Thursday, December 30, 2004

The Waiting's the Hardest Part  Waiting to hear about a dream job for me. Though I finally got my résumé and clips to the firm only on Tuesday, I'm chafing at the bit to know whether they'll interview me, much less hire me. It's one of those positions where you know you're the right person...but you have to be patient to let them do their HR voodoo.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Beautiful Sunset

Sunset near Westeraccum
Originally uploaded by Wattwurm.
I don't even know where Westeraccum is, but I think it's part of the Frisian Islands&emdash;that is, the northwest of Germany. Still, it's a beautiful photo.


Originally uploaded by mojohand.
The happy family...Karen, Sunny, and me.
A long day ends  Heiko can now get some rest. I know how tough this is, just as a manager...but in Heiko's case, he was also involved in L10N as well as I18N.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Sad but True  Job Hunting. Thanks to Heiko for the tip to this guy. Depressing but funny in a black comic way.
Flawed but Funny  Rules for Being a Republican.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Thursday, December 16, 2004

It Always Comes Down to Usability  More Is Sometimes Less touts the cheaper music players rivaling the iPod Mini. Yet with comments like

You can run your finger around the iPod's famous click wheel fast to jet down to the W's and then slowly to pinpoint "What a Wonderful World."
But the Rio's thumb wheel has no such variable speed; it's four songs per turn, period. Working through any list longer than about 12 songs is an excruciating exercise.

you see the problem. Another extract takes the Creative Zen Micro to task:

[T]he iPod's wheel has been replaced by a touch-sensitive vertical strip. In theory it ought to offer variable speed scrolling, but in practice it's a sticky, balky nightmare. You'll find a similar lack of polish when you want to use the Zen Micro's hard drive to transport computer files (a terrific feature of the iPod and all of its rivals) and discover that you must tell the software in advance how much space you'll need for them. How could you know that ahead of time?

Who thinks this dreck up? Oh...that's right...engineers and marketeers.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Coding Again  So for the past few days, I've been writing HTML & CSS. I've been creating a menu page for a tutorial I've yet to write as well. The thing is, though I'd tried to use Captivate's MenuBuilder, it looked & felt decidedly, well, PowerPointish. So I created a brushed metal background with Canvas, then I created a few minimal interface decorators as well.
I've been struggling with a four-column layout. Three columns, yeah, I can do that...but I need four columns. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Bad and Getting Worse  The soldier speaks his mind. At least he got some notoriety, but I'm not surprised that he didn't get a straight answer. Reminds me of something that happened in Germany in '80. My best buddy there Mark L'Heureux was at a battalion assembly in the post theater in Baumholder. A group of soldiers was on stage, as they were taking the oath of reenlistment. Right when the LTC paused before reading it, L'Heureux yelled out, "Don't do it! Don' it!"
Everyone broke up laughing. And L'Heureux was protected because he was so short...I think he had about two weeks left in the Army.

Friday, December 03, 2004

End of an Era?  IBM isn't compatible anymore, apparently. I remember when the phrase "IBM-compatible" was the sine qua non of business phrases in the '80s. My how times change.
D'ya Think They'd Vote for Shrub Now?  My Way Finance: "A surprisingly soft 112,000 new U.S. jobs were created in November, the Labor Department said on Friday, casting a shadow across an already downbeat holiday sales season with consumers apparently worried by scarce work and high oil prices."
It's just amazing how he gets away with it.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

When Jargon Becomes Mainstream  Perhaps it's interesting that David Pogue notices the use of the term wireframe in a kid's 3-D movie in New York. Perhaps it's interesting that the term is used both in animation and in UX work. But I suspect it's interesting because of the crossover.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Why France is the Best Place in the World  Because you don't get fat, you don't have to diet, you don't have to work out, and you eat whatever you want. Anyone need any user experience designers there?

