Japan 2019: Spring Break – Day 5 – 7

We take a little side trip to the town of Ito. We are staying at a Ryokan (Traditional) Onsen. Onsen hotels feature hot baths and your stay comes with a very elaborate and delicious dinner and breakfast. Here we relax in the hot baths and then enjoy the meals. The first two days were overcast and rainy so we stayed in most of the time. On the last day it was finally sunny and we were able to walk around the town of Ito. We were even able to see some Sakura trees beginning to bloom along the river.

Town nestled into the side of the bay

View of Ito town from the train



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Japan 2019: Spring Break – Day 2 & 3

We spend the first full day in Japan just recovering from jetlag. The next day we go to visit my Nephew who lives over in Saitama prefecture which is North of where we are at in Kanagawa. Similar to the trip from Narita, this entails a 2 hour bus and train ride each way. Fortunately, Japan has a very extensive train and bus system and it is very reliable.

Picture shows a sign for the business on the first level and the balcony for the second floor apartment

View of the apartment we are staying at in Yoda

View of across the street from the bus stop is a post office

Waiting at the bus stop

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Japan 2019: Spring Break – Day 1

This is the first in a series of posts on my trip with the family to Japan in the Spring of 2019. We spent 10 days in March staying with mother-in-law near Fujisawa. The first pictures are from the travel from Chicago.

The flight is delayed for boarding almost an hour and it takes 12:30 hours to get to Narita Airport:

Hallway in terminal 3 at O’hare

Hallway to the gates in O’hare’s terminal 3

Gate K9 at ORD

At the gate in O’Hare Airport

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More Axure Fun

So I have been using repeaters in a couple of prototypes in Axure. Repeaters allow creating a single element that then is linked to a data table and will repeat content based on how many rows are in the data table. This can make it much easier to automatically simulate a list/grid of search results with real content. You can also then add controls to filter and sort and paginate the list. There is also the ability to dynamically load images from an external source. All of this awesome functionality was making it fun to build out some prototypes that I had intended to do some remote/unmoderated usability testing.

Unfortunately, complex repeaters (6+ columns, external images, links/refernce pages, etc) with more than around 12 rows can substantially slow down the loading of a prototype in a browser. It gets even worse from the axshare server. Also, having more than 1 repeater widget on a page can also slow down a prototype to make it basically unusable. So I fell back to using dynamic panels with states to represent more limited simulation of filtering.

There are some ways to optimize repeaters including using the pagination functionality to load a smaller set of content. However, even after this optimization I still found my prototype pages with repeaters taking upwards of 8-10 seconds to load locally. Viewing pages from the axshare server which can be slow on its own, was often pushing 20+ seconds to load a page. For all the power they offer it was a big dissappointment to not be able to use repeaters in the prototypes for the usability testing. I am still looking further in to how to optimize things. I think it would be helpful if we could make a repeater load asynchronously and perhaps have a place holder image or group of elements.

Axure Interactions on Grouped Elements Reminder

This is a note to remind myself that interactions applied to a group folder do not work if any of the enclosed elements have an interaction. Also AxureEx is an incredibly useful set of methods for including javascript in an Axure file:

AxureEx can be found here:
http://www.dejongh.dk/wiki/doku.php?id=interaction:axure.ex_api

And the downloadable file is here:
https://github.com/Sam-Hepworth/Axure.Ex/releases

Credit to Sam Hepworth

iPhone X: Face ID

Well after having the iPhone X for over a few months now I have completely adapted to using faceID for access. In many ways I like it better than touchID. It is a simpler and seemingly more direct interaction to just swipe up and the phone opens. Overall, I really like the smaller form factor, but decent sized screen which is only slightly more narrow than the 8plus.

I am still wanting to get something to cover the camera when I am not using it, but need it to be flexible enough to not make unlocking more complicated. I’ve tried a few different customized tape configurations with a tab, but they just do not work well. It was awkward bending the tape over and then it would eventually not stay back in place. Ultimately with all the privacy violations of sites like Facebook I don’t feel I am being too paranoid to want the camera covered. So, I’ll keep working on this until I can design something that just works without looking like a kludge.

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iPhone X

So I was able to pick up an iPhone X on the launch day Nov 3rd. I had been vacillating between getting the 8+ or the X for over a month now. Despite all the talk of how expensive the X is, the 8+ is nearly just as expensive at $949 for the top end version with 256GB of storage. The thing that was really putting me off of the X was the lack of touch ID. I had a 6+ and really love the touch ID. The new Face-ID is not a substitute in my eyes as I usually put a tape flap over the camera for privacy reasons. Using face-ID would make that a pain to deal with multiple times a day to unlock.

However, I am now coming around to this and I am thinking I will start using the face-ID. I just have to find something that will allow me to have the camera covered and easily uncover to unlock. The tape worked well enough for the rare occasion I wanted to take a selfie, but it will not work for everyday unlocking. I otherwise really like the smaller sized device with a large screen.

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