a lot to come

Yesterday I bought an external 250 GB hard drive for $150 from a mass-market retail store. The device is only slightly larger than a pack of cards. Astonishing.

adding muscle to communications services

Typing text on a keyboard and manipulating a mouse are recent, conventional muscular routines for communication. Those routines have little relation to the muscular practices of communication that humans have used throughout their evolutionary history. Moreover, those routines are much different from muscular activities many people do for enjoyment, such as walking, playing catch, running, … Continue reading adding muscle to communications services

suffering from bad design

Imagine sitting inside a car on a blistering hot day, with the windows rolled up, without air conditioning, waiting 20 minutes for the car’s security system to reboot after you placed a call to roadside assistance. That’s a bad distribution of control logic. A human confronting exceptional circumstances is likely to be better able to … Continue reading suffering from bad design

more on distributing computing

Developing good social networking technology requires thinking about distributing computing between humans and computers. Way back in 2002, a human-computer interface designer discussed some problems with the then-trendy idea of context-aware computing: I suggest rather than trying to take humans out of the control loop, we keep them in the loop. Computational systems are good … Continue reading more on distributing computing

Not on speaker phone, on social mode!

Device design is a significant problem for a show-and-tell communicator. Designing a “phone” that integrates talking and showing would be a useful project for a design school class. Re-describing features is less costly than redesigning devices. Speaker phones are used for long, boring meetings. But a social mode is just what teenagers need. That’s right … Continue reading Not on speaker phone, on social mode!