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Selah A pause for the cause

Friday, November 12, 2004

Working in Wiesbaden  Attending the tekom conference, the German technical communication conference. I was invited to speak at the pre-conference called the European Information Development Conference. I spoke about personas and how they can help develop products. Of course, Bogo (whose site is still being developed) was there, as were Scott DeLoach and Rob Houser and Seth Maislin and so on and so forth.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Blue, So Blue  Not sure why. Could be the change of weather, as the days get noticeably shorter, the nights cooler, and the motorcycling less frequent. Could be the almost $2500 spent on taxes, and knowing that I'll have to pay penalties, too. Could be that Karen's going away while I go to drill...and not wanting to go to drill.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Is This Any Way to Run a Railroad?  Heiko rides the blinds...and it doesn't turn out so well. Reminds me of a 20-hour trip I took from Berlin to Warsaw in 1990. What was supposed to be a first-class cabin turned out not to be, and in fact there were no first-class car on the train.

Monday, September 20, 2004

It's Still ABB  Sean Aday has it right, when he argues that the duping of CBS shouldn't hide the fact that Bush lied, that Bush betrayed his fellow Air Guardsmen, that Bush showed how base his character really is.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Rockin' down the boulevard  If you haven't picked up Eliza Gilkyson's newest CD Land of Milk and Honey, do yourself a favor & get it now. My fav right now off the CD:

Hiway 9

Well, the white god said to the little man

we're gonna fulfill scripture in the holy land

between the Tigris and Euphrates, it's a lot like hell

go on and liberate my people and the o-i-l.

Got your big trucks rollin' down hiway 9

put on the armor, it's party time

gonna dance with the devil of our own design

get your big trucks rollin' down hiway 9.

So the little man gathered all his chicken-hawks in

and the neo-cons and his daddy's kin

With their own clear channel and a helluva spin

and a white man hidden in a black man's skin.

Big trucks rollin' down hiway 9

pulverize the public, it's payback time

who's tax dollar is it? your's and mine

keeps the big trucks rollin' down hiway 9.

Well we got caught sleepin at the sentry post

now we're standing toe to toe with what we feared the most

that old father and his son and the unheavenly host

We gotta do what we can and don't give up the ghost

Big trucks rollin' down hiway 9

food and water and an Internet line

run to the polls when it comes a time

cause the big trucks rollin' down hiway 9.

Another one bites the dust...  Well, another job possibility slips by. The hiring manager told the recruiter, "He was great, his work is outstanding, he's really overqualified, but we just decided to go with another candidate."

Hmmm...funny how that works. I wonder if it's because she simply didn't like me, or perhaps it's because I was honest and told her that I'm in the Army Reserve (more on that later). I think it's quite plausible that she didn't want to run the risk that I might be called up, but she didn't want to go on record as being so unpatriotic. The recruiter suggested it might be sticker shock as well—I was presented at $35 an hour instead of the $30 an hour they'd requested.

Sheesh. Sorry, but even at $35 an hour, I'm selling myself short...and giving a potential employer a bargain.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Here We Go Again  Ballot woes redux...and once again, it's the user losing out to technology.
Ansolabehere of the Voting Technology Project said studies have shown that while arrows create more confusion among voters, scanners can better process those that have been filled out correctly than ballots that have been bubbled in.
"Those two things cancel each other out," said Ansolabehere, a political science professor at MIT.

In other words, we made the ballot easier for the computer and harder for the user. Sound familiar?

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The Only Two Things That Mean Anything at All...  ...are loving you and leaving Tennessee. Now more than ever.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Lost  My job is the type of job people hate, not just professionally, but also because they know they HAVE to do least people who have a sense of duty & obligation. Today's a date I wish I could jump on the bike & just ride...but then again, of course, I didn't ride today. This stupid, unpredictable weather sure doesn't help.

I'm doing mind-numbing formatting trivial work. My worth, skill, and value will be measured not by how well people can use the documents, not by how appropriate the docs are to their tasks, but whether the version numbers are the same on all docs...whether they're lined up perfectly...

Thursday, June 24, 2004

On the Road for Big Bikes  Getting ready to go to the mountains for the annual Virginia Moto Guzzi rally. I went last year at this time, and it was my first long trip on the Jackal. I loved it. I rode up by myself...taking Route 60 west from Richmond, through Amherst, then down the Blue Ridge Parkway to 501 north.

