March 30, 2003

Pattern Recognition over

I finished William Gibson's Pattern Recognition this morning. This was up there with the Neil Stephenson Snow Crash and Cryptnomicon, but a much shorter read. It was a very quick read that sucked me in for the ride. The book seemed to have been written in the last few months as it was just behind the pop meme that was current just a few short months ago, or so it seemed. A very fun book.

Shopshifting using a Rough Cloud of Information

Shopshifting, is a well coined term I picked up from Mike Lee and something I am doing more and more with my Hiptop. In the Model of Attraction I discuss the a "rough cloud of information" that the user has following them. The mobile device can allow the user to have access to their desired information and make well informed decisions. I often use my Amazon Wishlist to find books or media I am interested in to physically see it and verify my interest in it, or to enter a new found item in the wish list. I entered one book into my wishlist while at Powells as it was full price and a large book I did not want to carry back. I did buy it yesterday with my Barnes and Noble discount and take it home. I also use IMDB while in the video store or Blockbuster to find DVD names or other movies with actors or actresses I like.

The "rough cloud of information" does take thinking about as not all information is accessible from mobile devices, it is not easy to drop into mobile devices, nor is some of the information called what I think it should be. Users often add metadata or change the descriptors for the information. I do this often as I am not attracted to what some want to call items or information chunks.

More Portland and IA Summit photos

A few Portland and IA Summit photos (81) have been added to the photo gallery. It looks like I still need some tweaking of the BetterHTML tool to up the quality of the photos. I had been hoping to complete these earlier but errands and constant sleeping hindered progress.

March 29, 2003

Number 6

Just when you think everything may not be on the Web... Sonny Sixkiller's jersey pops up. Who? Sonny was was my first collegiate hero, he is a Native American who was the starting quarterback for the Washington Husky's in 1970. If I remember correctly my parents took me to my first college football game to see him play. He also had a role in The Longest Yard. Mush.

March 28, 2003

Portland Moving Public Art

I uploaded my quicktime movie of Portland moving public art(3.5MB Quicktime movie) that is located across the street from Powells Books. This was taken from my digital still camera, but I really wanted have a picture of this in action. Now I share.

Annotations for William Gibson's Pattern Recognition

Since I am in the midst of reading William Gibson's Pattern Recognition a great resource is 'PR'-otaku, which is an annotation of Pattern Recognition put together by Joe Clark. This is a brilliant addition to the book done by a fan. I had noticed many of the same items that are annotated, notably monomers in the first few pages, which has my radar on since then. [hat tip Adam]

Wayfinding and navigation in digital spaces

The IA Summit session on Wayfinding and navigation in digital spaces has the presentation slides posted on Rashmi's site (Rashmi was the panel moderator). The panelists were Mark Bernstein, Andrew Dillion, and Susan Campbell. (Oddly enough I was presenting the Model of Attraction at the same time in another session. The Model of Attraction provides a framework for thinking about information structure and development in a navigation metaphor environment.)

Peter has posted his notes on this panel (navigation and hypertext).

Powells Books Booty

Okay, here is the list of booty from Powells Books... Metarepresentations: a multidisciplinary prespective edited by Dan Sperber, a description of this Cog Sci overview book help understand it better. Kunstler's The City in Mind. Feynman's Six Easy Pieces, which I started this morning on the train and really enjoy. William Gibson's Pattern Recognition that I started reading on the plane and has really pulled me in. A string of tech books, MySQL Cookbook, Perl and XML, and Java and XML, and based on Peter's recommendation Managing Enterprise Content: A Unified Content Strategy. This and yesterday's mentioned Hofstadler book should about cover it. I really wish there were a Powells Books where I lived, but my wallet does not wish the same. It is great to be able to see the books and evaluate how helpful the book will actually be to you before buying.

I also added Information Architecture: An Emerging 21st Century Profession by Earl Morrogh while at the IA Summit. It seems to be a very good overview on first pass and it comes very highly recommended. I met Earl at the Summit and he is purely delightful and very much a part of the IA community.

Portland Photos begin

I am posting photos from Portland. I started with Design Within Reach and Portland Rose Garden. I had a little help from BetterHTMLExport for iPhoto on Mac OS X, which did a decent job. I may tweak it some to improve the quality of the pictures.

