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  • Dan Saffer // March 2008 Blog Archives
    and here is the point when I was done with it I didn t throw it out like I do with every other water bottle I kept refilling it rather than discard it It fit so well in my hand and looked so good with its sleek Helvetica Neue logo I didn t want to get rid of it once its initial use was up Five days later I still have it An airport water bottle That s good design Originally posted on Wednesday March 12 2008 Link Comments 7 Trackback 0 February 2008 Main April 2008 Archives October 2008 September 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 July 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 February 2005 January 2005 December 2004 November 2004 October 2004 September 2004 August 2004 July 2004

    Original URL path: http://www.odannyboy.com/blog/new_archives/2008/03/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Dan Saffer // February 2008 Blog Archives
    Originally posted on Tuesday February 19 2008 Link Comments 3 Trackback 0 Conferences I ll Be At Spring 2008 Edition If you are looking to meet talk to get a drink with yours truly here are the conferences I m speaking at or attending in the next few months This week it s Adaptive Path s UX Intensive in San Francisco where I m teaching the newly rebooted Interaction Design Day this Friday Some seats are still available so use my code of FODS and get 10 off It s very hands on so watch those x acto blades March takes me to ETech in San Diego for Tap is the New Click from my upcoming book Use my code et08fd and get 20 off March is also SXSW in Austin where I m leading a Core Conversation on Feeding the Creativity Beast April 1 2 I m speaking at and dropping in on classes at Indiana University s School of Infomatics Then I m back in San Francisco to attend Adaptive Path s MX Conference on design leadership Use my code FODS and get 10 off The early bird price is still going on too May 22 23 has me in Portland for the always great WebVisions with Tap is the New Click There s more lined up for summer which will be announced shortly Hope to see you somewhere Link Comments 1 Trackback 0 Firefox 3 to Fitts Law Suck It Take a look at the tabs from the new Firefox 3 Beta Not only are the tabs smaller in size than in previous versions and thus creating a smaller target they have foolishly added borders around them which aren t clickable making the targets smaller still and far more difficult to hit The vertical borders between tabs

    Original URL path: http://www.odannyboy.com/blog/new_archives/2008/02/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Dan Saffer // January 2008 Blog Archives
    October 2006 September 2006 August 2006 July 2006 June 2006 May 2006 April 2006 March 2006 February 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 October 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 May 2005 April 2005 March 2005 February 2005 January 2005 December 2004 November 2004 October 2004 September 2004 August 2004 July 2004 June 2004 May 2004 April 2004 March 2004 February 2004 January 2004 December 2003

    Original URL path: http://www.odannyboy.com/blog/new_archives/2008/01/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Dan Saffer // December 2007 Blog Archives
    Who else can use a telephone dialing fit into a melody 6 New Magnetic Wonder The Apples in Stereo Happy happy joy joy 5 Reunion Tour The Weakerthans While not as great as some of their earlier efforts still a solid album Sun in an Empty Room is one of the best songs they have ever done 4 Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Spoon Has the best single of the year You Got Yr Cherry Bomb I wasn t a fan of these guys before but I am now 3 Neon Bible Arcade Fire Darker deeper 2 The Broken String Bishop Allen My new favorite band Catchy charming Click Click Click Click is my ringtone if that tells you anything 1 Leaves in the River Sea Wolf Great lyrics soulful melodies and frequent use of a cello What s not to like My pick for the best album of the year In the disappointments category put the missing Courtney Love album Traffic and Weather by Fountains of Wayne and Wilco s Sky Blue Sky Originally posted on Friday December 21 2007 Link Comments 1 Trackback 0 Does Marshall McLuhan Still Matter As part of my winter break reading list I ve been trying to plow through Essential McLuhan by Marshall McLuhan because for a while now I thought I was missing out on some crucial piece of my education in media theory some lost piece about the medium I m working in As it turns out not so much While still an interesting read and while some of the concepts namely The Medium is The Message which the internet makes perfectly obvious day after day are still sound a lot of these writings seem hopelessly dated and almost laughably irrelevant now 40 years later Saying that for instance radio is Hot demanding the use of a single sense while TV is Cool requires more participation seems if not obvious then at least non helpful as a model in the age of satellite radio and TV like Lost And the internet Well it pretty much blows the Hot Cool thing to hell It s Hot and Cool often at the same time and as far as I can tell the Hot Cool model doesn t much help us understand the medium or its message any better His simplistic take on the electronic world seems quaint now almost Victorian in its language filled with bad puns and quotes from Shakespeare and Joyce to prove his points He s not a fan of television and god knows what he would make of the web He saw electronic media as the end of civilization and of the printed word Satan is a great electrical engineer he noted And although he invented the term global village he certainly doesn t seem like he wants to live there In short I don t know what to make of his work He could simply be one of those seminal figures who turned a critical eye on something

