August in the Washington, DC area is commonly hot and humid (you know, temperatures in the 90s Fahrenheit and 120 percent humidity), the sort of weather that takes your breath away as you step outside. When I moved to the DC area in 1993 for grad school I loathed August with the oppressive heat and afternoon thunderstorms that become mini monsoons.
Some 25 years later, I’ve come to peace with August. I oddly enjoy the clinging heat. August drives nearly everyone who lives in the DC area out. They flee to the shore, see relatives in slightly cooler climes, travel to far off lands, or become stationary moving only to their front porch and not much farther. This change in population density and movement means treks in morning commutes can become magical as you make the 6.3 mile drive in 20 minutes by making every traffic light and for some stretches you are the only vehicle you see moving on the street.
Sure there are tourists who flock to tourist destinations and dawdle looking at the sights or stop with no warning to look at a map. Or, they just stand and have a conversation that consumes the full width of a sidewalk trying to figure out where Billy went (or some other child they didn’t pay attention to that has wandered off) or what type of food or museum will be next, which nobody agrees with. These tourist’s stalemate conversations are mini examples of what happens in Congress, but since Congress is out of session these micro moments are street-side examples of in-action in action of today’s Congress while Congress members are back in their districts, which these people left so to see Washington, DC and their Congress member in in-action.
What is most magical about August is running errands at your pace and leisurely shopping trips. The packed Little Red Hen on Saturday morning has you as the only person in line (okay, there is no line and you can just walk up to the counter and order, but not mentioning the word “line” could leave people confused, as it apparently is part of the “experience”). You can quickly grab a leisurely coffee and walk a few doors up to Politics & Prose to look around as the only customer walking around looking at the what is on offer.
The drive home is at a leisurely pace (this needs to be self-enforced as the usual traffic isn’t there, which usually helps pace you at a non-speed camera inducing speed) is enjoyable. There aren’t people driving with their head in the backseat trying to calm children, or trying to incite them to over achieve at their soccer practice they are running late to.
The August abandonment of the DC burbs means not going away is sublimely enjoyable. But, keep in mind it is only three to four weeks of this tranquility before the 20 minute sauntering commute in the morning returns to its usual hour of halting frustration. The quiet idyllic wandering in book store aisles will return to bumping and constantly being in somebody’s way or someone in yours as you peruse the shelves as if shopping inside a pinball machine.
Ah, August, you have become far too short over the years.
Marked as :: DC :: Personal :: in Weblog
[perma link for: Ah, August ]
I bought a Mac laptop for myself in 2001 and largely have been using the same version of the same set-up since then across 5 or 6 Macs since them (with one or two full nuke and repaves in there, but with those I pulled in my the applications and modification / customizations from preferences). In the past few months, I’ve been using a brand new Mac that is supplied by work / project and not only does it lack my outboard brain, but it doesn’t work like my heavily modified Mac.
The one thing that has been driving me crazy is I haven’t been able to sort out how I have a three finger drag on my personal MacBook Pro so I can have it on my one for work. It is frustrating as I go to click on an object to then drag it with three fingers to where I want it, or I go to the top bar of an app and place the cursor over it and use three fingers to drag the window to where I want. I do similar things to resize windows. I have looked in Better Touch Tool, thinking I had set it up there. I looked in Preference Settings for the touchpad, but no. Today I opened a lot of customization apps I have on my personal Mac and nothing.
I was looking in the Preference Settings in the Accessibility settings and found what I was looking for, the three finger drag. I would have never thought it would be in Accessibility. Given that my current personal MBP has a touchpad that the left half needs a lot of force to click on something and do usual tasks it does make sense that having a light touch manner of dragging things would be in Accessibility. Now I know how to fix one more thing on a work Mac to get it to my own personal Mac set-up so it gets closer to being an extension of me and less a tool I have to think about how to interact with rather than thinking about the work I am doing.
Marked as :: Accessibility :: Apple/Mac :: Personal :: Productivity :: User Experience :: in Weblog
[perma link for: Mac Touchpad Dragging ]
Back in the days when I had time to hangout with friends for drinks, many places had a “back bar” that was more quiet and private.
