A comlicated fire alarm system

I was waiting for a lift home in a lobby of a big building and had time to observe this fire alarm system board:

  • The keyboard has (14 keys) apparently 3 modes: numbers & signs, A-M and N-Z. There's a Shift button on the left and based on my guessing pressing Shift + 0 would type N. No idea how to type A. There is a Change button on the right. Maybe pressing Change + 0 types A.
  • The labels on blue buttons are: left System reset, right Mute & Accept.
  • The labels above red buttons are: left Silence/Resound, right Sound
    Below red buttons is written Alarm
  • The labels on the right are: Enter, No, Yes
    Below No is Letters & Numbers
    Below Yes is written Keyboard
  • Next are several lights. The building has 4 floors so I suppose numbers are offices or smoke detectors. There is no way of mapping a number to an office since offices have their own numbers e.g. A20, B20, C20, D20 are offices on different floors one above another. The building is shaped as double LL.
  • At the bottom is the password but I suppose the key is needed as well to operate the panel.

Instructions are not very intuitive:

  • To enable panel control keys: Press Shift. Press Yes. Then enter 4 digit passcode. 
  • To manually disable panel control keys: Press Shift. Press 5 (Disable), then press 3 (keys).
  • ....
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Interface with too many steps

I came across this very interesting web site Tiny Eyes about the newborns' vision. It lets you upload a photo and see how a new born, 4 weeks old child, 8 weeks, 3 months, 6 months old child and an adult see the world around at different distances.

However, I found it a bit over complicated. To see the same image for each of the available ages, I had to upload the same image again and again and select the desired age. I ended up uploading the same image 6 times for one distance only. I'm not sure about the decisions behind the interface but the only reasoning I thought of is that maybe showing more than one image at once is computationally too intensive and would take too much time. If this is not so, it would be better to:

  • upload an image once and show all available ages and distances side by side.


  • upload an image and select the desired ages/distances by checkboxes so one, more or all ages/distances could be selected.

Placing a devastating function by a commonly used one - ejecting devices

I found myself nearly formatting my thumb drive. If less careful and more in a hurry, I would just click all those "yes" and "OK" buttons. In the context menu of Windows Explorer (Windows 8), Format and Eject are grouped and even placed together. This is not the way to group functions together. Here are the reasons why:

  • Ejecting is a common process while Formatting is used rarely (at least I use it rarely)
  • Formatting can have a devastating consequences (deleted files)
  • The only consequence of Ejecting if an ejected media

There are other ways to eject external storage in Windows (e.g. down by the clock in the right bottom corner as in Figure below) which do not have other functions beside. However, it is more intuitive for me to click on the actual thumb drive in Explorer as in Figure above.

Now compare this to Finder in OS X

The button to eject an external hard drive is actually by the hard drive itself. And this is IMHO way more intuitive than some arbitrary position from which it is possible to eject several devices.

This is my FC!

Well .. after 4 years living in UK and getting tired of being asked which FC I'm a fan of .. here's my answer:


  • Their field is only 100 meters away from the house
  • Their games are WAY cheaper (read free) then those of the Premier league
  • You can have fun with kids in the meanwhile (the space around the field is big enough for another field)
  • If thirsty of hungry ... the fridge is just 100m away and
  • I couldn't care less for the football :)