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Archive for February, 2005

Scheduling the mobile generation

Monday, February 21st, 2005

As part of some client work, I have recently spent more time than usual in the offices of a large organisation. It has been a while since I spent time like this, and something that struck me is how organised everyone is. Actually, it’s not just that people are organised, it is that everything revolves around ‘meetings’. Everything is scheduled, slotted in and arranged, and work is the stuff that happens around the meetings.

This shouldn’t be surprising, but I have never really noticed it to this extent before – just how scheduled it all is. Our life broken into little one-hour slots.

Then I started to think about the mobile generation and how they don’t organise things in the same way my generation once did (not that I’m terribly old ;) We arrange times and locations and carry our phones in case something goes wrong – they arrange less and use their phones to make more flexible arrangements.

So what will our future look like? Will society and the way our organisations work mold this generation into scheduled clock watchers, or will work and the associated ‘meetings’ become more flexible. Will be interesting to watch…

How cute is this

Friday, February 18th, 2005

Ohhh…look at this. Makes living miles away from everything all worthwhile.


A teeny frog inside one of my zucchini flowers, all dusted with pollen.

Distributed discourse

Thursday, February 3rd, 2005

I’ve been following the folksonomy discussion as well as is possible.

What struck me as interesting is completely unrelated to the topic of folksonomies or tags or classification or anything like that. What’s interesting is the way the discussion is being held.

‘Discussion’ is the relevant word here. Recent folksonomy posts seem to be a type of discussion – after all, many authors link to something that someone else has said, and oftentimes the post is in reaction to something that someone has said. Sort of looks like a discussion. Idea, counter, new idea, follow up…

However, when I really thought about it, what it actually looks like is quite different. It isn’t a discussion at all. Most of it (at least recently – the earlier discussions were not like this) seems to be a land grab. Most of the posts look like people standing on their little islands saying “hey, here’s this cool thing, let’s see if I can say the most profound thing about it. Over here. Pick me!”.

It is the islands that is the issue – there is no central discussion, no flow, no regular consolidation. It is all happening out there on isolated islands of blogs. A highly distributed discourse.

Now, I don’t mean to belittle the clever people who are thinking and writing about it, although some of this is going to be read this way. I’m more interested in the way the discussion is being held. That’s what’s interesting. It is sort of an extension to a post I wrote a few months back: Do we blog instead of discussing.

Whatever is happening, it is damn hard to follow.

Is it all in my mind?

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005

I’ve been noticing a lot more blogging and writing activity around what Steven Johnson calls ‘recreational neuroscience’ [1]. At first I thought I was just noticing it because it was something I’m interested in, but started to realise that there really is a lot more writing about it, and much of it is actually readable.

The increased amount of content is is no doubt partially triggered by excellent books such as Mind Wide Open, On Intelligence and Mind Hacks (links go to Maadbooks). Here are some links to other good online resources:

I like the first three so much that I have flagged them ‘inturrupt me when a post comes in’ on my aggregator. A rare endorsement as there are only a few other authors who get this treatment ;)

[1] – in the foreward to Mind Hacks

We won an AIfIA progress grant

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005

How exciting! We won an AIfIA IA progress grant. Our proposal was for an intranet heuristic review kit:

We propose to develop a set of heuristics and a heuristic review kit that can be applied specifically to intranets. The heuristics will cover key aspects of information architecture (site structure and search), screen design and layout, content and intranet strategy. The kit will include information on how and when to run the heuristic evaluation, plus limitations of the technique.