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The New York Times has published this interactive map portraying homicides around the city from 2003 through 2009. Being interactive, you can click on the locations and get some information detailing the crime. This map got me thinking about what this kind of medium provokes and how does it change our notion of journalism, news media, and the way we see ourselves and our city. I also thought about what the role of the interaction designer could be in this, digitally intensive, approach to journalism?

What do you think about?


My thoughts after the jump...

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Category: of course
Posted by: scott

Other Categories: of course
The matrix, the terminator, skynet, nano-bot swarms, predators, carnivore - Asimov was wrong - robots hurt people directly and indirectly, in the movies and in real life. But do we conform and 'welcome our new <something, something> overlords'?! Heck NO!

The intrepid designers at Maya are working on a top-secret project to protect our future from the 'copper-top' scenario that government officials developed into a strategic contingency by homeland security after Lawrence Fishburne gave us the redpill.

Maya design has taken on the no-bid contract to defend us from Judgement Day and built an amazing team around this highly secure project.

Find out the details after the jump...

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Category: of course
Posted by: scott

Other Categories: of course
I just been reading about Google's new Wave product on Mashable. Is this an opportunity to break the email kludge? That massive pile of fleeting thoughts, file-attachments, meeting confirmations, and meeting re-confirmations is the digital manifestation of my own anxiety. Some people saunter their cursors over to peek inside the good 'ole inbox for just a sec but its an involuntary reflex of drag and click for me (for so many of us). I feel a combination of fear and anticipation every time - not unlike that split-second before the roller-coaster tips over the edge.

My name is Scott and I am an email addict.

Once I click that innocuous looking postage stamp I cringe as I await the deluge of new messages (66% of which are spam). But when it doesn't come, when I don't receive that pavlovian signifier of novelty, I feel frustration - like the let-down that accompanies an anti-climactic coaster ride. And then I am disgusted with myself for letting my guard down, allowing myself to be distracted from productive single-tasking, to the null-comfort that *might* lie 'inside' the good 'ole inbox.

So like any overindulgent person (eater, shopper, worker), I feel a little sick. I have to push the inbox out of sight – but not before one click of the 'check mail' button. I think to myself, "What if I just missed something?! Maybe I will check again to be sure... and again to be really positive..." - "the click" is such a seductive doorknob. Who knows what lies just across that hyperlink-threshold?

I have an obsessive complex with email, but I am surely not alone. Even if it is an implausibly convoluted message from some bot who wants to sell me v!4gr4 or cxialixs, the immediate satisfaction derived from communication is very hard to ignore. Think about the last time you heard someone call "your" name on the street.

C'mon John, you know you look; expecting to see an old forgotten friend only to find yourself in that embarrassing half-turn that signifies your humanity and shows off that wonderful bipedal flexibility that makes humans the darling of the evolutionary world. - At least you were standing - stretching in fact - I just 'click'.

So fellow evolutionary darlings I hope for all our sakes that Google has invented some secret sauce (it's not just thousand island dressing?) for communication. The video below is compelling but I am not holding my breath. I hope above all hopes that we can escape email-chat-skype cycle, let's see what happens in September - and I certainly hope they figure out a way to integrate the 27,000 messages I already have stored.

Crackberry users - you are not alone, support groups are out there and I've heard that Google is working on a crackberry patch. But you have to want to get healthy. (Hint: Start by looking up when you walk)

Category: Pedagogy
Posted by: scott

Other Categories: Pedagogy
Experientia has an article about a game from Philips Design intended to help people build innovative ideas. I think that this is an important idea and a good move from Philips. Its not just a nice idea - its the key to our future, and maybe our salvation.

More after the jump...

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Category: Innovation
Posted by: scott

Other Categories: Innovation
In 2006 I worked with Invivia Inc. to redesign the desktop interface for a family. You can see the two projects by clicking clicking on 'work' and then looking at the 'calendar' and 'keeping touch' projects (grrr... flash w/out URL's!). The project ultimately became the HP Touchsmart Home Computer (the clients were, Microsoft and HP) and though it was significantly modified after we transferred our prototypes to them many of our contributions were strong enough to remain all the way through to implementation! For anyone who's worked on a 'vision' project before you know that its important to reach high and think broad, but you also learn to manage your expectations and consider the needs of others when there are a lot of stakeholders involved - something a good design manager really helps you to appreciate.

So it was really cool when I walked into a best buy® one day to see HP's final product and to actually play with it! Its rare to see your hard work manifest itself so clearly in a product, particularly one that breaks new ground and gets good reviews! As a designer, it is rare (and usually enough) just to find your hard work validated through successful use - especially when people innovate with it!

I was doing some research on classroom environments and landed on the website of the HopeTech School. The videos and links below show the best kind innovation - that helps people, shows a clear innovation lineage, and was never planned for. This is a kind of breakthrough innovation that is rare because it happens outside of the competitive market and thus without the market research and demographic focus that tends to be the thrust of many sales presentations.

More about the design process, videos documenting hopetech's work, and a description of the team after the jump...

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Category: Business
Posted by: scott

Other Categories: Business
Bruce Nussbaum just posted on the future of BusinessWeek which is up for sale... for 1$. He presents two business models. He concedes that there could be others. I think that he's right but I thought I would ponder his proposals a bit and consider how they would play out. (comments after the jump)

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