Placeholders in Form Fields Are Harmful

Summary: Placeholder text within a form field makes it difficult for people to remember what information belongs in a field, and to check for and fix errors. It also poses additional burdens for users with visual and cognitive impairments.

via Placeholders in Form Fields Are Harmful.

I do so dislike placeholder as label. Begone!


Writing Hyperlinks: Salient, Descriptive, Start with Keyword

To help users quickly find what they need, anchor text should stand out from the body content and accurately describe the page that it refers to.

via Writing Hyperlinks: Salient, Descriptive, Start with Keyword.

Data Warehouse MySQL

New Client

Large Bionocular Telescope brings the Universe into Sharper Focus

via LBT Press Release March 2012 Images and Captions.

I got the chance to help these folks with some database work. Talk about “big data”.


Things to chase after

MySQL specific?

select make_set(255,’bit0′,’bit1′,’bit2′,’bit3′,’bit4′,’bit5′,’bit6′,’bit7′);

select (1,2,3)=(1,2,3);



But the first two joins—the inner join, and the left exclusion join—are logically equivalent to a left outer join, so we can write:


| id   | name | id   | name |
|    1 | a    | NULL | NULL |
|    2 | b    |    2 | b    |
|    1 | a    | NULL | NULL |
| NULL | NULL |    3 | c    |

Why doesn’t MySQL implement FULL OUTER JOIN syntax for this? We don’t know.

via Common Queries Tree.


Corporate Blogs: Front Page Structure

Summary: Showing summaries of many articles is more likely to draw in users than providing full articles, which can quickly exhaust reader interest.

via Corporate Blogs: Front Page Structure Jakob Nielsens Alertbox.


When was your last restore?

But let’s stop talking about “backups.” Doing a backup is too low a bar. Any experienced system administrator will tell you that they have a great backup plan, the trouble comes when you have to restore.

via Let’s stop talking about “backups” – Joel on Software:

Twice in October on the home machine – dead internal drive.

The 2 major websites moved off of our servers, but before they moved I did a test restore every 4-5 months.



Today a customer mentioned reordering a MyISAM table to get rid of fragmentation. I asked them to clarify what they meant by reordering, assuming that they were running an OPTIMIZE or a NULL ALTER TABLE operation and they said that they use ALTER TABLE t1 ORDER BY f1, f2, f3,..etc;

via Things you manage to miss – ALTER TABLE .. ORDER BY – The Soapbox.


The Duct Tape Programmer

Sometimes, you’re on a team, and you’re busy banging out the code, and somebody comes up to your desk, coffee mug in hand, and starts rattling on about how if you use multi-threaded COM apartments, your app will be 34% sparklier, and it’s not even that hard, because he’s written a bunch of templates, and all you have to do is multiply-inherit from 17 of his templates, each taking an average of 4 arguments, and you barely even have to write the body of the function. It’s just a gigantic list of multiple-inheritence from different classes and hey, presto, multi-apartment threaded COM.

via The Duct Tape Programmer – Joel on Software.

Data Warehouse

Database Archiving Basics

Database archiving is becoming an important new topic for data managers. The need for this function has surfaced at most IT organizations, and the problems it addresses are only getting bigger and bigger. These problems include challenges with data retention requirements, application renovations and e-discovery. Most IT data managers recognize the problems but many do not associate database archiving as a solution. This will change as the technology matures and spreads.

via Database Archiving Basics.