Monday, November 29, 2004

Management as making it difficult for people to get things done

This is a title from a post at Lilia's Mathamagenic site. I won't say anything other than that I feel an affinity for some of the ideas expressed within.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Entrepreneurs in Scotland

Many thanks to John McLeish of Equator, who invited me to the Entrepreneurial Exchange 10th anniversary awards ceremony in Glasgow this week. I must confess a) to never having heard of the exchange until John mentioned it b) having seen very many references to it over the last week - which shows that I was obviously being ignorant not to know about it c) being surprised at the reach and prestige of the Exchange. Certainly, with a lifetime achievement award for the Baxters (of soup fame), and recorded messages from Tony Blair (about which Fraser, one of the people at our table, was not too happy!), Gordon Brown and the Prince of Wales, it is hard not to picture a vibrant and entrepreneurial business community in Scotland.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Bloglines Self-reference

In the interests of transparency, I thought I'd publish the bloglines link of "People Subscribed to this Feed also Read" for Mark T's Info Blog. I'm not sure what view this gives into the reading habits of my few subscribers (thank you chaps/chapesses), and to be fair, I'm not sure what it says about me - but Tennyson did point out that mine is not to reason why... Do with this "information" what you will! Anyway Shirky I understand - but I find the other connections that are instantiated between my blog and other blogs by the efforts of collaborative filtering absolutely fascinating. ..

Rich Reach

Rich Internet (and Intranet) Applications (RIAs) have been on my mind recently, for a number of reasons (one being some really interesting posts by Jon Udell on "restful" RIAs), so it was with great interest that I headed along to the Scottish Usability Professionals' Association meeting at Microsoft, Edinburgh last night.

The main speaker was Steven Webster of iteration::two (and co-Author of "Developing Rich Clients with Macromedia Flex"). Steven's presentation was - in my opinion - pitched just right, and really gave a great overview of the fundamental concepts of well-developed RIAs and talked about some of the business benefits (obviously with a strong usability flavour). I've just been casting my eyes over Steven's weighty tome, and it looks pretty exhaustive. I'll try ad post a few highlights from the presentation as soon as I can get my hands on his PowerPoint presentation (which used Breeze, which also never fails to impress me in the right hands)... In the meantime, check out the Engineering Rich Internet applications site, and if you are in Scotland, head along to a SUPA meeting - as th upcoming events sound interesting!

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Sweet - Veen and Venn

I almost feel like saying "Now and Venn" for Luke W's post on Venn diagrams in Information Architecture and User Experience. As a particular fan of the triangular equation (anyonoe for Physics revision?) and the pointed (mis-)use of the Venn, all I can say is enjoy...

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

What you cache is what you get

Hadn't ever come across wyciwyg until checking through my referrer logs - apparently it's mozilla caching. NB: how do you spell caching with or without the "e"?

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Context, Enemy of the Blogosphere?

Some comments from Ian Mayes, readers' editor for the Guardian, have made me think that one "danger" of blogs is the diffusion of errors owing to quoting, commenting or linking either out of context or with no reference to context. I'll leave a precis quote of Mr Mayes article as an explanation (Open Door, Saturday November 6 2004), but it is food for thought - a kind of web-based chinese whispers. The article discussed (in part) a piece in the Guardian TV supplement which had resulted in a furore (it was about Bush's election victory) and had subsequently been commented upon by a number of American bloggers. Mr Mayes put forward as a mitigating factor that the TV supplement has a different editorial tone and target audience to the rest of the newspaper (as does the G2 supplement) - while also pointing out that there was no defence for the comments:

"(...) These distinctions begin to disappear when the material is put up on the website. They disappear almost entirely when linked from the home page. And there is no context whatsoever when they are picked up by bloggers, individuals conducting their own websites.

Blogs, particularly in the United States, played a big part in the dissemination of the comments in the (...) case. They do not usually want to give or even hint at context. They are often slow to pick up retractions or apologies. This "web effect" is something to which the Guardian, and other multi-section newspapers, need to give more thought."
(my bold)
I think Mr Mayes is tarring all bloggers with a rather large and ill-targeted brush on this point, as many bloggers are careful to set context with links out to background material. However, it would be fair to say that many are not so careful (and not everyone - and I include myself as a member of this group - is scrupulously careful 100% of the time), and this is a signal point for many news services and publishers to consider.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Intimacy Gradient

Via Claire Chaundy, I found myself back on Life with Alacrity for the second time this week, reading about the Intimacy Gradient [and Other Lessons from Architecture]. One addition that I have to add to the idea is that communication/collaboration methods also follow an intimacy gradient, from most removed to close proximity. Essentially this means that when initially estalishing trust, people follow a path from means of communication where they feel they are least exposed, moving down the gradient of intimacy toward the most exposed as trust builds. In practice, this means that there is a progression - in my experience - as follows: comments on blogs/postings to BBS; Instant Messaging/email exchanges; exchange of telephone numbers and/or conversation; meeting at an event/conference/organising to meet once(face-to-face); arranging additional meetings (face-to-face); shaking hands (individual space) and other physical contact. Forgetting about synchronous/asynchronous means of communicating, it is simply that levels of social confidence are built into the way we treat certain tools. The best social software, I reckon, both supports or integrates with these means of communcating and offers a path down the intimacy gradient (or is that "up"?).

On my bookshelf

Didn't the cranberries have an album called something like "Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We"? With this thought, I've noticed a few bloggers out there posting a "what I'm reading at the moment" story, so I thought I'd share mine:

Observing the User Experience - Mike Kuniavsky

Reads well so far, with decent practical advice: I agree with many of his working methods and points of advice.

Learning to Fly - Collison & Parcell

Thanks to David Gilmour for loaning me this. Haven't started it yet, but it's all about practical knowledge management.

Armadale - Wilkie Collins

This is a cracker of a 19th century potboiler, and I must get around to finishing it. If you can manage betrayal, poisoning, deceptive doubles, hidden secrets, back-street abortionists and the Norfolk Broads in one book, it's well worth a read.

Well, that's my catholic tastes up for display - any starters for ten?