I haven’t been in the habit of posting here as much as I used to, but I still am putting things into Pinboard and somethings I flag with “linkfodder”, which is my relatively unique tag to pull out favorites. I use the API from Pinboard to pull the linkfodder tagged items into the sidebar here. Occasionally I annotate them and that is brought here as well. This sidebar mini blog feels sort of like the back bar, which is a little more quiet and calm and you can see some things of interest to me (if that is of interest to you) and track them down.
Marked as :: Blogfodder :: Folksonomy :: Information Aggregation :: Social Software :: Writing :: in Weblog
[perma link for: The Sidebar is the New Back Bar ]
It has been a while since I’ve written here, or over at Personal InfoCloud. I have an even larger stack of things in my writing queue and it is getting to the point that I am aching to write.
I have a few things I really want to and need to get out. One is to take the Shift Happened series I started and made it through 4 of 16 I have outlined and I am finding the shifts myself and others saw and were living and advising through, happened to far more and they are really lost and acting as if these shifts never happened. Still.
Complexity / Social Lenses
The other thing is my Complexity / Social Lenses are now numbering in the 70s and I need to write to frame the core 12 or so I often use as half-day or full-day workshops to help others see through the fog of complexity with social and other complex environments they work and live within. I have been hoping to get these into a book, but the timing either wasn’t right or the environment (publishing company) shifted.
The last of these is around information depth, which I started relabelling Information Strata, that I have been including in client work and as one of the lenses related to social objects / socially mediated objects (depending if it was Jyri Engstrom or Karin Knor Cetina as one’s entry point). Information strata gets back to the core point and realization in the early 2000s that having a discussion with the subject in clear sight drastically improves the depth of the conversation, reduces errors from lack of clarity or misunderstanding, and improve conversational (information sharing) efficiency. Somehow today that basic concept is really lost and people accept the poor communication patterns as a given or don’t think to investigate a better way.
Over the last 10 years or so I started using a point system around the layers inhibiting a person from having a clear view of what is being discussed. This concept of having a clear understanding and isn’t new, it was something I learned as a communication major in many dog years ago as an undergrad. I need to do a decent write-up of this to have something to point to when helping others. I’m also realizing Info Strata leads right back to the “[Come to Me Web]” and related matters where the importance of bringing things related near has prime importance when building a service and system for someone to live and work with.
Now what I need is time and stability at the same time to get these going. Oh, and to get the ever bumped side project moving forward again.
Marked as :: Communications :: Information Application Development :: Information Architecture :: Information Design :: Interaction Design :: Social Software :: User Experience :: Writing :: in Weblog
[perma link for: The Writing Ache ]
In the September 2017 Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone X announcement Keynote they demonstrated the Apple ARKit driven face emoji, Amimoji. This is similar to other platform’s and service’s offerings.
But, there is something I think a little different about what Apple is doing. One piece is the face identification system that Apple has in the iPhone X and the 30,000 dots it uses on people faces to ascertain an identity, which makes it difficult for someone to use a photo or mask of a person to gain access. The other piece is people interacting with their screens and the live face scans of muscles and facial features moving.
It is this second piece, the live interaction where I have a strong hunch Apple is seeding things for the future. People are learning to interact with a facial scan interface for fun and learning the capabilities so to be comfortable with it. This seems very similar to Microsoft’s using the Solitaire game in early Windows to provide a fun interaction as a means to train people how to use a mouse and get comfortable with it.
Look out a few years and start to see not Animoji, but people talking to Siri to bring up an app on their wrist, car heads-up display, or (rather banal) iPhone and use facial interactions to swipe, scroll, sort, etc. feature options and light contextual information options for simple / calm interfaces. A raise of the eyebrow could scroll up options, a side smile left moves to preferred options and side smile right moves to next screen.
I know nothing other than a hunch, but playing around with this idea for years, I’m seeing the potential could be around the corner. Finally. Maybe. Come on Apple, lets take that step.
Marked as :: Apple/Mac :: HCI :: Interaction Design :: Mobile :: Navigation :: User Experience :: in Weblog
[perma link for: Animoji Trains Future Interaction Interface ]
If you are still following along here it is likely in hopes of something related to tagging or folksonomy (I have a stack of folksonomy and tagging things piled up, but not written-up) so today you win.