    Original URL path: http://www.odannyboy.com/blog/new_archives/2007/12/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Dan Saffer // November 2007 Blog Archives
    create our products Thank you Intel and AMD for constantly applying Moore s Law to make microprocessors faster The future of interaction design rests on you Thank you IxDA for creating a home for people who do what we do Thank you to the developers and the visual and industrial designers who make our work the best it can be We can t do it without you And thanks for other designers who inspire and delight me with your work and ideas Thanks too for the clients who fund and fuel our work and who bring their expertise to bear As Tibor Kalman noted the best clients are those who are smarter than you And of course thank you to the users those who live with our products every day and suffer through our faults and failings as human designers May they and us all have a wonderful day of Thanksgiving Originally posted on Thursday November 22 2007 Link Comments 3 Trackback 0 Missing Britpop I realized yesterday it has been over 10 years since I heard my first Oasis song in a pub in Limerick And no it wasn t Wonderwall It was She s Electric and I sang along with the crowd even though I had never heard the song before It was just that infectious Who is this I asked the guy from New Zealand I was standing beside He looked at me like I was from another planet Oasis he shouted over the din The next day I was at a record store buying the album along with albums from Pulp and Blur and Elastica I was hooked This was the antidote to the bad grunge and nu metal crap that was taking over the airwaves in America Since then Oasis has fallen on hard times and the Britpop movement they rode the crest of the wave on has long since crashed on the rocky shores of public tastes Almost all of the Britpop bands are either disbanded or are just shadows of their former selves And in America the alternative radio stations seem to be flailing about looking for something worthwhile to play or simply killing time until they turn into Classic Rock stations or something It s no wonder a whole generation of listeners gave up on alternative music here in the US instead turning to hip hop or simply listening to mainstream pop There s nothing wrong with either of those of course but it has been a long time since I have heard a new alternative movement that arose like the British bands of 1992 1999 I miss them And lest you think I m just an old fart complaining about how the music of today is not as good as it used to be there are signs of hope like distant stars out there coming from the edges where the best alternative music almost always comes from Arcade Fire from Montreal The Weakerthans from Winnipeg Bishop Allen The Fratellis Arctic Monkeys

