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Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Last of Them
The last of my former classmates who were looking for jobs have found them. Ben is off to frog design as a Sr. Design Analyst and Rob has accepted a job at Macromedia as the usability specialist on Flash. I'm so jealous! Congrats, gents!

posted at 11:14 AM in alumni | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Alumni News
More recent graduates have gotten jobs. Haven has accepted a position at Catapult Thinking in Boston. Catherine is off to my old haunt, Ameritrade with Sean, Dave, Tom, Patrick, Mel, Larry, and the gang. Kate is headed to New York to work at Addison. Sarah, Mathilde, and Cary are off to Ebay to work with Micah. Chad's already hard at work at Google.

One sign of a good program, to my mind, is the jobs its graduates get, so it's great to see this. Kudos to all!

posted at 02:41 PM in alumni, classmates | comments (2) | trackback (0) | link


Thursday, May 27, 2004

Comings and Goings
As May totters towards its close, I thought I'd update you on what my classmates, past, present, and future are up to. The graduating class have been getting job offers, from places like Microsoft, Ebay, and Google, preparing to (or already have) moved to other cities. Two are sticking around to do PhD work, one in design, one in HCI. One of the CPID graduates is sticking around to get her Master's in Interaction Design next year. Some are still job hunting and finishing up thesis work.

In my class, one of us is working at Motorola this summer, another at Procter & Gamble, another at Agnew, Moyer, Smith. A few students, both current and graduating, are working on the Domestic Mail project for the US Post Office.

Meanwhile, we've met many of the incoming students via email and some of them will be here in a few weeks to start CDF, just like I did last year.

To paraphrase The Cars, summer turns me upside down. Summer, summer, summer. It's like a merry-go-round.

posted at 02:45 PM in alumni, classmates | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Saturday, May 15, 2004

Graduation Day 2004
Graduation day. All the second-year grad students who've finished (or nearly have) their classwork and thesis work got their diplomas today at a ceremony in the University Center.

I shall miss them. In some ways, I'm as attached to the new graduates as I am to my own class. Most of them are closer to me in age and experience than most of my class (who, it should be said, have their own charms). And since I deferred for a year, I've always thought of myself as the phantom member of their class, like Elijah at seder. But of course, I'm not.

And now, I am truly a second-year grad student.

posted at 08:09 PM in alumni, classmates, cmu | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Saturday, April 10, 2004

The Business of Design
Chris Pacione, VP of Interaction Design at Bodymedia, was our guest in Seminar this week. BodyMedia is a start-up company creating wearable health devices, created by a group of CMU alumni (including Chris himself), and in its brief history has had a tumultuous existence, nearly going out of business several times. A lot of what he spoke to us about was the practicalities of being a designer at a start-up. Things like great design can kill a product.

He advised us that, as pioneers in a new field, interaction designers need to be articulate and be able to articulate what it is we bring to the table, business-wise. We can't be afraid to speak: we need to say how we bring money in to the organization.

Chris also gave us his list of the essential skills for an interaction designer:

  • Good organizational skills. You have to be able to work within an organization and deal with hierarchy. You'll need to defend your designs with logic. You can't design emotionally. If you want to affect people's lives, you need to work for a business and that business needs to stay in business.
  • Exceptional typography. You need to know how to handle type very well to lay out information and do traditional information design.
  • Ability to ask the right questions. You need to to know what questions to ask--and when. Are you designing a new vase or are you designing something to hold flowers?
  • Business savvy. The best designers know how to deal with the most constraints, so it is important to know the business limitations, like the cost of goods sold. You should have your vision, but keep the work in mind.

posted at 05:59 PM in alumni, design 101, special guest stars | comments (1) | trackback (0) | link


Monday, February 2, 2004

Special K
Recent classmate now HCI alumni Kenneth Berger is leaving Da Burgh, headed towards the SF Bay Area and a usability job at Macromedia, working on Dreamweaver. It's a swank job at a prestigious company. I wish him well.

posted at 09:25 AM in alumni | comments (1) | trackback (0) | link


Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Social Animals

Just in case you thought all we grad students do was sit around and talk design, I should let you know that we often do it in a social setting with beverages of choice in hand. Every week I've been here, there's been at least one or two off-campus gatherings. Cinema in the Park is a Design School tradition. Bach, Beethoven, and Brunch was fun for the whole family. And tonight is Micah's goodbye bash before he heads off to eBay.

posted at 05:14 PM in alumni, classmates, extracurricular | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Taking the Plunge

I've been reading a lot of the blogs of my soon-to-be classmates and recent CMU alumni, and an entry from Kevin Fox reminded me how difficult it has been for me to return to graduate school. I deferred for a year to be sure of my decision and to get my life in enough order (sell my house, find a new place to live, find a school for my daughter, try to find my wife a job in Pittsburgh) to attend. And even now, less than three weeks from all our belongings being loaded onto a moving truck headed for Western PA, not everything is in place. I can only hope the boost CMU gives to my career is worth all this effort and expense. As moving day gets closer, my feet get colder...

posted at 08:13 PM in alumni, classmates, preparation | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link





All straight lines circle sometime. - The Weakerthans