This year, I'm meeting Matt and a friend at the Ashland Coffee and Tea right by the railroad tracks in, of course, Ashland. We're going to E&E to Route 522 south, then 6 west through Scottsville, and then either 29 south to 60 west or take 6 all the way up Afton Mountain (great road!) and down the Parkway. It depends, of course, on the weather—if t-storms are coming in, we'll hoof it down 29.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Hard to Write  Lately I've been working on many things...maybe a new job, maybe a painting, maybe music. So not much these days gets blogged.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

When Things Fly  Glad I didn't own a car in Hamburg.

Friday, June 04, 2004

So True  Sometimes help isn't helpful. Mike has a reat comment. Thanks to Jenny.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

You say theory, I say practice  Christina points out that two-thirds of the companies cited in "In Search of Excellence" have folded. Tom Peters' retort is "My principles have survived intact, it's just that the companies haven't."
Uh. Yeah. Like the golf pro's quote who said, "I did everything right, but the putt didn't drop." Good attitude for consultants to bring to their clients...not.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Ebb and Flow  While negotiating for the past several months for a possible consulting job in UXD, I've just today been confronted with two other possibilities—both involving user experience work, not tech writing. So perhaps I'll have an interview next week, perhaps I'll have several offers...or perhaps they'll all come to naught.
The thing is, it's maddening. Feast or famine.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

IDEO (mostly) Gets It  In a Business Week article. The Power Of Design (thanks to Beth for the link), IDEO touts its processless process. Though it's survived the dot-com bust of the beginning of this century, IDEO has shifted away from digital to physical interaction product design. Too, they're interested in changing processes, not just products.

Good on 'em. Still, they seem to fall into the trap of designing products for the people on the project team, not necessarily for the person who actually uses the product. "Often, IDEO will have top executives play the roles of their own customers. Execs from food and clothing companies shop for their own stuff in different retail stores and on the Web. Health-care managers get care in different hospitals. Wireless providers use their own -- and competing -- services." The problem with this approach is the same problem with living history reenacting: the persons doing the role-playing might not have the skills to abstract their experience. I've seen this sort of approach devolve into the "I wouldn't do it this way!" Too little learning can be a destructive thing.

Still, it's good to see user-centered design get mainstream press.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Back to the Mine  After a good week in Baltimore at the STC Conference, and after some motorcycling with Bogo, I'm now back at the office. Ugh.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Back from NOLA  Well, we made it back last night from the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. A lot of fun, even though we missed two days because of rain. But the music was fabulous. You can now even buy some shows thanks to the modern miracle of digitized music. I highly recommend Anders Osborne's set. What a smokin', funky slide guitarist. Who knew a Swede could rock like that?

Thursday, April 29, 2004

Second Lining  Hanging out at JazzFest in New Orleans. Actually, I haven't been to JazzFest yet—we arrived Saturday afternoon, it poured rain on Sunday, and of course the Fest doesn't open again till Thursday. But though it threatens rain today & tomorrow, we're psyched about going to the Fairgrounds in a few minutes. Alons, dancez!

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

Personal Ads of the Starlets  Heiko sent this: Supermodel personal ads. What a hoot[er]!

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Poof!  So Enetation just disappeared. Poof. Like that. No word, no warning, no note, just gone...and with it all the comments that people wrote to my posts (granted, not a huuuuuge amount, but still...). I'd probably get Movable Type going, if I had better access to & understanding of my ISP. At any rate, I'm going to try another hosting service. Bother.
Tool for Collecting Links  Maggy writes ravingly about Onfolio. Basically, it's a PC-only IE add-on that allows you to collect links and documents you might relate to a specific subject. I'm not sure how this approach differs from using Favorites wisely, but they seem to be honked into the UX world: See their scenarios. Interesting to see this sort of usually design work exposed to everyone.

Monday, April 19, 2004

A Fun Timewaster  As Caterina suggests:
  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open the book to page 23.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Great Trip  Christina's trip to Languedoc features some great photos. It's a great place to be, if you can get there. And the Corbieres and Minervois and other wines beat a Bordeaux any day in my book.

Sunday, February 08, 2004