Monday, September 29, 2008

The Flow of Innovation

Interesting post on how a lot of innovation now integrates usability:

Why The Flow of Innovation is Reversed

My favorite quote:
The folks that built enterprise software were vaguely aware that their systems had to be accessible to the humans that used them but they had a huge advantage. The people who used them did so as part of their job, they were trained to use them and fired if they could not figure them out.

Today, no one tells you to use Facebook. There are no employer sponsored training sessions on the use of The burden is on the designer of the system to meet a need, entertain, or inform their users. They also have to seduce those users, hiding complexity, revealing one layer at time, always enticing, never intimidating, until the user one day finds they are intimately familiar with power and the pleasures of the service.

The benefits are brilliant albeit somewhat obvious. Why spend time and money training and re-training every employee you'll ever have on how to use a software system when you can build one that a reasonably savvy person off the street can teach themselves? As the enterprise starts to wake-up to the new efficiencies the web has taught us, tedious "legacy" systems will be replaced with more usable versions and everyone will win.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

System Sounds

Neat little "song" made out of an assembly of Apple's system sounds.

Also a similar Windows Version

(via TUAW)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Hacking: iNetNow Style

I couldn't resist this one - reminded me of one of those long lost iNetNow questions.

Perhaps we should have started hiring hackers...

Article: Hacking Sarah Palin's Yahoo account

This article gives a first-hand account of how the hacking of Sarah Palin's Yahoo email account was performed.

An excerpt:

"after the password recovery was reenabled, it took seriously 45 mins on wikipedia and google to find the info, Birthday? 15 seconds on wikipedia, zip code? well she had always been from wasilla, and it only has 2 zip codes (thanks online postal service!)

the second was somewhat harder, the question was "where did you meet your spouse?" did some research, and apparently she had eloped with mister palin after college, if youll look on some of the screenshits [sic] that I took and other fellow anon have so graciously put on photobucket you will see the google search for "palin eloped" or some such in one of the tabs.

I found out later though more research that they met at high school, so I did variations of that, high, high school, eventually hit on "Wasilla high" I promptly changed the password to popcorn and took a cold shower..."

Straightforward stuff.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

6, er, 3 Degrees of Separation

Interesting article. Even more interesting typo in the headline...

The six degrees of seperation (sic) is now three
Six degrees of separation has fallen to three due to the impact of social networking and developments in technology, according to a study carried out by O2.

The term was coined by US psychologist Stanley Milgram following a 1967 experiment. The six degrees theory was upheld in a 2006 Microsoft study of instant messenger conversations. However, the O2 study reveals that within a shared ‘interest’ network (i.e. hobbies, sport, music, religion, sexuality etc), the average person is connected by just three degrees.

Rodrigues finds that we are usually part of three main networks based on family, friendship and work. Outside of these we are, on average, part of five main shared ‘interest’ networks based on a range of personal interests from hobbies, sport, music and the neighbourhood we live in, to religion, sexuality and politics. It is the growth of these shared interest networks and the influence of technology on them that has led to the reduction in the number of degrees of separation.

Email and mobile phones were the technologies that had the most significant impact in facilitating the reduction of degrees from six to three. Of those participating in the study that were asked to make contact with an unknown person, the majority (98 per cent) chose to use either the internet or their mobile phone, across all age groups. Texting was also seen as a universally important technology whilst social networking sites such as Facebook were highly rated by the youngest age bracket but usage declined drastically the older in age was asked.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

It's The Software, Not You

Great, classic David Pogue...

It’s the Software, Not You
It reminded me suddenly of the touchscreen kiosks at Delta. Now, I actually like Delta quite a lot, and think they’re doing a lot of things right lately. But the kiosks–oh, man.

You come up, you swipe your credit card. That alone ought to tell the kiosk who you are, and it should therefore know what flight you’re checking in for.

But no, it plays dumb. It asks you to key in your destination. So you type in “SAN” for San Francisco. And it asks you: San Francisco, San Diego, or San Juan? Oh, I don’t know–how about THE ONE YOU HAVE A RESERVATION ON!?

(Yes, yes, I know–you might have more than one reservation on Delta. But come on. Let’s say you have flights today at 3 pm, tomorrow at 5 pm, and next Friday at 8 pm. As you swipe your credit card, today, at 1:30 pm, does it really think you’re checking in for anything but the first one?)

But O.K. You tap San Francisco. And now–I kid you not–it wants to know what time of day the flight departs!

Are you kidding me? It doesn’t know the airline’s own flight time? Come on–it already knows what flight I’m on, so what’s the point of this exercise? For God’s sake, just check me in!

Whenever I encounter badly designed software like this, I stand there, slack-jawed, mind boggling, and wonder what on earth the designers were *thinking.*

Monday, September 01, 2008


Google is releasing their own browser tomorrow, called "Chrome." And the announcement initially leaked out as a 38 page comic book.

Pretty cool, and very exciting that this could signal the return of the browser wars...

Official announcement on the Google Blog.