People photos and hopefully write-ups will come tomorrow. I was sucked into (yeah right) to the Georgetown NIT game tonight. Back to being productive tomorrow.

March 25, 2003

Portland Dreams

The trip to Portland, Oregon was wonderful. The city was not quite familiar at first and many things seemed to be about 90 degrees off. One night walking with Joy we came across a public square near the Bank of California building and it was very familiar as it was near (I believe) a building my dad worked in and I remembered the view. The problem was it all was facing the wrong direction.

Portland was rainy in that wonderful clean Oregon way. I spent nearly all of my time downtown. I had a great meal, with Joy, at Jake's Famous Crawfish on Thursday night. The bread at Jake's is an elastic sourdough with a perfect crust. I had the clam chowder, which seems to have a sweet smoked bacon and the hint of wine or sherry. Joy had cod and I had shark for our main course. Each of them was great.

Portland is a city that pays attention to the details. The street and public signage is very clear and easy to use. The city is filled with public art and ornamental iron works. Portland also has a great blend of older buildings which have kept their decorative elements and newer buildings designed with personality. The public transportation is some of the best in a U.S. city as it is easily accessible at street level. On the way out I took the street car to the airport and found it very easy and dropped me off right at the airport needing minimal walking to get inside (there was an issue with a quick door closing that could have been rather problematic, were it not for some friends).

I was very impressed with the PGE Park, a multi-purpose outdoor ballpark-stadium. I saw many Portland Maverick games (now the Beavers) in the 70s here as well as the Portland Timbers professional soccer team. The park has the true feel of a post-WWII ball park with retro signage and iron works. Much of the feel is it is an older park, but it feels new and clean at the same time. Portland is in contention to get a major league baseball team, as is Washington, DC. and from this trip and seeing the park, it has a true baseball feel to the area. The feel reminded me of Fenway Park in Boston, but much closer to the downtown. I know Portland is planning a new Portland ballpark, but PGE seems wonderful.

One of the best assets of Portland has to be Powell's Books. The book assets of the store are truely impressive. I wandered around on Thursday night for a while, but spent a couple hours and a few dollars (or so) there on Monday before leaving. I found great buys (they have used books next to the new books) on many books I had been looking for and picked up Douglas Hofstadter's Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought, which has been of particular interest, but I had not been able to find a copy to see if it was what I had hoped it would entail. My book purchases caused me to have an overage charge for my bag I checked on the airline, but it could have been the Tully's Coffee.

I have many photos of Portland to download and post over the next few days.

Quick overview of IA Summit

I am back from Portland, Oregon from the IA Summit. The Summit was fantastic, although I seem to have missed a few of sessions that were said to be fantastic. The two session that Rashmi lead, user reseach methods and a panel on Navigation and Wayfinding in Digital Spaces (also on the panel were Mark Bernstein and Andrew Dillon who had similar comments on the problems with the navigation metaphor) were said to be fantastic and I am upset I missed them. I will write up my notes and outlines by the end of the week on the wonderful sessions I did attend.

In all it was a great conference, and I deeply thank Christina Wodtke for her work on putting this conference together. There was a IA Summit blog put together by Adam Greenfield, which had some postings, but it seems connectivity problems (many of us lost our broadband access from our hotel rooms) hindered the contributions. There was a wonderful vibe at the conference, even with the rarely mentioned war going on (many admitted to watching news during downtime) and very large storm troopers in riot gear wandering about. Unfortunately I was a little cranky and lost in a blur of an airline cold for much of the conference, but I did get the opportunity to put faces and wonderful people with the names I am familiar with.

March 22, 2003

IA Summit Presentation of the Model of Attraction

The presenation of the Model of Attraction given at the IA Summit is now available. The first version available is PDF and an HTML version of the outline will be available also very soon. The version posted it shorter than I hoped as I was still cutting content out of the presentation minutes before I began presenting. Yet, the presentation should be somewhat coherent as it stands now.

37signals Takes a Whack at Google

37signals provides 37BetterGoogle. Yes, the folks at 37signals who focus on building more usable interfaces through simple design, have takn a whack at improving the Goolge interface. 37signals provides a brief discussion of their added alternate search elements that can help aid the user more easily find that which they were seeking.

