Why Can't I Report Scam & Phishing Emails On Outlook.com Beta?

A new beta version rolled out a few months ago with a new look and feel, together with some interface changes. Overall, it's an improvement with a few quirks, but there's one thing that really bothers me. They've removed the option to mark and report an email as "Phishing scam" if the email is in your inbox folder. This is annoying because I do get sketchy emails sometimes that get passed their spam detection. Especially the ones that look like it's from Apple or PayPal, which look pretty authentic at first glance. In the old outlook.com, you could mark it as such by going to "Junk > Phishing scam".Read more

Finding old AMD ATI Graphics Drivers


My laptop motherboard/graphics card was broken a few months back, so I had to ship it to the ASUS repair center to have it fixed. When I got my laptop back, the graphics card drivers for my ATI Radeon Mobility HD 5730 were reverted back to the factory's drivers. It tried updating it to the latest drivers through the AMD ATI website, but every time I rebooted my computer after the installation, my screen wouldn't turn on anymore after the initial boot-up. The display works on an external monitor, but the laptop screen remains black no matter what I tried.

I wanted to install the older AMD Catalyst drivers, but I couldn't find them anywhere on the AMD website! Guru3D has a huge list of old drivers, but all the download links redirected me to dead or broken links. After looking through numerous websites, I finally found one with working download links on MorderHQ. Now everything is working again with the older graphics drivers.


Annoying Razer Synapse Updates

Ever since I installed Razer Synapse (Cloud-Based Mouse Driver) for my DeathAdder mouse I get very annoyed by the software updates. First of all, 99% of the time the update will require you to reboot your system which no ones likes. Especially when you just booted up your computer. Second, the windows where you confirm the update installation is pretty stupid as well.

The image below is the default state in which the notification was presented. The "Update Now"(OK) option comes before the "No Thanks"(Cancel) option. Now there's always the debate whether the button arrangement should be "OK-Cancel" or "Cancel-OK". Both button orders are legitimate as the Nielsen Norman Group article points out, but what confused me was the button highlight. While updating the driver would be considered a "dangerous" action. I was immediately drawn to pressing the highlighted button, because in most UI cases they will highlight the option that they want you to press. So combined with the "I-just-want-to-get-this-over-with" mentality, I pressed the highlighted "No Thanks" option thinking it was updating when the window minimized to the system tray. Little did I know the update notification popped up again the next day when I turned on the computer... confused and enraged why Razer Synapse asked me to update again, I then discovered I was pressing the wrong button when I saw the update window for the second time. Am I raging about nothing? Or maybe I should just learn to read next time :(


YouTube's Player Size Button is Back!

Hooray!! The YouTube player size button is back! A couple a days ago YouTube got a major update (Google+ comment integration) and it seems like they moved the player size button back to the video menu bar. In their previous update the player size button was moved and nested inside the cogwheel button. This was a huge pain in the ass since it required an extra step to perform an option that was very frequently used (you can read about the design and interaction analysis in my previous blog post).

Luckily, YouTube decided to put the player size button back on the video menu bar. Did they get too many complaints or did they just realize it was a horrible UI design choice? Anyway, hopefully they will put back the video quality button back is well haha.. To close this post, I would like to include the sound clip from Super Smash Bros below to celebrate the return of the video size button :)

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/119385924?secret_token=s-m3coY" width="100%" height="100" iframe="true" /]


YouTube's New Video Player UI

You've probably noticed the subtle change in the YouTube video player UI implemented a few days ago. They moved the "Player Size" and "Video Quality" buttons and incorporated them into the Cogwheel button. Their goal was to make the video player UI more compact and they've achieved that doing so.

Personally, I hate the new UI... not because I hate change, but because they moved the 2 of my most used buttons and nested them within another one. From an interaction standpoint the previous UI was simple:

  • Set to Player Size: (1) Press Player Size button
  • Change quality: (1) Press Video Quality button, (2) Set desired quality

Now with the new video player UI I have to perform an extra interaction in order to change the screen size and video quality:

  • Set to Player Size: (1) Press Cogwheel button, (2) press Player Size button
  • Change quality: (1) Press Cogwheel button, (2) Press Video Quality button, (2) Set desired quality

One extra interaction doesn't seem much, but for me and I think for a lot of other users it's an annoyance. Also, visually the new Player Size button is a bit weird. It looks like a toggle switch but it acts as a slider. I get confused sometimes thinking the "darker" side is the active one.. it's actually the other way around. To make it more intuitive and clear, there's a simple fix simply by adding a more distinctive rounded corner and by adding a drop shadow to the activated side.

Chrome's New Tab Button UI

Have you noticed the small change in the Chrome UI? The "+" is gone in the "New Tab"-button! It's been bugging the shit out of me since I saw it a few days ago. Something doesn't feel right without the "+" :(

F-1 VISA and the US Consulate HerpDerp

Most of you might know that I'll be going to Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh for master's degree at the Entertainment Technology Center. The course won't start until August 29th, but I need to be there on the 16th already for the mandatory International Orientation week. I initially thought that I would have 1 month of holiday after going back from New Zealand to the Netherlands, but this has now been cut down to a mere 2 weeks.

