Random snippets of articles, books, magazines, and websites that were striking at the time I read them.

Monday, September 27, 2004


Have been away on vacation, taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of Sichuan Province in China. Incredibly exhausting, but definitely worth the effort to see sights as magnificent as this one.


You can scroll through the rest of the photos at this online slideshow.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Furor over Friendster Firing

There's an uproar sweeping through the blogging community, thanks to Friendster's firing of Joyce Park, allegedly because of her blog entries about the social networking site's move to PHP from JSP.

The original entry from Joyce's blog, Troutgirl, points to the specific entries that were deemed worthy of termination.

You can find a list of other sites that talk about this incident at Jeremy Zadowny's blog entry on the topic.

Under normal circumstances, people probably wouldn't be making a big deal out of this, but as it turns out, Joyce and her husband Tim are well-respected authors who are active in both the blogging and open source communities.

A few people have decided that the best way to demonstrate their displeasure is by canceling their respective Friendster accounts. Turns out there's actually a Cancel Your Account page.

I'm still not sure how I feel about the situation, since Friendster is yet to air their side of the story. However, if it turns out that they really did fire Joyce without cause, I think the best way to go about this is by posting an entry on your Friendster Bulletin Board to let your contacts know you'll be canceling your account in say, 30 days. You can ask them to pass the word along, then wait out the 30 days so your connections all have ample opportunity to see your BBoard entry, and only then do you cancel the account.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

The Invisible Computer

One of the books that I'm currently reading is The Invisible Computer, by Donald Norman.

It puts forward the idea that the PC is too complex because we're trying to get it to do too many things. He suggests that future belongs to "information appliances" that are tailored to do specific tasks only, and in the process are much more friendly, much more usable, and bottomline, more human.

Here's one snippet that I particularly liked:
The technology is the relatively easy part to change. The difficult parts are social, organizational and cultural.

It's a great reminder that while it seems easier to ask people to change and adapt to a machine, we should still be focusing all our energies on designing machines that allows people to simply be people. After all, machines are predictable; people are not.

As an aside, the first Don Norman book that I had read was The Design of Everyday Things, which to this day still makes me smile when I fumble with an awkward door handle, or when I try to fix the settings in our kitchen refrigerator.