Category Archives: Misc

Sony makes it hard so you stay busy

Sony’s CEO has given us a new candidate for the worst.quote.ever. from a usability point of view:

“We don’t provide the ‘easy to program for’ console that (developers) want, because ‘easy to program for’ means that anybody will be able to take advantage of pretty much what the hardware can do, so then the question is, what do you do for the rest of the nine-and-a-half years?”

–Kaz Hirai, CEO, Sony Computer Entertainment

So let me get this straight—the plan is to make a platform that is intentionally difficult for developers so that it can buy Sony time to make the next version of their console that will be hard to use so that it can buy Sony time to make the next version of…

I’ll have to file this one away in the long term memory for the next time some project I’m working on gets criticism for complexity or poor usability: “actually, this is intentionally difficult so that you don’t notice it’s taking a lot of time for the next version to come out.”

Sony: PS3 is hard to develop for–on purpose | The Digital Home – CNET News

How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet

Just ran into this essay (again) from Douglas Adams (late author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy) and had to share it. Great quotes about interactivity:

…but the reason we suddenly need such a word [“Interactivity”] is that during this century we have for the first time been dominated by non-interactive forms of entertainment: cinema, radio, recorded music and television. Before they came along all entertainment was interactive: theatre, music, sport – the performers and audience were there together, and even a respectfully silent audience exerted a powerful shaping presence on the unfolding of whatever drama they were there for. We didn’t need a special word for interactivity in the same way that we don’t (yet) need a special word for people with only one head.

I expect that history will show ‘normal’ mainstream twentieth century media to be the aberration in all this. ‘Please, miss, you mean they could only just sit there and watch? They couldn’t do anything? Didn’t everybody feel terribly isolated or alienated or ignored?’

‘Yes, child, that’s why they all went mad. Before the Restoration.’

‘What was the Restoration again, please, miss?’

‘The end of the twentieth century, child. When we started to get interactivity back.’

Because the Internet is so new we still don’t really understand what it is. We mistake it for a type of publishing or broadcasting, because that’s what we’re used to.

I think this push/pull balance that the Internet has partly enabled is an explosion off the vector that having the choice of channels on the television and the radio gave us. Multiplied by a billion. The interesting thing for me is that interactivity is not a boolean; there are many levels of interactivity that are appropriate for different situations. It’s ok to clap and cheer at concerts, for example, but if twenty thousand people storm the stage, the riot gear comes out and the show’s over.

DNA/How to Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Internet

Signs of Change

roadsign Ok–there’s my goofball title for a news item that made the rounds at work today. The New York Times reports on the hows and whys of the process of changing the nation’s highway signage. Interesting article with a focus on design, usability, ergonomics etc. Best place to start for visual people like myself is the slideshow.

She said *what*?

So today I was on two different email threads where the subject of the thread mysteriously changed mid-thread. The first one was innocuous enough–“forum” was misspelled as “foum” got changed to “foam”. Odd that it changed but nothing more than a raised eyebrow warranted there. The second one, however, went from talking about WPF UI’s to “Wife User Interfaces”. Whoa–suddenly Not Safe For Work.
Still not sure how these happened but you might want to keep your eyes out for similar behavior. Based on my experiences today, “photos of WPF in forum” could suddenly become “photos of Wife in foam” which might not be the message you want to send to your boss/client/mom. yikes.

What’s that yellow thing in the sky?

There’s a reason that all the trees in Seattle are green.
Now, I knew before moving here that it was supposed to be drizzly but the locals downplayed it adroitly. I grew up in South Florida with that steamy jungle climate that retirees love and I can’t stand, lived in Oklahoma where it’s below freezing in the winter and triple-digits in the summer, and San Francisco where it’s cold and foggy–in July. I couldn’t see what everyone was complaining about in Seattle until December rolled around…and it rained for 28 days straight. Apparently this is not entirely typical–in fact, it almost broke the record from 1953 for most consecutive days of rain but that’s small comfort in my book. Two days ago it was raining again and barely above freezing. Then starting yesterday–sunshine and sixties. Huh?
Of course, I heard SFO was actually closed down in the bay area two days ago because the weather was so bad there so I guess it’s pretty clear that no one escapes Mother Nature’s wrath.
update: before I could post this, the sun disappeared, it starting raining, and then stopped ten minutes later and the sun popped back out again.