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MetroCard Mess

MetroCard Vending Machines, Brooklyn Bridge station, New York





Metrocard Vending Machines. If you’ve been on a subway station in New York during the last year or two, you know what I’m talking about: The humongous boxes that people use to buy the MetroCards you need to ride the subway.





The Good News



One school of thought recommends that you start out with saying something positive, when what you really want to get at is a critique. I’ll honor that principle here: They’re actually not that heinous to use. If you’ve ever...

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A Humidifier by Tom Wolfe?

This past Moday, i ordered a humidifier from drugstore.com. (I didn’t know then that I could have saved the shipping fee and gotten instant gratification by buying the exact same machine at the exact same price in the local CVS around the corner.)





I got an email Wednesday morning saying that they’d shipped it, and yesterday, Thursday, I received it at my office (not bad for standard 3-7 business days shipping). I didn’t open it, since it was for use in my home, although I...

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The Future of the Database

New Groups of Users



Within the last few years, relational database management systems (RDBMS), such as Oracle and Sybase, has seen a whole new class of users. Up until recently, an RDBMS was primarily a tool for the big corporations. They’d use it to manage their payroll, for production management, for financial management, etc. In short, mission-critical applications where data integrity and security is far more important than flexibility or cost. Joe Nerd had no interest in using a...

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Datastructures in Tcl

This document will teach you a little about building more complex data structures in Tcl. I’m assuming you already know basic Tcl stuff. If you don’t you can pick up some at <a href=”http://www.arsdigita.com/books/tcl/”>Tcl for Web Nerds.



Take Advantage Of Arrays



You probably know well by now that Tcl doesn’t support any complex datastructures very well. You might also know from <a href=”http://sicp.arsdigita.org/text/sicp/”...

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Upgrading an ACS Installation

This document will walk you through upgrading ACS from one major version to the next. If you need to upgrade across several major versions, take them one at a time. If you haven’t kept up-to-date for a really long time, it may be better to start afresh and invent a way to move your old data into the new system. See the <a href=”http://www.arsdigita.com/doc/upgrading”>other upgrading document for how to do that.





The process being outlined here involves shutting the...

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Task Manager

Yet another software design proposal.



The Big Picture



I need a tool to help me manage my time. It’s my time, and the tool should recognize that fact. It shouldn’t try to make me do anything I won’t, and it shouldn’t get in my way. That’s the main idea here.





Here are the main requirements for my task manager:





  • I want my tool to help me remember tasks that I must get done. But I also want it to remember things that I’d like to get done, that are not critical...

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HTML for ACS Use

Ever wondered how you could make your postings in forums, news and similar places more interesting?



HTML is the answer and you can learn the basics in just a few minutes. Read on if you would like to enhance the clearity and usefulness of your postings and make your voice heard.



Line and Paragraph Breaks



The most important thing to notice about HTML is that a line doesn’t break unless you tell it to do so. You break a line by typing <br>, and you separate paragraphs with <p>.





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Task Board

Humans work best when they can concentrate on one task at a time. But very often, in order to accomplish your task, there are a number of subtasks that need to be done first. These necessary subtasks are often seen as annoying and distracting, because they’re not your main focus of attention. Consequently, they often also end up being badly performed, because you just want to get them over with, so you can get back to your real goal.





When you’re hungry, for example, you want to...

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UI For Diagramming Software

When I want to write something, writing on computer is much more efficient than writing it with pen and paper. But then I want to throw in a quick diagram or a drawing to illustrate my point, and the situation is reversed. There’s nothing inherent in the technology that says it has to be that way. It’s simply because our user interfaces aren’t sophisticated enough … yet. These are some quickly fetched ideas for how this situation could be remedied.



Drawing Diagrams



All...

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Knowledge Management

Knowledge management is one of those very ill-defined buzzwords that everybody claims to be doing. Also, it’s an area that exposes some quite fundamental ideological differences. Which is why it’s an interesting area. Here’s my take on it.



The Problem We’re Trying To Solve



Knowledge Management is fundamentally about creating a forum where people can teach each other. The same person will contribute with his knowledge in some areas and learn from other people in other...

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