The Electric Wand

Thoughts of a technology enthusiast.

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  • Blog Post: The Design of Everyday Things

    In part 2 of my book post about design (part 1 was earlier this week ), I'll revisit an old title which is still great reading for anyone interested in cognitive theory or design. It was written by Donald Norman , and first published nearly 20 years ago as " The Psychology of Everyday Things ". The author...
  • Blog Post: Thought provoking stuff...

    I've no idea how accurate this information is, but in a short video on http://www.scottmcleod.org/didyouknow.wmv there are some wild predictions about the future... under the title of "Did you know?" This echoes somewhat " The Age of Spiritual Machines " by the eminent Ray Kurzweil ( I saw him present...
  • Blog Post: "Dealers of Lightning" - an insightful history in Xerox PARC

    Ever since reading Robert X Cringley 's excellent 1996 Accidental Empires book (which actually has the even more excellent full title of Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition and Still Can't Get a Date ), I've been interested in some of the...
  • Blog Post: The Wal-Mart Effect

    Here's an interesting book on a business force which is changing the way that the US economy works, if you believe what the author is saying. Wal-Mart (which owns ASDA in the UK) has been growing like crazy in recent years, to the point where they're big enough, supposedly, to have a direct impact on...
  • Blog Post: When interaction design goes bad

    For various reasons, I've been testing & driving several different cars lately, a process I quite enjoy - getting to know the foibles of the car's cockpit, playing with the various toys and gadgets, as well as actually learning how to drive each one according to its size, performance etc. It's really...
  • Blog Post: iCon - Steve Jobs biography

    I don't make a great secret of the fact that I'm not much of an Apple fan - I can appreciate the great design in the products but I've just never had a desire or need to actually buy any (apart from the iPod sock , and that was actually a freebie from Jason ) - and the whole religious fervour thing that...
  • Blog Post: Graeme Obree: The Flying Scotsman

    I went to see a really interesting film tonight, a preview of The Flying Scotsman , a film about the life (or at least some of the achievements) of the remarkable Graeme Obree. Obree, if you've never heard of him, broke the holy-grail record of cycling, beating a 9-year old total distance cycled in...
  • Blog Post: Tip o' the Week #133 - The Art of Cut n' Paste

    Like many concepts in everyday computing, the widely-adopted functionality of Cu t & P aste has its descriptive roots in an antiquated process. A bit like a floppy disk as the “Save” icon, or an envelope for the email/send functions, the scissors used in Cut refer back to the old method of compositing...
  • Blog Post: Are you CrazyBusy?

    I was reminded the other day of a term coined by Edward Hallowell in his excellent and thought-provoking book, CrazyBusy: Overstretched, Overbooked and About to Snap! Strategies for Coping in a World Gone ADD . Hallowell, an ex-Harvard Medical School specialist in Attention Deficit Disorder, has deduced...