What not to write

Yawn, so thus starts the usual end of year reviews within the blogosphere, what happened in 2006 (quite interesting), what’s going to happen in 2007 (interesting but pointless – essentially a gamble that you can’t ever cash in) and of course the obligatory list of defining words/phrases for the last year or so.

Good one here: http://www.gawker.com/news/blogs/bad-lingo-blogmedia-clichs-222162.php detailing well used phrases such as Evar, OMG, made my [sensory organ] bleed etc.

I am often a little uneasy about articles of this nature, i.e. ‘we feel that [x] is overused and plebs are using them now so we must kill those words and make up new ones the plebs don’t use, thus guaranteeing our superiority’

For me language is not something to be owned by one group, it is agile and organic with groups choosing a selection of the lexicon to define and enhance themselves. This is admittedly what Gawker are attempting to do here, they feel that said definition is too wide so must distance themselves away and redefine. So although its the nature of groups to wish to redefine they’re own selection of the lexicon I guess I just feel that this excludes a lot of people and makes much text and discourse inaccessible to a wider set of users.

And as Gawker admit, they are just as guilty, as I am sure I am in earlier posts, yet if we want to communicate across divides, then understanding that inclusive use of the language becomes increasingly important in an evar increasingly fragmented world (and cyberspace). Ofcourse for those that are and want to stay within a community then the constant re-invention of language is quite necessary for definition and indeed survival.

Random iPod selection?

Okay stick with me on this one, has anyone noticed that the iPod ‘shuffle songs’ seems to have an almost spooky ability to pick similar songs? You know rock or classical tunes only a couple away, or songs by the same artist close to one another. Ofcourse this could just the coincidence of ‘random’ selection (although true randomness in computers is debatable) however it just seems like the iPod ‘knows’ to play similar songs close to one another. Maybe this is the answer?

One of the biggest problems was battery life. If the drive was kept spinning while playing songs, it quickly drained the batteries. The solution was to load several songs into a bank of memory chips, which draw much less power. The drive could be put to sleep until it’s called on to load more songs. While other manufacturers used a similar architecture for skip protection, the first iPod had a 32-MB memory buffer, which allowed batteries to stretch 10 hours instead of two or three.
From here.

Everything measured goes up

….”Everything measured goes up”. Specifically, he meant that the act of measuring itself creates an impetus for change and competition—a pressure to move a figure towards whichever extreme is (sometimes arbitrarily given the absence of context) defined as ‘better’. It’s a comment on the nature of observation, feedback loops and the selection of the criteria by which you measure success.

From plasticbag.org/


Great article over at iA, really hits the nail.

Usually strong usability, simplicity and a clear focus automatically lead to a strong identity. Here’s a shocker: Internationally acclaimed usability guru Jakob Nielsen’s totally anti-graphic website with all its geeky flaws and it’s absolute usability approach has a strong identity. Neglecting all notions of good taste, it looks extremely typical. And that is branding. Branding is not pretty, it’s strong. Craigslist and delicious with their standard link colors are not pretty, they’re strong, and as they’re interactive products, they’re strong through functionality. Facebook, maybe is an example of a very usable website that might go for a more audacious interface.

Puts a dampner to all the Google design = bad arguments.

You can establish yourself with a typically bad interface, if you’re early and lucky or if you have the market power to force people to use your product. See Myspace, Amazon, MSN, Windows, QuarkXPress. Once you get to be market leader with a typically complicated interface, you actually have a good shot at keeping your users, as they’re that traumatized that they wouldn’t want to go through another painful learning process. Nowadays you have a better chance to become successful though, if you go for simplicity and usability. And you have a good chance to develop a strong brand by just doing that.

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