This is the personal blog of Felipe Lavín, co-founder & partner at Bloom User Experience.

I’m a web developer with a passion for the open web, WordPress and UX, crafting fine digital goods from Viña del Mar, Chile.

A Natural Language User Interface is just a User Interface

Conversational bots are one of those things that might seem “magical” at first glance, but on a deeper look you can discover that there’s nothing more than a clever new way of doing things.

Matthew Honnibal proposes we call this kind of technology Linguistic User Interface, by analogy with Graphical User Interfaces, explains clearly and simply how language input it’s not that different from a click, and why the opportunity for taking advantage of this kind of interfaces it’s probably much more narrow than people may think.

Read his full article on: A Natural Language User Interface is just a User Interface

 

The challenges of formatting currency data

Localization and internationalization of an app or site it’s a challenge that’s not specially hard on the technical side, but that it can ceirtanly become difficult for social and behavioral aspects, such as our own etnocentrism, lack of standardized standards, or even standards that conflict with actual use or user expectations.

The development team at Etsy identified three attributes that affected currency formatting: the currency, user location and user language. Their post on How Etsy Formats Currency shows how to correctly format currency and some of the practical decisions that are involved in the process.

Can complexity emerge from lower levels of simplicity?

‘Is there really a Universe that is not designed from the top downwards but from the bottom upwards? Can complexity emerge from lower levels of simplicity?’ It has always struck me as being bizarre that the idea of God as a creator was considered sufficient explanation for the complexity we see around us, because it simply doesn’t explain where he came from. If we imagine a designer, that implies a design and that therefore each thing he designs or causes to be designed is a level simpler than him or her, then you have to ask ‘What is the level above the designer?’ There is one peculiar model of the Universe that has turtles all the way down, but here we have gods all the way up. It really isn’t a very good answer, but a bottom-up solution, on the other hand, which rests on the incredibly powerful tautology of anything that happens, happens, clearly gives you a very simple and powerful answer that needs no other explanation whatsoever.

Douglas AdamsSpeech at Digital Biota 2

Using Basic Authentication with the WordPress HTTP API

Basic Authentication it’s often used as a simple security measure or as a temporary authentication method while developing with certain APIs.

While the WordPress HTTP API doesn’t have explicit support for basic authentication, it’s still possible to use it as a header:

$request = wp_remote_post(
  $remote_api_endpoint,
  array(
    'body'    => array( 'foo' => 'bar' ),
    'headers' => array(
      'Authorization' => 'Basic '. base64_encode( $username .':'. $password )
    )
  )
);

Remember that if you’re sending an unencrypted request, all the headers will be sent in plain text, so you should only use it over HTTPS.

The Cultural Defeat of Microsoft

Many people (by which I mean many Windows users”) don’t realize the huge difference between “the Windows way of doing things” and, basically, everyone elses’ way, i.e: the POSIX world which comprises all of the Unices, Linux, BSD and even OS X.

Hugo Landau writes:

From the perspective of POSIX, Windows is “alien technology” […] Windows and POSIX are fundamentally different in many ways, and lead to further “cultural” differences in how software is developed on these platforms. Windows and POSIX, then, are two “cultures”, the technical differences of the core technology itself being only a small part of that.

Read the entire piece at: The Cultural Defeat of Microsoft

You’re never grown up.

Life is a funny thing, you know. But I’ve always thought thirty was about it. Beyond that would be horrible to be alive. Until I got to be thirty-one. Then, “why, I ain’t so shabby”, you know. “I’ll hang in a while”. As you go along, you realize this whole concept of growing up is… you’re not grown up until the day they put you six feet under. You’re never grown up.

Keith Richards – Under the influence