The recommended height-to-width ratio of a font that is viewed in front of the observer is 5:3.

  9. The vertical spacing between lines should not be smaller than 25–33% of the overall size of the font.

  10. The horizontal spacing between characters should be 25% of the overall size and not less than one stroke width.

  11. Avoid using long strings of text set in italics.

  12. Use primarily one or two typefaces for emphasis.

  13. Use black characters over a white background for most cockpit documentation.

  14. Avoid using white characters over a black background in normal line operations. However, if this is desired:

    1. Use minimum amount of text.
    2. Use relatively large typesize.
    3. Use sans-serif to minimize the loss of legibility.
  15. Black over white or yellow are recommended for cockpit documentation.

  16. Avoid using black over dark red, green, and blue.

  17. Use anti-glare plastic to laminate documents.

  18. Ensure that the quality of the print and the paper is well above normal standards. Poor quality of the print will effect legibility and readability.

  19. The designer must assess the age groups of the pilots that will be using the documentation, and take a very conservative approach in assessing information obtained from graphs and data books.

Source: How Typography Can Save Your Life – ProPublica

Understanding “iPhone is synced with another iTunes Library. Do you want to erase this iPhone and sync with this iTunes Library” Message

That’s a relief, but they really ought to reword it now that we are exclusively on iOS devices:

What it actually does: Erase the iTunes media only, nothing else is erased

For example, if you have a large music library on the iPhone and click on the Erase and Sync button, that music library will instantly vanish, but all of your contacts, photos, apps, customizations, and other media remains untouched on the iPhone. Only the music and iTunes content will disappear. That means the entire large music library will vanish, but nothing else will.

Source: Understanding “iPhone is synced with another iTunes Library. Do you want to erase this iPhone and sync with this iTunes Library” Message

Messaging app wars – a redux of the browser wars

Messaging apps are definitely posing a challenge to mobile OSes, particularly in countries where open web access is limited and consequentially browsers have lower utility. However, this time around the competing platforms are working on incompatible standards unlike the browsers in the 90s which largely adhered to some form of specs. Plus the user bases have a lot more zeroes to them and are heavily entrenched.

It also makes it pretty clear why Facebook has been doubling down on Messenger and their acquisition of Whatsapp. Possibly a matter of time before the two start talking to each other. The really interesting things will happen if they ever start talking to other messaging platforms.

Link: Dan Grover | Bots won’t replace apps. Better apps will replace apps.