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Leo Klein's blog

Podcast of Alan Cooper

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 12/18/06 (2:44am)

Alan Cooper is the author of two absolute classic books: "The Inmates Are Running the Asylum" and "About Face 2.0: The Essentials of Interaction Design".

In this podcast by Gerry Gaffney, Cooper talks about personas, interaction design and other aspects of User Centered Design (UCD).

Book: 'Getting Real' by 37signals

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 12/17/06 (7:15pm)

This came out in March but it's still worth a mention -- particularly in the context of the "Kuckoo for Features" approach discussed here earlier.

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Time Person of the Year: 6,965,000 Pieces of Mylar

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 12/17/06 (8:05am)

That's a lot of Mylar:

The 2006 Person of the Year issue—the largest one Time has ever printed—marks the first time we've put reflective Mylar on the cover. When we found a supplier in Minnesota, we made the company sign a confidentiality agreement before placing an order for 6,965,000 pieces. That's a lot of Mylar.

Self-Publishing at $7 a Pop

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 12/14/06 (4:43pm)

We're so focused on Digital Libraries and other forms of online communication that we often overlook how profoundly the Web has changed the delivery of ordinary goods and services.

Browser War Redux

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 12/12/06 (9:07pm)

I spose I'm showing my age by using 'Redux' instead of '2.0' but, boys and girls, I remember the first round of browser wars as if it were yesterday!

Essentially Internet Explorer booted Netscape off the face of the planet not because of any particular advantage it had over the competition but simply because it was part of the Windows OS and lock-in trumped all.

Well, since then, Microsoft has sat on the thing (so much for 'Freedom to Innovate') while an offshoot of Netscape, Mozilla, refined its own product, the open-source FireFox. Now finally MS has woken up and released IE7.

So it's the IE-Firefox Browser War all over again. But, but, argues Read/WriteWeb, what this really is is a proxy war between Microsoft and (who else?) Google with nothing less than the "multi-billion dollar advertising industry" at stake. How so, you ask? Well, read the rest of the post...

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The Gift to Be Simple

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 12/11/06 (3:20pm)

It had to happen. First there was the period of experimentation on the Web. Websites were meant to be "explored" we were told -- even the more mundane ones. When that didn't seem to work out, the pendulum swung the other way in favor of clean and simple design. The search screen of Google comes to mind.

Now the question is, are we experiencing a backlash to the backlash?

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FireBug : Geek Tool of the Month

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 12/11/06 (2:07pm)

Here's something that just made the life of anyone involved with CSS or Javascript a whole lot easier. FireBug is an "extention" for the Firefox Browser that allows you to see the CSS of a web page and change it in real-time.

ChillingEffects.org

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 12/10/06 (1:51pm)

While googling for pictures of failed technologies for my post on eBooks, I came across a strange note at the bottom of Google's search results. It read:

"In response to a complaint we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed 2 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read the DMCA complaint that caused the removal(s) at ChillingEffects.org."

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eBooks are from the Department of Bad Ideas

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 12/10/06 (12:36pm)

Sony eBook Reader Someone asked about eBooks on one of the library lists I'm on. They wanted to know what the prospects were. I responded on the list but I thought I'd share my opinion here as well.

I've never really understood the rationale behind these devices. I mean, I already have something that reads "electronic books" -- it's called a laptop. If I wanted something even more mobile, I'd get a smaller laptop -- or maybe use my PDA. The advantages of using my laptop -- besides the fact that I already own it -- is that I can play most formats on it, and not just one.

Hallmark of Failed Techonogy: Sony Memory Stick Walkman (NW-MS7)Furthermore, my laptop can do more than just "read" the thing -- I can cut out parts, re-use it, send it to friends and colleagues. I can link to the file, 'digg it', list it on del.icio.us. In other words, I can do everything I've become accustomed to do on a computer in a networked environment. Why would I want something that could do anything less?

I think if the sole purpose of a device is simply to serve as a platform for a proprietary format, it's doomed. This kind of "lock-in" is not popular with consumers. Just ask Sony how its own version of the iPod is doing.

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Hallmark of Failed Techonogy: Sony Memory Stick Walkman (NW-MS7)

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 12/10/06 (12:31pm)

Sony launched this unit amid much fanfare and expectations on the auspicious occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Walkman. Forget the iPod, which didn't even exist at this point, this player was supposed to be the successor to the fabled Walkman. Unfortunately because it only played Sony's proprietary format and showed more innovation in Digital Rights Management than features, it never got off the ground.

Sony showed it hadn't learned anything when four years later it released the Network Walkman NW-HD1, its 'iPod Killer' that also failed to gain any market acceptance.

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