Sunday, June 30, 2013

Could use geek/user feedback on personal project idea - 2 alternate user interfaces

I'd like to solicit feedback from other geeks about a little home project I've been playing with and a couple different approaches to the UI/UX.

The basic project is a database browser, which loads the schema at start time and lets you navigate along the key links.In this case, I've set up a small library cluster schema that tracks books and holds on them by patrons.

Both UI ideas are coded using WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) in C#. But I present the forward and backward links in a couple different ways and would like feedback about which looks better/cooler.

Look #1: the panes on the left and right are WebBrowser controls, with link info formatted up in simple HTML. I create a summary of available links and but that in a table on top; those links take you down to the table containing detailed links in the lower table. When you click on a link in the lower table, it navigates to that node in the center and that node's forward and backward links replace the previous ones.

Look #2: the basic function is the same except that the web browsers with their tables are replaced by pairs of list views. The lower listview is populated when you click a line in the top. You then press a Go button to do the navigation.

Thoughts? Comments? Ideas?

Friday, June 21, 2013

How does a geek pick a sports team to root for? Saved by roller derby...

A little over a year ago, I started going to roller derby because I know some people who participate in Everett's Jet City Rollergirls and thought it sounded pretty cool. It's been a blast watching games and the community is awesome, so I'm glad I started going! I generally make every game of the season and volunteer here and there with bits like setup and tearing down the floor after matches.

One question I'm sometimes asked is which team I'm rooting for. That's a hard one and a little complicated. Let me explain...

Jet City has 4 regular teams: the Pink Pistols, CarnEvil, Camaro Harem and the Hula Honeys. (There is also an all-star team called the Bombers) When these home teams play against other teams, it's easy to say who I'm rooting for because naturally it's going to be Jet City. The hard part is usually deciding who to root for when it's a bout between Jet City teams.

Part of the problem is that I've never been much of a team sport guy. That comes in part from the trauma of rooting for the Buffalo Bills in FOUR fricking Superbowls.I've always preferred individual sports like motorcycle riding, target shooting and climbing, too. There haven't been any team sports before that have interested me on a consistent basis.

What's the big deal about that, you might ask? The big deal is, knowing what the criteria are for picking the team to root for. Is it the winningest team? Is it the scrappy underdog? Is it the team where you know the most people or that just somehow appeal to you more?

In Jet City, the fact is that the Pink Pistols have won the most matches since I've been going to watch. They consistently score highest. They've got some dynamite players. But for some reason, I tend to prefer watching the other teams play more. They all have up days and down days but one of the coolest matches I've seen was the grudge match between CarnEvil and Camaro Harem the night of the championships last year. The lead changed hands several times as I recall. Everyone was playing their heart out and it wasn't clear who was going to win. It was a real game! It was fucking AWESOME.

It was like a time in California when I was visiting some Canadian friends who had a Foosball table in their living room. We started a game and 2 of us sucked (yeah, I was one) so the guys who had the house switched the teams so it was more even and a real battle. It was GREAT!

So, I don't need to specifically root for the team that always wins (yawn) or the scrappy underdog. I am rooting for the Hula Honeys over Pink Pistols tomorrow but honestly, I'm looking forward to the rematch between Camaro Harem and CarnEvil more. I don't know if I'm rooting for one of them over the other, there are neat people on both teams. If it's a spirited match and nobody gets hurt, it'll be the best game ever, in my book.