User Experience : Keypad

I am puzzled with one question for years … have you ever wondered “Why calculator and phone number layouts differ ?”. Check your desk calculator and desktop / mobile phone to find out; or here are two pictures:

As you can see, the calculator keypads start from 7, 8 and 9, line up from upper left corner. The phone number keypads, however, start from 1, 2 and 3, also line up from upper left corner. So the question – why the difference ?

I searched, searched and searched again … finally found the plausible answer to that.

Decades ago in last century, the first calculators were actually resembled old cash registers. Those cash registers had columns of keys numbering 9 on top down to 0 on the bottom. The next column had another set of keys with 90 on top and 10 on the bottom, the next row to the right had 900 on top, 100 on the bottom, and so on. As you can see from the pictures of an old cash register below.


Therefore, it is logical to design a hand-held calculators with the number 9 on the top row, and 0 in the bottom row. Well then, the next question – “why did we place 7-8-9 in the top row, instead of 9-8-7 ?” Sorry, I don’t have the answer, so please leave your comments if you know.

For the phone … there are two theories. One is about the rotary phones – before the touch-tone phone, of course, rotary dials were the rule. This theory states that the touch-tone key pad was designed to mimic the rotary dial with the “1” on top and the 7-8-9 on the bottom; as in the following picture.

Another theory is that the design is from Human Factors Engineering Studies in Bell Laboratories. See below for the layout designs in the study. And turned out the one with 1-2-3 on top role was the selected design.

To me both are good answers, don’t you think ?

Air on the G string

No, it is not about the MacBook Air, and not about G string of course … I stare at the TV and just cannot stand anymore the noise and the scenes of the big event today. I mute the TV volume and this music come to mind – believe it or not, it matches the TV show perrrrrfectly.

Isn’t it brilliant ?

And then of course, the whiter shade of pale. Just can’t help it 8)

We are not alone

“Always on my mind” is one of my favorite songs, no matter it’s the original version by Brenda Lee or the cover versions by Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Pet Shop Boys and the latest by Michael Buble. But yesterday I found another cover version in a Hong Kong movie shot 15 years ago, and I love this version the most.

So I asked myself where I can find this version on the web … – No, – No, – No … but I finally found it thru some searches. I reckon, no matter what are our likes and dislikes, no matter how niches those are – we are not alone; and someone share the same interests will put those online. Another case of Long Tail theory, I suppose …

Believe it or not, the singer is Peter Chan, the famous Hong Kong film director. Enjoy the song, i.e. the first two minutes of the following video. By the way, the subtitles do not sync with the song …

Wicked Game

Good guitar music is a luxurious thing, it prompted me to search around Youtube to find two of my favorite ones … and I found those – Wicked Game and Maria Elena. Enjoy …

Wicked Game by guitarist Greg Reiter

Maria Elean by, of course, Los Indios Tabajaras

And … the original Wicked Game by Chris Issac …

Movie and songs of the week

It’s hard to resist another run of the Notting Hill in cable TV. I have watched it countless time because of two things – the travel book store (you know, it’s my dream) and the wicked soundtrack. There are two songs in the movie I like very much – Ain’t no sunshine and She … Somehow in the movie there are two versions of Ain’t no sunshine – one by Lighthouse Family and the other one by the original singer – Bill Withers. Here is the amazing multi-seasons one shot with Ain’t no sunshine …

And here is the trailer of the movie with She by Elvis Costello:

As usual, I can’t help to search around and you will find the videos from Bill Withers, Lighthouse family and the original singer of She – Charles Aznavour 30 years ago. Enjoy !!

Bill Withers – Ain’t no sunshine

Lighthouse family – Ain’t no sunshine

She – Charles Aznavour, 30 something years ago

Shawshank Redemption

It’s on cable TV again and I simply couldn’t help but watched it, one more time. I am not sure why it’s rated 5-stars, but no doubt it is a very good movie and every time I watch it, I find / learn new things. For example, there is a very moving scene in the movie about Andy (Tim Robbins) locked himself in a room and broadcast a very beautiful song to all the prisoners. And here is it … another find from Youtube – a Mozart masterpiece by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa & Ileana Cotrubas.

“Sull’aria” from Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro”

Oh, for those who has not seen this movie – the original scene from Youtube as well …

Fado …

Pretty much like Samba of Brazil, Flamingo of Spain, Tango of Argentina … Fado is a national treasure of Portugal.  Fado (translated as destiny or fate) is a music genre which can be traced from the 1820s in Portugal, but probably with much earlier origins. It is characterized by mournful tunes and lyrics, often about the sea or the life of the poor. However, without visiting this beautiful country, how can I have a taste of Fado ? Once again, Youtube has the answer.

The name of this beautiful song is Chuva (Rain in English) by famous Portuguese artist Mariza. Lyrics translated in English …

The ordinary events in our lives
Do not fill us with longing;
Not so those memories that hurt
Or those that bloom into a smile.

Some people are our history,
The history of our lives;
There are others whose name
We not recall ever hearing.

Such are the feelings
That keep alive my longing,
The feelings we shared
And withered in the end.

There are days that scar
One’s soul and life,
This is why I cannot forget
The day you left me.

The rain drenched
My cold and tired face
In the streets of a city
I had aimlessly walked.

Ah! …Like a girl gone astray
My cry rang across the city:
How quick does the fire of love
Dies in the rain!

The rain heard me and kept
To herself my secret in that city
Where she taps on the window,
Filling me with longing.