To everyone in the US, happy Independence Day
Just returned from my second-ever trip to the San Francisco/Silicon Valley area, the first being just a few weeks ago. Interesting how everyone, from the client to the cabbies, lament the suburban/corporate sprawl that obliterates the orchards and other open space.
I just saw the revival of Sam Shepard’s True West, originally written in the 60′s, and the theme was the same – the West has disappeared.
It’s not a theme here in the New York metropolitan area because all the land within commuting distance from Manhattan was developed a while ago.
Celebrity sighting! I saw Joy Mountford in the San Francisco airport coming off the plane I was getting on. But by the time I realized who it was she had walked away. I heard a speech she and Brenda Laurel gave at NYU in 1993 and it got me all excited about human computer interaction, finding a field that combined creativity with technology with the aim being to make life better for people. Thanks Joy!
There’s a great thread on usability testing on the CHI-WEB list. In the middle of it Jared Spool inserts this funny jab:
[I don't want to get into a discussion of whether this is the difference between customer experience and usability. I personally think the current "customer experience" movement is a crock of shit. I think it's all a FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) campaign to get executives to shift their consulting dollars -- FUD only works as a short-term strategy. Eventually, people see right through it. I have a thing against treating people as if they're idiots. But that's my opinion.]
Even though the company I work for does evangelize trying to improve the “user experience,” I had to laugh along with Jared because I always love the contrarian opinion. Besides, I consider “user experience” just a euphemism for “making the world a better place” – which is the undercurrent for everything I’m trying to do anyway.
Question: Does anybody know of good examples of functionality that satifies similar
user needs as a search, but has no actual “text-box” search?
Answer: You could think of this as a balance between the number of categories you have and the amount of text you have. If you don’t have much text each chunk could be it’s own category and you could link right to it. At some point you have so many categories there’s diminishing returns and it’s easier to stop trying to categorize everything and just let the computers do the searching, even though they aren’t very good at it.
In short, clicking on a link and using a text search are really the same thing, the difference is that in the former the human does the work of scanning and selecting from all the available options and in the latter the computer does more of the heavy lifting. The right approach depends on how much you can categorize and how well you can present those categories (or how well you can build a search engine, but these are generally pretty dumb and only a good last resort when you’re dealing with tons of text).
I realize that’s probably not the answer you’re looking for, but I still like it :)
More on The Capeman: Police reports and photos of the dead, from Revolutionary Worker Online comes a thoughtful examination of the play, the media, politics, and art, some of the original reviews, and the official Salvador Agron web site.
With all the bad reviews of Paul Simon’s 1998 musical The Capeman, I never really heard the soundtrack. After listening to more of his mind-blowing previous album, Rhythm of the Saints, I decided to pick up The Capeman. I’m stunned again, so much beauty, so much great pop music composition, sophisticated lyrics, all revolving around an emotional true story of a 16-year old killer and his life.
If you play guitar you might be happy to learn there’s new tabulature at the “OLGA” database. This was closed a while ago for copyright infringement (not unlike the current furor over Napster). Apparently now they’re getting around that by simply linking to tab on other servers; it’ll be tough for the Harry Fox agency to sue all those folks.
Personally this tab doesn’t keep me from buying sheet music – the quality isn’t that good (kind of like substituting streaming RealAudio for CD-quality sound, yuck).
Julia Butterfly, what a beautiful experience – living your life with a tree in order to save it, and making an ecological difference. I don’t know if she practices any particular religion (her father used to be a minister), but it seems like she is living the philosophy of love (from Jesus, MLK Jr., et al). She’s just out there preaching love, focusing everything on love. In her case it’s for a tree, and that’s what’s staggering about it – that she’s not discriminating at all – just loving. Tom sums it up nicely.
On a more practical level, the film was completely unbalanced, but it was blatently unbalanced it became a story rather than a documentary, so I choose not to think about the issue through the lens of this film.
Funny email from a recruiter (start from the bottom). The point I made to her is that if she uses offensive techniques to find employees it just may work, and poor iXL will end up with a bunch of employees who think spamming is a healthy use of the Internet.
From: Victor Lombardi Sent: Monday, June 19, 2000 3:41 PM To: Tracy Subject: RE: Networking... Hmmmmm, so after being "sourced" by your research department you're now "networking." Could another way of phrasing this be a spider found my name on the Internet and now you're spamming me? ;-) ... At 08:57 AM 6/19/00 -0400, you wrote: Hi Victor- We have a large research dept. and they sourced you. I don't know specifically how they found you, but it was through the Internet. When they find information for us, they pass it along to the Recruiting team. Thanks, Tracy -----Original Message----- From: Victor Lombardi Sent: Sunday, June 18, 2000 9:50 PM To: Tracy Subject: Re: Networking... Hi Tracy, May I ask who passed my name along to you? Thanks. Victor At 03:29 PM 6/16/00 -0400, you wrote: >Hi Victor- My name is Tracy Dillee and I am a Corporate Recruiter with iXL, >Inc, in Atlanta. Your name was passed along to me by our research dept. as >someone with whom I could network in the human factors/interface design >industry... > >Best Regards, > >Tracy Dillee >Corporate Recruiter >iXL, Inc., Atlanta Operations
I love you. Yes you. You Irish information architects, you lonely graphic designers, you mindless spiders indexing me at 4 a.m.
I just noticed Yahoo! Mail doesn’t have a way to set the priority of a mail message. I wonder how many other web-based mailers leave out standard SMTP/POP fields? I’m sure by not providing this field to the hundreds of thousands of people using Yahoo! Mail they’ll learn to email without ever using the feature, even when it’s available at some later time or on another platform.
“One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to embrace the world like a lover. One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying.”
– Morris L. West
Looking through Amazon’s best seller lists, iXL is reading books like “True Professionalism : The Courage
to Care About Your People, Your
Clients, and Your Career”, “The Deadline : A Novel About
Project Management”, “The Rational Unified Process”, while Sapient is reading “The Creative Priority : Driving
Innovative Business in the
Real World”, “The Art of Seeing : An
Interpretation of the Aesthetic
Encounter”, and “Dinner Dates : A Cookbook for
Couples Cooking Together.” While I respect iXL for reading a book like “True Professionalism,” the Sapient selection has a certain edginess that I like; not reading about innovation/creativity but reading to facilitate innovation/creativity.