Monday, July 30, 2007

User Experience
So the makers of the movie "Ratatouille" get the need to go to users' environments to do research. Why can't the corporate world?

Friday, July 27, 2007

IM Helps Fight War
An interesting snippet on ZDnet about chat's use in wartime. Interesting that text messaging over a secure network was used...and I suppose is still being used. The other interesting thing is that the colonel mentions that users found other collaborative tools too wre "frankly too difficult for users to get their hands around."
In other words, poor usability degraded warfighting.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Riding on the Weekend
Motorcycle-wise, I rode some last weekend. I went up to Lake Anna and rode on a guided Civil War ride done by my friend Bob Annandale. However, the group (the North Anna Lake Riders Motorcycle Club) are all Harley-heads...and go sllllllllllllllllllllooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwww. Bob's leading, I'm following him, and we leave the rest in the dust...AND WE NEVER GET UP TO THE SPEED LIMIT! Crazy how anyone can ride a motorcycle so slow. Anyway, after lunch I had to meet Karen at her mom's house in Alexandria. We went to a party in Alexandria given by friends of mine from the Guzzi world. A nice BBQ--very pleasant.
The next morning we did yard work with Karen's mom, Vi. Tree cutting, hedge clipping, that sort of thing. I left around 11:00 and rode west to avoid traffic. Ended up spending time at the Manassas battlefield, seeing some of the 2nd Manassas sites I'd never visited. Then I rode to Warrenton where I had some lunch at a neat diner at the intersection of 211W and 15/29S. After that, I rode south on 15 to 522 to 20 east, picking up SR 601 and going along the northern side of Lake Anna toward home.
All in all, about 250 miles. Not a long weekend, but it was good to get out on the

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Great Ride
Had a great ride today in western North Carolina. Came to Clemmons (just west of Winston-Salem) yesterday to ride in the 2nd Christian Neuhauser Memorial Ride. He was the editor-in-chief of Road Runner Motorcycle magazine. Sadly, two years ago, his Ural motorcylce collided with a semi on I-40.
The semi won.
Out of bad things, though, sometimes good things come. So last year, Christian's wife and cofounder Christa hosted a memorial ride. Low key, just friends & fans going for a motorcycle ride.
Though I missed last year's ride, this year's was great. After breakfast of fruit, pastries, and coffee at the Village Inn, we left in three waves of riders--first north on 601, then west on some county roads to US 20. What a great road! Twisties and near-switchbacks taken at the limits of our bikes' abilities. We then went south on the Blue Ridge Parkway to Blowing Rock, NC, where we had catered BBQ chicken and pork.
After this great lunch, we crept down 321 in construction traffic until we turned left on 268--another great road. Twists and turns through a lush valley. Then dinner with new friends capped the event.
Great, great day.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Two Very Good Movies
Well, my tip for movies extends to these two: Once and Miss Potter. One a great music and unrequited love tale, the other a biopic with a delightful and poignant theme.
Once tells the tale of an Irish busker and a Czech single mom who meet on the street. She likes his music, and he likes her smile, style, playing, and lyrics. Call this the movie that Music and Lyrics wanted to be. Once deftly captures the tensions of halting romance as well as the difficulties of songwriting and playing live music.
Miss Potter, on the other hand, gently tells the tale of Beatrix Potter's initial forays into publishing children's books and a fictitious romance. Rene Zellweger does a marvelous job as the illustrator and writer, while Ewan MacGregor sets aside his Moto Guzzi to portray Potter's neophyte publisher and, ultimately, surprising love interest.
Two good movies. Now, Jesus Camp is a diffent, disturbing story altogether....

Monday, July 02, 2007

Death in the Family
Sadly, the brother of a close friend died suddenly Saturday. Rod had been traveling west with his nephew, taking a long-planned trip to Alaska. In Saskatchewan, Canada, Rod had difficulty breathing. His nephew got him to an ER, where doctors tried to stabilize him. They realized they needed to transport Rod to another facility; on the way, he passed away.
Our friend Greg is simply devastated. He was visiting us for the weekend—sadly, too, his wife Nancy was supposed to be here, but she had to go to PA to visit her father, who'd fallen and broken his hip last Wednesday. For Greg, it's more than the fact that Rod was his brother—Rod was his last sibling, and his death made Greg the last living direct relative. His parents had died several years ago, and his younger brother had died from cancer earlier as well.
So sad, so very sad.