In a sense the interface modification offers similar searches to the user. This falls directly in to the information foraging direction of providing the user other attraction points that may get the user closer to the exact information that desire. The Google search may be returning information that is very close to what they are seeking, but a minor tweak of the search can provide more direct results.

This seems to be much like offering the user breadcrumbs. As most of us are aware not all users come to a site through the top level page. In fact you will most likely find less than half of the users of a site come in through the front door. Tools like Google give the user a means to get to the information they desire more quickly and easily. But, when a user comes to your site through a search they may not have dropped into the exact information they are seeking. It is up the the site owners to provide access points to similar information or information that is up one level (as often an external search will dump a user into a detail page of a site because of how search tool's weigh various pieces of content). Breadcrumbs on a page will provide the user with the ability to get to a page that may link to other related detailed pages.

Now less competion in the tech marketplace

Wall Street Journal reporting Cisco is buying Linksys. In all I think this is a good idea as I like Cisco products and they care about their products. On the other hand the lack of competition in the technical sectors can not be good in the long run. We need options, much like when I got fed up with Windows and switched to Apple (actually Apple provided a better solution and I switched last January and found a much easier and reliable way to do computing, which caused me to question why we put up with inferior products from Microsoft). In the U.S. we were educated to believe competition was good and the evil empire to the East did not allow competition. Now the U.S. government seems complacent to allow, and even encourages (at the FCC) the removal of competion. The lack of competion was un-American. Where is the U.S. now if we are removing competition from the marketplace?

March 18, 2003

Unfortunately Hiptop does not think like Palm

Cory discusses the problem with the Danger Hiptop development plan, which is a controlled development society. I liked the sound of the Hiptop because it not only had much of the mobile functionality I was desiring, but also it had an open development environment. Well, that is not exactly the case. One of the fantastic things about Palm OS is it was made wide open and any schmo could scratch their own itch and create software that worked for them selves and then offer it to others. The Palm platform has a gazillion software apps that will work for anybody. This is too bad the Hiptop folks do not understand this. I really hope they will change their mind. I would happily dig back into Java to knock out some of the apps I need and add functionality to the Hiptop. I really like the Hiptop device, but I would love it if it had certain features and apps, which come from open development.

March 16, 2003

TiBook external monitor for Keynote

Today I decided I better figure out how one uses the external monitor funtionality on the TiBook in preparation for the presentation at the IA Summit 2003. This little endevor was super simple as I just plugged in my 19 inch Mitsubisi with trinitron flat screen and it started to come to life. A quick to system preferences to automatically grab the dimensions and drivers for the monitor and it was rolling. The external monitor is just an extension of the laptop's screen. The clarity on the large monitor is exceptional and there was no slowdown to the TiBook performance.

I ran Keynote with ease with the laptop screen showing the application and the external monitor showing the presentation. I can not figure how to scroll through the notes section while the presentation is running, that is one thing I really would like to sort out.

MySQL becoming a viable choice for corporations

Fortune's David Kirkpatrick discusses MySQL Database being very popular on the Web and it is free. This is not a suprise to many of us as I thought I was the last to use MySQL in 2000 for a professional project. I quickly found that the combination of MySQL with PHP on a Sun Solaris U10 could provide 70k to 90k page builds per hour. That was nearly static rates when compared to a Windows box. One of the nice things we found was MySQL was not only lightening fast, but very well suited for Web development and driving content dynamically. MySQL is the type of database the MS Access could have been. MySQL is what is behind this site and works wonderfully. The database does not currently have transactions, which is not needed for most of the work where it is used.

I was very happy to learn MySQL is profitable. It was very odd that somebody in the article brought up all the money that is being left on the table for MySQL. The CEO of MySQL gave a fitting responce in asking what the other companies were doing with the money they charged. I was pleased as punch that MySQL is at home on every Mac running OS X.

Social Networks with InFlow

Steven Johnson examines Vladis Krebs' InFlow software to find social networks. This is a visualization tool that draws the lines that make up the connections in our lives and interactions. More about InFlow and information about Krebs will help you under social networking from an automated perspective.

Graphviz provides similar (yet simpler) output.

