2 Dec 2009

Just in time for the holidays

December 2, 2009 501A, assignments Comments Off

Some wearable tech:

Your own personal, portable, wearable computer.

And if that computer needed WiFi …

or a different kind of mouse …

•Or you could get me this and I’ll do it myself.

This isn’t out for the holidays, but I kind of want one. Mostly because my ears are really bad, and this seems kind of awesome.

I would totally use Grover Washington’s “Soulful Strut” as one of my themes.

So the language in Neil Gershenfeld’s Fab bothered me a little bit. Particularly this section on page 6:

“The overwhelming interest was from students with relatively little technical expertise was only the first surprise. The next was the reason why they wanted to take the class. Virtually no one was doing this for research. Instead, they were motivated by the desire to make things they’d always wanted, but that didn’t exist … their inspiration wasn’t professional; it was personal … Starting out with skills more stuited to arts and crafts than advanced engineering, they routinely and single-handedly managed to design and building complete functioning systems.”

And again on page seven: “The learning process was driven by the demand for, rather than the supply of, knowledge. Once students mastered a new capability … they had a near-evangelical interest in showing others how to use it. As students needed new skills for they projects they would learn them from their peers and then in turn pass them on.”

Well, ain’t that all so very, very surprising, Mr. Gershenfeld.

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4 Nov 2009

My iPhone loves me.

November 4, 2009 501A, responses Comments Off

I thought David Kelley’s discussion of user-centered design was pretty interesting, especially in light of the ideas we’ve already explored in “Welcome to the experience economy” by Pine and Gilmour. Isn’t that part of what’s being sold here, is the experience of the thing and not just the thing itself?

Look at the cubicle, for example, which aims to make work a more pleasant experience. (I remember when that was announced, by the way. I think I asked my boss if I could have a hammock, especially since a colleague already had a life-sized cutout of Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft in the office. No, I don’t know why. And he said no to the hammock.) And the underwater camera helps give you an experience you might not have been able to have by yourself. That’s a bit more explicitly experiential, but I think the larger point is that good design is part of what users enjoy about a product. No one likes crawling inside the code monkeys’ heads — that is, no one likes learning how to use something based on someone else’s idea of what should be obvious. It never is obvious.

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9 Sep 2009

I, for one, welcome our new cyborg overlords.

September 9, 2009 501A 3 Comments

The link between humans and technology is becoming ever-blurred, as technological advancements more closely mimic and record interaction, and humans depend on technology for their own records of self. Our links to and interaction with and through technology have shaped our actions as humans, leading to a new conception of what human means in a technological society.

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