    Original URL path: http://www.odannyboy.com/blog/new_archives/2007/11/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Dan Saffer // October 2007 Blog Archives
    and I m a fan of Battlestar Galactica But like Katee Sackhoff says in your pilot episode You re going to have to do better than that Because as it is now your show kind of sucks You re combining the worst of Alias with the worst of Heroes clunky storylines bad dialog and character development and villains who are more interesting than the good guys Not to mention logical inconsistencies that make even well wishing viewers wince I picked your show as my much watch for this season Please don t be like my 2006 7 pick You didn t ask for it but here s my advice Get the sister involved Having her not know about Jamie s secret life is amazingly implausible since she is a high school student who lives with her By themselves She should be like Xander and Willow on Buffy non super friends who help out Get real supervillians You shouldn t be an undercover show foiling nameless terrorists BW is a superhero show and you ve already got an awesome supervillain in the Sackhoff character You need more May I suggest Sackhoff is putting together other messed up bionic people Building them herself perhaps Someone is doing her additional bionics Make the organization Jamie works for much more ambiguous It will make the show much richer as their values clash with Jamie s I shouldn t have to tell the people who wrote BSG this Speaking of which Jamie needs some character Any character She is painfully bland right now for a bartender who was supposed to go to Harvard huh She should be more interesting than just the fact she has bionic parts in her Make the super powers well super This early in the show plots should be exploring the limits of Jamie s bionic powers what she can and cannot do Can she be upgraded And speaking of that there are a crazy amount of cyborg themes that are not being explored here Incorporate more cyberpunk elements What does it mean to be a woman who is half machine Can she be hacked Can she jack into a network You ve turned a woman into a device a weapon You can t not explore this Make the bionic parts vulnerable They are machine parts They break need repairs etc She s not super woman And those are just off the top of my head Please turn this bionic ship around There s some real promise in this premise if you ll only realize it Thanks for listening Dan Originally posted on Wednesday October 10 2007 Link Comments 3 Trackback 0 Review The Reflective Practitioner Part IV This is the final part of my review of Donald Schön s The Reflective Practioner See parts I II and III for the earlier sections What does it mean to be a reflective practitioner Schön says E ach individual develops his own way of framing his role Whether he chooses his role frame from the profession s repertoire or fashions it for himself his professional knowledge takes on the characteristics of a system The problem he sets the strategies he employs the facts he treats as relevant and his interpersonal theories of action are bound up with his way of framing his role This is why I think we see so many clashes on the various design mailing lists about what to call ourselves what our roles should be and where the boundaries are for disciplines like experience design and interaction design It is different frames colliding One practitioner thinks interaction design is interface design another thinks interface design is a subset of interaction design and on and on Schön suggests that rather than fight about which of these frames is the correct one we simply practice frame analysis When a practitioner becomes aware of his frames he also becomes aware of the possibility for alternate ways of framing the reality of his practice He takes note of the values and norms to which he has given priority and those he has given less importance or left out of the frame altogether Frame analysis may help practitioners to become aware of their tacit frames and thereby lead them to experience the dilemmas inherent in professional pluralism Once practitioners notice they actively construct the reality of their practice and become aware of the variety of frames available to them they begin to see the need to reflect in action on their previous tacit frames Schön is basically saying Put down your arms In all professional practices there are different schools of thought which often result in very different personal frames for practice If we instead look at them as frames we can consider and even move between them as necessary For some projects it may make sense to step outside of the frame of interaction designer and instead take on the frame of interface designer and visa versa Some other tidbits from the book I found fascinating Experienced practitioners Schön claims because of their mastery of the media surrounding their practice cannot convey the art of his practice to a novice merely by describing his procedures rules and theories nor can he enable a novice to think like a seasoned practitioner merely by describing or even demonstrating his ways of thinking He goes on to say People who do things well often give what appear to be good descriptions of their procedures which others cannot follow Heh The implications for the conference circuit here is enormous But I have found this is very true It is very hard to convey the nuance of design and designing and being a designer in a presentation Schön also notes the importance of clients in the life of a practitioner Practitioners agree to use their special powers for the good of the client and clients in turn agree to show deference to the professional Without this social contract the role of practitioner breaks down But the practitioner has

