Hello, everybody! My name is Jono Xia and I work for Mozilla User Research. I haven’t updated “Not the User’s Fault” in over a year six months.

It’s not because people have stopped making terrible UI designs.

It’s not because Internet freedoms have stopped being under attack.

It’s not because I stopped having opinions. Oh no. I have more opinions than ever. Some of them might be pretty controversial ones even.

I just got into a period of heavy crunch time and overlapping deadlines with developing Test Pilot and all the other things I was working on, and blogging got pushed out of my schedule. And when something gets pushed out, it’s easy for it to stay out.

But it’s about time to re-start this blog, I think.


I was going to put up a picture of a VCR or a microwave with a digital clock blinking “12:00” — the classic example of user interface failure.

But my microwave doesn’t blink “12:00”. It blinks “66:66”, or sometimes “6:66”, like it’s possessed by the devil. I think it has a short-circuited 6 key, so it’s processing nonexistent presses of the 6 key at random times. Sometimes it beeps loudly in the middle of the night. I keep it unplugged most of the time just to keep it quiet.

But anyway, the impossible-to-set digital clock is the classic example of user interface failure — and by “classic” I mean it was considered a hilarious punchline back in 1987: People were always saying “I’m so bad with technology, I can’t figure out how to get my VCR to stop blinking 12:00”. Ha ha ha. And what’s with airline food?

But the real problem was not that people in the 80s (or today) were “bad with technology”, it’s that VCRs (and microwaves) presented a terrible interface that made setting a digital clock far more difficult than setting an analog clock, and for no good reason!

And that’s why this blog is called “Not The User’s Fault”.

If you read my other blog and you’re wondering why it’s offline, it’s because the webserver that hosted it (a very obsolete iMac in the corner of my bedroom) has finally died, probably thanks to the four consecutive power failures I had over the course of about three days (hooray, California power grid!)

It might be time to move that one over to WordPress, too, so I don’t have to worry about stuff like this. Blah. First, though, I’ll need to mount a hard drive rescue operation. (I do have backups but they’re at least a month old.)

Also, I may be out of cell phone reception this week, because from Monday through Friday I’ll be at the Mozilla Summit in British Columbia.

Hello there. I’m Jonathan (“Jono”) DiCarlo, I moved to Mountain View, CA two months ago, and I work at Mozilla Labs.

I have a personal blog at evilbrainjono.net, but it’s full of personal stuff: my opinions on politics and religion, nerdy arguments about comic books and role-playing games, and drawings that are Not Safe For Work. So it’s not really appropriate to put onto a Mozilla-related feed.

Thus, in order to keep my online work life and my online personal life separate, I am starting this blog, which will just be about things relevant to what I do at Mozilla: programming, user-interface design, open-source software, and the web.