Sasha Slutsker

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Personal Information

Harry.jpg

Good Interface

An example of mplayer in action. Press right and left to skip, up and down to skip even more, and "o" to switch between different levels of screen output (shown above is the maximum.)
  • mplayer
  • Mplayer has a simple interface that is simultaneously easy to use but also very powerful. It gives me the following options:
  • I can listen to all the music in a folder without the unnecessary overhead of other music programs.
  • I can watch videos and easily control my viewing experience.
  • The program itself is really lightweight, and I launch it only for the duration of the media file - no more, no less. It is therefore not a memory hog.
  • Furthermore, the actual interaction with the user is very simple: I get customizable keyboard shortcuts for performing the most common tasks, and I don't have to worry about 80-90% of the tasks that I will never have any need to perform.

Bad Interface

Ugly and difficult to use.
  • ELMS
  • A trillion options to do a trillion things, most of which I won't ever need. The help is obscurely tucked away and seems to only cover 10-15% of the options on the page.
  • The links are unintuitive. What is "WebAssign," "ThomsonNOW Gradebook," "ThomsonNOW Instructor Tools," "Gradebook," etc. Many of the links seem to overlap, but lead to different endpoints. And with no nearby help, the user is quickly overwhelmed and frustrated with the user interface.

Software With Biggest Impact

  • Cloud Computing with services such as Amazon Web Services, Google App Engine, and others.
  • Web services have come to define the Internet in recent years, and the idea of infrastructure as a web service has changed the economics of deploying applications to the Internet. After all, instead of purchasing new hardware every time you need to scale your website, you can essentially "rent" hardware from large corporations. This has lowered the bar for entry, leading to a significant increase of companies leveraging the Internet. Furthermore, because it is now possible to rent hardware, research companies have less need to buy large computers for conducting their calculations, now being able to rent such computing power from larger corporations.
  • At the end of the day, it is cloud computing which has fully enabled the created of so many web-based applications that have allowed netbooks to exist (netbooks having very little computing power themselves, but being able to connect to other machines over the network.) So cloud computing has essentially replaced the old paradigm of computing, centralizing computation power and allowing individual and smaller entities the ability to rent as much as they need whenever they need it.