Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Life Immersion

Some screenshots and info about the new version of Windows is out. Codenamed Longhorn, MS wants the UI to be about "life immersion," or, as I read it, about managing everything. This is not necessarily a bad thing; people need help managing their lives.

But do I want to be immersed in my computer OS? Not really. I want to be immersed in my work, what the computer helps me do.

It's hard to tell from these screenshots how much they have moved away from the desktop metaphor. It looks like very little, although they do have one of those funky "association trees" on one of the slides. Those are cool-looking, but, as I found out a few years ago when I tried to use The Brain, it gets old fast. It's actually harder to navigate around in than the old heirachical file structures. Whatever happened to Apple's pile cabinet idea?

All in all, Longhorn doesn't seem like the great leap forward in desktop (or, better, no desktop) metaphors I keep hoping to see from somebody.

Posted at 09:07 AM | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Thursday, October 23, 2003


Interesting column in The Guardian about how user-centered design has become dominated by usability and that this hinders innovation.

Great line from BBC's Lord Reith too: When asked whether he was going to give the people what they wanted, [Lord Reith] replied: "No. Something better than that."

Posted at 05:04 PM | comments (1) | trackback (1) | link


Monday, October 20, 2003


I suffer from serious earworms. Which also, apparently, means I'm seriously neurotic. And there's no cure in sight. My most frequent earworms: parts of pop songs, commercial jingles, esp. those from the late 70s, early 80s.

Posted at 06:24 PM | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Friday, October 17, 2003

Pong Still Sucks

Electronic Gaming Monthly sat a group of 10-12 year olds in front of some classic games like Pong. The ensuing conversation is hilarious.

Posted at 10:12 AM | comments (1) | trackback (0) | link


Tuesday, October 14, 2003


Wow, a compilation of BBS numbers from the last 20 years.

For those of you too young to recall, Bulletin Board Systems were the pre-web way that you would use your modem, dialing up these random numbers you would get somehow. Then you would post a message. One person could post at one time. And the text you recieved, well, at 1200 baud, it would come in one letter at a time.

I used to run one of these myself as a teenager from '85-87. Seeing all these old numbers and names sure brings that time back to me.

Posted at 09:18 AM | comments (2) | trackback (0) | link


Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Total Recall

The one take-away from Arnold Schwarzenegger's victory is this: people are starting to realize that the actual person they vote for doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that he has no political experience or that he was abusive to women. In the same way it doesn't matter that George W. Bush is dense and unskilled.

What does matter is

  1. You haven't killed anyone.
  2. You seem like a nice person.
  3. The people around you know what they are doing.

It's becoming more and more apparent that people like Carl Rove, although not elected by anyone, control the political life, which is to say (as Aristotle would), the ethical life of this country.

Hasta la vista, baby. Hasta la vista.

Posted at 05:14 PM | comments (2) | trackback (0) | link


Yeah, Sure

The shrill voices of the Bush administration grow more desperate every day. All these claims are boldfaced lies:

  • "finding proof Iraq never disarmed"
  • If the UN Security Council knew last winter what we know now, they would have backed the war
  • Saddam harboured ambitions to threaten the world with weapons of mass destruction
  • Saddam was planning another 9/11-style attack

Christ, give us a break already. You either had seriously faulty intelligence (unlikely), in which case serious heads should roll, or else you used a flimsy reason to take us to war and are now being called on it. Which do you think sounds more plausible?

Posted at 05:01 PM | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Monday, October 6, 2003


The amazing thing is not that two billion people will live in slums by 2030. The amazing thing is that one billion live in them now.

It is impossible sometimes not to think that we're destroying the world simply by being born. That diseases are nature's way of trying to thin us out, of fighting back.

It's also impossible not to feel lucky. Pretty much anyone reading this is probably not one of those one billion, nor ever was. And why weren't you born in a shack in Bangeladesh? No one knows. Fate, karma, luck, randomness.

As I think about this, I realize why I'm a Democrat: people don't get to choose the circumstances of their birth. The playing field is definately not level. Many people can overcome their circumstances, but many cannot. And I, for one, don't choose to punish them for it.

We have some horrible things in the US, but nothing like this. At least not yet. If we let the safety net of welfare, social security, and medicare be dismantled, piece by piece, it won't be long.

Posted at 03:39 PM | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Sunday, October 5, 2003

Newsable Beta Released

My friend Rob Adams just released a pet project: Newsable, an online RSS feed aggregator.

It's pretty handy, and I've already loaded up my account with the stuff I track. An amazing number of people still don't have RSS feeds, I find.

I still want an aggregator that is either 1) embedded in a browser as a toolbar a la Google's or 2) embedded in an email client. Maybe Rob's v.2.0?

Posted at 07:48 PM | comments (2) | trackback (0) | link


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