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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

One Year Old
Today marks the one-year anniversary of this blog. Seems like just yesterday, I was starting it. To date: 245 entries and 94 comments. About 550 distinct visitors a day. Thanks for reading everyone!

posted at 06:14 PM in meta | comments (3) | trackback (0) | link


Saturday, April 3, 2004

The Origin of Theses
The first-year grads had our kick-off (or, really, kick in the ass) meeting about our thesis papers and projects on Wednesday, during which the faculty, led by Director of the Graduate Program Bruce Hanington, urged us to get started with finding topics, project ideas, and faculty advisors, because by the end of the semester, we have to turn in proposals for both parts of our Master's thesis, signed by our faculty advisor(s). This set off a flurry of activity, as people began to scramble to find topics and advisors.

We also saw the general schedule for the deliverables for them next year. It's fairly daunting. The bulk of the paper is supposed to be written in the fall, and presented in early spring. The project should be ready for testing at the end of fall as well. We present the paper to the school in January and present the project next May.

The thesis paper is a 25-30 page essay on a rich design topic in an established area of design. The point of the thesis paper, we were told repeatedly, is not to create new knowledge, but rather to show mastery of a design subject. It's to comprehend, synthesize, and summarize the best thinking around a certain design topic.

If the paper is to show our mastery of the "thinking" part of design, the project is the creation of an object that shows our mastery of the "making and doing" parts, plus documentation of the design process and visual documentation (a poster) of the results.

As it turns out, over the last few weeks (months really), I've been mulling over my thesis paper and project. For a long time, I thought my paper was going to be on Reinventing Products and my project on a system to bookmark physical spaces. But ever since John Rheinfrank's talk on adaptive worlds, I've been very intrigued with the idea of adaptive tools: what they are, how you design them, and how you configure and manage them. Adaptive tools change their form and content based on their interactions with humans and the systems they "live" in. Agents are an example. There's a very limited set of these right now, but in the next decade or so, they are likely to grow exponentially. So it is a good area to explore.

Thus, I've gotten Shelley Evenson to be my thesis advisor for a paper and project about adaptive tools. My paper will be a taxonomy of digital adaptive tools, trying to categorize general types, define some characteristics for each, and begin to outline how they might work as part of an ecosystem. (Some of this, will, of course, be educated guesses since many of these tools are just being created.) Then my project will be an adaptive tool to (get this) manage and configure adaptive tools. How meta.

I'm choosing these theses topics for a few reasons. I think it will be challenging, but not overwhelming. I want to do something forward-thinking. I want to do an application for my thesis project. I'd like to maybe get a paper or two out of it for publication. I wouldn't mind getting a patent or two out of the project either. I think I'll learn a lot from Shelley. And the topic is interesting enough that I doubt I'll have trouble writing a 30 page paper on it.

I'm going to start keeping track of my thesis work on a separate site, devoted strictly to it: adaptivetoolbox.com.

posted at 04:59 PM in faculty, meta, thesis paper, thesis project | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Blogging and School
I was interviewed for a feature on elearningpost.com about the experience of doing this blog and how it has affected my graduate school experience.

posted at 07:13 AM in meta | comments (1) | trackback (0) | link


Sunday, February 22, 2004

New RSS Feed
Taking a cue from my pal Rob, I am now offering two flavors of RSS/XML feeds for your reading pleasure. If you want the excerpts (what you currently get), do nothing: your current feed will remain the same. If you want the full entries, switch your feed link to http://www.celticknot.net/blog/cmu/index2.rdf

posted at 08:42 PM in meta | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Friday, September 5, 2003


It look like Bloglet might be working again, so Bloglet subscribers, welcome back! Anyone else who tried to subscribe and get this blog via email, you should be able to do so now.

posted at 12:02 PM in meta | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Blog Changes

If you are reading this, it means that my site has moved to its new home on a new server, one that is friendly to Moveable Type. Moveable Type allows me to do a lot of things that Blogger didn't, like

  • categories
  • in-house search
  • recent entries
  • individual archives
  • and, for you rss fans, a stable, good XML feed, including a proper title.

I also made some aesthetic changes, switching my main font from arial to verdana for easier screen reading. This also made me widen the sidebars slightly to accomodate verdana's wider letterforms.

Anyone who has signed up to receive this blog via email: The service I use for that, Bloglet appears to have stopped working. If you'll send me your email, I'll see what I can do for you.

posted at 03:30 PM in meta | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Monday, June 9, 2003

RSS Feed Change

Voidstar abruptly discontinued their free service, so I've had to switch RSS feeds. Here's the new feed: http://feeds.blogstreet.com/e29.rss

posted at 08:54 PM in meta | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link


Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Why I'm Doing This Blog

I have a terrible memory. I have trouble remembering what I ate for breakfast, much less a design theory I learned about during a single class. Thus, this blog is mainly for me: to jar my memory, to remember what I know and (will have) been taught.

But this blog is also for you: the curious, those with an interest in design or design education. Perhaps you went to design school, or want to go. Perhaps you are wondering why I walked away from a lucrative job to go to school for two years. Why I dragged my family to Pittsburgh. What I'm reading. The projects I'm working on. What ideas I'm being exposed to. In short, what I'm studying.

Hopefully, this will give you some answers.

School starts June 30, 2003.

posted at 02:34 PM in meta | comments (0) | trackback (0) | link





All straight lines circle sometime. - The Weakerthans