Monthly Archives: February 2001

It’s all just Cavepainting… From Lascaux to San Franciscaux

“Do you think that technology is further complicating
people’s lives?/How will the use of technology affect people’s lives in
the future? I’m a lousy futurist, so I’m loathe to make any big
predictions. But I will say this: I think that humans are pretty
unchanging, at their core. Technology steps in to fill in the rough
spots, but the things that are important to us, actually change very
little. I make Web sites now. If I had been alive one hundred years
ago, I would have been making newspapers. And a hundred years before
that, I would have been making books. Go back far enough and I’m sure I
would have been drawing on cave walls.

The technology may change, but the root desire stays the same: self-expression.”

Thanks to Tom for finding this…
Interview with Derek Powazek about Metafilter and community

Design IS business strategy
My old professor at the Welsh School of Architecture,
Charlie Maccallum, used to tear strips off people if they drew nervous,
shaky lines because, as he said, ‘every line drawn is not a line, it is
a resource expended’.

As Clement Mok and others have maintained, experience design is
inextricably linked to business strategy – and yet even in ‘pureplay’
e-business consultancies, ‘strategy’ is often handed to designers as a
fait accompli, maybe because our understanding or contribution isn’t
seen to link through to the business case.

This survey by the Design Council (although they would say this wouldn’t they) might go someway to prove otherwise…

“Looking at the last three years, well over half of businesses (55%)
said design had contributed to higher profits and turnover. Almost as
many (46%) reported that design had helped them grow their market
share. Nearly 58% of businesses surveyed said they’d used design as a
strategic business tool that helped them stay competitive in the market

Design Council: Newsroom: Press Releases

“Almost an alien thing.”

BuckyBall-Nobel-winner guy Richard Smalley, on nano and interfacing the non-organic and the organic.

“Bones are very impressive, and so are
teeth. But they aren’t steel—let alone what nanotubes can do with
strength and conductivity. So, being able to take a carbon nanotube and
get it into the molecular biology realm—whether it’s actually dissolved
and is one of the players, or as a probe, or as part of an implant, as
part of a new membrane—it’s really bringing something brand new to the
table in biology. Almost an alien thing. “

Wires of Wonder
Q&A with Richard E. Smalley – MIT Technology Review

Martin Pawley on information technology and corporate architecture

“…in corporate terms security of
communications and records is already more important than architecture.
In fact, in some ways, conventional corporate architecture,
conspicuous, lavish and creative, has become a business liability, an
easy target for public displeasure, or an individual with a grudge. As
a result many major corporations not only have ‘hot sites’ but ‘remote
sites’ too, places where their core business can be carried on in peace
and quiet. The German airline Lufthansa has storefront offices in major
cities all over the world, but all its reservations are handled from a
facility in rural Galway in Ireland – as are those of American Airlines
and Korean Air. “

Downgazing – Martin Pawley

P2P, wall-2-wall.

The O’Reilly P2P Conference has been must-read stuff the last week. Clay
has been on form again – here’s two notable quaotables from the good
perfesser, who is, like, famous now… straight outta Brooklyn…

“Whatever else you think about, think about interoperability. Don’t think about standards yet.”


“Fifty years ago, Thomas Watson estimated there was a worldwide need
for maybe five computers. We now know that that number was wrong. He
overestimated by 4.”

Lessons from Napster – The O’Reilly P2P Conference, Feb. 14-16, 2001, San Francisco

“The Napster Crackdown”

Written in September last year, this is a fascinating look at
intellectual property rights, the “attention economy” and

Large as the major record companies are, music probably
accounts for less than one per cent of the world’s Gross Domestic
Product – a measure in terms of the old economy. But in terms of
attention, music certainly gets a far bigger share: most of us listen
to music a good part of every day. Instead of protecting the musicians,
adhering the old system of copyright and the old methods of accounting
denies musicians the economic power that is actually theirs. On
average, it is an enormous, though understandable, mistake for them to
side with the record industry against Napster and other innovations
that would help the new economy into power. Because they make music
more accessible these developments would also increase the percentage
of attention and thus of wealth flowing to musicians as a group.

To put it another way, musicians along with movie
actors, video-game designers, writers and others who create whatever
gets attention, are in fact being greatly short-changed by the present
system. Even those who seem rich in terms of money, are kept far from
their just deserts, Rather than needing copyright, they are actually
suffering under the power that this legal form as presently handled
turns over to the corporations and their leaders. “

The Napster Revolution and the Law


Paul, who is director of technology where I work sent the article
below round the company this morning, with some comments about the Wombles -
creatures from 70’s children’s TV in the UK, who “made good use of the
things that they find, things which the everyday folk leave behind” .
Paul called the tech product in the article something that used ‘the wombling approach to engineering’. Made me think that wombling is not just confined to smart engineers and product designers, but the user community also wombles
– finds the best ways to use your system, backdoors, forgetten
features, and spreads them through the community… SMS was wombled…
amazon’s wishlists were wombled into blog-content… wombling is consumer-hacking…

How to successfully design for wombles? Structure your design and build
and learn and adapt processes to leave good things around then let the
community use them, evolve them…?? How do you make that into good
business sense in these non-experimental times?? I think you can, and
that’s the case I’m trying to figure out at the moment…

“Elegance is the key. It is only maybe once a year that we at Interface
see something so beautifully conceived. This is one of those times. If
engineering perfection is found when there is nothing left to be taken
away, then Dr Dror Lapidot and his Israel-based company Decell are as
close as they come.”

Cutting a path through the traffic – The Times

More on wombling…
Raster wombling? Is that when Orinoco had dreads during his ‘experimental’ late-teens?

Or is it something far more magical…?


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