Opened up a spam trap I’d forgotten about and found ~40 copies of some — well, I hesitate to call it a newsletter, but it was a long collection of headlines, summaries, and links to news items and dubious reference sites that looked like someone had taken a few dozen conspiracy theories, put them into a blender, and then splattered them onto the page like Jackson Pollack.

At least, I want to believe it’s some horribly-mangled computer-generated aggregation…but it wouldn’t surprise me if it turns out to be someone’s serious attempt to create a newsletter without being able to write a coherent sentence.

Years ago, I wanted a smartphone so I could write down all the blog posts I compose in my head when I’m away from a computer. Now that I have one, I end up reading Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus instead, and I compose blog posts in my head when I’m away from both my computer AND my phone. Maybe I just need a pencil and notepad.

Wow: A researcher studying the way people use computers found that most people don’t know how to search for a word on the current page!

Crazy: 90 Percent of People Don’t Know How to Use CTRL+F

Google’s resident search anthropologist, Dan Russell, dropped this incredible statistic on us. And no, he couldn’t believe it either.

To someone used to using computers, it seems so basic, but I guess if no one shows you it’s there, it’s the kind of thing that’s not easy to discover on your own. (via Slashdot)

The article doesn’t actually say which side of the 90/10 split people using toolbar buttons or menu items to search fall on, but it does mention people paging through an entire document to look for something by eye.

One of the problems with Mozilla’s plan to hide Firefox version numbers is that the replacement of “You’re running the latest version” only succeeds if people have confidence that the check is working. Speaking for myself, the last time I checked About:Firefox, I was convinced that it was broken until I verified that the update I was expecting was Mac-only, which was why it wasn’t showing up on Windows.

The biggest, of course, is breaking deeply ingrained user expectations (where to find the version number) for no real discernible benefit.

Cool idea: Google is designing a “Web intents” system for web apps similar to intents in Android. For those who haven’t used Android, “intents” allow apps to register actions they can take — such as “I can share (or edit) images!” — and other apps to hand data over to them. That way your camera app doesn’t need to know about every possible image-sharing or editing app you can put on your phone.

Now they’re extending the idea to web applications. There’s a JavaScript-based proof of concept, and they’re planning to add native support to Chrome.

Originally posted on Google+

Update: While it would have been cool, Web Intents never got off the ground. Paul Kinlan describes what happened.