Sunday, October 22, 2006


I bought a new euphonium, a Willson 2900 S. It's a four key, compensating, upright, silver (shiny) instrument, with some amazing craftsmanship. I got it on ebay from Mathews Music in Holland for 5k$ including shipping. I've doubled my roommates' ration of obnoxious tuba music.

I took the new euphonium to Ohlohne Tuba Ensemble rehearsal yesterday. The horn was a treat to play. Everybody there has really nice horns, but the Willson is among the best of the best. One fellow who I believe plays a Besson said that the Willson is the Swiss watch of euphoniums. Looking and feeling the craftsmanship and feeling the tolerances, I would have to agree. It's an amazing machine.

I finally grok what "compensating" in "compensating euphonium" means: I no longer have to "compensate" for the sharpness of every note between E flat 2 and pedal B flat by fingering them one half step lower, and I don't have to bend down to the B natural from C. The horn just has a continuum of chromatic pitches all the way down with orthogonal fingerings with those an octave higher on a three key horn.

Kris and his Euphonium

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Cix Rant 23

Let's be clear about at least one thing. Right is affirmative. Left is negative. This means the "enter" key is on the right; the "escape" key is on the left (the exact opposite left, horizontally orthogonal to the enter key, where the caps lock isn't). The "Ok" button is on the right; the "Cancel" button is on the left. Sidescroller games go from left to right. Forms do the same. New panels appear on the right; old panels disappear to the left. Right is deeper in the file system; left is higher.

Commands are on the bottom. Status is on top. This means command lines are on the bottom. Command buttons are on the bottom. Toolbars are on the bottom. Menus are on the bottom. Location bars are on the bottom. Titles are on top. Status bars are on top. The date and time are on top. Progress notifications are on top. Cursor location information is on top. If it's imperative, it goes on the bottom. If it's functional, stateless, or informational, it goes on the top.

The newest stuff is on the bottom. Moving up, stuff gets older. This means that what your buddy said last is at the bottom of the message buffer. This means recent command output is on the bottom of a message buffer. This means modal notifications are on the bottom (like security warnings, notification bubbles). This means the most recently received email is on the bottom.

Let's get serious about consistent, easy, simple and learnable human user interfaces people.