Saturday, February 9, 2008

The end of relationships

I have a girlfriend, who I have had since about the exact moment of the end of my last girlfriend, or a little before. We've been friends for years, and I was really excited to get out of that other thing (7 years) and into this thing.

But now I know her better. The excitement is gone and I'm thinking I should get out. There is a lot of arguing, bad feelings about insignificant shit, and a feeling that I have to hang out with her even if I don't want to. She doesn't like to socialize too much, but doesn't entertain herself either, so I have to be actively entertaining her. It's exhausting.

But really those aren't the problems. The problem is I'm not feeling it. That's it. All the other shit is just rationalization.

I think it's time for me to face being alone - something I didn't do after my big breakup a year ago, but probably should have.

Strangely, I've also just bailed on a business commitment. As a programmer, a lot of people come to me with ideas, wanting me to help them out for a share of the profits they imagine will appear in the future. I'd never done this kind of work before, but this guy's idea seemed better, more well thought out and realistic, than the others. So I did a bit of work for him.

What killed it for me was not the work, but the fact that the guy's not too smart.

That's not the kind of judgment I usually feel comfortable making. What do I know about how smart someone is? I can only see the outside. But this guy - OK, not only is he kind of slow, but he thinks he's an expert.

Here's an example and it relates to the design of interactions between human and computer, through a web page. Sorry if it's obscure but if you've used a lot of web sites you might get it, even if you are not a programmer.

Our web site was to have a login. Put in computer user interface (UI) terms, there are two states, logged-in and not-logged-in. Ebay, Myspace, Google, YouTube, Yahoo - all of these web sites have the idea of logged-in and not-logged-in. When you are not logged in, a link in the upper right (usually) of the screen says "Sign in", and when you are logged in, that same space says some variation of "Welcome [your name]".

So, this guy tells me that a fundamental UI principle is that the interface must be consistent. Buttons must stay the same. Therefore, the "Sign in" button must be present, even if you are signed in. To not have it that way would be confusing, he said. He pointed out that he went to school and got a masters in just this field. We debated this for more than an hour. I even showed him ebay, YouTube, and Google. Finally he says - OK, when the user logs in, we keep the words "Sign in" in the upper right, but you can't click on them.

See? Dumb.

So, I quit.

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