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  Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Beth talks around the subject of Design, design, information architecture, information design, industrial design, and all the other variants and related disciplines, and wonders:

Here's my question though. Wouldn't we all have an easier time of it if we worked together to create a paradigm shift in terms of how corporations work? Or what they value? If we did that, maybe the resulting shift would create more work than we all could actually do!

Now this is exactly what I've been saying for a couple of months now: it's high time we started collaborating with all these other disciplines and professions, and stop pretending that we're doing distinctly different things neatly packed into silos (to abuse a current buzzword). We have more in common than we usually admit, we technical communicators/information developers and all these design and HCI and usability folks. Our interests intersect, and we'll have more impact--and be perceived as contributing more value--if we work together.

Which also ties in with the transformation that STC is contemplating, focusing on "communities of interest" instead of geographic location.

Go, Beth!

8:10:48 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

The infamous Richard Stallman checks in on the SCO/IBM insanity, the potential impact of the fight to Linux and GNU, and a bit of history. Most interesting to me is his statement on IP, which should go to the top of every article on the subject:

Another SCO tool of obfuscation is the term "intellectual property." This fashionable but foolish term carries an evident bias: that the right way to treat works, ideas, and names is as a kind of property. Less evident is the harm it does by inciting simplistic thinking: it lumps together diverse laws--copyright law, patent law, trademark law and others--which really have little in common. This leads people to suppose those laws are one single issue, the "intellectual property issue," and think about "it"--which means, to think at such a broad abstract level that the specific social issues raised by these various laws are not even visible. Any "opinion about intellectual property" is thus bound to be foolish. (See

Copyright is not about protecting property--it's about granting a temporary monopoly on the profits from creative works. As long as we play the RIAA/MPAA/IP attorney game and use the bogus phrase "intellectual property" we can't win. Now cut it out!

4:12:05 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Another plea for user-centric product design and development:

It's About The User, Stupid!. Usability has certainly never been the strong suit of many techies. Here's another good article reminding people why usability is important.  [Techdirt]

I have a usability quandary of my own. My wife is now president of the co-op preschool that the girls attend. They need a computer to handle basic word processing, spreadsheets, and for storing and manipulating digital photos of school events. So I almost offered to help them decide what to buy, to install it, and to train the people who will use it. I say almost--because I know that if the other users are like my wife, their tolerance for technology will be very low, I will lose patience quickly, and won't want to help them at all. But shouldn't the hardware and software be easy enough for them to just use it? It should, but I know it isn't. And I'm not sure I want them to spend $3000 on a PowerBook, which would be easier to use, and even easier to steal.

Oh, what to do. . .

12:50:09 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

"What luck for rulers that men do not think."

 Adolf Hitler.  [Quotes of the Day]

Isn't this what Bush and company are counting on?

11:48:18 AM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Boingo to Support Mac OS X. Sky Dayton is a known fellow traveler in the Mac cosmos, but his Boingo WiFi network has been a Windows-only... [Dan Gillmor's eJournal]

It's never a good thing to have a Windows-only service, and since some airport WiFi service is Boingo-only, being able to use the service on a Mac would sure be nice.

I didn't actually connect in any airport lounges on my last trip with the PowerBook, but I thought about it. If the wait had been longer I would have gone for it (T-Mobile in Dallas).

Now I'm starting to see arguments that WiFi hotspots will never be money-makers, and cellular will really be the way to go. But I hope companies (airports, hotels, cafes) will realize that providing WiFi even at a loss will bring in customers and make them happy--which is always good for the bottom line.

11:46:40 AM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Eldred Act coming to Congress. Lessig reports that Representatives Doolittle and Lofgren will introduce the Eric Eldred act to Congress. This is the bill that would require copyright holders to drop $1/work at the fifty-year mark in order to retain their copyright interests for the full duration set out by Congress -- otherwise, the works would enter the public domain. That way, you could find out what was and wasn't in copyright, and who held the rights to what. This is astonishingly good news. Go public domain! Some rights reserved! Link Discuss [Boing Boing Blog]

The proposal is a response to the Supreme's decision supporting Congress' foolish copyright extensions. It would leave the extensions be, but require that copyright holders affirm their intent to hang onto the copyright--which would allow something like 98% of the works created to pass into the public domain in a more reasonable time period. But don't expect any common sense out of Congress.

11:40:42 AM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Doc links us to the precursors of blogging, then to the present, where he points to Jimmy Breslin, and to Dan Gillmor's reaction to a Breslin piece:

What are we doing here?.

I don't know what Faris looks like or sounds like or what he thinks and what he was doing. He could be the worst. I don't know. Prove he wanted to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge and let him paste a picture of Osama bin Laden on the cell wall for inspiration over the next half a century. But first bring him into open court and try him. Pretend you live in America. Even pick a jury. I don't know. What a thing it would be if he comes up not guilty.

What we do know is that this is your country now.

Dan says,

Breslin has opened my eyes. This case is a travesty -- not because Faris is necessarily innocent. He probably isn't. But justice is not supposed to be a game where "probably" is enough to send someone to prison for the rest of his life after a secret arrest, secret detention and secret proceedings.

The travesty is, first, that our government now operates a secret criminal justice system, because Congress doesn't care enough about liberty to stop a power-mad Bush administration from tearing up the Constitution.

The second travesty, as Breslin trenchantly observes, is the spinelessness of my chosen profession. I am ashamed to be a journalist when I realize how far down the road we have gone toward utter deference to power.

Why are journalists not screaming bloody murder about this case? Sloth no longer suffices to explain our negligence?

I cringe for my profession. I fear for America.

It's been said before but I'll say it for myself: I am more afraid of George W. Bush and John Ashcroft than I am of Saddam, or Osama, or any of their followers. This is not my America; this is not my father's America. Dan wonders where the journalists are; I wonder where my Congresspeople are, and why they're not standing up to this madness. All it takes today is for the president to declare you to be an "enemy combatant" and you're disappeared into a scene from Kafka. Be afraid, be very afraid. Pretend you live in America.

10:11:28 AM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

Looks like I misses some more links to DUX coverage last week during my extended work streak:

DUX Conference Notes Here. Ok, as much as I like serendipity, I really want to aggregate the DUX notes out there. I was not fortunate enough to head to DUX last weekend, but I've been randomly stumbling onto the notes. Please post your notes or links to your notes if possible in the comments:

Amy Lee
Boxes & Arrows (Erin Malone)
Brad Lauster and Day 2
Aaron Oppenheimer
Gene Smith's Photos
Celia Romaniuk's notes on Buxton & Kapor
Uday Gajendar
Danny O'Brien in which he somewhat apologizes for the panel that he was on... [ia/ - information architecture news]

9:23:34 AM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

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