March 14, 2003

Molly wants to discuss SXSW and flow of ideas

Molly asks what one gets from SXSW? I did not make it this year as I am somewhat burried with work, reviews for a great conference in June, and preparing for Portland. I get a great amout from SXSW Interactive infact part of why I am burried is because of a confluence at SXSW last year. The Model of Attraction solution to the failure of navigation as our metaphor of building interfaces to information on the Web. I have been whittling down over 5 pages of single spaced outline on MoA for the last 6 weeks trying to fit a solid understanding of it into 30 to 45 minutes.

Much of what can make SXSW great is the bright passionate people it draws in. The inspiration and spark from SXSW can last a year. I do agree there is a need for a higher level conference as a place to think and bounce ideas around to keep the growth horomones for design, research, and technology fresh. Some of that may come and I really want to be there. This is not to say that SXSW does not offer this, it does as follow on conversations after the panels. It would be great to have these discussions as small groups or as the panels.

Goodbye glasshaus and Wrox

Owen broke the news today that glasshaus books is gone. So is its parent company Wrox books and all the other imprints from this publisher. Matt has very kind words to say about glasshaus and I will concur that they were wonderful to review books for. I looked in to my work bag and found two of my five reference books that travel from home and work are glasshaus (Cascading Style Sheets: Separating Content from Presentation which is a great book to get to understand CSS1, CSS2, and the box model, and Constructing Accessible Web Sites a great reference book on accessibility). I have a few others that I get great use from also, including Usability: The Site Speaks for Itself as an overal inspiration book for redesigns and understanding the use of various pages.

A few years ago I was picking up Wrox books left and right. I have a few ASP, PHP, UML, and XML books (some that have migrated to boxes in the basement as I do not use or prefer that language at the moment. On the whole Wrox and glasshaus had great authors that really communicate well and create books that are very useful as resources and good reads.

Centrino poor WiFi functionality says Mosberg

WSJ's Walt Mossberg offers his insite on Pentium M and Centrino. The Centrino portion of the Intel solution seems to be a sham marketing ploy. If device makers use a real WiFi card with full capabilities the device makers can not use the Centrino or Pentium M monikers that are tied to all the hype.

The Web, information use, and the failure of the spacial metaphor

Francis Cairncross' book title Death of Distance is a wonderful understanding of the world around us in many way and should now apply to spacial relationships on the Web. The idea of spacial relationships on the Web have been a stretch of the truth for a long time. Initially the idea of a person going out and "navigating" other spaces helped those new to the prospect of what the Web held grasp the Web concept.

The problem with spacial explanations of the Web is they do not work very well. The truth is we go nowhere on the Web, information is brought to us. The Web user is ego-centric and rightfully so, as the world of information and commerce on the Web revolves around the user. The Web is truly omnipresent. Information is everywhere at once. The Web can even follow the user on mobile devices. The user does not go out and explore different places, the artifacts of the places come to the user's screen based on what is of interest to the user.

I was reading David Weinberger's book Small Pieces Loosely Joined and it was painful to watch him twist and turn to get the spacial metaphor to work. A whole chapter in the book is devoted to Space [on the Web] (the book as a whole is very enjoyable and worth the time to read). Weinberger first discusses how we use the Web, using surf, browse, and go to a site. This is wrapped with an analogy explaining the Web is like a library where the user does not have access to the stacks of books, but a librarian (or clerk) goes and retrieves the book, based on the request the user made, and brings it to the user. He also states:

... this is perhaps the most significant change the Web brings to the world of documents: the Web has created a weird amalgam of documents and buildings. With normal paper documents, we read them, file them, throw them out, or sent them to someone else. We do not go to them. We don't visit them. Web documents are different. They're places on the Web. We go to them as we might go to the Washington Monument or the old Endicott Building. They're there, we're here, and if we want to see them, we've got to travel.

.... the odd thing is that, of course, we're not really going any place, and we know it.

This is just painful to follow. We keep bringing up this bloodied and battered spacial metaphor trying to make it work to explain more than the very tiny bit it did explain well. The spacial metaphor has long overstayed its welcome and it now hinders us as we try to build the future information interfaces, which include mobile information access and internationalization of information.

