Express in Bits Blog

Watch movies in 3D, or 2D?

Posted in Reviews by xding78 on May 14, 2010

The first 3D movie I’ve seen is Beowulf (the story is ok, 3D rendering is decent); the best 3D movie I’ve seen is Avatar (IMAX); the worst 3D movie I’ve see in Alice in Wonder Land (not so wild imagination, weak story and horrible 3D rendering thanks to which all the characters have their eyes popping out.) And after “Alice in Wonderland” I watched “Clash of the Titans” in 3D in the hope that 3D would enhance the experience.

The only thing that reminded me I was watching a 3D movie is the uncomfortable darkening over-sized plastic 3D glasses.

One of the reasons probably is that I was completely sucked into the story; Greek Mythology is one of my favorite topics. So, I couldn’t help wondering:

Would my experience be any different if I watched the movie in 2D?

Most likely, not!

The worst part is that after watching five 3D movies this year, I kinda stop seeing 3D effects! I mean I really have to remind myself to pay attention to the subtle depth. What’s the point?

That’s why I went to watch “Iron Man 2” in 2D and I didn’t regret a single second. What an exciting movie!It’s exceeded my very high expectation, especially with the shield of Captain America, precluding even more exciting movies.

I think I’ll stick to 2D movies for now.


Publishing on WordPress & Facebook, one button-click away

Posted in Reviews by xding78 on May 13, 2010

Finally, I start using facebook. Actually I am using, in my opinion, the Dutch facebook, and my very few friends on Hyves seem to be the only one read my blog and leave comments (at least currently). So, now I am, on facebook.

I Just discovered a very easy-to-use plug-in (Windows Live Writer plug-in) that automatically adds a newly published WordPress blog to facebook. Which reminds me the relationship of LinkedIn and Twitter. I don’t even realize I’m also updating twitter when I update the current activity on LinkedIn. Anyway, that saves me the trouble to go to

Here is where I found the plug-in: Download from Windows Live Gallery.

It works on Windows 7 64-bits!

Nothing will happen just after you installed the plugin. The next time you publish an article with Windows Live Writer, when publishing, a prompt will appear asking you if you would like to connect facebook. It’s that simple!

For how to install and use Windows Live Writer check an earlier article on my blog: Windows Live Writer Try Out.

The keyboard shortcut launched screensaver + screen lock solution (Windows 7)

Posted in Reviews by xding78 on May 10, 2010

In office, it’s quite common to just walk away from the desk and computer for a while from 1 minutes to several hours. Meanwhile how about the computer screen? Lock it! Here is why:

When I still worked for Philips, there is a colleague who went for lunch without locking his screen. When he came back from lunch he was fairly shocked to see that his screen was up-side-down. At the end, he had to turn the screen up-side-down physically. Of course, eventually he managed to set his screen back.

It was set by another colleague. At first thought, it was a pretty nasty joke, but with the second thought, it made a perfectly good point. It is a way of saying: “You must protect your screen whenever you’re away.” You never know what will happen and who will come around.

Anyway, I DO understand the importance of locking my screen up. However, I recent the boring “Locked” screen. Thus I found a script that locks the screen with Google screen saver.

::initiate screensaver of choice

"C:\Windows\SysWOW64\GPhotos.scr" /s

::lock the workstation

%windir%\system32\rundll32.exe user32.dll,LockWorkStation

From now I can already double click to launch the script.

However, what I want is to use keyboard shortcut to launch it. Here is the solution:

  • Create a shortcut of the script;
  • move the shortcut on the desktop;
  • right-click the shortcut to access it’s Properties;
  • specified the key combination


Google more search filters on the left side

Posted in Reviews, Something new by xding78 on May 9, 2010

It’s interesting now some of Google’s search filters are also available at the left side. Although it seems the same as the filters on the top bar, it is really not the same from user experience perspective. I don’t know when this happened; cannot believe that I missed it.

Imagine I’ve already started the general search, the topic I’m searching is the "constant" for the moment. All the various aspects of the topic such as, News, books, shopping, videos, etc. are the variables. What I want is to be able to focus on the topic. What I don’t want is to always have to go to a "foreign" page and start search all over again. So, really by putting the filters on the left side showing that Google understands users mental model and try to facilitate a better navigation flow.

Here is a little screen capture to show what I mean. Imagine the following scenario:

I’m planning a holiday in Greece for the next few weeks…

After checking the news in Greece I decided to prospone my holiday for a while…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Install Adobe CS5, what an experience

Posted in Do not Panic, Opinion, Reviews, Trouble shooting by xding78 on May 8, 2010

If you have Adobe Flash Catalyst prerelease version installed already, make sure to Run – Adobe CS5 Cleaner Tool first. Here is why.

I’ve got a Web Premium package. I put in the installation disk, wait for installation initialization. Everything works fine except for that there is a red cross next to Adobe Flash Catalyst CS5.


Catalyst is one reason that I’m so interested in CS5. But I decided to install the rest first.

After the installation, I uninstalled Catalyst with Revo Uninstaller. Revo did find a lot of stuff left behind by Catalyst, some are very deeply hidden. “That shall do it” I thought, but I was wrong.

I ran the CS5 installation again, THE SAME THING HAPPENED!!!!

I then went to Google for advice, here is the solution I’ve found:

Run – Adobe CS5 Cleaner Tool first 

According to this article not only that I have to uninstall all the newly installed CS5 application but also that I have to run several tools and restart twice in order to clean up Catalyst completely.
Why so complicated!!??

Anyway the Adobe CS5 Cleaner Tool does work very well. It magically removed all the trace in a blink. The same tool can also be used to thoroughly remove CS4 and CS3. Long live command line scripting!

What makes me wonder is that why this procedure is not integrated into the installation process?
why not offer to remove the prerelease Catalyst for me instead of blocking me from installing it?

I was always on Adobe’s side when Apple publicly criticize Adobe Flash. Now I think perhaps Apple does have a good point. Move aside the business stuff, there are some serious technical issues. Anyway if they couldn’t even make the installation user-friendly what else to expect?

The very user experience starts from installation.

Adobe might blame Windows for the installation issues; if so, though, why don’t I have this problem while installing hundreds of other applications on Windows? Then how to explain the much worse experience on Linux and Mac? Even on the most Adobe-friendly environment, Windows, things like this happened. What to expect on other platforms?

It just keep reminding me HOW IMPORTANT user experience IS. You might just lose your most loyal users in one installation.

Turn off/Remove horizontal scrollbar in ScrollPane component

Posted in Actionscript 3, Do not Panic by xding78 on May 7, 2010


import fl.containers.ScrollPane;
import fl.controls.ScrollPolicy;

var sp:ScrollPane = new Scr0llPane();

sp.horizontalScrollPolicy = ScrollPolicy.OFF;


10 Must-see UX Videos

Posted in User Experience by xding78 on May 2, 2010

  1. Interaction Design—Bill Verplank

  2. Drawing Ideas and Communicating Interaction—Mark Baskinger

  3. Designing Humanity into Your Products—Bill DeRouchey, FBtB09

  4. Sketch-a-Move—Anab Jain and Louise Klinker

  5. The Design of Future Things—Don Norman

  6. Why designers fail and what to do about it—Scott Berkun

  7. Singing the Body Electric—Fabio Sergio

  8. Sketching & Paper Prototyping—Todd Zaki Warfel

  9. Adam Greenfield at Frontiers of Interaction V

  10. Being Human Is NOT Quantifiable—Jeff Parks