This week’s Mac Power Users is an interview on tagging with Brett Terpstra. This episode digs deep into what is coming in iOS and current state of tagging on Macs. While things are mostly tagging standards based, the implementations are still a bit on the manual and geek scripting side of things.
I am deeply excited about iOS getting tags that come over from Mac, which is why I have been tagging things for the past few years. I have been playing the long game with MacOS tagging in hopes that it would also sync to iOS. Years back I was really certain (the kind of certain driven by hope, more than knowing) Mac was going to provide a tag only option, which was going to be really good, as files have multiple contexts and tags can adapt for that reality (which is far closer to life than nested folders).
While we never got the world I swore was going to be the next logical step, or at least as an option, we do have something interesting now. It will be more capable and usable in the next few months with the iOS 11 and the next MacOS update, High Sierra. If this is your thing, give Brett’s sit down with MacSparky and Katie a go and you are more than likely going to find one or more tip to up your game, if not get much more out of it.
Marked as :: Apple/Mac :: Folksonomy :: Mobile :: OS :: PIM / PKM :: Personal :: Workflow :: in Weblog
[perma link for: Mac and iOS Tagging with Brett Terpstra ]
Today listening to the latest Track Changes podcast, Maris Kreizman Wants to Mail You Books there was a statement by Paul Ford of Postlight and many other things at Ftrain commented about how he likes physical book, particularly on his bookshelves as looking at their spines he will “think new thoughts because of the juxtapositioning of the spines”. This was brought up because it is one of the things that ebooks don’t offer.
This remixing and thinking new thoughts by looking at one’s shelves and the book on them is something I have a few conversations about over the last 5 to 10 years of reading digital books and paper books. Each physical book, not only has its own content with it shared and intermingles with one’s own preexisting knowing (or even can supplant prior understanding), but they accrete context interwoven with when and where they were read. They can also accrete understandings and framings that were concurrent thoughts during that reading. A book can really sink in for me when I discuss it with others, to a lesser degree it takes hold when I write about it. So, when I think of a book through the spine I see on the shelf I can often see the people I interacted with around the time I was reading it or discussing it with others.
This visceral sense springs to life when looking at my shelves (less so with the stack not currently shelved for various reasons). But, also the intermixing of the spines and their concurrent and accreted thoughts and understanding that come along with them.
Bookshelves and physical books are a sensorial wonder that ebooks don’t bring along. I can’t feel where in the book I read something - how much of the book’s pages are stacked on the right side, how many on the left, what side of the book a thought or passage may have been on, or where I was when I read it. These ancillary senses are not permitted when I read something as an ebook.
I do read ebooks and I find the ability to have a stack of books in my pocket or thin bookbag something nice. I also deeply appreciate the ability to search in an ebook. The ability to highlight and pull that highlight out easily (this is increasingly difficult with Findings cutting this off and Readmill shutting down). Having digital notes typed out easily in the pages of an ebook and having relatively easy retrieval is also nice (when there is easy access, see above).
What ebooks don’t provide is that sensorial interaction and deeper recall. The other ability that is missing is the ease of flipping through a book to find what is needed and flipping through the pages prior to what is found to be helpful to get context easily. The flipping through prior pages to get the beginning of a framing of an idea or concept is really nice. It echoes the gutting a book I learned in Oxford and is a practice that has stuck with me. I’ve run into a few people who have the same gutting practice and they also haven’t found a way to work ebooks in the same manner.
My preference? Both. They each have their benefit. Paper books have their added sensory enjoyment. But, ebooks have that ease of portability and search, as well as annotation (when it has some permanence).
Marked as :: Books :: Personal :: Podcast :: in Weblog
[perma link for: Spines On the Bookshelf ]
I stumbled across Diffen the other day thanks to Macdrifter’s Diffen mention. I have found it a great service for comparing things. But keep thinking of all the things I really want it to compare, but since it has two fields that allow you to compare any two things you can do it. I may keep the Diffen compares Holland vs Netherlands close at hand as it is a pet peeve and explaining it isn’t quite as easy as pointing to the link (particularly when people say, “well everybody calls it Holland”, the answer is everybody doesn’t and understanding what is correct is easy).