Yes, I am saying mobile information use is hindered by a spacial metaphor. It is more than hindered it is crippled by it. When prepare information now location is largely irrelevant, but access, device, application, and information form and highly relevant. Before we prepared information on paper and sent that information to people (which can be done today) and we largely knew how that information was going to be used. Today, with digital information the ease of information reuse and the user's ego-centric view of the information world, we must think of the user and how the information will be used. The proximity of the information to the user through access, storage, or personalization is what is paramount. Proximity is the only spacial element that has significance. This equally applies to internationalization as language and culture are the barriers to the information not space. A Brazilian may be sitting on the T in Boston and want to read the most recent information on rollout of WiFi in Rio. The user should not need to find the Brazilian neighborhood in Boston to get the information in the proper language (Portuguese) with familiar cultural inflections. The user can attract that information form easily, which can be brought to the user if that information and access have been prepared and enabled. The user may have come across a resource for this information while looking for a client's most recent press release and the user forwarded the link to her mobile device to read later. Access to information can and should be based on the users actions and choices.

The user can (and has been able to for some time) create their own metadata and retrieval structures. Communication with live people or machines that can and will convey useful information at the user's desire is not only the reality of the wired world, but what mobile use is all about. The user can set their proximity to information they have come across and connectivity conduits are enablers of that information they have yet to discover.

Up to this point the spacial metaphor only provided us with the navigation, but flat out failed us with what the user could do once they found what they were seeking. The user can browse, search, receive in e-mail (based on list subscriptions), read an information feed that brings to the user new information from sites the user likes or from aggregators, or a variety of other means. Once the user comes across information they have an interest in they want to keep that information attracted to themselves, via storage, putting it on a page that is accessible to a mobile or stationary device, and/or have the information delivered at a time that will be more convenient (getting a text message on your phone with the address and time of a party at an art gallery). Proximity also plays a role in location based services, such as bringing up restaurant listing and reviews when the GPS in our mobile device indicates we are near these establishments. The user should be able to identify favorites or preferences that can help provide "best options".

The realization of the failure of the navigation metaphor to provide for much other than a nice name for the grouped set of links that provide browsing options pushed me to investigate the Model of Attraction (MoA). The MoA is not perfect, but does provide a framework to think about information use and reuse as users currently interact with it. The MoA offers a method for us to work through how we allow the user to easily reuse information they found. The devices are just conduits for the attraction interaction to take place. MoA offers a framework that is also easy to understand, but is a literal description, which helps us see building, structuring, and preparing information and applications for the future.

Navigation -- R.I.P.

March 12, 2003

The future of UCD with attraction

Another snippet from Tanya from SXSW, this time from "Future of UCD" panel. Tanya picked out "users will not use item alone, but in a federation of devices", which is at the heart of the Model of Attraction (being presented at The IA Summit on Saturday March 22, 2003 right after the keynote). The future, which we are seeing pieces of now, gives more control to the user as to what they will do with the information and how the user wants to or will access the information. The body of research for Internet development has focussed too much time and effort on navigation (browsing is more encompassing or a term and more literal). Users not only browser for information, but search. The user is no longer constrained to a desk or building when they try to attract information they need to themselves and this difference greatly changes how we must think about providing solutions. It is long past time to retire navigations as a limiting metaphor and start working with a model that more closely represents what is literally happening. The navigation metaphor fails us as we try to encompass the future of information access, information use, and information reuse that has already begun to take hold around us.

One benefit of the Model of Attraction is that is provides a framework that includes information reuse. Many times an information application is built upon the perception that the output of the information form will be its only form. I have seen time and time again large organizations that have bought applications or built applications that only consider the initial output of information. That information form may be in a Flash movie, Acrobat PDF, PowerPoint presentation, Word document, dynamic Web site, or static HTML page (to name just a few options). What information creators do not consider is how the information will be reused. A PDF is great for printing or just reading, but pretty much fails for extracting information easily or having external pointers direct others to one piece of micro-content (a scentance, paragraph, or other delineated section). Each method of presentation of information has its own benefits and detractors. The one with the most legs is (X)HTML as is can be used on nearly all devices (desktop PCs, mobile handhelds, etc.) with little or no modifications, it is not the best medium for printing information, but if built to standards it can be easily converted and stored as the user desires. XML has the same promise, but one needs to work with a standard schema so that the information is widely useable and reusable.

Keep in mind the future is now. Our future needs metal models to help us build information applications and services for univeral usage.

Boxes and Arrows Birthday

Happy Birthday Boxes and Arrows. It is Boxes and Arrows one year anniversary. It seems like so much longer, but to some of us it has been a little longer. There have been a flood of great articles that have shared knowledge and experiences to help us all get better at what we do. I am looking foreward to the next anniversaries and looking back too.

