A couple of weeks ago Daniel Spikol visited my mLearning class. My students prepared a presentation, outlining their projects. I asked for their permission to share it with the world. Comments are very, very welcome. I promise to pass them on:
(I tried to embed the presentation, but the plugin doesn’t seem to work, so you can watch the presentation here)
The installation packages are enormous. They clogged up my system, then failed in mid-installation, leaving my poor little Ubuntu unusable. It took me a week until I realised there’s no avoiding root shell access (well, to be honest – I was walking in the Peak District most of it). Today I dived in, removed the jammo packages, removed its repository from the sources list, and rebooted. Haaaa. Nice to see that familiar screen again.
Now all I need to figure out is why my windows has gone blue-screen-of-death.
Next time some apocalyptic bore starts yapping about how facebook causes cancer pull out your copy of Small, Moody et al. or Small & Vorgan’s iBrain and show the audience that brain scans demonstrate how middle-aged and older adults with little Internet experience were able to trigger key centres in the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning after just one week of surfing the Web.
The web has been around from 1990, and still we see crap sites. When someone who has little to do with technology puts up a pathetic site, you can sneer and move on. But when sites that claim to be about learning, knowledge and technology can’t get their act together – there’s just no excuse. Yet too often I see sites that are technologically dysfunctional, hard to navigate, have no fit for purpose, or are just plain ugly (I’m avoiding links her on purpose).
And really, there is no excuse. All it takes is a bit of attention to detail. Not just because the technology is cheap, not just because there’s a lot of good designers out there. Most of all, the design knowledge is out there, its free and its easy to find. Let me make it even easier. Here are a few useful collections of design patterns for UI / web / interaction / visualisation design. From now on, evey time you have a problem – find the relevant patterns and apply.
Books with companions sites:
van Duyne, Landay and Hong: design of sites
Jenifer Tidwell: Designing Interfaces: Patterns for Effective Interaction Design
Till Schümmer and Stephan Lukosch: Patterns for Computer-Mediated Interaction
Michael Mahemoff: Ajax Design Patterns
Web collections / repositories
Martijn van Welie’s interaction design patterns
the Yahoo! Design Pattern Library
Tom Ericson’s interaction design patterns (a collection of collections)
Interface design patterns
Great info visualisation patterns, and true to form – a very nice visualisation of the patterns themselves
Mobile UI design patterns
New and promising
These two are low on content, but I like their style. They are open repositories, so hopefully will grow with time
Fluid project open source design pattern library
Brian Christiansen pattern collection
Is hosted by Chris messina as a Flickr collection, with each pattern represented by a short text and a heap of screenshots, so obviously appealing to visual thinkers
And of course..
The Pattern Language Network, which I’ve been working on for the last year and a bit. Still a bit messy, focused more on the social practices than the technology, but worth a look
(we should get nicer URL soon)
Yay! I never have to tell anyone how to install Ubuntu again. I can just send them this comic book (CC PDF).
This Issue is especially useful to power users who want to switch to Linux with Ubuntu!
Synopsis: Woody Hackett learns from his business partner, Jerome Bankwell, that they are the new owners of a documentary production studio that still uses Mastersoft, and that he will need to visit their facilities in the desert in order to teach them Ubuntu Linux. At “Interplanetary Pictures,” Woody shows their crew how to get started using the Ubuntu GUI following an installation. Guiding them through some basic software installation, Woody demonstrates to Kaori Soto and her associate Calvin Green basic ideas of GUI operation, so that they can use what they’ve learned to install other programs they might need down the road.
Well, to be honest, I never did have to tell anyone how to install Ubuntu. Just burn a CD and say “stick this in your drive and do what it says”. Still, nice art & it does run you through the history as well as basic ops in a cute way.
I’ve been playing around with http://www.uuorld.com/wordontweet, trying different words. Of all the things I tried, the one word where the UK dominated was -
Now, what is going down in Nigeria?
Tom Steinberg wants £1,000,000. And I hope he gets it. MySociety.org have been leading a quite revolution. Not only have they set up some of the most effective sites of civic empowerment, but they have also inspired other worldhackers across the world. Now they want to scale up. As Tom says, quoting David Lloyd-George: “You can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps”. (I love that quote. I think I’m going to adopt it as a motto).
What’s the chasm? Surprisingly familiar. Tom knows how to make a system that “holds people’s hands through the process of lobbying for more serious changes at a local or national level” but those systems have two components: a bit of code, and a huge chunk of his time. Code is cheep, and there’s a lot of people who can do it good. Tom is unique. Its the same problem we’re facing at the Pattern Language Network. If you want your project to exceed the limits of your personal capacity, you need to take yourself out of the equation. Create systems that do not require your presence to work. And that, my friends, is expensive.
@JonathanPoole and I met at the Duke of York last night to talk about social media, collaboration, investment banking, and things we’d like to do together. Jonathan reflected on the sensation of joining twitter, and similar systems (like Yammer) and compared it to Hypomania.
I found that very powerful. First, I could definitely relate to that analogy. Consider some of the symptoms:
- pressured speech; rapid talking
- inflated self-esteem or grandiosity;
- decreased need for sleep;
- flight of ideas or the subjective experience that thoughts are racing;
- easy distractibility and attention-deficit
Sounds familiar? Well, here’s the good news:
People with hypomania are generally perceived as being energetic, euphoric, visionary, overflowing with new ideas, and sometimes over-confident and very charismatic. [...] A person in the state of hypomania might be immune to fear and doubt and have little social inhibition. People experiencing hypomania are the typical “life of the party”. They may talk to strangers easily, offer solutions to problems, and find pleasure in small activities.
Not bad. And yes, it does resonate with a lot of the behaviour I’ve seen on Twitter. But there’s a dark side as well.
- increase in psychomotor agitation; and
- steep involvement in pleasurable activities that may have a high potential for negative psycho-social or physical consequences (e.g., the person engages in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments).
- (sometimes) emotional flattening or blunted affect.
Is this a mere analogy or is there a correlation between involvement in certain social media and a psychological condition? Could this explain why some people jump in with glee and others simply can’t be bothered? Or maybe twitter induces a sort of momentary pseudo-hypomenia? If so, will prolonged exposure lead to personality change? Either way, I see this as an important warning:
People in hypomanic episodes do not have delusions or hallucinations. They do not lose touch with reality in the sense that they know who they are and what is real. What can be a problem, however, is that they tend to overestimate their capabilities and fail to see the obvious risks involved in their ventures. For example, if they are in business, they may suddenly decide to expand in a way that is not really practical or set up schemes for which they are ill prepared.
Recently I’ve found that for me, the right way to use twitter is to uninstall any client, and instead open the twitter site for a limited time when I choose to. That allows me to modulate both the time drain and the emotional / cognitive impact. It might be that such a tactic allows me to experience the joy of “twitter-induced pseudo-hypomania” without suffering the consecuences. I simply bail out before I do something stupid. Granted, I’m probably less of a party star this way. Perhaps there’s a pattern here.