The Wing-Friends and Other Books

In Blogger's slideshows images are greatly reduced, so lose much of their impact. And captions added to them in Picasa Albums vanish, so the images shown above are: the Milky Way, the Orion Nebula, Earth, Earth with New Zealand circled, New Zealand, Auckland & the Hauraki Gulf, Waiheke Island, some native NZ forest, a Fantail and chicks, various doves, etc.

(If you want to see the first ten images in their original size, they are in a posting made on the 24th of November 2011.)

My book The Wing-Friends is an imaginative tale of a small brave boy, a magical adventure, a magnificent Pegasus and the wonderful Kingdom of the Pegasi. It has been given very good reviews, and virtually every reader on Goodreads has so far awarded it five stars. It is available here. Some of my other writings are available as e-books, such as The Lower Deck, which is an over-the-top take on Waiheke happenings--sort of.

Friday, 24 May 2013


The change made recently by Google Plus to its user-interface has wrecked it. The former elegant, restrained, well-thought-out appearance was abandoned over night and replaced by something that looks as if it was slung together by a couple of drunken teenage blondes bent on destruction. If they had been paid by Facebash to sabotage it they could hardly have done better. They even added overweening insult to outrageous injury by changing some of our personal settings, unilaterally.

Whoever it is who has hijacked G+ and flown it off to La-La Land knows nothing about good design, nothing about a good user-interface, nothing about putting people first, and truly loathes users.

It is a great pity, but it has gone from interface to in-your-face, from magnificent to mayhem, from social network to silly nutwork, from elegant to loony, from a pleasure to the pits, from heartfelt to hateful.

It is not certainly not Google. It is Lady Gaga in one of her maddest and most hallucinogenic moments, it is hubristic nonsense, it is arrogant mischief gone mad.

Making matters even worse is the instability of the user-interface. It keeps being changed, which underscores the point that they don't what they are doing, so they blunder about, changing this, changing that, changing this, changing that, changing this, changing that.... On and on and on and on and on--much of it trivial messing about for no good reason, just change for the sake of it, like so many brainless teens who will do anything that comes into their heads just to relieve the boredom of their superficial lives. Then there are the bugs. Bugs jump out at you all the time. And because of the blundering about, the constant changes by a committee of dumb blondes, the opportunity for bugs keeps shifting with them, so bugs are blundering all over the place too.

Users like a little stability in their lives. They want an interface that has the transparency of good design coupled with the transparency of familiarity. Google+ now has neither. Its stability was always shaky because its quality control is haphazard and careless. Often it's so bad that it looks non-existent. Perhaps it doesn't exist. If Google were a tin-pot little outfit that could be overlooked, but it is inexcusable from the greatest software house on the planet.

One of Google's great problems is also its strength. It began with a better algorithm than anyone else. But it has to get it into its head that algorithms are not everything, that they cannot be everything, and that to believe that it can always make algorithms that are smarter than human beings is not only grossly insulting and damnably arrogant it is also dead wrong.

One of my favourite quotations is 'Design is thinking made visible.' The change G+ is not thinking, it is insanity. I love good design and loathe the bad, so my instant reaction was to dump G+ from my life. I shall miss some of the people I met there, but unless it gets back to sanity and finds out what quality of design and production really mean I shall never return. Never.

The items that I used to pick out from the Internet and post on G+ are now being posted here in my Net Gleanings.