Marked as :: Information Aggregation :: Web :: Web Services :: in Weblog
[perma link for: Diffen for Comparisons ]
It has been a while since I’ve posted here. I’m thinking I may go back to a daily update for a stretch to keep the blogging muscle limber and trained.
Personal InfoCloud Backlog too
Over on other blog, [http://www.personalinfocloud.com](Personal InfoCloud) I have had a few more recent posts, but I have a very long backlog of content for that space as well. I need to rewrite the intro to the latest post there, [http://www.personalinfocloud.com/blog/2016/6/20/team-roles-needed-for-social-software-projects](Team Roles Needed for Social Software Projects).
I also have a series there called [http://www.personalinfocloud.com/?category=Shift+Happened](Shift Happened) that I have at least 12 most posts that need to get written (edited, or more likely rewritten). The next two in the Shift Happened series are related to UX in enterprise software and services and the subject of Adaption. Both of these subjects could likely have more than one post each. The UX in enterprise needs a grounding / framing piece as many still think of UX as visual design and not things being designed for use (nor all the various roles and domains that make up successful UX design). The Adaption pieces need the framing of complexity and complex adaptive systems to get set as a footing, but also needs to frame how adaption works and enables being comfortable in an ever changing environment that we live in today. As well a focus on Adaptive Road Maps is needed as how one plans in an ever shifting and complex environment is needed when today’s road maps for the next 2 to 5 years are shot to pieces after a quarter or two. Having and maintaining a long focus on where a company or product is headed is really helpful, particularly when needing to understand foundation priorities needed for a long haul in a world were agile practices drive the day-to-day, but those agile practices are incredibly nearsighted and often discourage the long view (I’ve had a lot of work related discussions about this in the last 6 months or so as it is a common deep pain point for many).
A common question is about health after the eColi issue in 2014 to early 2015. My health seems to be good. Getting through last winter’s holiday season had me on edge as I was partially expecting to fall ill again. Thankfully, I stayed healthy.
Marked as :: Blogfodder :: Design :: Enterprise :: Experience Design :: Personal :: User Experience :: in Weblog
[perma link for: Breaking Radio Silence Again ]
I just stumbled into MIT Media Lab’s PubPub service that is an open platform for writing new research journals. It has some nice collaborative features, versioning, embraces markdown at its core, and inline discussions.
One of the pieces I really want to explore is how its social dimensions work. My my take on different things I write and have interest in have different social circles that I want to ping and get feedback from. But, there are subjects and groups / communities that I really would like to participate in as well. This is a more complicated and complex area that really needs work and focus. Google+ tried this but deeply flubbed it as their circles are based on individual’s perspectives and not socially constructed realities (knowing the boundaries of who is involved in a circle and having really solid social interaction design around that is a basic requirement, something nobody at Google seemed to consider nor have basic foundations in social sciences to understand this basic need). For PubPub, getting these constructs right would be really helpful and make it a really powerful service and platform.
Other than PubPub
PubPub is fairly close to what I was hoping Poetica would become and Draft app. I’ve been thinking about this for The Lenses and its subset, Social Lenses writings. Also just being able to write blogs and get knowledgeable sanity checks on them from others before posting. This is something I was trying to do with Draft app and had some success with people who are familiar with markdown (which is most people I interact with), but alerting people or subsets of groups that there is something I would really like early looks at and feedback is where it falls a bit short. It also seems like Nate Kontny is now more focussed on Highrise (light CRM service that he took over and now is CEO) than Draft. Also with the purchase of Poetica and its imminent shuttering, I’m looking at other options.
Some of what I have interest in can be found in Medium, but I’d rather just syndicate there, given their use policy. Medium is a really nice content creation platform, with some okay drafting with feedback capabilities, but I’m looking for a bit more. I also really prefer Markdown approach these days as it keeps things really light and I can edit and work on writing from most any platform I have with me or at my access, even if I’m lacking a network connection (which is something that is really helpful for focus for me actually).
One PubPub Wish
The one thing I wish PubPub had was an open source version where I owned the platform and could run it on a server of my choosing. But, it looks like this is in the plans (a few bugs need to be squashed on their way to this), as the PubPub About page states.