March 10, 2003

A glimpse of SXSW for those too far away

It seems Heath Row is offering some great notes from SXSW Interactive (not as good as being there, but...). Photomatt is also covering SXSW offering SXSW photos, including kickball, and The Future: User-Centered Design Goes Mainstream. [hat tip Cory and Matt]

March 9, 2003

US prepares for a private war

Fortune magazine's discussion of the private war show there is very little that the military actually does any more. Most of the technical assistance, repairs, food services, recruiting, and training is being done by private corporations, like Dyn Corp and Haliburton. Those that private civilians working for these companies may follow the troops into the battle field, but the civilians do not have any Geneva Convention protections, which means if they are captured they do not have the protections that military personnel does.

Peace

March 7, 2003

Favorite IA Books

The NY IA Salon offers their favorite books, as captured by Mike Lee. Most of my favorites were captured, but I would have to add John Cato's User-Centered Web Design, Jesse James Garrett's The Elements of User Experience, the Second edition of the Polar Bear, and possibly Accessing and Browsing Information and Communication (on of my current reads that I am in the midst of) upon my completion of the book I may add it to my permenant IA favorites list.

There are two books I hand out to novices in the IA realm The Elements of User Experience and Christina Wodtke's Information Architecture: Blueprints for the Web. These two are easy to jump into and have a very good idea where things will be goind and why. This greatly eases the communication and understanding

Mike Lee points to a great snippet concerning dumb people with too much energy, which is from Mike's favorite Make it Bigger.

Chimera now Camino offers update

My favorite browser name, Chimera became Camino and is now in version .7 (yes, pre-version 1). I did a download of the browser and wow, the sucker is fast. I was a Chimera/Camino fan before Safari came along. Camino now seems to have speed in the Safari ballpark, with tabs, and wonderful rendering as always. What I now with Camino would get is spell checking. I am somewhat torn between the two browsers, but the speed of both and the standards compliance of Camino really make it painful to use IE on a Mac.

IE is my dirty browser, in that I mean I have my Amazon cookies stored and other cookies stored. The other two browsers I try to keep clean so I can see what everybody else sees without my personalization set. Safari is where I keep my handful of bookmarks for works in progress and links I have not yet added to the links page. Camino is where I maintain my site. Regular Mozilla and Netscape are over burdened with "stuff" and much slower than Safari or Camino.

March 6, 2003

Not that kind of switch

I am very much a creature of patterns. My whole life I have walked into a dark room and there has been a light switch to the left or right of the doorway. Now I walk into our kitchen in the dark and flip the switch and the fan over the stove goes on. This does not happen occasionally, it happens every time I walk in the kitchen for the last six months. I quickly turn off the fan and head to the sink and turn on the light over it. Our guest room has its switch two or three feet from the doorway. These are the only true oddities left in our house.

March 5, 2003

Scott does a great redesign

Scott LePera I kickin' it with his site's redesign. The black text on grey is easy to read (much better than grey text on white) and the color palete is warm and friendly like Scott. The redesign is insanely fast loading (which is more than I can say of Macromedia's redesign). If you are in Austin say hi to Scott for me at SXSW.

March 3, 2003

Another wonderful Mister Rogers story

Another wonderful Mister Rogers tribute story. The days since Mister Rogers passed away have brought to light the wonder and kindness one man gave. He was an incredible gift to all of us and as the stories of his life kept coming everybody stated how warm and caring he was all the time. He gave levity in every situation and show how one can live a great life. As the story suggests he may just be a true saint. I have talked with folks over the years that were frightened by him as they could not find a dark side. The friends I knew who met him and saw him in everyday situations said he was kinder and nicer than on television. I only wish I could start to live to be half of what Mister Rogers was. [hat tip Rebecca]

Veen crankin' with OS X

Jeffrey Veen offers his views on Web development on Mac OS X. He discusses using PHP, MySQL, Perl 5.8, CVS, and BBEdit, which in my opinion are excellent choices and some of the reasons I moved over. Jeffrey offers some great links also... (the version control with Mac OS X is a new favorite as is the blog Forwarding Address: OS X

DC's Ten Penh

Joy and I went to Ten Penh for dinner in DC to celebrate her birthday. TP is an Asian fusion restaurant with good sized portions and very good food. I got pork and shrimp lumpia with three dipping sauces, which has very good. My entre was Sea Scollops over succotash with Chinese sausage. Joy had duck in wraps with plum sauce and red curry shrimp for her main course. We also shared fluffy wasabi mashed potatoes. It was a good meal and we realized we rarely eat downtown and think we may do it a little more.

