Newsletter and jokes 3 January 2020

Hi all 
Happy new year and all that, for those of you following the Gregorian  
So I made some changes to the showtimes pages and started World War III... 
I've put a discussion/rationale further below, but I understand that there 
are some problems with the new layout. I really need feedback from as many 
people as possible. Please try to be specific and tell me what you like or 
don't like, what is broken, why you preferred the old view, and especially, 
if you are using the site on mobile or desktop. Thanks. 
I don't follow cricket much but I see the touring Brits are having a tough 
time here in SA ... so some good news from a national perspective. 
There are only two new movies this week, one each from Hollywood and  
Bollywood. Hollywood's offering is an off-beat rom-com based on a best- 
selling novel, but didn't really impress the critics much. The public 
was more forgiving. Hollywood is still desperately trying to restart 
the rom-com genre, so far without much success. The only real success  
lately was Crazy Rich Asians, and that was hardly a typical rom-com. 
Bollywood also has some romance, with a dash of crime drama thrown in. 
So nothing new for the kiddies this week, but Frozen II is still going  
strong, and there is also Spies in Disguise from last week. 
New this week 
* Can You Keep a Secret? (16 LNS) 
* Sab Kushal Mangal   
Forthcoming attractions  
Updated the pic and quote on the home page  
This Week's pinup (full HD wallpaper ...)  
Pick of the Week   
All the previews. Remember to check with the cinema first.  
List of all movies showing  
Same list sorted by Age Restriction  
Top Twenty, Best and Worst Movies by Critical Rating.  
Remember you can support the site by reading the ads... :-) 
Some discussion about the recent site changes: 
Some people were very upset with the recent changes.  
First, some background: 
The previous site was designed back in the early 2000s, and specifically  
for the then-standard size monitors. Modern smartphones did not exist. 
Since then, smartphones have taken over, and today, more people are surfing 
the web from their phones than from desktops. The previous version of the  
site worked on mobile, but it required a lot of zooming in and out, and it 
was easy to click the wrong link when trying to navigate. 
I also had complaints from Google about "text too small", and other issues. 
However I delayed rolling out a mobile version for many years. This was 
partly because originally many sites had two versions, one for mobile and 
one for desktop, but that's just double work. 
Then the "frameworks" arrived, which are collections of code and  
stylesheets that are supposed to magically adapt to different size screens. 
However the early ones were themselves very large... imagine downloading  
over 1 MB of "stuff" just to see a simple web page. I thought it would 
be unfair to my users to jack up their data costs like that. 
So I waited more... eventually the World Wide Web consortium released their 
own framework which is much lighter, and I started to use that. 
I have been rolling out the new-look over the last several months. I was 
hoping for some feedback on the changes but didn't receive any, so I took  
that as "no news is good news". 
Then after Christmas I rolled out the changes to the showtimes pages. These 
were the most difficult to do. The problem is that one of those pages, eg 
for a large cinema complex, has a huge amount of data on it, and to  
restructure that so that it was usable on a small screen, while at the same 
time usuable on a large screen, was a challenge. Other sites typically 
severely restrict the amount of information shown on screen at any one  
I have always been more focused on "usablilty" rather than "prettiness", so 
I tried to make the new design "work" according to how I thought most people 
used the site.  
However there were some use-cases that I was not aware of. On top of that, 
Google's new "auto-ads" feature went and stuck ads where I was not  
expecting them, severely breaking my carefully coded layout. 
The other issue is that people don't like "change"... they get used to how  
something works and get annoyed when it is suddenly different, even if  
"different" turns out to be "better" once you get used to it. 
So bottom lines... as far as I can see, based on the brief feedbacks I have 
received, is that the issues fall into two categories: 
1. page layout is a mess  
2. can't find information as easily as I used to 
Regarding (1), I have made some code changes which are supposed to block  
ads from appearing where they should not. I have also dialled back the  
number of ads in a page by about 1/3. Hopefully these changes will sort out 
the layout issues. 
Regarding (2), this is a little trickier, because I need to cater for  
different "work flows" while at the same time worrying about mobile-vs- 
desktop issues. I have for now put back the old-style reverse listings. 
I'm thinking about how to do a "show me everything" type screen similar to 
how the old version looked, but it's not trivial. 
I really need more feedback from you guys... constructive criticism please, 
not just "I don't like it". I can't test the site on every possible device 
or browser, so I probably have not experienced your particular problem, 
so need you to please explain it to me, and I will see what I can do to  
resolve it. 
Thanks, Ian 
I realized my little nephew will never know life without Facebook.  
He’ll never know what it’s like to go, “I wonder what happened to that guy  
Chris from high school?” and then just shrug his shoulders and move on. 
The Internet also makes it extraordinarily difficult for me to focus.  
One small break to look up exactly how almond milk is made, and four hours  
later I’m reading about the Donner Party and texting all my friends:  
“Did you guys know about the Donner Party and how messed up that was?” 
As my sister relaxed on the couch, her head comfortably leaning against the  
crook of her husband’s arm, her cell phone beeped.  
It was a text message from her husband: “Move.” 
As an assistant high-school track coach, I recorded the results of each  
home event and made copies for all the coaches.  
But because our track shed did not have electricity, I had to use carbon  
paper. A freshman team member offered to help, and I showed her how to  
place the carbon paper shiny side down so that the image would transfer to  
the sheet beneath it. 
“What will they think of next?” she said in astonishment.  
“Pretty soon we won’t need copy machines anymore.” 
Sitting at the kitchen table, I idly picked up a pack of cards and laid out 
a hand of solitaire, a game that I hadn’t played in quite a while.  
My ten-year-old son came by and stopped to admire what I had done. 
“Wow!” Zackary said. “You know how to play that without a computer!” 
I just set my e-mail’s auto-response to “I’m looking into this now. I’ll  
let you know.”  
I literally never have to respond to e-mails any more. 
As a professor at Texas A&M, I taught during the day and did research at  
night. I would usually take a break around nine, however, calling up the  
strategy game Warcraft on the Internet and playing with an online team. 
One night I was paired with a veteran of the game who was a master  
strategist. With him at the helm, our troops crushed opponent after  
opponent, and after six games we were undefeated.  
Suddenly, my fearless leader informed me his mom wanted him to go to bed. 
“How old are you?” I typed. 
“Twelve,” he replied. “How old are you?” 
Feeling my face redden, I answered, “Eight.” 
There’s a picture of Jesus that pops up on my computer screen if I leave it  
idle for ten minutes.  
It’s my screen savior. 
While gardening one afternoon, I observed two four-year-old girls pushing  
dolls’ prams.  
As they passed me, one said to the other,  
“I wish I had a real baby and not just a doll.” 
Her friend replied, “Have you tried the Internet?” 
FRIEND #1: Are you visiting us tomorrow? Do you need directions? 
FRIEND #2: I’m all set. I have the address, a GPS, and a GPS override. 
FRIEND #1: What’s a GPS override? 
FRIEND #2: My wife. 
Problems with my laptop required calling the dreaded company help line.  
The service rep, based in another country, did not speak English very well.  
So I tried to explain it as simply as possible: 
“I can’t get the computer to work.” 
“Ah, I see,” he responded.  
“You are unable to transport your computer to your place of employment.” 

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