Topics in ‘design’

The economic downturn is not going to kill Wikipedia.

Please. Will the talking heads just shut up? That dude who wrote that book slamming “amateurs,” which I will not name because like hell I’m gonna give him free press, has written something else equally stupid. This time it’s short, at least, and free, and therefore not nearly as offensive as the whole goddamn book. […]

Puritanism & engineerism: not new, but alive and well

Pissing me off is one of the best ways to convince me to write something. Take, for example, the following. The setup We humans have a tendency to want to see in black and white. That concept is nothing new, referred to any time there’s some kind of moral dilemma, or religious war, yadda yadda […]

Arrogance and humility

Two perspectives. Clay Shirky, writing on A Brief Message: Design is arrogance. The designer says, “I know what you want better than you. Here it is.” A designer offers judgment as superior; as Henry Ford said, “If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.” Design is humility.Users […]

Karl Duncker on Problem Solving

Karl Duncker was a brilliant psychological researcher in the early 20th century, and one of the important figures in Gestalt Theory movement. His seminal work was his book on “productive thought,” Zur Psychologie des produktiven Denkens”, as well as the English-language book *On problem-solving. Neither of which it is possible to get your hands on, […]

Creative Scrape: An Inspiration Utility

I hate feed readers. The idea for creativescrape was midwifed by that hate (a fiery, passionate hate it is). Like email, feed readers are almost exclusively uniform—and uniformly bad. They try to make everything in the world fit into the same mold, however cramped and unpleasant it may be. As developers we naturally find this […]

We can’t help humanizing anything and everything.

Having just torn through two “brain vacation” novels (Maxx Barry, if you must know), I’m back at it. I just can’t stay away from non-fiction long enough. I need a vacation. Anyway, I’ve begun reading The Substance of Style: How the Rise of Aesthetic Value Is Remaking Commerce, Culture, and Consciousness, which so far is […]

Software is political, just like everything else

I came on to keep a system alive and rewrote it from the ground up, learning OO along the way. The system solved an office politics problem; this was intentional. If you’re in your early 20s and you tell CEOs they fucked up their org chart, you’ll never get anywhere, but if you just build […]

Bill Gates finds Windows unusable.

Big surprise? Here’s an internal Microsoft email written by Bill Gates, which allegedly came to public view due to a lawsuit. From this Seattle PI blog post. It’s long, but definitely worth at least a skim: —- Original Message —- From: Bill Gates Sent: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 10:05 AM To: Jim Allchin Cc: Chris […]

Informational Hygiene

A couple weeks ago, at RailsConf, I tweeted that I was skipping Joel Spolsky’s keynote and why. Judging by the few responses I got, most people took this to be a joke. It’s not. I try very hard to watch what I put into my head. To a greater or lesser degree of success. All […]

Technique or skill?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the following: Writing headlines that get dugg vs Writing headlines that get remembered Mastery of video game controllers vs Mastery of video game / problem-solving concepts Convincing people to pay for your stuff vs Creating stuff people can’t live without Google ability vs Research ability Being able to […]

Hey, why not get a shiny
Freckle Time Tracking