March 2, 2003

It is Giants time again

I realized it was time for baseball again as my cell phone received the results from the San Fransicso Giants and the Cubs first Spring Training game. The message came while I was in a meeting and the phone started vibrating on the desk. I guess the phone is just preparing its SF Giants dance. I used to call the summer &nacho season& as I only knew of runny yellow cheese nachos piled high with jalepeneo peppers during baseball season.

Take me out to the ballgame... (San Francisco preferably)

Me with Japanese characters and others

I have wild and adventurous dreams, but my subconscious did not consider seeing my name on a page of Japanese characters. I have had The Vapor's Turning Japanese running through my head since I saw this.

March 1, 2003

Konfabulator is fabu baby

I finally downloaded Konfabulator and I am having fun. I am impressed with the widgets (small single purpose applications that elegantly sit on the desktop of a Mac). Go check it out, you may find that small application you are looking for, or you may create it with XML and JavaScript (what all the widgets are made with).

Mobile use of Amazon Wish List and other adventures with mobile gadgets

Tonight was a mobile/portable device adventure. Joy and I had a wonderful dinner at Thyme Station in Bethesda. A Japanese couple sat down next to us and we could see that they were having trouble with the menu. The guy has a tiny Sony device, about the size of an Altoids tin, but a third of the height and finished like an Apple TiBook. He was using the translator and not finding what he was looking for and Joy nudged me and asked if I thought if we should help. Joy asked the couple if they needed a little help the couple giggled and then nodded. The seemed to be having the most problem with the sirloin kabob and did not know what it was. We explained it was beef cooked on a stick. They returned to tapping in word and getting translations on their device and passing it back and forth. They also seemed to have some entertainment on the device. I really am kicking myself for not getting a picture and talking with them a little more.

Joy and I tried to figure if we could catch a movie and checked the movies and listings from the Hiptop. The couple next to us seemed equally interested. We were had just missed the start times for the movies and were going to have to wait for the next round at 10 or so.

We settled on going to Barnes and Noble instead. I found a book I had read about in some RSS feed this past week and really liked it. I was not ready to spring for the book at full price, so I pulled up Amazon and checked the price on the book (Stop Stealing Sheep and Find Out how Type Works). I found the book and a 30 percent discount. But the best part is I dropped it in my Amazon Wish List, which is where I keep track of such things. I then check other items in my Wish List to see if they were in stock at Barnes and Noble. I could not find the two books I really have been wanting and could be willing to pay full price, which means I may buy off of Amazon with a couple other items that will bring me enjoyment.

My Amazon Wish List is one information store that I like having at my side. This really highlights the element of the Model of Attraction that focusses on the user being able to have information be attracted to themselves and have this rough cloud of information follow the user for use when needed. The user works to find information they are attracted to, by searching or reading articles or blogs that the user has an affinity for. Once the information is found most metaphors and models stop working (navigation, information foraging, etc.) but the MoA keeps on working. If the user has a strong enough attraction she may want a method to store the information for further access. How and where become the next questions. The next step is accessing from storage (or your personal information cloud that follows the user). Mobile devices are tools that allow for this attraction to continue, but how do we ease this use? Personalization adds another layer to the user setting attraction (like Amazon's wish list).

Depressed about not going to SXSW

I am a very bummed as I will not be going to SXSW Interactive this year. Things were not working out as there were too many things here going on and I will be away speaking at the ASIS IA Summit and attending the IA Leadership Summit

I am upset about SXSW as it is a wonderful learning experience and reassuring experience. SXSW has always provided the confirmation that I am on the right track as well as show where I can improve. SXSW provides a great social environment to not only learn in the sessions, but hang out with folks like yourself. The panels, which have just recently been fully fleshed out, seem to be some of the best in years (had this been out even a week ago I would have said screw it and gone).

I will greatly miss my frieds that I usually only see at SXSW and learn immense amounts.

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