    Original URL path: http://www.odannyboy.com/blog/new_archives/2007/10/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Dan Saffer // September 2007 Blog Archives
    is indeterminate What is called for under these conditions Schön argues are professionals who can as Russell Ackoff says design a desirable future and invent ways of bringing it about All isn t roses for practitioners however We re struggling against 400 years of Technical Rationality which is problem solving made rigorous by the application of scientific theory and technique Technical Rationality is ingrained in our workplaces and in our universities and the professions that practice it doctors lawyers engineers are emphasized and revered over those that don t Professions that practice Technical Rationality apply general principles medicine law physics to specific problems to achieve unambiguous results health justice bridges etc However Schön points out Increasingly we have become aware of the importance to professional practice of phenomena complexity uncertainty instability uniqueness and value conflict which do not fit the model of Technical Rationality Instead of simply problem solving practitioners instead need to problem set That is to determine the decision to be made the ends to be achieved the means which may be chosen Schön says In real world practice problems do not present themselves to practitioners as givens They must be constructed from the materials of problematic situations that are puzzling troubling and uncertain In order to convert a problematic situation to a problem a practitioner must do a certain kind of work He must make sense of an uncertain situation that initially makes no sense Problem setting is where we name the things to which we will attend and frame the context to which we will attend to them This cannot be achieved by Technical Rationality because Technical Rationality depends on understanding what the end is Only through naming and framing which do not depend on applying general scientific principles can these complex problems eventually be solved This however doesn t stop practitioners from looking for tried and true methods and techniques that will solve all their problems in a neat way You see this all the time with designers at conferences and on mailing lists searching for the next great method Schön says that for practitioners replying on methods and techniques will leave them solving problems of relatively little importance for both clients and society at large It is only by descending into the swamp where the practitioners must forsake technical rigor that the really important and challenging problems will be found How practitioners should do this is in Part II of this review Originally posted on Wednesday September 26 2007 Link Comments 3 Trackback 0 How to Lie with Design Research I just gave this talk at the 2007 Design Research conference Since I can t imagine a better combination of audience conference subject presentation topic and program placement I was the last speaker of the day it s unlikely I ll ever give it again although it certainly is a lot of fun and the crowd seemed to enjoy it David Armano filmed the opening couple of minutes of the performance so you can

    Original URL path: http://www.odannyboy.com/blog/new_archives/2007/09/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Dan Saffer // August 2007 Blog Archives
    summer Here s the TOC I ve proposed including topics that readers thought I had left out of the previous edition and incorporating more subjects for intermediate advanced designers Let me know if you think I ve left anything important out Introduction to the Second Edition Ch 1 Three Ways of Thinking About Interaction Design Ch 2 The Four Approaches to Interaction Design Ch 3 A Process and a Toolkit for Interaction Designers Ch 4 Strategic Interaction and Experience Design Ch 5 Design Research for Interaction Designers Ch 6 Creating Design Concepts Ch 7 Making Good Design Decisions Ch 8 Documenting and Communicating Designs Ch 9 Prototyping and Creating Form Ch 10 Creating Smart Applications and Clever Devices Ch 11 Interactions Across Applications and Platforms Ch 12 Fixing Broken Products Ch 13 The Future of Interaction Design Epilogue Designing for Good As you can see the book will be significantly revised and expanded probably to about 350 pages or roughly a third more than the current edition of D4I I ll also be retaining some of the best features of the last book including interviews with interaction design luminaries and up and comers And yes there will be bibliographies at the end of each chapter so the curious can read further on each topic Let me know what you my loyal readers would like to read about and I will try to provide Originally posted on Thursday August 23 2007 Link Comments 4 Trackback 0 Review Managing Humans On a tip from Joel Spolsky I picked up the informative and entertaining Managing Humans Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager by Michael Lopp Not that I have read many of them but Managing Humans is probably one of the best no bullshit books on managers staff and office life in general for those of us who work in the software web engineering design world I recommend it not only for people like myself who are getting their feet wet managing people but also for people who aren t managing anyone in order to understand what their boss and their boss boss does and thinks about all day If you ve ever wondered What do those managers do all day this is the book for you Lopp goes over the basics of running a team from hiring on resumes you have 30 seconds to make an impression on me to resigning Don t give too much notice to dealing with difficult employees Get the freaks to solve their own problems Lopp or his alter ego Rands has practical advice on how to deal with it And not crap like Get your team to be the best it can be but tactical suggestions on how to play common scenarios like bad meetings employee freakouts and dealing with burnt out staff And he does it in a readable funny way Highly Recommended for managers especially Originally posted on Saturday August 4 2007 Link Comments 0 Trackback 0 Over the Web But

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