My time in New Zealand is almost up. 24 days until I leave sheep & mint sausage country and go back to the Netherlands and have some decent cheese and ham :lol:  I'll be leaving Christchurch on August 1st and arrive on the 2nd in Amsterdam after a long and exhausting 33 hour trip with stopovers in Auckland, Los Angeles and London. Hopefully the flight will be smooth as the previous one!

Anyhow, I finally processed all the necessary documents and made an appointment at the US Consulate in Amsterdam for my F-1 VISA interview.
In order to get this far, I had to:

  • Pay $200,- for the SEVIS. The SEVIS is a web-accessible database used by the Department of Homeland Security to collect, track and monitor information regarding exchange visitors, international students and scholars who enter the United States.
  • Pay the $140,- VISA application fee and complete an online DS-160 form on the US Consulate website. This online application is used to collect the necessary application information from a person seeking a nonimmigrant visa for temporary travel to the United States. Consular Officers use the information entered on the DS-160 to process the visa application and, combined with a personal interview, determine an applicant’s eligibility for a nonimmigrant visa.
  • Make a €15,- appointment for an interview by phone. Furthermore, I still need to get an ID photo in US format (2x2inch) and an envelope with €7 postage on it.
It was such a hassle and the phone call to the consulate was by far the worst. I called and the first thing the pre-recorded voice will say is "for English press 1, for Nederlands press 2" with a very non-Dutch/American accent. The voice actually sounded like a mixture between a Hispanic and Middle Eastern person haha! Anyway, I called several times but the operators were busy every single time. I was put on hold and the electronic voice will keep babbling about the instructions of applying for a VISA. The weird thing was that my call would always be cut off after 7:30 minutes. I'm not sure if it's because I was calling with Skype (I'm in New Zealand remember :-| ) or that they just cut me off.....

Finally, today, I got through and the first thing the operator would say is "Hello... What is your credit card number?". After providing the details and telling him about my application for a F-1 VISA, the guy said with a very monotonous voice...

"Did you receive the VISA documents from the school?" - Yes
"Did you complete and paid for the SEVIS?" - Yes
"Did you complete the DS-160 form?" - Yes
"Did you pay for the VISA application?" - Yes

And suddenly after answering Yes to all the questions, his voice changed to a more cheerful and lively voice!! I managed to make an appointment and give him all the necessary information. Providing the information didn't go smooth at all! He said my connection was bad, so he needed me to spell out all the letters of my documents. I forgot a lot of  those reference words like A for Apple in Dutch... So I was like R for.... uhm.... R for.... until he filled in the gaps for me haha. It didn't happen once, but it happened around 4-5 times! herpty derp!! ┐('~`;)┌

In the end, everything went ok and I'm going to finish my work here at the HIT Lab in the upcoming weeks. Meanwhile.... FOOOOOODDDDD!!

Unable to open Word Files (Error)

I was going through some old documents when suddenly every single Word file threw in an error causing Word not even to launch and even using the Word Safe Mode launcher didn't help.

I got scared when not 1... not 2... but almost all my Word files started being listed as corrupted!! All my work! OH NO!!! :@
The internet suggested using the Font Restore option under "Control Panel > Appearance & Personalization > Fonts > Font Settings > Restore default font settings", but that didn't fix the problem.... I tried system restore.... NOTHING!! Until I realized that I installed some fonts about a week back.

I opened the Fonts folder and looked up the fonts that I recently installed and I noticed that the icons of those fonts had "$#@" on them instead of "ABC". I tried deleting them, but again error! Saying that the font is currently in use!! Closed all application, but still no luck...
Finally, I booted Windows in Safe Mode and it allowed me to delete those corrupted fonts. Restarted it and BAM! Everything worked again (after 2 hours or rage)! :D *phew*

In short: If you're unable to open your Word files and Word starts throwing in errors, check if you installed any fonts recently. Look them up and see if they are corrupted and delete them if they are. If you're unable to delete them, go in Safe Mode and delete it :)

Dungeon Siege III

Why do I keep missing out on gaming news :( Apparently Dungeon Siege III is going to release any day now (JP July 28, 2011 / NA June 21, 2011 / EU June 17, 2011), but there's already a RELOADED version of the game on the internet 5 days ago!!! I want to play it so bad now, but I can't download it because of the stupid data limit here in New Zealand... FUUUUUU!!!

The lab is still closed due to the Monday earthquake so I can't check if it's on the hub.... hopefully the lab is open again this Friday or the upcoming Monday.
In the meantime some videos to keep myself excited :)


Premiere CS5 Blue Lines

I rarely use Adobe Premiere. A week ago, I made some animation clips in Flash and wanted to stitch them together in Premiere. Editing the video went all well, but when I tried exporting the movie it created these blinking blue lines in my video :S
I tried exporting it as .mov, .wmv, H.264, .avi, etc. but nothing worked! :@
What did remove the blue lines was was exporting my video as MPEG-2. But then the interlacing was screwing up my video. Turning off the interlacing lowered the quality so much that it really looked like crap....

Finally, I figured out that the problem was the discrepancy of the FPS between my source videos and the exported video file. My Flash animations were in 30fps while the video exported in Premiere was 25fps.

I changed it in Flash, exported the final video with Premiere and there no more blue lines and the interlacing wasn't a problem :D :D The video is done and will be posted really soon!!

Another solution is to put a title over the flashing video and set the opacity to 0, it forces Premiere to re-render the area.

Hope this post will help and save someone some headaches :)