Monthly Archives: October 2009

Simple, simple solutions

Way, way back in in 1989 (the year of the fall of the Berlin Wall, the other subway series, Tiannanmen, release of Mandela), I worked at a foundation that funded environmental, community development, and some cultural groups. While there, I heard a great story about a simple solution. It involved Lester Brown, head of Worldwatch. […]

Two city things today

Just started reading David Byrne’s Bicycle Diaries this morning. The book, which has all the charm of David Byrne, has a great story to it. Byrne started riding his bike as a way to stop dealing with cabs, get a little exercise, and as a superior way of going to clubs to hear music. Eventually, […]

Typical interaction

Luvit: a starfield on your ceiling (not stickers either)

I love this Instructable and wish I could do it for me. The author, responding to that clear-but-squishy-edged school of thought that various stimuli are good for infants, created a remote-controlled pattern of fiber optic lights in his soon-to-be-born baby’s ceiling. He can remotely control the overall brightness, the rate of twinkling, and the phases […]

I am not a brand

I don’t have key attributes. There isn’t a four pillar architecture that adds up to me. I don’t have primary or single emotional takeaways. I don’t have a single, drumbeat voice. People/me trying to be a brand. Waste of spirit. As the Mad Farmer says: As soon as the generals and the politicos can predict […]

New ex. of making behaviors fun

Nifty little exercise where a group of designers turn a train station staircase into a piano keyboard (a la the classic scene from Big) in order to get people to engage in the healthier behavior of taking the stairs rather than the escalator. THey conclude: “Fun can obviously change behavior for the better” and the […]

Reductionism/Simplisticism: “Different Versions of a Single Story”

“power is the ability not only to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person” – Chimamanda Adichie This might be a top 5 TED talk, for its power, clarity of concept, and speaker presence. Nigerian novelist (and Booker shortlister) Chimamanda Adichie solves the riddle of the […]

Minimalist UX, ID, IxD, Navigation

I used to give interaction design candidates tests as part of the interview process. I would put a site on my computer screen, brief them against imaginary client requests and biases and then give them a half hour to analyze and respond to the brief.(*) Sometimes, I would pick a site that was related to […]

The depreciation of ‘gadgets’

An ignite talk by Mark Argo about the increasing open-sourcing and personalization of gadgets begins with a fun account of the way in which the word gadget has evolved and been depreciated. According the usual on-line sources (OED,, Wikipedia), the origin of gadget is not entirely clear, but there was a late-19th early-20th century […]

Back to One Laptop, via the Windmills

Here’s a mini-version of the upcoming documentary about William Kamkwamba, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Watching it today, William’s comment about needing electricity to get to the internet (at 5:21) struck me: “Most people want internet technology, but they can’t use internet technology without electricity.” This reminds me of some of the smug criticisms […]