Posted in personal, user experience

Handsome REWARD for blue-squared questions mark!!

<wild west theme>

Howdy folks,

As the Sheriff of Jonville, I’d like to infrom our citizens and guests that there have been sightings of the dreaded blue-squared question mark. We have used our ingenious resources and hard-working team to create this accurate rendition in the WANTED poster.

Screen shot 2009-10-31 at 12.52.23 PM

There is no need to panic. I report, DO NOT PANIC.

Now, these marks have only been noted by those who use the Safari Browser, and can be hard to catch (a quick refresh usually removes them), but they are nonetheless scary & lethal.

Citizens, keep your distance!

However, to best rid our fair town of these marks, we would ask all citizens and guests to report any sightings immediately, by taking screenshots and noting which posts they are reading and browser they are using.

Thank you.

</ wild west theme>

Translation: I would really appreciate any help to see if any of my viewers (yes all 10 of them) are getting these blue-squared question marks? I wrote about them in this post.

You can imagine it’s a little ironic (& equally embarrassing) since I’m writing about other companies who don’t pay attention to how their website looks. Touché.


– Jon

Posted in design, personal, tech, user experience

An Epic Fail: How to make a $150+ 500 Gb portable external hard drive suck

I bought a WD “my passport” that had some great features.

  • It was smaller than my wallet
  • Needed no external power, but ran off one USB connection to my computer
  • It was 500 GB for crying out loud
  • It had a great design

However, WD missed one small thing: the USB cable is not a regular mini USB.

Continue reading “An Epic Fail: How to make a $150+ 500 Gb portable external hard drive suck”

Posted in random

Best Buy (& other big box retailers) – make sure your ads work!!!!

I wrote a quick post about how a staples ad failed to deliver by a) showing me NO deals and b) not knowing that I was in Canada and not the US here.

So you can imagine my surprise and delight in seeing that the New York Times did indeed know I was in Canada. Not only that,  they even knew that I was in the Lower Mainland! Continue reading “Best Buy (& other big box retailers) – make sure your ads work!!!!”

Posted in personal, user experience, Vancouver

My metal-shard-in-chinese-bun experience: Why quality control is key

In hindsight, I could have gotten seriously injured in this experience.

Nevertheless, for the advancement of better user experiences, it illustrates my point succinctly.

I ate a char siu bau this weekend from Kam Do Bakery in Richmond – half way through my delectable appetizer I found, to my horror, a thin staple-sized piece of metal in the middle of my bun. (see the picture below, no dramatization here folks!!!)

Continue reading “My metal-shard-in-chinese-bun experience: Why quality control is key”

Posted in personal, tech

vicki: 37 signals? isn’t that the c++. ruby on higheels thing?

(watching startup school @ – vicki beside me knitting or crocheting)

jon: wow, next talk is by jason fried, the founder of 37 signals!!

vicki: what’s 37 signals again? that c++ thing?

jon: (smiling) yeah, yeah!

vicki: what was it? ruby something? ruby on high heels?

jon: rails baby. ruby on rails.

(break up laughing)

vicki: what??!!? do you now what this crochet pattern is? (showing me the blanket she’s working on)


vicki: sometimes, people who use technology are soooooo stuck up!

Posted in random

seth godin’s world-changing idea: tribes

Seth Godin is amazing – his view on marketing as making something remarkable that will attract people vs. shoving it down their throats is such a breath of fresh air in today’s mass marketing culture. I swear, if I see one more “loose 50 lbs in a day” or “Google pays me $1520.34 /month” ad, or if I see other “internet marketers” boasting about how they use their blogs to make thousands a month, I might well lose it. Continue reading “seth godin’s world-changing idea: tribes”

Posted in entrepreneurial, Vancouver

5to5000 a success in the end!!! Over $5000 was raised by Innovation Camp Teams

Monday, Oct 20, 2009 1:13 AM – As many of you know, our team was able to achieve over 1800% rate of return on the intial $5 (that’s almost $100 from $5 in only 2 hours!). However, what is more exciting is that together with the remaining Innovation Camp 2009 teams, we actually reached our outragous goal of $5000 in less than 7 hours!!! Check out Innovation Camp’s official Charity Challenge page for sponsors who donated and more info.

(top expert from

Presently – I’m working on a video trying to summarize the two hours in two minutes. Hopefully it’ll be done soon – if anyone wants to help give me a shout!

Posted in entrepreneurial, random, Vancouver

Trying to turn $5 to $5000 – watch us live in 30 minutes!!!!

Now here’s some hands on learning! We were given the challenge of turning $5 into as much money as possible at 11 AM this morning.

It’s currently 2:31 P.M.

My Team and I are planning to go to the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery and try to turn $5 to $5000 in two hours! (from 3pm – 5pm today!)

