Category Archives: Uncategorized

SSH through firewalls using a reverse SSH tunnel

There are many posts on the Internet with instructions to set up SSH tunnels. However, the tutorials I found described either ways to: forward HTTP and other protocols from a firewalled machine through one that is not firewalled, or forward … Continue reading

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Battlezone-style weapon pickups in Unreal Engine 3

Given the vehicle class provided in the previous post, it is easy to create a pickup that can change the weapon selection for the vehicle. To provide the simplest possible example that demonstrates the concept, this example makes the weapon … Continue reading

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Battlezone-style weapon changes in Unreal Engine 3

In a future post, I will be providing a short tutorial on providing Battlezone-style weapon pickups for vehicles in games built using Unreal Engine 3. The existing code for vehicles in Unreal Engine 3 assumes a single weapon per vehicle … Continue reading

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Developers work slower on programs that are slow

After about 10 seconds of waiting, a person’s attention begins to drift to other things. Others have written articles on the subject in the context of computer systems, but the same things has been observed by psychologists in a range … Continue reading

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Strange interaction models are convenient for developers, but costly to users

When users want to pay cash at a self-checkout lane, the machine asks them to enter coins first, followed by bills. From the perspective of the user, this is counter-intuitive: when paying a cashier, typically the largest denominations are given … Continue reading

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Self-checkout systems are slower than cashiers, especially for novices

One of the best ways to study the usability of an existing system is to watch real users using it. The techniques are most often discussed in the context of software, but usability plays a role in designing other types … Continue reading

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Users leave websites if they can’t accomplish their task in a few minutes

A recent post by Matthew Yglesias makes mention of a common casualty of poor usability on the web. Every day, users abandon websites when they cannot figure out how to do what they came for in a reasonable amount of … Continue reading

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Developers use automated debugging tools differently than intuition suggests

The general idea behind automated debugging is simple: a tool does some analysis on a piece of code, crunches some numbers, and finds the most likely location of a bug. Chris Parnin (Ph.D. Student, College of Computing, Georgia Tech) recently … Continue reading

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Two package managers are more usable than one

The package managers that were examined in my usability study had a variety of interface styles. Most package managers I initially examined resembled Synaptic Package Manager, which was not very popular with most of the users I tested with. Some … Continue reading

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Package icons help users find what they are looking for

In some of the package managers I studied, applications co-exist with libraries and plug-ins. In package managers that provided no clear distinction between the two, like Synaptic Package Manager and Puppy Package Manager, users were often unable to distinguish based … Continue reading

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