Check out our website @

We’re using my iPhone 3gs to stream live with the qik app – Check our most recent video here:

Check out all our videos at:

Our twitter feed is @

By: Twitter Buttons

Help us spread the word as much as possible!

Posted in entrepreneurial, Vancouver

What I never learned in 5 years of university…

Screen shot 2009-10-15 at 3.06.25 PM

I’m attending a hand’s on innovation & creativity conference called “Innovation Camp.” Basically, learning things I never learned in 5 years of Engineering Physics at UBC.

You may wonder what that is exactly. Here’s what the site promised:

Vancouver Innovation Camp is your opportunity to:

  • connect and collaborate with like-minded people
  • practice entrepreneurship skills such as: identifying opportunities; being not only creative but innovative (what’s the difference, you ask? An important distinction that you’ll experience in the course.); leveraging limited resources; and adapting to changing situations, to mention only a few.
  • have fun
  • be creative (if you feel you aren’t very creative, no problem, you’ll learn!)
  • learn from failure
  • plot world domination
“Those are some pretty bold promises,” I asked him, “what exactly qualifies  you to run this course?!?” His response took me by surprise. Normally, people would fiddle with qualifications of what companies they’ve started, etc. But Mack told me plain out:
“Because we did. That’s what qualifies us. We are so passionate about this stuff and if no one else is doing it, we want to!”
I was like, Yeah Man, Preach It!! haha.
After I signed up, I thought I should do my background check. The reason Mack and his two co-conspirators, Ben & Nicole, started the camp was because of one book they all read. I wanted to at least be familiar with its contents!

The book was “What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20” by Tina Seelig, Executive Director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program. I would give you my outstanding review but there’s enough said by others on Amazon where it received an average of 4.5/5 stars.

How I never heard about this book before is beyond me, but all I can say is I understand why Mack & Co started Innovation Camp after this. It really inspires you in a down-to-earth kind of way.

It’s basic premise of the book is simply this: (spoiler alert!!!!) Every problem, no matter how big or small, can be turned into an opportunity.

But of course, that doesn’t do the book justice. So have a browse at the first few pages on, but not which does not allow you to look inside because Canada is apparently inferior to United States.

She also talks about many basic things that we are never really taught in school but are so important to daily life. For example, the art of negotiation and how academic grading based on a curve teaches us a very unhealthy point-of-view that to win others have to lose! (which is not true in real life!)

But back to the camp. The first day was really a breath of fresh air for me as I have spent the last year trying to pursue my passion for innovation and entrepreneurship. The camp is great at simple hands-on activities that help you look at all problems as opportunities and creatively solve them starting with nothing!

For example, the first activity was to introduce yourself as you see yourself in five years. This was such a creative way to get people thinking – I know it was for me! I don’t want to give it all away, so check my blog after tonight’s second get together!

I’m so excited!

Posted in design, personal, user experience

Who’s fault is it when website pictures don’t show?

Who do you blame when a website has broken links, non-existent pictures, and slow speeds?

I never really thought about this before, but I naturally blame website owners. Come to think of it, I blame them for almost all their poor user experiences. See here and here.

But “blame” is really too strong a word… What I really mean is that I hold them accountable for it.

But, in a strange but ironic twist of fate, I just realized I’m one of those websites.

Here’s an example of a post I recently loaded up on this tech blog:

Screen shot 2009-10-14 at 1.06.53 PM

The weird thing is that after a few minutes and still no pictures a quick refresh brings them all back up.

Screen shot 2009-10-15 at 12.56.52 AM

This has happened on more than one occasion.

Moral of the Story

Now, what can I learn from this? Whose fault is it? WordPress’ or mine?

I guess I found out that, well, It doesn’t matter.

In the end, the users of my site will still connect the poor performance and broken links to MY SITE.

So, in the end, it has to be my job to maintain and “test” out my site constantly.

But let’s be honest – it would be impossible to fully check my site using all the different computers, running all the different operating systems, in different resolutions, and with different browsers.

Now, that “support” tab who’s value I put into question seems like a pretty bright idea.

Possible Solutions:

Of course, there’s the basic link scanners that tell you which links are broken on your site. Here’s an example of one called Xenu.

But it seems rather static, manual, and not general enough. All it takes care of is finding broken links and not, for example, the load time of your website. And you’d think that WordPress would have something integrated into their system already!!! (ie. something that sends you a quick e-mail, telling you when a link is broken)

This would be a great problem to solve. What I would see is a third-party company or service, that basically does the link scanning, load-time benchmarking, and general basic things that really affect user experiences. Hmmm… sounds like a good idea. 😉

Any one have any other suggestions to deal with this problem?